The Happy Peasant Soaps

The Happy Peasant Soaps
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Gatherings Before The Snow

This morning, while I was having my second cup of piping hot coffee strong enough to stand a spoon up in, Tom, my husband mentions that he heard a winter storm is headed our way later this week. I felt it. I mean, I had already felt it in the air...that it was coming. And, of course, it is overdue. So, in addition to my regular once a week grocery shopping (which I am pondering about turning into a bi-monthly shopping trip), I pulled on my barn boots and headed out into the surrounding yard and fields. I gathered up all the little pie pumpkins that looked as though they might tuck their pulp tastily into steaming spicy pies, I filled my largest kitchen bowl with greens from the garden; French sorrel, heirloom chards and kales, sprigs of parsley and bits of wispy pungent dill. I checked the wild bird seed supply, moved a second bag of rabbit chow into the rabbit barn and settled in for the afternoon. There are three gallons of raw milk waiting to be turned into cheddar, yogurt and butter, and my little 'grain grinding' station up above the old woodshed is in a sorry state of confusion following a heavy duty grinding session of rye yesterday afternoon. Three solid peasant loaves of hand ground sourdough rye sit, still cooling, on the kitchen table, surrounded by all my gatherings.

Now, if I had only found more time to pick up bushels and bushels of wild hickory nuts, we would be all set. There is venison waiting in the freezer and more where that came from, as Albert harvested his very first two deer on his very first day out deer hunting. We are blessed, we are ready for the winter winds to blow.

The pantry in the cellar is stocked with umpteen jars of wild elderberry jelly for medicine, and wild grape jelly to enjoy. I think this was the very first year I can remember, since I have begun paying attention to the little wild grapes, that they were plentiful enough to gather for jelly. The blossoms on the trees this past spring were so profuse, any fruited tree or bush was as heavily laden as any year I've ever witnesses thus far.

Perhaps this excess was God's way of preparing us all, including the little sparrows and wild starlings, for a harsh winter. Let it begin.

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