Monday, November 23, 2009

Independence Days Week #30

30 weeks. Seven and half months. 210 days.

In the last 210 days I have planted and tended to a garden. I ate and preserved the harvest and shared some with friends. I connected with other gardeners who freely shared their bounty with me.

I learned that many of the plants that people call weeds are wonderful sources of free and nutritious food. Many of these plants and more are medicine. I now make my own medicine. Significant sections of my home have the look of an herbwyfe's apothecary. This gladdens my heart.

I make friends with anaerobic beasties, invite them into my home and ask them to stay awhile. They get real intimate with milk, cabbage and cukes and the resulting transformation is nothing short of alchemy.

I collect all manner of glass jars. Mason, pint, quart, corked, brown, blue, tall and short. I have a thing for cool stone crocks, simple hand tools and aprons.

I have a well stocked pantry, medicine chest, water supplies. My cupboards are filled with local goodies, homemade jams, pickled beets, dried beans. Squashes lurk amongst fruit butters and piles of books.

I have neatly stacked linens and cloth. Napkins, lacy handkerchiefs, scarves for gift wrapping. Wool blankets, cozy throws. Rags, pee wipes.

My craft section has grown. I have baskets of thrifted yarn, crochet cotton, my great grandmother's crochet hooks, embroidery hoops, ribbons, buttons, baubles and beads.

I look around and see that so much of the stuff of my life has been handed down, salvaged from the trash or purchased from yard sales, thrift shops, community stores and church bazaars. My place is small but if you came to visit me I could take you on a tour that would last for hours as I recounted the story that comes with many of the pieces that make up my home. Nearly everything has a history and tale to tell, much longer than your average trip from the foreign factory to cargo ship to big box store to trunk of car and the ride home.

All together it makes for a rather mismatched and quirky sort of place. My tastes run eclectic and my sense of aesthetics and lifestyle habits certainly aren't for everyone. But that's ok, because I'm doing much of this for me out of sheer pleasure and soul biggering joy and that suits me just fine. And when I come home, I enter into a cozy world, a haven well used and much loved and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Here is my last Independence Days update for this season.

Plant something:
- sprouts

Harvest something:
- dandelions

Preserve something:
- dandelion root tincture
- sauerkraut
- made and froze grape juice
- drying rosemary and thyme

Waste not:

- fair trade coffee in travel mug
- Indian takeout in reusable containers from the small family owned biryani restaurant in my neighbourhood

Want not:
- borrowed movies from the library
- gifts and things from church bazaar

Preparation and storage:
- final clean up of the kitchen and allotment gardens
- added popping corn, olive oil and 8l water to supplies
- storing local cabbage and squash
- added sterile gauze pads to medicine chest
- purchased hot water bottle
Exercise: yoga three times, biked to library and back, walked to farmer's market and half way back

Build community food systems:

- local food from farmer's market
- attended fundraiser for the Otesha Project (educating youth on the value of supporting local growers and buying local food being one of the many awesome things they do)

Eat the food:

- used some pumpkin puree in a soup
- currant jam is lovely on oats with walnuts and raisins

Take the medicine:

- elderberry syrup
- yarrow tincture
- nettle and dandelion vinegars
- sage honey
- plantain tincture
- daisy tincture
- cultivated American ginseng root


Liz said...

Amber, that Otesha Project looks great! My daughter's on the Eco-Team at school (and here I didn't think she listened to me ;-))so I've printed a page for her to take in to the teacher.

Amber said...

Hi Liz. I LOVE the Otesha project. It's a wonderful, energetic and upbeat ogranisation that is lighting fires under youth across the country. Their cycling tours and theatre performances have reached out to 100,000 people in the last 7 years. Very inspirational.

Way to go for your daughter being on the Eco-Team! The Otesha Project has a downloadable book that she might be interested in. There is also a teacher insert too.


Kyaroru said...

That is QUITE a summary there, Amber! Your journey, in less than a year, gives me real hope! Thanks as ever.