Isn’t that a happy sight? You’re looking at about six pounds of locally raised, pastured beef and chicken. The round roast is from a nearby farm that I have been buying beef from for about five years, and the chicken was raised up right here on the Ranch. Most recently they were in our chest freezer. Every time I open up the freezer and pull out treasures like these I am filled with gratitude that I get to live in a place where the bounty is literally at my doorstep.
The bird will be brined and roasted tonight, nestled in some kale and onions. The roast will go into the crock pot tomorrow morning for a long, slow bath in some red wine, garlic and rosemary. Spring is here but the nights are still chilly and I want to take advantage of it and enjoy some the last few cozy, cold weather meals before the salad days of summer are upon us.
In a couple of weeks the freezer will be filled to the brim with a new batch of Freedom Ranger chickens. Seed potatoes will be planted, and perhaps the tomato plants started from seed in the greenhouse will be ready to be transplanted into three-inch pots. The raised garden beds will definitely be set up by then, and greens will be planted for sure. There’s finally more than a dozen eggs at time in the fridge, and hopefully all the hens will be laying regularly at that point. Oh, and we’ll be just weeks away from baby goats and goat milk!
There’s a lot to do between now and then, but I’m in no rush to get to the finish line. I’ll make a point to savor the work as I go, because even though it will be coming fast, in a way, the work is the whole point. If I want a bag of groceries with relatively little effort there’s a store just down the road. I’m there all the time, if we’re being honest. I’m not an expert at farming and gardening, and we’re not self-sufficient, not by a mile. But every year we get a little better, make a few less mistakes, and that’s because it’s important to us. The work makes things taste better, it makes them healthier. If getting obese in a Lazy Boy, eating flavorless TV dinners and chugging Coke is the dark nightmare of the American food system, then biting into a fresh tomato you grew from a seed in earth you dug yourself is definitely stepping into the sunshine. I’m not saying to the only way to avoid the nightmare, but it’s certainly the way we’ve chosen!