It might be the only old-fashioned thing about me: the enormous satisfaction I derive from a packed larder, from knowing that I'm putting up summer's bounty, making provisions for the coming winter. It feels ancient. It feels good.
October may be my favorite month because it is full of this: it's a million degrees out and I'm inside, in the middle of the day, over a hot stove with the oven blasting.
It just makes me so happy, deeply happy, to lose myself in these simple tasks -- the baking, making and saving.
And eating. Taking the time to really taste, to savor everything.
It can get so busy. I mean, WE can get so busy. I can get so wrapped up in work that I completely lose track of projects I set in motion months before. I can walk by the literal fruits of my labor -- the beets growing from seeds I put in the ground in the spring, the raspberries hanging luscious on the canes across from the front gate -- I can be so busy in my head that I walk by and don't even see them.
Which means that all the work that I did for the betterment of my own self, of my own life, it's crazy but I can get so busy that I almost miss it, forget to reap the many benefits of what I myself have sown.
I forget to look. I forget to see. I miss the chance to feel those raspberries on my tongue, perfect, sweet.
And so these super-productive making-weekends where I actually get my hands in it all, they restore the balance and take me right back where I need to be.
They're kind of a goofy nirvana.
So yeah, this weekend it was 90 degrees out, but I was blissfully happy at the stove, with the oven roaring, using almost every kitchen tool and appliance we own. And doing a ton of dishes.
I made cookies, two kinds (chocolate chip and ginger snaps) -- enough to bring to a dinner party and have some left over. I made us sit-down lunches both days -- a chopped salad with lots of ingredients from the garden on Saturday, breakfast burritos on Sunday. I roasted three egglants from the garden and whipped up baba ghanoush. From a big basket of apples from our tree, I made a big jar of apple sauce and filled the dehydrator, yielding three bags of apple-chips. I took the time to clean and set out a big pile of pinto beans to soak. They've been cooking for hours now and will feed us all week.
Look: it's not rocket science, this home-making, food-prep, larder-stocking thing. There's no prize for this. I know that.
And yet it feels like a prize every time I make the space to do this.
It's such a good reminder. And clearly I need reminding. Don't work so hard that you forget to enjoy what all that hard-work buys you. Look at what you've grown and savor it.
Look at the life you've made and love it.