Today’s Pick Your Own
Recently, perhaps even today, a friend from my past and with whom I worked on computers posted this amazing composite of a year’s worth of days at 10 second intervals. It is simple, and yet one can find quite a lot to think about when watching it. This montage collects a year’s worth of cycles into one frame, and in doing so it cause me to have a small, FB, connection with a part of my life that has in its own way come back to me now that I am working as a educational technologist.
This blog is now close to bridging two years of daily posts, and in it I find other cycles that evolve as the kids get older. Today, we went to the farm, and this weekly cycle, as long as the earth is pushing out produce, is a great grounding in the natural rhythms around us. We see the slow change of vegetables cross our path from picking in the field to eating at home. The same cannot be felt in a grocery store with all of the other, out-of-season, non-local produce mixed in. At the farm, the kids and I get a real sense of what the ground where we stand feels like pushing out. Year by year, this symphony gets a little more clear, and in its complexity becomes more beautiful.
Saturday, as my wife prepped for and took a math test, I took the kids to the farm where there was good food to collect including green beans to pick. I love getting my kids in a working farmand eating fresh veggies
Thursday was a warm, sunny day. It started cold, but quickly changed. My wife had the day off from work, so I didn’t have to do drop of and pick up at my daughter’s school. In fact, my wife did the parent helping there, so I was free to do whatever I wanted with my son. Clearly, we needed to be outdoors after a few wet and cold days. I packed him up, and we visited Drumlin Farm, a working plant and animal farm run by Massachusetts Audubon Society. The kids were gamboling and bleating, the piglets were sneezing in their sawdust bedding and occasionally suckling, and the calves were already quite big. There were eggs in the laying boxes and a greenhouse full of seedlings ready for planting. For the last few days since my wife took him there, he as been asking “Farm day?” We can now check that off the list.
He has also been saying, “Swim lesson?” He misses his swim lesson that used to happen close in time to his sister’s. Clearly, I need to brush up on family swim times and get the kids in the pool soon.
In the last week, there have been some interesting encounters with veggies. At the CSA, there were a few heads of Romanesco broccoli. The amazing fractal geometry of these veggies entrances me every time.
As my son and I cleared out the year’s garden, I discovered the last beet of the year, but I also found a valiant if foolish tomato plant. I didn’t plant it this year, but it is where I tried to grow some last year. Last year’s plants didn’t even flower. This one not only has a flower, but it has a miniature, green fruit that will not survive the inevitable frost that is days away from killing the plant. Silly, silly tomato!
One of my good friends has a kick ball party on the Fourth each year, and I regularly am a complete wimp when it comes to my potluck contributions. This year, however, I was determined to do better and include my daughter in the cooking.
Looking in the fridge, I saw a half head of cabbage and beets from our farm share and punched those ingredients into Epicurious to see what I might have on hand. I settled on a cabbage and beet slaw recipe that I would modify with ingredients I had on hand.
I peeled the raw beets and sliced up the green onions before my daughter got to the kitchen. Peelers and sharp knives are not in her repertoire, yet. Together we measured out oil, balsamic vinegar and horseradish. We whisked them together, added the green onions and then fed the beets into the food processor to shred them. After adding the beets to the bowl, she watched as I cut up and cooked the cabbage briefly. My daughter then enjoyed helping mix all of the ingredients together.
Usually when she gets involved in a food project, she enjoys eating the result. This one, however, she was not too keen to try. Maybe it was just too purple. I thought it was pretty good for the first time with a recipe.
Today was the first farmshare pickup. I love our CSA! My son toddled around the fields pointing at things and asking, “Shza?” and not waiting for a reply laughing and toddling on.
The pickup had many types of leafy greens, and we could pick seven of the available options. Along with the greens, I got some radishes and some garlic scapes. Yummy.
There is nothing like having my children get the experience of seeing a working farm and eating the produce from it. This is a blessing.
Billions of dollars are being spent to make me want things. I don’t want to fall prey to these huge corporations to fill their coffers, and I don’t want my thinking molded by their ads. I don’t even want my thinking to be molded by the many terrible personalities portrayed in media. I kid myself in thinking I can isolate myself from the influence that surrounds me much as the Atlantic Ocean surrounds a lone fish.
I seek to build resistance to these same influences in my children. The same culture, however, is filled with critical thinking even if it, too, is a fad at times. The recent food movement, part of a cyclical pastoral movement, is no exception. I have read Omnivore’s Dilemma and Farm City among other books on the topic. As a child, I lived through the last surge of food consciousness and spent countless hours tending the fairly large garden in our backyard. All of this push back from mass-produced food and popular culture creates a culture of its own, and that culture is now being fully merchandised and promoted. One of the several toy stores near our house has a display in its window of a whole collection of Playmobil farm themed figures, equipment, and buildings. There are very few farms or farmers nearby, so this offering is about make believe just like the pirates and the castles. Yet, I am drawn to this particular set, and in this I am swayed by the billions of dollars that did research to see what types of adults live in this area and what they would purchase for their children. But, golly, I want it!
Today, with my wife out at a retreat for two days, I decided that we had to get out of the house. We have bought a membership at a local farm run by the Audubon Society. With the one year-old in the stroller and the 3.5 year-old happily walking through puddles and mud in her new rain boots, we tromped around the farm to see what was new. Several new buildings are finished or close to completion, but we did not go in. I look forward to seeing what is in the new visitor center. However, we did do a quick loop to look at all the animals: the goats and sheep, the chickens, the pigs, the cows, and the wild animals. After that, we sat down to a picnic, hit the restroom, and headed home. With my son’s napping schedule currently on two per day, it limits the length of these outings. When he switches over to one nap, we can be out for a much longer block of time. That being said, I think this trip was the limit of what my daughter wanted for walking around today. We got home, she had quiet time, and my son and I both took naps.