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Archive for the ‘Taylor’ Category

Well, I’m no longer Surviving on Massachusetts. 

No, this isn’t a note from the beyond, from now on, I’m Surviving on Virginia!

I kinda lost track of y’all there for a while, I know.  By the end of the summer, my farm garden had turned into an overwhelming pile of weeds, several snake sightings were making me hyperventilate every time I went out into the garden,  and I was struck by powdery mildew that destroyed every last one of my zucchini plants in a matter of days.  It wasn’t a great gardening year, and I lost hope.  I’ll admit it. 

That isn’t why I moved, though.  My move to Virginia had been in the works even before I planted the first seeds in my farm garden, so I didn’t leave anyone in a lurch.  I had decided that my three year experiment up north was mildly successful, but I was ready to get back to the land of sweet tea where I could grow okra and watermelons without having to make sacrifices to the weather gods every day. 

So, in October, I flew south.  I’ve moved to Fredericksburg, VA, and beautiful colonial town with gorgeous homes, a grand canoeing river, and weather that makes bulbs bloom in February.  Hooray!

The blog title just seemed plain silly to keep, so I hope y’all will follow me to my new home Surviving on Virginia.   I’ll keep this site up, but it won’t be updated anymore.

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Garden horror

So, I have a fear of snakes.  And I don’t mean that I don’t like them and a get a little squeamish, I mean I have a legitimate phobia of snakes.  Full on panic attack if I see one.  Even pictures of snakes make my palms sweat and I have to take a few deep breaths.

And Thursday, the thing that I have been fearing all along finally happened: I saw a snake in the garden.

I thought that I saw him the day earlier, when I glimpsed something black and shiny and rounded struggling in the netting that we put up around the blueberries.  I hightailed it out of there IMMEDIATELY when I saw it, because I knew if I actually saw a full on snake I’d lose it, and at that point I also thought it may have been a turtle (he was in a shadow, and at the base of some other plants, so pretty well hidden).  Then on Thursday afternoon when I got home I was walking past the berry patch to the garden and I was looking toward that shady spot at the bottom of the net, just in case.   As I was looking something caught my eye and I looked down towards my feet and not two feet away from me was the snake.  And he was BIG.   (God, even writing about this is making me shake a little bit.)

In the .02 seconds between my eyes seeing him and my brain screaming “SNAAAAAAAAAAAKE!  YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!”  I started running.  Heedlessly, as I realized when I was about 20 feet away from him and regained control of my legs, since I ran RIGHT through my patch of baby okra and swiss chard plants, smashing several of them into oblivion.   I stopped, turned around to see him still there and partially hidden in the grass and just started sobbing uncontrollably, because that is a useful response to certain death.   Thanks a lot, EVOLUTION!

I kinda stood there for a little bit not knowing what to do when my boyfriend called and talked me down from being absolutely hysterical and unable to breathe.  I walked out through the back of the garden and around the OTHER side of the house to get to the porch where I finally collapsed on the stairs and shook and cried for about 15 minutes before I was able to breathe calmly again.   OF COURSE, I did not go back out to the garden for quite some time, but when Ann got home later that day I told her what happened.   And then I found out that her daughter had come by that morning and seen him too.  In the same place.  Curious.

Once the sun went down, and I was certain he had gone back to the mouth of hell (which must be where he lives), I went back out to the garden (the long way, of course- avoiding the berry patch) because I had ripe Sungolds and I couldn’t NOT pick them!  Also I was trying really, really hard to be brave when all I really wanted to do was just light the whole garden on fire and never, ever, ever go back out there again.   Ann was sitting on the porch of the house as I was picking the tomatoes (far, far away from the snake side of the garden) and as I looked over in the direction of where I had seen him, I could still see a telltale divot in the grass, and what looked like the smooth, shiny ridge of a snake spine.   Now I know enough about snake behavior to be pretty sure that if a snake is almost stepped on by a screaming adult, he isn’t likely to stay around, so I called out to Ann (remarkably calmly, considering…) “I think he might still be here…”  She came down off the porch with a garden tool (I can’t remember which one) and walked over to where I was pointing and said “Yep, that’s a snake.  And wow- a big one!  I think he’s dying…”

I didn’t care to look, so inside I went.  The next morning she went out and he was still laying there, this time with flies buzzing around him, certainly dead.   Still too scared to go anywhere near him (I KNOW!  It’s a phobia, ok?  Nothing rational going on in the old grey matter here…) I called over a friend to dispose of him, and he was deposited somewhere far, far away where I will hopefully never come across him.

So, a happy ending, right?  (Well, for me at least- not so happy for the snake) Except now the neuroses are kicking in and I can’t go near the berry patch without my chest hurting.  I was out there yesterday trying to pick some blueberries and I heard a rustle in the raspberries and next thing I knew my legs had carried me 30 feet away without any active input from me.

Sigh…what a frustrating phobia for a gardener.   What I wouldn’t give to trade it in for a fear of heights or crowds or something…

(And yes, I know it wasn’t poisonous and I know they are useful and they eat rats and all that stuff.  Rationally, I get all of that.  I can list off all the reasons why I shouldn’t be afraid.   And listen, I grew up in the woods of Alabama where there are about 17 varieties of snake that will kill you as soon as look at you and some of them will even open your doors and crawl in your bed and BITE YOU IN THE FACE (or something like that…) and this wasn’t one of those snakes.  I KNOW!   If you are about to tell me why I shouldn’t be afraid, I invite you to go to Wikipedia and look up the term “phobia.”)

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This is my daddy eating a pepper that he grew last year in his garden.  I didn’t want to try it because I was afraid they were hot so he ate one first and said “See, they aren’t even a little hot.”

I ate one- it was hot.

If I remember correctly, this was taken the day before Thanksgiving last year in Daddy’s garden.  Yep- peppers at the end of November.  Alabama, people.

We actually picked all of these because I think there was a frost warning (I’m obviously chilly since I’m wearing a hat and vest) and ended up with a few grocery bags full.  These were VERY prolific pepper plants, but I can’t remember what kind they were.

Anyway, I’m rambling here when I’m trying to write a father’s day post to my Dad, who I’m sure is the reason I love to garden.  I can remember rolling my eyes and whining about the gardens that he had when I was little, but it looks like something rubbed off!  Thanks for the genes and the know-how, Daddy!  Love you bunches!

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Wow guys- sorry about that !   I just vanished with no explanation- and I actually have a REALLY good one!  I was in Wales!

I went with my parents.  We were there for two weeks and it was incredible.  I’ll post a few picture from my trip that I took just for you guys, but first I wanted to drop in and just let you know I’m still around!  One of the best things about the trip was getting home and seeing this:

Oh yes, that is a freshly plowed (and tilled!) field, just itching to be chock full o’ plants.  And it is getting there!  I’ve busted my hump since Tuesday (my first day back) and almost everything is planted now!  Still got lots of work to do- but my garden is finally getting started.  WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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Things change

Almost a month and no post.

The majority of this is due to my job and the fact that from December until March I work 55-60 hours a week.  I won’t go into any details, but I work for a very large and wonderful non-profit that does a huge fundraiser in the winter months, which I manage for my small region.  It is grueling, difficult work, but I have relaxed summers which seems like a decent trade off.

But the main reason is that I’m going through a transition in my personal life that is totally related to the content of this blog.  If you’ve read my about me page, you know that I moved up here to live with my boyfriend, Pete.  We live in a condo that his parents own and we pay the mortgage on and that is where I have my little garden (and my big freezer and big pantry and root cellar).  I’ve depended on these things to live my life of simple, local eating.

Well, as relationships are wont to occasionally do, this one has ended.  We broke up a couple of weeks ago.  Don’t fret- we’re both fine.  I was mutual and predictable and in no way is there bad blood between us, but it means that I have to leave my home.

So I’m moving away from my garden and my freezer and my pantry and starting anew.  I’m going to be moving in with two girls who live in a townhouse.  I’m hoping to convince them of starting a garden- keep your fingers crossed.  In the meantime, I’m going to hopefully have a small plot of my CSA where I can plant some things.  I’ve already told Pete that I’m coming to harvest my Garlic when it is ready, but I’ll be leaving behind almost everything else, including our jam-packed freezer (that hurts worse than the breakup!).

It will be a diffcult transition and it has come smack dab in the middle of when I should be ordering my seeds and planning my new garden, so I am thrown a bit off-kilter.

I don’t have any plan to give up on my goals of eating sustainably and in-season, so the blog isn’t going anywhere.  However, I don’t know that I’ll have much to post about until the spring…so I hope you will all keep me bookmarked and keep me on your feeds while I get settled into a new life.

Thank you, readers!

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This Historic Moment

Like I said, I’ll keep politics out of this blog, but if you want to know how I, as a historian (did y’all know that I’m a historian?), feel about what happened last night, please check out my personal blog, Tayloropolis.

And there isn’t anything incendiary or aggressive in that post.  So if you’re hurting about the election yesterday, don’t feel like you have to avoid it.  In fact, it’s written mostly for you.

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Sophie

I had a lot of big plans for this weekend. Now I have 5 pounds of beans in my fridge that were supposed to be pickled and a lot of apples rotting on my back porch that were supposed to be apple butter.

But I also have this:

This is Sophie.  And sorry for the bad quality of the picture.  I’ve yet to see her be still for longer that 2 seconds yet.  This was the best picture out of 50.

I’ve been distracted this weekend!

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