10 Reasons My In-Laws Think I’m Stark, Raving Mad

I went for a run today on our farm road. I caused quite a panic; my in-laws had never seen such outlandish behavior. They had heard of people running for exercise, but never seen it in the flesh. They thought that I was running towards a crisis. They’re never quite sure what to do with […]

Sexing the Banana*

The epitome of the feminine, the papaya, can only be planted by women. Heck, in some parts of the Spanish-speaking world it is another word for vulva, which in my opinion beats beaver any day. (By the way, I could talk at length at how both Spanish and Portuguese are far better a describing the […]

10 Skills I Will Teach My Children

As we work to fix up and give new life to the family farm where we live, I realize that a lot of our success is due to our accumulated skills. I get the impression that a lot of observers in the community think that it is because we came back with lots of American […]

Animal Farm: Os Bichos

As a linguist I have a love for words descriptive and versatile. Bicho ranks right up there with fuck in its versatility. Insert it wherever words fail you: pega isse bicho lá para mim? (grab that whatzit over there for me?) and with a certain air of the expletive: bicho está trabado! (damn thing is […]

Root Survival

Yucca Mandioca Cassava Poetry in vowels. Survival in a root. Hairy, fibrous, dirty layer on the outside, White gold inside. Tall and scraggly on top. You are the garden’s nerdy child. Blown down by the your bones snap at the slightest wind, slightest movement, but when you touch the ground each part of you begins […]


(This post was published accidentally about a week ago before it was complete.  The mistake was quickly corrected, but some people got a 404 error as a result.  Sorry for the confusion!  Here it is in its finished state.) Without language, we strip human interaction down to it’s most basic. I find I learn a lot […]

Killing Day

I pile brush under a sky pewter gray. Vultures circle overhead over the field one hill away where a cow past her prime is being laid to rest. Beef which forms income to purchase the next generation. I pile brush dry and crackling so that we can burn it; hours of labor gone in fiery […]


When our nephew appeared in the open window and waved his father outside I didn’t think much of it. When he appeared again and waved my husband outside and my husband left with his arm wrapped around the boy’s shoulders, I knew something was up. What disaster had occurred to call away all the men […]

Animal Farm

In a rural world where there is more than enough work to go around, even the animals have jobs. The cows are The Breadwinners, beginning their work day early to provide the milk that is the backbone of our income. On Sundays when there is no milk delivery they instead give us cheese and doce […]