Bonafide Farm

Blessed event

March 5th, 2011 § 0

Satellite internet, consider yourself dumped.

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I am thrilled to announce that, after at least a five-year battle and many, many petitions signed by concerned homeowners, my little section of rural Virginia has joined at least the late 20th century and finally gained high-speed internet access. DSL, baby. It’s a game-changer.

When I bought this property, I had serious concerns about its lack of a viable high-speed internet connection. But I went ahead anyway, thinking I could live “the simple life” without internet and do more productive things in my spare time like churn butter from my own cow’s milk and sew my own clothes. I hadn’t lived this good old way five days before I had a nice young man sinking the post of a satellite internet dish in my back yard.

And the satellite internet was fine. Sure, each month it cost me five times what I will now be paying for DSL. And, yes, it took forever to do simple things like spend money on the Web. Paying bills online became a hit or miss affair as crucial screens timed out before I could even see them. I had to pick and choose my favorite blogs because I didn’t have enough hours in the day to download and read each post. And when snow or monster thunderstorms blocked the skies, I lost all connection to a radar map.

Case in point: I woke up one morning wanting to purchase an online yoga class to kick off a nice healthy weekend. Six hours later the class was still downloading and I was keeping company with my second beer on the couch. So much for New Year’s resolutions. Satellite internet, you brought my best intentions down.

And yet I suppose there was a flip side too. That it took forever to do anything online meant that I often just gave up, shut off my computer, and walked away to engage in more wholesome activities. Such as watching bread rise. Bread I made from wild yeast captured and nurtured in a slurry of flour made from wheat I planted, tended and harvested by hand in all the spare time I had while not being connected to the internet.

Oh well. It’s back to buying my bread and butter at the store, and now that I can rock through an entire department store’s online catalog in just a few minutes, I’ll be spending my time at nordstrom.com instead of sewing my own gingham jumpers.

Local businesses, lovely surprises

December 7th, 2010 § 0

I can’t say enough good things about Charlottesville-based Relay Foods. I think they have such a good thing going on that I’d go work for them if they’d have me, and I am encouraging everyone I know to try their service so they stay in business!

Basically I order my groceries online, pay with a credit card, and then once a week I drive to a parking lot a minute away from where I work to pick up my order, all packaged up in a nice big tub. Behind the scenes the little Relay elves travel around to all sorts of local Charlottesville business to fill my order, saving me from driving all over town, and many of their options are locally grown and organic. Plus, their web interface is great, their graphic design makes me smile…as do the nice people who load up my groceries. I haven’t found their prices to be prohibitively expensive, but I am happy to occasionally pay¬† a bit more to avoid the hassle and time of going to the stores myself. As someone who loves to cook but hates the grocery store, Relay Foods is my glimpse of heaven.

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All this is backstory to the real story, which is the joy I felt on Thanksgiving when I opened up the carton of these eggs that were part of my Relay order. The eggs came from Hardy Farms in nearby Keswick, Virginia, and the sheer beauty of them was my nicest holiday surprise. And they were nice and fresh, with big orange yolks that sat high above the white. I’ve enjoyed them in pumpkin pies, cookies, and last weekend, in an out-of-this world spaghetti carbonara, which also included some pretty fantastic bacon from Charlottesville’s Organic Butcher. It was my first time making this dish, but it was so good that I am trying to justify cooking a meal whose main ingredients are pasta, egg yolks, heavy cream, cheese and bacon twice in one week! Thus far my best argument is that it’s ridiculously cold and windy outside now (in fact only a few degrees warmer than Anchorage, Alaska), and I need the fat to survive the winter!

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