Friday, September 28, 2012

Harvesting and stocking up

Hello all.  

I apologise for not having been active all summer.  As some of you might know, in his last illness, my father in law wanted to die comfortably in his own bed, which he did. I helped to nurse him and although it was often tiring and difficult it was a real privilege.  As with the death of any one it has taken some time to get back in to the swing of things and to ‘remake’ a pattern of life.

Here I am back, and wanting to get cracking with talking about what I think about many things, and of course, to hear what you have to say.  Do feel free to join in.

In our grove we have just celebrated the harvest of the grains and fruits.  We had a truly magical celebration with a feast at which the table groaned.  Then we had our Eisteddfod, at which we all share something, a seed thought, a poem, prose, a picture or song.  Indeed anything that we might feel others are interested in.  I was struck at the diversity of offerings that came up. Some had found poems that they really liked that expressed an aspect of the season that resonated with them.  Others had written their own work which held us in awe.  Some read prose and others sang.  There was no judgement on the content, recognising as we did that it was joining in that was important.  In fact the very act of accepting what is offered seems to encourage more participation.

I feel life is like that don’t you?  The more we give back to ‘life’ the more we ‘join’ in the more we get from it and grow and change.  Change can be exciting but is more often frightening and disturbing.  I like constancy, but have had to learn to take a deep breath, dive in and swim with it.     

I look around me now and see change. Trees begin to be touched by the palette of autumn and the colours turn richer, which is beautiful; but, the nights are darkening and the weather is decidedly chilly.  My natural inclination is check my cupboards and make sure I have stores.  Now I do have a freezer, but don’t altogether trust it.  I have had my share of breakdowns and of course electricity may always fail. Years of living in the middle of no-where and later years of living on the edge financially has taught me much. So, an old fashioned larder full of stores gives me deep pleasure.  It is almost primal.  I feel safer somehow, even though logic tells me that in this day and age, in this hemisphere we are unlikely to be in want. 
What do you all think about larders and stocking up for winter?

For myself; I like the feeling that I have stores that can feed my family if I run out of money, can’t get to the shop or the weather halts general daily living.  I warn you.  It’s NOT tidy.  It would be, but you see I have loads of folk in and out; they never have to leave the house hungry, unless they eat loads of meat.  Meat only happens a few times a month in this house as it is SO expensive and we have so many friends who are vegetarians that it is easier and cheaper to eat vegetarian meals.  Except when Marcus is around.  He loves his meat.  Anyway, back to my larder.  It is a mess and all these folk in and out, love them as I do generally seem to be constitutionally unable to keep things tidy.  But, it IS full as I am sure you will agree.  Now isn’t that a fine sight?  Or maybe you think I am crazy?  You wouldn’t be the first.

Except for fresh veg and any dairy we might have, anything I need for a quick meal can be found in the larder.  I keep it stocked all year round, but come this time of year I start putting in extras, like dried milk, more yeast and bread flours, homemade chutneys, pickles and even more sauces – I know, we can and do make our own from scratch, but sometimes after a day at work, well you don’t want to do you? 

Maybe I am a throw back.  I think I probably am and there is nothing wrong with that!

I believe in the old adages of “Waste not want not”, “Make do and mend”, “Re use and recycle”.  These ideas have kept my family going over the years and despite some times when we have had to hold our breath and pray a lot, have kept us in house, home and dinners and still been able to offer hospitality to those who flow through.
I still keep all the old wrapping paper from the presents, just like my Nana used to.  I iron it and reuse it.  Even though a very dear friend once, in exasperation while waiting for me to carefully, (without tearing,) unwrap a gift from her, said “Oh! For goodness sake, I’ll BUY you a roll of paper” LOL!!!

I earnestly believe we are in a time where we will have to rethink the way we live.  And not just think it either.  We will HAVE to get out of the consumer mode of thinking and actively seek ways to live more sustainably on this lovely planet. Not only for the sake of our dwindling finances. We need to get back to thinking and purchasing locally.  Seeking skills within our communities and even developing new ones.  I have lived for years, from necessity battering skills and trying to find ways around what has at first appeared to be insurmountable odds to get by – and we always have.  Now if I can do it with my often challenged intelligence, I am sure others with much more savvy can too.

Let me know what you think.  Let’s chat about it.

Will ramble on again soon.

The Blessings of bark bough and glorious autumn leaves to you all. /|\