Skip to main content

A Cure for Cabin Fever

We spent the bulk of this past Sunday afternoon out in the cold helping gathering firewood with our friends at Ambry Farms. The temperatures were well below freezing, although not as frigid as the four or five days before that, and wind and snow were blowing. The sun was shining, but you could only vaguely feel its benefits if you stood inside the barn door in its light. Yet, there we were.

And I say it was delightful. Sure, I could hardly speak as the cold wind seemed to freeze my chin and lips into place, but eventually my feet, fingers, and hands thawed out enabling me to drag logs over to the folks with the chainsaw and splitters. Sawdust in my eyes made dodging the swinging splitter no easy task as I foraged for the split pieces to fill the first of ultimately five truckloads of wood. (Two more loads went the next day.) They say firewood warms you twice - once when you cut it and again when you burn it - but I was getting a much-needed bonus heat from working with friends who feel often more like family.

Two people chainsawed down a fenceline ash tree out in the pasture, one person ran the logs back using the horses and a sled, and three of us worked on cutting, splitting, and loading. The branches coming back were large, but nothing compared to the rounds of trunk. Huge slabs of wood with a beautiful grain it was almost a shame to cut into. It split beautifully due to the cold and the dryness of the wood from standing so long, and ash often burns well when first cut.

Horses and people alike worked up a good lather despite the cold, and the truck beds filled faster than expected. One load went over to Dragonwood, and two others traveled that evening to family farmhouses. Laughter and banter accompanied moments of relishing the beauty of the farm, punctuated only once by the goats getting out and needing to be recorralled and a few times by the dog chasing the sheep. (He's a puppy, and I can't blame him for wanting to chase the sheep. Sometimes I chase the sheep, too. They're funny.)

After a glorious sunset - snow crystals made the light appear as a firey column in the sky - and helping feed the animals for the night we headed off to gloriously hot meal of chicken curry, cups of homemade chai, and pumpkin pie. Cheeks glowing and eyes droopy we played with a niece too young to have joined us for long outside, and then headed off home. Cabin fever dismissed.

Comments

Cathy said…
Great post! What a "cool" day - captured very nicely on words and photos.
Jen said…
It sounds like a beautiful day. It's nice to find your blog! And it was lovely to meet you yesterday.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro