With the busy-ness of the garden coming to another close, my first impulse is gratitude. There’s a deep satisfaction that rises up when I count jars of salsa, peruse our assortment of jams, wonder about the pickled red peppers Darrell experimented with, or reach for another quart of maple syrup.
There’s a natural slowing down that I can’t help but notice as the leaves begin to dance their way to the ground. I, for one, find it a welcome relief to have a bit less that needs tending to (although there’s still the matter of what to do with all the squash and peppers!)
I’ve realized through the years that there are not only gifts to be harvested from the attention I give my garden. There are also gifts to be harvested from the attention I give to my inner-landscape over the long winter months whether it’s planting some new idea or weeding out what’s no longer useful.
As soon as the first fire has been lit in the woodstove there’s an automatic “public library response” that gets triggered. For me, winter begs fiction but with less work to do around the farmette there’s time for browsing the bookshelves to see what piques my curiosity.
Darrell splits his time equally between novels and seed catalogs. Because there aren’t seed catalogs for inner-landscapes, I’ve decided to take my cue from his seed ordering strategy. Along with old standbys and personal favorites, he always orders some new seed that he’s curious about. This year, for example, he had hoped for a 40 pound watermelon.
What seeds of curiosity do I want to sow?
Curiosity is a part of the natural order of things. It practically leaks out of the 6th graders I work with but I’ve also seen it in the llamas who used to live next door and even in a tiny fawn who spotted Darrell in the garden and decided to come play with us for a while. It doesn’t really matter who (or what) we are, there are risks when curiosity takes us by the hand…but there’s also great potential.
Over the summer I followed curiosity right through the front doors of The Genesee Center for the Arts & Education where I took my first pottery class and spent hours wedging clay rather than kneading dough under the patient guidance of my teacher, Harriet.
People who create art for a living hang out at the Center but there’s plenty of space for the rest of us. With offerings in photography, bookmaking, and printing it attracts a lot of curiosity seekers like me. If you’re at all curious head down there for their annual chili cookoff. Along with sampling great food you’ll get to leave with your very own hand-thrown pottery bowl!
The Genesee Country Museum is another local gem that waters seeds of curiosity generously with all kinds of special events! Darrell and I recently dabbled in cider making and photography for their Agricultural Fair Days and both went home with blue ribbons! Can you see curiosity in my grandson’s face in the photo??
The museum regularly ignites things in our lives. Earlier in the year, Darrell attended a class at the museum on outdoor bake ovens. It’s not really a surprise that we now have one under construction right out back. That’s what curiosity can do.
I’m sure the bake oven will spark endless curiosities about breads and pizzas and….who knows what else. Maybe you’ll come play when it’s ready and we’ll figure it all out together? Comment in and say “I want to come play!”
By the time it’s finished I may also have honey bees buzzing around the garden. I’ve been curious about them for years so this winter I’m curling up by the woodstove with A Dummies Guide to Beekeeping and finally watering that beekeeping curiosity seed. We’ll see what grows. I’m hoping to have a hive in the Spring.
In the meantime, to keep fanning the flame I’m going to make Bee Sting Cake which has a yeasted brioche base (yum). It’s a recipe from the novel The Beekeeper’s Ball (predictable but still good!). I’ll be posting about it as I go and trying to figure out how to do it without milk so Darrell can eat it, too.
There’s an old proverb that warns “curiosity killed the cat,” but let’s not forget the second part of that proverb which tell us that “satisfaction brought it back.” I’m with the cat on this one because I believe that without curiosity the cat would have died of boredom anyway. As it turned out, it got 8 more lives! See, sometimes the risks are worth it!
So what exactly are you curious about? Where might your curiosity lead? Why not sow some curiosity seeds this winter as you tend your inner-landscape? I’d love to have you comment in about what you discover!
Hope to see you around the bread bowl,
PS: Here’s some pictures of Nancy Babcock’s soap making workshop here at Kneading Life. Hopefully, the participants curiosity will lead them on to other great adventures with soap!