05 February 2012

Where to from Here? (Jan. 2012)

New Year’s Day, and I’m sitting here wondering what words of wisdom to impart. What could I possibly say that has meaning and that hasn’t been said a thousand times before? I certainly have no interest in writing about resolutions or goals, or even getting organized.

And yet, January 1st offers us a symbolic opportunity to examine our lives, our desires, our direction, offers us a symbolic moment in which to plot a different course. Who do we want to be and where do we want to go? What really matters – to us, to the world – and what are we willing to do to align our lives with that answer?

I’ve been thinking about these questions a lot lately, mostly within the context of how to make the most positive difference in the world, especially in relationship to the land. What matters most? To me, the answer always comes back to love – of my people, my animals, and my piece of earth. (Note: I do not use “my” in a possessive sense here, but in a relational one.) My question has been: staying true to my nature – i.e., using my skills and talents within the scope of my interests, a criteria that I believe is necessary in order for any of my actions to be sustainable – what actions can I take that are founded in love and increase the well-being of those entities I treasure – be they two-legged, four-legged, winged, rooted, or flowing? What changes can I make that will make this world a bit more lovely and whole?

My answer keeps coming back to “I don’t know.” I know what I want. I want my property to be self-sustaining and off the grid. I want to have my loved ones gathered near so I never need to worry about being so far away from them if (when?) the electricity and communication lines go down and gas becomes either unavailable or too exorbitant for me to drive to see them. In my dreams, we all live within walking or biking distance, and between us we grow enough food and have enough clean running water to provide for us all. But this is a pipe dream, if only because there is no way all my loved ones would come live here. And I have neither the know-how nor the oomph to make my property self-sustaining. (Although I welcome help, if anyone out there wants to pitch in!)

And so I come back to reality, wondering what I can do. I can tend my chickens and share their eggs. I can plant a vegetable garden and share the produce. I can gather friends around delicious meals and build connections. I can remember to say “I love you” in both words and deeds every day. I can continue to learn, and share what I learn with others. And yeah, I can help you get organized so you can share your gifts more readily.

But is this enough?

I guess the other thing I can do is to continue listening for guidance.

May we all be blessed with wise guidance and the courage to go where we’re led.

Quotes of the Month

May I have the courage today

To live the life that I would love,

To postpone my dream no longer

But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.
– John O’Donohue

You see the earth as a bright blue and white Christmas tree ornament in the black sky. It’s so small and so fragile – you realize that on that small spot is everything that means anything to you, all of history and art and death and birth and love.
– Russell Schweikart

If you follow your own thoughts, if you follow your own morals, if you choose to protect those you love most, and to protect your landbase (presuming that you love your landbase, but if you do not then you can choose something else), if you choose your own battlefields, what battles do you choose? What do you do? How do you act? Who are you?
– Derrick Jensen

A humble life dedicated to a great purpose, becomes great.
– Paul Brunton

Recipe of the Month

It’s Dungeness Crab season! Here are the best crab cakes I’ve ever tasted.

Sweet Potato Crab Cakes with Citronet

Sauté one sliced leek and one small red bell pepper in butter until soft but still brightly colored.

Boil one garnet yam (approximately ¼ pound) until soft. Remove skin.

Mash the yam with:
1 egg
Sautéed leek and red bell pepper
1 teaspoon fresh minced oregano
1 teaspoon fresh minced parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ pound fresh crab meat
2/3 cup panko

Form into cakes. Coat each cake with a bit more panko, then sear in hot oil until deep golden brown.


Place in a small pot and bring to a boil:
5 ounces Martinelli’s apple juice
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 or 2 limes (zest and juice)
¼ cup sugar
pinch of salt

Once boiling, whisk in a slurry of ½ Tablespoon corn starch and 1/8 cup cold water. Allow to simmer for 30 seconds, then add in 1/3 cup of diced roasted red peppers.

Remove from heat and use as a bed on which to serve the crab cakes.

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