Wednesday, June 01, 2005

As you may have noticed...

...this blog is not being updated as frequently as I might’ve liked. But now that I’m a farmer (or, more accurately, a farm apprentice – people I know who’ve farmed for years still don’t call themselves farmers. I think it’s kind of like being a Jedi Master, in that it’s a goal that as you approach it, the more modest and humble you become. Or are Jedi Masters even humble? Maybe they’re just subtle.) anyways, now that I’m working on a farm, I’ve thrown off the shackles of technology and am embracing the liberation of low-tech life.

Take yurt life for instance – it’s definitely low tech. While some yurts are totally hooked up, mine’s more on the primitive side, with no running water or electricity (which makes it hard to power my hot tub), kerosene heater and lights, and a propane powered range top and fridge. My toilet is in an outhouse. I carry my water from the farmhouse or the solar greenhouse (there are 6 greenhouses here) across a big field, into the woods to my yurt. I don’t have any walls in the traditional sense, since the yurt is basically a round canvas structure, supported by a wooden skeleton. One might think that this kind of life could get tiresome after a while, but it actually made me realize how little I need to live a relatively comfortable existence. In fact, sitting next to this computer and listening to the strange alien-like humming sounds it emits makes me realize how I am usually immersed in a sea of technological buzzes, hums, and roars and how I just tune them out. But in the woods the sounds are totally different. Rain is a lot louder in the yurt, and there are low tree branches that brush against the skylight at the top. I also hear leaves rustling, and an occasional woodland creature. Fortunately I do not hear the manic footsteps of a depraved, sexually deviant ax murderer with a penchant for hacking blond Jewish women to bits.

The only thing about apartment life that I miss in the yurt is the lack of light. It stays kind of dark in the yurt. I usually have to read by flashlight or at my table with all six candles and two kerosene lamps lit. When it’s cloudy or overcast, it is significantly darker in the yurt. And when you get, oh, let’s say, 3 weeks of rain, the lack of light in the yurt can really get to you.

Okay maybe it didn’t rain for 3 weeks straight, but it did rain a lot here in Maine. An unusual amount. Enough to make you think the sun was never going to shine again. Enough to make my raincoat and $13 galoshes as necessary a daily clothing item as my underwear and socks. If you’ve ever read the short story, “All Summer in a Day”, that’s what life was like in Southern Maine for the past month. But of course that meant we got to wear the totally fabulous rain paints (there will be a picture, I promise.) And transplant in the mud, which I am pretending is the same kind of nourishing mud that people pay a lot of money to get slathered on their bodies at spas. At this point, mud has become a ubiquitous part of my existence.

But back to the positives of yurt life. A combination of resourcefulness and insatiable appetite has made me come up with some standard food combos that, should the farming gig not work out, I will publish in a cookbook that has my philosophy of healthy living and optimal nutrition, and it will be called The Yurt Diet for Nourishing the Mind and Body and I will get some really dated studio stills taken of me for the back cover and I’ll make zillions.

So, what does Farmer Tracy eat in the yurt? Pasta. A lot of it. And eggs. Eggs with sautéed greens on toast. Or pasta and sautéed greens with a side of eggs. Rice with sautéed greens and eggs. Oatmeal with bananas and walnuts. Yogurt with bananas and walnuts. Rice and beans. Peanut butter. On bananas, or just plain.

Now that you all have a sense of my daily life, don’t you just feel like you’re in the yurt with me? Of course, if you were Actually all here in the yurt with me, most of you’d be sitting on the floor, because I have only three chairs and one of them is covered with laundry (I threw that one in for my folks). Of course, that is assuming that the multitudes of people I am hoping are reading this actually are. If it’s just a few of you, could you spread the word, please?

So, I apologize again for the delay in posting, but my next post will have pictures (woo-hoo!) of my farmerific experience. In the meantime, please feel free to shower me with your opining.

Farmer Tracy


chickenncookies said...

So here I sit in my office at UCSF, listening to the thrumming of the A/C fan, the high-pitched whine of computers, and the clacking of my fingers on the keyboard all illuminated by the light of the monitors.
A yurt doesn't sound all that bad. Can't say my laundry would be on a chair, of course, but there would be a pair of comfy socks that I could change into when I came in from the mud. Or do you track mud everywhere?
Where do you get the bread from? Do they bake it on the farm? Can you get access to an oven?
What do the birds sound like? Are there particular ones that you identify now by when they start singing in the morning?
Have general grooming habits fallen by the wayside? Do you still floss regularly? What do you do with used floss in a yurt?
Please keep writing! I think those of us who check regularly will agree that it is a treat to read about what you are up to. I personally am amazed that your writing brings to life the wonderfully bizarre trains of thought that somehow you keep running in yoour head. Rock on.

Sarah Longstockings said...

strange how our diets are roughly parallel at the moment--
actually it's really me copying you- so I can say I'm cool like Yurt Tracy- I cook greens and eggs every day too- or yogurt and cereal- or wait- it's quinoia and beans and green beans tonight! I'll bet you're not eating supergrains from the Andes in your yurt. Unless maybe there's a health food store- in which case you probably are.
I'm trying to be a farmer too- just like you. I moved into a silly multi-colored co-op with decent dirt and raised beds for veggies! And for a while there was nothing growing, but now there are little teeny green things poking out from the dirt. It's so exciting. I'm nurturing something! I may eventurally even get to raise it and feed it and then kill it and eat it. Mostly I'm into the nurturing though. not the killing. I swear.