We were blessed with beautiful weather this weekend. M and I talked about going up to Cleveland for the Ingenuity Festival, but decided we had too much to do to take the hour trip up (and hour trip back). Maybe next year we’ll make it.
Seated on a rock, having a snack, and listening to the falls, M and I stayed a while. When I finished my snack, I moved around, taking a lot of different photos of rocks, the water, and the falls. Someday (perhaps in the winter) I’ll have time to play with them. In the meantime, I’ll show a few, looking downstream from the waterfall.
It’s that time of year again. The tomatoes need to be canned. The peppers need to be frozen. Apples need to be turned into applesauce.
When you’re cooking with food as alive as this — these gorgeous and semigorgeous fruits and leaves and flesh — you’re in no danger of mistaking it for a commodity, or a fuel, or a collection of chemical nutrients. No, in the eye of the cook or the gardener… this food reveals itself for what it is: no mere thing but a web of relationships among a great many living beings, some of them human, some not, but each of them dependent on each other, and all of them ultimately rooted in soil and nourished by sunlight.
~ Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
As promised, I’ve brought you a few photos from the Portage County Randolph Fair. Next year I might go on my own during the week so I can spend more time looking at and photographing the animals. I’m not sure which are my favorites. It’s a toss up between the cows and the goats.
It’s been a while since I was up to see the sunrise. I’d forgotten how beautiful the early morning light can be. I really should start making a habit of waking up just before the sun. The fog lit up by the warm, golden light of the sun was enchanting.
I walked to the back of the property this morning. Back to the woods. This is the time of year when I can wander around back there for as long as I like. In the spring the vernal pools keep great sections of the ground in the woods under water and mushy. In the summer months the swarms of mosquitoes are so thick that no amount of bug repellant can keep them away and you’re likely to leave drained of a good portion of your blood and many itchy bites.
But in the autumn months the ground dries up, the mosquitoes and deer flies hide from the cooler, windier weather, and I can easily make my way down to the creek.
(The creek today.)
I don’t think I’ve been back to see the creek since last winter or maybe early in the spring. Winter is another good time to visit the woods, but I have to be sure to wear my winter boots and take great care as it can get icy back there.
It’s a dewy kind of day today. My feet and the bottom of my jeans were soaked by the time I got back to the woods, having walked through the former hay field (future woods) to have a good look at the trees we planted.
Rain has arrived along with even cooler temperatures. The clouds darkened and thickened all morning, but there was the occasional thin spot where the sun tried to shine through.
The only sounds in the woods were coming from me, walking on and cracking the branches scattered on the ground. M and I have to get back there soon with the chipper-shredder and start making some mulch while we clean things up a little. The path through the woods, underused during the summer months, is hard to find.
Coming back along the eastern side of the pond, I spotted a green frog sitting at the edge of the water. Most of them jump when I approach, but this one just sat and stared at me. He reminds me a little of the frog on ice:
I don’t know why I’m posting snow and ice photos from the past. We’ll be seeing that sort of stuff soon enough. Hopefully we still have a few more warm days coming to us before the snow starts to fly.
It’s ten days into my commitment and experiment in getting outside every day. There is still a long way to go but even in this short period of time, I feel as though I’m learning. And, as I recently replied to one of the comments in my last post, each daily exploration has, so far, brought a gift of some kind for my spirit/soul.
In other news…
Cooking gives you the opportunity to meet the things you eat. You can touch each carrot or olive and get to know its smell and texture. You can feel its weight and notice its color and form. If it is going to become part of you, it seems worthy, at least, of acknowledgment, respect, and than thanks. ~ Gary Thorp
I decided today was the day. The day to make Harvest Soup. The weather is gray and chilly. A perfect soup day.
I went up to Hilgert’s farm and loaded up on vegetables. Whatever appealed to me. I came home with a half peck of tomatoes, a big bulb of garlic, red onions, white onions, red potatoes, white potatoes, yams, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, red peppers, green peppers, yellow Hungarian peppers, Italian green beans, yellow wax beans, corn, cabbage, and carrots. I may be forgetting a few items. I had two bags full of the most colorful produce I’ve ever seen.
I’ve spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the kitchen chopping, dicing, cubing, peeling, and putting together a big pot of soup using the vegetables I brought home from Hilgert’s. I used a homemade vegetable stock although it didn’t need much in the way of liquid as I used most of the half peck of fresh tomatoes and they are nice and juicy. The big decision I had to make at the point I added the stock was how to spice the soup. Spicy curry flavors? Or a spicy Cajun soup? How about a minestrone?
Minestrone it is! The Italian peppers and green beans leaned me in that direction. I also considered the fact that I’ve been preparing a lot of spicy foods lately. It was time for something a little calmer.
I added kidney beans and garbanzo beans to the soup to give us some protein. I’ll put in barley and pasta for the grains when the vegetables are almost finished cooking. At the very end I’ll add a few spoonfuls of homemade pesto just for fun and flavor.
In addition to the vegetables, beans, and grains, I infused the soup with my love and gratitude. I am thankful to the earth for providing, to all the workers at the farm who labored hard to bring us these lovely vegetables, and to the folks who work in the farm market for their work (and friendliness) in making sure we get the freshest vegetables and fruits.
I am really looking forward to dinner tonight. It is going to be delicious, nutritious, and nourishing.
When you prepare a bowl of vegetable soup, you are preparing the soup ‘of a thousand households.’ You are united with the farmers who grew the vegetables and the workers who built the roads to deliver them. You are assisted by those manufactured the utensils and those who constructed the stove. The list is endless. And the soup, itself, will nourish not only you and your friends but all those you are yet to meet. ~ Gary Thorp