Saturday, August 1, 2009

First Harvests ... fresh, pesticide-free, hand-picked, NOW

Fresh, pesticide-free, hand-picked: Yukon gold spuds, young onions, radicchio, and broccoli flowerings

The first harvests are feeding us with berries of all flavors and colors: raspberry, blueberry, strawberries and blackberries. Our own flowers from the broccoli were harvested with appreciation last night. Thank you for smiling down on these old dears with the reward of fresh food. With effort and a ninety minute drive we show up in the gardens to help young Claude in his service of providing food for the locals. We pick blueberries and weed the rows of lettuces, beets (bulls-eye and golden varieties) and beans, onions. For our work we drive home with paper bags filled with a pinwheel shaped variety of zucchini that has become our season fav (so far). The prolific squash has been dipped in a simple beaten egg with a dash of cinnamon or paprika and lightly sautéed in olive oil or coconut oil. Pots of sage and oregano are within a dozen steps from the hot plate that works so well after all its’ many usages. Snipped and sprinkled into nearly every recipe the savory herbs successfully season the harvests. Last Friday evening we also ate Claude’s first harvest of potatoes … Yukon Gold and purple or blue potatoes were easily washed and set in the toaster oven to roast while his just-picked French beans steams slightly. Dinner that night was an omelet made with onions, garden fresh garlic, snipped savory herbs and half a pinwheel shaped zucchini (next time I’ll have that beauty’s given name) sliced thin.

We were tired from the afternoon of harvest and weeding and ready for the feast. The omelet was ready before potatoes were done. A two course summer dinner stretched the late summer meal accompanied by a gang buster beautiful orange glow of a sunset through the fir and pines.

Summer heat sits stoutly in the Pacific Northwest, and for a week the temperatures climbed past 100. A sweet breeze is moving air through the vardo as I write making the temperature a delicious sort of heat. JOTS is perfectly stretched in luxury on her porch rug, restoring her kitty self for hunting much later in the evening. Pete is engaged in the man-kind activity that he loves. A trip into town yesterday anchored all the pieces and bits of wire, lug nuts, adaptors and etc. bits necessary to make Bernadette road ready. My work: I learn to set limits and draw the necessary communication skills from somewhere within me as our friend forgets that no fragrances really means no fragrances. That part of living during our first season of harvesting from a new life is difficult. If there is one lesson that repeats itself as I live with MCS it is limit setting. Now that there is no denying the truth of my environmentally induced illness, there is always one more situation that must have a limit set. I am a native who used to believe others ought to just know better. Late in the evening Pete, our friends and I met in the strawberry patches now nearly spent from their season of abundance. There were a few berries still to find. Anna came over and apologized for the slip in memory ... "Sometimes my brain just doesn't remember. I know, but something happens. All I can say is 'I'm sorry and will I be forgiven ... it won't happen again?" "Sure," I said. Across the edge of the patch Anna walked toward me her trembling hand outstretched. "Here, my penance." It was a huge (nearly purple) late-in-the-season strawberry. Multiple chemical sensitivities to the collective consumer conscious has demanded educating. One explanation is rarely effective, two is simply repetition. Three times can be the charm, or not. We have an investment to make this intentional community of four old people, a cat and a dog mutually benevolent. We have been friends longer than either woman has been ill. Friends are precious, and uncommon. So as we learn to co-exist and co-operate, Pete and I alternate in the pep-talks that create our semi-nomadic lifestyle and we learn. What I am realizing day by day is that this new life we create is less and less about thinking things through and more and more about sensing my way now. Just as this planet, Earth, senses the energy and affects of each ill-chosen design or chemical experiment concocted so do I sense it as a being with multiple chemical sensitivities. Now that I accept the surrender of that condition, learning to sense with trust is my doorway of opportunity. I don't "think" I've been exposed to a chemical that is toxic, I 'sense/feel' the exposure and respond from that place...hmmm.

Then there is the texture of our uncommon, one could call it an exotic life. When I heard the word used to describe my life I felt an old cringe: I have been described thus and had grown to dislike the image. After a moment though I felt something and I said in reply, “If you mean our life is rich with flavors, I would agree. This life is definitely a recipe of rich flavors, filled with the values we have grown over time and experience.” If that is exotic and such a far cry from the collective norm than there you are. Add to the pinwheel shaped zucchini a season of exotic every days from the vardo and you would have a sample of first harvests from the Ledge in the woods. A small home fills with concentration in all manner of experiences; our ordinary becomes extraordinary because it requires several more conscious steps to completion ORDINARY TASKS. We are co-creating a life that is made up as we show up. That takes FAITH or something akin to it … some might call it tom-foolery. Alas, what slipperiness lives in words.

This first harvest of fresh, pesticide-free, hand-picked gems takes good, sweat-producing work. I try to make use of the tools I'm learning now to replace the old attitudes, beliefs and attachments that only reproduced illusions of security... From the Ledge in the Woods I sense the reliability of the moment NOW and look up and out through the windowed door. This post is a hodge-podge, a put together from one time to another post, and as it concludes the fog cOme to ease us from the heat waVE early in the morn is lifted, the sky shines blue and this is all.

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