Friday, October 9

Catching Up: A Book, Building, and Bread Bakery Update

I'm loving this autumn color

If everything had gone according to plan, right now I would be in a massive, fruit- and vegetable-filled frenzy trying to finish up the
gigantic cookbook project I started working on last November. Unfortunately plans have a way of changing—especially if you live on a farm—whether we want them to or not.

Back in March, I did such a good job whacking my head on a
low ceiling beam in one of our chicken coops that—seven months, three doctors, all sorts of treatments and therapies, and numerous hours spent with an ice pack and this awesome massager later—my neck and shoulder are still screwed up.

And the thing that causes me the most pain just happens to be sitting at the computer (although
putting up hay was a close second). This does not mesh well with very tight and very inflexible writing deadlines (or blogging!).

The new building, which is basically a big metal barn, looks out on the Hayfield

So no cookbook. But no massive October frenzy either. It's disappointing, of course, especially since this was a really exciting venture that went beyond just writing a book about making the most of your seasonal bounty. Because of proprietary and legal mumbo jumbo, I can't share any more details about the project; I'm not purposely trying to be secretive.

I've been approached by other editors at some wonderful publishing houses who are interested in my writing and photos, so there might very well be a book of some sort in my future. I figure an even better opportunity will present itself if and when the time is right—and I thank you for all the support you gave me for this one.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to sharing more of the Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes I created for the cookbook, including one for a ridiculously easy—and ridiculously delicious—homemade pear butter that I will hopefully have up this weekend. Update: the pear butter recipe is up!

With three big sinks and My Favorite View, doing dishes will be a pleasure

We're also back to contemplating our wholesale artisan bread bakery plan (you can see a photo of the whole building and read a little more about the bakery here), which was shelved last year due to a combination of skyrocketing gas prices, skyrocketing wheat prices, and all of my spare time being spent writing the cookbook.

Since we already have the 7-foot wide deck oven and 60-quart mixer installed in the commercial kitchen on the bottom floor of the new building, I know we'll eventually come up with some delicious way to use them. Joe says that if nothing else, every few months we'll simply bake a lot of bread for ourselves and our friends all at once.

Our new bedroom (and the locally made oak stair treads)

As far as my healing and physical therapy are concerned, we finally fixed all the plumbing problems in the new building (thankfully without having to tear into the beautiful bathroom tile), so although it'll be a while yet before we move in—there are still hundreds of feet of baseboard and trim to put up, the 'real' stairs to be installed, 17 windowsills to be built, light fixtures to be mounted, and a bunch of other stuff I'm probably forgetting, all of which are much better accomplished if you aren't already living in the space—the glorious whirlpool tub is fully functional.

Oh, baby

And after spending 9 years without a working bathtub, boy does it feel nice. This is one splurge that was definitely worth every penny.

©, the soak away your troubles with champagne, candles, and a bathtub built for two (only 6½ years after putting up the shell of the building!) foodie farm blog where this whole neck/shoulder thing has put a big damper on my ability to respond in a timely manner to your comments and e-mail. I love hearing from you, and I thank you for your understanding and patience.


  1. Yow, lots of sympathy on that head/neck thing. I've been fighting something like that myself since Aug 2008, so I know how awful it is. (And we thought we had it licked in March, but then I was rear-ended in July, and ... well.)

    So yeah. That's a nasty issue to be fighting, there. Hope you get it beaten completely soon.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about the neck and back issues! Having had some myself, I know how the pervasive pain can affect every aspect of your life. I do hope there's some relief in sight. And the glimpses of your new home are really exciting!

  3. Sorry to hear about all of that pain, I hope it heals quickly. Your new home looks great, and how exciting it must be.

  4. Congratulations for managing to do all that you have given your injury. It's so exicting to see your new home coming to reality. Reminds me of my own house building adventures. Good luck with the next cook book venture.

  5. Great to see your new home. The photos are wonderful. I'd love to see that commercial kitchen with the big oven and the big mixer. Any photos available? I want all of those things someday!

    I am a massage therapist and know that a good deep tissue massage will sometimes help relieve the pain of neck/shoulder stress and injuries. I assume you've tried this already, but if not, please have a few (more than one over a month's time) massage sessions. It may help you feel better.

  6. I am sorry to hear about your neck and back. Injuries can be so pesky. I hurt my shoulder about nine months ago, and same thing. I went to PT and it was fine for awhile then, OW. I hope that you find yourself on the mend soon!

  7. when we built our house almost 10 years ago - the first thing I wanted functioning was my nice deep bathtub! I only went 6 months without a hot bath - it is physical bliss to enjoy when you are cold or tired! Sorry to hear about your injury - sounds like you are adapting well and I'm thrilled you are working toward finishing the bakery and new living quarters - love the wood floors and perfect green color in bedroom!

  8. Hi Susan! Ohhh so can relate to your head/neck issues. I am a massage practitioner and one year I blew out the muscles in my forearm hauling rocks! No therapy worked! Finally, I went to an accupuncturist - in 4 treatments - completely healed! And he ended up fixing a bad shoulder too! Your new place looks wonderful, take care, Ina

  9. i hope you eventually find what will help your neck, sometimes soft tissue injuries take forever to figure out and heal, and that is funny that it hurts the most on the computer!

    so nice to see all the renovations, and enjoy that hot tub! it looks wonderful!!!

    hugs to you and all your furry companions!

    ps - i sure to miss fall foliage, it changes here in the southwest but not like where i grew up (northeast) - it even smells different!

  10. I had no idea your were hurt so badly. I hope you will be able to find some relief very soon. The bedroom wall color looks fantastic. And the floors, swoon, I love them. I'm sorry this book deal didn't work out. But at least we'll get to reap the benefit of more of your fantastic recipes. Selfish I know - sorry. Feel better.

  11. Your new place is fabulous. Congratulations.
    Sorry your body is still in pain! Best wishes, you.
    (And. Ooh! Don't think I didn't notice.)

  12. Oh, I can sympathize with you and the problems you have with your neck and back. Personally only my neck is involved due to the 3.5 hour commute I did for three years plus the hours in front of the computer (I am a technical writer). My symptom was extreme dizziness triggered by neck tension. After trips to my family doctor and an ENT specialist, I found relief with massage therapy. I had to go for therapy once a week for almost a year. I am now going twice a month. I do love the pictures you posted of your home.

  13. Oh pooh. Sorry to hear about the head whacking (must have missed that post) and all the problems it's caused for you. But it looks like you're getting a wonderful new space so that's exciting. Enjoy the bathtub, and take care of yourself!

  14. I love the new building and the triple sinks!!!! I bet you have enjoyed all of that space. Even more I bet the animals have enjoyed the space! Looks great!!!!!!!!!!! I pray your neck and back feel better soon.

  15. Soo sorry to hear about the neck pain, I know all about that and am currently trying (really hard) to obtain some core strength to overcome the soreness caused by my driving/computer based lifestyle. Sure am jealous of that tub! LOL. XX P.S. V excited for you on the new building.

  16. Hi Susan, I know I'm chiming in rather late but wanted to add my condolences on your neck pain and congratulations on being almost ready to occupy the new building. I had no idea you had sustained such an injury. I'm sure lots and lots of people have given you sage advice about what you might do for it, and here I am throwing my two cents into the mix: Like Inag, I suffered for years with cronic back and shoulder pain, trying one therapy after another, getting some relief only to have the pain return, then found an amazing acupuncturist who, I swear, walks on water. I have been pain free from my injuries for the past 3 years. Now, whenever I do something that hurts my body, she is the first person I go to. And I hate needles! :) I hope this helps.

  17. I am so jealous of that tub right now that I can't adequately capture how gorgeous your new space looks.

    But, don't worry, in time I'll be able to put my words together.

    Meanwhile, I hope you soak in that tub every day. I haven't had a tub for over five years and it makes me nuts.


  18. So, so sorry to hear about your injuries and ongoing medical problems. Saddest of all for you ( and us) is the shelving of the cookbook/book. Do take good care and check out physical therapy - it sure helped me get back up and , well, not EXACTLY running, but up, anyway.

  19. Love your blog...I just moved from the country back to the city :0( I've been out for 15 years. It's my husband's turn...for a season! I love your stories...The Neck thing...find a Massage THERAPIST...I know it's hard to do in the country, but the work wonders. It's your muscles that are jacked up and they need to be put right. Same with any of you who have "carpal tunnel" in your hands and wrists. It's the muscles on your forearms that are atrophied...Just a thought! Have a fabulous day! Cheers to the Country!

  20. Ouch! Neck and head injuries are awful - I hope yours just gets better over time.

    I'm looking forward to when you can move into your new home - you've been so patiently building it, it will be a great reward when it's all done! (And I'm sure all your friends and family will find reasons to come visit for a while.) :)

  21. Very sorry to hear about your injuries! Please keep that cookbook in the works, if only on simmer for the time being. I enjoy your recipes and many have become standards in my repetoire since discovering your blog.

    I'm in complete sympathy re: the pain/injury. I incurred a bad neck injury in a car accident about 5yr ago and was in a lot of distress for a couple yrs. Gradually I got into a serious workout routine that involves some olympic weight lifting, and now I have no pain (except from the working out!). Sure you get quite the workout on the farm, but know the weightlifting helped me enormously. Keep that cookbook coming!

  22. As for the neck pain, I'll add my vote for acupuncture. Let it be known that I am a rather severe needle phobe, but after a rock climbing accident left me with 5 bulging or herniated disks in my neck, I tried *everything*. Driving and sitting at my desk at work were the two worst things for it; hence I quit my job and launched a new career were I could manage my desk time better.

    The LMT did help, but only lasted a couple of days - acupuncture was the only thing that really touched the pain. I still deal with the injury, but it is manageable because of acupuncture - I recommend you give it a try!

  23. I was hoping for a picture of your mixer and oven. Silly, I know, but I love that stuff!

  24. Just loved the whole site!!!!!! We live the same life at different ends of the country...except your a better cook! We raise sheep, cattle, poultry, horses and our own pork as well..even have a Dutch belted Dairy cow...for scrumptious cheese, bulgarian yogurt and kefir. Thank you for your wonderful gift of a site. Best wishes from Northern Dixie

  25. First of all HOORAY for you and Joe getting in the hay and second your place looks wonderful already and that tub!!!! WOW What a great place you have.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!