I've been a ramblin' woman for the past few days and I have only recently been settled enough to make an update to our tale. Elliot and I flew to Pennsylvania for four days to visit my family. We had a big chili eating party,
watched Food Inc with my father, cooked meals and spent much of our time catching up with the stories, myths and legends that have been brewing in our absence. It is always good to go home, even when home becomes increasingly different every trip. Farmland in Lancaster County over the past few years has suffered land loss associated with suburban development. Considered one of the most fertile soils in the East, it is a tragedy to see such beautiful growing space become parking lots and tree-less deserts of identical houses angled in slightly different directions. Many of the houses themselves serve as uninhabited haunts as the poor economy has prevented many of them from being sold.
While wildlife in Atlanta never seemed to have disappeared, it was exciting to see the early signs of spring slowly fill the fields and trees of the Pennsylvania landscape. Migrating Canada Geese, Blackbirds, the occasional Robin or two, waterways full of Mergansers and Gulls, the lone Heron.. Every one seeming to bring warmer weather to the snow covered terrain. Our most exciting find had to be two Pileated Woodpeckers on a tree together moving up and down as if partaking in an ancient dance. We were able to watch the dance for several minutes before our presence made them embarrassed or bothered. I don't blame them for taking off; most ancient things worth knowing are secrets and sometimes you aren't meant to get the whole story.
We abruptly migrated South to Atlanta and moved into our camper/homestead. It was very refreshing that first morning waking to the sounds of chickens, songbirds, frogs, and a babbling creek. Fresh air greeted our nostrils as we stepped onto our porch followed by the wonderful smells of lightly tilled earth, aging cow manure, and the occasional blooming wildflower. Elliot has been spending the past few days working up to 12 hour shifts prepping the fields for the Spring crops and preparing seeds.
I have prepared our nest with a deep cleaning and arranged our artifacts throughout the cozy space. It feels like home now, one we can crawl back to and cook up our produce after a hard days work in the fields.
Today I went over to Farmer D Organics and gave a Backyard Chickens for Beginners Workshop that was a great success. The excitement associated with raising chickens in Atlanta these days is a wonderful representation of how many human beings are turning back to their roots. Many of the individuals in the class had chickens growing up and want to share this experience with their own growing family. Developing a healthy partnership with the animals producing your food not only ensures fresh, healthy ingredients at every meal, it makes people feel more empowered to take steps towards being more self sufficient. It's time for us to start deciding what we should and should not eat, as opposed to trusting massive companies to have our best interests in mind.
Finally, I must mention my newest project with Rationally Creative's Mike Lorey and Food and Ag Fanatic Kimmy Coburn, The Atlanta Crop Mob. It is Atlanta's very own volunteer network set to give foodie folks real hands on experiences on farms and the local Atlanta farming network lots of extra hands on large projects.
There is much to be done in Atlanta concerning the growing local foodscape and I am sure I will be a busy bee this Spring.