Friday, July 29, 2016

Rainy Runs

Another great day to donate! Two marathons and two charities! Let's raise a combined $6,500 for cancer research through Fred's Team and low-income seniors with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)!

Donate to H.O.M.E. here. Donate to Fred's Team here. More information here and at the top of the blog!

Quick Friday Update!

Just came back in from a run. Why, eight miles, thank you!

As a little rain doesn't stop a marathon it is best to keep at the runs even in drippy weather. A hurricane did stop the marathon a few years ago, but this was just a bit drizzly today. Still it was enough to keep most people from the park.

Exactly a year ago it wasn't raining. Also, I was in Chicago running and meeting seniors through H.O.M.E.

Usually, as I walk up to the park from my house I see many many runners and tons of bicyclists already zipping past. Today, there wasn't anyone. in fact I was completely alone until well after I left the northern most section. The Harlem Hill area is usually the emptiest place of the park (the hill is real) but that means I'm usually running with lots of other people. I counted 6 runner and bicyclist in my first 12 minutes of running. It was surreal to have so much space.

It wasn't a great run as my digestive failings made themselves known (is the title a double entendre?), I dropped my sweat rag, and my shoe came untied. But I grabbed the miles and that is the important part.

So here I am busting my chops through gale-force* winds and rain, and the donations are just barely dribbling in. But I don't want you to feel guilty. I want you to do something today! How about you support low-income seniors through H.O.M.E.! Even small donations can make enormous quality of life improvements in their lives. Home repairs that otherwise would go unfixed can make each day more wonderful and can keep these seniors independent longer (which if you like numbers, keeps long term costs down). Or maybe you'd like to put your monies towards cancer research with Fred's Team. I wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for discoveries fueled by dollars. And now I can plan on getting old and gray and needing safe housing too.

Sign up with my Donation Calculator so I know you are planning on giving, or better yet, donate today!

*I just found out that gale is a descriptor, or measurement of wind i.e., moderate gale, whole gale, and my favorite, "Fresh gale:" 39-46 mph.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Another great day to donate! Two marathons and two charities! Let's raise a combined $6,500 for cancer research through Fred's Team and low-income seniors with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)!

Donate to H.O.M.E. here. Donate to Fred's Team here. More information here and at the top of the blog!

It's a throw-back Thursday (as the kids used to say) to a year when I wasn't so tired. Enjoy this blog post from over two years ago. I resisted the urge to correct misspellings and find better phrasing. Perhaps that was a mistake. But I doubt it. Either way I was too tired to fix it.

(July 8th, 2014)

During one of my frequent visits to the doctor I noticed an ad in the waiting room. A support group entitled Dating and Disclosure was meeting that very week and in the building I work in. How could I pass this up? Back in high school I invented the sexy locker lean. Take my word for it - and don't look into it - I did really well. But in my more immediate past, things have slowed down a bit. Maybe I could stand to pick up a few pointers.

Actually, I was more interested in the disclosure aspect. From the very beginning disclosing my diagnosis was difficult. I wanted to tell my parents when they were together, but of course when my mother picked up the phone my father was out. I can usually bounce and deflect with ease, but the first words out of her mouth asked about what the doctor had said. I could have done it better.

The week I learned of my diagnosis was filled with hospital visits and phone calls. It was overwhelming. I told my parents to ban phone calls from friends and family. I didn’t want to be rude, but I needed time to figure out what was going on, what I was thinking, how I was feeling. I could have done it better. When I found out that the cancer wouldn't take me out of this world in a couple of months, but rather I was expected to make a full recovery - and only in a matter of months - I decided to not tell people that I didn't think I would see during treatment. I would avoid disclosure.

Avoiding disclosure didn’t work. I’d end up seeing someone. “You shaved your head!” “Yes, I did – well no, um – sort of, yes, well, just not intentionally.” I could have done it better.

I left my desk and took the elevator to the lobby. I found the little room where a few people had already gathered. There was a lot of condensation on the pitcher of water on the table. We soon introduced ourselves telling as little or as much as we felt comfortable. I was younger than everyone else, maybe by as much as 20 years. It was mostly women.

We did discuss disclosure. It was decided that there was no ‘right’ time to tell a date, or, for that matter, a friend. You can and should take your time and disclose when you were ready. However, it was decided that the first date is most definitely not the right time. But past that we mostly talked about other things, deeper things.

It seemed that most in the room were afraid. Dating at 30 is one thing. Dating at 50 is probably another. Dating at 50 when you are covered in scars and missing a breast or ovaries, and have no energy or hair, is daunting. Each person seemed to have a very similar concern. They were afraid of being turned down because they were sick. When the facilitator asked why they thought this would happen, all were in agreement. If the tables were turned they would never want to date someone who had their condition. They wanted someone who was healthy. How could anyone go in for someone who was sick? Who could love them?

It was clear that they hated the cancers that had taken so much from them. But I wonder if some of that hate had gotten mixed up. The cancer may have abated in their bodies yet it was strong in their minds. Could the cancer have become such a part of their identity that they saw themselves, and not just the cancer, as broken and despised?

The facilitator steered the conversation towards a message of encouragement. She wanted us to know that anyone who would be turned off by someone who is sick isn’t worth our time. She wanted us to know that we would get turned down but it would be OK. She wanted us to know that we could do this. She wanted us to know that it would be worth it, that we were worth it.

I’m not sure how much of her words sunk in. The benefit may have come from the other group members. Each one seemed to realize that the other people around the table were valuable and worthwhile. They listened and encouraged and noted how silly it was to worry about having short hair, extra scars, or needing a bit of help. “If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t deserve you.”

It seemed strange to me that they could see the insecurities in their neighbors for what they were yet they couldn’t see their own. They were convinced that they were unworthy of love. It seemed strange to me. Yet I think I do this in my own way from time to time.

I don’t have any visible scars, unless you count the small dent in my gums where cottage cheese gathers. But in other ways I am more similar to my co-survivors. I see my own failings and find myself wondering if I’m made for a relationship, if I’m worthy of love. And my problem is worse than a physical scar.

I can – if I choose – inflict a lot of pain. I can kill, but it is a death by a million paper cuts. I can wound in tiny ways, in inconspicuous ways, such that I can always claim innocence. I can drain all the joy and pleasure from life if I want. In short, I am selfish. I don’t like this about myself. I hate it even.

At times I see this and wonder how I could be worthy of love. Would it not be better to avoid relationship? Would it not be better to avoid the eventuality of inflicting pain? But that is not a way to live life. Furthermore, it might only be another lie to hide another truth. I am afraid of relationship. I am afraid because I will be revealed to be just another human constantly making mistakes, constantly needing to be forgiven, constantly needing love, and still only learning to love. This is truly what I do not want to disclose.

If I had been quicker with my thoughts, if I had been brave enough to share my fears, I think I know what the ladies would have said. Between smiles and laughs, I would have heard that I am still worth it. I would have heard that I am valuable. I would have heard that while I have my own real scars and flaws, I am yet worthy of love.

Worthy of love: it's a wonderful truth. Worthy - and this is a 30 year old that just bought more underwear because he didn't do the laundry!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Midsummer Slumbers

Another great day to donate! Two marathons and two charities! Let's raise a combined $6,500 for cancer research through Fred's Team and low-income seniors with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)!

Donate to H.O.M.E. here. Donate to Fred's Team here. More information here and at the top of the blog!

I woke up in terror and smacking my lips. Looking through the window I collected my thoughts and took the glass from the table. A few sips and the dark sky and I turned back into the couch.

This summer is hot, far hotter than past years. I am going by feel as my charts show another story. After each run I mark the pace, mileage, and temperature. And last year was significantly warmer. At least, according to my charts. But I think I’ve found the modifying variable. My commute increased by 1100%. I wake and run earlier now.

This year my bedroom is also much farther from the living room and the living room window unit faithfully (when used) pumping in cold air. And last year I didn’t have a roommate so committed to “natural” living. I came home from work at 10pm this week and it was 90 degrees in my bedroom instead of the usual 87. Now after brushing my teeth I take my pillow and sheet and camp out under the fan in the living room.

Running outside the city. Who could have bad dreams with beautiful mornings like this?
Perhaps it is the heat. Or maybe it’s something I ate. It could even be something more mysterious, but I’ve been having some rather terrifying dreams on the couch. In the dreams, some vivid and lifelike, others more surreal, I see scenes of death and sorrow, pain and sadness. But worst of all, the pain comes directly from my happiness and joy. As an example, in one I have called a dinner celebration together with all my friends. But the night ends in savage death.

Looking at them together, while the stories and details are very different, the consistent theme is that my happiness kills those around me. My joy turns to death. Everything I touch turns wrong.

This is a bit ironic given the ending of the last blog post.

I don’t know what these dreams mean, if they mean anything. They are probably just a bit of poorly digested food. My digestive track has its share of problems. But now that I’ve had a few such dreams, all identical in theme, I have to wonder.

Lately at work I feel as if everything is going rather poorly. I took this postdoc – this gamble of years – knowing that the odds were against me. But if you can’t bet on yourself then who will? And still, anything can change, of course. My work could start working and results could be exciting. But I’ve done this work long enough to start reading the signs. And I am seeing the signs of failure.

Failure isn’t bad, of course. But I doubt anyone who has done it really enjoys the process. Perhaps that is what is weighing on my mind. After a long day, on my commute home, I look back over what I did at work and I often see all my poor choices. I have felt many times that every choice I make is wrong. That feeling often bleeds out into the commute itself. But that is not fair. There truly is no right choice between the bus and the subway.

So maybe in my dream I am working through my feelings that all of my choices are toxic. But then why is it my friends who suffer and die in my dreams? And why is disaster born out of moments of true joy? For that is the hardest part.

In short I don’t know.

In the most vivid dream, the one with scary reality, I woke after I fell apart under the weight of sorrow and was committed to an insane asylum. It was my joy that had killed and it utterly broke me. In the one last night I was screaming, screaming in terror and impotence as I saw from far above my friends shot and bleeding out. There was no justice and could be none. It was the police who were shooting. Yet I was the ultimate cause of their death. And I was unable to save them. All I could do was scream. The words in my mouth were a paraphrase, “Oh that God would come down.” But in the dream they meant, “why won’t God come down.”

I woke up with the words still ringing in my ears and smacked my dry mouth. With a few sips and the dark sky I turned back to the couch. I wondered about the dream. I wondered at my fear of joy. And I wondered at the heat.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Perspective

Another great day to donate! Two marathons and two charities! Let's raise a combined $6,500 for cancer research through Fred's Team and low-income seniors with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)!

Donate to H.O.M.E. here. Donate to Fred's Team here. More information here and at the top of the blog!

It's Friday! We have lab meetings each Friday. It is my turn. I presented two months ago. And I have nothing new to show. My student accomplished a bunch, but I will let her present in two weeks. And while I repeated a few experiments to add to my numbers, that isn't really anything worth telling.

About every time I've set about getting ready to present I feel as if I haven't done anything. But then I go about getting my work together and soon enough I realize I have a lot. And I need to think about what exactly to present and what will need to be left out. This time it didn't happen. So I am going to present ideas. Ideas for experiments. But only ideas. I wonder if the boss will notice.

That last bit is a joke. Of course she will notice.

This is not lab meeting. But I will still look just as zoned out.
J. gave me a few more pictures from the Survivorship celebration. I suppose you could tell. I had to look him up, but I'm sure you all remember Scott Hamilton. I found a video of him doing a backflip on ice-skates, his signature move. And it was pretty cool. Still, it felt like Sloan Kettering was digging rather deep to find a celebrity. He won gold in the olympics. But it was the year I was born. Still, I mentioned his name to someone at work and was overheard by another coworker who went ecstatic. So perhaps I just wasn't the target audience.

Very humorous, exceptional speaker, and all around short guy.

But Scott wasn't there because of his celebrity (heyday or not). He was there for his attitude surrounding his cancer diagnosis. Cancer didn't stop Scott. He embraced the challenge and kept moving, kept living, and his attitude is inspiring and infectious. He has been raising money for cancer research for years. He has been spending his time encouraging and supporting. I hope I can grow up a bit more to be like him. Just taller.

That evening of "celebration" got me thinking. I can tend towards the pessimistic side. I haven't completely shaken my childhood nickname of Eeyore, "If it is a good day, which I doubt." I find myself unconsciously looking for the worst to happen, seeing the hard things, or the annoying things, like noticing how much of my work doesn't work, and how little I've accomplished in the last two months, and even the last few years. I don't know how to focus on the good things without feeling like I'm pretending everything is cheery. I don't know how to keep everything in perspective.

But it is not for lack of good examples. At the celebration there was a wall to pin notes of happiness and excitement and celebration. And standing there I thought of someone I knew and loved who had cancer and yet kept things in perspective. I remembered his infectious enjoyment. I remembered his desire to support and encourage. I remembered his grill and cigars and his "I was saving this for a big win, but today will have to do" attitude. And I wanted to live into that even if just a little bit. So I left my note.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Upkeep and Repair

Another great day to donate! Two marathons and two charities! Let's raise a combined $6,500 for cancer research through Fred's Team and low-income seniors with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)!

Donate to H.O.M.E. here. Donate to Fred's Team here. More information here!

I'm cooking dinner and realizing that I touch my eyes and nose far more than I should. Far more than I should while cooking. And far more than I should at any time, frankly. You'd think I'd learn to handle jalapeños. But no. This is my future.

I like the New York city bus system. Well, not really. Like is far too strong a word. But after getting trapped on the subway in the morning for what seemed like hours and then jumping into an oven car in the evening, I need another option. So yes, I love the bus system. And each time that it stops and lets another super slow senior citizen climb aboard I try to refocus my impatience into gratefulness that there is a public transit system you can use even if stairs prove difficult - which is often the case for seniors.

Last year I wrote about H.O.M.E.'s bussing service that provides transportation services to grocery stores and pharmacies. And I will probably tell you about that again soon. It is a great service. But it is only one of many that H.O.M.E. provides for some of Chicago's most vulnerable residents. Right now I want to tell you about their home repair services.

I am not particularly handy. My last "repair" was more of a destroy job. In fact, that is exactly what it was. I was dripping with sweat as it was a sticky 97 degrees in my apartment. Fed up with the heat and the window bars that blocked the installation of my window unit I pulled out my trusty hacksaw. Trusty isn't the right word as I had never used it before (not handy, remember). After about 30 minutes, some serious cramping, and a peppering of bad words, I had successfully cut through the ten bars. Home improved. All that was left was to explain it to the landlord.

Cross Promotional Synergy.

Yet, past such destructive improvements I have to rely on the help of professionals. And professionals cost money. And here lies the problem for many low-income senior citizens. They do not have the resources to keep up with the ever increasing maintenance costs of their homes. Serious issues are left unaddressed. Having the furnace go out during winter is a real emergency. Not being able to fit safety bars in the bathroom is dangerous.

H.O.M.E.'s upkeep and repair services is available to those who have an income below the federal poverty level. As you can imagine, paying full price for a repairman isn't on the table when you are just keeping afloat. In fact, 68% of H.O.M.E.'s clients said that they would have had to go without the repairs if H.O.M.E. had not provided them.

At the moment there is so much demand for service that H.O.M.E. has a four month waiting list. They prioritize "emergency repairs" which often center around plumbing issues as these can often become extensive problems if left unattended. Even with the long waits the request keep coming in because for most of their clients there are just no other options.

Sometimes when a company realizes they have you - when demand is super high - their customer service goes down hill. Time Warner Cable, if you think this is a veiled reference to you, you're wrong. There is no veil. And while the "professional" "handy" man my landlord hires probably costs a ridiculous amount his work is almost as good as mine. When the front door started drooping so much that the dead bolt wouldn't lock he didn't rehang the door. Instead, he took a hammer and chisel and beat a new hole into the frame. Home improved indeed.

Perhaps you would think that H.O.M.E. could fall into these traps. But they have not. They are not in this business for the money. They aren't even here for the glory and fame. They want to provide vulnerable, low-income seniors in their city with safe and secure homes to live in. It is that simple. They are here to help others. And that philosophy permeates their culture at all levels. As one of their clients said, "They are trustworthy. I feel freedom when H.O.M.E. comes in to work for me."

Will you partner with H.O.M.E.? These services cost money and H.O.M.E. runs on donations, donations like yours and mine. Without our help H.O.M.E. would not be able to keep going. Make a big difference in someone's life, donate today! Or choose to use the donation multiplier and make it even bigger! Don't forget to write in "marathon" in the "note" section.

To read real stories about real clients served by H.O.M.E.'s upkeep and repair read this entry of their blog!

PS. With a great post title like this you were probably thinking this was about my knees and shins. Boy were you wrong. That said, I think I need to find some ice, do some stretches and go to bed. Sleeping is my favorite repair.

PPS. I feel "freedom" when our handyman is around the apartment. Yes, I feel just how free I am to listen to his jolly, and loud, Christmas music in July. So free.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Running Update 2

We lay on our backs, looking at the ceiling and wondering what God had wrought when he made life so sad. - On the Road

L'Éternel dit à Caïn: Où est ton frère Abel? - Genèse

Her phone is probably off. It is late there. I am sure she will check in when she can. Things are chaotic and busy. I am sure it is only that. I am sure. (Edit: She checked in at 4am!)

Another great day to donate! Two marathons and two charities! Let's raise a combined $6,500 for cancer research through Fred's Team and low-income seniors with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)!

Donate to H.O.M.E. here. Donate to Fred's Team here. More information here!

As I need a distraction and the milk, slowly turning to yogurt in my oven, doesn't provide much of a show I will write more silly nothings. Plus it has been a while since I've updated you on my running. And who doesn't love graphs?

First the good news! The donations are coming in. You surprise me each year. In case you haven't donated yet, consider it today. you don't want to miss out.  Right now Fred's Team is edging out H.O.M.E. with 53% of the donations. Combined, you've raised 5.1% of our goal! This is a great start.

And now for other good news. The running is going well. I've avoided injury. I'm stretching a bit better than in the past. I exfoliated my toes by running on the beach a few weeks ago. And I'm enjoying each run - even on days like today where I had to swim through the moist air.

Lately I've been reading up on acoustic waves for a project at work. Applying my kindergarten level of knowledge and understanding the the graph below I'd say that the amplitude is increasing in my training paces. A higher amplitude means, of course, that there is more energy in a wave. This is obviously true for my running too. Or at least it feels like it.

The training plan I'm on has many types of running days. Some runs are to be done at marathon pace (in the future I'll mark these on the graph). Some are to be run at a more conversational pace (minor gasping aloud). And some are to be run with with intentional variations in speed. I'm not sure what all that means - for me or for waves - but I'm putting my trust into the online coach.

I know most of you are holding off on donating so that you can use the Marathon Donation Multiplier, see link above. And while it may be hard to estimate my race day running pace from the above chart, this second one might be a bit more useful. Below I've plotted my runs by month, distance, and speed. As July bleeds into August and September quickly follows you will see the miles lengthen and hopefully the runs quicken.

Lastly, just in case you think I'm slacking off compared with bygone years, here you can see my miles from my two previous marathon training sessions. I think I'll be setting a July record this year. As long as I don't injure myself! I think I'm going to PR in Portland. The question is, for you donation multiplier player, by how much!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Survivorship Celebration

Another great day to donate! Two marathons and two charities! Let's raise a combined $6,500 for cancer research through Fred's Team and low-income seniors with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)!

Donate to H.O.M.E. here. Donate to Fred's Team here. More information here!

Check out who had the pleasure of taking a picture with me recently. None other than Craig Thompson, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Each year the hospital celebrates survivors and throws a party. I was asked to share my experience as a survivor. I shared the stage with Craig, José Baselga, (Physician in Chief, and CMO), Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, and Kelly Leach, another survivor like myself. You know, a regular Tuesday night.

I rehearsed my speech a few times. I don't like reading from notes - and I don't like completely canned speeches - so aimed for a free flowing, almost natural level of speaking. Turns out I needed one more run through. About halfway through I forgot what the next thought was supposed to be. And as my mind raced trying to figure out where to go I paused momentarily. Fortunately this pause came right on the heals of a rather upbeat moment with an impromptu culminating phrase "So I am a survivor." And to my surprise The audience erupted in applause. 

I wonder if it looked as if I had been milking them for feedback. Believe me, I'm not that good. 

A different Tuesday. I match like a rainbow.

Still, It bought me a moment, thought when I charged ahead I skipped an important bit. I wanted to say the important bit first, so I could reference it later - in this bit that I was saying now. Without it, it wouldn't make sense. It is funny to me how my mouth can go on talking while my mind is thinking about how to cut and paste and jump and still get a coherent thought out.

No one noticed. 

A handful of people thanked me. One person told me I had a career in public speaking. José told me, and the crowd, that the next time I took that stage it would be to share my important research. I hope he is right. As my moment of fame quickly evaporated I walked into one of my First Descents friends, Mariel "Montell Jordan" RauerNigro! I had forgotten she was treated at Sloan Kettering too. I loved being reminded of that amazing trip and all the wonderful people I met. Sometimes it seems so far removed from my normal experience that I wonder if it wasn't a dream.

Montell and a few of the other Ouray 11. She has the dark helmet. I have the uncombed hair.
And when she left and everyone else had forgotten about me and was busily crowding the food tables I wandered around and found the photo table and begin to take a few photos which I may use with some repetition during my fundraising. But as I need to pump myself Up for my next run I'll include this one right here.

I'm coming for you.
Lastly, if any of you have made it this far and are interested in what I was supposed to say in my speech here is the text:

My name is Andrew. I am a scientist. I work across the street in the hospital’s research facility. I’m studying the cerebellum – the hindbrain element that enables us to run and dance and do all sorts of important things – and am hoping to find things that will lead to better treatments, cures and one day even prevent the tumors that sometimes form in the cerebellum.

I am also a survivor.

Less than a year after starting my fellowship at the hospital I became a patient. One day I was walking through the halls of the hospital to a lecture. And the very next day I was in the same hallways, now in a bed, watching the lights and ceiling tiles float past.

When diagnosed I was surprised, afraid, anxious, confused, and everything moved far too fast. And When my doctor Alison Moskowitz had finished carefully, and clearly, and thoroughly explaining my diagnosis, and my treatment plan and the first steps to take, I paused, and said, “Wait, do I have cancer?” She graciously started over.

I guess I’m not the only one who has felt that way, or has had such trouble “hearing,” or at least “getting.” But there was something else said that first night. And at the moment I am afraid it is still rather unique.

After getting it, and thinking of everyone I knew that had had cancer, I asked the only important question I could think of, “How much time do I have?”

And here is what was unique.

She replied, “No. You misunderstand. We are going to cure you.”

Some time later, after my treatment concluded, I discussed this moment with the other participants in the weekly support group. It was, we decided, a moment of whiplash. Obviously good whiplash, but none-the-less it felt like crashing and there was lots of confusion even in its hopefulness.

I think about this often. Across the street with our hypothesis and experiments, chemicals and calculator, lectures and seminars we are trying to do just this. We are trying to give more and more people – everyone – this whiplash. Or at least until even the bite of the word cancer is forgotten.

So, here I am, a "survivor." But I don’t see myself that way. Perhaps because, compared with others, I was touched so lightly – the survivor guilt doesn’t allow it. Or maybe because I don’t feel wiser, or more generous, or less worried about the vagaries of life – these wonderful gift others have reported after a brush with mortality. I’m still just me.

No I am not a survivor. I wasn’t cured to be a survivor. I was cured so that I could be just me.

So let me end by telling you a story that pleased me.

During my last round of chemothereapy I took Neulasta. The most painful drug I have ever taken. I guess I never had bone pain before. I now know what "to writhe" means. But it kept me healthy. I heard it was developed at the hospital. In fact, it was discovered in a lab on the floor where I worked – and further, Dr Malcom Moore was still around. So a few days later I stopped by work and found him outside of his office. I told him I had just taken his drug. I thanked him. And he smiled. And then we both smiled.

Thank you very much.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Today is a great day to donate. Two marathons and two charities! Let's raise a combined $6,500 for cancer research through Fred's Team and low-income seniors with Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E.)!

Donate to H.O.M.E. here. Donate to Fred's Team here. More information here!

I understand why Cain's face fell. Farming is hard work. Or it would be if I stuck at it for more than a few hours. Fortunately, I only had to play at being a farmer. Here are a few pictures I took when I was supposed to be weeding and picking and otherwise actually working. If you want to get a bit of dirt under your fingernails and feel connected to the earth, your food, and all that grows under the sun, then visit Bare Bottom Farms.

The laborers entering the garden.
The farmer and his tomato.

Grapes. Not really part of the farm, but I like how they are growing on rebar.
Cole Slaw, Big Mama, and Pig. Recycling unsold vegetables into pork.
It's all work on the farm until someone falls into the river.
Guarding the farm with the biggest tongue I've ever seen.
More Produce
Even more produce
Work doesn't stop just because the sun goes down.
Squash get a cooling bath before being sent to CSA members.
And the earth brought forth vegetation...