Why in the night sky are the lights hung?

Why in the night sky are the lights hung? Why is the earth moving ’round the sun? Floating in the vacuum with no purpose, not a one. Why in the night sky are the lights hung? Why is life made only for to end? Why do I do all this waiting then? Why this frightened […]

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Planting spinach in a snowstorm

It’s only January 5. And day two of another snow storm in Chicago. Not one to be thwarted from anticipating planting season by a foot of snow, I remembered that I have these two lovely empty tea tins from Trader Joe’s just begging to be filled with dirt.   While shopping for storm supplies, i.e. […]

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The work of her hands

By Amanda Cleary Eastep As a child, my grandmother worked in the truck patches of vegetables her family grew on their rented farm in Southern Illinois. Whether from planting or harvesting or picking off bugs to drop into buckets of kerosene, the calluses that lined her palms like small pebbles were a source of pride. […]

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Everything turn, turn, turn

I used to watch that 45 rpm record spin on the turntable, the green apple label a blur as Mary Hopkin sang “to everything turn, turn, turn…there is season, turn, turn, turn…” And as my garden finally starts to yield fruit at the far end of this cool summer, a change of seasons is obvious in […]

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A mother’s ode to wayward green children

As I dig in the dirt and plant seeds, yank weeds, water and watch things grow, I can’t help but consider how gardening is so much like raising children…the trials and the joys. I’m disappointed in my tomatoes. I started them from seeds. Watched amazed as they poked through the soil and cheered them on […]

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Putting Down New Roots–in dirt and in life

By Amanda Cleary Eastep Have you ever been transplanted? I was following my divorce in 2005. I couldn’t help but see an analogy today as I was transplanting the delicate seedlings that more quickly than expected outgrew the mini-starter trays. A few weeks ago I started seeds for kale, two varieties of tomatoes, hot peppers, and chamomile. The kale […]

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Spring has sprung in my kitchen

By Amanda Cleary Eastep Last week, I filled out a planting schedule I found on Mother Earth News and started my two varieties of tomatoes, hot peppers, kale, and chamomile. I scheduled what to start indoors and when to transplant, and what seeds to plant directly in the soil and when. I would have posted […]

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Itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny homestead (by that I mean condo garden)

By Amanda Cleary Eastep Sometimes you just have to change your perception of a thing. This isn’t the same as changing your perspective. I mean, no matter how I view the garden space off of my condo patio, it is what it is. A small plot of clay-filled soil, a few pots, and a lot […]

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Rise, rise, rise, let it rise!

The title is a play on the Bachman-Turner Overdrive classic from the 70s, that decade when we packed Wonder Bread in our school lunches every day. But this is a new decade in my life…the pre-homesteading one in which I bake my own bread and take another step toward a future life on five acres […]

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It’s a pickle

These are refrigerator pickles. They are delicious and easy to make, but they will only be good for 2 months in the refrigerator (if they aren’t eaten by then). They won’t help you survive the winter. They won’t make it until January when you might decide, on a warm winter night, to roast hot dogs […]

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