Monday, January 16, 2012

Food in Due Season—Salad from the Root Cellar

I never would have thought of eating beets raw, but a visitor from New Zealand made this salad for us. It is now a favorite. It is worth a try even if you don’t like cooked beets. Raw beets are light and sweet; they don’t have the heavy, earthy flavor of cooked beets.

I was happy to find that the last of the fresh beets from the root cellar were still crisp and sweet enough to make this beet and apple salad.

1 raw grated beet root
2 raw grated apples
Chopped onion to taste
Mix and sprinkle lemon juice (about a tablespoon) on top. Chill for several hours. Serve with vinaigrette. I make it out of apple cider vinegar (homemade if I have it), sunflower oil, in one to one proportions and salt and pepper to taste.

“The eyes of all look to thee, and thou givest them their food in due season” (Psalm 145 [144]:15).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Beginning

I was never much one for making New Year’s resolutions. It seems that whenever I do make them, I forget what I was doing and go back to old ways before January is over. It seems like a much more practical thing to make a new moon resolution, or better yet a new week resolution.

Nevertheless, New Year’s is a good time to reflect on the past year and review what went wrong and what right, and to see what might be the way to move forward into the future. It is a time for new beginnings.

2011 saw many little successes. The garden didn’t do great, but we still have plenty food for the winter. We started moving away from so much canning towards live storage and winter gardening. Although the fall vegetable crop did not do well, we got inexpensive cabbages from the Amish to make sauerkraut and to store for fresh eating, and someone gave us turnips which will keep a good while in cold storage. New Year’s Day saw me scavenging in the garden for the last of the Brussels sprouts before winter gets here in for force. The greenhouse is doing well. We have chard, collard greens, and lettuce growing there. In the New Year we will continue further down the path to more live storage as a path to greater simplicity. Not only does live storage save on fossil fuels used in canning, it also spreads the work out over the whole year. It does take more planning though.

We figured out the right number of goats to milk in 2011. Our four Nubians produce a good amount of milk for fresh drinking and making cheese, but not the over-abundance we had the previous year with five milk goats. But we found out the hard way that it is simpler to keep a buck than to find someone with a buck that is available when you need it. So next year we will be in the market for a new buck.

I finally started to find a way to balance writing and homesteading in 2011. It isn’t easy; it requires scheduling and self discipline. And little things like the flu and time changes still throw me off. This is definitely an area for me to work on improving next year.

Overall, the lesson in simplicity that 2011 taught me was that simplicity and planning/scheduling go hand and hand. It might not seem that way at first. But in fact a plan or a schedule frees the mind from dwelling on all of the complexities that are involved in little everyday decisions to reflect on other things, like the poetry of everyday life—a swaying flower, the sound of the wind, the laughter of a friend.

My New Year’s wish for you is to find the ever greater peace of mind that comes with simplicity.