Monthly Archives: January 2015

Last Blog Post (For a While, at Least)

The Get Your Pitchfork On! blog is three years old! I have faithfully updated it every Sunday since January 2012, even during graduate school. I am proud of myself for that. But doing so takes a lot of time and, because of said schoolwork, the things that have gotten pushed aside—playing fiddle, hiking, writing for publications, and making collage artworks—are starting to get impatient with me. And I’m starting to feel their absence. I’m also hoping to embark on a new project in 2015 and want to make room. Not sure what the next thing is yet—a job? A book? Whatever it is, I feel the need to create a vacuum for it to fill.

If you are a subscriber to this blog: THANK YOU. Please stay subscribed; once I have news I will certainly share it here. I will also continue to update the GYPO Facebook page and website. If you have been a guest post-writer: Thank you! You took some of the pressure off me and added a welcome breadth to the content and voice of this blog.

When I decided to suspend production of the GYPO blog, I started reading old posts. It’s kind of like a photo album and diary. Here are some of my favorites:

Phynn and the Baby Chicks. Boy, that dog was a pain in the keester, but she was smart.

Peepee. You never know what will thrill a three-year-old.

Organic Gardening: Not the Hippie Lovefest It’s Made Out to Be. Pretty much speaks for itself.

How Many Seeds Make a Plant? One of those moments when I was certain there was a place for GYPO in the world.

K&M Wellness Retreat. Our farm was a respite from the cruel world for more than just Mike and me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines. A fun week in my life—the publication launch of Get Your Pitchfork On!

Farm-Inspired Art. Our farm inspired lots of people to create.

A Heart of Cheese. In which I compare my dual-heritage of Minnesotan and Wisconsinite.

The Art of Value-Added Products. This is the first in a series of pieces that got “picked” up by Handpicked Nation.

It’s Not the Size That Counts. How big is your bar?

Raising Rural Children. One of my most search-engine-driven posts.

Team Players. One of my few purely “Kristy Spouts Off” posts, about our polarized politics.

Celebrating 40 Years of the Encyclopedia of Country Living. An homage to the book that made GYPO possible.

Mending Day. One of the posts written in Portland, where it was more of a challenge to comment about living in the country—since we weren’t!

Seed Catalogs A-Go-Go. A compendium of companies, sorted by state.

Is Homemade Jam a Bargain? A cost-benefit analysis.

Cottage Industry Laws. Part of my transition into writing about food systems, inspired by my graduate work.

Until next time ...

Until next time …

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Winter Feast

Winter holiday preparation is basically an extension of harvest time. It makes sense, since most of the holiday season takes place in autumn. Homes are turned into a kind of indoor sukkah, festooned with trees, branches, and berries. Special music is played that is forsaken the rest of the year.

And the food! People whip up more cookies than anyone could ever eat, fancy milky cocktails, roasts and pies and snack mixes to fish from little bowls while playing cards and board games.

This year was no exception for Mike and me, except in the sense that we poured it on more than usual. I’ve known for a long time that we are not typical people when it comes to expendable income. While most Americans save their money for vacations, tickets to sporting events and concerts, or weekly shopping trips to a mall, Mike and I favor quality groceries. This autumn has been especially good to us, so I’m sharing a few pictures of our bounty.

It all started this summer, when my colleague Sara asked if I wanted any apricots. I documented canning them as well as some peaches that I bought. When we had windfall apples in our yard, I made applesauce. A friend who was going on a cruise and needed to unload a bunch of half-ripe tomatoes and peppers unloaded them on me.

Late-season surprise

Late-season surprise

But here’s where it really gets good. Our friends at 6 Ranch posted a contest on their Facebook page in September. They wanted to trade a quarter beef for something. “What’ve ya got?” they asked. People offered fence-mending, firewood, maps, carpet cleaning, a weekend in Bend. Mike offered to record their family history. 6 Ranch being a “century ranch,” one of Oregon’s oldest operations, this was a smart bid. He won.

In order to store that much beef, we finally bought a chest freezer. Then, we had a chest freezer to fill, so I ordered a half-pig from Carman Ranch. The local FFA has a fruit fundraiser, so I ordered a case of grapefruit from Texas. A friend told me about a fishery on the Oregon Coast that ships tuna straight from the cannery. Done.

Beef!

Beef!

Beautiful Christmas ham

Beautiful Christmas ham

At our Winter Solstice party, people brought gift-jars of the food they had put up during the summer. Anyone who had pickles pointed out that they were “for Mike.” (They had seen my blog post.)

And then my colleague Lisa said that her significant other was in Bandon, taking orders for oysters. Not much of an oyster fan, I wondered about Dungeness crab. This is a New Year’s tradition for Mike and me. Last year, the best we could get was frozen Alaska king crab legs from the Safeway.

There's gold in them thar hills!

There’s gold in them thar hills!

A few days later, Scott pulled into our driveway with two dungies. And some still-squeaking cheese curds. And persimmons. And chanterelles. I buried my face in the box of mushrooms and inhaled the mossy, earthy scent of Western Oregon.

Wallowa County winters are long. But, we will eat our way to spring.

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