market proliferation

Toothclops Fails Out, or Why I'll Never Be a Pioneer Woman

My youngest daughter recently lost her first top front tooth, leaving its mate to migrate center-ward. Because we're a family of nicknamers, there was some debate as to what her new nickname should be. Suggestions included Uni-Tooth and Jim Bob, but we have settled peacefully on Toothclops.

In any case, when we're not eating thoughtfully, our family spends a lot of time playing Rock Band, with Toothclops as an active participant. Lately, however, Toothclops has been throwing a wrench in it because she absolutely refuses to perform vocals on The Clash's I Fought the Law. Ask her to do it, and her face crumples and the tears start and the wailing "but I can't do-o-o-o it!" There's no point in telling her that, if she just practices a few times she'll get the hang of it and our avatars will on go on to cyber fame and fortune. No point. She's irrational about it.

Stay with me, here. I have my own irrational fear of failure when it comes to food. If you troll the blogs of other dedicated, thoughtful foodies, you'll find that, when it comes to food, they delight in growing, canning, smoking, preserving, foraging, distilling, fermenting, and dehydrating. There is nothing they don't do/haven't done/wouldn't try. In my zeal to be a real food blogger, I checked out Carleen Madigan's THE BACKYARD HOMESTEAD, my head filled with visions of making my own cheese like Ma in LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, while Toothclops and her siblings batted around the inflated bladder from the pig I had just raised and slaughtered.

Two minutes spent flipping through the book were enough to deflate me. There were the beds to be designed, built and tended. The fluorescent lights to suspend over the seedlings. The A-frames to be hammered for tomatoes and raspberries. The bees to tend. The tips to keep predators away from your chickens, who were living blissfully in the "Poulet Chalet" you had built them. Diagrams of how to milk your goat.

Uh-uh. I slammed the book shut and threw it in the return pile. "I can't do-o-o-o it!" Any of it. God bless our dear, willing farmers--and how many more months till the market opens again?

If reading this post has--alternately--filled you with zeal, and you are even now about to click over and order THE BACKYARD HOMESTEAD, you may be interested in knowing that you can now apply to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for a beginning ranching or farming grant! Not only that, but Seattle just announced its Year of Urban Agriculture campaign to promote "local and regional food sustainability and security." Have at it, folks.

And we might be needing all those new farmers and ranchers because the Wall Street Journal reports that  farmers' markets are proliferating at what is probably an unsustainable rate. What draws you to your favorite markets? Do you frequent more than one?

That's it for now. Back to Rock Band!