Monday, April 28, 2008

Dogwood Winter

It is official: we have salad from the garden. Tonight it was a lot of spinach and some lettuce and some arugula and broccoli rabe (which, I swear, is what we hillbillies call common mustard). The first night we managed lettuce from the garden, it was just lettuce on pork sandwiches. But oh it is such a treat to have fresh greens again. We also had a good mess of lambs quarters just the other day -- they wouldn’t have been big enough if they hadn’t been weeds in the greenhouse.

We also have another mess of morels that we’ll probably fix tomorrow, maybe with some of the squash that we still have from last year. And we had a really good rain so there should be more morels. Oh, rain, how I bless rain. It will make the turnips and beets and other things in the garden do nicely.

There are, it may be, so many good things to eat in the world and none of them without signification.
an essentially truthful bastardization of Paul in I Corinthians 14

With our cabrito tamales tonight we had not only salad but flan. There are plenty of eggs and milk. We eat, you see, not by saying “What would you like to eat,” but by saying, “What do we have?” and by that we eat better than anybody, I swear. We try to grow plenty of hard corn and potatoes because with those around, you always have something to eat. Add some dried beans to that. Milking the cow gives us not only milk but butter and cheese and sour cream and yogurt. Having the chickens gives us eggs (most of the year at least) and some meat. Extras of potatoes or milk or what have you can also produce more meat, usually either rabbits or pigs.

We buy most other grains but I try to keep us stocked ahead. But it doesn’t end with buying something. Before I spend a couple days playing around for pay at a horse barn, I try to make sure that we have at least one loaf of bread made for each day I will be working. There is a process of thinking, planning and doing for ahead of time. In general not waiting until the last minute: Thinking not only about what the next meal is going to be, but the next year’s worth of meals.

I have been thinking about what it is like to have somewhat older kids. Mine now range in age from 8 to 16. I laugh when I say that I spent my thirties pregnant and nursing, but it is true. We knew, before we had kids, that kids need parents and so we committed to being that, to being there with them (not just for them). We have never used babysitters, or parental substitute devices like automatic swings or pacifiers. My kids frankly pacified on my boobs, and most of the time they sat on my hip. In all the pictures of me in my thirties, I have a baby on a hip.

It was a lovely time. It was a close in time. Intense but oatmealish. I always knew it wouldn’t last, that being present in that time was vital but fleeting.

Now is a lovely time too. The kids can largely take care of themselves in the rudimentary ways but need parents perhaps even more now. I have a much larger and longer range, and so do they. There can be more variety but still a lot of intensity. Everyone has interests, passions, quirks. Of their own.

Mine is that I am continually amused by the animals. Which is perhaps another reason I’ve so enjoyed being a family.

It is supposed to get cold enough that we need to bring the tomatoes and peppers, that are still in flats and pots, inside.


Peggy said...

I enjoy stopping by to see whats new on your homestead and getting lots of frugal tips. Our lettuce is almost gone but tomatoes have blooms on them and grean beans are coming up really well so looks like a good garden season.

CG said...

oh goodness, do I do lots of frugal tips???? LOL! I have been meaning to write something about a bulk order I just placed. . . and we do live on very little cash income . . . . Here is the biggest tip: do not do debt.