The adventures of a Westcoast boy and a Midwestern Jewish girl as they discover the truth beneath the myths of the South, embrace rural life by starting a sustainable farm, and learn how to teach sociology.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I'm supposed to be writing the conclusion to a paper, but I'm procrastinating. ssh, don't tell my writing group or co-author.

I thought a good use of my procrastination would be to write down some of the things about Evelyn that make us laugh and love her more each day. Oh, dear, I do sound like one of "those" moms. I apologize, but man this kid is cute.

1. We've completely forgotten what her first word was. Oops.
2. She has so many more words each day it is mind blowing. Last night she said "Eat orange. Right now!" Pretty sure we can thank the Landry's for that "right now" part. She loves to be "chased," but she doesn't quiet get how it is supposed to work. At best she will run from you shouting "I got me! I got me!" and worst she will just sit there and laugh while you try to get her to run away.
3. She loves to eat seeds--any kind of seed. Okra, cucumber, coriander, etc.
4. She is beautiful. Her hair lands in soft waves framing her perfectly porcelain skin and huge, gorgeous, blue eyes.
5. She loves the number 8. Loves it.

And now for something completely different...

...after several years of living (and sometimes loving) the rural life in Mississippi we've decided it's time for a new adventure. We are moving this show north. Really far north. Canada north.

Sarah has accepted a position in the sociology department at McGill University. Yes, that is a French speaking city. No, we do not speak French. Yes, we may be a little crazy.

Phil is, once again, willing to sacrifice his career for hers and is planning on getting connected to the substantial urban agriculture and CSA community in Montreal.

This probably doesn't surprise many of you--really, we are far more Canadian than we are Mississippian. And we are sure there are plenty of people in Mississippi who think Canada is exactly where an atheist, Jewish, socialist family should go. There are lots of people down here we will miss, but we are also very excited for the next phase.

So, if you know of anyone looking for a gorgeous house and sustainable farm on 5.6 acres send them our way!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Parks, Parents, and Pumpkins

It's been a busy fall down here in Mississippi--new daycare, visits to the park, visits from grandparents, and Halloween.
Our new day care situation is fabulous. My friend Alisha is watching her in her home. I haven't slept this well at night and Evelyn hasn't napped this well since...well...ever. And Phil is happy that he can have complete control over the food Evelyn gets--no more 'Nilla Wafers!

Here's the park:
At the park with Grammy and Grandpa.

For Halloween I decided, at the 11th hour, that Evelyn needed to be a turtle. Since buying a new costume that probably has stain guard and/or fire retardants on it (both of which are toxic) doesn't really fit in with our attempts at living a sustainable life, that meant I needed to make a costume. Sure, I spent more time cutting, pinning, and sewing than Evelyn did wearing it, but I think it's not too bad for a pie tin, fabric from the thrift store, and an old sheet. Here's my inspiration:

Here's the final product:

Here she is in action:

And here is Evelyn at her 11month photo-shoot:
Evelyn and her orangutan--11 months

The Provence Room was booked for almost all of October. In fact, it got so much use that we had to close it down. Sort of. Really we just rearranged--the Provence Room is now Evelyn's room. We still have a guest room, but now it's green...and nameless.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

K.I.S.S: Pictures

As I tell my students, Keep It Simple Stupid (okay, I haven't really said that to them, but I've conveyed the idea). Here are lots of photos of the most adorable little girl on the planet.

These photo shoots are getting progressively more challenging.
Evvy and her orangutan-8 months
Evvy and her orangutan--9 months

Evvy and her orangutan--10 months

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beat the Heat 2011

As many of you know, we escaped the sweltering Mississippi heat for 2 weeks and headed north on a road trip. We packed the cooler with cucumbers, set the GPS to Burlington, VT avoiding highways, and hit the road. Along the way we saw good friends and family--although not everyone we would have liked to have seen; fell in love with the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley, southern Pennsylvania, the Hudson River Valley, and pretty much every small town we drove through; marveled at how different the driving is when the roads aren't full of pick up trucks; were reminded that cloth diapers really are better than disposable; and were shamed into starting a new workout regime as soon as we got home (we may be fit for Mississippians, but that isn't saying much!).

Here are some pictures of our journey. As usual, I've decided that it is better to post too many of them now rather than wait 6 months till I've found the time to winnow it down to a respectable number.
Beat the Heat 2011

Let us know if we should try to include you in Beat the Heat 2012.

In other news, the farm is doing well, although we have hit a bit of a slow period. The heat has done a number on a lot of plants and we now have worms in the cucumbers. Such is the life of farm with no chemicals. Phil has started seeds for the fall planting and we're looking forward to our first ever CSA.

I'm back teaching again and am trying to stay optimistic about my students. We'll see how long that lasts.

Evelyn has started day care and we realized that quality day care is hard to find.

Oh, and a white teenager in Jackson, MS reportedly decided that a fun thing to do would be to hunt down and kill a black man. Here's the story.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Going Rogue

Evelyn, taking the stuffed animal world by storm:

And, with her orangutan and some other things at 7 months. Sorry the picture quality isn't that great--but there some cute faces in there.
Evvy at 7 months

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Work-Family Balance

It turns out that learning how to teach sociology, doing enough research to get tenure, building a house, and starting a sustainable farm was a lot to do and left us with little time to reflect on life in the south and come up with interesting blog posts. Adding a baby and continuing the sustainable farm have pushed us over the edge. Balancing work and family is about all we can manage--something has to give and it looks like it is this blog. Sorry, but we've just been too busy living life to write about it. Actually, this should not really come as a surprise to those of you who know us: We are not the people videotaping our vacations (or our daughter). We are the people who forget to take the camera with us or are too busy to bother taking it out of the bag.

All this means that this blog has probably reached the end of its life. Or rather, it has reached the end of its life for people who want to read about something other than Evelyn. We'll continue to post photos and will probably make the odd, sociologically insightful blog post, but basically, if you want to know what it's like down here you should come and visit.

In parting, or semi-parting, we leave you with a reflection from the Cotton District Arts Festival. It is best described in the following analogy: the Cotton District Arts Festival is to Art Fair in Ann Arbor as Pumpkinpalooza (the Halloween celebration in Starkville) is to Halloween on Franklin Street, Chapel Hill. What does that mean? the Starkville events take place in one or two blocks and have maybe a handful of cool things. The events in Ann Arbor and Chapel Hill take over the town and are awesome. Here is an example of something not cool from the Arts Festival:
The sign for this booth said: Snipper Suits. Because what else would you get at an Arts Festival?

So, here are two months worth of photos of Evelyn (these are all albums--forgive us for our inability to edit):

A woman in my office gave us this very pretty dress:
Evelyn in her pretty white dress

but this is how we really role 'round here:
Mi'ssippi Evelyn

A day in Dad's favorite outfit:
Dad's favorite outfit

first real food!
First food-bananas!

A bath after her first haircut--we missed that spikey hair so gave her a little trim. I'm not sure what that means about the kind of parents we are.
Fresh from a bath

Albums of her at 5months
Evelyn and her orangutan--5months
and at 6 months
Evvy and her orangutan--6 months old!

And here is a link to where you can see the whole collection of Evvy and her orangutan.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Amazing Shrinking Child

I forgot to put Evelyn's growth stats in that last post and I think there are some people out there who are interested in this sort of thing.

At her 4 month check up Evelyn weighed 11lbs 1.6 ounces-that's the 10th percentile. She was 22.5 inches tall which is the 5th percentile and a half inch shorter than she was a 2 months. See chart below.

This leaves us with 2 questions:
1. when are those Otto genes going to kick in?
2. did we really need one more reason to question medical care in Mississippi?

Friday, April 1, 2011


No witty title-just right to the point. The latest controversy I'm posting about is not Mississippi specific. It just shows that there are crazy people all over this country.

The other morning I was watching some morning tv show while feeding Evelyn and nearly exploded when this story came on. To save you the jump here is the latest controversy: a Spanish toy maker has made a breastfeeding doll. Instead of the baby doll coming with a bottle it comes with a halter top that children can out on. The child places the baby so that the mouth lines up with some daisies on the halter at which point the baby makes a sucking noise. Apparently, this is something to be outraged about. People claim it's disgusting. Really, you can buy a doll that poops and a breastfeeding doll is disgusting? The health editor for said he thought it was a bad idea. I just cannot get my head around this. Apparently some people fear that little girls who play with this doll will then want to have a baby. Let me tell you, if someone had told me at 9 years old that if I had a baby I had to feed it every hour by having it suck the life out of me I would have changed my family intentions immediately. If you want to read more, I sort of like what this blogger has to say about it.

In other news...Evelyn ran her first race! Ok, she napped in the baby jogger* for the whole 10k, but we think it counts. Our good friends Anna and Tim came to visit and we showed them the sights of Starkville by running the Historic Starkvegas 10k. It was fabulous. Tim totally rocked it and came in 3rd overall, Phil pushed Evvy in the stroller and neither one had a meltdown, and Anna helped me make it in in exactly my goal time. Pacer friends are awesome. We were too excited about having our friends in town to take pictures, but thankfully Anna and Tim documented their journey to MS. Here are some photos of the race morning:
Starkvegas 10k

Spring has sprung down here. Bartlett Pears and apple trees have bloomed and become green. Actually, everything is green and it's awesome. For our family and friends in the North who are having yet another snow day, don't be too jealous. Just think of how miserable we'll be in a few weeks when it will be 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity at 10pm.

The farm is doing what it should do in early spring--becoming green. We've got lettuce and some other greens that should be ready in the next couple of weeks. We had our first spring salads the other day--delicious! Corn is coming up and the tomato plants are doing well. Potatoes should be going in the ground soon. Local folks should keep their eyes and ears open for an announcement about Old Well Organics going live and open for business.

*Special shout out to bobcat for the baby jogger. This thing has logged a lot of miles and we're hoping it makes our kid as cool and athletic as his are.

Also of note: Anna and Tim claim the Provence room is very comfortable and while we did get a little bit of farm work out of them, we didn't force them to spend 2 days building a shed like we did our previous visitors. So, book your stay!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Short and sweet

I've got lots on my mind lately and am working on a couple of blog posts--one about work-family balance and one about religion. I know, heavy topics. But, since our life of late has been consumed by trying to understand Evelyn's sleep schedule and needs I haven't made much progress on either of those posts.

To keep you all entertained until I can come up with something more interesting to write about I bring you Evelyn at 4 months! This kid is seriously adorable.