My mind is most active in the evenings when I sit in the darkness while my daughter falls asleep. Her mind is filled with questions as she tries to process the day’s events and preschool social interactions. Together we try to tease apart the grey areas and redraw her map of the world. Sometimes her questions sit with me or remind me of how young she is. Often I just listen as she talks to her dolls in her sweet sing-songy way. After years of bedtime battles I appreciate this time to sit beside her and and work things out.
As I sit in the darkness I silently process my own day: the usual office politics, family dynamics, current events, and to-do lists. I scheme and plan. Lately a few questions have been foremost on my mind. How do we best go through life in a way that sustains our relationship to the earth and our relationships with each other? How do we create the homes and communities we want?
I grew up during the homesteading movement of the seventies. I wanted to be Helen Nearing when I grew up. Today, I am pleased to find a new surge of contemporary homesteaders. What makes this homesteading movement different from the back to the land movement of the seventies? It seemed that the big push in the seventies was to break away from the status quo; to say no to the 9 to 5 world, to connect with the land, and provide for oneself. Today’s movement echos this too, but there is also a reaction to the way our food is being produced. For many people homemaking has become a radical act. People are stepping away from the large scale systems of food production, schooling, and shopping. There is a desire to make the scale of production smaller with the focus on the home as farm, job, and schoolhouse. Folks, whether rural and urban - or in between, are finding ways to connect with each other to share knowledge, skill sets, and stories. In an age of eroding infrastructure and financial uncertainty many of us are trying to find more self-reliant ways - Maybe raising a few chickens, growing tomatoes, making blackberry jam, or homemade garden mint toothpaste. Advice on these forms of self-reliance are shared quickly on the internet, but more importantly people are gathering together to share: Classes, preservation societies, and food swaps help spread knowledge and ideas. These gatherings redefine our notions of wealth and the commons.
Taproot Magazine is a celebration of this new kind of commons. Contributors delve deep to share from their own experiences, be it a new technique, a story, or a recipe. Taproot brings together like-minded people from different backgrounds to share ideas and notions of home, garden, farm, family, and community. I am so honored to contribute an article to the BREAD issue of Taproot. I chose to share recipes inspired by my favorite orchard. This issue is filled with recipes for bread (both gluten-full and gluten-free), plus tea infused lip balm, a pattern for a lovely cowl, and so many wonderful stories, poems, and photographs to sustain you through the coming winter. A huge thank you to Amanda Blake Soule, Meredith Winn, and the Taproot team. xoxo
I also want to take a moment to thank all of you! I started this space a year ago. Thank you for taking the time to read my words and try a recipe or two. Over this year I have met some incredible people. I have received so much kindness and encouragement. I appreciate every comment, question, note, and email. Wishing you all comfort and warmth. Thank you!