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charred-chard

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Greetings everyone!
I am so happy to be here. I am struggling to compose a non-fiction narrative, in the form of memoir, although I have only made rough stabs in the dark at compiling any sort of document, I am attempting to write 500 words Mon-Fri, which is a moderate output for me. I have spent a lifetime journaling, and very much value that practice, but it doesn't lead to writing structured pieces for me. It's a place where I can make a mess and not condemn myself for it, unlike when I attempt to write something more structured and get quite overwrought. My reading habits vary: I very much love Annie Dillard, Verlyn Klinkenborg, Kristin Kimball, and Gretel Ehrlich in terms of non-fiction narrative, and I also read fiction, with a special love for speculative fiction. I also love creative and personal essays, though I am not as well versed in those. Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur is a novel I loved last year. I struggle with the ability to read novels or other books in paper form at times, though it's not a constant, it comes in spells. I live in Upstate NY in a forest clearing, off-grid (I am not a prepper), with two tuxedo cats, Gizzard and Spleen, and five Lavender Orpington chickens. My partner and I have a garden, which is a source of pleasure and food. I find weeding to be meditative and cathartic, both. Also, cooking. I always seem to slaughter fruits and vegetables rather than mildly dice or mince things. I am very excited to be here and hope to learn much from everyone, both about craft and form, and also about practice and discipline.
 

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Welcome, charred-chard! OMG, I totally love the names of your cats. And your choice in chook breeds (we too have Orps -- black, blue and splash).

Gardeners are always, always welcome to AW (see here!), and there are lots of folks who can help you with memoirs and writing in general.

You say you're struggling, but if you've got such a structured output, it sounds like you're doing really well! And it's perfectly fine for a first draft to be a mess. That's what revisions are for. But you can't revise a blank page, so as long as you're putting words onto the page I reckon you ought to congratulate and reward yourself.
 
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charred-chard

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Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement, Birdie! We have three hugelkulture beds in addition to our primary garden bed, which we are hoping to expand significantly in the years to come!
 

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Thank you kindly, burnt-silverbeet ;) because now I've learnt a new word! Hugelkulture! It's not something we could realistically employ, since we've got a small piece of land surrounded by a treeless dairy desert for miles in every direction, but it's making for fascinating reading. We're just danged lucky we have good, free draining soil, so our little potager is amazingly productive.
 

charred-chard

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Oh, good soil with good drainage is such a treasure! I am so gladdened to hear that your potager is productive! I planted borage this year for the first time in the garden to encourage pollinators. It's edible, a great pollinator plant, can be made into a nourishing tea, and also can be be used for chop-and-drop in the fall, as it's a nitrogen fixer, although we don't really need more nitrogen, hm...I am so pleased that you're reading about hugelkulture! We are trying to use more permaculture techniques on our homestead, we're thinking of rain-water cachement and constructing a shelter where we can harbor goats! Two dairy goats for milk and cheese (mmmm, chevre...) and one wether for fiber. Do you have any livestock other than chickens? We had one Lavender Orpington/Black Copper Maran mix, but she got predated, sadly, she was so lovely to see!
 
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Oh, good soil with good drainage is such a treasure! I am so gladdened to hear that your potager is productive! I planted borage this year for the first time in the garden to encourage pollinators. It's edible, a great pollinator plant, can be made into a nourishing tea, and also can be be used for chop-and-drop in the fall, as it's a nitrogen fixer, although we don't really need more nitrogen, hm...I am so pleased that you're reading about hugelkulture! We are trying to use more permaculture techniques on our homestead, we're thinking of rain-water cachement and constructing a shelter where we can harbor goats! Two dairy goats for milk and cheese (mmmm, chevre...) and one wether for fiber. Do you have any livestock other than chickens? We had one Lavender Orpington/Black Copper Maran mix, but she got predated, sadly, she was so lovely to see!
We keep bees, so yep we grow borage and nasturtium and mustard and heaps of other plants for the bees, with a particular focus on edible flowers. We generally have cattle but since we are having the place re-fenced we had to put the steer-for-beef but also the retired geriatric house cow into the freezer a few months ago.

Goats aren't my thang; I refuse to chain up a goat, and we sure as heck don't have fencing that could contain them. They climb trees, hop fences, eat laundry off the line.... too much work for me. And we don't have enough land for more than one large species. We kind of had to choose between cow, goat, sheep and pig when we bought the place, and cow won.

This month is the first time in twenty years we haven't had a cow on the place, and it's freaking us out -- we have no one to feed the leftover broccoli and cauliflower and silverbeet plants to! They've been our natural composters for so long.
 
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I spent a few weeks researching hugelkulture back in 2014 because it really did sound like the perfect solution to all my problems - but it turned out I just needed a divorce.
It'd be a great place to hide the body, though. Blood and bone fertiliser for the win!
 
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Izz

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Welcome, welcome, welcome! :D

You'll love it here, I'm sure. AW is, in my opinion, the internet's premier writing place, with all the info you'll ever need on all things writing and publishing, and home to an amazing community, to boot.

Please carefully read the Newbies Guide you were linked to when you registered, as well as the stickied/pinned threads at the top of each forum page. These will help you quickly understand not only the forum rules, but also the culture and etiquette of the various spaces within, and will also help make the forums less overwhelming.

There's a lot to discover, so please take your time exploring, lurk if you like, join in conversations you find fun or interesting if you like, make friends, enjoy yourself!

And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

See you around the boards :)
Izz
 

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Welcome to AW


Take some time and read the Newbie Guide and the Stickies found
at the top of Forum pages. They are your best guide to learning about
Absolute Write.

Stop by the Weekend Progress Report each week to brag about your weekly writing accomplishments.
Awesome smilies and awards are given out.

Please read the FAQ about posting photos.


In fact we have lots of brilliant FAQs check them out.


Members who want to start a thread in Share Your Work to have work critiqued need
50 posts. Don’t make a mad dash to reach your 50 posts. That is frowned upon and can lead to your posts being deleted.
Take some time to greet fellow newbies, critique other members’ works, or join a discussion.
 

charred-chard

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Welcome charred-chard. if you live off grid, does that mean you don’t have regular access to the internet?
I do live off-grid, but tend to have consistent access to the internet, barring rain. We have solar panels for energy accumulation and an off-grid generator for when the power goes out, but we turn our power off every night at bedtime, which offers welcome respite. Also, since we live in a very rural area, we are relegated to satellite internet and this is quite shabby in terms of performance, but it's our only option.
 

charred-chard

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We keep bees, so yep we grow borage and nasturtium and mustard and heaps of other plants for the bees, with a particular focus on edible flowers. We generally have cattle but since we are having the place re-fenced we had to put the steer-for-beef but also the retired geriatric house cow into the freezer a few months ago.

Goats aren't my thang; I refuse to chain up a goat, and we sure as heck don't have fencing that could contain them. They climb trees, hop fences, eat laundry off the line.... too much work for me. And we don't have enough land for more than one large species. We kind of had to choose between cow, goat, sheep and pig when we bought the place, and cow won.

This month is the first time in twenty years we haven't had a cow on the place, and it's freaking us out -- we have no one to feed the leftover broccoli and cauliflower and silverbeet plants to! They've been our natural composters for so long.
Ah, a dairy cow, the true foundation of a functional homestead! I don't know if you've read 'The Dirty Life' by Kristin Kimball, but she lives and is co-creator of Essex Farm, which introduced the first whole-diet CSA in the US, and she waxes poetic about dairy cows in a most appreciative manner!