These Hands Don't Belong to a Lady

*Note Scarlett's cleverly crafted frock, cut from the curtains at Tara...that's one resourceful chick!
Lately I've been thinking a lot about a certain scene from Gone with the Wind, in which Scarlett, impoverished by the war, feigns love for Rhett, hoping he will rescue her family from financial ruin. Rhett takes the bait, so glad to support her and have her love at last. All is going well... until he holds her hands in his.

The jig is up: "These hands don't belong to a lady!" Rhett scolds. "You've been working with them like a field hand! Why did you lie to me, and what are you really up to?" 

Busted. She's not what she's pretending to be, and he knows it. Her hands have given her away.

Last week I traveled to Manhattan for a few meetings, which felt like a step back in time for me. I ate at chic restaurants, traveled around in hired cars, and sipped expensive cocktails. And while I mostly felt right at home, a little voice in my head nagged at me: "do you think they've noticed your hands?" Since I last spent time in the Big Apple, my hands have changed considerably.

They are now the muscular hands of a hard working woman. Hands that bare the scars of  kitchen knives, sewing needles, hand saws, and poor hammer/nail calculations -- with cuticles torn and tattered, marked by particles of soil and paint no nail brush has been able to touch...calloused by trowels and rakes and the occasional wheel-barrel...hard laboring hands, that feel at home in both dirt and dough. In a word: rugged.

I suppose I could have gotten a manicure. But honestly, it never occurred to me.

I've changed a lot in the past few years, in hundreds of subtle, almost imperceptible ways. And then, there are the glaring changes too tangible to overlook...such as the fact that my ability to walk in high heels has all but vanished, and waiting in lines is now infinitely more irksome, and eating microwave dinners somehow feels like a compromise of character. And of course, there are my hands.

In many ways, our bodies tell the story of our lives. My tale is becoming a narrative about loving the land and working hard. My hands let you know I spend lots of time digging in the dirt and very little shopping at chic boutiques or eating at Michelin-rated restaurants. My hands make it clear I am not--as I once thought I would be--a "fancy lady."

And frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.


New Article: Your Best Vegetable Garden

For tips on getting your vegetable garden off to the right start this year, check out my article on page 29 of the spring issue of Simply The Sweet Life.

And while you're at it, don't forget to enter to win an adorable Kitchen Aid mixer, an Amy Butler gift package, some genuine Vermont maple syrup, and a collection of garden tools.

Happy Planting!

PS: My new blog design is up! What do you think?


Spring Cleaning!

Spring arrived fashionably late to Riverside Farm this year, but the season is finally upon us. We greeted it like bleary-eyed bears emerging from hibernation, a bit stiff and disoriented from hunkering down through the cold, dark winter.

But now the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and we are BUSY!

Kitchen: Work-in-progress
We are in the thick of a kitchen renovation, which will include refinishing existing cabinets, replacing the sink and counter tops, painting, and installing new hard wood floors. When we moved into this house last year, everything was lovely and livable, so we quickly unpacked and called it a day. But in recent months, we've been itching to customize things and make them our own...which is how the kitchen project was born. I am looking forward to posting some before and after photos..."after" can't get here quickly enough.

Next week, my adventures in bee keeping will commence when I drive down to Singing Cedars Apiary to pick up my new honey-making hombres, bring them home, and install them into two newly constructed hives. My parents are coming to visit so my dad, who kept bees when I was little, can assist.

And of course, there's plenty of work to do in the garden. Here in zone 4 the threat of frost is strong through May 15. To be safe, last year we planted our garden over Memorial Day weekend which worked out well. So I'm aiming to get everything in the ground by then.

I am also working on a little blog makeover, which I hope to get up by the end of the month.

There's one very important front which, unfortunately, has not advanced. We've had a record amount of rain in the past month, which has left the fields too soggy to drive on with tractors. So the crop schedule is already behind. We are hoping things dry out soon.

Wish us luck as we march onward and work double-time to get everything done!