Posts Tagged Community
Share the bounty… of knowledge, passion and skills…
1- Host a picnic -
Your theme: Over the fence. Your guests: At least 4 neighbors, with preference to neighbors you do not know very well yet. Your mission: Fire up the grill, share the bounty of the garden, talk, laugh, share gardening tips, life stories, wisdom and jokes. One condition: Your guests will take turns hosting a picnic at a time of their choice this summer, to which they will invite neighbors they do not know well yet.
2- Host a chef’s workshop -
You have mastered the art of the smoothie or the art of canning. Get playful invitation cards. Hand-deliver them to neighbors who have just recently started gardening. Invite them to a friendly “how-to” workshop. They must bring their own produce and you will supply some as well. Share your favorite smoothie combinations, discuss companion flavors and storage tips, explain the canning process and, most importantly, convey your passion.
3- Start a garden show -
Well, not literally. This time, instead of inviting neighbors over, offer your services in their own garden. You’ll want to identify community members who are new to gardening. Offer to share your own gardening secrets. Set a time and bring your wheelbarrow filled with your favorite, most indispensable gardening tools. Bring a jug of iced tea and a garden seat. Begin by asking what baffles them most. Go from there. Let your passion speak.
4- Start a neighborhood garden and kitchen swap -
No, you are not going to swap living quarters, though sometimes I think that could be a fun and even enlightening thing to do. Instead of having a yard sale to trim down the kitchen or workshop, host a swap. You never know what will show up.
Sometimes it is difficult to let go of things, but when you know that it will have significance to someone else as much as it did for you, it makes giving something away a lot more meaningful and rewarding. You have two blenders? Give one away. A young neighbor with limited funds may discover great joy in the kitchen thanks to the one appliance she dreamed of but could not afford. This is the sort of “great find” that can literally change a life. She may in turn bring along a colorful garden seat/tool tote that makes your eyes open wide. It is just the thing you need. It so happens you like to paint in the garden and this garden seat with convenient storage pockets is perfect for your painting supplies, and you find it inspiring too.
5- Hire a young gardener or chef -
Invite your neighbor’s children and teens to make a few dollars while helping you in the garden or kitchen. It does not have to be a full-blown summer job; just a bit of help here and there. This will be a great experience in socialization and skills learning. Giving them a few dollars for their efforts is fair and honors their accomplishments and the value of their assistance (even if you are just pretending to need help).
Do one thing at a time. In the garden, show them how to use the cultivator, give them a goal to take on the task for 30 minutes or an hour and walk away. This is your way of expressing trust. Do not expect perfection. The perfection is in the act of doing, not in the outcome.
The same applies in the kitchen. Demonstrate a simple task and let the child complete it. It could be as simple as slicing the fruit for a canning project or filling each jar in the proper manner for the process. Make sure to send them home with a jar of their own to proudly share, in addition to a few dollars. Again, the financial reward is symbolic. It is an acknowledgment of the child’s value in your eyes.
6- Make up your own variation – What will it be?
Writing this Blog is like having a conversation with myself. I only hear my thoughts. I can only go as far with a topic as the facts I have assembled, from research, from personal experience or both.
I asked the following question on our Facebook page recently: “Do you have a favorite Small Farm magazine? What is your source of inspiration?” I expected the answer to include a list of paper publications. Here is the response I received: “I like the Hobby Farms and those mags, but I find more inspiration here on FB from homesteading, canning sites etc and their blogs!”
In a very real way, what happens with a Blog is that the conversation we might have had around the table at a community dinner takes place instead at a virtual table that reaches beyond county lines. Each comment opens a new landscape. When I read, “I used to travel the country quite a bit, took road trips whenever I could; we enjoyed roadside parks for picnics… Still, I think the backyard is good… Dear grandson and I had watermelon on the porch this afternoon!” a comment by Curtiss Ann Matlock in response to A Movable & Portable Feast, it is as though a voice calls me back from my thoughts to ask me to sit still.
A Movable & Portable Feast explored the evolution of our picnic and outdoor living apparel. There are three basic views about tools and appliances and the things with which we surround ourselves to accomplish various tasks or take part in leisure activities. One view rejects all “stuff” in favor of older ways. The second view embraces new technologies and rejects the old. The third view sees potential in all ways.
The modern, portable grill simplifies a process, it does not prevent connection between people. The modern lawn mower simplifies a task, it does not prevent connection between people. One simple phrase shared on the spur of the moment by a kind reader sums up the place and time where everything comes to rest and whence it can begin anew: “Dear grandson and I had watermelon on the porch this afternoon!”
Yes, we go out of our ways to go to picnics and classrooms or research a topic, but it is in the moment when we stop that we have truly arrived anywhere. It is in the moment when we sit face to face and share real, spur-of-the-moment impressions and knowledge that we are contributing something. We are each other’s greatest classroom.
Even as we choose simplicity, we must choose the things, lawn care equipment, cookware and tools that make the most sense for our new vision of the world. Our talents and inspiration instruct this choice. Thus we continue to collect things, but do so more consciously. We surround ourselves with the things that make the most sense in terms of value, durability, and impact. Some adopt canning as a means of providing food for their families, others grow fresh produce in boxes on city balconies.
The observations readers leave on this and other Blogs are a reminder that it is real people who are the greatest experts. The gardener is a master gardener only in the practice of gardening. The cook is a master cook only in the practice of cooking. “Living it,” it seems, opens the mind in ways that science and study alone cannot duplicate.
Here are some recent observations by readers. In a few lines, they share experience and knowledge that matter. Their voices, in that instant, speaks volumes because it speaks from inspiration. It sums up the topic at hand by adding personal experience to the conversation. In the face of such comments, I sometimes think, “I should include this information in a part-2 article,” but almost immediately realize there is nothing I could possibly add. This person says it perfectly. After all, a diverse landscape is only possible because of a diversity in perspectives.
The Kale Chronicles, in response to Don’t Step on the Flowers, a recent article about lawns and grass. – “In the hierarchy of things, lawns are better than concrete, precisely because they allow the earth to absorb water. Many places, however, are not suitable for lawns by virtue of their lack of rainfall. If you live in a dry state, as I do, you should research native plants that can help with erosion and air-filtering, but you should probably not have a lawn. You are better off planting clover to enrich the soil, or vetch, and growing vegetables where the lawn used to be… the chemicals that people use to keep their lawns green and to kill invasive plants such as crabgrass and dandelions poison us all: humans, birds, bees, etc.”
The Kitchen’s Garden Project in response to Don’t Step on the Flowers. The author came to the United States from Australia. – “It has always amazed me though how MUCH manicured lawn Americans have… I need flowers, bees need flowers, butterflies need flowers but they mow all the wild flowers and do not have flower beds and instead have those huge expanses of perfect green and then sit inside in the air conditioning looking out at the lawn and saying you know I have not seen a bee in years!! Who killed off the monarchs! …I am a flower radical!!!”
It is so true that the American landscape has characteristics not found in other parts of the world. It is true, also, that we sometimes forget to think of consequences. I suspect there is some truth to this everywhere in the world.
Just a Smidgen, in response to The Kitchen as Life’s Workbench. – “I think this is why I blog about food. It is so integral to our lives. Just the other day, my son remarked that he loves that I am always in the kitchen cooking up some new dish to try:) Best compliment a mom could get! We bought both kids desks for their rooms.. but that was pointless, because the kitchen will always be the homework station and I’m glad now, that it is!! “
The Kale Chronicles, in response to The Kitchen as Life’s Workbench. – “While it is true that food preparation used to be more labor intensive (butter started with milking the cow), my Grandmother had seven children that she could send out to pump water, pick vegetables, shell peas or keep in the kitchen to peel fruit for canning. Many of us now cook alone, or perhaps with one helper.”
The Kitchen’s Garden Project on A Movable & Portable Feast. – “Oh we used to picnic all the time when we were kids. My mother was a great one for eating outside. We never had baskets or special bags tho dad made a big wooden box that was in the end so heavy it needed two of us to carry it and did not hold even half of what we took. It is about our own big family, and sleeping on the rug after lunch while the kids attempt to drown each other. I miss picnics. In my family they are called Pernick-nicks! I don’t know who started it but it has stuck down through generations… lovely memories.”
Values. I read this and other comments shared by readers and I think about values. They instruct our choices and it is when we share these values that we share the most important knowledge. Facts without values are like flowers without roots. Whoever developed the concept of Blogging made a brilliant decision when he or she decided to include a comment section. Knowledge that is not shared is like a garden that never gets any sunlight.
The weekend is a good time for grazing. This is a summary of some of the delightful Blog articles I have been reading during the week. I invite you to graze through these, and also through the archives of the creative writers who have written about appetizing recipes, food preparation, gardening, canning and preserving, aspects of nutrition, homesteading and life’s choices, hopes and lessons.
“Make a Time Capsule!” orders Joy The Baker. This candid article reads like a page in a journal. Most of all, it is a reminder. Where were we a year, two years, seven years ago? What if we had made a time capsule then? What would it contain? What would it reveal or confirm? Life is an art. A time capsule is an artistic expression of life. How fitting. I am making a time capsule.
“Seven years doesn’t sound like a lot of time. Seven years. Seven years ago I was just moving from Seattle back to Los Angeles… Seven years ago I was struggling to put myself through college… Because so much has happened, and because so much will happen… I made a time capsule… Another integral part of the time capsule is the letter to our future selves… I probably wrote something about bagels and kittens… I dunno. My future self is already shrugging her shoulder in acceptance… Not to future self: you were hip-y, or something… [Read Full Article]
Ha! Finally. I was looking forward to reading the next chapter at Emerson’s Acre which, as usual, reads like a book. In a post titled, “Weekend,” the author reflects on returning to the daily routine following the slightly disruptive, though invigorating Holiday reprieve. It is good indeed to return to a routine, especially when this routine finds roots and purpose in a greater vision. This phrase jumped at me: “Fewer things provide the sense of satisfaction you get from being able to make wet wood burn…” It seems a perfect analogy to represent the resourcefulness that is required to care for our surroundings and the grace we experience when all gets done and everything falls into place.
“The goats… they’ve eaten all the privet, honeysuckle, and briars they can reach. Made plain by the fact that every growing thing is stripped of leaves to a height of about four feet… Last summer I bought a 1986 Chevy Silverado, black with a burgundy red interior. I named it Barry White… [Read Full Article]
The weather is puzzlingly warm in Canada as it is here in New England. In “Warm weather and wasps,” The Gardening Canuck offers a stoic and peaceful account of a situation that is otherwise beyond frustrating, even bordering on unfair. This is the sort of lightheartedness that little life lessons are made of. As the author suggests, we nod, what else can we do?
“Today, the sun is still blazing down shrinking the snow and exposing the plant crowns to the inevitable frost to come… Yesterday, our high-efficiency furnace sent us a disturbing message, System Malfunctioning, on our sophisticated thermostat… The repairman diagnosed wasps in the air exhaust pipes. He said he would hear them and wanted to cut the pipe open. His boss said, No! We’re not covered if you get stung…” [Read Full Article]
I shared the Time capsule Post with the author of this next entry. The timing seemed so perfect. I included High Heels To Hay in a review back in November I believe, and have watched for a glimpse of this journey of transition back to the city after a year spent living off the land. In “Wilderness Within,” the first post of 2012, the author seems to question everything and grasp so much all at once. Grasping is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Perhaps, I suggested, you are a messenger, sent back to the city by nature to bring the spark that you have received into the lives of those who have forgotten.
“Sometimes life is a tangled mess. Especially when we find ourselves navigating through difficult transitions. For example, moving from a rural agrarian life back across the country to a city, and realizing you are not the same person you were when you left the city… Where do I fit… inside these cracks? … somewhere in me is the thread of wild that flung itself into my heart and won’t let go… It is ironic that I’m writing this since when we began this journey, nearly one year ago, I was a mere city girl talking of the difficulty in transitioning to rural life…” [Read Full Article]
Granny wishes you a great weekend and, as always, please take a moment to leave a comment or a few kind words on the Blogs you visit and enjoy.