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Kennebec and Yukon Gold Seed Potatoes
Kennebec and Yukon Gold Seed Potatoes

I called off work at the farm because of the six stitches in my right hand. I had hoped to resume soil blocking today, but not yet.

On deck is transplanting basil into larger plastic pots, preparing containers for potato planting, and radishes, turnips and spinach planted in the ground as the temperature rises to 70 degrees and rain holds off until late afternoon.

With these tasks I can set my own pace and take breaks if pain in my right hand returns.

Mercy Hospital Auxiliary Cookbook 1977
Mercy Hospital Auxiliary Cookbook 1977

Over the years I’ve collected several hundred cookbooks, including one from the hospital where I was born. Published in 1977, Cooking For… Mercy’s Sake is full of ingredients and ideas I won’t likely use — American cheese, lard, meat and seafood, and a host of prepared food and food mixes.

Still, I search through the recipes, seeking the name of a contributor I know and recipes that can be adapted to our fresh food, locally produced lifestyle. The cookbook committee wrote this poem as introduction:

Recipes are certainly handy
When making cookies, pies and candy.
On the pages of this cookbook you’ll find
Favorite recipes of every kind.
We thank all our friends who took their time
To write their recipes, line by line.
Good luck to you and may you have fun
Trying these recipes, one by one.

On first reading, there’s not much there. Because of my relationship with the hospital I’ll give it another read to see if I can find something adaptable.

My life is about much more than food. While I write a lot about consumables, I’m also preoccupied with the journey — hopefully a long one — through my later working years to full retirement and old age. I didn’t think this would be the case, but as I finished writing for newspapers and took a full-time job there is an undeniable feeling that a corner has been turned. I know part of what’s around the corner and much is also a mystery. I’ll need nourishment along the way, but the unfolding journey is what life has become about.

My take on this is pretty simple, and it goes back to Joan Didion, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” I’m trying to make a life in that sense.

Didion explained, “We live entirely… by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the ‘ideas’ with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria — which is our actual experience.”

I respect the narratives of others, but can’t adopt them as mine. It is about disengaging from established narratives and experiencing what’s next.

Each day is an adventure in that regard, one to seek joyfully.