the flowers were still
fragrant after dinner on this
dark and cold spring night
I've gone to sleep a couple of times recently; in public. I've come home with needless plastic and food not organic when I had the choice otherwise.
It took 24 hours before I realized I could have bought walnuts in bulk instead of grabbing the three ziploc bags for a dollar off like I was at an I Love Lucy girdle sale. I looked at the bulk walnuts, nearly reached in and tasted one, but still grabbed the prebagged nuts and dropped them in the canvas bag that also held half a dozen empty cotton produce bags.
I couldn't wait to get to the car and eat a handfull.
Then I went to the grocery store for milk. Simply walking through the automatic doors makes me dizzy. But I made a straight line to the milk aisle avoiding even a glance at the magazines.
The internal routine began. Should I buy the milk in the carton or the milk in the glass jar. Back and forth. They're both local. This dariy captures the methane. That one has been around forever. I chose the carton. It lasts longer.
But then which carton; 1%, 2%, whole, non-fat? The cute guy had read whole milk is better for you. He may have made it up. I don't know. I grabbed the whole milk. I was getting cold in front of the refrigeration and wanted to leave.
"Why didn't you get organic?" he asked when I got home.
My mouth dropped open. I woke up. Between the carton, bottled or level of fat or not, organic never entered the equation. Or my mind.
But there's always next time. That is if I don't fall asleep.
I've been watering the dogwood tree with carrot water. And potato water, and beet water, spinach water and radish water. Apparently it loves it. This is the first year the tree is full with blossoms and I'm crazy about them.
Northern California is not prime dogwood country although I know where a dozen live in the neighborhoods. Each one with museum quality blossoms and likely without my prescription of vegetable water.
I'm playing at saving water. It's not mandatory yet, but why wait. Instead of running an endless stream to clean root vegetables, I soak them. And all that organic dirt they have stuck to their skins goes to water the dogwood or the kumquat tree, the mint or my favorite iceland rose.
I used to delight in buying carrot nubs in plastic bags that required no washing or a simple rinse. They were so convenient I overlooked the fact that they resembled carrots more than tasted like carrots.
Now I buy them plastic free, just pulled with tops attached and dropped in a canvas bag, dirt and all. The worms eat the tops, the trees soak in the dirty water and we eat them like candy. Nothing wasted.
Scientifically the vegetable water probably contributes not a darn thing to the garden but the tending that happens in the process - it's good food for us all. And it saves water.
This is how I know it's spring - I cleaned out the pantry. Okay, the pantry is the closet under the stairs but it has shelves in addition to a rack to hang our coats.
Two years ago the shelves were cluttered with organic canned foods; stewed tomatoes, pinto beans, Amy's chile. And non-organic canned foods; olives, tuna, chicken stock and butternut squash soup in boxes. There was an inedible selection of Indian simmering sauces and chutneys. All of which, well, almost all of which, were rotated through meals with expiration dates too far in the future to consider.
And then I decided to eat local to reduce our carbon bite.
The canned and boxed foods sat. I read their labels. Spaghetti sauce from New York. Soy milk from the east coast. Nearly nothing was from nearby. It was well traveled industrial food and I eventually gave it up and away before it expired. Which was good but it was also the reserves in the event of a long term emergency. Now what?
Should something happen we would be eating last years sweet pickles from Canvas Ranch or rose petal sugar from Allstar Organics. We might last a day on apricot jam from Happy Girl Kitchen and if not we could drink their ketchup (it's that good). The flageolet or yellow indian woman beans from Rancho Gordo would be good but it's difficult to keep a meaningful supply on hand. There's almond butter from Full Belly Farm but rarely more than half a jar.
With the shelves cleaned up I see there's emergency stocking to be done. But in a new way with locally grown foods. Which gives me pause.
What foods do you keep on hand for an emergency?
I dangled carrots this weekend. Not actually dangled but served a big basket of scrubbed plain old carrots pulled from a wrinkled canvas bag at the cute guy's birthday gathering. There was a long moment of toying with leaving the hairy roots on the bottom but the moment passed, the tops and tips came off and onto the table they went.
Derek used them as horns in a group shot, resorting to eating them as the shooting took longer.
Arthur had carrots in his pocket. "For my sisters," he said.
Jacob fed the tops to the chickens.
Dustin looked surprised. "Good carrot," he said and took another.
Then the conversation moved from carrots to summer gardens and grass fed beef; completely unprompted by me. Well, unless you count the basket of sweet local carrots. But I didn't say a word. Honest. I simply listened and smiled.
And the food spoke for itself.