It takes a village

I’m not always on top of things in the blogosphere, so I didn’t get the news about Wordbones until I got the HocoBlogs email on Saturday night. It put a damper on what had otherwise been a good Mother’s Day weekend. I’d never met the man in person – I’d never even gone out to any of the HoCo blogging events – but I wish I had. I loved reading his blog. I was very impressed by all of the details that he managed to acquire, and the easy writing style that he used to share what he knew. He really cared about the area, and it came through in his words.

It’s thanks in part to him that the HoCo blogging scene has developed into a crazy, wonderful, and close-knit community. I brooded about his death for a while, unsure of what to say, until it finally occurred to me that it would be a good tribute to acknowledge some of the HoCo blogs that I’ve come to love, that I might not ever have found without the community that he helped create.

First and foremost is HowChow. I don’t know how he does it, but the guy manages to eat all over the place and find out about everything new that’s coming into town. He’s always open to exploring new tastes and cuisines, and his enthusiasm is contagious; thanks to him I’ve got a thick forest of bookmarks for restaurants and markets all over the area. Whenever we sit down at an area restaurant, odds are that one of us is going to pull out a smartphone and say, “well, let’s see what HowChow ordered…” Reading his posts makes us feel like insiders. I still remember the feeling of excited discovery the first time I bit into the al pastor tacos from R&R Taqueria. And I gotta admit I was over the moon the first time he linked to this blog. ^_^ Thank you, HowChow, for making sure that we eat well.

Next, AnnieRie Unplugged. I want to be AnnieRie when I grow up. (Hopefully by then I will also have learned to grow plants without killing them.) To read her blog is to appreciate nature and good home cooking, to glory in the bounty of farms and parks all around us, to delight in beautiful flowers and found asparagus. I’ve already picked up lots of tips and tricks from her blog to prepare meals in easy and delicious ways, and to sock away fresh fruits and vegetables for the winter. I haven’t checked out the Howard County Conservancy yet, but when my kid is older, we’re definitely going on some of those walks.

Speaking of the kid, I should mention Do-It-Yourself Danielle. I’ve never commented on her blog, but I read it regularly and with great admiration. I don’t actually know how to use a sewing machine, but someday when I do, I hope to attain a fraction of her skills. Our cloth diapers are store-bought, but if the elastic starts to go, I know where I’ll turn for help. I love her candid stories about raising her son, and since her kid is just a little older than mine, I feel like she’s blazing a trail for me to follow.

And for when my kid is older still, I’m storing away knowledge from the blog of Lisa B, Mrs. S. I love the mix of topics on her blog, how tips for keeping kids occupied during a long car trip share space with wide-ranging commentary on the county school system and on society at large. She’s always paying attention to how to make the world a better place for her school-age children, and she does it with a thoughtful, flowing writing style that I just love to read.

As for thoughtful writing, there’s plenty to be found on The Rocket Powered Butterfly. He doesn’t post as often, but it’s worth the wait when he does. Each post is carefully crafted, exhaustively footnoted, and often offers me a perspective I hadn’t previously considered.

Posts don’t need to be long to be worthwhile, though. 53 Beers on Tap is one of the first blogs that sucked me into the community. This guy pulls no punches and I sometimes find myself disagreeing with what he says, but there’s no doubt that he cares deeply about the area and wants what’s best for everyone. It’s one of my go-to blogs for local politics, with a side of strong opinion.

I also regularly check on HoCo Rising for a comprehensive debrief of politics around the county. Tom Coale highlights people and news items that I would probably never have heard of, but am glad to learn about. I have no idea how he gathers all of his links but I’m glad he’s there to distill it down for us.

And finally, a world of gratitude to Jessie X, the glue that holds the HocoBlogs community together. When I first hesitantly offered my blog to the HocoBlogs directory, she was immediately welcoming and full of helpful advice. She does a lot of work to keep the community engaged and vibrant. Thank you, Jessie; this place wouldn’t be the same without you.

15 thoughts on “It takes a village

  1. Thank you, Kat, What a lovely write up and tribute. You’re spot on! Thanks in *BIG* part to Dennis for what our local community has become, both the blogging community and the community of readers. Thanks for being a part of it! ~ Jessie

    • It really is amazing to see the wonderful community you guys have managed to build around here. It’s an awesome place to be.

  2. Wow, what a compliment! Thank you! I’m nodding in agreement with your take on my favorite local blogs. I can’t wait to read more from you – I could use some kitchen inspiration. Thank you so much!

    • I’m more and more glad I took the time to write the entry instead of continuing my lurking ways. This has turned into an inspiration to keep up with the blogging!

  3. This is a wonderful tribute. I’ve been so overwhelmed by people saying much more, much better than I could have that I haven’t written. I do feel inspired, however, to step up and be more a part of this neat blogging community than I’ve managed to do in the past.

    Maybe you and I can each make sure the other goes to the next HoCo Blogs party. =)

  4. Wow, thanks for the compliments! You know, I found your blog from HowChow and drooled over your Breezy Willow CSA stuff.

    You are the reason we signed up this spring.

    Please come visit the Conservancy. I know all the families who come there for our Saturday events love the place. The volunteers are beyond description. The kids love it there.

    I agree. This community is something else. Nicole and I were working on finding a spot to host the next blogger party. We need to keep communicating and letting people know we are out here.

    Picking up my lovely CSA stuff tomorrow. Thanking you for introducing me to them.

    And, of course, like you, I found Dennis’ blog to be just the most incredible site. I learned so much about this county by reading it. I hardly knew him but will miss that daily dose from him.

    • I’m so glad the spring CSA is working out for you. Breezy Willow is such a welcoming place; I’m glad to be able to share the experience. And we’ll definitely put the Conservancy on our to-do list. The kid is getting pretty good at walking now, just in time for summer!

  5. Kat,

    Thanks so much for your comments about the zesty topicality! Love hearing from readers who get me! Seriously, I do appreciate it very much. I’m trying to organize the next said blog party but don’t be a stranger, introduce yourself! :) Your buddy, Good Ol’ MM!

    • I was having such a hard time trying to quantify what it was that was so addictive about reading your blog; I couldn’t do it justice. Looking forward to the next blogging event!

  6. Kat,

    Thanks for the read(s)! As a fellow Breezy Willow member, I always check over here to see what you did with, you know, week 8 of 3 pounds of kale or whatever. Also, thanks for helping me fulfill a life dream of being described as “exhaustively footnoted”. (And how do you always find time to arrange and photograph your haul? It’s all I can do to get it into fridge/pantry/et cetera without a total collapse of order.)

    • I have a terrible fondness for footnotes, actually.

      As for the photos… because we split our share with another family, I always dump everything out onto the table to divide equally, so I figured I could take a picture while it was all on the table. It just takes an extra few seconds or so to shove it all together in a somewhat attractive manner. (It also gives me a chance to shake off some of the dirt before it all goes into the fridge or wherever.)

  7. Pingback: Remembering Dennis Lane | Life and How to Live It

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