Thursday, December 30, 2010

Urgently Nesting

I'm in denial. Denial that in just a few days I'll be back at it, racing out of the house in the pre-dawn dark, hoping my socks match, drying my frozen hair in the truck's blower (set on high), hoping I have time to stop for a bagel on my way to room 601, where I'll meet up with 20 young people who feel pretty much the same way I do.  We'll wake up together over morning announcements, wipe the sleep from our eyes, and shake off our dreams while we adjust to the harsh reality of early morning academia. And we'll make the best of it; it'll grow on us again, and we'll share some laughs while we start on our new year together.  But right now, all I'm thinking of is home.

Home.  Where the heart is, where the comfortable mess waits for a creative touch, where the projects wait for some love and attention, and where the plants have languished during my recent manic fall semester.  Where my freezer is brimming with foods I've lovingly saved there, just waiting for a culinary muse to overtake me...which she did, last night after my second glass of holiday reisling.  What to do?  Mushrooms, of course.

Heaven in a Pot
Morels, chantarelles, oyster mushrooms, chicken mushrooms, giant puffballs and shiitakes all found their way into my pot; most were frozen over the late summer months.  The morels and chantarelles were dehydrated, purchased at the Amish grocery store in Fleetwood, and are decidedly local.  The whole mess was rehydrated if necessary, sauteed, seasoned lightly, and married with a single cube of last spring's chopped garlic scapes, from my stash in the freezer. A pasta dough was made and patiently rolled out with my hand cranked pasta maker, and the final results (wild mushroom ravioli) found their into my freezer before I stumbled off to bed. The elves came and did the dishes for me. 

We Will Love Them Sometime Soon
The same elf that cleaned up after my chaotic kitchen event slept late this morning, while I continued on my nesting mission.  I've just finished a good book, The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, and it has made me hyper-aware of the beauty of worn, homey objects that are useful and well loved (namely, everything we own).  She waxes poetic about setting seeds in soil, about calves and kittens, and still manages to keep it real.  In that "school of harsh reality" mood, I decided to tackle the project that has been looming large in my mind: the "Elephant in the Room", aka the "Plants I Neglected All Fall in the Sun Room."

I'm not a negligent plant keeper, most times.  I've raised my own food, orchids, herbs; I've been said to have a green thumb.  That thumb has apparently been somewhere less productive (in terms of plant life) for the last few months.  Of course, I did get an "A" on the course I was taking, and wrote two pretty decent research papers using APA style (for the first time).  Tell that to my dead herbs...they're compost now. The wages of academic war: herbal collateral damage.

I performed triage on the table of withered herbs and flowers, setting the goners out on the deck for the birds to pick at, and trimming the wounded down to manageable sizes.  The orchids fared better than the Christmas cacti, believe it or not; one optimistic little trooper had even sprouted a blossom spike.  Anything with a glimmer of hope got a nice soaking shower and a haircut before being returned to the sun room table they call home. I think we'll call it "the infirmary" for the time being.
The Infirmary
Four out of five African Violets survived as well, spunky little troopers that they are.  I carefully snuck a good watering under their drooping velvet leaves and set them up high, where they like it, above our multicultural cat chachka collection.

Gris-Gris, Supervising
The rest of the room got a good cleaning, too.  We (Peter was awake by then) topped off the event by filling the bird feeders and settling in with Hobie and Gris-Gris for a little passive bird-watching.
I am determined to soak up every moment of home time I can, between social events and fundraisers.  Tonight's Lights in the Woods will bring a welcome end to the long, cold evenings of people, hot-dogs, and blown fuses, and a return to the tranquility I yearn for on the farm when I volunteer there.  And tomorrow, after I visit David and Bonnie in Niantic, and get the goats fed and watered, I'll come home to my comfortable, freshly cleaned and nurtured sun room, and enjoy my last two days of winter vacation.  Cleaning this:
The Studio
Wish me luck!

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