Simpler Times

I’ve spent the better part of two days making marmalade—Earth Mage Marmalade. I don’t use a recipe; I just use whatever citrus I have available. My neighbors just brought me a huge tub full of grapefruit, so this batch ended up being grapefruit-orange-lime marmalade.

Earth Mage Marmalade

There is something inherently satisfying about preserving your own food, especially if you grew that food yourself, or you are given the food by friends who grew it themselves. When I am in the kitchen, making marmalade or pickles or canning peaches, I can forget all the technological gizmos and gadgets in my other room. I don’t hear them calling me, urging me to check Facebook, coaxing me to blog or write poetry. My camera is silent. So is the television. It’s just me, the fruit, the organic sugar, the kettles of boiling water. I pretty much can marmalade the same way my grandmother canned marmalade. We’ve been doing this for centuries.

Of course, my grandmother and my ancestors before her did it for survival. If they didn’t grow their own food and preserve it for use during the long winters when the earth lay fallow, resting from one season in preparation for the next, they would could go hungry. People used to be so much more self-sufficient than they are today. And while I enjoy the convenience of having a grocery store just down the hill where I can buy pretty much any food I desire, that food doesn’t taste the same as what I grow and preserve myself.

There is something spiritual about preserving your own food. As I stand at the sink, washing the fruit, I think about where it was grown, the tree that mothered it until maturity. I give a prayer of thanks for that tree. I thank the sun that warmed its leaves, the water than nourished its roots, allowing it to grow, to blossom, to produce fruit. A grapefruit is no less a miracle than a bear cub, a kitten, or an eaglet. If conditions were not just right, the fruit I now preserve would not exist.

My fantasy, my dream, is that some day Scott and I could have a little farm—just a few acres, where we can grow our own grapefruit and oranges, tomatoes and greens and squash. I want to grow pinto beans and black beans to dry for winter soups and stews. Peaches and plums. We’d have a few chickens for eggs (not for eating), and perhaps a dairy cow. I long to return to a simpler time. Technology is just too energy draining at times.

But only when I let it be. For now, I’m going to enjoy looking at the beautiful jars of amber Earth Mage Marmalade while I bake a loaf of crusty, Earth Mage bread to go with it.

Just like my grandmother and my ancestors before her did.

 

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About Smoky Zeidel

Smoky Zeidel is an author whose deep connection to nature is apparent in all she writes. She is the author of three novels, a short story collection, and three works of nonfiction. When not writing or exploring nature, Smoky spends time gardening, camping, meditating, and resisting the urge to speak in haiku.
This entry was posted in canning, cooking, earth-centered spirituality, nature, preserves, simpler times and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Simpler Times

  1. Carol Robinson says:

    I get the same pleasure from our garden. The vegetables and herbs from the garden tastes better than the same items purchased from the store, and the process of growing them is so satisfying. I loved making ratatouille for Thanksgiving last year with the last fresh ingredients from the garden, prior to letting the garden go fallow for the winter. While the taste of garden-grown food is superior and the process of gardening brings me pleasure, I am glad not to be dependent on the results of gardening – cost of crop failure is too scary for me.

    • Smoky Zeidel says:

      That’s a good point, Carol. Crop failure costs farmers so much even in this day and age. Still, it would be lovely to be more self-sufficient, with the joy of the local grocery store there for backup!

  2. Your farm would be a very tempting place to visit. Food direct from the farm tastes so much better than food from the Safeway or the Kroger. Perhaps it’s the spiritual element, combined with a lack of chemicals that are intended to keep store-bought food factory fresh. I grew up eating a lot of marmalade, so Earth Mage marmalade sounds very magical.

    • Smoky Zeidel says:

      It would be a wonderful place for you to visit, because if our dream became a reality, we’d also run a writers and artists colony from our farm. Bed and breakfast provided, and all the marmalade you can eat!

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