Saturday, August 18, 2007

A manifesto of sorts



Manifesto: from the Latin manus (hand) + festus (struck, stuck)

So, I have done some thinking.

I am always doing "some thinking," frankly. My mind is like a hamster on its wheel: constantly churning, sometimes realizing I'm going nowhere, but liking the motion just the same.

This blog is as its by-line says: a garden journal of sorts. I'm a big picture person, though; the garden is but a wee slice of my life. Food is a bigger part, and the garden has been servicing that bigger part since I dug it up. "Eating local" is an exercise that I have enjoyed mainly because it is something I love (food) mixed with something else I love (avoiding both the car AND shopping). In other words, it's an exercise slanted very heavily toward reward in a risk/reward sense.

I realize that what I do, what we do here at this house, is not for everyone. We are both artists, although it's Tom who makes the money strictly with his ability: I only dabble now, getting paid instead to do architecture. As artists, though, we favor craft, we favor working by hand. And craft is exactly what we do: we craft our living. And craft, frankly, requires one thing above all others: it requires time. There are no shortcuts. We take the long view on most of our undertakings, be it cloth diapering our child or making our own bread or building our own buildings. Craft comes easily to us. The long way is the preferred one. The long way generally reaps the greatest rewards, too, longevity-wise, consumption-wise, and, best of all, it's rewarding in and of itself.

Knowing, then, that our long view and way is antithetical to the modern way of living, I am not out to seek converts. I am also not really out here to do anything but perhaps document how my gardens affect our small, plodding lives here on the farm. IF I am a nag, and I can be, it's only because I do not understand how people can honestly prefer HotPockets to a homemade pasty (half my family hails from Michigan's U.P.). Do people really worship at the altar of their microwave ovens? Or are their lives so stretched, time-wise, that they have to shortcut their lives, one bad microwaved meal at a time?
Food sustains us. I value my life, therefore I value the quality of food that sustains our lives. That it sometimes takes longer to prepare is not a sacrifice. I suppose I'm just doing the work that the HotPockets workers are doing, just without paying a middleman. Middlemen usually mean shortcuts and poor quality, but you're paying for quicker service. I prefer absurdly high quality, patient service, therefore...I do it myself. By hand.

It's not for everyone, all the time: but really, people. Try making a pasty sometime instead of reaching for a frozen box. Try kneading your own dough. Try growing your own garden. Just try.

Wait: maybe I am out to seek converts, after all...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

what's a hot pocket?
Teem

Marie said...

I'm surprised more people aren't asking, what's a pasty? Since I'm a Michigander, I know very well, but have never tried to make one from scratch. I do love to make bread the old-fashioned way, though, and pie crusts just like Duane's grandma did, so I understand what you are saying. I also, quilt by hand, that's piece and quilt, I don't understand the quilters who like to use a machine. I guess we're cut from the same cloth (no pun intended).

cookiecrumb said...

Ah, you have my skinny little wrists.
So I should be able to do this. Brava to you.

kate said...

You are very gentle but most persuasive. The thing is - your message needs to be spread further afield. Most people will say they don't have time, but they miss out on the joy of eating their own produce.

I have the same sort of mind ... constantly thinking, though often dreaming.

Liz said...

Amen, woman. :)

El said...

Ah, Teem. You lucky television-less soul. See my comment to Liz below about chickens, though: you may be helping me on a plucking-and-gutting mission.

Marie: I've made them, once. And once I figured out how long it took to quilt something by hand, calculating, say, what I bill an hour...I started collecting old quilts! (Certainly doesn't mean I can sew, though: I really admire those who can, like you.)

CC: Skinny wrists, arms, back, legs: muscles still work, though!

Kate: Thanks. I am not sure how to get people to turn off the tv and fire up the stove, though. Taste is subjective, certainly, but wow, the homegrown and the homemade...doesn't that count for something?

Liz: Though I am preaching to a receptive choir, at least with you! I have been getting Tom thinking about the chicken-ranching idea. We saw Cornish X chix at the 4H fair last week and was disgusted and fascinated at the same time.

Jenn said...

"a homemade pasty"

I don't suppose you've posted a recipe and I've missed it?