Archive for August, 2013

Nicolas and I met working at a restaurant called Eat Your Vegetables. Little did I know back then that I’d be eating so many of his vegetables and eventually even painting them, on organic T- shirts. I started out just painting one for each farmer, asking them to each pick their favorite vegetable. I ended up with 15 designs. The farmers that work at the Morningside Market have been wearing their shirts every Saturday morning for a few weeks. Today I sent a chart with pictures of all of the designs so that if a customer wants to buy one, they can pick their vegetable. The pictures are very small. For anyone who felt the need of a magnifying glass to see them, here they are bigger:padrons IMG_3921 IMG_3922 IMG_3923 IMG_3924 IMG_3925 IMG_3926 IMG_3927 IMG_3930 IMG_3931 IMG_3932 IMG_3933In the meantime, while researching how to dye a tablecloth, I discovered the magical world of natural dyes through an amazing Australian woman named India Flint. She wrote the book Eco Colour. It is changing my life. Growing a dying garden, as well as using many of the flowers, trees and vegetables that we already grow, I intend to spend every free moment soaking cottons and silks in pots of color.  In order to grow beautiful blues and reds, I’ll be farming – planting Indigo and Madder.

I’m feeling more grateful than ever to be the farmer’s wife.


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A month or so ago, the kids went to visit their cousins, aunt and uncle in New York, and Nicolas and I had a week to ourselves. Since we home school, this week was the only time we have to ourselves all year. I envisioned date nights! And very little laundry. And being able to buy an organic steak to share!

Instead, I did many loads of laundry – everything that may have been near one of our dogs. I spent much of the week with a bandana around my face, spreading diatamaceous earth on every rug and floor and into every tiny crack and crevice (our home is over a hundred years old, we have a lot of those). Diatomaceous Earth comes from hard shelled algae. It has the consistency of powder and when you place it on the floor it floats up and searches for your nose and mouth in order to suffocate you. Not really, but it sure felt like that every day. The reason I was covering my house in this white suffocating powder was fleas. Our dogs were starting to be covered with ticks and fleas and we are organic farmers and love our dogs and didn’t believe in giving them chemical flea prevention. So, the alternative was combing them twice a day, covering them in essential-oil filled ointments and sprays that the fleas wouldn’t like, covering everything with this diatamaceous earth (it suffocates the fleas; they aren’t wearing bandanas) and vacuuming a lot – of course being sure to keep the vacuum bag in the freezer so that no fleas could escape back into our home.

After spending a few hours on this every day for two weeks, most of the fleas seemed to be gone from our dogs. But. Not. All. Of. Them. My mood was determined by whether or not I had discovered a flea in the comb or the trap that day. There was only one date night and it was down the street because we were both too tired to go all the way to Atlanta.

So, you may have noticed that I wrote “didn’t” believe in giving our dogs chemicals. That belief has been put to rest, for one month anyway. We sold out. We bought the chemicals. There are absolutely no fleas, for now.

As a result of this, I have even more respect for my organic farmer husband and what he goes through everyday. Because his customers’ health, his family’s health (not to mention the health of the planet) are at stake, he would never even consider the use of chemicals in his war against the many weeds and bugs. And yes, sometimes it is quite a war. I’ve seen him spend hours immersed in books about weeds and bugs and how they operate in order to come up with new ways to keep help his vegetables survive a new squash bug or crab grass problem. Beneficial insects that are drawn to our chemical-free land help, as does the production of compost tea that he sprays over his vegetables to keep them strong. But it all takes lots of time and digging deep for extra energy on those unrelenting hot days. And I thank him, for looking out for us more industriously than I was able to look out for my dogs. sigh.

It’s almost time to give them the next dose of Advantage. I think I’ll take out the Diatomaceous Earth instead. Maybe they’ve finally ingested enough garlic and brewer’s yeast and good food to keep them at bay on their own. It is so not easy doing the right thing but of course, in the pig-picture-long-view, it is worth it.



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