Saturday, July 02, 2005

Littling Along

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Four jars of pickled broccoli (with garlic but no hot peppers because we've got none yet). It doesn’t seem like much. But it is the basis of prosperity, opulence, plenty.

Harlan Hubbard in his book Payne Hollow described ‘littling along’ and I understood it in financial terms. It really begins with not needing much. But the real thing is that it doesn’t end with not having much.

As with so many things, it is a matter of perspective. Four jars of pickled broccoli. It might seem like so little, but it is so much.

Littling Along 2

After having been in town all day, I hadn’t fixed supper or had any brilliant ideas for it. After having been in the garden all day, neither did husband. So I asked him to bring up veggies to snack on. We had kohlrabi and carrots (misshapen but carrot up you nose good tasting) and cabbage but my special treat was a turnip. Husband cut the top off for me and handed the bulbous root and a spoon to me. I scraped across it, like you’d scrape an apple for a baby, and put the first spoonful in my mouth. Spicy, cool, smooth. My great-grandmother McFall used to feed this to my mother and my girls came around for their spoonfuls. My mother never fed it to me, but at least she told me the story so that it could be a tradition that didn’t die out.

And eating that turnip, scraping it hollow, I thought, imagine a time when scraping a turnip like this was considered a snack food treat. Seems a better time to me. Seems like a better set of values.

Littling Along the Fringe

Can I just say, the problem is the industrial model. Before I have said that the problem is consumerism, at base. Individually, I think that is the case. But the industrial model brought consumerism and its accompanying greed to a more massive level than it could reach without the corporate citizen. But people grow even tiny little gardens in rows, which is the industrial model. People are tied to time, which is industrial. People sell themselves, their time, their soul, themselves out, willingly, which seems even more sad than people being sold involuntarily. People dream of winning the lottery (or even more stupid schemes of getting something from nothing), which is simply a dream of going from exploited to exploiter.

Exploited or exploiter. That is significant.

But there is a stepping out of the stream -- out of the mainstream that is. Living on the fringe of society, as Harlan Hubbard called it. I think it is more than giving up one thing, like a car, or eating meat, or some of the junk in your attic, or any other thing. It is more than giving up a lot of things altogether. It is rather embracing something else, something different. Having a dream and manifesting it.

I don’t personally believe very many people are ever going to do such a thing willingly. I do not for the life of me understand why people want to stay in the dichotomy of exploiter or exploited. But I undeniably see by their own actions that they do.


madcapmum said...

I like that phrase, "littling along". We're in the process of "be-littling" ourselves, trying to reduce our wants and needs and provide more of them through our own efforts. You're right, it's not just one thing, it's a choice to have an entirely different set of values.

I've never heard of canning broccoli, by the way. Ya learn something new every day! It's not a regular crop in our area (very short growing season), so maybe that's why.

And about the turnips - my dad grew up in Scotland, and he and his friends used to raid the fields at the edge of town for "tumpshies", as they called them. They used to carve them for All Saints' Eve, too.

the Contrary Goddess said...

I should clarify here that that isn't really "canned" brocolli. It is *pickled* brocolli. We've found pickling to be a great way of preserving a great number of veggies. We like green beans, green tomatoes, tomatillos, okra, onions, califlower, brussle sprouts, cabbage hearts, all sorts of things. There is very little you can't pickle. These (along with the inevitable garlic and hot peppers for extra flavor and preservative properties -- and health) are preserved with a solution of vinegar (acetic acid). Like kraut is preserved with lactic acid. Or kim chee (however that is spelled). Anyway, it is less cooked than canned produce as these are not even water bathed. But my method is not USDA approved! LOL!

madcapmum said...

Oops! Should have been more careful. I haven't heard of pickled broccoli either, though. Sounds good!

Joe Tornatore said...

four more jars of broccli than I have.