1. This article on NPR about the hardships that younger or first-generation farmers are having getting into the business. The thing about family farming is that you really don't make much money because the costs are enormous, especially for those who aren't inheriting any of their land or equipment. Machines can cost into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, seed corn and pesticides are more expensive all the time, and keeping everything in working order requires constant effort and even more in the way of expenditures.
The younger crowd getting into this now works harder than ever at making a living off it. One of the examples is a young woman getting into raising pigs, who is working a second job on the side to help pay the bills while she gets off the ground. On top of the usual issues of how much land costs and the sheer expense needed to afford the machinery early on, my generation pushes the organic, locally grown, low-pesticide thing in a big way. That offsets some costs (pesticides and GMO seeds can have insane prices) but organic and pesticide-free food requires, often, even more work on the farmer's part to keep it from getting torn apart by insects and invasive weeds (or ensuring that the farmer never discovers that Monsanto's GMO seeds "accidentally" sprouted in his non-GMO fields). This can translate into more work and more costs in certain areas.
They talked a little bit about this on the radio on my way home from work last night, and at the end of the segment the guy doing the interviewing climbed up into a tractor. He was pretty clearly a city kid, and listening to him marvel over how big it was... I really enjoyed that. Until I moved here to South Carolina I grew up surrounded by farmers, farmer's kids and people who knew the routine of when tractors would be on the roads in the spring and fall. It's fun to be reminded of how impressed by the machinery people can be when they don't see it every day.
I miss seeing it every day.
Never thought I'd say that.
2. So I wrote a couple of outfit posts ago about growing into liking the Gap. Well, that growing-into-it faded somewhat quickly, although not all the way. I snagged a green shirt of theirs, that I'm wearing in the aforementioned outfit post, and it already has worn holes in it from being so threadbare. I work in a museum, but I often have to stand with my abdomen leaning up against a slightly-too-high counter while talking to visitors. Within two wears, this wore holes in the front of my new Gap shirt.
This makes Katie a sad panda. Do people still say 'sad panda'? Was that ever actually a thing people said, or did I make that up?
Huh. I'll have to check into that.
Anyway, I'm not really buying much from the Gap anymore, but I still check their new arrivals, and this outfit is absolutely perfect. I'm trying to figure out how to recreate something similar, and I think I've fairly well got it decided. I have my awesome new red clay-colored pants, I have a beige T-shirt (not a turtleneck like in the photo, because ew turtlenecks are the devil), and I have a denim shirt.
I think I came up with a new outfit for fall and I don't even have to buy anything.
Let's all take a moment to savor the magic and wonder of it all, and hear my bank account sigh with relief.
3. This art print of South Carolina. The heart's not quite in the right place, but the cool thing about this shop is that they can customize the placement of the heart. I'm thinking this would look great on our living room wall once we get the whole thing painted.
No, we haven't finished it yet. I need someone to come babysit the dog in the backyard while we do it, because it's hours of work and we are soft-hearted shmucks who can't bear his sad little face pressed up against the back door.
The upside to this is that I have friends who will babysit him if I just remember to ask, and they are the kind of friends who enjoy being paid in beer and pizza.
And then I get a new art print for the wall!
Except my bank account, which now looks worried again.
What I'd really like to have one of these of South Carolina, and one of Illinois, side-by-side.
4. For a long time I both A. didn't want to spend any money on shoes and B. didn't wear leather.
I'm not sure what kind of ethical point I thought I was making by not wearing leather; I basically eat beef just for revenge against how smelly cows are, and I never stopped. Somehow my not-wearing-leather thing stuck for a long time, though, and I found myself wearing endless pairs of cheap canvas shoes.
The upside to cheap canvas shoes is that they are cheap.
The downside is that they fall apart within a year or two from constant wear and tear.
Well, next year I am designating Year of the Shoes. I'm going to work on getting quality materials and craftsmanship back into my shoes, wearing nicer styles and working harder on making sure I'm buying things that will last.
In that vein, I am drooling over these Boden brogues. The blue-green Cypress color pictured is my favorite, but I love basically every shade they come in. Can I afford even one pair?
But you can't stop a lady from dreaming.
5. This little sketch from Rachel over at Floral Prints & Common Sense, from a series of classwork sketches she put up just a couple of days ago.
She's a blogger I've just found out about and kind of took a shine to right away. She's an Illustration major, and we've discussed before that Illustration is my favorite sort of subset of the art world, and one that I think is unfairly maligned and not given nearly enough attention.
She mostly seems to do personal style blogging, but she's put up several art posts and I love the dry style of humor that infuses each and every one. Check out the "illustration" page at the top of her blog!
In fact, I like her stuff so much I'm going to make you look at another one from the same post:
Oddball animal illustrations are just basically the top of my list right now, and these are perfect.
I was going to tell you a little something more about her blog, and realized from her sidebar 'About' that she's from South Carolina. Cool, I thought. I like showing South Carolina artists. Wonder where from. I go about my business, click through her etsy shop because I have no willpower when it comes to buying art prints, and...
she actually lives in the same town as I do.
Soooo now I feel kinda like a stalker.