Chelsea Green Publishing

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Sustainably Sane: Why I Fled the City to Find the Good Life

About two months ago, I decided it was time to change my life. During the most historic presidential inauguration and election of my lifetime, in the throes of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, at the emotional peak (or precipice) of my mid-twenties, from the mean streets of New York City-a Greenwich Village apartment, a big job in publishing, and mounting debt-I left my job, packed up my life into a friend’s pickup truck, and moved to the middle of rural Vermont. I had a place to live, in a wood heated house that cost about one fifteenth of my rent in the city. But I had no job waiting for me. I didn’t have a car, or a clue what I would do when I got there. Thank god. Why did I do this? While living in the city, I didn’t wake up feeling good about my life. I thought only in terms of the future-getting somewhere “important”. But I didn’t believe in my job. I felt like a machine. I felt disconnected from my body, alienated from my community (which felt illusory and fractured to begin with), and to be frank, not sure what it was that made me feel human. I bought a lot of stuff I didn’t need because I thought it would make me feel better, like a $45 plant for my windowsill. I ate a lot of processed foods, and didn’t have time to cook. But my biggest impetus to get the hell out of there was that I lay up nights fantasizing about one day living a full life in a beautiful place, living within my means, where I might wake up excited about the day. I’d worked one summer on a farm during college, and loved it. And even though I was working with Pulitzer Prize winning authors, and handling book contracts with world leaders, I thought about farming all the time. Eventually, I decided I wasn’t going to spend any more time killing myself for any job, any thing, any social ‘norm’ I couldn’t take with me when I die. This meant redefining simple things such as: production, consumption, and connection. Basics. So I left the job. Subletted my apartment. Freaked my mother out. Here’s what I plan to change. I’m moving to a cabin up a dirt road (now snowy), on the outskirts of a town with less than 1,000 people. I’m going to learn how to grow my own food. I’m going to raise my own meat. I’m going to press my own cider, and make my own beer. I’m going to spend as little money as possible on things I don’t need. I’m going to sew instead of buy new. I’m going to cut my own hair. I’m going to learn how to drive a tractor. I’m going to bake my own bread. I’m going to work in a job that promotes ideas I believe in. And other stuff I can’t plan for. Bring it. I’ll keep you posted.

Green Fundamentalists: I’m Talking to YOU

Here’s what really amazes me. The self satisfied complacency of those who have deemed themselves politically sound, and businessally ethical, and morally resoundingly liberally spot on. Now, I’m not going to sit here and say I’m queen of the internet world when it comes to morality. I do believe using pesticides is gross, and I […] Read More..

The Raven: Mythical Creature, or Chicken Killer?

Q: Is farming ever cut and dry? A: Only when you’re haying. Apart from this dumb joke I made up, farming is not quite as simple as it sounds. I thought, for example, that raising my own meat would be easy. You know: just buy the little chicks, make sure they don’t die, feed them […] Read More..

I Don’t Want To Burn My Bra, But AAARGH!

This weekend I sat on the sidelines of the men’s soccer game. It was a big deal, and many people were there, young and old–despite the fact that it’s a pick-up league in a small town. I went sheepishly, in my dorky tie-dyed t-shirt and muck boots, to cheer my boyfriend on. I sat there, […] Read More..

Farm Update: Chicks, Piglets, Morels, and More…

It’s been nearly five months since I moved to rural Vermont from New York City–and my life has changed exponentially. Radically. Ridiculously. Healthily. Happily…so far. And I’m not trying to jinx anything. But I just celebrated my 24th birthday and I can’t believe the gift I got, the very thing I wanted, and the very […] Read More..

Biking, Lobstering and Urban Gardening: in Boston!

It was with a heavy heart I left the farm for my birthday weekend, and I looked longingly through my rearview mirror as I left for work on Friday. How could I miss the few precious days of Vermont spring? My weekend. MY WEEKEND! I wanted to sit on the porch and read. I wanted […] Read More..