Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your weekend was slow and fulfilling. Over the weekend I tried to mentally write out an outline for this post. I wanted to give the biggest highlights about how I developed the values that I live out here in New York City. I decided just to tell you memories from my childhood instead of giving a clinical and impersonal outline.
The biggest factor that determined my current values is honestly all due to location. I grew up on a family farm in the Ohio/West Virginia/Pennsylvania tri-state area. Our farm was mostly self-sufficient; what we could not grow or make for ourselves was bartered from neighboring farms, purchased from our local co-op grocer, hardware store, and various roadside produce stands , or done without.
My childhood understanding of the seasons was gained by knowing what produce was available at any given time: the first fruits are strawberries in May; the end of June and beginning of July brings black raspberries; August brings corn, ripened on tall stalks overlooking the dirt roads like green soldiers, plucked cherry tomatoes make the perfect snack for a child who wants to spend all of her time outside and doesn’t want to take a break to eat; September brings apples that are finally red and ready to eat and peaches that have gathered every ray of sunshine in their sweet juice hang low on their trees.
The entire month of September means that my grandmother had to begin the preparation of canning food for our family to survive the cold months of winter, which lasted from late October to late March. I remember piles of glass jars laying out in the kitchen (which meant that I could take the sealing rings to make jingly bracelets) and the whistle of the pressure cooker, signalling the sterilization or sealing of jars, would reach me outside as I played house, using a stalk of purple-blossomed ironweed as a broom.
My life was slow and filled with empirical education of nature around me. I learned to be resourceful, how to improvise with the materials available, cook according to seasonal produce, how to be grateful for what I had, appreciate what I made, and savor the small joys of life. My values are a direct result of my upbringing and I can’t wait to share more of them with you.
Catch y’all later!