Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Tonight here in Baltimore, Novella Carpenter is speaking at one of the libraries and I'm headed there (with G in tow, because he's insistent he gets to come hear about urban farming as well).  She wrote Farm City, and I'm almost finished with it, though I keep pausing to dream about the petite farm I hope to have one day.

If you don't know who Novella is, please check out her blog: Ghost Town Farm. 
I'm super excited because the book has me dreaming of the petite farm G and I want some day with a huge garden, fruit trees, ducks, goats, maybe a milk cow or two and horses for riding and manure.  It's our dream, and one we've been talking about a lot lately, with him finally conceding that we could add in some bees since he does love honey so much.  It's a bit far off, our back yard here is a bit....small.  And due to the rat problem here in the city (the ones that we've seen in the alley, for the record have shiny coats and appear extremely healthy, though where they're getting such a good diet confounds us) we've debated growing veggies in case it only brings them into our yard (a big no no with a dachshund who would hunt them).  

But after my lunch today of a turkey sandwich with maille mustard and sauteed onions and a side of sauteed portobello mushrooms I am thinking we need to look into growing mushrooms in our basement.  It would be awesome since we love them so much.  And we already have basil and lavender, but I would love to add thyme, mint, rosemary, and parsley to a few pots for an herb garden.

G and I have discussed this often, our need to get our hands dirty.  We've talked about how perhaps it is our roots, our ancestors blood coursing through us, men and women who certainly grew their own food.  But we both feel it.  The call of the earth, the crazy ideas of whether or not ducks would be permitted in our backyard or whether we could build a rabbit hutch on our dining room roof (accessible through a bedroom window).  For now I think we'll stick to herbs, perhaps start composting for the flowers we plan to put in after some landscaping.  But fresh duck eggs call to me, and I'm giving it 5 years, tops.


  1. I'm excited about growing my own veggies - I have a small garden with very little growing space so at the moment it's all in pots, but I'm growing raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and a variety of vegetables too. I like what you say about your roots and your ancestors. I think that as society has developed (and it's got even crazier in the last 50ish years: even when my Mum was small she remembers her parents/g'parents growing food) we've got more and more distanced and disconnected from the food on our table. Something's wrong when so much of what we eat is from a million miles away. I'm noticing a lot of people getting more into homesteading, growing veggies, small-scale farming (certainly I'm surprised at how engaged with it I am getting, I'm building quite the obsession as we speak :p) and I'm grateful to the recession for being an encouragement to so many people to look at growing food as something we can all do. It's another way of living "smaller" I guess...
    Sorry this turned into an epically long comment :/ I hope you enjoy your trip to the library and that the author you're going to see is as fabulous as her book sounds! Are you liking it? I'm adding it to my amazon wishlist! xx

  2. Hey Kalee, I believe I'm right in saying that Novella Carpenter has a sister, Riana Lagarde, who lives in the south of France. Riana used to have a blog - These Days in French Life; she closed it down but you can look for her on Flickr. Riana does the whole slow food thing, she grows her own food and barters for the rest, as well as checking out the remains from her local shops. I think you would really enjoy reading her (the Flickr page has commentaries along with the photos, it's in place of the blog).

  3. I'll pass on the ducks... But I've started my first urban garden this year. I'll have to take pictures to show you but I've got two roma tomato plants, four basil plants, apple mint, one strawberry and one dill plant in my "backyard"/alley. So far everything is thriving...

  4. Rachel, that's awesome! I think after talking with Novella tonight we're gonna go ahead and put in some plants. The introductory speaker who lives here in Baltimore has bees so I am considering those too!

    Patricia, that's actually how I first heard about Novella! I started reading Riana's blog ages ago (and G is determined to move to the area she lives and raise goats). I'm part of her flickr group about a slow year, though I've been too scared to post any pics yet....those ladies are impressive! Riana was oh so helpful when I had really stale bread and she helped me figure out what to do with it (bread soup!).

    Lydia, I am so darned impressed, you're ahead of me! Can't wait to see photos. I was annoyed I didn't get to see you last month (I'll have to chat with you later), but now I'm thinking I may have to fly in so we can have caprese salad and I'll bring wine!

  5. It's funny - in the last 12 months I have really started to have the same feeling about wanting to see things grow. I now have a big balcony herb garden with 15 herbs and cherry tomatoes, and now that it is winter (down here!) I have bought some beautiful glass hyacinth forcing vases - I hate the 'forcing' part of that name! but the bulbs are just starting to grow roots down and the tips appearing and I am loving the elegance of the glass vases and seeing the flowers grow.


  6. I garden in the city where there are rats, but they leave our veggies alone. They prefer other people's trash, I guess! I've literally seen them walking down the path in the middle of the garden, but nothing has ever been eaten. (Thankfully this is not in my backyard but in a community garden). To my surprise, I have less pest problems vegetable gardening in the city than my parents do gardening in the suburbs.