In the mid-’70s (“The ’60s happened in the ’70s,” right?), Lesley and I tried to make a go of it producing food for ourselves and to sell. I was building our house. Had no plans to publish more books (after Shelter). Lesley tended a big garden. At one time we had 50 chickens, 5 beehives, and 3-4 goats (on less than ½-acre). Our friends were into the same things. Neighbors Bob and Sabena had a Jersey cow, pigs, a few sheep, ducks, chickens, and a huge garden, about one acre. Mike and I tried some small-scale farming. Mike and I both learned a lot from Arnold Brost, an old German who had grown up in Bessarabia (Romania) on a self-sufficient farm. Tending bees, making wine, smoking hams, making sourdough yeast…
Turns out producing organic food on our small scale in those days just didn’t pay. We sold fertile organic eggs for $1 a dozen, a quart of organic raw goat’s milk for $1, and honey for $1 a pound. We didn’t end up being farmers, but we learned a lot of food skills that still serve us well. Grinding grain (wheat millet, oats, rice) just before using; making cheese; gathering wild foods; all the myriad things Lesley’s learned to cook, from fresh-baked bread to pizza to sushi to a —ahem!— chocolate soufflé.
I discovered a homemade book called Stretching in 1979, used it to cure a bad back, and ended up publishing it in 1980, and voilá, I was no longer carpenter/farmer, but publisher. That book changed my life.
Note from todays NY Times:
-Highly efficient waste-to-energy plants in Denmark burn garbage to produce electricity with minimal pollution. U.S. of course drags heels on this technology.
-Reading the hard version of the NY Times is such a treat compared to the dumbed-down San Francisco Chronicle.
-Andrew Russ Sorkin says the bailouts might just be working.
-Pfizer reveals it’s been making payments to doctors as consultants or speakers. Why am I not surprised?
-Lala.com is a great music site. Can play any song, many albums free just once.
Sun’s shining, I’m off on my city rounds.