November 2008 Archives

The Westerly View

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View from my Pantry-- The Western Wall

Tonight I begged out of a sweet family trip to Milbank, SD to see Madagascar II. Instead I walked west into the sunset and gave thanks for the big sky- purple, pink, blue, with all sorts of swirls, rows, and wisps of clouds. The blazing sun sinking into the horizon like a Serengi sunset photo. The antidote for feeling worn out.

After putting in the chickens (surprisingly few eggs!) I came in to a glass of local sweet strawberry/grape wine (thank you Audrey!) and the urge to show you my pantry. What you see is garlic hanging from the rafters, canisters of black and white beans, and canned vegetables and apples.

I canned a modest amount of produce with a disproportionately large amount of time. Call it learning curve. Or perhaps just the amount of time needed to put up a bountiful summer's harvest. People used to spend hours each day tending, preparing, and eating food. Maybe I just experienced the reality of living closer to the land, where we count "food footsteps" rather than "food miles" (the distance one's food travels from where it is grown to where it is consumed).

This pantry is the concentration of a fruitful season of gardening and all its joys. I gained a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment with each sealed jar.

Now it is November and instead of adding more jars, they are coming down one-by-one. Where it once flowed, it now ebbs.

Got Squash?

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View from my Pantry-- The East Wall

Good harvest of squash considering that our garden was washed down the hill with the sheet erosion of the flash flood earlier this year. On the floor (out of sight) are sack of potatoes-- probably a couple hundred pounds.

Proud of Our Kids

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State Football Semi-Finalists- Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (click on Proud of Our Kids under recent posts to see the whole team)

The congregation uncharacteristically burst into applause twice during yesterday's church service.

In the church announcements the pastor congratulated our football team for reaching the state semi-finals. People in the small congregation started pointing out the players and saying (rather loudly for Lutherans) "and here's the coach!" The place erupted in loud applause.

Let me just point out that there are 180 9-man football teams in Minnesota. C-G-B is among the top two in the State with their win last Friday in the Dome. Go Wolverines! It looked as though nearly every family in the district was at the game.

Later in the church service about 25 of our youngest were up front to play bells in the children's bell choir. It was lovely, I mean it really sounded lovely. The children were so earnest, engaged, wiggling around and hugging their bells when they weren't playing. It was moving on so many levels. Again the congregation erupted in applause. Like every community, we are just so proud of our kids.

But I would also like to add that I am thankful for the grownups who take all the time to coach our kids (my kids)- be it football, bell choir, girl scouts or 4-H. Thank you for your loving care, guidance, time and attention to our precious little ones- even the 6 foot, 200 # little ones. It is abundantly clear to me that the heart of this community lies with nurturing our youngest citizens.

The Gift of Good Family

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Picnicing on the edge of our soybean field. Our farmstead in the background.

A week ago it was 77 degrees and I had company. This is the kind of company that gives a person a break-- my mom and my aunt. They helped with the last of the harvest- putting up beets, making applesauce, pies, crisps, cleaning the dry beans, and making good conversation. This whole farm and food endeavor would be a lot less fruitful without the help of my mom. I'm grateful for the gift of good family- for the moral support in addition to the labor.

The gift of good soil and good family. We count them among our blessings every night.

A Gleaning...

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The other morning I replaced my morning run/meditation with gleaning- going through the harvested corn field to gather any corn left behind. My mental calculations were that I could feed the chickens for a few days, translating into less chicken feed to be purchased. It was an experiment too in response to a flurry of e-mails some months back about creating gleaning crews to gather in "leftover" organic vegetables. I thought I should try gleaning for myself.

I got the farm cart and a few 5 gallon buckets and headed out to the field. Three tractor passes happen with fall harvest:

1. Harvested with combine,
2. Stocks chopped with a chopper
3. A digger turning over the soil

I dragged my cart over the plowed field, into the chopped stock stubble, and over behind the combine (no one was out in the fields yet). I pulled the cart up and down the field-- looking every which way for corn. Let's just say the combine is pretty efficient. Some lessons:

- the edges of the field seem most fruitful
-this is darn hard work -- I only filled two 5 gallon bucket with chopped up corn chunks in about an hour
-I could only find the corn that was right under my feet (my plan to have my eyes sweep a 12 foot swath did not work). I walked up and down that field with my eyes glued to my feet.

All the time I was out there I had a song from Sesame Street playing in my brain.

"While looking at my feet at a crack in the sidewalk and finding a quarter and an old bus token

I nearly missed a rainbow

I nearly missed a sunset

I nearly missed a shooting star going by"

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2008 is the previous archive.

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