Saturday, December 8, 2012

Soil Day follow up

This morning was an unplanned 'lazy (rainy) morning'. Of course there is work to do in the barn (and I could always vacuum up the dog fur in the house - smile), but my husband and I both agreed that the barn work was not urgent, and the fur will also need vacuuming tomorrow, so instead I did some reading from one of the books that I requested this week from our library.

I am always on the wait list for a 'slew' of books that sound interesting to me, and obviously to others in my community. I was lucky, this book had no waiting list, and to be honest, I was surprised that our local library even had a copy of this book. (I very frequently need to request books from other Michigan libraries, including books that only are available to borrow from our many universities and colleges.)

I am reading For the Health of the Land, previously unpublished essays by Aldo Leopold (author of A Sand County Almanac which I cited in my previous post about World Soil Day), edited by JB Callicott and ET Freyfogel (1999). Every time I read Aldo Leopold's words I learn more about his views of 'land health', which can be illuminating, satisfying, and unsettling, particularly because the farmer is the focus of most of his later writings. To give these insights time to percolate, I began perusing my blog stats, looking for the recipe with the most views. I only took the time to look back through my posts in 2012 and found this one for Kale-Mushroom Strata (I hope I have put this on my kale blog, too), which has a ton of views for some reason!

I do remember making this dish and loving it, however, what struck me as I re-read my post was how I ended it, with this quote, which brought up a deep memory of happiness:

When we put on the apron, we are nurturing. 
This is not work; it’s love. 

Carol Nicklaus - Danbury, Conn.
(from her Letter to the Editor, New York Times, Sept. 25, 2011)

As I think of cooking and farming, they are both love, not work, at least not 'drudgery'. Both involve nurturing our various communities, including our 'land community' to which Aldo Leopold addresses much of his writing. Both take time and intention, both take a spirit of adventure and curiosity. There may be guidelines but there is no real definitive 'cookbook' for either pursuit. To be successful at each in the deepest sense requires that the 'product' not be measured only in terms of 'yield' but the contribution to the commons, the common good, the commonwealth, commonweal, or our common health. 

I hope that the preparation of all the recipes on this blog contributes to your community's health, indeed your commonwealth. 

Here are the other books sitting in a pile to read (books on my library list always seem to come at once!):
A Time to Plant: life lessons in work, prayer, and dirt by Kyle T. Kramer (foreword by Bill McKibben)
American Earth: Environmental Writings Since Thoreau, edited by Bill McKibben
The Gourmet Paper Maker: handmade paper from fruits and vegetables, Ellaraine Lockie

Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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