June 10, 2020
I moved to Mid-Coast Maine in June 2004. This year, 2020, begins my 17th year in Maine, which brings me great joy as it has been glorious to be living in a rural area. My husband John and I had wanted to have an adventure, after having lived in the Washington, DC, area for almost forty years.
I study systems of cultural power and earned a PhD in Cultural Studies from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Prior to the PhD, I earned an MFA, Creative Writing, and an MA, literature. I taught at GMU as an adjunct while going to school myself.
I am passionate about finding, cooking, and eating locally sourced, nutrient-dense, organic foods; about creating and supporting local markets; about supporting local farmers; and about living in a way that supports community.
My two sons and their families left the Washington, DC, area in order to live simpler lives. They moved to Charleston, SC, which is another state that recognizes the worth of good food, local markets, and farmers.
My series of essays called Tipping Points is my effort to share my own journey of reading, research, and discovery. The first essay tells you why I started reading and writing these essays. I hope reading them will help you understand what I did not understand when I moved to Maine. I hope that you will see that while I often am writing about the environment and food and health issues, what lies underneath these subjects is a critique of corporatism and of how so many sectors of the economy that used to be for the public good have been colonized by industry for profit.
All of these essays but the ones on soy have been published in our local paper, The Herald Gazette, which has been amazingly supportive of my work. (This paper is now The Camden Herald and has a new owner.) One of the tenants of the kind of Cultural Studies I practice is that one must work locally to effect change. And, of course, there is the bumper sticker aphorism: Be the Change You Want. With that in mind, I became a member of the Camden Lions Club about three years ago—because its members do local work in our community.
I am also a passionate quilter and, since coming to Maine, I have more time to knit. I am trying on this blog to revive the practice of making things with one’s own hands. So, you will see, in addition to recipes and discussions of healthy foods and food practices, lots of socks and rugs and the like. Except for socks, which I adore making, or the rugs, which we have needed, I practice a Zen way of relating to work: You can have the work, but not the fruit of the work. Thus, I try to give away much of what I make. Or, recently, to save quilts for my seven grandchildren to have when they begin to set up their own homes.
I garden as much as I can in the very limited space I have as my home sits in the middle of a hill. I used to try to grow and put up as much food as I could in the summer. But John died on January 7, 2013, of a very aggressive form of prostate cancer, so there is just me to cook for and feed now. The veggie garden is now planted with herbs and fruit: strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. It gives me great pleasure to see family members grazing fruit plants that are loaded with ripe fruit.
I have belonged to a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) farm, Hope’s Edge, for at least 15 years, so I have plenty of fresh clean food in the summer. And, in March 2010, John and I got a chicken house and 6 chickens. I let them go after a winter with lots of snow that kept the chickens inside their small coop for way too many months. I miss them still.
My life in Maine has been rich and fulfilling—and a testimony to what is possible after one “retires.”