Hi there. My name is Melinda, and I’m the person behind this blog. I grew up on Bainbridge Island, a five-by-10-mile island in Puget Sound, in a house about a mile from where I live now. Despite the one-mile distance from my 1970s hippy-dippy macrobiotic childhood homeschooled on an alfalfa sprout farm in an HOA, I still maintain that my life now is really different than what it was as a child.
But there are a lot of things I had as a kid that I want for my kids now. Like time. Lots of time to think, roam, daydream, and just grow up.
After a divorce and the dissolution of my parents’ business, my single mom and I and my sister moved to Seattle when I was about 12, and I went to Garfield High School. I spent my adolescent growing-up years in ’90s grunge garb, reading and running a ton, nannying, and rowing on the Green Lake Crew team. I went to the University of Washington and majored in English and creative writing and worked as a nanny, waitress, and sales lady. I met my husband in my first class our Freshman year, and we’ve been in love and together for 22 years now–not counting the two-year-break between ages 20 and 22 when we lived apart and dated other people. He’s an amazing illustrator and artist and keeps me inspired to live my best life.
In college I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but when I traveled to Europe my senior year, I came back from 7 months away broke as all get-out and got a job at Amazon, back when all they sold were books. That curved my trajectory over to office work and I stayed in various writing and marketing roles for my career after that. After graduating from the UW, we lived in California for about five years and crawled our way up the coast where I completed an MFA in creative writing at Mills College in Oakland.
I think I returned to my island because it felt like it was calling me to finish up my work here. When I left, I still thought our little island was the best place on earth. Crossing the water from Seattle to here as an adult, seagulls dancing and waves sparkling while our ferry cut through the water, I couldn’t find a reason to not still feel that way. On a sunny, clear day, Puget Sound can feel like you’ve entered a magical realm, with paradise painted in panorama around you.
My great-grandma and my grandparents settled here in the 1920s and our kids are now completing a 5th generation here. We’re island folks through and through, I guess–salt-soaked and rain-drenched, busily dreaming of mossy, verdant springs while whiling away cold winters and dark days over steaming cookpots and crackling fires.
I live with my husband and two kids in an old, beautiful 1901 yellow farmhouse on five rolling green acres with orchards, gardens, a chicken coop, art studio and writing studio, and permaculture gardens. It’s the home that I dreamed about since I was old enough to realize that people could have different lives in different houses. When we first stepped on the property here, I felt all the stories I would write, all the stories our kids would live, and all the generations that would cross the land after us.
Eating Buckets is my blog about all kinds of stuff. You’ll find loads of details here about gardening and farming and cooking and restoring our farmhouse. I’ll make your mouth water with juicy apples and plums and pears from our orchards and recipes for pickles from our hugelkultur beds. You’ll probably also see updates about budgets and the cost of groceries because I am trying to live ala Animal Vegetable Miracle for a year and see if we can garden our way into a non-consumer life and save buckets of money by eating buckets of produce. You’ll see pictures of our 16 chickens and their eggs and our Luna-dog, a black wavy Portuguese Waterdog who races at breakneck speed whenever the sun comes out–and especially when she has something to chase.
You’ll also see stuff here about parenting our 10-year-old girl and 7.5-year-old boy. They keep us delighted and busy and thoughtful, and they will let me post pictures of them, too, like this one when they were younger and oh my goodness I miss those little legs:
Eating Buckets was inspired by food, by our farmland, by buckets of winter rain, and my realization that my life has been a process, since early childhood, of building empathy through experience, sometimes very difficult ones, but I can eat ’em and grow fat and proud from every one of them. I’m not going to retreat quietly and let anyone else win my life but me–and isn’t that what happens when you live a life so big that it drowns you sometimes? There’s crazy luck in here, too, insane love and life that shines out and obliterates the cobwebs. If I focus on the gratitude it fills me and overflows. I want to share that with you. I want to take it all in and eat buckets of it together. I’ll take buckets over boredom any day. So here’s to more eating, more buckets, and hopefully more buckets of laughter than tears.
Buckets Of Rain
Buckets of tears
Got all them buckets comin’ out of my ears
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand
I got all the love, honey baby
You can standI been meek
And hard like an oak
I seen pretty people disappear like smoke
Friends will arrive, friends will disappear
If you want me, honey baby
I’ll be hereLike your smile
And your fingertips
Like the way that you move your lips
I like the cool way you look at me
Everything about you is bringing me
MiseryLittle red wagon
Little red bike
I ain’t no monkey but I know what I like
I like the way you love me strong and slow
I’m takin’ you with me, honey baby
When I goLife is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must
You do what you must do and ya do it well
I’ll do it for you, honey baby
Can’t you tell?