Posted in Change, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Food, Garden, Gifts, Goals, Gratitude, Home, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Spirit, Summer, Walking & Wandering

The CSA experience

In the garden
In the garden

I believe that the energy of humans who touched those beans goes into the beans as well.  They become vibrant because of the handling.  This vibrancy is something that a machine or harvester doesn’t have.  From my standpoint… I believe that if food is grown and prepared with love… infused with love… well, it can be the humblest of food, but because it’s prepared with love, it’s special.

~ Valerie Phipps

Busy bee
Busy bee

Let’s take a little walk around the garden and the meadows while I check in with you again about my experience this summer with the CSA that M and I joined.

Landing gear down
Landing gear down

It is Week 20, and the latest share includes acorn squash, red and green bell peppers, beans, eggplant, garlic, kale, and tomatoes.  No okra, thank goodness!

On the fence
On the fence

M and I decided several weeks ago that we will do this again next year.  We have been feasting on beautiful, nutritious, and delicious vegetables for 20 weeks.  Not everything was on my top 10 (or top 20, for that matter) list of vegetables I like to eat.  Okra, for example, is something I wouldn’t mind never seeing again although I can eat some if it’s roasted for 30 minutes at 400°F with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar on it to sweeten the deal.

The old pump near the garden.
The old pump near the garden.

During the 20 weeks of eating all those lovely, locally and organically grown vegetables and fruits, I have lost 3 lbs.  Yeah, I know.  It’s not much.  But you have to realize that for most of those 20 weeks, I wasn’t trying to lose weight.  I was just munching right along pretty much as usual except we had increased the number of servings of fruits and veggies we were eating.  You see, I was determined not to waste any of the food we received from the CSA.

Beautiful
It’s too bad Morning Glories aren’t edible.  We have a bumper crop of them this year.

In those 20 weeks, my blood pressure has gone down without medication.  Yesterday I got the results of some blood work, including cholesterol numbers, and my cholesterol numbers are, as the nurse put it, fantastic.

Hanging around the garden.
Hanging around the garden.

So, there have been big and small improvements in my health.  That alone is worth the price which, by the way, is reasonable when you spread out the cost over the weeks of the growing season.

A string of flowers
A string of flowers

I have grown tired of some vegetables and herbs.  Cucumbers were overly abundant this year, as well as redundant since we had our own abundance of them growing in our garden.  Basil got to be too much (and it’s still coming in), also redundant because we grew our own.  By the time cantaloupe and zucchini season were over, I’d had enough.  Tomatoes continue to plague us come in, both here in our garden and from the CSA.  Luckily, there are several different varieties in our garden and from the CSA, including heirloom tomatoes.

Not over yet
Not over yet

I turned my nose up at the spaghetti squash the first week we brought one home, remembering a time when I tried to cook what I thought was a spaghetti squash.  I was young and inexperienced, and it turned out I had cooked a honeydew melon.  Have you ever smelled a roasting honeydew melon?  It’s pretty terrible.  I know now that a honeydew melon looks nothing like a spaghetti squash, but at the time I thought the sign in the grocery store must be correct (even if it DID look like a honeydew melon to me, and boy, did I learn a lesson about trusting my eyes and my instincts!).

There are still a few small sunflowers blooming.
There are still a few small sunflowers blooming.

Determined to use the spaghetti squash (and the three that followed in the subsequent weeks), I found a recipe for spaghetti squash pancakes, and they were oh, so good.  In fact, the pancakes convinced me to try spaghetti squash the way a lot of people eat it, as a substitute for pasta.  I made a sauce with roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers that I spiced up, and we spooned it over the spaghetti squash, sprinkled on a little Parmesan cheese, and had a wonderful feast.  We are now on our fourth spaghetti squash, and I am not yet sure how I will eat it, but eat it I will.  I’m thinking of using it as noodles in a miso soup since I have some bok choy from last week’s share that needs to be cooked.  Bok choy is always good in miso soup.

Enjoying the Goldenrod
Enjoying the Goldenrod

In other news…

The lifestyle changes I’ve been making include embracing some things (more vegetables, for instance), and letting go of others (habits that are not doing me any or much good).  The embracing is fairly easy.  The letting go, though, sometimes leaves me feeling as if there is a lack of something, or a hole that needs to be filled.

The heart of the matter
The heart of the matter

I’ve taken some time to think about the sense of lack.  I have lived a good chunk of my life thinking there might be something about me that’s missing.  Call it a hole in my soul.  It’s that thing that other people have that makes them feel secure in who they are, who they want to be, and what they want to do in life.  I’ve tried to fill the hole in various ways, some of them not particularly healthy.  Today it dawned on me that maybe that hole is not meant to be plugged the way you would patch a hole in a wall.  Maybe the purpose of the hole is to be an opening to life, to the present experience, to the moment.  You let the moment in, you release the moment, and that creates the space or opening to allow the next moment in, and so on and so forth.

What an amazing and freeing concept that is.  There is nothing to patch or fix because it is that hole that lets in the light, the joy, the dark, the sadness, the shadows, and all the other experiences of life.

Relaxing in the grass
Relaxing in the grass

I reckon that’s enough from me and from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch on this gorgeous September day.  Have you ever noticed the auras of spring, when the trees get a reddish glow about them?  Then a green glow appears, and about two seconds later the leaves start to unfurl, and that’s how you know spring has arrived?  Today I discovered that autumn has an aura, too.  I’m sure it’s been there each and every fall, but I was blinded by the spectacle of the color changes of the leaves and failed to notice that there is a brownish-golden aura that settles over the trees and meadows just before the foliage begins to dress in its autumn colors.  I saw it today while I was out on my walk.

Holding on
Holding on

Thank you for stopping in today, and taking a little stroll with me.  Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Today’s joys:  Epiphanies of the eyes and spirit; buzzing bees filling the meadows with their song; the fluffy white flowers on the sea myrtles; bluebirds sitting on the fence near the office window; movement and stillness.

 

 

 

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

29 thoughts on “The CSA experience

  1. The CSA sounds intriguing. I must remember to see if there is something like this in my area. We eat a lot of vegetables – but always the same and it would do my family good to experiment with others.

    Like

    1. That’s the fun part about it, Colline. You get to try new stuff. It might not always be successful, but I’ve learned that if I try something often enough, in a variety of ways, I might come to like it. 🙂

      Like

  2. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes! Re the hole! I LOVE what you’re realizing, Robin. Realize on, my friend! For what you realize may be what I realize and what I realize may be…because, are we really separate?

    Like

  3. Thanks for the update on all the vegetables and how it’s helped your health. My garden failed again last year and this year, we pulled it all out. Well, the tomatoes didn’t fail last year. The birds and squirrels ate them all!

    I enjoyed the sunflower picture and your paragraph on the hole in your soul. I have to think about that some more. I have a similar hole in my soul and I’m wondering if you’re right that it doesn’t have to be filled. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. This is what I love about reading regular people blogs (versus the slick overdone ones). I find so many interesting nuggets of wisdom to ponder!

    Nancy

    Like

  4. The CSA concept is the best thing that ever happened to me. Ours goes just past Thanksgiving, though it might have launched a bit later than yours. I’ve never been one for much experimenting, but getting those unfamiliar veggies sure pushes you (in a good way). I’m so glad it’s helped to improve your health and congratulations on the weight loss.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Gunta. 🙂 Being pushed to experiment is one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed the CSA. I’m not sure how much longer ours will continue. Their latest newsletter talked about harvesting greens through January.

      Like

  5. Oh Robin!!! Maybe that’s what I am doing! Trying to fill a hole or a missing piece, that isn’t meant to be filled, but open for the flow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be thinking on this all day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    1. You’re welcome, CM. I’m glad to be of service. 🙂 It sure did make me think when I had that “ah-ha!” moment. It’s as if I sprouted wings or something, and now I can fly. Not that I’ll be jumping off of cliffs or roofs anytime soon… 😉

      Like

      1. I’m blown away by this. That you said this thing about having the hole and trying to fill it up. I have felt this way my entire life. That something was missing. When all along perhaps it has been that endless hole so that I will continue to pursue and want and learn and do…… 🙂 You have made my life different with this. 🙂

        Like

        1. Awww… ❤ I don't know what to say to that, CM, other than it's made my life different too, in a very short period of time. I think someone must have zapped me from above and said, "Hey! Look at it this way!" Maybe my mother was looking out for me, knowing I was sad (the anniversary of her death was ten days ago).

          Like

  6. I think you’d be surprised how many people believe everyone else is confident and fulfilled, when probably everyone has some sort of hole in themselves they think needs to be patched. You have realized the truth, that we are good enough the way we are, and that the hole is part of what makes us good enough. Thank you for sharing this…I hadn’t thought about the hole being a way to let new things in and old finished things out. It’s a good thought.

    Like

  7. Your photos are gorgeous – as they always are. I have learned to try different vegetables by trying new recipes designed to balance the body’s PH, and have found many new edible friends that way. As to the hole? I love your insight and fully intend to cherish it.

    Like

    1. I meant to include that, Dawn. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You can find out more about it here:

      http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

      Basically, you buy a “share” in a local farm, and they repay you in whatever they produce. It’s a gamble, in a way, especially with a new farm that’s running a CSA. Or if the weather doesn’t cooperate. When I lived in Ohio, we bought our veggies from a local farm who had their own market, and the difference is that with a CSA, you invest up front, and they decide what you will get. The CSA we joined here (Greenbranch Farm) has their own farm market, too, so we get our share and if we want to buy other things from the market, we get a discount.

      Like

  8. Thank you, Robin, for this post and all it contains – beautiful photos, encouragement for the CSAs out there, and wisdom beyond measure. I hope your realization and thoughts about the hole in our souls is widely spread through the internet. Helpful for so many people seeking to fill that hole. A very freeing idea.

    Like

  9. The hole in the soul insight is so profound, Robin. Whenever I am feeling empty or lacking in any way, I like to remember the Leonard Cohen quote about cracks being where the light comes in. Who wants to be fully patched up and keep the light out? xx

    Like

  10. I’m glad you redirected me to this post from the post I was reading. As you know I’ve been quite behind in blog reading and hadn’t seen this one. You’ve got me thinking about trying spaghetti squash now since I don’t really eat pasta any more. I’m also curious now to look for auras on the trees. I do know what you mean about subtle light changes with the seasons, which I’m assuming this is, but I never noticed specifically around the trees. I’d like to try to internalize the idea that you present that maybe we don’t need to fill those soul holes. It is a very freeing concept.

    Like

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.