Food and Its Story

A swift, refreshing breeze drifts up and over the ridgeline and brings a euphoria of relief to my sunned face.  My fingers run through my hair, stiff from the accumulation of dried sweat, gained from a morning of rewarding labor.  The last of this day’s lunch spread has joined the table.  Food tells a lot about a person, and in this case, it can bring illumination to a connection of intentional living arrangements.

Naturally, my eyes fixate first on the vibrant array of food placed so seductively before me.   In one bowl, sliced potatoes, zucchini, and squash are coated in an aromatic blend of cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper.  In its neighboring dish, peaches, blueberries, pears, and apples coalesce to form a gorgeous fruit salad.

The first story within the food is the food itself.  The BRS homestead has created a system which is not reliant on the mainstream global food market, which most people shop within.  Food is grown on the property or obtained from the local farmers food auction, for a substantially smaller price than normal grocery stores.  In addition, the homestead has canned, frozen, and stored a supply of food which is readily available for a meal and can be relied upon when seasonal food is not abundant, such as in colder months.

Also within the food, is the water used to cook with and to drink for the meal.  The homestead has designed a rainwater collection system to provide for all of its water needs.  The rainwater is collected from the roof, stored in a large cistern, and then purified for daily use.

Energy is needed to make a meal as well.  The homestead’s energy is supplied by a moderately sized solar array.  These elements of BRS eliminate the need to be reliant on large-scale systems, which we have no control over.  It reduces the capacity for a toxic, soul-sucking emotion to emanate, fear.  A word that seems to gain momentum, fueled by the media, and radiated into all of our souls.

A country that idealizes freedom and independence is caught in a wave of insecurity.  This insecurity can lead to hateful fear upon others; blaming things such as immigration for the feelings radiating within.  Immigrants, the people that mostly make up the migrant farm workers in this country, supporting the food system most people are ever reliant upon, end up receiving the blame.

This fear does not need to be exhausted endlessly down these channels which cannot be controlled.  Things that we do have power over can boost our confidence and self-reliance.  Growing a garden, creating a simple water harvesting system, sharing meaningful stories, eating a local meal, enjoying the company of others, or taking any other little step to grow some peace of mind for ourselves allowing us step away from the mass hysteria and put together our attainable pieces of happiness.

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Progressing to Purpose

Life needs to have a little oomph in it. Life filled with meaning and love and peace of mind. My life this past week seems to encapsulate a life pretty close to these broad, catchall words. Blue Rock Station has created such a beautiful and harmonious lifestyle 20180626_1308413that just leaves me pretty damn happy at the end of the day. Starting with how time is used in a productive, intentional way around here. I’ve never had a dull moment; the quieter moments are sometimes even more radiant than the adrenaline kicks.   Picking for the perfect elderflower blossoms, I get lost in the rhythmic cycle, only returning to reality when the occasional goat jumps and rattles the fence (they must conduct a thorough investigation).  My hands seem to be fulfilling a purpose, stimulating the side of me that gets neglected much too often. Mud oozes through my fingers as I’m mixing and maneuvering cob and recycled materials for the barn wall. The blood rushes to my head as I am hanging vertically upside-down in a wall cavity, getting a crash course in plumbing. Pounding tires, planting gardens, repairing fences, cutting slate, sawing wood, and uh chasing a peacock are just a few of my most recent endeavors. Even something that might be labeled a chore flows naturally and brings rewards. Scrubbing the vibrantly red algae from a water trough, the gradual restoration of the silver walls brings forth a meditative pleasure to an afternoon task. This rewarding lifestyle is surrounded by a community of inspired and intentional people. Sharing meals, exchanging stories, collaborating on projects, the people at Blue Rock Station radiate 20180621_1209362authenticity, which is lacking in a great portion of society. It’s a way of living that creates a sense of identity and self-worth. Material goods and the lifestyles being encouraged by our modern society do not give us these values. People are becoming less happy and lost
in the muck of advertising and meaning-deprived lives. The signs are showing us that progress maybe isn’t quite what we made it out to be. The push for ever-expanding growth has created a gaping hole in society and in us. Progress needs to be reframed with the intent of creating a more fulfilling, intentional, healthy, and localized society. A society more concerned with fostering 20180627_192327harmonious connections between all of nature’s intricacies, helping our lives to strive towards being wholesome.   As I’m sitting on my porch gazing out into the forest, my little whip-poor-will buddy is chirping away, the hot tea is settling into my belly, and the day is sinking into my bones, I think I’ve found what real progress can be. Progress with the power to actually leave someone happy at the end of the day.

Crack Technology

Something new has invaded Blue Rock Station.

For years we have welcomed interns into our home/business/life.  The experience has been wonderful for us and we hope a great learning experience for the interns.  We work hard during the day, and typically the evenings are filled with conversation, music and staring out over the hills and letting the mind rest.  Often the interns sit outside and write letters to friends and relatives.  Actual pen and paper letters.

But in the past few years this idyllic scene has changed a bit.  The interns have brought with them a mental parasite;  a rectangle that consumes their attention, their conversation, their ability to think clearly.  The rectangle has gobbled up resources, time and joy.

As I write this, I am listening to NPR.  They are telling a story of how high school kids have been asked to give up their phones for a day.  Twenty-four entire hours without the rectangle.  You would have thought their entire family had been killed in a plane crash or they were being asked to walk a dozen miles barefoot across broken glass.

We have tried to limit interns access to the phone here at Blue Rock Station.  But like addicts everywhere, they need their fix and when unwatched, are shooting up with Facebook and Instagram.  We turn off the broadband receiver – and suddenly there are errands that must be run at places with free wi-fi.

I am not sure what solution lies undiscovered.  I just know this addiction to crack technology is damaging and widespread.  I see students on college campuses walking in groups – but they are not together.  They are each focused on their rectangle as they walk in front of cars – oblivious the the world around them and their “friends” in the “real” world.

Why wait for the zombie apocalypse?  It is already here.

Posting is Easy

Some great photos of our summer tomato adventures and more

Sunbelly Farm

It’s been waaaaay tooooo long since we’ve posted something that it’s become a mind monster. What’s that? I just made it up. I think it means that the thought of updating the website gets more and more intimidating and overwhelming the longer I wait to do it. I shall slay that mind monster with an easy post about tomatoes. Many of our days at Blue Rock Station have involved picking, washing, processing, cooking, and canning tomatoes. Here is the proof.

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IMG_0431.JPG We made sauce, salsa, tomato jam, and ketchup. The tomato jam and ketchup are life-changing. We were told it was so, we made them and tried them, and IT IS SO. If ever you find yourself with a lot of tomatoes, one day of freedom, and the desire to change for the better, make this recipe.

Blue cheese and tomato jam on a local, grass-fed, organic beef burger (thanks…

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