The Work of Eating

The end of a summer day in September: thunder clouds gather and move to the north, and rain comes in soft waves to slowly relieve the humidity of the day.  We are inside making salsa, a project pushed off all week as each time I thought about starting on my own, Waylon would pull me away from the task. “Isn’t it amazing how little you can get done with a baby around?” a farmer friend asked me, but now it is both Edge and I, and together we are successful.  The smells of peppers, onions, and tomatoes infuse the yurt, and I am reminded that summer is really a big lead-up to September, when so much food is at hand.  As much as I love fresh vegetables, processing them grounds me and lets me appreciate them in a deeper way, knowing this food will nourish us long after the plants have been pulled and the garden beds put to rest.

Pestos, chicken, blueberries and peaches already fill space in the freezers; green beans are up next for canning; dried herbs hang in the yurt and fill glass jars in the pantry; garlic, onions, shallots and winter squash all cure in the barn and greenhouse; fermented carrots are packed into jars now stored in the fridge; cabbage is ready in the field, waiting to be turned into sauerkraut; and apples are ripe, ready to be made into sauce.  The work of eating is never as simple as sitting down to a meal.  Energy circles around, from person to seed to soil to plant to person and on around again, no one part the beginning or end, but simply a continuation of movement.

Even as we gain energy we give it away, and now I find my eyes closing, my body tired, ready to rest for the night.  Edge is cleaning up, Waylon is sleeping already, and I am on my way as well, turning in so I may turn out when the sun comes up again.


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