Is there anything quite as satisfying as eating a meal full of food that you have grown yourself? Right now we have purple peacock bush beans, Kentucky Wonder pole beans, sugar snap peas, nantes carrots, ronde du nice zucchini, black simpson lettuce, zebra stripe and red roma tomatoes, nasturtiums, red bell peppers and a smattering of spinach rounding out the garden. I plan to get a few more starters in the next week or so to add to our future harvests.
These home-grown crops beautifully balance the CSA farm share that we get from Live Earth Farm every week. Most weeks we have so much food that an unfortunate portion ends up in the compost bin as an investment in super-rich amendments for future plantings... (or at least that's how I try to justify it...) I am working hard to research best storage techniques, new recipes that utilize our varied (and sometimes unheard of) weekly cornucopia of veggies and fruits. Apricots freeze surprisingly well, halved and pitted, and are DELISH in smoothies! Carrots do not appreciate being stored with their greens still on... (picky, picky!) Beets stain EVERYTHING. Purslane is fantastic in salads (ever eaten purslane? Even Matt has eaten purslane! Get on the bandwagon!) Strawberries are AMAZING in green salads! Fresh apricots? Not so much... Caterpillars are best when not eaten (I know, shocking, eh?) and slugs give me the heebee-geebees when lurking in radicchio (again, shocking, eh?)
There is something so grounding - so fulfilling - about knowing where my food comes from. Seeing it go from seed to seedling to shoot to vine or bush or even tree... amazing. Matt doesn't have much experience with gardening - to see his face when inspecting the growth progress of our Autumn Harvest sunflowers is wondrous in and of itself. He's like a curious child, amazed that the now-six-foot-tall flower stem started only a few months ago as a tiny seed smaller than his pinky fingernail. I find his curiosity contagious, and catch myself running late for work because I decided to set my bag down and stare at newly opened Black Magic bachelor buttons (a-m-a-z-i-n-g.) Our cat spends 90% of her day perched in her basket-bed, overlooking the richly varied palate of colors and, particularly, the happy birds that are flocking to our birdbath and multiple feeders. I find myself plopping down beside her every lunch, watching nature be "as natural" as is possible in a controlled in-town environment.
But in all this beauty, there is a longing that is stirred in me. A desire to run away from the paved streets and city lights - to the quiet and beauty of woods, fields, oceanscapes, bluffs, mountains, meadows, creeks... To take the moments of peace that we find while two days in to the back country on a pack and hold it close forever.
Does this make me anti-social? Weird? A tree-hugging-hippy? Anti-American? What if we re-thought the American dream... Mine certainly isn't the biggest house on the block with the newest cars and track lighting. I think that more and more people are awaking to realize that this suburban dream is a myth, one that we need to leave behind in our search for sustainability in our community and in ourselves. So where do we go from here? I'm still looking...