I think I'll attempt NaBloPoMo this year, to help me get back in the habit of sharing stories more regularly. I never imagined I might fall out of that habit, but also feel like I sort of have. Not entirely, of course, but just a little bit. So many other things are eating up my time, so many things are weighing heavily on my mind. Like, for example the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the war between Russia and Ukraine, tonight's mass shooting in Maine. It can be hard for anything to hold a candle to the news sometimes.
This is a picture I took of Zoë on October 16; she and I had gone outside to entertain Phoebe and I was feeling like my entire life was frivolous (given the news), while also a pretty big mess. But we had a fun time blowing bubbles together.
Here's a picture of Phoebe from that same day, happy to have Daddy home from work (he's going into campus a few times a week lately):
And then there's, like, our house, which...you guys. It's a great house. I just feel like we're going to basically end up having rebuilt it from the ground up by the time we're finished making all the repairs it's begging for.
So things have been busy in that department.
But also, there's so much beauty around that I can't help but feel uncommonly lucky.
I claimed some plants on the Buy Nothing Group the other day. Let me tell you again how much I love that group. It espouses two values very near and dear to my heart: (1) to avoid spending money, and (2) to keep things out of the landfill. Another value the group encourages is getting to know your community, which I also think is incredibly important. Anyway, I claimed some plants—I say claimed, but really etiquette is pretty strictly enforced; someone posts a "gift" and interested parties ask for "consideration" and perhaps tell why they'd like to be considered.
"I'd love to be considered for these plants! I have a nice sunny spot for the azalea bush and am in need of ground cover so would gladly take some irises and..." is kind of how my post went.
And I was chosen!
Sometimes people choose someone simply because they liked their response (or they were the only response). Other times people pick a name out of a hat. Or...whatever.
At any rate, I was chosen for the plants, so on Monday I drove the kids over to this lady's house so we could dig a bunch of plants out of her yard (that was kind of the "catch"; she didn't want to dig them all up herself). She was out working in her front yard when we got there and we followed her around to the backyard so she could show us where to dig.
Rachel and I had the azalea up in no time. Meanwhile, this sweet lady dug up a bunch of strawberry plants for us. Then she showed us to the irises.
Then she said, "Nancy—what else are you looking for? I've got goldenrod, I've got milkweed, I've got mountain mint... And I just love to share plants with people!"
We came home loaded with plants and wisdom (she's clearly a more experienced gardener than I am) and...a sense of community. It was lovely.
While we were busy putting these new plants into their new homes in our yard, the kids noticed our banana plant—which is flowering and attempting to grow tiny baby bananas. I remembered that I had been meaning to cut the flower off because I'd read that they can get too heavy for the plan to hold up very well (and the bananas have a better chance of growing if the plant isn't sending energy to the flower).
So we cut it off.
Rachel weighed it—969 grams (nearly a kilo and just over two pounds)!
Miriam didn't feel right about wasting such a glorious blossom so she did some research, found out banana blossoms are entirely edible and whipped up some Vazhaipoo Vadai (banana blossom fritters). And when I say "whipped up," what I mean is that Miriam discovered why such a treat is a delicacy because preparing the blossom for consumption took hours. She had to dissect it petal by petal to get at each little floret, and then open the floret to remove the pistol and calyx, then chop up the blossoms and mix them with some lentils (which she soaked and the ground using a mortar and pestle).
It was a rather time-consuming (though educational) process. She also made rice and dal to go with it, which she served in banana flower petals.
It reminded me of hummus and falafel (both made from chickpeas—one mashed, one...frittered) or fuul and tamiya (both made from fava beans—one mashed, one frittered). We had a (banana flower and) lentil-based fritter along with dal, which is essentially mashed lentils.
She was pretty proud of her meal—and she had every right to be because it was tasty!