Spring Garden Burgers

 Spring has sprung! At least on the northern hemisphere - sorry, southern folks, it's our turn now! And even if Spring hasn't exactly come yet to where you live, because we all know that seasons don't follow days on a calendar, you've probably started noticing the shift of energy that accompanies the Equinox. The days grow longer, the Sun's arch is wider, some birds are returning after their travels down south, while others say farewell until next Autumn. Some wild flowers start to bloom, insects show up behind every tree and the garden seems to be bursting with a renewed excitement. We, too, feel this change. For me, I feel like waking up after a long wintery sleep and making long lists of everything I wish to do on this sunny days ahead. I feel like cleansing my body of the slow wintery sluggishness and get my limbs moving wide once again. I feel like giving everything a good scrub, airing up every linen and tapestry. But most of all? I feel like cooking.

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 Around the equinox, after a long and weary day of land clearing (more on that later, I promise!), I went to the garden  for a little harvest and felt like really celebrating the shift of season through a filling and rich meal. And I thought, well why, garden burgers it will be!

 You can do these burgers with any leafy green, roots, stems or flowers you have. You can also incorporate wild greens - I think nettle, chickweed or young dandelion leaves would make a wonderful addition. But as I've said before, when in doubt, don't pick. Make sure you know what you are picking, know the poisonous plants in your bio-region and always cross and double check references. And, if you're foraging for the first time, make sure you take along a seasoned herbalist or forager friend!

{By the way, this video on wild edibles shared by the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine made my day in a very funny way!} 

 Right! Gathered your vegetables? Gathered your roots? Your free abundant generous and resilient greens? Let's head to the place where magic happens - the kitchen!

 The quantity of vegetables you use in your burgers is totally up to you. In the end, what it really comes to is having the right texture, so they don't crumble apart as you flip them on the skillet.

Directions

  • Start by cooking your choice of cereals, grains or pulses. When soft, set aside and let it cool down. If using large pulses, like beans, you may want to mash it a bit.
  • Combine all your greens and roots together with the onion and garlic and add this mixture to the base you just cooked. Use your hand to combine everything thoroughly. If using an egg, crack it inside.
  • Now, it's rule of thumb. Keep adding breadcrumbs until the texture is malleable. It can still be a bit runny, and there is nothing like placing a dollop on the skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil and see if you can flip it using two spoons and care, without crumbling it.
  • Got the right texture? Wonderful! Now you can slowly fry them in medium flame, until golden. I recommend covering them with a large lid while cooking, to ensure they cook right to the center.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • A couple handfuls of greens, thinly sliced
  • Roots, grated
  • 2 cups of cereals, grains or pulses (this is what keeps it all together! I used red lentils)
  • about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, or what necessary for a firm texture (I literally grated a piece of old homemade bread about the size of my fist)
  • 1 egg (optional, for consistency)
  • Olive oil, or a local oil you use

 


Ah, my choice of greens was cabbage blooms, savoy cabbage leaves, mustard leaves and radishes.

Grab some homemade bread (well, I'm sure hamburger bread would do just as fine!), sauces (uh-uuuh), salad leaves and a nice glass of fizzling kombucha! Happy spring on a plate!

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 Have you got any favorite ways of celebrating Spring at the table? I'd love to know them! <3

Wood whittlers for a day

Communities are rich places. Especially when everybody is so different. 

We are thankful to be part of a community of folks who are so deeply passionate about their things. Some people are really good at house building, others are sourdough masters; some can understand how electricity works like no one else, while others know exactly just what it takes for a goat to be healthy. Not to mention, the amazing baker up the hill or the crocheter on the other side of the hill (yes, I mean you, Jaymie).

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On a sunny day, we gathered with Jaymie and Marlley around good food, cardamom coffee and Yoav, who for me is pretty much the epitome of wood carving, for an introduction to carving. We did (ehm, attempted to do) spoons, coat hangers and Jaymie even made some crochet hooks!

And now, I'll let these few pictures speak for themselves.

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By the way, these cups are tots carved by him too!

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Here's to more skill trading, bonfires and good friends!

Wishing you all a happy and creative March!

On parenting, bread and things in between

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Parenting is tough sometimes. I mean tough in the real sense of the word.

The internet is so full of beautiful images of parents {or, more often, mothers} with perfectly clean young kids in spotless houses and having perfect holidays. You don't see the mess, or the tantrums, or any reference to how in fact you spend half of your day squatting, either picking up a child or cleaning spilled liquids and any kind of objects. Or any discussion about having hard days too, and we all being just humans having perfectly human feelings.

Anyway, in those tough days, when my head seems more of a grey cloud announcing rain, I fall only too easily into the comparison trap set by these perfect images- what a terrible parent I am. Feeling tired, or with low patience, makes me feel like I'm doing it all wrong.
And so I start thinking, ignoring this whole strange new world called the social media. And I realise humans have been having children and reflecting about their emotions for something like 350 thousand years. That's 350 thousand years of humans having perfectly human feelings. You, me, we, are not alone. Nor in history, nor in time, nor in space. And for sure there is no such thing as a role-model parent.

In these days, my journal is more scribbled than usual. Last time, it said something like "I feel like I want to put a backpack on filled with chocolates and bad literature and just run away. Although I would probably be back a couple days soon feeling miserable because didn't even brought a tent and it rained". I closed my journal and, as my two loves slept {because even on my bad days they are my two loves}, I went out with my bike and visited neighbors. Neighbors with children. Real people. Even though Sam feels the things similar to mine, sometimes I need someone from the outside to talk with, if it makes sense. What I search, on those days, is not sympathy, a gentle tap on the shoulder and a smile "you'll have better days". Of course those are kind and I'm grateful for that, but when my friend looked at me and said "Yes, it is awful, it's like one of those days you just want to run away, you know?", I was like YES. THANK GOODNESS. I'm not alone feeling these feelings. It is awful, it will pass, but the fact it will pass doesn't make the feeling less worthy of importance.

A couple days later, the entry on my journal read something like "I fell in love with it all again. And I am grateful for the ups and downs, because both of them are opportunities to learn more about myself and grow." So cheesy, I know.

So, 350 thousand years of feelings. Of all kinds of feelings. Our ancestors, going through it all too. And now comes the bread.

I've very recently fallen in love with the practice of sourdough bread baking. The sourdough culture, such an ancestral way of baking. Tending for a culture, getting something in return. Feeding it with wholegrain flours, adding water collected from the rain. Feeling the sweet, beer-ish smell and thinking of my ancestors, doing the same things. Feeling feelings in their heads and creating with their hands. Making a fire, keeping the room warm. Kneading. Waiting. Watching it grow. Going to sleep leaving the dough next to the woodstove. Waking up. Checking the dough, it has doubled its size. Restarting the fire. Flop the dough over to a tray, or wait another day. Baking, powered by the trees from the forest. Hugging a child, sniffing the air together. Checking in. That scent, fresh sour bread. I wonder how many waited for the bread to completely cure before cutting open - it's just too good when warm drizzled with that olive oil from your neighbors.

There is more than a blood lineage weaving us to our ancestors. There are practices. There are feelings, living deep within our bones, our material memory, stirred up every now and then, when we do not pay attention. When we forget. We are not alone, nor in history, nor in time, nor in space.

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Promises of the year ahead

The last days of 2017 and the first days of 2018 brought many things which my overly positive self is taking as good omens of what's ahead.  Here are a few:

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The first harvest from our new garden, for salad and tea - of much gardening and harvesting.

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The first batch of brined olives (we have still got like 70 liters of olives to prepare, in case things go wrong) - of much preserving and fermenting, because I also started a new sourdough.

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Shipping new orders - well, of many more blouses flying off!

Finishing projects and doing my first test knit ever - of much knitting. Always.

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Clear skies, crisp air and bright moons, while wild animals scatter the bushes - of magic.

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These two, plans coming out of the heads and new window and door frames in wood - of a house to be, hopefully!

What are you looking forward for the year to come? Any signs whispering to your hear? And I know, I know, the beggining of a year is just a random day out of 365 days, but I am not one to squander the opportunity for this whole start fresh thing. What can I do. Wanna join me?

The Polish influenza

Last month, we received a crazy volunteering form in our inbox, all the way from Poland. We somehow lost contact along the way {OK, not somehow. Our reception was worse than ever and my inbox never updated}. Then, one day, I receive a phone call from a friend living in a community not too far away from us.
"Cat, there's a bunch of people here asking for you."
Oh my goodness, they did it! The next day, this beautiful VW is parked in our land.

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It was a group of five, and it was the best group of five we could have asked for. Big smiles and a refined sense of humor, patchouli and beautiful dresses, and a dog that would drool every time she saw our cat - drool as in I like you so much I could eat you. 

It's hard to believe we did more work in a week than we would have done in a whole month {even though Sam was going out for work almost every day}! Here are some of the things we checked off the list:

  Clearing land - we did one of the most critical parts, which was the totally overgrown forest on the upper part of the land
 ☑ Clearing the inside of the house - debris and stones out, almost ready to start working on that floor!
 ☑ Taking down the walls of the old pigpen, to lay the foundations of the future bathroom
 ☑ Making new garden beds  

Yes, we were busy!

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That's the work on the old pigpen/ future bathroom, above.

And below... Well, we're one step closer to have this as view from our front door

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I really can't put my finger on what is my favorite part about having volunteers. There are so many things that warm our hearts about these helping visitors. The shared meals, the new kitchen flavors, the late night {sometimes deep} conversations, the different opinions on how to do something, the indelible touch people leave on the land and buildings... I love looking at something done with friends and thinking "oh, I remember how hard it was to place that stone there", or smiling upon the memory of the joke someone did while we worked together. These memories build up. And so does reality. And suddenly, our land and our building is no longer our land or our building. Embedded is the physical memory of the people who passed by, and in the air lingers the light breeze left behind those who moved around bringing something new, every time.

Like the remains of a cough our friends had upon arrival, that turned into cough for us that turned into fever that turned into a flu that put everyone here in the valley down for three weeks. We've called it the polish influenza but hey, now that is has passed I'm proud of it. It too tells a story.

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