Spring Beekeeping Workshop

Spring Beekeeping Workshop
Demonstration Hive

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Musings and Quotations

"To haul away garbage is more virtuous than to manufacture it."

"The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power and wealth."

"Nearly everyone of us, nearly every day of his life, is contributing directly to the ruin of this planet."

These three quotes are all by Wendell Berry from his book "Art of The Commonplace" which is a collection of his Agrarian Essays. Published by Counterpoint, copywrite 2002.

I love his writing but it is sometimes painful too. I have to step gingerly between the pages and not be feeling the least bit blue before I start. However, I do think he is brilliant and gets to the heart of what I think and feel about the land, race issues, politics and power, farming, what constitutes a good, well-lived life. Here is what he says about gardening on Page 88:

"I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating. The food he grows will be fresher, more nutritious, less contaminated by poisons and preservatives and dyes than what he can buy at a store. He is reducing the trash problem; a garden is not a disposable container, and it will digest and reuse its own wastes."

This reflects what I try to teach and live but he says it so much more succinctly and eloquently than I can.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Neighbors Coming Together

"Always ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources, including the mutual help of neighbors", Wendell Berry.

With the help of neighbors and friends the earth oven was completed and we held a pizza celebration on Halloween afternoon to initiate the new, and very beautiful, earth oven.

Our good friend and artist, Larry Hunt, embellished the oven with a whimsical sculpture of an owl, my chosen totem. Stuart, master pizza maker, delighted us all with several delicious pizzas - caramelized onion and mushroom, roasted home-grown vegetables, pesto with veggie sausage. It was a great way to share in the delight of burning wood and cooking in a natural way, outside, with the leaves falling off the trees and the light of the low angle of the sun casting long shadows. We huddled around the oven and the fire in the adjacent stone fireplace to ward off the chill.

After the pizzas were finished and eaten, I put two home-made rye bread doughs into the still very warm oven, to bake. We didn't push the coals back far enough so the back sides of the breads got a little black from being too close to the flames. We realize, after checking our book on the subject, that one is supposed to remove the coals for bread and just close up the opening. The residual heat is sufficient to cook many loaves once the pizzas are done.

We are planning a community bread-baking session, about once a month. I usually bake bread once a week. Now I plan to make about 6 loaves once a month and anyone who wants to come over and bring their bread dough, is welcome to bake their loaves in our "fire-stove", or a casserole. Watch this space for dates.