I’ve resigned myself to the pull of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins lately. For years people have been approaching me and telling me they are reading these books. As someone who usually reads non-fiction and rarely fiction, especially popular fiction, I couldn’t understand what I would enjoy about this book.
I was a girl growing food from my land. I was raising kids in a world that scares me just a little in terms of what we might be leaving them in the future. I did not need a haunting scenario dramatized for me. (That said, Margaret Atwood and Oryx and Crake was a book I got a lot out of – smartly written, not gratuitously provocative). Being afraid of scarcity in our future was not entertainment for me.
But the curiousity got the better of me and now I see something of what I might have in common with this fictional time and place. If you know nothing about the Hunger Games, suffice to say that the folks in this book need to learn how to be resourceful and survive in the wild. It is true that I want to learn basic skills. But this is not out of a fear that they would be needed if technology or political boundaries busted down and we were all stuck to fend for ourselves. I am pretty certain that in the event of a catastrophe or war we would not be left in our bucolic corner to enjoy our cornucopia while others starved. All I have ever been drawn to about our countryside place of abundance is to know where things grow, how they are made, what the original materials are. I don’t do this because I think the world is going to end. I interested in the ultimate things that help us survive. What are we here for if not to learn what sustains us?
As an aside a wee calf entered our lives recently. She is a lovely little dairy specimen (our first after a string of getting female beef or male dairy offspring) that we hope to milk one day. She is lovely and her mother is producing a healthy amount of milk that we will soon be able to enjoy when the colostrum production finishes.
After two years of my son asking when we were going to drink ‘Bonnie milk’ again, I am pleased to tell him that it will be any day now. I only hope he does not start banning milk at day care again stating that he won’t drink anything but milk from Bonnie, our Jersey.
Back to the cinnamon. I can’t tell you how proud I was when my son explored the origin of cinnamon. There are so few things that we don’t bring to our table that he is actually now noticing the exceptions. This is remarkable insight on his part. And tells me this kid knows where things come from. Not because we explained it all to him. But because he has watched it all cycle around.
I have seen a place where cinnamon grows in a far away land on an island off of west Africa. The climate is a little different there than it is up here in Canada and my guess is that we won’t be growing any cinnamon here anytime soon. Then yet again there is a winery up the road from us producing their own wine from their grapes. It was once thought we did not have a long enough growing season to grow grapes for wine.
May and early June is the season of greens here, especially the baby salad mix kind including hot mustards, young lettuces, and arugula. Later in the month we will see our first strawberries and the arc of colour will begin. Until then, I am helping myself to a milk bag sized bag of greens everyday on my drive home from work. There is nothing quite like the splash of flavour that comes from eating real salad mix fresh from the garden. No dressing required.
Though we won’t be seeing any cinnamon bark trees around here anytime soon, I do know one thing. My little boy is connected to something that took me half a lifetime to learn.
How does your garden grow?