Big update. House stuff, us stuff, food stuff.

The closer we get to moving and the closing date, the more happy and peaceful I've been feeling. I can't express how grateful I am to feel that deep knowing peace right in the middle of the craziness. I have good instincts, and I'm working to learn more about discerning them and giving them more air time in my life and my purpose. I remember early in this house selling process I kind of shut down at times. It would catch me off guard and I spent time turning inward to try to regain some peace and some movement again. It wasn't that I actually stopped doing the things that I needed to do, but it was the extra stuff that I couldn't seem to get a grasp on. I often felt a bit in crisis, even though everything was fairly under control.

The garden is a good example. I hesitated to tend to it and plant it up, knowing that we were just going to leave it. I'd talk myself out of that feeling. I'd say to myself: C'mon. Planting it up and loving it could only benefit us and the new owners, so why not? Just do it, Grace. Put the seeds in the ground. I even sorted out seeds and wrote up a plan and put it down as an item on my to-do list for the day. And yet each day passed and just I didn't do it.

I now feel like it was a healthy detachment. I needed to let it go and focus my energies on other things. Now that the sale is all going through and the new owners (who we met at a party the other day and are super great!) have told us that they'd like to try at a little gardening, I feel so much better about letting this baby go. Honestly, I know that this little farm is more symbolic to me than anything. After all, it's just this little slice of earth in my backyard. It grew great tomatoes and taught me about the soil. It helped me to dare to be a small part of the local food scene here. It brought me to a job where I was able to work to create connections within the community and specifically with the permaculture efforts in the area. Very purposeful stuff, in my mind. It represents what feels to me like the opening of the door into the rest of my life. What's left but to walk beyond that threshold?

Anyway, the other day I took a happy walk through my garden and admired all the things. The raspberries coming on. The horseradish, quince, and blackberry.

I saw all the happy self-seeded offerings- parsnips and arugula and mustard, beans and squash, tomatoes, radish, fennel.

There's even some carrots and beets that are happily growing from the few seeds I actually did thrown down (and by "thrown down", I really do mean that I just threw a handful of seed down on top of soil and left it).

And then all the wild edibles. The lambs quarters and pigweed, purslane and wild sorrel. I'm learning that nature is always there for us, so wise and abundant and forgiving. I wonder if this is the image that people have of their god, even though that's a perception of that energy I can't totally relate to anymore. The fact that my untended garden reflects this gives me a lot of comfort- even if, to the untrained eye, it looks like a mess of weeds.

Anyway, in other news, the family is doing well. The kids are great, and handling the idea of the move and the chaos of the house just fine. This part really relieves me, since I hate to see them stressed. They are excited to move and play in more space. They know we're keeping our community and neighbors. I think that probably helps. This was a picture of the two of them experiencing their first drive-thru car wash recently. We don't usually do them, but recently I realized it is well worth it for the family entertainment value.

Asa is keeping me on my toes, often getting into some kind of mischief. He can be a little exhausting but I'm learning to roll with it and to soak up all the sweetness that he has to offer in trade. He got an early birthday present of face paints, which he used yesterday to basically trash the bathroom and paint his entire body with. I figured as long as the kid is being creative and I only have a quick clean up at the end of the day, why not? So he was paint covered and crazy looking all day, mostly in his underwear. At one point he was totally red and started yelling that he was covered in blood. I definitely caught some interested glances from folks walking past our backyard. Perks of living on an exposed corner lot… But then he definitely wins when it comes to snuggle time. Oh yes. And he gives me cards to find when I wake up. Sweetness and chaos.

Vera is fun and sweet and helpful as ever. I really like this age. She saw this Lottie doll at a store a while back and we made a sticker chart for her to earn it. Each sticker was worth 20 cents, and the stickers could be earned by doing basic things like helping me when I ask, making her bed, etc. She worked and worked so patiently until she earned about 15 dollars, which she combined with about 5 from her piggy bank and we went to buy it. I was so proud of her and she was undaunted by the process. She even saw an outfit for the doll at the store and asked for another chart to get to work on it…

Jeff is high functioning, as usual. He can occasionally be bogged down with anxiety, but it always funnels itself into intense productivity. I envy that sometimes. He's doing really great at his new job, and he's also really into this time bank project here. He's the president of our local branch! Don't ask him about it unless you want to hear all about his passion for community and a sense of place and how it's our link to a less-disastrous future. Love that guy.

I'm mostly immersed in packing the house and taking care of kids, my job, and our micro business, although I'm also trying to be mindful about my own self care right now. I'm exercising a little every day, and I'm trying to get back into my daily yoga. I'm also trying to read a little more for fun. I noticed that I was letting our food standards slip a little since we've been so busy, but I'm back in the swing now. I have to use most of the rest of our food in the chest freezer before we move, so I'm working with that right now. I love cooking like that though- when I have some ingredients just kind of presented to me, either seasonal or just because it's what's left in the pantry and we don't have money to go shopping. I find that the best meals come when I just have to roll up my sleeves and make it happen.

This was kind of a stone soup deal made with frozen/fresh veg and a ham hock.

I love turning miscellaneous ingredients into cakes/fritter type meals. This was ham hock meat bits, plus leftover oatmeal, black beans, misc veggies and herbs, eggs and cheese. Seasoned and cooked up into savory cakes. Good topped with sour cream and fermented veggies, ketchup, etc.

Last night. A creamy chicken and veggie wild rice creation, but with a parmesan cream sauce made with a bunch of old frozen bell pepper pieces. I found that the peppers we froze fresh without blanching or roasting were pretty bitter when we went to cook them. The kids complained and I didn't even really like them. Bags of them have been sitting in the freezer for about 2 years now… But I had a thought recently about soaking them in milk to see if that would pull some of that bad flavor out. It totally works! Anyway, this had a really nice pepper flavor throughout, but with none of that strong bitterness that deterred us before.

I'll be sure to keep updates on what I make out of my freezer in the coming days. I have a whole turkey, some mystery meat, fish stock, a pig's head, misc pork and beef, rabbits, misc organ meats, pints of baba ghanouj, and several quarts of blueberries to get through. Thankfully Jeff's dad has a chest freezer that we can store some of it in, but I have to make a dent in our stash before we go. Menu for the rest of the week: Chicken chili (with leftover chicken and peppers and greens from the garden), Tom Kha (made with the fish stock), tacos (made with pork), and some kind of a beef/veggie dish to use some of the baba ghanouj.


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