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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Peas in our time

While weeding and spreading mulch, I discovered the bush peas, sugar snap peas, and golden peas are coming in, and they look great, as ever, but none of them have the super-sweet flavor of last year. But they're not a total loss; steam them a little bit, and they're a good deal more like the real thing.

I made dinner for Beloved, who worked all day at the library. We had whole wheat spaghetti noodles, salad, peas in the pod, and some whole wheat bread that was made with "Amish Friendship Bread" starter -- my first successful sourdough, in other words. The salad contained spinach, FIVE kinds of lettuce, fava bean leaves, nasturtium flowers, onion greens, dandelion, chives, and chive blossoms. I'm actually not much for salad and took mine, snapped some peas in it, spread it over the noodles, poured some tomato sauce over it, added fresh basil, zapped the whole thing for a minute, and had vegetable-spaghetti.


j. s. bach
She turned up the weeds without pity, spreading
their roots before the sun. Most of them died,
though a few tenacious grasses rolled over

when she was not looking, and sucked earth
till she found them skulking about, and banished them
to the heap with the egg shells and old tea leaves.

Returning to the scene of the massacre, she placed
a five tined fork before her, pointed toward
the earth's core. On its step she placed her boot's

sole, and drove its teeth home, tearing living soil.
She did this many times, and in her hearing,
the dark loam whispered in protest. But what

was she to do? One must eat, and the white seeds
in their packet were waiting for the sun.
She carried a blue denim bag at her side,

zippered it open, feeling about in its depths
like the housewife at the station platform
seeking her ticket for the last train--

Seizing her prize, she held it in a soiled palm,
reading the runes of inscription:
"Date of last frost"; "zone three," "days

to maturity." How many days now to her own
maturity? Not to be thought of. Her hand
trembled. Tearing the thin paper rind,

she tipped out contents: a shirtfront
of buttons. Five seeds to a hill she counted,
pinching their graves over them: three hills.

And on to other tasks. The rainmaker
whispered over hilled earth all
the zone's days to maturity, and the date

of first frost held true. Almost forgotten in the rush
of gathering in others: beans and corn, tomatoes--
she sought them last in October, the golden

fruits of that planting. Her other crops
talk to her; the Hubbards never do. (What are they
dreaming at, over there? She brings out the knife.)

Now it is March, she remembers having gathered
the silent, sulking Hubbards. How are they faring?
A look into the pantry reveals them,

dour and uncommunicative, all
huddled like bollards on the high shelf.
She chooses one to halve on the kitchen block.

Scooping out seeds to dry and roast later,
she bakes the halves till soft, slipping off skins
per Rombauer and Becker. "Dice them,

and in a mixing bowl add butter, brown sugar,
salt, ginger, and move the lot to the mixer,
remembering to add milk." With a bowl

of silent Hubbard thus richly dressed,
she goes to the living room, asking blessing
of the gods of the steel fork and the weeds,

the rainmaker, the packet of white seeds,
booted foot and blue denim bag
and the longtime summer sun, eating,

listening to a fugue by J. S. Bach.

Independence Days:

1. Plant something - Lettuce, spinach, pumpkins, corn, beans, turnips, basil, stevia.

2. Harvest something - Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, fava beans, radishes, turnip greens, cherries, strawberries, mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, chives, leeks.

3. Preserve something - Froze kale/chard/spinach mix, dried marjoram.

4. Reduce waste - Carrying duck-pond water to the orchard trees for a boost. WEEDING. Dumped the compost barrel and began refilling it. Still bringing home cardboard, newspapers, bottles, and bubble pack every day, for use in projects. Found four free pallets.

5. Preparation and Storage - Whenever we gas up, we take along a 2.5 gallon container and fill that up as well. We've put twenty gallons of gasoline in five gallon jerry cans this way, a little at a time. When a can is full, we add some gasoline stabilizer and lock away the cans.

6. Build Community Food Systems - Beloved and Son are now done volunteering as veggie garden experts at Extension Service. I'll be directing traffic at the Sustainability Conference.

7. Eat the Food - From storage: rolled wheat, oats, spelt flour, rye, buckwheat, brewer's yeast, sunflowers, flaxseed. From dried: Runner beans; basil. From frozen: apples, pear sauce. From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs. From garden: Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, fava beans, radishes, turnip greens, cherries, strawberries, mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, chives, leeks.


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