Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm


Monsanto. In the Pet Store. With the Debit Card.

I am not Catholic.  I am pissed off.  I am giving up Monsanto for Lent.

This is Day 7.

Me: 5 – Monsanto: 1 

It was going so well, yesterday’s shopping trip.  Produce section?  All organic.  Fish counter?  Wild-caught, please.  Toiletries?  No thanks, got all  natural ones from Tropical Traditions. 

Then came the pet store.  I’d been dreading buying dog food because I knew that, caught between markups and Monsanto, my pocketbook would cower in abject horror.

Remember when I switched my own diet to organic?  This was worse:

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To avoid Monsanto, I needed an organic product.  To get the best bark for my buck, nutritionally speaking, I needed it to be grain-free.  As it turns out, I couldn’t have both.  Organic was available (1 option).  Grain-free was available (4+ options).  One brand even featured wild venison (with a side of rice).

Nothing organic and grain-free.  Worse, nothing in my price range. 

I do not have teacup pomeranians.  I have greyhounds.  Ironman has a large,  black lab.  Among them, they eat 2.25 pounds of dry food daily.  The only organic option, canned Organix, would run at least $300/month — and that’s using the sale price.

And so, I am ashamed to report that I stuck with my usual non-organic, not-grain-free brand, for less than 1/3 the price.  At least it’s local.  Sigh.

For my cat, who doesn’t eat as much, I made the same decision I’d make for myself if I had to:  grain-free, but not organic.  I hope (but can’t verify) that Blue Buffalo cat food contains no GMOs.

AND, I just now realized that I also bought athletic socks.  Made with cotton.

Excuse me while I drown myself in a bucket of Round-up.


Read all posts in the Monsanto Project Series.



As the cat lapses into savagery by night, and barbarously explores the dark,
so primal and titanic is a woman with love madness.

~ Frank Gelett Burgess


is a new greyhound…
rescued from a track that closed in Kansas…
with a new friend…
and a big yard…

and a forever home.

Welcome, little Goblin, to In the Night Farm.

Why the muzzles, you ask? It’s certainly not because greyhounds are violent. Rather, they’re one of the gentlest breeds you’ll ever have the pleasure to know. But they do have thin skins that tear easily, so a playful nip could mean a trip to the vet for stitches. That’s why many greyhound owners use muzzles, especially while new dogs get to know each other.

Housekeeping Hound

Being the family chef means that holiday meals fall to me, which is nice because I’m just a tiny bit of a control freak when it comes to my kitchen. The downside is that company means housekeeping.

Now, I’m not a complete slob — in fact, I can’t bear clutter — but I do ascribe to the wise saying that “a clean house is a sign of a misspent life.”

Fortunately, I have a capable cleaning assistant. Yesterday, she helped me dispose of the extra roll of toilet paper I left out.

This also encouraged me to sweep, thereby accomplishing one of my least favorite chores. Which I’m sure was precisely her intent.

Thanks, Wyrsa.

Kitchen Helper

I’m not a fan of kitchen gadgets. Most of them are good for three things:

1) Christmas gifts when you don’t know what else to buy. (Hey, s/he likes to cook, I’ll bet s/he’ll love this juicer-coffee maker-corkscrew-hoopa combo!);

2) Taking up that annoying, extra cupboard space in your kitchen; and

3) Filling your spare time with disassembly and reassembly of 15 razor-sharp parts.

That said, I do recommend a select few kitchen gadgets:

1) An ulu. Best. Invention. Ever. Thank you, native Alaskans. Hide-scraping notwithstanding, you have done a wonderful thing for all my slicing and dicing needs.

2) A immersion blender. Think cream soups without the cream, and no dirty blender to assemble, use, disassemble, wash, and reassemble.

3) A microplane zester. How did i zest citrus without this? I also use it for hard cheeses, chocolate, and spices.

4) A bookend. Something has to hold up the cookbooks!

Her name is Souffle. In addition to bookending, she is good for pre-washing the butter dish if we forget to cover it, tripping the cook (particularly while said cook is carrying a saucepan full of marinara), and being too cute to incur the cook’s wrath.

Blasted kitchen gadgets.

Classy Clown

No farm is complete without a dog.

Most farms around here feature obese labradors or border collies that eat espresso beans for breakfast. I suppose these are logical choices — hardy, hairy, and happy about life in the mud and manure.

At In the Night Farm, however, we believe in being different. We adopted a greyhound.

This is Wyrsa. Unlike most greyhounds obtained through rescue organizations, she was never a racetrack dog. Instead, she was obtained from a breeder in our area who sells greyhound/Irish wolfhound crosses to farmers to hunt coyotes.

Greyhounds are not attack dogs, but they’re plenty fast enough to run down coyotes. The usual coyote-hunting technique is to release a greyhound or two with some slower but more vicious dogs. The greyhounds catch the coyote and keep it busy long enough for the other dogs to catch up and finish it off…hopefully before the greyhound suffers injury.

Wyrsa, blissfully unaware of her thwarted career path, hunts the rare Idaho Blue Hippo instead.

A wyrsa is a mythical creature created by fantasy author Mercedes Lackey. According to Travis, who reads Lackey’s novels, wyrsa are evil beasts resembling a cross between a serpent and a greyhound.

Pure evil.

Though still full of energy at 10 months of age, Wyrsa already exhibits characteristic greyhound couch-potato tendencies. Her motto: Why stand when you could lie down? Yes, even on the bath mat while Mama is in the shower.

Life is ruff.