Monday, September 26, 2011

Homesteading in Baltimore

Cute Ruby on the Ferry tour of Baltimore harbour
Over the weekend we spent some quality time with good friends from our days at Michigan State University. Angie is an anthropologist who now runs a small home-based business for environmentally conscious parents (Urban Homesteaders) and Daniel is a journalist working with refugees in a local NGO.

To pass the long and frozen winter months in Michigan we had a tradition with Dan and Angie: long dinners with fondue and arghileh. Of course, muggy fall in Maryland didn't provide the proper setting to remember old times.

Instead, we walked around, went for a stroll through the neighborhood to see a little bit of their neck of the woods, played with daughter Ruby, and learned some German. Let me back up and explain something. Angie is originally from Baltimore and Daniel is from Germany. Ruby has learned both languages and, like some Arabic speakers I know, sometimes interchanges between the two, often within the same sentence. Lucía got to practice her rusty German, but for me it was sometimes a challenge!

On our morning walk to the local bakery
The family has a couple of hens in their backyard, with quite the personalities. Yin & Yang, as they are called, looove to pick treats from the compost pile. Having poultry in urban areas is a new trend, sometimes a controversial one, that falls in along the other sustainable and local food initiatives. In addition to raising Yin & Yang, Dan and Angie also compost all their organic waste, have a low-key garden that supplies the family with fresh veggies for their vegetarian diet, and have a zero-tolerance policy for canned goods.

Look ma! I'm in Lucia's Wellingtons!
On Sunday, despite heavy rain and thunderstorm forecasts (September turned out to be the rainiest month in Baltimore in the last 80 years or so), the weather cooperated and we were also able to visit local farm for a kid-friendly outing. The farm had a number of activities for the young ones to get into the fall spirit: pumpkins galore!

Koi fish pond at the local farm

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