Thursday, January 24, 2008

winter blues

truly, winter is wearing me out.  this morning as we rushed to de-ice the car and get isaac ready for school in the gray semi-darkness, i said to geoff "i'm tired of winter."  after record freezing temperatures, a dead stove, a burst bathroom pipe that has shut down our shower completely, a frozen washer, and days of snow and ice, i'm done.

immediately as i began to whinge, it dawned on me that our winter blues, which are out of character for the two of us who welcome the dormant cold, are raging on because this is our second winter of the year.  we ended our time in australia in august of 2007 just as their winter was giving way to spring.  now a winter in australia is a quite a delight compared to the frozen terrain here, but it was dark, wet and dreary nonetheless.  the days were short and light fleeting.  now those short days are adding up.  travel around the world  has afforded us the strange opportunity to defy seasonal rhythms and we are experiencing the unnatural phenomenon of two winters in one year.

in addition, with a desire to conserve and a need to save money, our house runs about 58 - 60 degrees(f)  with parts of the house staying in the 40s (about 5 celsius) all the time - oh the love of an old home.  right now, as i stay warm in the coffeeshop, the snow and the wind blow outside at the tune of 7 for -14 c.  woe is me.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

being with farmers

i made it back late last night from the southern sustainable agriculture working group conference in louisville. as sherry mentioned, i attended with will, ryan, and david. it was a gathering of over 1000 farmers, would-be-farmers, urban community gardeners, and activists connected with agrarianism and agriculture in one way or another (education, - universities, etc. - training, USDA, etc.)

my lasting impression is just how good it is to be around hundreds of people who love the land and growing food. as a child i grew up in north-east victoria enjoying 'field days' (agriculture shows) where farmers would gather over several days to learn about the latest farming techniques and equipment and share their stories with one another. i witnessed farmers laughing together and sharing tales of farm life. often small, sustainable farming is a lonely journey and one could see the nourishment many of these farmers received by being together.

the highlights for me were hearing wendell berry speak, attending workshops on food justice issues (organizing ways to give the urban poor access to good food), permaculture, and the kentucky-grown meal at the end of the conference paired with an inspiring speech by joel salatin of polyface farms. david, ryan, will, and i were excited to learn more with a specific interest in applying what we learned to seedleaf and some community and school garden projects coming up this year.

Friday, January 18, 2008

while geoff's away

isaac awoke in my bed this morning and after a hefty cough, his first words were "i miss daddy."  geoff drove to louisville yesterday with will samson to attend a southern sustainable small farm conference (or something like that) for the weekend.  he was going to join ryan and david wagoner (csa, organic farmer and friend).  last night he heard wendell berry speak.

yesterday afternoon we raced around - stopped in quickly at sayre's preschool art exhibit (there was a lot less black in isaac's art - a good sign),  visited with our dear friends omid, mohammed and aseel (with two beautiful girls - sofi and samara), crossed the city to visit one of omid's friends from turkey who wanted to donate items to refugees, then onward with omid to welcome a young iraqi couple who arrived in lexington at 10 p.m. the previous night.  it was sweet to serve others along side this beloved woman who is like a mother/grandmother to us.  we finished our day around the table of the koch/flower household with a delicious plateful of shepherd's pie made by jodie with local lamb.  isaac and i were so grateful to end the day with a family meal.

this afternoon we will pack some things and spend the weekend with our family - aida, dino and tarik.  isaac and tarik are beside themselves to have a "sleep over" together and i cannot wait for the warmth of their house, the much-loved bosnian cuisine and hospitality, and some cable t.v. with friends.

Monday, January 14, 2008

notes on incarnation

game time 2

well, it has taken me almost ten years of living here in Kentucky to finally worship at the local temple.  i am speaking of university of kentucky (UK) college basketball at rupp arena.  i did see U2 at rupp so the stadium has been blessed by the high priests of entertainment.  my brother, brad, scored us 2 free tickets for this weekends game and what a game it was.  UK (known as the wildcats) is one of the most storied college basketball programs in the country and is loved and loathed across the nation (perhaps in the same spirit as my dear collingwood magpies).  this year they are just worse than miserable and the whole state of kentucky is bewildered, frustrated, and angry.  they are not used to losing.  anyway, isaac and i walked down to the stadium (nice to live downtown) and joined the crowds to see them play Vanderbilt (who were unbeaten)  -  and our beloved wildcats managed to win!  isaac and i believe it had everything to do with our screaming and cheering...and also spelling out "C-A-T-S...CATS! CATS! CATS!" every two minutes.

so i am making the missionary journey of incarnation, learning to love the local team and the local sport.  it aint no Magpies at the G but is what they love here (and subsequently talk about in the pubs and bars).  while i make the transition, isaac gets the full, from-scratch treatment.  i am glad to raise him as a wildcats fan and a real kentuckian.  one other hurdle we had to overcome was a young star center playing for the opposition was an aussie over here on scholarship.  we didn't cheer for him once.  now that is real incarnation.

here is isaac taking in the action:

game time

Thursday, January 10, 2008

our street

it snowed in the week following christmas and i snapped this picture from our front door.

our street

inbox of hope

this week our inbox has been full and busy but i recognized how much of it was overflowing with good stuff.  we've had great news from many directions about the community garden i've been working on - a grant for $7,000 and additional partnerships in the city - it is a great work in progress.  also, there's been news of work my father and his church in north georgia have been doing to gather furniture and material support for refugees that is much-needed here in lexington.  through email i read of creation care meetings and green loans.  i closed down the computer one morning at pat's coffee shop and i felt the lightness of hope from these good things.  i made a point of walking home via the future site of the 3rd st community garden and i marveled at what god is accomplishing in our midst.  rarely do i find such joy from email.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

day one alone

yesterday was lovely.  the first day of the new year and all was cold and quiet.  in continued gratitude for the time together (and knowing isaac was having a ball with his birmingham family) we indulged in complete relaxation. 

first, we slept until 8 am.  slow to get up, we had cups of tea in bed with the sunday times.  then we cooked and baked together: wheat bread, rye bread, chocolate cake (very rich and dense), veggie soup and potato curry.  we didn't eat  until about 11 am and we enjoyed b'fast out of a french cookbook - dippy egg and toast sticks spread with artichokes and goat cheese puree - while watching a bit of little britain. 

after cooking while watching an intense australian film in the kitchen, we went for a walk through the city as the snow fell and watched a late afternoon matinee of sweeney todd (terribly gory but very clever) at the downtown kentucky theatre.

our walk home was brisk and slippery and the house was sadly dark and quiet.  we took down the christmas tree decorations while listening to some ricky gervais stand-up comedy.  finally, we cozied up on the couch and watch a sweet british film that jodie recommended - driving lessons - while i knitted geoff's cardigan (one more arm to go).  finally, we finished the night with an episode of doctor who (series three, our christmas gift to each other).