Sunday, May 04, 2008

serendipity

I'm missing Maryland Sheep and Wool, the first of many festivals I went to last year. It's bittersweet. On one hand, I wish I were there at every single event, but on the other, I'm hoping to have a much more relaxed and reasonable spring/summer/fall than last year, when I attended 12 or so events in order to do research for my book, Fiber Gathering.

As a fabulous consolation prize, spring here has been unbearably lovely. If you need a poetic interpretation of this, e.e.cumming's "in just" is just what I mean! (scroll down to that poem or maybe read them all?!)

I've spent time knitting, spinning and gardening out of doors, and my just laundered sheets are drying in the sunshine today. Strawberry season is upon us, and lasts here until mid-June. I was driving home from an appointment in Nashville and I took the older highway home in order to avoid the rush hour traffic. I followed a "Pick Your Own" strawberry sign on a whim and a few minutes later, I was in a field, filling up a basket with sweet springtime.

An aside--I'm pretty sure it was sprayed with pesticide, so that's the downer...buying local is possible here, but organic is harder. My local farmer's berries (not sprayed) cost substantially more and it's hard to beg or barter enough for one batch of jam. I may just go back to the "Pick Your Own" place. Strawberries are some of my favorite foods, and I try hard not to buy them fresh out of season...because it wastes so much energy just to ship them the thousands of miles to my table. I celebrated my local find with homemade strawberry shortcake with a vanilla cream sauce. I think I've eaten about 10 plates of this in the last 5 days. Oops.

I somehow came home with TWO good movies from the library last time-amazing luck!- and can recommend The Girl in the Cafe. I also listened to a great new book, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. It had just the right magic and Southern folk tale narrative. Perfect for spring time gardening, knitting projects, and long drives in the car.

Our roses are blooming. The professor's in charge of the flower garden around here. I made him a deal when we were first married...that whenever he had the inclination to buy me flowers, he should put some in the ground instead. As a result, we've beautified a couple of different gardens along the way, and from early spring through fall, I'm always enjoying what pops up. I also like to live in older houses because the gardens are already started. Someone before us planted flowers, and they are always such a lucky surprise. (more photos of irises, gladioli, and other treats may follow.)

Our garden is flourishing this year, or maybe I just have lower expectations than in past years! In this photo, you can see radishes up front, then the big garlic greens, and beyond, the potato patch. These aren't glamorous crops, but I am looking forward to some garlicky potatoes in a couple of months. The radishes are like little red presents. Pull up a few and decorate a green salad with color!

I focus on all alternative food sources like local farmers and my garden because the grocery store situation here hasn't been ideal. Organic and local are big buzzwords in the national media but the news hasn't really hit in our area of Kentucky. We're behind on the recycling thing, on walking or biking, etc. I've had to work hard to find healthy and fresh food. Our grocery store is part of a big chain, and it monopolizes this area. Recently, my store's been renovated and dragged kicking and screaming into this century. Today for the first time--I could buy stuffed grape leaves at the store. Bulk food? A new thing! Also, wonder of wonders, I saw organic chickens on sale. (I'll stick with buying the fresh and locally raised free range ones; I like driving by and seeing them clucking first, and I know my money goes straight to a local farmer.)

Serendipity means "an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident." I'd argue that it isn't luck exactly. It starts with that capability...that aptitude. I actually work pretty hard to find my luck, so I'm not embarrassed about enjoying it thoroughly and sharing it with you! I mean-- first, you have to know enough to take a risk and follow that country road towards the strawberries! Then all that's left is the wallowing in strawberry shortcake!

Thanks so much for all your kind notes to my last post. I just wish I could show you photos of all my knitting projects(alas, some is top secret; for books or other publications)--but your feedback is so kind!

3 Comments:

Anonymous Janet said...

I can't tell you how jealous I am of your strawberries and lovely spring. Sounds like it's good for your mood. Still, I'm hopeful that we will have berries this year after last year's terrible and depressing absence. Congratulations, and savor one for me!

May 4, 2008 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger ilana said...

yummmmm! strawberries with cream and shortbread! sounds like a perfect weekend. i don't think it is strawberrie season here yet, but i can't wait for raspberrie time- that's my personal favrite!

May 5, 2008 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Mrs J said...

Your post really captures Spring (although here we might be tempted to call it Summer! -Strawberries are a Summer fruit in Northern England!)Its good to see the garden grow & the countryside go green.

May 6, 2008 at 2:12 AM  

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