While other teenage girls were shopping for clothes or agonizing over who was going to ask them to prom, I was dressing in hand-me-down flannel and poring over books on composting manure, skinning rabbits, and building outhouses. My first homesteading endeavor–a vegetable garden in my parents’ backyard–was a disaster. I only tilled once, didn’t know how to use a hoe, and watched in dismay as the perennial grasses came in thick and mean. But twenty years later I’ve grown over 45 kinds of vegetables, fruits, and herbs–on two continents–and I’m glad to share a little of what I’ve learned along the way, not only about gardening but also about getting all that delicious produce to the table in a form that will tempt even the pickiest of eaters. (You know who you are!)
My adventures in animal raising are only just beginning. Several years ago, I was confronted with the horrors that are industrial animal production. I know that most farmers are just trying to make a living, but honestly, we’ve got to do a heck of a lot better. I was vegan for four years but gave it up after developing increasingly acute symptoms of hypoglycemia. Now my goal is to produce as many of my own animal-derived foods as possible. So far, I’ve raised laying hens and some broiler chickens (as well as one nasty-tasting rooster), but I hope to expand soon into dairy–likely by way of goats.
While you’ll find that I often mention France in this blog (et y file une phrase de français de temps à autre), I am currently gardening in Virginia, right on the border between USDA Zones 7a and 7b. When I’m not digging, hoeing, cooking, or canning, I’m most likely reading or writing. In addition to being a gardener, I’m an author and philosopher fascinated by coincidences: those strange, enigmatic experiences that are so often personally meaningful and yet push the boundaries of what we consider scientifically possible. My newest book, The Source and Significance of Coincidences, is due out in May 2019, and I’m currently at work on a memoir based on my coincidence experiences. You can find links to my various non-garden-related writing at sharonrawlette.wordpress.com.
If you want to get in touch with me, feel free to leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.