Hi! 😊 I’m Melinda. Welcome to my blog. Thank you for joining us on this journey. It really and truly wouldn’t be the same without you.
Before I tell you a bit about myself and my family, here is a short story trailer of our work-in-progress life as we garden and restore our old farmhouse and raise our family on my childhood island in the Pacific Northwest.
I grew up here 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 it was as a child.
But in the fast pace of life today, I have found 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.
My great-grandma and my grandparents settled here on this island 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.
As a kid, after my parents divorced and my parents’ business dissolved, my single mom and I and my sister moved to Seattle, and I went to high school there, spending my adolescent growing-up years in ’90s grunge garb, reading and running a ton, nannying, and rowing on a local crew team. After I graduated I went to the University of Washington and majored in English and creative writing. I met my husband in my first class our Freshman year, and we’ve been in love and together for 24 years now. 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 and got a marketing 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.
Brian and I lived in California for about five years before eventually moving our way up the coast where I completed an MFA in creative writing at Mills College in Oakland, and then returned to Seattle for Brian’s work. We lived there for 9 years, bought our first home, had two babies, and started gardening and sculpting our small urban Seattle lot into the backyard sanctuary we craved. But we spent a lot of that time dreaming about moving to the country or an island. So we explored all the places, looking at hundreds of homes before finally making the leap.
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 husband and I and our two kids live 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. Recipes on this blog will be gluten-free and will be made from fresh whole ingredients that you can customize to your diet–whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, or just a lover of fresh food. You’ll probably also see updates about budgets and the cost of groceries because I am trying to live ala Animal Vegetable Miracle 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 12 chickens (whom we consider our pets) and their eggs (which we eat and share with friends) 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.
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 stand
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 here
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
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 go
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?