in pursuit of generalism

I keep meaning to post final pantry pictures, but I've had a run of annoying lower-back issues that made sitting for long periods quite uncomfortable, and I saved that for work.  So at home there was short, drive-by internet browsing (hello twitter), and things that involved standing--which meant, more canning!  Well, and fall cooking, yoga, dishes, and some mild yardwork.

The entire spread (sans freezer): we had to add an extra shelf for fruits and wines!

I almost titled this post "in praise of mediocrity" because it isn't lost on me, even when I take pictures of my annual triumphs, that preserving food isn't anything new or special:  it's just what people have done since the beginning of civilization.  There's nothing more humbling that hitting a garage sale full of awesome canning or fermenting gear and being told by the former owners of how they used to do that years ago (and often how they grew tired of it).  It makes for some lovely neighborhood camaraderie, but it reminds me that my generation of gardeners and preservers are not pioneers, just very late adaptors.
homegrown dry beans and peppers/spices
But I decided to be more positive:  with friends and family currently in job searches, I see regularly that what modern-life is looking for is totally laser-focused pursuits.  Job seekers are expected to have years of specific experience with one topic/skillset/gadget/software whatever.  Generalism is totally lost at times.  But me (and my crowd) are pretty content to be good--or even mediocre--at lots of things!

D's wine:  all sorts including dandelion, rhubarb, mulberry, and elderberry, and grape.  He started a batch of raspberry today.

Call me crazy, but I like doing math, using tools, hacking away at dry earth, engaging in a little chemistry, exchanging information, and using my imagination.  Too bad you can't making a living doing those things...hey wait:  You can make a life.

The first stone wall we ever built, still sturdy going on winter 2

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  1. Now that's a thing of beauty. Well done.

  2. Hello there!
    I'm not sure how I ended up finding your blog (some sort of search on Wisconsin vegetable gardens, maybe somehow from The Creative Vegetable Gardener's blog?) but I am so happy I did! I honestly just read it all the way back to the beginning. I'm starting my first garden this year, and wanted some inspiration and advice, and seeing your success has given me high hopes, and lots of great information. After reading through it, I've come to the conclusion that we might live in the same neighborhood, I saw a photo of your pooch swimming at our favorite dog park. My husband and I purchased our first home on Winn Trail last July. If you have any particular advice you would like to share please email me at and thanks again for writing this blog, I am sure I'll be checking back on old entries come spring!

    1. Aw, thanks so much, it means a lot to hear that this space is useful--especially when I haven't been very good about updating it lately. And yes, I think we are close, I'll send you an email :)


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