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Soto Zen service and sitting, very informal, 7:15 pm PST most Sundays through Thursdays, available on Zoom.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

"What's in it?" "Umm, maybe I won't say. Want some?"
"Maybe not ...in fact I think I'll pass."

What's in it is whatever I feel like putting in that's on hand at the moment. There are limits; I might not, for example, want to mix strawberries and garlic. But when you are consciously eating from the home place year-round, some combinations will have more appeal to you than to those accustomed to take-out.

After I have had, say, pizza, or a peanut butter sandwich (fallen off my wagon, so to speak), it takes me a few days to really get interested in bean/pea/bok choi/kale/Egyptian onion smoothies again -- but that doesn't mean the smoothies aren't good, just that I'm not acclimatized to them.

It helps to remember to have one reasonable calorie-packed meal a day (assuming we are among those who have that choice). I go for duck eggs with diced radishes and chopped garlic greens, onion greens, kale, fava-bean leaves, parsley, chard, and spinach at present, because that's what's out there. On alternate days, potatoes instead of the eggs.

At the moment, though, the potatoes are not from-home; they're inorganic reds I found at 33 cents a pound. And I might give myself a party with whole-wheat noodles -- and there's olive oil in lots of these meals -- and do you see an olive grove or a wheat field anywhere around here? Didn't think so.
So much for from-home purity.

But wait! You say you saw wheat five miles up the road? Mmm-hmm, with herbicides up the yin-yang and en route, after harvest, to China. Mine comes from eighty miles up the valley, grown with a little more care, but I know I'm a creature of privilege and grateful for the diesel-gulping truck that brings it.

Every attempt to simplify meets with its own exceptions, caveats and paradoxes, and I will refuse to call mine or anyone else's sincere efforts a failure. You see this in comments on green blogs all the time; someone blogs that for Earth Day they turned off the power and sat around a candle, and the commenter lays into the poor thing for using the paraffin instead of the electricity, a net gain in carbon emissions. Oh, for -- ! look, she's working that out; a candle for Earth Day this year may lead to reading and thinking and skills acquisition and -- and the candle-burner might be next year's Sharon Astyk, ready to teach and lead. Give her a break.

What did I do? I was crabby about the whole rigmarole, skipped all the events, and celebrated the day with a bag of pepper-seared Doritos....

Woops -- biggest storm in years has popped the electricity and I had to run around lighting candles. The laptop's already unplugged, in case there was going to be a surge, and I think there was.

So, where were we? Oh, okay. Unless we are moving to the Marquesas or the Andes and leaving behind the laptop, the whole-wheat noodles, the red potatoes and the Doritos, it's all rehearsal. And I have doubts about pretty much anyone's ability to leave it all behind and be pure, anywhere.

What I think I'm saying is, rehearsal is okay. We don't need to rain on one another's parade over what's green or what's not because, if you're reading this, you're civilized to the extent that pretty much you are not green, and neither am I. Blue, ya think? Rehearsal is good because it adds a tiny bit of green pigment; someday maybe we'll all be blue-green algae, but not in my lifetime, I betcha.
A yearling doe was hanging out in the coppice; I was annoyed with her tameness enough to toss a pebble at her. It rolled down her flanks, which shivered a bit; she took two little hops and went back to daintily browsing on our willows. I opened my mouth wide. "Whah! Whah!" She looked over at me, waggled her ears, and leaned down and took another bite.
This year you're cute, my dear, but give us time to get into enough trouble and you will be somebody's venison, current game laws notwithstanding.

That won't be greenness, that will be triage. Some will eat and some will be eaten. Life is hard sometimes, and sometimes it comes to an end; I think some of that hardness and endiness is coming en masse, and when I read the first chapter of the Joy Luck Club, I feel like I'm reading the future.

I was talking the other day to a friend and he asked about the garden and the fences and some other details and said, "how would you defend all that?"

"We can't. We're equipped for that kind of thing and good at it, too, but in real life five naked people with a box of matches and a little patience could take it away from us in a couple of days."

"Good; you have it figured out. So many don't. I'm your friend, but I might be one of those five people and I will take what is yours and eat it, just like anybody else."

I was shocked because I thought he would go on to talk about community as the way to avoid such scenarios, but no, he went straight to dog eat dog, and I was the critter being eaten. He saw my expression, and he raised his eyebrow a notch -- like: so? And I could only nod. He added:

"In the absence of the rule of law, we get the same triage we have always had, only accelerated and more obvious. That's about it. That's the meaning of just how much you and I did for the Tutsis when the machetes were swinging."

We were both quiet for a little bit after that, as the traffic buzzed past on Thirteenth Avenue.
Ah! Lights just came back on. 'Scuse us while we blow out the lamps and candles.

'K, Independence Days:

1. Plant something: more tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, corn, cukes, basil, pumpkins. Some other things.

2. Harvest something - Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, broccoli, leeks, dandelions, eggs, strawberries, comfrey, peppermint, fava beans, PEAS, lettuce, spinach, bok choi. Fresh basil!

3. Preserve something - Dried comfry, put it away, dried peppermint, put it away, drying marjoram.

4. Reduce waste - Still bringing home cardboard, newspapers, bottles, and bubble pack every day, for use in projects. Carrying yet more duck-pond water to the orchard trees for a boost. WEEDING. WATERING ... until today. We needed this storm. Riding buses for about 9/10 of my commute. Saving up appointments and purchases to consolidate trips.

5. Preparation and Storage - rebuilt a bedroom wall and took the opportunity to re-insulate there.

6. Build Community Food Systems - Will volunteer at a Sustainability Festival. Beloved and Last Son continue volunteering as veggie garden experts at Extension Service. I think they have three more shifts.

7. Eat the Food -

From home-dried: Runner beans; basil.

From frozen: trout, blueberries, blackberries, apples, plum sauce, pear sauce, bok choi, sugar snap peas. From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs, chicken liver, chicken soup.

From storage: vinegar, olive oil, molasses, rolled wheat, rolled oats, spelt flour, rye flour, buckwheat, brewer's yeast, sunflower seeds, flaxseed.

From garden: elephant garlic, onions, kale, strawberries, bok choi, basil, parsley, chard, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, radish greens, dandelions. The leeks are getting woody, and I'm switching to using seed heads from the Egyptian onions in stir frys.

Win/loss column: geese still don't like the new Ancona ducks. We're letting them spend days together but nights are a no-no; not enough running room for the ducks to escape the bedtime bullying. Deer eating willows. On the other hand, some projects have gone well, like the bedroom wall....

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