I like predictability and routine. I'm attracted like a magnet. And they seem as elusive as the opposing poles of a magnet; no matter how hard I try to bring myself and predictability together, they have a force, stronger than my stubborn will, to keep us apart. Occasionally I stumble upon a moment of grace when I surrender my stubborn will and revel in happenchance and surprise. But mostly I seek the comfort of the familiar.
So this is the time of year I find myself wanting to be finishing up preserving peaches and prepare to be inundated with apples. But we had not even one single peach on our trees, due to the late spring frost. And our apple crop is about 10% of last year's. I take a breath, close my eyes, and find joy in the unpredictable. I look around the kitchen and see dozens and dozens of jars of tomato sauce, tomato salsa, tomato juice, and crushed tomatoes. I look out the window and see fall-bearing raspberry vines laden with plump, ripe berries. And I remind myself that through abundance AND scarcity, my blessings are bountiful (though not predictable!).
Being tied so closely to nature's cycles, I take comfort and joy in the routines. Planting, harvesting, and preserving foods all summer; securing a winter's worth of firewood; catching my first falling leaf of the season; shoveling snow; drizzling that first bit of Tessier's maple syrup on my pancakes on a cold March morning ; and eating that first ripe strawberry. But tomorrow I'll step out of the familiar, away from my comfort zone, and do something unpredictable; I'll surprise myself even! Because over and over, nature teaches me to expect the unexpected, to be resilient and adaptable, and if I keep my eyes and heart open a world of astonishment awaits me!
My cooking cohort and kitchen companion, Carly Leusner, is a fabulous cook, a very talented herbalist and wild foods specialist. She is hosting an event that I think you may be interested in. I'll be there, and hope to see you there as well.
Fall Wild Food Feast & Plant Walk at Tripple Brook Nursery Southampton; October 8, 3-6.
Please see her website
for more details and registration.