One summer, my parents, my brother, my cat, and I, spent a few weeks in Fundie National Park. I decided, very quickly, that it had to be the most beautiful and enchanting place I had ever seen.
I live in a desert, though we have green and rain, both of those things are brief, seasonal, and quick to fade in the sun and heat. Coaxing life out of dry, packed culiche, is time consuming and requires massive amounts of work and a tolerance for sky-high water bills.
Fundie was bursting with fertility. Everywhere there was damp and green, with wild berries of all kinds, bursting with flavor and life. It was there that I tasted my very first wild strawberry. It was about the size of the nail on my little finger, but it burst with sweet sunshine across my tongue. It was both shockingly sweet and deliciously tart, so much flavor packed into such a tiny object.
That summer I picked berries of all kinds, from blackberries to gooseberries, to wild blueberries and tiny, sharp wild cranberries. Sorrel provided a peppery counterpart to all the berries. The overabundance of life, and sensory experiences, swept me away.
I was in love.
My cat and I would go hiking in the woods together, him marching along in his harness and leash, drawing attention wherever he went. Dogs were no match for him, he would not be intimidated.
He had absolutely no interest in berries, though he did enjoy sorrel.
I think that all my definitions of paradise changed that summer. Since that time, it has been a fertile, living, breathing land of green abundance.
It is my Heaven, my Fairyland, my Dream.
Friday, July 6, 2012
|My oldest at three, weaving on my loom|
I am one of those people that looks at things such as, oh, cream, or cheese, for example, and immediately I start thinking about how I could save so much money and enjoy myself immensely if I just could go to the ground up and make my own. Desires for large quantities of cream for cooking, led to me buying goats for our backyard. Desires for knowing how to make beautiful tapestries and fabric, should life as we know it end, led to experiments in spinning, weaving, knitting, etc.
I think I am horribly romanticized by the world that I fell in love with as a child: Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. Of all the books, it was Farmer Boy which really hit home. I wanted that life. I wanted to live that life. I dreamed about my children coming home from school to homemade donuts and all sorts of good things to eat. I drew pictures of the farmhouse I would someday own, with the little orchard and berry bushes all around.
Romanticism is all well and good, but I have the true gift of what I can only call disaster.
Everyone needs a talent, after all.
Disaster is certainly my talent.
For example. the first time I made donuts I managed to overheat the oil, which burst instantly into flames. Thinking only that there was no way I was going to burn down my parents' house, I quickly lifted the pan off of the heat. The flaming, literally, oil sloshed over the sides of the pan and onto my hand.
I learned in that moment that I am pretty cool under pressure and that I smell exactly like bacon when fried.
I managed to wrestle a top onto the pan and to hustle with it through the nearby back door into the backyard, where my three horses had their corral. They watched in fascination as I threw that pot as far as I could onto the gravel.
The lid flew off and soon flames were shooting up into the sky like fireworks.
The horses were very impressed. I could almost hear them 'Ooing' and 'Ahhhing' at the display.
My hand was pretty severely burned, but it healed. I lived to make donuts another day.
We have done, as a family, the whole miniature-homestead in the suburbs sort of thing. We've had chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and goats in our relatively small backyard. My sons have hatched eggs in an incubator since birth. (For the record, the more you want a certain breed of bird to hatch, the less likely you are that it will.)
We have had dog attacks, coyote attacks, hawk attacks, and bobcat attacks. We've had sick animals.
My other talent would probably be not knowing when it's time to give up.
I bought a loom before I had even tried my hand at weaving. It took many many long hours to figure out how to thread the big, unwieldy thing, but, eventually, I figured it out. It only took me about three days to get it threaded.
But, then I decided that thread and yarn were really expensive, so I went online and bought an entire sheep shearing, some drop-spindles, and a really cool medieval type carder (which I never actually could figure out how to use).
Our washing machine smelled like sheep for months. Our clothes reeked of lanolin. The wool seized up into a useless and huge ball of dread-locked felt.
The next time I tried Alpaca fleece, it was much easier.
Despite my frequent courting of disaster (courting? Perhaps I am married to it!) I still dream of my little homestead, hopefully somewhere green. A land of Cream and Berries, I suppose you could say.
After all, Milk and Honey wouldn't do as I am allergic to milk and bees...