Growing a person.

In March of this year, things were beginning to sprout up on the farm, and I started growing a person.  So many things have happened since – the peak season has come and gone, family and friends have visited and departed, all while this little boy has been diligently working in solitude, and now, with the days turned inward and our Christmas tree casting an inviting light on the den, we await his arrival, our grandest present.

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The quack shack.

We’ve got a new mobile coop at Apricot Lane.  Introducing… The Quack Shack!  Congratulations Dave Schrecengost (my dad!) for the clever name.  The duck house naming competition was fierce.  The winner beat out, “The Quack Pearl”, “The Jolly Quacker” led by Captain Quack Sparrow (of course), “The Quackmobile”, “Moby Duck” and more. In the photo above, can you see one of the ducks taking in the view?   Quacks me up.

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Sunny days.

We’re on the back side of summer at the farm.  The days are still long, but they are growing shorter with each breathe.  Yesterday, I felt the first tiny glimpse of fall.  I know summer will still be here in all-encompassing stretches, but her underbelly is there, ready to bring us light sweaters and glowing pumpkins.


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Eyes wide open.

Today’s my Mother’s day.  We’ve all got a mum, and we share a unique experience of this universal day.  When I was a kid, my mom was really good at nurturing.  My memories involve a cool, soft  sheet spread on the sofa when I was feeling puny.  Having to tell her “3 things that happened today” when I got home from school, and dinner on the table every night, a task that I can’t even begin to comprehend.  She helped me explore my imagination and took me to ballets.   She was and is a work in progress, but she’s become very honest about that fact.  She’s raw, creative and real.  She’s developed a resiliency that I think runs counter to how most age.  And, her ability to grow into acceptance of her sharp edges and imperfections is teaching me how to let go of my own battles with perfectionism.  I’ve found the personal growth of my parents’, even from my perspective as a 34-year old grown adult, teaches me faster than almost anything else.  Their willingness to adapt, learn, change, feel and grow sparks deep inspiration and even quiet skills to do the same within my own life.  I find it freeing to think that I don’t have to be perfect to parent.  I just have to keep living, accepting and becoming.

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Set Your DVR – Apricot Lane’s on Oprah!

Hi Friends of Organic Spark & Apricot Lane Farms,

My talented husband, John Chester, created a beautiful short film about Apricot Lane Farms that will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network during her Emmy award winning show ‘Super Soul Sunday‘ this Sunday, March 24th.  It’s filled with all sorts of adorable animals, fresh green grass, happy chickens and more!

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you might like to see the grass-fed farming message reach more folks, too. Therefore, we need your help!  If you feel the urge, please update your Facebook status, tell your friends, set your DVRs, gather your family around the TV and enjoy!

‘Super Soul Sunday’ airs at 11am ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.  However, DirecTV might pick up the East Coast feed and air at 8am on the WEst Coast.  To be sure, you can tell by clicking on the channel finder on (link here: and typing in your provider and zip code.

If you don’t have OWN, no worries… there is also a LIVE simulcast available at

Our short film will follow Oprah’s interview with author, Brene Brown, titled Oprah & Brene Brown: Living With A Whole Heart (pay attention here because 2 interviews with Brene are back-to-back, it’s after the second one). Stay tuned when they wrap the interview, our piece is featured in a segment known as ‘Sacred Spaces’.

And, this piece is only a preview of what’s to come.  John’s signed on to do more short films about various happenings on the farm.  Up next… Little Lamb: Birth to Fresh Green Grass.

Lots of love,


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The tone of the farm is different at the moment.  It is winter, projects become more restorative, whereas the spring & summertime are all about sprinting to keep up.  John and I are using this breath to finish two creative projects.  I’m hard at work on the cookbook, which will be woven with images from the farm.  Filling my early mornings and late evenings with recipe tests and writing.  

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Just when you’re looking the other way…

I’ve found, over the years, that my path finds me, for the most part.  Though very hard work, sticking your neck out there, trying and occasionally failing are all important processes, they’re mostly just practice to get you ready for the moment when life finds you, which is exactly what happened to The Traditional Foods Cookbook.

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Comings and goings.

A friend of John’s came out to the farm last week.  Steve is a great farm guest.  He settles in, finds his own routine and helps where he can.  I actually think we wore him out a bit this time.  Not so much that he won’t come back, but enough that he’d occasionally say, “I just couldn’t DO this every. single. day.  Like maybe for three or four days, and then, I would just need to SIT DOWN…

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Hi pretty girl.

Of all the animals on the farm, whenever asked who’s my favorite, I’ve always answered Guppy the goat.

We lost Gup.  And, it was a sad day at the farm.

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Rolling with the punches.

A few weeks back, a fun event on the farm was scheduled to take place in 72 hours, and the super-cool chef I had lined up was forced to cancel.  Bummer.  Luckily, an equally exciting chef signed-on, who also had to cancel with 48 hours to go.  Sigh…

Then… I saw that lightbulb!

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