Often, I rush the kneading part of making bread. If the recipe calls for 10 minutes…I blast out an elastic shiny ball of dough in 4 minutes and consider the job done. But today, I decided to push my forearms through all 10 minutes. The kneading, you see, is actually a very important part of the bread making. The kneading is what gives bread its texture.
Mr. beard-pants and I are learning to make bread together. The goal, to start providing more and more of our food by our own hands. And in the same line of lessons, we have also greatly expanded our garden this year. This, in fact, wasn’t so much our expansion as a delightful surprise of available garden space. Last year we managed to scratch out some potatoes and very tiny onions from the small woodsy plot at the back of our cabin. Plus we grew tomatoes and herbs in pots on the balcony of our old apartment. Our landlord also graciously allowed us to dig out a small garden patch in the backyard which we planted with some rather unsuccessful crops that were mostly enjoyed by the neighbourhood thug rabbits. This year, our new home (and also where we work) has 5 large garden plots that we were given free reign to plant as we please. What we’ve got growing this year is a huge leap from last year and a great lesson in weed management. Plants this year: kale, brussel sprouts, swiss chard, rhubarb, asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, beets, red onions, spring green onions, cauliflower, salad greens, butternut squash, pickling cucumbers, zuchinni, carrots, accorn squash, peas, and a smattering of random herbs. What we’ve picked or started to pick has included: asparagus (we’ve made ourselves sick of it), rhubarb, spring green onions, salad greens and kale.
The greatest lesson I think I will gather from all of this is ‘patience’. I’m sometimes very short on patience. Okay, not sometimes…almost all the time. Hence, rushing the kneading of the bread. And I also don’t like things out of my control. (I know, what a delight I must be to live with). And yet, although we’ve had great success with our bread making and gardens so far, the entire thing lies just at an arms reach from our control. The little black beetles that are sharing delight in the collard greens and salad…they giggle when I try to shoo them away with home-made eco-sprays. The bread…even when we aim for perfection…seems to have a mind of its own. One week, for no reason that we could understand, every loaf of bread we tried…utterly failed. And I’ve decided that all these things have a rhythm of their own. Some things in the garden will not survive. Others will flourish. (The kale is gorgeous…the beets refuse to shine). And bread…perhaps bread is sensitive to moods, to weather, to changing from this bowl to that. I will simply have to learn to accept that some truths are not only beyond my control, but also without explanation.
I know I’m not the only one who can strive fruitlessly for perfection in a beautiful imperfect world. Yes, it’s Sunday June 24th, 2012…and I am just now starting to see the beauty in having things go whatever way they will go.
Dear Beetles…if you do, perhaps…maybe want to consider attacking the asparagus patch instead…by all means, go ahead. But if you choose to continue eating the collards, just leave us a little bit of kale please.