farm lunch: spring confetti


french breakfast radish, carrots, chard, kale, farm lunchToday’s lunch.

I have been calling this mixture here–french breakfast radishes, spring carrots, rainbow chard and kale (three varieties today–purple and green lacinato, plus red russian), plus the beets before we ate them all–my confetti vegetables.  They are the bulk of what we are harvesting, besides lettuces, and so it is this combo cooked with loads of coconut oil, green garlic, and green onions, and served with a little something–poached eggs and pork today–for one of our meals, then a hearty salad, with a little meat, for the other.

This, plus eggs, for breakfast, everyday.  Simple stuff.

It would seem redundant, perhaps, if it weren’t so pretty.  Or if I didn’t feel like I was having a little party on my plate each day with all these colors.  Or, perhaps, if tender, fresh, spring vegetables weren’t so damn good.

We round it all out with peas and strawberries, and even early ripe raspberries, for snacks, al fresco.

Recipes come in all shapes and sizes.  This spring, each meal I cook has three main ingredients–fresh, simple, and beautiful.  It strikes just the right chord of this season.

Topped with a dash of love, each day, and we are filled.

moving forward in a circle

into the unknownWe are one week away from the start of our summer farmer’s market season.  We have been so steadily putting one foot in front of the other this spring, getting ready for this stretch of the year, these next 20-30 weeks or so, our “main” season here on the farm, and now that it is just one week away, of course, we are feeling not steady at all but instead just rushed, rushed, rushed.  Those gooseberries I wrote about that never got weeded are nearly giving me nightmares, they have all but disappeared underneath the bindweed.  And the strawberry patches we hope to be harvesting from in the next few weeks are playing hide and seek in some knee high grass. 

Oh, the adventures of it all!

We are fairly used to this routine by now, seven years in, but that doesn’t mean we can always control our feelings of ineptitude when we encounter, even repeatedly, the sheer force of the wild world.  With a leftover sore throat caught from the children, today I feel it overtime.  Today, I dream about the many hired hands we could use if only we could afford to hire them.  I dream of a week straight of childcare so that I can get ahead.  I dream of the sleepy feel of winter. 

So silly!

Life on the farm truly is about routines and cycles, and as such is fairly predictable, at least in general, even if it is not in the particular.  Those things change every season, and are always a mystery we have to watch unfold as we go.  But the cycle remains the same. 

Every year, at least once at this time of year, we will feel overwhelmed.  Some years it is the weather, the waiting for the land to dry.  Some years, it is the planting and keeping things going in the ground on schedule.  Some years it is the money and do we have enough right now when we spend it the most. 

And this year, I swear, it is the weeds. 

I walk the farm with the babe of a boy on my hip and worry about getting some air to our perennial fruits.  And I can’t seem to catch up.  And everywhere I look I see another thistle or burdock or hemlock plant that needs to be knocked down before it blooms.  I sigh and let the one rainy day in this month, today, comfort me with rest while I make the lists that will keep us moving forward.

Then, tomorrow, I will set out again, one step at a time, moving towards this unattainable goal of getting to all those weeds.  With or without reaching it, just like every year, I know that soon the summer will fully set in and we will be back in the swing of it all.  We always “catch up” eventually.  We always move from this kind of busy to the harvesting kind of busy, all fun and full, hearts raised and beating hard, out in the sun while it lasts.

The farm is always moving, both in a forward-upward motion, as well as in a circle.  Kind of like life.  The path it takes always leads somewhere good, even though it is not always right on target or 100% predictable.  We start a farming season in all possibility, all hope.  Then, inevitably, we get a bit waylaid for a while in the weeds, until we emerge and find that once again, everything is again.  Even more than okay.  We find that just like every year, it is bursting in greatness.  We find ourselves swimming in the river on hot summer afternoons, staying up late not just working but playing by the bonfire, wishing on twinkling stars.  We find ourselves blissfully breathing easy again, while the land provides, ever abundantly.

I could almost say that it happens with or without us, and that would almost be true.  The earth provides.  It cycles, on and on, ever and always.  But we did, and do, a lot in order to receive this fecundity year after year.  This, we must always remember, no matter what kind of spring craze we are feeling. 

This, we must remember, no matter if we feel a bit like we are still at the bottom of the staircase of the year.  Because all of us, most likely, have been doing the work we need to do, moving forward on the journey, even when we are at that point when we can’t exactly see it.  Perhaps a few steps more forward, even with a blindfold on, will lead us up and into the light.

Rise up!

pretty eggs

pretty sweet boy

I have a million and one things to say about yesterday’s holiday.

From an ode to the sweetness of my wonderful kids and more praise for glorious weather.  Simple gratitude for simple fun and lovely gatherings.

To beginnings, resurrections, growings~in the ground, in the body, and in the heart.

But the two words that ended up on the chalk board under the words Happy Easter this year are just right and straight to the point–

rise up.

To your life, to your day.

Rise up, again and again, like the sun in the morning and the green from the brown.

The spring from darkest winter.

Your spirit can soar–should soar–while your feet touch this ground.

That rising is what matters, through it all.

The lessons of Easter are many, but the crux of it is this (and this applies to every single day).  Here is a day to think about what it means to be both deity and person.  Here is a day to practice the wild duplicity of being human and alive in this world.  Here is a day to try, once again, your hand at perfecting the art of simply being~a mother playing a magic bunny~as well as magnificently being~a never ending tide of upward motion.

magic making

hot, sweaty, dirty, love

hotsweaty + dirtyloveToday, we planted and planted and planted.   The soil is perfect.

I’m not sure where the rain is hiding, but for this pacific Northwest farm, the sun is like a dream.

And for this summer-heart, dirty-hands-happy mama, this is love.

nine is bittersweet, so we welcomed spring in the snow

one last hurrah wintermy snow boymy sweet boyTo be born on an equinox lends one a quality of bothness.  Our second boy, our bringer of light, turned nine on this year’s first day of spring.  And for all the sunshine he brings with him to this world, he is our most devout lover of winter and snow, poor valley boy.   So we aim for a snow trip each year at this time, welcoming the warmer weather of a new season by visiting the much colder weather in the mountains.

And this dreamy boy is now nine, waking up more each day.  He has hung on to his innocence so much longer than his quick to grow up older brother.  But now he is nine and he is shedding more and more, just like we all do when we grow.  I love the babyhood’s of my children so much, so tender and sweet.  And I love the growing that takes place each year from nine on, the increasing awareness and reasoning, it is a privilige to witness their blossoming.  But as with all things slowly left behind, movement forward is bittersweet.

Maybe not so much when we move from winter to spring.  That, I am ready for, 100%.  But the growing up of my children–it is at once the most wonderful thing and the saddest.  Their growing is so marked.  We have to let go so often.

But we can still take to the mountains for a bit of play, go back and forth in time in our hearts and memories.   It isn’t too hard to still find some snow on the first day of spring.  The line is always soft enough to traverse for a while, until we can finally easily settle into what is new.