You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘food’ tag.

What started as an urge to try growing corn (again) became an obsession when I learned of the Haudenosaunee tradition of the “Three Sisters” crops.  In this centuries-old system, the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash) are planted in concentric circles successionally.  The big sister, corn, is planted first and provides support for the second sister, beans, to climb. The bean sister hugs the corn and helps to keep her upright against strong winds.  Beans also provide nitrogen in the soil to help her sisters grow.  The baby sister, squash, is planted last.  Her wide leaves shade the ground and help choke out weeds so her big sisters have enough to eat and drink.   The plant sisters are kind to people too, in that they provide a complete and balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.  Other sisters can live in harmony with this mix – sunflowers, melons, amaranth. It’s a beautiful thing.

In past years my failed attempts at growing corn resulted in sad plants that dried up and blew away. This year I was determined things would be different. I did research, I took notes, I drew up plans and I made appeals. Then I drew more pictures and decorated them with washi tape, like so:

Three Sisters Garden Plans

I remember asking nicely.  I might have begged.  For sure I pleaded.  I even attempted bartering. All to no avail. Finally, I  commanded: Earth be tilled!

And so it was.

With 12 x 12 feet of tilled earth at the ready, I could map out the physical space and layout the mounds.  Armed with chopsticks, plastic spoons, and a measuring tape (of the sewing sort) I set to work! Maybe these are not the traditional tools of the trade, but this is what I had on hand to make things happen.

I wound up planting corn, sunflowers, zucchini, crooked neck and straight neck squash, acorn squash, loofa gourds, pumpkin, a watermelon, beans, and peas.  Two interloping tomato plants joined the party of their own accord, apparently from seeds tossed out in the compost.  My three sisters garden turned into an extended family.  Or maybe a commune? I don’t know what to call it anymore, but let me tell you, there’s a lot happening out there. Well here, I’ll just show you:

sister garden

The day I stood in the garden and unwrapped the husk from the first ear of corn, I cried. Actual tears. It was quite suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelming. There was the quiet murmur of tassels, leaves, silks and stalks rustling in the breeze. There was the soft hum of the bees on the sunflower heads above me – all our faces raised to the sky. There was a caress of leaves.  There was a knowing of the circles and cycles, extending away in ever-widening ripples. There was row after golden row of kernels linking one generation to the next. There was something wild and free and profoundly life-force-y let loose in the garden. 

corn

And then, as suddenly and unexpectedly, there was just me again, standing there mundanely amid the corn sniffling and wondering what sort of problem I was having now.

So, I went inside and googled it.  Yes, I did.  That’s when I learned of Hun Hunahpu.  Life is weird.

Harvest

The corn, zucchini, and sunflowers in the picture above were picked this week from the sisters garden. The butternut squash and cucumbers are from the raised beds garden, but that’s a different tale for another day.

6-11-16

roses & arugula intermingle

cucumber6-1-16

cucumbers bloom

blackberry 6-1-16

blackberries ripen

2015-07-14 08.16.55

 

7 a.m. Sunday morning.

Gardening is a never-ending labor of love I muse as I begin gearing up for the ritual. I don the white vestments, the boots, gloves, hat, glasses, and braid. Only then I am ready to meet the Mistress. I open my door to a surprised hummingbird. We regard each other a moment before she flits away. I gather supplies and materials while the wasps and bees still sleep. Time and other trappings of the world recede until there is only the dirt and the things in it, living and dead. Weeds are ripped from the earth; the worms beneath them churn wiggly and wet. Beetles and spiders run for their lives.  Secret ant cities are uncovered, their nurseries revealed. The ants abandon whatever plans they had for this day to grab their babies and rush them to safety. The whole colony fights for survival in this sacred space where love, duty, and instinct meld into one indistinguishable force.  Blood is spilled over the roses, a sacrifice they demand regularly as thorns prick and stick fingers through gloves. God is in Her place.  All is right with the world.

 

There are some things you can only do with love. You will know that you have love when you do one of them.  --Walter Anderson

There are some things you can only do with love. You will know that you have love when you do one of them. –Walter Anderson

July & August Garden Goals

  • Plant the seeds for the fuzzy pink flowers in the front bed and containers.
  • Split and replant zinnias.
  • Prep the raised beds (weed and add compost).
  • Plant rainbow chard, musclun lettuce, kale, collard greens, arugula, and romaine in the raised beds.
  • Plant oregano, cilantro, borage, bee balm, and chives in all the right places.
  • Weed front flower bed,  cover with weed fabric, and mulch.
  • Plant garlic?
  • Water, water, water

 

Dear Garden People of the Internet: What wisdom regarding growing garlic can you impart? The spring’s attempt did not work!

 

~*~

The Garden

The cherub and the virgin Mary,

the Buddha and the garden gnome –

all the garden statuary –

talked in spring of how things grow.

Buddha said, “From compassion.”

Mary said, “The Lord above.”

Gnome replied, “It must be magic.”

Cherub sighed, “It must be love.”

And it rained then

in the garden

and they all stood ’round

and witnessed in stillness

and listened to that lovely sound.

And St. Francis in the corner

spoke up the gathering.

“Peace,” he said is most important,

“Peace for all the living things.”

And the stars burned,

and the earth turned,

and the sun shone down.

And they knew then in the garden

Life was stirring in the warming ground.

And St. Frances stood entranced

as Cherub watched beguilded.

Gnome’s hands laid on his sharp spade.

Mary gave thanks

and Buddha smiled.

–Peter Mayer

My village people can’t take it anymore.  They have set fire to the village in protest. Six months without resolutions is too many.  Abort Mission!  My village people are not ready for the laissez-faire approach to life. (Click HERE for more village people context if you missed the first post).

There is a time and a place for surrendering to what is and for accepting life as it comes.  And then there are the rest of the times and places, during which I need exorbitant details to obsessively micromanage in order to keep myself occupied and entertained.  I need goals and measurement and progress – or at least the illusion thereof.

These realizations hit me last week as I was reading Gretchen Rubin’s
The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.   This book was an emergency, impulse vacation purchase.  Having abandoned every book I had packed, I had to have something to read to tide me over until I could get home. Rubin’s memoir is peppered with tidbits on the art and science of happiness, combined with her meticulous list of a year’s worth of resolutions to guide her in the practice of achieving joy.  Her resolutions are organized by month, category, and sub-category, all of which are rigorously tracked.  The book annoyed me to no end!  It’s no fault of the author.  I claim full responsibility for the baggage I took with me inside the cover.  I saw my own annoying OCD resolution-tracking self on every page and it made me itchy and irritated with the fact I didn’t have a single resolution to track this year.

So here I am in July making my New Years Resolutions. My first resolution for 2015 is:

1. Cook something fabulous and complicated every other week.

I don’t cook.  I am plagued by mageirocophobia, or the fear of cooking. You see, I have this history of setting devastating kitchen fires. Yes, that’s plural, as in fires$$ of the devastating-call-the-fire-department-and-the-contractor-and-the-insurance-company sort. A certain member of the family gave me the nickname “Housefries” once he started talking to me again, which was weeks after I burned down his kitchen and half the family’s wardrobe. The wardrobe aspect of this story needs explaining. What happened is, in the heat of the moment (literally) I tried putting out the kitchen blaze by smothering it with the contents of a nearby laundry basket full of clothes. As you might imagine, this only succeeded in making it all much, much worse. Go figure.  On the flip side, meatloaf flambe with a side of smoked socks should get some points for creative culinary pairings.  I wish that had been an isolated incident. My father may still bear the scars from another of my kitchen fires.  And then there was that unfortunate Christmas morning we were forced to use a fire extinguisher we had JUST received as a gift.  Even the fact that people give me fire extinguishers as a non-ironic Christmas gift should tell you something about the magnitude of the problem.

Despite my checkered and charred past, I am increasingly drawn to the kitchen and the alchemy of cooking. I am inspired partly by the thriving herb and berry garden I’ve planted that needs something to do besides look pretty. Plus there are all these fabulous cooking blogs I read and drool over, like Peri’s Spice Ladle  and Once Upon a Chef.

Yesterday I kicked off my resolutions by making vegetarian lasagna with fresh basil from the garden.  I picked mint to make Strawberry and Orange Salad with Citrus Syrup and Fresh Mint, which I polished off this morning for breakfast.  There was a lot of strawberry and orange juice leftover so I poured it in a popsicle mold for later. Knowing this popsicle awaits in the freezer has made me happy all day.  It’s the little things.

One of my subgoals is to finally do something with the crabapples.  We have an abundance of crabapple trees and each year I think something should be done with them, but I never manage to figure out what.  A friend popped over last week randomly and told me about her grandmother’s recipe for candied crab apples. This year it’s on! I have my recipe picked out for Spiced Crab Apples based on her gram’s recipe.

Another sub-goal related to food is to stop eating after 7:30 p.m. We’ve gotten into the habit of eating dinner between 8:00-10:00 p.m., which is ridiculous and unhealthy.  Part of the problem is I teach yoga classes two evenings a week, and I don’t want to eat right before them and I’ve been too busy to catch a decent lunch, so by the time I’m done with class it’s late and I’m famished, so I eat like a Viking (well, a vegetarian Viking) then I crash. This must change.  I need to make time to  eat a big late lunch and then be done with it.

In conjunction with the cooking thing, I also want to have people over more for dinner.  I’m intrigued by the idea of having a dinner party with mixed and matched guests. Just the thought scares me.  I have no idea how to do this sort of thing. People of the Web: who out there has experience with dinner parties? Can you give suggestions? Themes? Ideas? Testimonials?

Aaaaaahh!   Another semester complete.

I started thinking the other day that it’s time to start subtracting things from my life again.  And that’s when I lost my keys. They’ve been missing for the last two days, which is perfectly fine by me.

The same thing happened last May.  That time, they went missing for two whole weeks.  When I’d finally had enough of being keyless, I sat down and called my keys back to me.  (I know that sounds ridiculous, but it totally has worked for me with lost keys and cats).  Anyway, a few hours later I got a call from the library — someone had found my keys in the street several miles away from my house.  How my keys wound up in the street is beyond me.  It’s not like I threw them out the window or anything.  I chalk it up as one of life’s great mysteries, kinda like finding not-my-pants in my closet.   Anyway,  the someone who found my keys noticed I had a library card on the keyring so he took them to the library and had a librarian call me to come pick them up, which is kinda funny because I couldn’t pick them up — I didn’t have keys to get there!

When you lose your keys you can’t leave your house unless somebody comes and picks you up.  Hm….unless you have a spare key, which would change everything.  I bet you’re thinking by now that I probably should get spare keys since clearly this is a regular thing for me.  But let’s apply a little logic here:  I can’t even keep up with my regular keys, so how would you expect me to keep up with spares?   Ok so when *I* lose *my* keys I can’t leave my house unless somebody comes and picks me up – or well unless El-D takes me somewhere.  And this is pretty fabulous any way it plays out — either staying home or being picked up.   I love being picked up and taken places. It’s a whole different sort of thing than driving someplace.  I can also appreciate being stranded at home.

I’ve said all that to say this: I’ve been both picked up and stranded the last two days. And it was good.

Here are the beautiful things that have happened on the farm this month:

tom kha with a heart-shaped green onion

tom kha with a heart-shaped green onion

 

Horses ate

Horses ate

 

 

Olaf, Giggles, and Chopper took a bath

Olaf, Giggles, and Chopper took a bath

 

beauty unfurled

beauty unfurled

 

… and who knows when the time seems right I might sit down and call back my keys.

 

Dana of Zona Pellucida seduced me into making homemade sauerkraut recently.

It’s not entirely her fault.  The Angry Russian is also to blame.  To this day he raves about his dad’s homemade kraut, which was made in huge barrels with yellow apples.  When I started reading about candida, sugar,  the digestive system and probiotics, my kraut fate was sealed. I had to grow some bacteria myself.

 image

The other day I popped open the first jar. It bubbled and gurgled its fermented secrets at me.

It’s ALIVE!!!

I love having these sorts of mad-scientist moments with my food.  I’m pretty useless, even dangerous, when it comes to working the normal kitchen gadgetry (e.g., ovens, microwaves, knives, etc.), but I excel at stuff that takes days in dark places to transform (See Sprout it Out Loud for additional evidence of my culinary nerdiness).

So anyway, I shared a serving of the kraut with The Angry Russian. His rapt expression at first bite made all the trouble worth the while.  I have another jar still fermenting and I will definitely be making another batch.  Maybe with apples.

She most certainly will not be getting out of bed to get dressed for school, thankyouverymuch.

From the kitchen Momma has hollered for her to “GET UP!”  and with an edge in her voice added, “…and that’s the last time!”

This happens to be the second of Momma’s “last time” warnings. The warnings started after an entire series of ineffectual attempts to get her out of bed.  Momma went so far as to pick out an outfit and physically  try to force her into it. This was a grave offense.  She is six and a half years old and can dress herself. A lot of screaming and wrestling went into that fiasco before Momma abruptly aborted the mission to try out a new tactic: cooking breakfast.

But all the clothes and breakfasts in the world will not make a bit of difference.  She’s not budging. It is so cold in her bedroom it hurts to breathe. To protect herself from the temperature, she has ducked her head under the blanket to breathe her own body-warmed air. Her feet are pulled up beneath her flannel gown.  She has folded herself into a little ball to preserve heat.  She has gathered all the loose edges of the sheets and blankets and tucked them under herself to keep the mean air from biting her.   So Momma can threaten spankings all she wants. There are worse things than Momma’s spankings – like being attacked by the cold air outside the semi-warm cocoon she’s created beneath her covers.

It’s not just the cold terrorizing her, it’s also the snakes. Daddy killed one in his bedroom just the other night.  He chased it around the room hitting it over and over with his guitar until it was dead. She didn’t actually see it happen, but she did hear the accompanying soundtrack.  The oddly musical killing featured forceful, pounding rhythms and vibrating, jangly strings that reverberated inside the instrument’s hollow body with each blow. It was definitely not a song usually played in Daddy’s repertoire. She was horrified when she found out the cause behind Daddy’s improvisation. Now she imagines the coiling and roiling pit of snakes that surely resides under her bed. Daddy, the Slayer of Serpents and her Champion Defender, has already left for work.  So no ma’am, she will not be getting out of bed today.

Momma’s footsteps now creak down the hallway and stop at her room.  Uh-0h.

“Come on and get up. I made biscuits and it’s warm in the kitchen.  The oven door’s open.” Momma says sweetly.

The brat beneath the blankets cries, “Nooooo, it’s too cold! And biscuits are so yucky. They’re mushy and gross. And there are snakes!”

“There are no snakes. And I’ll toast the biscuits.  You like them like that, remember?”

Momma steps closer. Under the covers the child braces herself in anticipation of the coming struggle.  When it doesn’t come, she realizes Momma’s footsteps are fading down the hallway. She hears rustling and softly percussive kitchen sounds. The oven door creaks then snaps shut.

She hugs her knees in and shivers.

A few minutes later, the oven door creaks open, then Momma is standing by her bed again, working loose a corner of the sheets.  Delicious warmth touches her skin. Her clothes! In her blanket cocoon, she dresses in her oven-baked shirt, warm pants, and toasted socks, then she emerges a new creature.  She jumps off the bed and runs out of her room before the snakes can get her.  She follows the scent of toasted bicuits to the warm kitchen. For the rest of the day the scent of biscuits and love lingers all around her.

~~*~~

ReminisScent I

One of the blogs I read, Garden Variety, featured artist Lynn Karlin today. You can check out her gorgeous work in the link below:

On a Pedestal | Lynn Karlin’s Vegetable Art.

9-3-13 001

Here is a list of stuff I’ve recently traded for the fresh eggs of Myrtle, Pearl, Gertrude, and Freebird:

1. two jars of homemade pickles

2. a loaf of whole grain organic bread

3. two hands full of home grown green beans

4. a bag of home grown cucumbers

5. a bag of home grown jalapeños and bell peppers

Also, a friend recently offered to house/dog/cat/duck/chicken sit if and when I ever go out of town again, in exchange for fresh eggs.

Personally, I find this an impressive list given I’ve had the girls less than a month. The farmy bartering makes me downright giddy. Let it go down on the record that I have not eaten any of the eggs myself. I gave up eggs January 11, 2011 as a strange experiment with “enlightenment.” On a side note, when I just went back to find the link to the first blog post in which I announced this decision, I realized that the date translates to 1-11-11 . I suppose I won’t be forgetting that date again. It wasn’t an intentional “oooh-here’s-a-date-with-a-buncha-ones-in-it,-let’s-do-something-crazy” sort of decision.  But apparently it was a good date for new beginnings, especially since the post I wrote right before that one was aptly named Conflict and Crisis.

a mama carrying her silver orb

a mama carrying her silver orb

On another tangential note…2 years, 10 months, and 1 day after beginning my enlightenment quest, my mother and I are still driving each other nutters. (Hi Mom!)

Looking back, it’s funny to see all the obvious patterns you missed as you’re moving through a life unfolding in real time. It’s also a little embarrassing. There I was, ego bare, for all to see.

And here I am still….

*TaDA!*

I wonder what obvious things I’m missing even now that I will look back on someday and snicker about.

duck eggs

duck eggs

The self-imposed egg prohibition was largely a symbolic gesture, which I attempted to explain many times to others (and to myself), as in the post: The Incredible Inedible Egg.  In spite of all this, it has never made much sense to any of us I’m afraid.  As a result I caught a lot of flack from family members who were baffled, horrified, or just plain outraged by my perceived havoc-wrecking habits on our family feasting functions.

My life is so different now from when I started all this. I am different. And I am the same. As life continues to unfold in real time, one pattern that has not escaped my notice is the irony.  For someone who has worked so hard to avoid eating eggs, I’m now surrounded by them being laid before me on a daily basis.  This certainly wasn’t planned, but it is welcomed.

 

darkness

A spiritual practice is one that brings us full circle – not to a new self, but rather back to the essence of our true selves.                                                                   

-Rolf Gates

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

Celestial Goodness

This is a space of love and positive vibrations. It is a safe space for uplifting one’s soul.

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East & Balkans

Artistcoveries

Discovering the joy of art

OCA learning log

Carlota Betlinski

P e d r o L

storytelling the world through travels & books

Before I Forget

STORIES WITH NO BOOKS

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison

Columns. Letters. Rants. Stuff.

Stitched in Stone

Based on True Wives Tales

THE GODDESS ATTAINABLE

The Goddess Attainable Blog is an inspirational portal for a goddess way of life.

The Druid Herbalist

An ongoing journey with the healing power of plants

The Fledgling Belly

The Adventures of a Discerning Bellydancer

It's Just Life

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Down the Forest Path

A Journey Through Nature, its Magic and Mystery

Project: Motion Blog

Modern. MOVEment. Memphis.

The Human Rights Warrior

"There is some good in this world...and it's worth fighting for." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

The Tragic Life of Frank

Around five minutes ago I had this sudden revelation; that my life is quite sufficiently, tragic.

zona pellucida

...blinded by the light

Donna Mejia

Dance Artist/Scholar/Cultural-Creative

Beautiful Day Traveler

It's a beautiful day to dance with words on this journey called life.

shimmymobmemphis

dancing to change the world

samrarose

Just another WordPress.com site

Peaceful Hands Reiki

Where love flows

Job & Career News

From the Memphis Public Libraries

LibrarianShipwreck

"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Sorry Television

Reading a book a week

Mark Coakley

Author of "Hidden Harvest" and "Tip and Trade"

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

CultFit

Form, Flow and Grace

Owls and Orchids

Life, Love, Spiritual Living and the odd Catastrophe.....

Vinay Garg

Never give up