“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.“
-John Ed Pearce
I grew up in a small town in southeast Iowa where many of my fondest (and also most dreadful) childhood memories took place on my family’s large organic garden. Just like any kid, I had chores; weeding was the worst. The days I spent on weeding duty seemed to never end. On the other hand, I remember feeling lucky when I was able to pick peas, because picking peas meant one in the bucket and one in my tummy!
Growing up in the country was great, but when I left home for college, I had the opportunity to live ‘in town’ for the first time in my life. I loved it and was convinced that I would never want to move back to the country. Clearly, the allure of convenience had grabbed a hold of me.
College came and went, and before I knew it, I had packed up my bags and relocated to the beautiful city of Austin, Texas. I currently reside here in Austin with my husband, Matt and our two handsome dog-children, Dewey and Samson (you’ll hear more about ‘my boys’ in many posts to come and will hopefully learn to love them as much as I do). We live in a small house with a backyard that has just enough room for a small garden.
Someday I hope to take our little backyard garden across town and open an organic farm with a cozy restaurant that primarily serves food grown on our own land. As much as I would love to credit this dream to my childhood spent in the garden, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also inspired by both my love of food and my obsession with the picturesque (and fictional) town of Stars Hollow, featured on the television show, Gilmore Girls.
I welcome you to join me, as I plant and harvest, can and preserve, cook and bake, and most importantly – love life and learn a few things along the way!
Meet the Other Chicks
Hi! I’m Kate, and lucky enough for me, I’m also Shanti’s sister-in-law. Unlike Shanti who was raised in the country, I grew up in the midst of urban sprawl. My youth spent in suburbia started in the outskirts of Denver, moved along to the outskirts of Fort Worth and finished in the outskirts of Indianapolis.
My childhood dream was to be a singing hair dresser; a skilled profession that I think we’ll all agree is underutilized. When Barbie’s layered bob didn’t work out quite as I had planned, however, I quickly switched gears. Once third grade came along and I was taught the beautiful art of cursive, all I wanted to do was write. I filled journal after journal with descriptions of my day. “Today I had toast. It was delicious.” By the time High School came around, I had my heart set on studying journalism. I spent most of my free time in school working on our school’s magazine – writing, interviewing, and snapping photos. A journalism major seemed like the obvious choice when I left for college, but like many college students, I changed my mind – a lot. While I didn’t end up as a singing hair dresser or a journalist, I did get a quite well rounded education and am fortunate to know a little bit about many things. When I graduated from college in Indiana, it took me no time at all to hop in my car and head to the easygoing city of Austin, Texas. I currently reside here with my own adorable dog-child, Brady.
While I am not particularly skilled in the art of gardening like Shanti, I did learn some tricks from my mom growing up. As a result, I do my best to keep my small apartment patio full of plants, flowers, and herbs. I much prefer to work on craft projects in my spare time and especially love to find cost effective and creative ways to decorate (yes, Interior Design was another almost-major).
I am thrilled to be a part of Free Range Chick and am eager to start writing again!
Everyone needs a best friend to go through the highs and lows of life with, and Shanti just so happens to be mine. I’m Joni by the way, and as the oldest of four girls, I grew up with an intense amount of estrogen pumping through my house. Luckily for my dad, his garage was actually bigger than the house – so don’t go feeling sorry for him. His man cave was more than adequate!
Because I grew up in Iowa and was raised in a Mennonite family (not Amish!), I spent the first 18 years of my life “living simply.” We canned and froze as much as we could grow in our garden, and packaged or powdered mixes had no place in my home. I still remember the day I came home from college and discovered a brownie mix in my mother’s cupboard. I was shocked, as even brownies were always made from scratch growing up. She, like I, had clearly discovered the advantages of modern convenience Hello, Taco Bell at 2AM. Recently, however, I have found myself gravitating back into the simple living lifestyle that I grew up with.
Not only do I find local and homegrown produce more flavorful and delicious, but I also want to pass some of these family traditions down to my children and their future families. While my only child, Jemma, happens to still be in diapers and her future seems rather distant, I feel that it is important to begin the process of tempting her pallet and instilling healthy eating habits right away. I’m sure I will run into my fair share of obstacles (crying baby being #1), but I look forward to the day that Jemma grows to love fresh food as much as her mommy.
I am so excited to reembark on the idea of simple living and am thrilled that you are all here to join in on the fun.