Arguments and Attempts to be an Awarenivore

Arguments and Attempts to be an Awarenivore

May 30, 2010

Mind drift, cloud shift

Sunday evening, Jericho, vermont, early summer and later Spring all rolled into one.

We've been lucky this year - the last few brought a month-long drizzle in June. There has already been a long, fruitful Spring. I've wandered through my forest for the first time, foraged my first ramps and nettles, and come closer to this spot of land. Its eas because it's so much like my childhood home. Not the hand-made house itself so much, but the dirt roads an the distance I drive to know I've gotten there. The safety in unlocked doors, and in a warm bed upstairs. The same sounds, and the quickly shifting and today dark grey clouds over a green horizon. Adjectives.

I began writing about my dad today, I hope I can keep it up. It's painful already. Perhaps I'm darker than even he was. I've been through breakups before, but this was his second divorce. Perhaps it was softer than the first, or maybe that made it even worse. Thinking about the house I grew up in makes me miss it. And remember thanksgivings so well. The best times with his side of the family. I guess that is where I will go for the next 'chapter.'

Perhaps if I speak less in daily life, words can come more easily on paper. We only have ourselves to experiment with...

Thoughts all over the place, or at least in a few very deep places. I want to write about the progress of the garden. Today I was able to add a few things, before the black flies ingested much of me. I am so glad my dad was able to contribute a lot - he brought me some seed potatoes last week (two are at least starting!), 6 red lettuce plants, of which I can begin to pick at I think for sure. Radishes are going to be the first taste - I could probably pick a couple for breakfast tomorrow...but perhaps I should wait for Jamie. I love to share the first fruits, it's what it's all about.

Kale and freckles lettuce from seed are coming up. Peas really need the fence. Carrots are alive, and the spinach may be worth nibbling on. I planted one cuke and one tomato plant today (as from dad.) As well as two of the three delicata squash, in mounds in the low corners. It's going to get pretty intense in there soon enough. I'm ready!

I transplanted a wild chive, that I believe is the grandchild of the old, big beautiful one that lived near the stone steps. I found it over in the 'rubble' beside the yard, where the gravel a sand was pushed. It may have re-sprouted, and it was my favorite thing in the old steps. Let's hope it takes...I also plan on getting some peppermint to plant among the stones. Let the (semi) wild weeds grow!

So in love with place and person...I am so lucky.

May 25, 2010

Ancient Futures (is already a book)

"It may be absurd to believe that a primitive culture in the Himalaya has anything to teach our industrialized society. But our search for a future that works keeps spiraling back to an ancient connection between ourselves and the earth, an interconnectedness that ancient cultures have never abandoned." (Helena Norberg-Hodge)

It's this quote that opens a chapter in Three Cups of Tea, the best-selling novel published a few years ago, that I just got my hands on this week.

Today was the second monthly pick-up of our meat CSA from Applecheek Farm. Last month we went through the share pretty quickly it seems - holding a dinner party to celebrate, and another (The T-Bones on the grill alongside raddichio) to soothe a relationship. This month, perhaps we'll get to do the same, though it goes more quickly that way.

Jamie went by the Bluebird Tavern to pick it up from Rocio, farm John's wife, who does the delivery. She is the sweetest woman, and I was sure she wouldn't give him a hard time even thought he meat was labeled with my name. She didn't, and Jamie came home later, happy that he had been more involved. He talked about the experience with rapture, though it was only a few moments. Something like "Why is it so special that we go and pick up our meat from them? I bet this is still a big part of her culture where she grew up!" (Rocio is from Ecuador. Even so, we're speculating.) And I said, "Well, it was a part of our culture only a few generations ago." I think this is true...haha.

In Italy I got another taste of this - it seems like a lot of European cities and towns still center around artisans. The tailor, electrician, cobbler and butcher are still lucrative occupations, and necessary neighbors. I am not sure if the butcher raises the meat himself...not likely since he's probably pretty busy, but I bet he's still good friend's with that farmer. His livelihood depends on the quality of his product and service.

The average current way of living is far from this. Most of us know that now, since stuff like this is a normal discussion around the (Vermont?) dinner table. Here in Vermont, both farmers/producers and consumers are turning away from this model. I wonder what it will do long term? Will Price Chopper no longer be open 24 hours? These small farmer's may have to struggle to stay small, because what we have right now could not feed the whole state...more people would have to take on this as a profession OR at least on a small, personal scale to feed themselves and their families. Modernity must meet practicality and not only 'get back to nature' but go back to what has been ingrained as natural to us for thousands of years. Self-sufficiency and independence with an emphasis on community.

Self-sufficiency - or being a successful farmer - requires skills, and skills are attained through practice. Our lives may have to slow down a tad. This does not mean we can not multi-task. The new future can pick and choose the best from both ways of life - solar panels, modern (or ancient/successful/herbal) medicine and the internet, with the old connection to the rhythms of the natural world.

Who's got ideas?

May 22, 2010

Peepers and Counting Receipts

Soon after we moved in last May I began collecting my grocery receipts in a small drawer in our kitchen.

It was separate from the 'stuff' draw that Jamie hoped we would not have. I think it's inevitable, because we just have a certain amount of stuff that doesn't belong with anything else, and happens to be small enough to fit in the drawer. You always know what will be in there - lights, scotch tape, twist ties and sometimes AAA batteries, if you're lucky.

But this is not the same as the receipt drawer. A new creation...for me. I was not very diligent about it, and this shows in my results. Still I am always proud when I start and finish an idea, and today I really did sit down and sort them.

Each month it seems I spend an average of 200 bucks on groceries, and at 4 different stores. I have yet to go through and find local stuff, or meat or produce see the differences there. That will take some detective detail work.

I remember that at the end of last August I really made the switch to buying and eating local produce. This April we joined the meat CSA from Applecheek Farm. I am proud of our changes.....We also already have quite a large garden going...I am proud of the way we have been eating.

These peepers are still going strong. I wonder, which parents told their kids they were insects, and which knew the truth? I'm finding that only about 50% of my friends know which little creature creates that familiar summer sound. I am also wondering how long they will keep on singing their love song. I believe they started early, April at least, and now it's nearly June.

Speaking of the peepers, I had an in-love-with New England moment. My landlord, Pat, had brought over a copy of the lease for us to sign. We're staying another year. I signed on Tuesday, since I was home, and to be honest, I began to have the tiniest anxieties that Jamie would not, until Thursday when I saw his scribble under mine. After a great class, I came home, poured myself a glass of wine, and walked across our front field through the twilight dew to personally hand the document to Pat. I took the long way back, down his gravel driveway, pausing to look over the land as I walked down the small hill into the valley that is Old Pump road. Nostalgia is a silent killer, it's why we're all afraid to make marriages.

I've certainly fallen for this place though - the romance began a while ago, but out of convenience almost. Not that any move in convenient, but the love came because it was supposed to. This week, walking back up my driveway right before dark, the smells of childhood came back. I looked for the constellation of grass in the driveway. I stopped to stare at the birches, and their bright, baby leaves. I sent love to the moss in Hercules' (the bull) pasture. I thought deer thoughts, and wanted to curl up and spend the night with the Earth.

Out there, yes, but true and intense. New England sows it's way into your heart. Many poets have understood this. Robert Frost was bitten.

Well, perhaps I will keep counting, but I've cleaned out one drawer.

May 20, 2010

...checking in.

"Mainly, I think that we (and by we, I mean me, again)—against our great wealth of experience to the contrary—harbor the belief that in reaching our goals we will be freed from the neurosis, fear, self-doubt, obsession, and myriad other emotional and psychological discomforts that accompany writing. Or any other kind of work, life, or humanness. If I just find love. If I just get into this graduate program. If I just lose this 5 pounds. If I just finish this book. If I just publish this book. If it just gets reviewed well. If I just manage to assemble this Ikea bookshelf. THEN, I will stop wondering if I am good enough. Then, I will be able to stop worrying. Then, I will be liberated from the bondage of self-concern and free to pursue a life of service. Needless to say, this secret expectation is never met. I mean, thank god. Each time it goes unmet, I think we wake up a tiny bit more to the actual experience of living."...zzzzzzttttttttttttttt! Bazzing!

I mean, i guess that just magically turns into a kind of living in the moment stuff. Our own, weird moment, it's ok. Well, hell, it's the only time I've ever really felt happiness. :)