How the other part of that ‘we’ got here.

I come from a family of healers and farmers and homemakers.

These most probably aren’t the labels my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents would’ve used (I’m quite sure they aren’t)—but so much has been their paths, nonetheless, and such has been mine; they are the ones whose walking have made the most sense in my heart.

My twin (Jess, on right) and my older sister  (Elizabeth, wearing our grandma’s homemade dress)

and I (Lee) were raised in the suburbs of Detroit (Southfield first and later Bloomfield Hills) by my father, cardiologist, and mother, retired nurse, my Hungarian-immigrant-Holocaust surviving grandparents Helen and Sandor—who died several years ago at ages 102/ 98 from natural causes—and by 3 other women who shared the responsibilities of our rearing: Willeen (my 2ndmother), Felice (a sensitive non English speaking (“illegal?”) immigrant from Poland), and Kitty (a badass from Livonia whose tickling is seriously painful). Someday I’ll write a book about all of them—but I want to keep this in the realm of farm blog, if possible.

Of course my grandparents grew up on farms, like most of peoples’ grand/greatgrandparents, until war and political unrest or available work moved them to cities. I attribute their longevity primarily to their agrarian roots, to clean air, the food they grew, raised, harvest, stored, prepared, and ate as developing children and young adults—and to the close familial relationships their lives fostered—and their big hearts. They, like many of their generation, and, I’m guessing, like many American immigrants who have the space, had a quaint garden where my Grandfather grew roses for his/our kitchen table, where I pulled out my first magical carrot, cherry tomato, bean, and fed squirrels peanuts (yes, I’m aware this is weird), and played, of course. I could say more about these moments, their lives and their longevity—but so much of their lives weren’t spoken, but rather attempted to be forgotten or remembered or translated; the truth is, Helen and Sandor touched my heart/life in ways only they could: my sisters and I have no choice but to carry the fire. And as much as they would’ve rather me had continue graduate school and become a professor of English (as were/are the values of their/our time and American culture), I desire a simple, earthy life, longevity and health, and family time, and time to meditate and be grateful, and homegrown organic food, and music played for loved ones, and magical cooking, and making clothes, and woods and pastures and bees and goats and chickens and horses, and homemade everything; yeah, the fire has spread and it keeps spreading, this must be my destiny.

And my Mom’s folks? Well they’re from a small town farming community in Saugus, Massachusettes, so is my momma. My grandfather baked his own Swedish coffee cake/bread with cardamom and raisins or no raisins in honor of his roots, he got up early and sliced us oranges or grapefruit when we visited, or made banana pancakes, and he loved the crap out of gardening (he was particularly proud of his squashes, I think, and he sent us those sometimes). I think he enjoyed gardening more than anything, just like my dad’s dad. And my dad loves being outdoors more than anything except his family. So, you see, the inclination comes from both sides, all sides—they dosed my subconscious to value the homegrown-outdoor thing—and my grandma Helen and my mother dosed me to value the homemaking thing and child loving thing, and then, around my college years, I grew to kind of obsess about where my food comes from and made every (every!) meal organic, local when organic, and from scratch—and what you have now is someone who has tried on several coats, can’t take any of them off, and still kind of obsesses over these things and more.

I don't play pool, really, but don't let this photo deceive you: Both of these men gardened their bow-ties off!

I’ve struggled with health problems since puberty. Be it a twin thing, or not breastfeeding thing, or growing up on conventional meats, milk, vegetables, or  inheriting IBS, or like I presume, a pretty impressive combination of all the above—who knows, but it has been a hindrance to my every day life. So many of my discoveries about myself as an adult have come from the work of attempting to regain my health/ reach my full potential, and from attempting to deeply understand a vast array of social, literary, political theory. That said, much of my energy has been devoted to healing—another aspect I must have inherited. My ways are very different from my parents’—a natural phenomenon—and it hasn’t always been easy for them to accept—BUT they are now among my biggest supporters, and I’d probably be a much meaner and stingier person without their love and influence.

Add in my years at the Food Co-Op of Kzoo and year at Eaters’ Guild Farm of Bangor (read the last two paragraphs of Heather’s blog “How we got here” to know more about these places, the kids she done birthed that are a huge part of my life and my heart,  and to find out how we made the transition to here) and that leaves me pretty much sketched out (with glitter) for you all. I’d like to tell you more about the farm, but that’s another post.

I’ll leave you with this:

I want to grow food and herbs and roots and make food and think thoughts that help heal people and help the earth and the winged, burrowing, walking, running, swimming things all recover from the damage civilization has caused. And really enjoy life in the process.

Thanks for reading about me. Now send me a link to your blog so I can read about you.


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