Category: Being 20-Something (Page 1 of 4)

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Hard Fought Success in the High Country – Fields to Plate Produce

The drive to the Old Fort Farm in Hesperus, Colorado is deceptively steep. From downtown Durango I rose steadily, almost imperceptibly, and gained a thousand feet within minutes. From afar I had seen snow on this mesa just days before – not anymore. Pulling in, I found a large, aging, post-harvest farm; brushed with deep golden hues of well-watered land in a Colorado autumn.

With a bit of navigating, I located the Fields to Plate farmers. The small crew was harvesting a thousand-pound beet sunset: red, gold, pink, purple. The bounty seemed unlikely for such a dry, high altitude location; so, I set forth to learn how they did it…


READ THE STORY

Read my first article on Artisan Situation!

My good friend Zach Kaiser runs the site with some old chums from my college days with the Idea Fund. The story covers the recent history of Fields to Plate Produce, the farm David and I got our CSA from this summer.

katie

nasty women daring greatly.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself on a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

– Theodore Roosevelt

 

I read a book this summer that changed my life. It taught me that the courage to be vulnerable is everything, and how to tell myself that I am enough.

I know, it sounds silly and sappy. But, I promise you, Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, is anything but silly. It’s 100% no-bullshit. And if you’re willing and ready to listen, it’s not easy to read.

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the hand I was dealt (poem).

The hand I was dealt
is considered near perfect:
golden hair, healthy body,
straight, middle class.
(They say: it could only be more perfect
were I not a woman).

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life is too short. // election thoughts.

Yesterday I got my haircut. The only other customer was 99 year-old May.

May was tiny and withdrawn; a living contrast to the extravagantly decorated salon. Her daughter and the hairdresser helped her into the chair. She said little, just watched herself in the mirror. The hairdresser chattered away, unnoticed.

After a while, May interrupted distractedly. She read, slowly and intently, from a printed quote on the hairdresser’s mirror: “Life is too short to be anything but happy.” 

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I’m a tortoise, not a hare.

Best training run ever!

Best training run ever!

I sped causally down the valley, warm wind in my face, David close behind me. It felt good to bike for once without my commuter saddle-bags weighing me down. It was Sunday and we were enjoying an easy 20-mile ride.

An easy 20-mile ride. I pondered the odd novelty of the phrase, the ease with which I now categorized such a workout. Easy.

Five years ago I wouldn’t go to the gym for more than twenty minutes. Four miles was my personal running limit. I was too terrified to ride a bike.

And yet, last month I ran my first marathon.What changed?

As I switched gears to pump up hill, the Tortoise and the Hare children’s story popped into my head.

It’s seems the classic “found my potential” story, but it’s not.

I didn’t run the marathon because I found my potential. I ran it because I stopped putting limits on my potential. I stopped thinking I had to be a hare, and started being a tortoise.

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my kitchen is a science lab.

Fermentation is kind of awesome.

During fermentation natural yeasts and bacteria break carbohydrates down into alcohols and acids.

Did you know that a third of the foods we eat are a result of fermentation? Beer, wine, ketchup, hot sauce, salami, cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, soy sauce, chocolate (!) are just a few.

For a long time we’ve raged war on yeasts and, especially, bacteria. We kill them with cleaners and sanitizers, afraid of the small percentage that threatens our wellbeing. It’s true, there are some nasty bugs out there that we should take seriously, but a majority of the invisible organisms living in the air around us are harmless and, we’re now realizing, very good for us.

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cowspiracy: a lesson in naivety.

The newest calf! - Photo Cred: David

I’ve always struggled with vegetarianism.

In college I tried to stop eating meat, several times. As an environmental science undergrad, the more I learned about food systems, the more I felt compelled to convert. I had a burning desire to succeed, almost as if my morality depended on it, but I never found the resolve.

So I tried, failed, tried again, failed again, etc.

Over time, I’ve come across three main arguments for renouncing animal protein:

  1. Humans were meant to be herbivores
  2. Eating other living things is ethically deplorable
  3. Factory farms are terrible

I’m not an anthropologist, but I simply don’t buy the herbivore argument. I seriously struggle with the carnivore sin idea. I love animals, I’ve raised them, and I’ve slaughtered them – maybe some people think it’s insensitive, but I still (very much) like to eat them. The factory farm angle I can get behind 100%… but on just that foundation, it’s very, very difficult to refuse a juicy, grass-fed burger and fatty, free-range bacon.

No argument has successfully managed to turn me off the omnivore path, despite my noble aspirations – until now (sort of).

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Is Instagram apathetic? #ActForNature

(Preemptive apologies to my non-Instagram readers.)

Let’s address the elephant in our collective virtual room:
Why do we spend endless hours photographing nature but very few actually defending it?

Social media is famous for its ability to escalate social movements for change. Consider the Egyptian Uprising, #Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter, #BringBackOurGirls, and the #IceBucketChallenge for a start. But all of these movements were/are centered on Twitter, with Facebook as a sidekick. What about Instagram?*

This fall, Socality Barbie brought Instagram’s #liveauthentic movement’s artificiality into light. The press went wild, attacking the culture for it’s glaringly obvious inauthenticity. In my favorite article, Hilary Oliver argues compellingly that the #liveauthentic culture is a cry for meaning from the millennials’ that stems from our suburban, programmed, and privileged childhoods (read here).

These criticisms are fair, but I’d like to add my own.

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why you should just pack up and go.

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As a culture we plan far too much. Our calendars are so full of appointments, meetings, workouts, deadlines, and coffee dates that if we lost them we wouldn’t know where to turn. My life in college was a prime example. I was in so many groups, had so many jobs, and juggled so many assignments that I sometimes felt like a robot, trudging through my calendar and to-do list without thought.

The road trip was a big, dramatic way for me to turn this around; it was a huge success. We crossed the country without a plan. No deadline, no itinerary, no destination. Just each other, a general direction, all materials we might need, and an atlas. The result of this approach was that we never felt rushed, we were able to thoroughly enjoy the places and moments we loved and rush through those that weren’t jiving so well. The lessons I gained from these experiences have transferred into my stationary life – I’m more flexible, spontaneous, and present than before. I hope my “How to Travel Spontaneously” tips can help your next adventure provide you with the same.

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dear minimalism: can I have my home back?

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Back in March I wrote this post about minimalism. I told you that “stuff is just stuff” and that “as a culture we’re drowning in the chaos of our material lives, in our anxiety about getting rid of anything we might possibly regret.”

Then, a few days later, I took a step back and revised my original statement in this post. I argued that not all stuff is just stuff. A lot of material goods are useful to have (like tools, kitchen supplies, etc). I decided that if even if I’m moving towards a minimalist lifestyle I shouldn’t feel guilty about keeping items that I actually use on a regular basis.

When I minimized my life last spring I was preparing to move across the country. Everything had to go that wasn’t a necessity, there simply wasn’t space for anything frivolous. I won’t lie – it felt really great. I felt all the feelings that minimalist spokespersons tell us we’ll feel – liberated, less stressed, calmer, etc.

But then I moved into my new apartment last month and unpacked. Now I take back something I said in my first post about minimalism. I claimed that “For the record: I’ve never regretted getting rid of anything.” That’s no longer true.

I miss a lot of the useless stuff I left behind. 

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