I have known what I was going to type here all day but I kept getting hung up on a seemingly simple thing, which photo to head this post with. I run a business, and because of that the balance of what to publicly show of my life is a very really equation on my mind most of the time. I can show a perfectly cleaned skull and no one will bat an eye, but if I show the animal it came from angry people often pop up left and right. Intellectually I know that people don’t like to think about death, but death is all around us, but spiritually I feel it is an important mystery for people to be made aware of, even if it comes with discomfort, that only through death and life be sustained.
On top of that I’m just tired of the constant mental math of showing the more “gruesome” side of my life or not. The worry that it might frighten away a potential customer. I know my life isn’t typical in many ways, and I love that, but fighting people can be as exhausting as hiding from people. I need to start taking the lessons whispered by my guides more to heart though, about letting go of that which does not serve me. If people go their own way when they see the authentic me, well, so be it. At least they are not being lured by a lie.
Anyhow, this was part whole train of thought was a big part of my Monday… but honestly not what I sat down to talk about tonight. I was initially only going to talk about how dang busy an autumn day can be for me… which apparently also translates to how really busy my brain can be at picking away at the mental barriers that no longer to me any good.
This header picture though, chances are you have eaten meat at some point during your life, probably chicken. So this picture, this is a bit of realness from my day. Yes your chicken was once living. Yes it had feathers. Yes someone had to kill it, to pluck or skin it, to gut it, to prepare it for your consumption. We shouldn’t be so disconnected from our food.
Today though. Dang. Today was a perfect illustration of how autumn is a fluid season of plenty and chaos. I had plans to make elderberry syrup and grape juice this morning, maybe catch up on some knitting or perhaps the next painting in my Wheel of the Year series, but a friend messaged me to let me know her neighbour was butchering four old laying hens, and wanted to know if I wanted them as they would otherwise go to waste because the owner didn’t want to deal with preparing older birds.
Yes please! Older hens and roosters are great for my two winter favourites, coq au vin, and chicken and dumpling stew. Slow roast anything with enough wine and it becomes both fancy and delicious.
So my pots of elderberries and grapes got shoved into the fridge and the table cleared as my friend dropped off a cooler full of four freshly dead hens for me to skin and gut. (If you are curious, I loathe plucking, so I usually skin birds as they are almost always destined for my stew pot anyways.) As I was starting on the last bird and was thinking about getting back to those elderberries and knitting…
Another friend messaged. She was already swinging by to pick up some blackberry sourdough scones I made for her, but she wanted to let me know about acquaintance of her’s who didn’t want to pick her pear tree, and wanted to know if I want to come picking with her.
Yes please! I rarely manage to forage pears that are free of coddling moths and she said these were in great shape. So, barely finished chickens into the fridge. Wings that I’ll be turning into smudge fans for the shop (probably for the Yule sale?) into the freezer. My spouse graciously offered to finish plucking and storing feathers from the hens I skinned for me to use in other crafts in the future (waste not.) I told my kids what work I needed them to finish while I was out. Then I jumped into some non-chicken guts clothes just as my friend was pulling up in her van.
Off to the pear tree! Is foraging always ideal? No. It was windy and rained, but OH so worth it! Nature continually bathes me with her healing energy. Not only did we get boxes and baskets worth of free perfect pears, but also a few handfuls of raspberries and bundles of rhubarb too. You know, because I don’t have quite enough backlog from foraging and the garden at home! Oh autumn, how you challenge my ability to fit more than 24 hours in a day.
And the home again. Checked on the kids work. They ate the raspberries while I did so. I was grateful that my spouse not only finished the feather work, but scrubbed the table and kitchen for me and rotated the grapes turning into raisins in the dehydrator. I realize I forgot to soak the beans for chili. I entertained the idea of just having everyone eat pears but thankfully I had sausage rolls in the freezer that just needed reheating, add some leftover wild rice from the other day, and a salad with spinach, garden cucumbers, tomatoes, and some candied pecans I did over the weekend. Dinner done!
Over dinner we talked about Harry Potter, what to do with the pears, and ancient Sparta. The kids played and did some chores afterwards and I finally FINALLY got to those elderberries, and those grapes, and managed to get the rhubarb into the freezer too. The pears can still wait a few days. My eldest wants to poach a few for lunch later in the week. Yes please! (I will be posting an elderberry syrup and maybe a cough drop recipe on my Patreon this month by the way.)
I’m almost caught up! Which is good, because a friend messaged me as I was sitting down to type this to let me know she is bringing by a huge basket of grapes she doesn’t want to deal with tomorrow. Jelly maybe?
Now, where is my knitting and podcasts?
PS: A friend on Instagram asked me how I got into foraging. I was going to answer this question today but this is getting a bit long isn’t it? (Are you still reading?) So… tomorrow or Wednesday?