Saturday, January 16, 2010

The life we live

June's beautiful post touched me deeply and I carried her words with me like a precious rock today as I went about my day... I invite you to read her whole post, but I am offering you some excerpts here to entice you to do so, as well as photos from today...

Le beau message de June m'a touchée profondément et j'ai porté ses mots avec moi aujourd'hui comme on transporte une pierre précieuse... Je vous invite à lire son message en entier, mais je vous offre quelques extraits pour vous mettre l'eau à la bouche, ainsi que des photos de notre journée...

Lately, I've been very aware of the work that goes into living the way we do. Mind you, we are not up in the hills or at the end of a long road. We are not off the grid or off the clock. We can walk to the library or drive to the market in a few minutes. We have almost daily obligations to the greater world that require us to check the time, plug ourselves into meetings, grind against deadlines. And, yet, we choose to live on our little patch of land in ways that my great-grandparents would have recognized: We grow much of what we eat. We preserve what we can. We hang clothes to dry on the line and feed the sourdough starter daily. We chase the chickens out of the spring sprouts and gather eggs. We create a meal around a head of cabbage or a batch of homemade noodles. As much as we can, we live from scratch.

But why? My great-grandmother would have loved our electric dryer. (…)

It's a way of life that families are choosing more often because we must consider sustainability. But what if we embrace this way not because of our fears and guilt but more because it slows us down and reacquaints us with the simple joys of sustaining ourselves: the aroma of soup simmering on the stove all day, the time to think as we pin laundry on the line, the anticipation of warm bread as it is rises and bakes? What if we choose it because deep satisfaction comes from making our own way in the world?

Our mornings usually start bright and early with a play or show that the girls staged while we were trying to steal extra minutes of precious sleep. This morning, surprisingly (!), it was the nativity play!

Nos matins commencent habituellement très tôt avec une pièce de théâtre ou un spectacle que les filles préparent pendant que nous essayons tant bien que mal de gagner quelques minutes de précieux sommeil. Ce matin, étonnamment (!), c'était une pièce de théâtre portant sur la crèche!

Then quickly outside to see if the snow fairies had left a little something for them in the fairy igloo they built the day before! Hooray! Three little wooden peg persons were waiting for them in the snow!

Puis, vite dehors pour voir si les fées des neiges leur avaient laissé un petit quelque chose dans l'igloo de fées qu'elles avaient construit la journée précédente. Hourra! Trois petits bonshommes de bois les attendaient dans la neige!

First breakfast: alfalfa sprouts and sprouted sunflower seeds with sunflower oil and miso (both local!) (and a tiny bit of roasted sesame oil).

Premier déjeuner : de la luzerne avec des graines de tournesol germées, de l'huile de tournesol et du miso (tous deux locaux!) (et un tout petit peu d'huile de sésame).

Then, on to the farm chores! I have been milking Fernande almost daily since 2 weeks and truly enjoying it! Milking a Jersey is so different than milking a Dexter!! Jerseys are so easy and mellow, but God do they shit a lot!! It's like 250 % more manure per liter of milk compared to a Dexter!

Puis, le train! Je trais Fernande presque tous les jours depuis deux semaines et j'aime vraiment ça! Traire une Jersey est tellement différent de traire un Dexter!! Les Jerseys sont tellement faciles et relaxes, mais Dieu qu'elles en produisent de la merde! C'est comme 250 % plus de fumier par litre de lait par rapport à une Dexter!

The milking crew! That black hen almost drank right in my pail this morning! She knows where the good stuff is! And some mornings, I can hardly keep the kittens from climbing on my lap when I milk (since I am still learning, I spray myself a bit on my sleeves and boots and they come and lick me...).

L'équipe de la traite! Cette poule noire est presque venue boire directement dans mon sceau de traite ce matin! Elle sait où trouver les bonnes choses! Et certains matins, j'ai peine à empêcher les chatons de me grimper sur les cuisses pendant que je trais (comme je suis encore en apprentissage, je m'envoie du lait sur les manches et les bottes et ils viennent me lécher...).

And since the grass in always greener in the neighbor's field, the chickens are eating the cow's grain...

Et comme l'herbe est toujours plus verte dans le pré du voisin, les poules mangent le grain de la vache...

And Toulouse eats the sheep grain!

Et Tolouse mange le grain des moutons!

And back inside, we set to work to dress those little wooden peg persons.

Et de retour à l'intérieur, on se met au travail pour habiller les petits bonshommes de bois.

Mama made an autumn gnome and is planning on making the other 3 seasonal gnomes soon.

Maman a confectionné un gnome d'automne et prévoit faire les 3 autres gnomes des saisons bientôt.

And off to make some dairies! Making butter.

Et c'est l'heure des produits laitiers! On fait du beurre.

Raw cheddar cheese and yoghurt.

Fromage cheddar et yogourt au lait cru.

A little bit of book browsing. Do you know the Mary Frances books? The girls are just discovering them, but I do love them (but they are in English and require a lot of translation work)!

Session de tournage de pages. Connaissez-vous la collection Mary Frances? Les filles commencent tout juste à les découvrir, mais moi, je les adore (bien qu'ils soient en anglais et demandent beaucoup de traduction)!

Another one of Mémé's creations from an old sweater that I loved (no pattern, she's quite something at 88, isn't she?) . Knitted in Cascade yarn (the heathers 220, color 9454)

Une autre des créations de Mémé à partir d'un vieux chandail que j'aimais beaucoup (sans patron, elle est plutôt extraordinaire à 88 ans, non?). Fait avec de la laine Cascade (the heathers 220, couleur 9454).

Lunch: buckwheat pancake with fresh butter and miso. Give this a try (even better with white miso, but our local source doesn't make any...).

Dîner: galettes de sarrasin avec beurre frais et miso. Essayez ça (c'est encore meilleur avec du miso blanc, mais notre source locale n'en fait pas...).

Coriander seeds that were forgotten in the basement. They sure are quite dry by now and still smell heavenly!

Des graines de coriandre oubliées dans le sous-sol. Elles sont sans aucun doute bien sèches et sentent si bon!

Two loaves of sourdough bread (1/3 kamut, 1/3 spelt, 1/3 whole wheat).
Deux miches de pain au levain (1/3 kamut, 1/3 épeautre, 1/3 blé entier).

And one pizza for dinner (we are officially out of olives... )!

Et une pizza pour souper (nous venons officiellement de terminer nos dernières olives... snif)!

And while the pizza was cooking, I went to milk Fernande and she was pissed (we are slowly weaning Ragoût, her calf (French for Stew...), and she kicked and put her feet in my bucket... Then, the pizza was ready and JF was still out doing his farm chores and we ate without him... again... and when he finally came back in after the whole sleep routine was over and a very cranky Mathilde had wailed 15 minutes for papa to brush her teeth (and I had grown worried at this point, imagining him squished under our mama pig or gored by a mad Fernande... I am a tiny bit dramatic, y'a know...), he told me that our mama pig was having a tough time, a very tough time... And I felt that wave of frustration inside of me, that desire to throw the towel... but I remember to breathe... and JF looked online and found some answers and Anita (the Mama pig) gobbled down some yogurt and it seems like she will be OK...

And I grabbed that little precious rock in my back pocket, June's words, and touched them once again:

We are doing the work of our lives here, and it is cold and hard sometimes, but there are moments when we forget we are working, when suddenly we are dancing.

And I breathed again and went in Mathilde's room to watch her sleep... and everything went away and I felt like dancing...


renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

I loved June's post too. And I find your posts just as inspiring!

We got the Mary Francis Sewing Book of couple years ago. We love it! (I am having my girls spend many years only hand sewing before moving on to machine sewing.) I would like us to get another one of the books soon, perhaps the cooking or knitting one.

You share such good food stuff here too... hopefully soon I will have time to come and look through some recipes. Thanks!

Maripol said...

Vous êtes très courageux et très beaux.
Nous avons, ici à la ferme, encore beaucoup de travail pour être plus indépendant...
Ça me donne plein d'idées de te lire et c'est très agréable de partager vos moments de vie.

farmama said...

Hello Catherine,
What a great post! I love the image of you milking the cow. What a wonderful day full of so much goodness....homemade butter! (I'm so jealous!)...and bread baking. Tell your meme what a wonderful job she did on that sweater! I love it!
Sending love!

csil said...

Le blog de June semble magnifique ... dommage qu'il soit en anglais et que les traducteurs en ligne soient si approximatifs ...

heather said...

is your meme you grandma? she needs to apply to project runway. and how do your kids like the sprout breakfast you made? i mean, it looks like they LOVE it, i just can't imagine my offspring eating it, for some reason. we're too americanized in our diet, for sure. you are waking me up around this truth for sure. i appreciate it.

heather said...

also!!! that picture of you is so cute. and thanks for sharing june's words. they were just so calming and relaxing for me to read. i like the idea o carrying them around!

Catherine said...

Yes, my Mémé is my grandma. She lives with us. Yes, the girls love their sprouts! Actually, it was a running gag with some friends when they were younger and could barely talk. They would sit at the table and bang their little fists on it screaming: sprouts and miso, sprout and miso! Like it was chocolate cake... We're changing the paradigm, my friend... I can just hope that their comfort food when they will older will be a big bowl of soup with sauerkraut and sprouts!