I have taken a break from blogging for the last few weeks. Not feeling very creative. Not feeling like I could write. Not that I am not eating well or didn't have big plans to shower you with my culinary adventures. Life just sometimes gets in the way. And sometimes you just can't get your thoughts on to paper. Or the screen as it were.
A writer friend of mine gave me some useful tips yesterday. One of which being to quit thinking so hard-just let it flow, make notes, observe what is around you, see where it takes you.Good advice I think. So today I explored the farmer's markets. It's cold here again but there if fresh produce to be had-greens, radishes, onions, turnips, lettuce, greens and more greens. Starter plants for warmer times to come and fresh flowers are in abundance. I won't share a recipe with you tonight. I'll save those greens for meals to come this week. I will however share a column I write for the local newspaper. My quest to get my life in order. My quest to eat right and live well. I quit thinking so hard and listened to some very good advice from a wise friend.
At the Market
Washington County Observer
April 19, 2011
A clarification. The last column of mine in The Observer stated that “John Ford lives in Winslow tending his garden and his cats”. I did not write this. This is only partially true. There is no garden. Only rocks. Lot’s of rocks. My description would have read “John was not born in Northwest Arkansas, but he got here as quickly as he could”. A takeoff of those bumper stickers that you see in that state south of us with the big attitude. I lived in that state for awhile and I really did get here as quickly as I could. And ,I am glad to be here. Especially now, at this time of year.
My “garden” is a pile of rock that I have been trying to tame for the last five years. I bought the pile from an ex real estate agent turned newspaper publisher. He was the most patient of agents having seen the scenario before. Burned out worker from the big city wants to move to the country and live the life of a country squire. On a budget. A very meager budget. Alright, no budget at all. How many times has the gracious realtor seen this play out? And how much time was he going to have to spend showing properties with little chance of a sale? Not that much as it turns out. I saw the property on the Internet, called the gracious realtor and said “let’s buy it”. I had no idea about the rocks. And why did no one tell me that they multiply?
At any rate, I love my little pile of rocks. I move them from here to there. And then I move them back again. I love the fact that my neighbors come by and marvel at the progress I have made. I love that all of them drive by and wave. I love knowing that some of them are smiling and waving and really saying to themselves “What the hell is that crazy city boy up to now?” And, I know, someday I am going to have a garden. And I am going to share. I am going to brag on my tomatoes and I am going to hand out tips and advice with all the zeal of the newly converted. Those rocks are going to produce vegetables damn it!
In the meantime, I am going to write once in awhile about this transplant’s summer adventures at the local farmer’s markets. Maybe for the local it might not sound that exciting, but I haven’t had my hands in dirt for over 35 years. I forgot when to plant and how to thin my seedlings. I forgot how to pinch back my tomatoes and when to fertilize. My food has come from hermetically sealed packages, cans and restaurant servers. My milk has been pasteurized, my sprouts irradiated, my produce trucked in from hundreds of miles away without a speck of dirt on them and my fresh tomatoes have tasted like drywall. I forgot what produce tastes like when it was harvested just a few hours ago. I forgot what a fresh egg is supposed to taste like. I forgot where my food comes from. I lost my way in search of gold and I am here to get it back. I hope you will humor me and enjoy my little discoveries. You have welcomed me and for that I am grateful. Now, I never found that gold so where are those tomatoes?
John Ford was not born in Northwest Arkansas. He spent the last 12 years in Texas and although he does have big hair, he got here as quickly as he could.