Saturday, June 4, 2011

Keeping my eyes open - two new things!

Strolling (as opposed to dashing, which my husband and I have been doing continuously for the past two years) allows one to see more and to savor what is seen. Occasionally, when strolling and allowing time to focus on what one is seeing (i.e. savoring), something new can be found! In this case, on our first two days of feeling like we have crossed a threshold without even seeing it (i.e., far less dashing), I saw two unexpected things: 1) a brand new, to me, vegetable for sale at our local farmers' market, and 2) a new critter home in an unexpected place.

I am going to post up photos, without names to see if anyone knows what they are looking at and would like to tell us all (or even just a good guess!) in the comment section. No worries, I'll let you know eventually but I'll give you a few days to ponder and/or make comments before I chime in again.

(Photo: New critter home in the garlic field)

(Photo: New critter home in the garlic field - close up)

(Photo: New vegetable)

(Photo: new vegetable next to oranges for size comparison)

(Photo: new vegetable - close up)
A friend who read my previous post with the EB White quote about the difficulty of knowing how to plan the day when deciding whether to "save the world or savor the world" offered a very good point. She thought that learning to savor a section of the world may lead one to working at saving it, thus those choices are not mutually exclusive and actually complement and support each other.

So yesterday my "Action Alert" post urging people to make time and find courage (or maybe the other way around) to write a letter to the American College of Surgeons supporting the need for nutritional services for cancer patients was certainly about "saving the world", but it was also about "savoring the world" because nutritional support during and after a cancer diagnosis promotes both extension of life and quality of life (and personally, if push comes to shove, I will chose improved quality of life over extension of life hands down).

Today my post about taking the time to notice the small things, to find delight in new things, is first about savoring the world but also about saving the world. I'll illustrate that connection with two of my favorite quotes by Aldo Leopold, author of the classic book A Sand County Almanac:

“ not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals.”

“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals….In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.”

My new vegetable (hint: well-known in another country) and my critter taking up new residence in our garlic field are representatives of the fountain of energy flowing through the universe, of which I am a 'plain member and citizen'. While I have always savored being outdoors, it has been the writings of Aldo Leopold, which I first read back in the early 1970's, that helped me understand and commit to respecting and advocating for the land community, in fact needing to be its steward, needing 'to save' my little corner of the world wherever I have lived.

As I drive down the dirt road to our farm (to which we have finally moved 99% of our stuff, which will likely always have unopened boxes), as I think about my younger son's wedding last summer, my older son's wedding next weekend (and like my future daughter in law, I am unexpectedly calm today), my new vegetable, my new critter, bluebirds waking me up at 6 am singing outside my bedroom window, new and old friends, etc, etc, it is not an exaggeration to say that I frequently have tears of happiness in my eyes (which, darn it, are a hazard when dodging potholes, gullies, and sink-holes along our dirt road!).

So enough musing a week before my son's wedding. Of course we have a million things to do or think about, but we cannot wait !!! to welcome home our family and friends, to our new home, 'down on the farm', for one of life's happiest occasions whether we are 'ready' or not! The next week will be the happiest chaos I can imagine........... :-)

Inch by inch, row by row, I have made it this far; we have made it this far, and together we will savor every single second of it. :-)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"
Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Jessica said...

Wow, those are both new to me as well - curious to find out what they are :)

Beautiful reminder to slow down... Thankyou.

Linda from PA said...

These are new to me, too; however, I will make some guesses to start the ball rolling.

Critter home: caddisfly.
New vegetable: wild leeks, a.k.a., ramps

Kateri said...

Finally a vegetable that I have no clue what it is...that doesn't happen very often.

Crawfish hole? That is what I have always been told those are...

Diana Dyer said...

You got it Kateri! This is a called a crayfish chimney. Michigan's Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes will hibernate in these holes. We still have the crayfish chimneys behind our house, too, so now we know we really need to excavate along the front foundation (after my son's wedding!) to get the water away from the house.

Now, another hint for the vegetable, this is the immature form. It is usually harvested when the lower part is larger (and it is not fennel).


Denny Holmquist said...

I am wondering about Lemon Grass?

A loyal follower in GA - Denny H.

Kateri said...

I'm going to go out on limb and guess salsify, that is what the young roots look like, but the leaves don't quite look right. I'm assuming they are selling it as green?

Kateri said...

I woke up this morning with a light bulb moment (can you tell this has been bothering me ever since I saw the photos?). I am sure it is Scorzonera. Related to salsify, grown in Europe, usually eat the roots, but the flowers and young leaves are also edible. I'm racking my brain to figure out how I remember all that as I've never grown it and don't ever remember eating it. Maybe I have just read too many seed catalogs over the past 36 years....

How did you end up fixing it and what did it taste like?