Dishing Up the Dirt

The Farm Diaries (the playing catch-up addition!)

November 16, 2020

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted on the blog a personal story or update on real life at the farm. For a while there I wanted the website to be a place for recipes only. Short and sweet descriptions of the food and not much else. This blog has evolved A LOT in the decade (I can’t believe it’s been over 10 years!) that I’ve been writing here. And while it felt nice to take a break from personal stories and focus on recipes only, I am in a season of life where I feel like I want to circle back to where I found a lot of my joy over the years. Writing is something that I love and sharing glimpses of farm life has brought so much happiness over the years and I’d love to do more of that again. So here I am! Ready to slow down a bit in this late autumn season here at the farm and dedicate a bit more time to cooking, writing, and re-connecting with you all. I know many of you have been with me since day one (when the blog was called A Farmer in the Dell) and I also know a lot of you folks do not use Instagram (which is where I share glimpses into our personal life). My goal over the next year is to actually move away from social media and sponsored posts and focus on this space more. Like I said, a lot has changed and it feels better to be sharing life on this platform with a smaller, more intimate group of people.  So for those of you who have have stuck with me through the highs and lows of this website, THANK YOU! And for those of you who are just here for the food, there will be plenty of that and you can simply skip these “farm diary” posts. I totally get it.

So without further ado, I’m going to give you all a little glimpse into what the last year has been like. I’ll probably do this in a series of “catch up” posts so this first one won’t end up being a novel. But I guess I will start with the biggest, greatest, most important life update for those of you who do not know.

On March 14th, at 3:03pm, I met the love of my life. Our daughter, Pepper, was born safely at home right into her fathers arms after 40 + hours of labor. It took a lot of fight to get her here but damn, she has been the absolute greatest gift to her mom and dad.

The day after her grand arrival the world shut down. My folks we’re only able to see her through a glass window. I was on bedrest for a month and have never missed or needed my own mom more than during that long, scary, and unsteady month. Honestly, with all the unknowns about the state of the world, lockdowns, people dying, and being a brand new, totally clueless mom, I felt more scared than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Looking down at my brand new baby, watching the devastating news around the world, seeing all the tragedies and unknowns of COVID, I felt like the world was literally going to end. The hormones didn’t help!! And I know (hormones aside) many of you felt the same way. Those early days in the spring were so scary! We had just brought this tiny, innocent, and beautiful new person into the world and I didn’t know what to think about the whole situation. I wanted to protect this precious little girl yet I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to stay safe. I already felt like I was failing as a mom. Not to mention, I was supposed to stay horizontal as much as possible that first month for my own physical recovery from childbirth. But I’ll tell you all one thing, it’s pretty much impossible to stay on bedrest when the world is on lockdown and you can’t have extended family enter your house to help out. Needless to say, my recovery ended up taking a lot longer due to all the things! It was a dark time, and yet, there was also so many beautiful moments as Taylor and I were falling head over heels in love with this rad little lady.

Despite not being able to have family and friends help out, I have to say we felt the love. We have the kindest neighbors who would drop off bone broth, meatloaf, lasagna and stew on a regular basis. One of my best friends made 5 different meals for us as our baby gift (we didn’t do a baby shower and asked for nothing, but I will say, I am so happy we said YES to her offer of the food, even before we knew about COVID) Every other day we would get messages from our neighbors or friends that something warm was on our doorstep. I cried many times because I was so thankful for our amazing community.

Those early days of Pepper’s life Taylor was busy working the fields solo. We were still preparing for the farm season despite COVID and had a completely full CSA (110 families which is our most to date!) and the farmers market was still on schedule to go on. There were still plenty of unknowns but our seeds had already been ordered (the previous winter), and we knew that people still needed to eat! There was actually something really comforting about knowing that the farm didn’t know there was a pandemic and being outside, feeling the dirt on our skin and planting seeds gave us so much hope.

As the days went on Pepper got a few more “window” visits. She met her uncle Adam through the glass which was such a special moment. She already met my sister Amy because Amy was at her birth and was the only outside person aside from my midwives to lay eyes on her not through glass.

Those early days of motherhood were a blur. It’s true what they say- two opposite things can exist at the same time- We were so happy and full of love, while also feeling so scared, alone and vulnerable. About 5 weeks into motherhood, totally sleep deprived and still physically unable to do much myself, my mom came. We all did a “two week quarantine” before she came into our home and the rest is history. I honestly wish we had ripped that bandaid off earlier. We just didn’t know. But here we are, 8 months later and I’m so grateful that we finally got some outside support. My heart aches for anyone doing motherhood alone. It just isn’t supposed to work like that.

Becoming Pepper’s mom has been the best damn thing to ever happen to me. The year before I got pregnant was one of the darkest years of my life. Finding out I was pregnant was a total shock and those 9 months of carrying this little babe in my belly are some of the brightest memories I’ve got. She has saved my life in so many ways. This little girl has made me more compassionate, vulnerable, scared, less judgmental, patient, accepting, and loving. Basically, she’s made me feel more alive, more human. The good, bad, and messiness of it all.

So I will leave it at that. This post pretty much captures early spring for us. I hope wherever this post finds you that you all are healthy, staying safe (and sane!!) during this crazy year. Thank you for reading along everyone. I will pick up where we left off in a few weeks with another farm diaries post. Until then, I will get back to sharing recipes here. And with that, I hope you are able to spend some time in your kitchen, zoom or skype with people you love, or if you’re even luckier, cook and eat a meal in person with your family. Sending love, hope and a lot of light your way.

Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm. xoxo

Leave a Reply

40 thoughts on “The Farm Diaries (the playing catch-up addition!)

  1. Ruth says:

    I rejected social media at the end of last year. It makes me so happy to be able to read this blog and keep being inspired by your recipes, farming details, and personal insights here your own space of the internet. Shanti.

  2. Nora says:

    I’ve been reading from the early days of Farmer in the Dell and also had a pandemic baby, so really feeling your post!

  3. Laura T Birrell says:

    So beautiful. I know so well the effect of the love of your life being the little one you carried as a parasite who then holds your heart in their eyes and you realize your heart no longer lives in your chest. You are such a beautiful Mama inside and out. Xoxo

  4. mary vreeland says:

    Congrats!! Great photos! Very happy for you all.


  5. Deb Focht says:

    She is so cute. Love the T-shirt.
    O, yes, the hormones. Crying and laughing at the drop of a hat.
    So glad that you had such a caring community. My DIL had her baby in quarantine and it was not a pleasant experience. So glad it was the two of you and not all that poking and prodding. Love your blog.

  6. Cheryl Montaigne says:

    Each of my two girls were 48 hours before they showed themselves off. It was love at first sight. The one thing I really loved about being in the hospital was that it was the only time I didn’t have to cook, do dishes or clean the house.

  7. sassygirl says:

    congratulations to the entire family!
    she is so sweet! i adore her tee shirt.
    stay safe…

  8. Lorrie says:

    Beautiful photos of your sweet family. Welcome Pepper! I missed seeing you all at the market this year, and playing marimba there. This year has been one for the books, but new life brings hope. Our first grand was born June 13 in CT. I was lucky to be able to meet him for 2 hours when he was 3 weeks old, as I’d been back there 2 weeks to help care for my mom who was recovering from a fall. Now video chats have to suffice. So happy your mom was finally able to help you. We moms feel pretty helpless in the face of Covid! Got your new book last week, LOVE it. Glad you returned to the blog. Keep posting! Hugs all around.

  9. Jewel McKenzie says:

    Thanks to you and Taylor for sharing so much of your lives with all of us. I, too, feel as though this community is my extended family and I am grateful

  10. Corinne says:

    Beautiful family and your story brought tears to my eyes, tears of joy and also your passionate heartache touched my soul.
    Thank you for sharing, we all need to reach out to family and friends for support.
    Been following you on this blog for a very long time.

  11. Gloria Endres says:

    Congratulations, she is beautiful. I love your food posts and since I am vegetarian look for anything that you post along those lines. Best wishes for a lovely winter season.
    Warmest regards,

  12. Tina says:

    What a beautiful LUCKY baby!
    You were born for this.
    Warm hugs

  13. James says:

    Wonderful …, good work Andrea! Nice that you and your fine family are here in this Valley!

  14. Lenny says:

    Thank you! Much love and light to you…

  15. Lenny says:

    Thank you! Love and light to you…

  16. Candy Blash says:

    I love to read your stories, but darn if those pictures don’t speak volumes! Wonder and hope when we most need it. ☮️ on earth
    PS. I have graced several households with your LOCAL DIRT much to their delight!

  17. Rachel Gilman says:

    This is so beautiful!! And congratulations to you both for welcoming a brand new babe into the world!! I have loved your story and recipes very much and while you don’t know me or I you other than these lovely posts and your cookbook, I want to send you the positive healthy vibes of love and support because I believe so much and admire immensely what you are achieving on that farm of yours and hope one day I can do something similar. So thank you for building a community of caring people around the basics–food and love.

  18. Maria says:

    Congrats on the birth of your beautiful baby girl. Thanks for sharing your heart warming story.

  19. Tom Hume says:

    Sooo good to hear the wonderful story! Very happy for you , what a great thanksgiving season it is !

  20. Thiên Gretchen says:

    Lovely. And congratulations on baby girl! Thank you for sharing your life and family with us all!

  21. Marcia says:

    What a beautiful little baby and a great piece of writing. I am sending this e-mail from the Cambridgeshire countryside in the UK. I really enjoy your recipes and they always taste and look good. I wish you and your family all the very best for the future.

  22. Julie says:

    Utterly beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  23. Kate Berry says:

    What lovely photos of you, your family and the baby!
    Thank you for sharing! Stay well, stay safe!

  24. Pat Balch says:

    Congratulations! Your baby is absolutely beautiful. The lockdown has been hurtful to so many. I thought of you and your farm often and hoped that all was well. I visited your website saw that you had given birth and written another book which I immediately purchased. I think I felt that you would get past this Lockdown that was forced on us. My dear friend has been unable ( since the beginning) to visit her mom who resides in an assisted living home. It is frustrating for everyone. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family….

  25. Katie says:

    Thank you for your honesty. This post made me teary! Those loving faces through the glass… What a heart-breaking and heart-expanding time! <3

  26. Peggy Dickston says:

    Andrea I have so enjoyed all of your posts on social media and both of your cookbooks. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter. I am sure your parents and your Mom were beside themselves at the thought of not being able to be with you in those early days. It’s been a hell of a year for so many people. You and your husband should be so proud of all you have accomplished during such an emotional. Keep doing what you are doing you are an inspiration.

  27. Terri May says:

    OH, my heart feels so full seeing your beautiful blessing. Pepper is the sweetest little babe. I am thrilled that you will be posting more on your blog, as I too have spent less time on social media. Blessings to you and Taylor and your sweet Pepper. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures.

  28. Margaret F Whalen says:

    Thank you SO much for letting us all come to your (virtual) window and peek at your beautiful, splendid Pepper–and your sweet family. I’ve wondered how you were all doing….those first months are just hard and then lovely and then hard, even in the best of circumstances. I’m so glad your mom could come; there’s a deep, ages-old comfort in that. Take care of yourselves–and write when you want to but not when you don’t. So many of us are grateful for your presence in whatever form it takes!

  29. Ann says:

    This is wonderful. Congratulations! Thanks for your insight and honesty. Heartwarming.

  30. Phyll says:

    Andrea: thank you for sharing your extraordinary life with all of us. May God bless you and your precious family this Thanksgiving..we all have a lot to be thankful for (no matter how big or small).

  31. Kimberley Fielding says:


  32. Cari R Minor says:

    What a beauty. So happy for you and Taylor. Thank you for lifting us up with your writing and of course the recipes. Love, love the new cookbook.

  33. Nona Moore says:

    What a wonderful story!! Thank you for sharing it.

  34. Gail says:

    What a delight to hear (and see) what is going on there. I had searched for Farm Diaries and was afraid that you had moved on from them.
    Congratulations on your lovely daughter.
    Looking forward to more news from your most scenic farm.

  35. KC Ross says:

    So happy for you! And so happy to see The Farm Diaries resume. Congratulations.

  36. Nancy Denton says:

    Such a beautiful synopsis of your motherhood journey through these uncertain, scary months since Covid descended upon the world! Congratulations on your sweet little Pepper babe. Having brought 4 precious lives into this world myself (of course with the help of my wonderful husband), I can totally relate to all the emotional ups and downs that hormones play during and after pregnancy . All worth it though, in the end! I have been following your blog for years, love your recipes ( I have your cookbook “Dishing Up The Dirt”, great title,) and love your intimate, personal, heartwarming life stories! Thank you for sharing these uplifting thoughts, and sending light and hope out to your followers! Have a special Thanksgiving with your family

  37. Diane Allen says:

    I, too, been reading and saving recipes since Farmer in the Dell days and your move to Oregon.
    I have missed you terribly! It is amazing to hear your glorious story of finding new life in a dark world.
    Sending gratitude for the gift of hope you bring this old lady in Pennsylvania.

  38. Susan says:

    Hello. I am so glad I found you again. I followed you for years and lost you. So happy for you and Taylor. Welcome Pepper. Stay safe and healthy. Motherhood is awesome

  39. Jane Klosterman says:

    Thanks for sharing. So well written, and well received. I love your recipes, and your blog. Your cooking style is a fresh approach to the same ol’, same ol’ stuff everywhere else. Keep it up, and Bless you and your family –

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