Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Call of the Farm - Bilow

Title: The Call of the Farm: An Unexpected Year of Getting Dirty, Home Cooking, and Finding Myself

Author: Rochelle Bilow

Published: Paperback – September 23, 2014
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.
Book Source: Purchased e-book
Recommended if you like: Memoirs, stories about farms and environmental stuff, books about relationships

What Its About:

Despite Rochelle Bilow's extensive culinary training and dreams of becoming an accomplished food writer, success was slow in coming. While visions of writing for a well known foodie-magazine danced in her head, she was barely making rent.

After randomly accepting an assignment writing a short piece on a small, sustainable CSA farm in New York, a small flame was lit. Bilow began volunteering at the farm and slowly worked her way to full time employee. Baling hay, feeding animals, planting and harvesting vegetables, rendering lard, making butter, and taking part in the annual chicken slaying, she had seemingly found her place. And, it didn't hurt that the job came with a good looking farmer to teach her and initiate her into the lifestyle.

Bilow cooks her way through a full year on the farm, sharing recipes and her experiences with farm work, fellow workers and customers, and the potential love of her life.

The Bottom Line:

Bilow's memoir of a year spent on a CSA farm is entertaining, heartwarming, and introspective - though a tad-bit...whiny. Her descriptions of farm life and cooking for a group of hard working farmers are enjoyable. Her obvious passion for this simpler lifestyle and knowledge commendable.

But her repeated descriptions of her unsettled relationship were just frustrating [at least for me...though of course that could more a remnant of my own experiences]. While I offer her kudos on being so self-aware and acknowledging her, shall we call them, mistakes in love, her seeming desperation was annoying. I couldn't help but look incredulously at the book and say, "Honey, he's sleeping with someone else! And if he isn't, he wants too...that is why is unwilling to settle down. Tell him to screw himself and move on!" (again, maybe it was just me).

Overall, a good read well worth exploring during a hot summer day!

Monday, May 16, 2016

And then your heart breaks again...

July 2016 will be two years since my sweet little Sheeni girl left us.

Generally, I miss her terribly but I am living with it. I am able to pack the grief and loss away and continue on with my life, until hubby mentions her or she comes up in conversation. Then I tear up, cry a little, take a deep breath and try to move on.

But today I read that Atticus died. 

If you are not in-the-know, Tom Ryan wrote an lovely memoir, entitled Following Atticus, about his amazing time with a sweet little dog named Atticus. Atti was a gift that came to Tom out of the blue fourteen years ago and changed his life, inspired him to completely change his life and break mountain climbing records in New Hampshire with Atti by his side. Since reading the book, I have loosely followed Ryan's blog and Facebook page enjoying snippets of life with Atticus from afar and experiencing Ryan's kindness when he took in another sweet little guy named Will. Will who was elderly, sickly and expected to die within months, or weeks. Will who managed to live far beyond that, a wonderful, fulfilling life with an unending fountain of love and understanding from Tom Ryan and his sweet Atticus.

But as all pets do, Atti too grew older. Cancer took over. And, this past week, Tom had to make the impossible decision to let his sweet Atti go. And just like that I can barely breath. I can't stop the tears. That the loss of a dog who I never met personally could bring such sadness is weird. But the loss brings back my own pain and then my heart breaks once again...

That's it. Nothing profound or earth changing...

Now I've got to go hug my kitties and try to pull myself back together.

Mondays - 05/16/16

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been and plan on reading over the week. Recently taken over, this meme is managed by my Kathryn at the Book Date.

My week:
Busy! Lots of busy at work. A birthday. A graduation. I am ready for a vacation!

Current reads:
• The Turner House - Angela Flournoy
• Torment Saint, the life of Elliott Smith - William Todd Schultz
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (still rereading) - J.K. Rowling

Finished reads:
• The Call of the Farm - Rchelle Bilow
• The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio - Terry Ryan
• Men and Dogs - Katie Crouch

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Salon - 05/15/16

The Sunday Salon.comSUNDAY POST
The Sunday Salon is now a Facebook group.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by

My goodness time flies... So much has happened since we last talked! I'm just going to have to focus on the main and most recent items. 
Shortly after we last chatted, we had a major health scare in the family. My mother-in-law had a health crisis and for several days, we were just not sure. But at the last minute she pulled through and they were able to insert a pacemaker which has given her much-appreciated reprise. God willing it will be a many-year-ed gift!
In the midst of that craziness, I had promised to help out at the theater which I had not done for a couple of years I guess. It was really cool to be back and take part again. I put in just one night, a weekend evening. It was low stress and just plain fun. I'm glad I did it.
I recently celebrated my 46th birthday. Blah!

My little brother graduated from college this weekend. My LITTLE brother, from COLLEGE! Holy crap-oly! I'm so proud. Like many students, he struggled a bit and took some time off (as did I when I was in school), but he made it through with a hard-earned B.A. in history! Go Patrick!  We just got back from a celebration cookout and are exhausted from the exciting weekend!
Things are gearing up at work for our summer programs, which I manage. It's been crazy with the semester end, finals and Commencement. And now the summer programs are just weeks away. Wowzy! Also, the merger continues to move forward. Things have been going smoothly, so far. This month, Berklee's HR managers are sitting down with our staff (and our supervisors) and essentially telling us what to expect from our jobs and the merger changes, for the immediate future, given the June 1st official date of merger. My meeting is Tuesday morning. Wish me luck and send a few (much needed) prayers.
I was able to update a few things on the blog, but CLEARLY I have not given it nearly the attention I should. I'm working at it...

Truly I am.
Have a great week everyone!!