The Good LifeWhile 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 gettinfreshblog@gmail.com.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Cheryl says:

    What an enjoyable and welcoming blog. Thanks, so much.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Hello Sharon,
    I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award (http://harvestliberty.net/2012/04/18/versatile-blogger-sunshine-award/). I mean no intrusion and please feel no compulsion to take on the nomination. I simply want to let you know that I have truly enjoyed your posts and look forward to reading many more in the future. May this find you, your sister and your garden more than well.

  3. Kathy Cheer says:

    i am reading Curtis Stadtfeld’s FROM THE LAND AND BACK and I AM LOVING IT! In the mid-40s, for six years, my family lived in the UP, Chatham, Michigan; my dad worked for one of Michigan State’s Experiment Statiions. So many of Stadtfeld’s observations, I remember similar events, places and people so clearly. He writes without pretense, lovingly, honestly and poetically of farm life before technology. What an honor to have Rene Dubos write one’s foreword, a man regarded with high esteem within the scientific-humanitarian-academic community. Is it possible to make contact with Mr. Stadfeld? I would love to tell him how much I loved this book and share some stories.

  4. Hello… recently I was given a blog award (the Leibster award) by another blogger. I don’t normally accept them (it’s a bit like a chain letter), but he asked so nicely that, in a moment of weakness, I agreed. One of the requirements is to pass on the award. I decided to pick five other blogs to nominate that I really enjoy reading, with the intention of directing more traffic to them. Yours is one of these blogs. I hope that you will accept this as a token of how much I enjoy reading what you write. You can display the award image on your blog, you can write a post about it and you can pass it on to others if you like; but really I just want you and others to know that I think you have a really great blog. My post that links to your blog is here: http://wp.me/p2mlPL-xj
    Thanks for all the enjoyable reading!

  5. M. R. says:

    Having perused some of your site – as it’s nearly lunchtime, I haven’t finished – I’ve decided that YOU’RE AN EVIL WOMAN! [grin} How DARE you post pictures of things like mashed potatoes, let alone supply recipes?! Everyone knows these are to be eschewed with vigor! I do hope you don’t manage to get me off the straight and narrow food pathway … 😀

    1. Haha! Just saw this comment. 🙂

      I do realize that my blog can have a corrupting influence, but gosh darn it, somebody’s got to play devil’s food advocate! In the interest of corrupting you further, I have to mention that potatoes have lots of vitamins…

  6. M. R. says:

    Pfuh! … Well, come to think of it … 😉

  7. Hi Sharon,
    So interesting to find both of your blogs. We have quite a bit in common! I too live in VA, have a humanities Ph.D. (English), have an interest in sustainable living/homesteading, am seeking representation for my memoir (about raising a family while getting a phd then quitting academe), and have two blogs (like you: one about more academic things, the other about home stuff like striving to be a locavore or wishing my teens would submit to washing their hair with baking soda.

    It’s funny, I just planted ginger in a pot and purchased a few bay leaf plants, hoping I can figure out how to grow these more tropical plants in VA. I saw your post on the sidebar about lemons in Va. Haven’t read it yet, but off to do that next. I buy all of my meat and produce from local farms with the exception of citrus, bananas and ginger. Would like to change that! (and btw, I get all our meat from Polyface Farm. I wonder if you’re close enough to them to be in the buying club?)

    Anyway, happy to find you and your beautiful blog.

    1. Hi Deb,

      So sorry I didn’t see this comment until now! For some reason I don’t get notifications of comments on my About page. Yes, I would say we do have a great deal in common! I’m going to go check out your blogs now. 🙂 Thanks for getting in touch, and I’d love to hear from you again!


      P.S. I’m too far east for Polyface, but I’m working toward raising a substantial part of my family’s meat. It’s a slow process, as we’ve just moved to a new house and don’t have a lot of money to invest upfront, but that’s the goal!

  8. M-R says:

    Ah have NEVAH heard of anyone’s eating a rooster ! ROTFL !!!!

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