To Everything

I took the picture of the strawberries back in early April-they were the first berries I’d seen growing this year and I was excited to see them ripening in the kids’ plot at the community garden. Now, less than three months later, the June-bearers have completed their life cycle, and with the rising heat across the land, the first  blackberries ripened today. Also on this day, our spring planted vegetables came to and end as we cut the last of the broccoli, cauliflower, mezuna and lettuce. I picked the final peas, harvested 22 pounds of red and green cabbages and about 20 celery plants, dug up a hill of red potatoes and had some for supper tonight cooked with the first picking of green beans. It’s all according to a master plan, and right on schedule. If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is!

The first day of summer is officially 3 days away, and with this new season will come bushel baskets of beans and peaches, zuchinni and eggplant, spiny, slimy okra and sweet, sweet corn. These are the days that I feel positively rich. Celery rich:

Nothing has ever impacted my life like growing my own food-besides raising my four daughters of course. Who knew I’d fall in love with the whole process, from seed to table? Who knew I’d be taking pictures of  food for crying out loud? I love knowing that my life energy is going into the soil and the seeds and the plants, right along with sun and water and compost. I can’t tell you how alive and empowered I felt today as I stooped over those bean plants and plucked the sun-warmed pods, filling my basket; or how GOOD it felt to snap those beans, and cook them with those  just-dug potatoes and garlic cloves; or how delicious they tasted alongside slices of  red, red early tomatoes and a spicy cauliflower  curry! The culmination of spring and the beginning of summer all came together on my dinner plate tonight, while the earth turned slowly on her axis, and a new season began. As I chopped celery to go in the dehydrator tonight, I was reminded of this scripture:

To everything there is a season

a time for every purpose under the sun.

A time to be born and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

a time to kill and a time to heal…

a time to weep and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn and a time to dance…

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to lose and a time to seek;

a time to rend and a time to sew;

a time to keep silent and a time to speak;

a time to love and a time to hate;

a time for war and a time for peace.

ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

This ‘n That

This ‘n That  will be a regular feature of this blog-just updates on previously mentioned topics or stuff I think you might like to know about:

  • Well, you may not give a damn, but I just wanted to show off  our very first ripe Stupice tomato of the 2012 growing season: Michael and I shared it on our lunch sandwiches today. And so the cycle continues…

Small is Beautiful

  • C.O.O.P. continues it’s efforts to convince our city council to allow its’ citizens to have a small flock of backyard hens. Last night’s council meeting simply exasperated us. They voted to ‘defer’ voting on the proposed zoning hearing until they understand it better. Here it is councilmen: Keep it simple. Allow JC residents to have 6 freakin’ hens. No roosters. No running at large. We don’t need to change every zoning code in the city. Just change the wording of the CITY CODE. If you’re one of the many that would like to have a small flock of your own, if you see this as a right as valid as having dogs, please support our efforts by planning now to attend the next meeting. I’ll try to let you know with a minimum of 48 hours advance notice, but they’re always on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. I KNOW you’re busy, so am I. But having chickens in my backyard, providing my gardens with compost and my table with eggs, is a big step in being more food self sufficient and in helping my family be more resilient in the face of looming adversity. I KNOW too, that when I write things like that last sentence it sounds like Chicken Little’s cry of “the sky is falling! the sky is falling!” Well, the term “the sky’s the limit” is sooo 1950’s. Maybe the sky IS falling! (More on “Peak Everything” soon in this blogspace)

  • More Johnson City news: At the same council meeting last night, they approved money to be spent to study the feasibility of constructing a permanent farmer’s market site: http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/News/article.php?id=100366  (But can’t we have chickens and fresh eggs to go along with all those locally grown fruits and veggies?)
  • My beehives are thriving. Even the one that swarmed last month! The queenless hive immediately raised another queen, and they are busy, well, as bees! filling their honey supers. I’ve found the hard way, that the less I mess with them the better off they are. They surely know more than I do about what’s best for them. Now, if we can just get Bayer to withdraw their agricultural chemical, imidacloprid. Read the latest study here about the newly discovered cause of Colony Collapse Disorder: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405224653.htm   I’m moved enough to find an alternative to Bayer when I get a headache, and I’m going to write the company a letter. Not a love letter either…
  • The Carver Peace Garden has all the available plots spoken for PLUS an extra one that was tilled up to accommodate a nearby family that heard about us at the last minute! I’ve been recently contacted by two different local TV stations that want to do stories on Community Gardens in the TriCities area. I’ll let you know when it will air. Also, word has it that the Tree Streets Community Garden still has a few plots left and you don’t have to be a resident of that area to be part of the fun! Contact Lyn Govette if you’re interested at: lgovette@charter.net The good news about this year’s gardeners is that we are such a diverse bunch. Not so much plain white bread 🙂
  • I’m still trying to practice ‘bread labor’ (see post from April 14th). I get a lot accomplished when I don’t let distractions divert my attention-a lifelong problem for me. There have actually been a couple of days recently that I didn’t feel that I had to devote even that four hours to bread labor because I was caught up enough with that damn to do list to go to the zoo and music festivals, read more and even take a coupla naps. That’s about to change soon though, I’m afraid. More on that later too!
  • After reading my post about ‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes’, I have several people helping me fold origami paper cranes to be sent to the Japanese memorial in August. Care to fold a few with us? I’ll teach you-in about 5 minutes.  Let’s have a party! I need 1,000!

This I believe: Small changes in daily life add up to something important and there are thousands of small things we can all do. Are you doing something, no matter how small you think it is, to help society transition to a lower-energy, more localized world? One that runs on trust, cooperation and human power rather than oil? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Post your comments below.

Living the (Frugal) Good Life
April 28, 2012, 8:55 PM
Filed under: Frugality, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

My life is sweet. I have enough. Enough space, enough food, enough money, enough of all that I need, and lots that I don’t. A couple of weeks ago I shared with you  that I’d recently reread “Living the Good Life”.  Since I posted that, I have come to realize that  I’m living the good life too. In the last two weeks alone, I’ve had a great trip to Nashville to visit daughter #2, played some fun gigs with our old-time string band,  hiked in these beautiful Appalachians with my sweet hubs, had a nice time at the community garden on Earth Day, had friends over for soup and singing, spent quality time with my bees and chickens, won an online book giveaway and found a valid $50 gift card to Bed, Bath and Beyond inside a brand new, still in the box, long-wished-for Oxo salad spinner I’d purchased at a second-hand thrift store! Then today, I spotted this little beauty hiding under a leaf in the greenhouse:

This is a sure sign of all the abundance I enjoy in my life, with more to come soon! And even though EverybodyElse has set their tomatoes and peppers out already, we still don’t plan to for about another week, just in case we get any more chilly nights. The three Stupice plants you see here trellised on jute strings in the greenhouse, will provide us with plenty until the big heirlooms and romas begin ripening later in June.

The lettuce and arugula we’ve planted under the tomatoes are shaded by them, keeping it cool enough to give us  salads and BLT’s in May, long after our outdoor lettuce has bolted.  A big part of my good life depends on being frugal, and NOTHING makes my day like a good buy. Another bonus this week was finding Morning Star Farms Bacon Strips for 99 cents a box this week at the discount grocery. My freezer now has enough fakin’ bacon to see us through the whole BLT season. Life is good indeed.

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