Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another Incredible Weekend

Our lives are always busy, but I never really thought about how busy until one of the neighbors stopped, as she was driving by, and said, "you are always up to something."  I believe it is imperative to continue traveling this MooseBoots path as much as time permits.  This weekend was another fabulous example.

Saturday began as most do ... we dragged the girls to dance class, hit the grocery store and the farm, and came home to put everything away and eat brunch.  That is where the weekend picked up its pace.  While Wendy was heating things up to eat, I decided to start harvesting the Jerusalem Artichoke that grew last year.  The area is only about 12 square feet (50 centimeters by 200 centimeters).  But, after all of the digging and sifting, I picked 24 pounds (just over 10 kg) for the lovely tubers.  Because I was just slightly late, some of them had started to sprout.

After munching, Wendy and I went for our now weekly foraging walk.  For the past two weeks, we have not harvested anything because it is early.  This week, however, we started to pick.  I filled a basket full of tender Stinging Nettle leaves.  I thanked them profusely while I picked them.  I even sang to them.  I turns out that I had picked enough for one meal, sauteed in butter and garlic, with a bunch left over to dry for tea.  While I was there, I also picked several of last years stalks to make some more cordage.

Wendy, went off to check on the Japanese Knotweed.  Last week, the carefully cleared around the plants to open them up to the sun.  Her efforts paid off in the form of 0.5 pound (1 kilogram) of beautiful stalks.  These were steamed and provided enough for one meal.  Finally, she wandered around and harvest some Dandelion flowers.  These will be battered and fried into fritters.

After we rounded up the girls, we came home and smoked a chicken to go with our foraged bounty.  While waiting for the bird to cook, Precious and I cleaned some of the Jerusalem Artichokes, while  Wendy sliced some up for drying and loaded the dehydrator.  Little Fire Faerie, Precious, and I also replanted the Jerusalem Artichoke bed for another crop next year.

Throughout the day, Wendy and I had discussed using up the berries we had frozen last year.  We decided to try something new ... Freezer Berry wine.  So, without any kind of recipe, we boiled the berries in a pan of water.  The plan was simple ... berries, sugar, yeast , and water.  The boiling down, the pan needed to cool, so we left it overnight.

This morning, Wendy and I started right in on finishing up the Freezer Berry Wine.  We removed the bags fully of berry pulp, added more water and sugar, added the yeast, and put it into the carboy to ferment.  Wendy decided to try to use the pulp to make fruit leathers.  Of course, we made more liquid than the carboy could hold, so we also boiled it down into black raspberry jelly ... yum!  This then inspired Wendy to make scones, which she has been wanting to try.  All in all, it was fantastic!  Sorry ... the scones did not last long enough to get a picture.  The wine is happily bubbling away, right next to the mead.

After breakfast, I cleaned the rest of the Jerusalem Artichokes and spread them in the sun to dry.  Then I began raking up the mulch, and removing the grapevine, along the fence that needs to be replaced.  Wendy, was busy cleaning out garden beds and wanted the mulch.  So, we spend a few hours mulching, cleaning, and planting.  Somewhere along the way, don't ask me when, Wendy also made yogurt.

For dinner, we had hamburgers and hotdogs with ... fried Jerusalem Artichoke chips.  They are simply delicious.  After dinner, Wendy had work to do, so I played around a bit.  During our walk yesterday, I picked up a couple of rocks to use for grinding flour and such.  First, I tried crushing the dried Jerusalem Artichokes with a mortar and pestle.  It works, but take a long time ... I needed for surface area.  So, after cleaning them, out came the rocks.  They are much quicker and it satisfied my need to work with natures tools.  Of course, I still have a lot more to grind to flour, but I was able to figure out how to do it and show Wendy, who, I guess, was pleased with the fine powdery flour.

All of this does make me wonder how much I could learn and do if I didn't have to work to pay the mortgage.  Regardless, if I didn't need to tread the mundane path of our society at large, I might not fully appreciate the things I find walking following this MooseBoots journey.  I am so grateful to find myself in this beautiful place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Thank you!

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