Friday, November 23, 2012

Acorn Pie

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I have an incredible family.  I am healthy.  And, the Universe is very generous with wisdom, lessons, opportunities and gifts.  We spent the day at home working and playing together.  It was truly a rare event in our busy lives.

I woke at about the same time as usual thinking about pie, acorn pie.  I love pecan pie.  However, I wanted to make a pie with something I could grow or forage near my house.  I thought that surely there must be a recipe online for acorn pie.  I did not find one, but thought that I could modify a classic pecan pie recipe (thank you, Molly Watson).  I would substitute acorns for pecans and honey for corn syrup.

I had the honey in the cabinet.  It was the honey I harvested from my hive this spring.  But, the acorns ... well, I didn't have any.  So at 0830 or so, I went outside to take care of the animals.  Afterwards, I walked up the road to see if I could find any.  There were a few that I gathered, but there were not enough lying out in the open.  I decided to try and kick the wet leaves around to see if there were acorns hiding beneath, kind of like a turkey would do.  I found very quickly that the hidden acorns were easily found.  Within 30 minutes, I had gathered 3 pounds of raw acorns.

I brought the acorns into the house, gathered supplies to shell them, and set about the task.  I settles upon cutting each in half and then in half again, effectively quartering them.  The meat could then be removed fairly easily.  Of course, it took 2 hours to shell all of the acorns.  All in all, I only found about 1 dozen that were bad and needed to be thrown out.  The rest ended up in the bowl for further processing.

The acorns were then boiled in about 12 changes of water to leach out the tannins that make them bitter.  This took a considerable amount of time.  We would sample a nut every couple of water changes to check if they were ready.  It was not difficult and did not require full attention, just periodic intervention.  Finally, at 16:30 they were ready to go into a pie.

Wendy made a crust for me with lard she had rendered from the cow share we purchased.  I whipped up the filling.  Finally, it went into the oven for 40 minutes.  When it came out, it looked exactly like a pecan pie. I set it aside to cool, while we cleaned up from all of the other cooking.

After it had cooled, we sampled it.  It is good, but does not taste like pecan pie.  The acorns still had a hint of bitterness.  And, the honey we harvested has a strong flavor and aroma.  Overall, I am pleased with the outcome and will enjoy it until it is gone.  I took a lot of effort to make, but was the perfect accompaniment to our wild turkey, home-grown squash, home-grown jerusalem artichoke in "Jerusalem Artichoke Quick Bread", home-grown and hand-ground indian corn in "Indian Corn Pudding", locally grown mashed potatoes, and locally grown cranberry sauce.

My MooseBoots journey has again proved satisfying on a very deep and personal level.  Many people would have opted out of making the pie because of the effort involved, but I really wanted to make this pie.  I succeeded and learned a whole lot along the way about acorns, turkey behavior, and acorn processing.  For me, it was akin to 8 hours of meditation.  I am grateful for this opportunity and for the ability to share it with all of you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

At The Orchestra

We are at the Portsmouth Music Hall to see the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra with our music teacher, the incredible Andy Happel, soloing the Fiddle Concerto by Mark O'Connor. Thus far it has been amazing!

Friday, November 2, 2012


Terrified, Precious woke me this morning at 03:00.  She had had a bad dream.  It was one of those where zombies are chasing you and your friends, attacking when least expected.  She was shaking, and quietly sobbed, while describing her friends being killed one by one.

I had her tell me her dream.  Actually, I had her speak her dream, all of it, into my hands.  When she was finished, I closed my hands around it and asked that the dream be changed into mere Scrabble tiles.  I asked Precious to help me with this.  When we were both satisfied, I shook my closed hands as you would when rolling dice.  She helped after a moment.  Her dreams were now nothing more than a random pile of letters held in the palms of my hands.

Perhaps that would have been adequate, but I wanted to replace the fear and panic in her heart with something positive.  I remembered, even at such an early hour, that Precious is participating, along with Wendy and her other students, in the National Novel Writer's Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge.  I asked that the jumble of letters in my hand be transformed into words for her story.  I asked that they help her achieve her writing goal and that they be useful nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives for the creation of her story..  Then, I simply blew all of these lovely words back into her head through her crown chakra.

I thought about this for a while, as I lay listening to her breath slow into a steady cadence while she drifted back to sleep.  I felt good about this work and began to think about the deeper implications.  For me, it helped re-affirm that our words, our actions, can be used to create physical change and to heal.  Speaking in itself is a physical action - our breath leaves in specific vibratory patterns which in turn move the eardrums of our listener, who hears what we say.  In this instance, however, I was able to bring about a chemical change in her tiny quivering body.  Her adrenaline levels dropped, she calmed, as we worked together to switch off her "fight or flight" instinctual reaction.

I continued to ponder, as I slowly drifted off, the impacts of our words.  Our words can soothe, heal, and teach.  They can be used to promote healing and growth all around us, and beyond.  I think of it in terms of  paying it forward ... you help someone, who in turn appreciates it and helps someone else, and so on.  Of course, the problem is that words can be used quite destructively, as well, to belittle, injure, and spread rumors, lies and discontent.  I guess it all boils down to one thing ... your intent.

Personally, I chose to be positive, an instrument of healing and assistance on every level possible, from personal to universal.  Overall, because I do slip every now and then, my intent is to be an conduit of healing, harmony, and joy.  I am fairly certain that this is one of the fundamental purposes for this MooseBoots journey - not just to learn, but to learn how to live in concert with all of the beings (humans, plants, animals, rocks, etc.) with whom I share this world.

So, today, as your read this and beyond, please consider your words carefully.  But, more importantly, be clear on your own intent.  Remember that what you put out there will be returned to you.