I’m Reanna Rosemarie Alder.
For over a year I have been documenting my creative and domestic labours at The Daily Make. That project will tell you a lot about my life.
As for backstory, I earned a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria in 2006, and have published short fiction and non-fiction (including an article about butchering and eating a roadkill raccoon, and one about trailer homesteading in the Mojave). I have worked as an editor and features editor.
These days I live with my husband in a vintage travel trailer in Joshua Tree, California. Our trailer is a 1962 Kenskill, 8′ wide by 24′ long. It took us (mostly Nathen) six months to fix up before we moved in. The plan was inspired by thriftiness and the tiny homes movement.
We are in the process of renovating a house to live in, and so I am nose-deep in natural building, A Pattern Language and passive solar architecture. We are working towards setting up a homestead that makes the most of the desert’s abundant solar energy, catches rain water and uses ground water several times before putting it back into the ground.
Back in 2009, when I was in the midst of falling in love with my husband, I saw a strip quilt in the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft gift shop and I thought, “I could do that.” Three months later I gave him a huge quilt for Christmas; we got engaged 10 days later. Quilting and gift-giving remain intimately connected.
Cooking and Eating
I love food. The book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human has changed the way I think about food (the kitchen is our external digestive system). We keep a copy of On Food and Cooking next to the dinner table and refer to it often (“What is tapioca, anyway?”). Other favourite cookbooks include The 4-Hour Chef (Tim Feriss guided me through cooking my first whole chicken, with fantastic results) and Authentic Mexican.
I’m immersed in the traditional/paleo foods conversation, which means everyone I read has read Weston Price. We eat a lot of saturated fats and leafy greens, and are trying to make bone broth and organ meats a regular part of our diet.
I love fermenting. With the guidance of Mr. Sandor Katz and The Art of Fermentation I’ve been making sauerkraut, kimchi, tibicos, chili peppers, juniper berry water and ginger bug.