Thursday, June 14, 2012

The machine barn. It smells like grease.

 Spent this morning picking enough garlic to completely fill an extra-long truck bed. This is about half of it.

The inside of the CSA barn. This is where we bag up and distribute the harvest every Tuesday and Saturday. 

Living at an organic farm has ruined me. I will never be able to enjoy eating out of a grocery store again. At any given moment here at the farm, I can walk five minutes into a field and gather dinner. When the spinach hits the frying pan, its lifeblood is still coursing through its little planty veins. This afternoon I ate most of a head of cabbage in thin slices completely plain, and I could not imagine anything more delicious. Fresh vegetables taste like summer and love and dirt. Adding more than a touch of salt and crank of pepper seems insulting to them.

Once, I was a high priestess in the cult of Spices. My mother would bear my heated cooking with a wry and resigned smile. I liberally seasoned All Things with cumin, coriander, sage, rosemary, curry powders of all kinds, chile. French and genuine ethnic cookbooks secretly seemed so boring, so blase to me, and I always amped up the spice level with a liberal hand. And five ingredient cookbooks? Give me a break.

I hadn't discovered the purity of good ingredients, and one thing I've learned this summer is the goodness of simplicity and quality.

The first time I went grocery shopping after feasting for a week on a very limited diet of various kinds of greens, sweet potatoes, and rice (the only food, along with a little oil, I had on my little hill) the experience was less than exhilarating. Granted, the low ceilings at Slaughters' Grocery, florescent lighting, curious stares by Virginians born and raised (if your great-grandpappy wasn't from Floyd neither are you), and cardboard-y scent wafting through the aisles would have been lest than appealing even in my grocery-store going, plastic-bag toting, GMO-scarfing days. But the food just looked so sad.

Spices, oil, flavor-boosters, salt all put on an elaborate ruse to distract us from the sadness of vegetables. We use them to turn our foods into a mass of homogenous yum. Vegetables and meats are simply purveyors of other flavors because in an age of mass production, the foods themselves just don't taste that interesting.

I'm not totally sold on the whole organic movement yet, but the hedonist in me revels in my discovery of how good food tastes which has been grown with love and attention. You can taste passion. These days I revel in the texture of a poached egg from one of my three little hens, or the punch of a radish, or the crunch of lettuce which reminds you that a plant is  sun and soil come to life. I jealously guard each pure flavor and pair them only with the utmost care, the same care they've experienced from planting to harvest.

That kind of love is its own spice.

 Rye and spelt ravioli stuffed with garlic, basil, spinach, and mozzarella 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Well, friends, I've been here three weeks, and it's about time I fulfill my promise and start blogging about my adventures. I live in a little cabin with a large comfy bed, a sink which comes from a rainwater cistern, and a large sampling of spider and beetle-life. Because I'm tired right now, I'll write more later about my experiences so far and give a synopsis and a few pictures.

Some examples of skills, experience, and knowledge gained so far:
  • Chickens may be happily toted from spot A to spot B by placing them one on top of another--upside down--in a roomy bag.
  • I can now fix the throttle cable in a lawn mower.
  • Brakes are overrated. Our beater doesn't have any, and I can (kind-of/not-really) drive it without killing anyone.
  • I can hoe like a pro. 
  • I have used a real machete. From Brazil.
  • Yogurt is very easy to make.
  • Through careful scientific research, I can confirm that insects compose the majority of life on earth.
  • Some weeds are yummy.
  • I am no longer afraid of spiders, june bugs, or the dark.

My outdoor kitchen. 

Call me Thoreau. The water cooler is quite festive, don't you think?

My favorite lunch: poached eggs on a bed of salad greens and fresh dill. Oh, and wine.

This is the view out of my outhouse. Mornings often mist and fog.

I live at the top of this hill. 

One of the house gardens. The damn deer constantly sneak in despite 10 foot fences.

My shower below the guest house. 

A view down to the pond.