A little poem, written long ago when we were first starting this business. These days, I feel that an awful lot is being taken. Except for my family, which I am treasuring. Waiting to see what happens next.
* * *
After a week of warmth,
I step into the cold, crisp night
and find that the stars
have returned. Reminded
that something will be taken away,
and something given.
This week, I started to feel some confidence creeping back, in fits and starts. I started to remember that I have lived most of my life believing that mistakes are eventually forgiven, that we are surrounded by love, even if our eyes and hearts are sometimes shut tight with fear or worry.
Tonight, I’m spending a few minutes starting a new sweater for Gabriel – I was planning to return this yarn but didn’t make it to the post office before the 60 days was up, so it looks like I’ll be making this squirrel turtleneck after all. While knitting, I came across this lovely short video with Pema Chodron – may it be a blessing for you, as well.
Grateful for yesterday – Another blizzard, another healing day at home. Except for the part where Ella didn’t want to do school, and instead of remaining calm, I got really frustrated. It happens. Partly, I think it’s time to set our math block aside and move back to writing. Partly, I need to chill out (as usual), and just calmly carry on and know that she’s absorbing a lot even if she doesn’t seem to be participating, and if it’s something she really needs to *do*, like writing numbers, then I just need to calmly insist that this is what we’re doing right now, and do as much as we can. Emphasis on the calm part.
Anyhow, the most fun part of my day was making these homemade pop tarts. I never ate pop tarts as a kid (thank you, Mom!), but I sure wanted to. Imagine my surprise that it’s ridiculously easy to make awesome ones at home. Leftover pie dough, jam (I used our wild grape jam from last fall), egg wash, crimped edges, and bo-yeow! Yummy simple goodness. I think we might make these at the cafe soon. (And how are you supped to spell bo-yeow? Anybody?)
I finally got the face on the doll finished around Christmas time, and now she even has hair! Someday I’ll make her clothes. Luckily both the children love her anyways – Gabriel started hugging her as soon as the body was sewn onto the head. I’m glad that I stuck with it and finished her, but sort of annoyed at myself for thinking I had to make a doll in the first place. Why do I always think I have to do everything?
I’m listening to, and really enjoying, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Living Without Stress or Fear. Thay is so very very nice that I just want to give him a hug. The children have been loving Little Bird’s ABC, which is a really funny version of an alphabet book.
Blessings on your weekend, friends, and Happy Valentine’s Day.
Between the blizzard and the flu, we had a string of quiet days at home this last week. I think they have finally caught up with me. Today I started the morning listening to Thich Naht Hanh, and made blueberry muffins. We tidied up, and then we went out to the hoophouse. The children played their own digging in the dirt games, while I raked last fall’s cover crops off one bed and prepared it for new seedlings. (We started our first soil blocks this week – lettuces, parsley, tatsoi, and kale.) Usually Ben is the one who gets excited first to go out and start working in the soil; this year it’s me.
After an hour or two in the winter sunshine, hands in the soil, I feel mostly human again. I let the children watch a movie this afternoon, and Ben and I planned the forest garden we’re planting this spring. Some plants we know, some I had never heard of before today.
Blessings on your week, friends. Thank you for all your kind words and wishes.
I’m not exactly sure what to say about this past month. That we’ve been working lots, and sleeping little? That it’s been one of the most challenging years of my life, and we’re only in February?
Both of those are true. It’s also true that we’ve been working hard *together*, which is a blessing. It’s true that my inner workaholic Type A Maniac kind of likes work disasters, because at least the to-do list gets really clear. Work your butt off – check. I’m working on a lot of new recipes that I’m excited about, and we’re adding a vegetable stand and grocery section, which we’re both excited about, too. We started our first seeds of the year yesterday.
Life with a family is always a lot less clear than that. There were a few weeks lost in a blur of work, when I didn’t even think about homeschooling, except perhaps to think “Later.” We have slowly made our way back to some of it. After struggling to get Ella interested in (and understanding) math processes with the Christopherus squirrel story, I went to the often-used math gnomes, and she’s loving that. Phew. Officially, we’re taking a break from letters while we do this math block, but in truth she’s doing a lot of sounding words out and looking at letters in books, etc, which is really neat to see.
The little toddler is really becoming, well, a little toddler. He likes trucks and boots and is starting to really get into smashing things and grabbing things away from his big sister. Fun times. Hugs and kisses are no longer allowed, to my sadness.
Sometimes I do really well in times of crisis. It gets easier to put my ego in the trunk, shut the door, and focus on the people around me and the work to be done. But eventually, ego always gets out, usually hoppin mad to have been ignored. It starts yelling and shouting, what about me me me me meeeeeeeee? And sometimes I’m good at ignoring it, or at least recognizing it’s a lot of hot air, and sometimes I get sucked right in and I start yelling and flailing too, just as demented as a two year old myself. Oh boy.
Here’s hoping your path has been a little smoother than mine has, lately. And for those of you who have bought my poetry book – a huge thank you! If you haven’t yet, I do have some giveaways coming up with some dear friends (want to host one? Email me! )
Loving: our new tables. The new Liquid Love – peanut butter hot chocolate. Opening a farmstand and epicerie fine at our cafe (photos soon!). Serving our community with honesty and love.
Not loving: all the franchises moving into our small town. Pipes that are still frozen.
Mostly, though, just grateful, and doing the work that needs to be done, and full of more ideas. Blessings on your week, friends.
P.S. We’re about to start offering some free workshops at the cafe – what do you think we should teach?
It’s been too long since I shared a recipe here, don’t you think? Most of the recipes I cook (and share) are everyday recipes, humble but delicious goodness. Sometimes we need something really special, though. This soup comes straight from my childhood – my grandfather would make this every Christmas, and now it’s what I serve on Christmas Eve. Before she passed away, I was lucky to get the recipe from my grandmother – a little recipe clipped from a Louisiana parish newspaper in the 1960s. Christmas is past, but Valentine’s Day is coming, or you could go ahead and bookmark or pin it for another celebration coming up in your life. Even people (and children) who don’t like oysters will like this – and the best part is that it gets better after a day or two in the fridge (if you manage to have any left over!)
Pops’ Oyster Artichoke Stew
1 stick butter
3 chopped onions
3-4 Tbsp flour
1 bunch scallions, chopped
5 ribs of celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
2-3 c water
⅛ tsp anise seed
1 can (12 oz) artichoke hearts and liquor
3 doz oysters and liquor
few sprigs parsley minced
salt and pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
½ tsp cayenne
Saute onions in butter until tender. Add flour and brown lightly. Add green onions, celery, garlic, and green pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes on low heat. Slowly add water to desired thickness. Add artichoke hearts and liquor into pot. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Turn pot off, add oysters, and serve.
(Pops used to puree his soup, but we leave the oysters and artichokes whole.)