Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Seeds of Wisdom

Tonight in the Master Gardener training we discussed mistakes in gardening. The presenter talked about her number one mistake being impatience. She wanted a big garden and she wanted it now.

When I think about this time in my life I often grow weary about all the "work" in front of me. When I think about my life it is like a new garden. I shop around for plants that I would like to add or plant bulbs that won't bloom for seasons. I stare at my garden and it is bare. The seeds are there in the dirt and I spend hours watering them, but the universe plays a role as well.

One of my favorite John Muir quotes goes "Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality". The pulsing onward I have always experienced. It does not keep me from being in the present moment it is more a statement of following my bliss. The plants in a garden do not sense our haste once we have planted them. They are wise and know where to bloom and when. No matter how much weeding, mulching, watering, and shading we do the plants are free to do what they want.

Yoga for me has been like the growth of a lotus. The lotus flower begins its journey in the deepest muck underneath the water. Without feeling, without seeing it knows that the light is there and it begins to grow not knowing what or if something lies ahead.

Ultimately growth is about faith. What would you do if you knew you would not fail? Could you bloom like a lotus?
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom" - Anais Nin

Chicken Soup for the Master Gardeners' Souls

Last fall I committed myself to the Master Gardeners program through University of Maryland Extension. I met one of my favorite people, Ginny Rosenkranz, our beloved coordinator. I'm not much of a gardener, but I was met with welcoming faces and I look forward to our meetings on the first Tuesday of every month. For the Advanced Training sessions I cook a soup for our pot luck style meetings. Soups to me are the best way to embody the season. Their flavor, color and ingredients can give your senses an immediate intake of what is going on in the natural world.

This month I cooked my favorite soup- my grandmother's. This soup is not for the working woman. IT IS a great way to get vegetables in your diet and have a bright cheerful way to use leftovers and canned ingredients. With no further ado here is the process:

Buy one can chicken broth and add 2 cups of water to it and begin to boil in a pot. Chop up one large turnip, three stalks celery, half a large onion (I like yellow for color) and slice four carrots. The key here is consistency in the size of your ingredients. Add these to the pot and once the broth and water (plus your veggies now) come to a boil reduce these to a simmer. In your crock pot add one can stewed tomatoes chop them to size; one can vegetarian vegetable soup; one can tomato soup; one can butter beans (drain); one can white shoe peg corn (drain); some ABC noodles and leftover chicken. Add the pot of vegetables to the crock pot and set on low and let cook for as long as you want. You can always keep extra cans of vegetarian vegetable soup around to add more later.

There are many variations you can take on this, but this is the original recipe.

Now this meal was always called "Soup and Sally Lunn" in my household. One cannot be without the other. Preparations for Sally Lunn:

In a separate bowl mix 1/2 pkg. yeast, 1 tsp. sugar and 1/4 cup warm water. Add this mixture to 1/4 tsp. salt, 3 cups flour, 1 egg, 2 cups milk and 3 tbl. butter. Butter a large or two small pyrex dishes and pour the mixture in. Let rise for at least 2 hours and then bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until you remove a fork cleanly just like anything in baking.

This meal is near and dear to my heart and I am so happy to share it with people as my grandmother lovingly shared it with me. I can't wait to see what the other MGs come up with.