Soon. Soon now the dark greens of earth will peek through the moistened soil and seek the sun. Dandelions will unexpectedly be dancing through the grasses. The mulberries, black and velvet, will stain my fingers as I gather them. Perhaps the squirrels will leave some walnuts for me. And this is the year for the plum tree to fruit.
To forage for food gives a great satisfaction to the spirit but to forage amongst one’s own gardens and land is spectacular. I can already taste the cleansing lamb’s quarters, the tangy purslane, the scrumptious dandelions interspersed with sweet butter lettuce fresh from the garden. Just dressed with good olive oil and sea salt, the tastes of spring come forth and fill my body with nutrients after winter’s rest. Soon. Soon now.
I am reading a beautiful book called, “A Year in the Village of Eternity” by Tracey Lawson. It takes place in Italy, in the village of Campodimele, one of the Blue Zones, where the most active and healthy elders live.
Cibo genuino. Real Food. Roba nostra. Our own things. I let the many Italian words roll off my tongue and take their lessons. Real food. Our own things. Grow an orto, a garden. In this village they forage or grow nearly everything they consume. Is it possible? Last year on our own little third of an acre in town, in soil fit for a driveway, we grew all of our own produce for the summer. Our first season here with little time or money. Now we have eggs from our chickens. We have planted many fruit and nut trees (if I can just keep the puppy from thinking they are sticks to play with!), we are recognizing more and more wild foods, and are growing many more vegetables this year in better soil. Contadino. Farmer or gardener who produces their own food.
I cannot wait to feel the soil in my fingers. Soon. Soon. The season comes earlier where we live now and in three short weeks I will be folding spring crops into the cool ground. What preserves shall we do this year? I imagine lilac and lavender jam, stewed tomatoes, crisp fire roasted corn. We are enjoying our larder these winter months.
To live like this is to be ready at all times, for what you seek or what you want to “put up” may not be there tomorrow. Herbs must be harvested when ready. Fruit may be eaten by birds at dawn. Piles of corn need shucking. Ah, but I enjoy the work. I love our evening walks after dinner in the sunlight. I love the sound of water covering plants and the crisp sound of the pea pod being opened. Ogni cosa ha il sua momento. Everything has its moment.
For now I have winter preserving to do so that it is done once the busy season starts. In my cucina this week dozens and dozens of jars of beans will be put up. Vegetable broth too. I still have beans from the garden to shell. I will check on my vinegars and my kombucha. I have been resting and a tad neglectful. But now as each day falls closer to spring, I awaken, don my apron, and get to work. In campagna, c’ e sempre da fare! In the countryside (or city as the case may be) there is always something to do!