31 December 2011

make your new year's boast and hold it fast.

this month i have: rescued a pasture-sour horse (how was i not killed? i am still not sure) and found her an adoptive family, been officially married for five years, my hens laid their first eggs, i learned how to fall without hurting myself too much, and other shit that would bore you to tears but meant something when it happened.

my root is stronger.

29 November 2011

this is a post only about RED DIRT

went to court, it wasn't no thing, been fucking down, maybe seeing light, maybe not

finding new music is always better than not

24 November 2011

wanksgiving backwards pie

Santa Claus promises a magic economy without scarcity, almost a utopian dream” (McGreevy, 1990). [via this article/essay]

Oh, meant to mention the shitty pie I made. The filling should be awesome -- roasted a pie pumpkin, used yogurt and Chinese Five Spice and all kinds of wild and thrilling ingredients. But. Never used premade pie crusts before, so didn't take the time to realize that the non-frozen ones were not intended for eXxXtreme pie-making. So baked the filling in a glass pie tray, then transferred it to the premade crust, baked for ten more minutes, and VOILA! Backwards pumpkin pie.

Will start on the wild turky (the bird, not the delicious drink) soon.

Oh, and court went pretty well. It was absolutely nothing like court, except that it did happen to occur within the walls of a courthouse.

20 November 2011

when you give, give for real.

I want to put this out in the world:

If you do good things because you feel doing good things entitles you to some sort of ownership over the people you do them for, you're not a good person.

That is all.

embed 'em? i hardly know 'em!

Sounds I find amazing and thrilling and, yanno, good:

Sam Chatmon - "God Don't Like Ugly"

Peggy Lee - "Black Coffee"

The Blenders - "Don't Fuck Around with Love"

The Poni-Tails - "Born Too Late"

Binnie Hale - "As Time Goes By"

ELO - "Mr. Blue Sky" (set to scenes from Eraserhead)

Rolling Stones - "Dandelion" 

Rolling Stones - "19th Nervous Breakdown"

Henry Hall and his Orchestra - "The Clouds Will Soon Roll By"

Sorry for doubling up on the Stones. They're one of the few bands I've been able to stomach lately. 

27 October 2011

more hours of sleep, i need you.

Still waiting to hear whether or not I've been accepted to the graduate studies program.

If I haven't I don't really have a back up plan.

Here's to giving a Plan B a big old fuck you.

I've slept for almost 16 hours in the past 24.

Today is cool and misty and rainy and I hate today. I see no reason for today. Today is doing nothing for me. If today was a person, it would sneeze on me in line at the grocery store and I would say, "No, no, that's okay." Inside I would hate it. I do hate it.

I hate you, today. I hope your cold develops into pneumonia and you can't fight off a secondary infection and you fucking die.

Today is one of those days where I realize that I have almost nothing "going for me." That's an obscenely vague collection of words that I will, merrily even, add to the list of things I detest about today. I'll begrudgingly admit that poor wording and a lackadaisical approach to blogwriting isn't really the fault of a Thursday, but I don't even care. It's Thursday's fault, ya here? YOUR FAULT, THURSDAY, NOT MINE.

I have no money, I have no job, and my biggest accomplishments this month are applying for grad school and driving the car a whopping three times (I have a driving thing, whatever, it's fucking stupid).

My life is ridiculous.Without going through the laundry list of individual problems we've faced the past 3 years, without an effusive acknowledgment that there are many folks in the world having a harder time than us, I'll just say that life has been stupid fucking hard.

Okay, Thursday, so you're almost off the hook. Bigger picture and whatnot. While you suck a massive egg, I think it's my life that's the real element of shit here.

What to do, what to do.

18 October 2011

when pumpkins fly

Trying to edit this photo to mimic the amazing quality of photos out of craft books from the 1970s.
So we've been without internet for, well, awhile. I have my birthday wish, though (I'll be 27 tomorrow) -- no more TV! At least TV that costs money. We're broke, but with the help of family I think we'll manage one way or another. I'm looking forward to a "no buy" November. I found awesome recipes for apple and pear butter, and that's what I'll be making for gifts this year.


The booger and I got to go to a pumpkin farm (thanks to Nana & Papa) for mazes and animal petting and gourds and tractor rides.


03 October 2011


heavyaura, what you looking at?

just this fine thing, is all.
My partner of the slight butt and adorable belly just recently discovered suspenders. They have changed his relationship with pants in a way belts never could. If you're looking to score a nice pair of suspenders, check your local tractor supply/co-op! They carry a pretty decent range of sizes, a few colors, the cost is about 10 bucks, and they seem to last. Partner's been wearing this gray scale pair for about 3 weeks straight!

30 September 2011

let's get small (town); or, is this a photoblog?

this is a hybrid fat of the land post, for sure. a few weeks ago we went out to an alpaca show, bought some seeds, ate amazing diner food, and went to a open-to-the-public pow wow. it was an amazing day, and i was so absorbed i didn't take actual pictures of much of the adventure. i wouldn't have taken photos of the pow wow anyway because, i don't know, that seems in poor taste. and with all of the appropriation of native culture on my tumblr dashboard lately, i just felt like it would border on cultural tourism to post photos of an event that felt very personal. there was amazing intertribal dancing, great food (gator on a stick! it's so tasty), and all these kids just running around together (mine included) in the open area behind all the dancers. we arrived in time for the dance which honored native and non-native veterans. by the way, if you ever attend one of these events, and a dance of this sort is going on, please stand up (if you are physically able, of course). i mean, if you see everybody the hell else stand up, there's probably a good reason for that.

going to the alpaca show

needed to feel fancy as fuck going to the alpaca show, obvs.

this town is literally one long street

i just can't

beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice

at the little historical village at the fairgrounds

ram damn

little trucks and firewagons were parked all over the grounds of the village

lovely garden, also at the fairgrounds


moar GPOF



cartoonz, man

cool season gardens, let's not killem

i fucking forgot to take photos of the actual alpacas. enjoy this shot of the informational  brochure.

i can't stop looking at the place i live.

sun sitting down

to the porch


the back of the doghouse we don't use

some weird trash left by former tenants

Bierce, by the kiddler

my kid is a photography master

taken by my kid; he takes a lot of pictures of torsos

another by the kid from the roof of the storm shelter
I know a lot of people don't dream about living in a single wide in the middle of nowhere. I know a lot of people would probably like it, too. I'm a little surprised by how good it feels to live here. Every moment I'm in this place, breathing this air that smells like cut hay and wet dirt, I feel overwhelmed in a happy way. In the city, I was overwhelmed by anxiety and I feel trapped behind closed blinds. Here, I don't feel trapped, even though I admit I'm intentionally isolated. While maybe it isn't ideal that being in a moderately populated area makes me feel crazier than a shithouse rat, I'm glad and grateful to have found a place that makes me feel like some kind of regular, happy rat.

Though, honestly, I feel pretty scared, too. Scared that it'll be taken away, that we won't be able to stay, that it's just a tease and everything will fall apart. So I breathe easy, but I'm still holding my breath.

23 September 2011

heavy aura: rain, rain, rain, or tennessee in the fall

Also, welcome autumn:

After I explained to my kid what the "macro" setting was for, he got busy taking awesome photos of his candy corn.
Our little family took an accidental day trip to Center Hill Lake/Dam (a 64 mile long man-made lake thanks to the folks at the TVA) and the Edgar Evins State Park. We also had a peek at the Caney Fork River below us. The road to the park is just a bit up the highway from our home, so we just took the turn to see how far away it actually was. Not far, but even though we live in a fairly remote place, the scenery was shocking and, to gingerly use a much-abused word, surreal.

I was unprepared to capture anything with my camera, so the partner's phone cam is the best we had. The roads to and in the park were tremendously terrifying with the steepest possible drop offs (and I lived in Denver for awhile) but very, very gorgeous. To be totally honest, we went on a rainy, windy day, and everything fucking looked like Forks. It's terrible that Twilight is a source of running gags in our house (or car, in this case), but we kept saying to each other at every possible opportunity, "You aren't in Phoenix anymore, Bells." Once we latch on to an in-joke, we really commit to it. For better or worse. Or way worse.
Everything thrifted except the top, which is a hand-me-down. And the kid, who is organically derived.

ma & pa
By the way, if you ever make it out to Edgar Evins, beware the awesome but somewhat alarmingly spirally observation tower. Great view, but the thing sways in the wind. I know that's a perfectly normal structural thing, but when I got to the top and felt that movement ... no sir, I don't like it.

Photo of said tower of terror, by Brian Stansberry.

The next day was considerably less full of "tree mess" (as my kid likes to call it). However, the kiddo did get to break out his thrifted vintage plaid pants, and capturing his "fashion pose" was worth the upload. Plus, we were both wearing our Docs. I found his pair, in amazing orange suede, for a buck fifty!

On kiddo: thrifted shirt, pants, and orange docs! On ma: gifted tank, thrifted skirt, target sweater, and etsy-origin docs
His pose is way better than mine -- I think that's why he's giving me that little side-eye right there.

fat of the land: cool season growing

I have a few herbs in my raised bed up by the house, and though it's cool and raining, everything but the curry plant (not actually tasty, or actually curry-like-the-spice at all, but fragrant and perhaps useable for potpourri) is pretty happy. I'd like to be able to take some herb cuttings this spring to transplant around the storm shelter behind the house. The rocks that build up around the shelter actually create kind of a pretty landscaping opportunity, though I'm pretty partial to using herbs as ornamentals. I've never been particularly calmed or charmed by beds of flowers or managed gardens (though I do enjoy wildflowers), but I love, love, love herbs. I love brushing my hand over a tight clump of green stuff, or gently tweaking a single leaf, and being rewarded by a fragrant emission, whether sweet or floral, savory or citrus.

We found out recently that we can use some of our benefits to buy seeds, as long as they can be purchased from grocery stores. The awesome DHS worker actually recommended Whole Foods (not my favorite place to use EBT, since the folks working the registers usually kind of stammer and stare and because I feel highly visible as poor, fat, and weird-acting/looking) because they have the widest selection of seeds available. So I guess I'll be putting on my big kid boots (read: definitely not going alone and not lingering) and heading out to what is, generally, the more welcoming of the two Whole Foods locations around Nashville. I have an acquaintance who works or used to work there, so it helps to think, "Oh, I could possibly run into this really nice person" instead of, "Oh, this is going to suck and be hell."

So far, as far as planting goes, I'm looking at broccoli, cabbage (actually have one of these in the raised bed), cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard greens, Irish potatoes (we'll see if I can find these, because that would be awesome), radishes and spinach (list from Transition Now). We still have to tear down or bush hog the old garden and turn it over a bit before we can get the new stuff in, and if we get the seeds before we get everything torn down, I'll probably start some seeds in egg cartons to get the process started. 

Dear Mr. Landlord, please let us use your tractor and bush hog because that would be uhhhhaaamazing.

20 September 2011

fat of the land / chk chk chkens

As my life has taken a turn in the direction I've always wanted to see it go, I'm updating my blog to reflect that (at least a bit). Instead of confusing myself by starting some kind of side-project blog, I'm just tossing Fat of the Land content right on in here. Heavy Aura / Fat of the Land is basically a crossover blog. I'll focus, however loosely, on my burgeoning experiences as a very small scale yardfarmer, while taking the opportunity to reflect on being fat and mentally ill while farming, being queer while farming, and raising a kid during all of this, too. I'll post about what I'm doing, as I usually do, from a body positive/FA sort of perspective, but there'll be stuff about cleaning up this property (today my partner and kid found an old iron weather vane!) and raising chickens and battling tit sweat, too.

Basically, how will I effect my efficiency? Can I succeed at this with falling apart? How will a transition from a college-town environment to rural living feel (being too close to other people stresses me out, and I feel freer here to move around my house and my yard; however, going into town can be difficult, as I feel like my physical presence garners more notice)? While moving out of town has removed many stressors from my life, it's also cut out most of the social interaction I actually did enjoy engaging in on a semi-regular basis.

I guess take heed, however, if you're staunchly against the use of animals in various aspects of agriculture. My personal goal is that all the animals I raise will be treated with love and thoughtfulness during their living days, and appreciated for the bounty they provide whether as a dairy animal, egg layer, or meat producer.


I lucked into finding a trio of pullets (young hens, not yet laying) and a cockerel for a mere 25 dollars via Craigslist. The seller was a nice guy who is a former Ag student at the local University. The birds, two Welsummers (Padma and Parvati), a Speckled Sussex/possible Barred Plymouth Rock cross (Minerva), and the Ameraucauna/Barred Plymouth Rock cockerel (Fudge), were in great physical condition.

Sadly, Padma lost her wee life to some sort of misadventure (most likely stress-induced). After several calls to the local Ag Extension Agency, we've determined it would be prudent to treat everyone for coccidiosis just to be sure. From now on, we'll probably make it a practice to treat all new animals for this shitty little parasite upon arrival. The medicine is a little pricey (about 23 bucks a pack), but because our flock is so small, it will last us quite a long time.

So far, the Welsummers and the cockerel have been much more susceptible to flipping their shit than the comparably stalwart Minerva. Hopefully we can manage their stress a little better now that we have the basic lay out of the coop set up. We have a lot of predators in the area, so we've been adding fencing and reinforcing things a lot. We're probably going to have to do some further winterizing.

The common thread in the breeds represented in our birds is that they dual wield (ie they're dual purpose breeds). The hens are good layers as well as good growers, so once their egg production decreases significantly, they can be stew-pot bound. Any chicks we have are likely to be good growers, and so we can raise them to a slaughter weight fairly economically.

Our coop is a modification of an existing three-part outbuilding on the property. There was already a little yard with a shelter: we just increased the amount/height of fencing, and fixed up the inside of the shed. The biggest mod to the shed was the addition of the doors in front to close it off (originally it was open). We found the doors stuck in the barn (the property also has small barn!) just begging to be used.
 The right-hand door opens, while the left hand door is fixed (and will need to be reinforced as the weather gets colder).

Ideally, I'd like to lower the top shelves to mod out as laying boxes/roosting spots, and use the lower shelves as a base for a roof-within-a-shed. My thought is that attaching a "roof" with hinges above the roost and nesting boxes will help conserve heat in the winter, while in the summer allowing for more air circulation when raised. 

Not pretty, like this palace at The Fancy Farmgirl, but serviceable. The CDs strung on fishing wire confuse hawks and hopefully convince them to leave our birds alone.

Found-wood roost at bottom, rudimentary ramp to upper level shelves. Shelves to be lowered ASAP. Also, this was prior to adding bedding.

Shade/rain shelter outside.

Adding the top of the "wall."
 Cluck cluck for now.