The third annual Slow Living Summit happens next month (June 5 – 9) in Brattleboro, VT. As the ideas of the Slow Living movement underscore my life here on Saddleback Mountain, it follows that I am enthusiastic about the event and that I encourage everyone to attend.
Here is a helpful introduction to Slow Living:
The concept of Slow Living is built on the metaphor of “slow,” as used by other visionary organizations like Slow Food and Slow Money. “Slow” encompasses several layers of meaning that go beyond simply “sustainable.” Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience. But “Living” is also a key word in our name and our vision. “Living” should be mindful and purposeful, but also celebratory and filled with beauty, joy and gratitude. Defining what is meant by living well, or by a life well lived, is as relevant today as it was to the ancients — and as difficult. Combining these words, “Slow Living” is a more reflective approach to answering how we live, work and play as human beings on a fragile Earth. When we Live Slow, we give back and become more strongly connected to the Earth, to our communities, to our neighbors and to ourselves. A Slow Life is one that seeks the right balance between spirituality, sensuality, introspection and community. A Slow Life recognizes our role as members of our bioregions and of our Earth, taking a nourishing, rather than extractive approach.
You can learn more about the Summit, and the ideas that drive the movement, here:
Posted in Homesteading, simplicity, handcraft, family, Life, thinking, ambition, sustainable farming
Tagged meaning, society, Slow Living, Vermont
Once in mid-October when I was fourteen, I caught our neighbor Edna Cobal unannounced in the garden behind her home. I had ridden my bike to her house to deliver a check from my father, and as she didn’t appear when I knocked on the kitchen door, I went around to the back where I knew she kept a garden. Continue reading
There is snow to the knee where I live and feet of ice on the lakes, but my farmer friends Dan, Abby, Jake, Eric, Epsom Dave and I are already farming. It’s early, yes, but there’s plenty to do. Like starting seeds and building shelves and running off to workshops on high tunnels and the spotted-wing drosophila… .
And then there are certain photos we need to consider. Like the one above. A little something to rally the soul. Support for when we stand in our doorways and look out over the frozen fields.
(Thanks to the unknown/unnamed photographer.)
As it is mid-February and I’ve been working on my 2013 seed order, I dug up this vintage seed-catalog cover and placed it on my desktop. Out of hundreds of similar images that one can find online, this one has always seemed to me among the best. Continue reading
Posted in essay, Farm, Food, Gardening, Homesteading, Life
Tagged farmers market, ideas, New Hampshire, small farm, vintage art, work
When people ask me what I do, I often say that I’m a homesteader. But it never works. People either don’t understand the word, or, if they do, they’re notably suspicious of my claim and inevitably change the subject.
But Jack Whinery, shown here with his wife and children in a Library of Congress photo I recently discovered, was sure enough a homesteader, the genuinely-poor, Depression-era kind we know of via Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.
Has a poor homesteader’s family ever presented itself more beautifully then Jack Whinery’s? I don’t believe so. But neither do I believe that Jack would have fully agreed that he and his family were poor. Look at the man for a moment: at his jaw, his eyes, his face, his physical strength, his innate intelligence. Look at the way he holds his son. Continue reading
Recently, four wild turkeys walked into our yard dead set on feeding on our dwarf crabapple tree. The birds knew, somehow, that as back-to-back snow and freezing rain had elevated their reach by one foot, they could potentially snag the tree’s fruit. Continue reading
Even if you, like me, have little interest in dolls, take a second and look at this one. It’s my daughter’s. My wife and I gave it to her for Christmas.
In April when George Wingert plowed his field that bordered the Falling Spring Creek, it took only two or three passes to start him singing and three or four more for the crows to gather in. The crows, who lived somewhere in the woods behind George’s barn, would appear first at the field’s edge, then above the field, then directly in the field where they would hop along and glean the newly-turned furrows.
My mother claimed the crows’ quick arrival had more to do with George’s singing than with any grubs they found, and maybe that was so. I know the singing found me. Because the moment I heard George’s voice incoming on our side of the creek, I would drop everything and go. Continue reading
After a time of much confused thought, a brisk quick walk is often the way out. And I think I know why. Because have you noticed when the black crow calls how she always precedes with a great belly-heave forward? And how her song that follows is always a foregone conclusion, conviction beyond doubt?
Image: Mary Simpson: http://www.artisanshand.com/prints.html
We started with two sheep on our farm this summer, a ewe and her lamb, but the ewe died soon after her arrival and now near Christmas we have just the lamb, a girl. She is small, black, Icelandic, and her name, as my daughter decreed it, is Night Sky.