Midwest Springtime

Not exactly what some areas of the country call Spring but this is ours…

IMG_9028

It’s the time of year when our very small creek gets to pretend it’s a real river! The large amounts of snow we still have continue to melt and at the warmest times of day this little creek swells it’s banks.

IMG_9033

The animals are finding actual grass! While there isn’t much that is green yet, it is still a welcome sight to see something other than snow! The bunnies are not the only ones looking for free forage…I’ve been peeking in places looking for tiny signs of green. Looking forward to collecting anything green to eat very soon, I am sure my bunny friend here is feeling the same way!

A year ago February I started “Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. When I started it I couldn’t put it down and then Spring hit and almost everything went to the wayside while the garden was planted and tended, a new calf appeared, baby chicks were cared for, and piglets were arriving. Then there was the busy summer of food processing and preservation which extended well into the Fall, which brought us to chicken harvesting time, and pigs going to market. As it became winter, my efforts turned to making many hearty meals to keep us warm, keeping the fire stoked and doing some expansion of my business, really granola. Ironically, I picked the book back up in February, a year later and finished the book all at once, again not able to put it down. I realized that we had coincidentally done much of what they did in this book. Their goal was to eat locally for a year, and ours a slightly different angle, of wanting to feed ourselves from what we could raise here, our own little animal, vegetable experiment, that yielded our own small miracle! We were watching a dvd the other night about foraging and learned things we never knew about that we have and will look for on the farm. The foraging guide explained, as he literally nibbled leaves off a branch, that all they get at the store these days is grain, beer and dairy, and I had to laugh when his wife added, “and deoderant”. I thought about this and in fact that is pretty close to what we are buying at the store, although I would add coffee to the list. Close to two years ago I went on a couponing kick, under the direct tutelage of my older daughter who is a pro. I was buying shampoo for less than a dollar and dish soap for a quarter, and I built up such a supply that cleaning items and personal care items won’t have to be bought for another year yet! It is pretty amazing and freeing to not have that always, “I’ve got to run to the store” feeling to pick up this or that several times a week, often going in for this and coming out with bags of that, just because I was there, and it was convenient. A couple of nights ago, we sat down to a delicious meal of scrambled eggs cooked with our own salsa, cottage bacon from our pigs, collards from our garden, applesauce from our wild apple trees, large slices of homemade toasted wheat bread, and a corn salad that could hardly have tasted fresher had it been summer!

IMG_9036

The thawed out cold corn mixed with red jalapeno bits, green pepper, a bit of cider vinegar and honey, and parsley tasted like summer! This all was washed down with the best apple juice ever, yep you guessed it, from our wild apple trees.

While I wasn’t trying to do an actual year long local eating experiment, I realized when I finished the book that we had done just that. This though will be a life long experiment, because I can’t go back to the old way…why? Because I can’t, because I won’t, because it’s what feels right.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I’ve been asked several times what I am doing to celebrate. Well, it’s been a busy granola week, and so tomorrow will be a “me day”. I will plan my garden, order my seeds, read, knit, change the litter in the coop, put hay down in the chickens Spring-swampy wet run and plant lettuces into my hay bale cold frames. Although they were a fail in the winter, they will be good enough for the milder days of Spring. It sounds like a perfect day to me. Over the weekend we will try out a new local BBQ spot for a birthday meal with family.

All is good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s