When we woke up yesterday it was dull and overcast. The valley, which we can see from the window above the bed, was shrouded in thick fog. We were snug in our loft, but I ventured down the ladder to find out the time, the temperature, if we'd had any rain overnight, and to check on the chickens and ducks.
What's for breakfast? we all asked.
What's in the garden? Rhubarb!
A quick flick through Winter on the Farm (our culinary bible of the season) settled it: yoghurt pancakes with honey-poached rhubarb.
|Rhubarb in honey: the colours (and smells!) were divine
While Pearl and the kids lounged amidst cups of tea and reading in bed, I pottered around in the garden and 'kitchen', picking rhubarb and preparing breakfast for them all. It's my sunday morning ritual: Given that Pearl spends her saturday cooking breakfast and lunch for hundreds of people at a cafe in town (and doing a damn-fine job of it, too!), I figure she deserves a lie-in and a break from cooking on her sundays wouldn't you say?
After the pancakes, eaten at our makeshift 'table' (a suitcase) in the 'loungeroom' (the place we eat when it's too cold and damp for outside) we started gathering produce for our neighbourhood food swap.
|Just some of the produce our neighbours brought to share: herbs and cabbage and chokos and homemade gouda and parmesan and lettuce and leeks and pumpkin and red Russian kale and cauliflower...
|and lemons and rocket and home-grown, home-cured bacon and greens, greens and more greens
What a treat! To be able to gather with friends and neighbours and people we've never met before, sipping tea and eating cake, looking through the host's veggie garden and chicken run, seeing and talking about how other people run their gardens and little farms, talking about the weather, the animals, what it's like when it floods, swapping notes on preserving and bacon-making while the kids played amongst fallen leaves, all rugged up in colourful woollens.
Social bartering, you could say.
We left with smiles on our faces and a basket full of broad beans and home-made cheese and home-made bacon and jam and cabbages and bulbs and garlic and other goodies for planting. We felt oh so lucky to be living here in this beautiful community, amongst people so willing to share in the bounty of the land.
And then the rain came down.
We've had a bit of rain of late, but the bottom dam's still low, and the tank's not yet full, so we're always grateful for more. We spent the rest of our sunday planting and digging and reading and playing and cooking and baking and watching The Sound of Music under blankets when it got too dark and cold and rainy to stay outside.
What a way to spend a day.