A guest blog – by Daughter, Jessica.
My daughter, Jessica, is one of my kitchenaire assistants. I have been known to lovingly and in great fun, call her a scullery maid. Jessica is in the U.S. Army and a tough gal who speaks Russian. No scullery maid she. She is however, a study in conflicts.
She is a pretty, little pixie looking girl – but tough as nails. She is traveled, even living in Kiev in the past – yet enjoys the small town peace and character. She has a degree from MSU in Russian and possibly seeks deployment into scary areas of the world – yet happily dons a “Fetching Apron” and becomes a scullery maid for a day. She reads War and Peace – but is currently helping me write a humorous cookbook.
So….that was a long intro….but I wanted you to know the author. She writes about Amanda (and Kyle) who have gone from learning from me at Bygone Basics to create a phenomenal project. At our first session, I actually asked Amanda if she knew how to pare an apple. (she did) My comments are italicized in red (my favorite color):
Bygone Basics was sad to lose Amanda Goudreau, but we all must grow up. Amanda was a celebrated Kitchenaire
Assistant in the days when Bygone Basics was still young and living in the suburbs of Whitehall, MI. (Amanda was my “scullery maid” for a long time and helped me build Bygone Basics into what it is and dreamt the dream of Amanda’s Bequest B&B with me as well. She seems to think I named it after her!! I am forever grateful for her friendship and assistance). After marrying Kyle, who had just arrived back home from Iraq, (his absence nearly drove Amanda….and those of us around her …CRAZY. We are so glad he’s back and safe.) the couple moved to Kalamazoo to attend the university there. To Mom, (Valerie) it must have seemed like one of her chicks was leaving the nest, but I knew that it meant the ideals Bygone Basics was founded on was simply spreading to a new city. And how right I was! ( I really tried hard to talk them into giving up the silly notion of attending University 😉 and having them buy a farmhouse just down the street….)
Kyle and Amanda Goudreau are excited to announce the opening of their community garden. There is a hideous, vacant half-lot directly next to their new house, and a condemned house on the other side of that. Why not make good use of it? If all goes well in their endeavors for the next couple of months, they will be able to use that plot of land to start a community garden….and hopefully they will even be able to remove the mostly-dead tree that stands smack-dab in the center of it. Currently, they are still in the planning stages, but the more community support they gain from the start, the easier it will go for them. Luckily, they already managed to find a supporter willing to fund 100% of their project, and to also help out with any legal matters that may need attending to. (I’m not going to lie, I fought a tear when I watched them find out they weren’t fighting an uphill battle alone.) We were/are SO PROUD of them.
Local people will be able to secure a plot for a very small fee, which has yet to be decided, and will be provided with every opportunity to be successful in gardening their plot from the very beginning. They are also hoping to get some chickens for the garden, so that local children will be able to hunt for eggs, and will have a better understanding of where their food comes from, in all it’s forms. In addition to the garden, itself, Amanda and Kyle will be hosting several workshops, about one per week. They will, of course, be free to attend, and will cover such topics as: drying out seeds and saving them for the following year, vermiculture – composting with worms, animal husbandry – mainly with raising and breeding chickens and rabbits, and plenty of generic ones about gardening that will be immediately applicable on the plot. (Understand that this isn’t just a pretty pipe dream. These two Goodreaus are outstanding and intelligent young people – Amanda is in the Chemistry field and Kyle is studying Medicine. I have zero doubt they will make numerous impacts on the world as they proceed through life.)
Any surplus crops from the community garden will be donated to local food pantries. The over-arching mission for this project is to promote community cohesiveness, and to improve the surrounding area through inspiration.
Jessica wrote this blog a few weeks ago….(yes, Jessica, I know, I know….it took too long for me to post! But at least now I can add this good news follow-up…) A follow-up note from Amanda tells us:
“Well guys, we did it. We’ve been given the green light for the Den Adel Community Garden Project. There are a few last legal details to iron out but we should be breaking ground before the end of the month. That gives us just enough time to get the tree removed, lay the beds, and get a fence up before the ground freezes.”
There may have been occasional silliness occurring in the Bygone Basics kitchen (with Valerie Hanson, Mary Lynn Rabe, and Amanda (Putnam) Goodreau
If you are in or about the Kalamazoo, Michigan (USA) area and wish to be a part of this very neat project, let me know and I will put you in touch with Amanda.
Do you have a desire to learn some of these progressive AND retro (talk about conflicting words) skills (gardening, canning, baking, raising chickens/ducks, soap making, butter churning, composting…etc)? Come visit Bygone Basics at Amanda’s Bequest! Heck….you can even stay here while you learn (true immersion).
CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD HARVEST WISHES TO AMANDA AND KYLE.