So I wrote this post a few months ago and forgot about it… hope it’s not too out of context.
I’m so full of thoughts these days it’s hard to even know where to start. I’ve been fiddling around with this post about April in all its strangeness in my head, but I have so many other ideas on my mind competing. Feminism, foraging, fighting back, I don’t even know where to start. I suppose with the post I originally intended to write.
April is an odd month, full of contrasts. The garden is planted, but nothing much is happening. Once again we have to replant the peas, the carrots aren’t quite ready, the onions just went in. The kale is blooming, which is lovely and attracts the bees, but doesn’t really provide food. The freezer is starting to be awkwardly empty. There are some random cuts of meat (tongue, odd bits of roasts) and the tail end of the vegetables we put up (lots of cauliflower) but not much else. Dinner becomes an epic challenge. What can I make with… pumpkin, mushrooms, and brisket? Oh, oops, didn’t realize the pumpkin had melted on the counter and can’t be used.
It’s an odd unsettled time in the weather: one day it’s 80 and sunny and the next it’s raining and 55. You never know what to wear. From one day to the next it’s, sweater? Tshirt? I have no idea. It’s also an odd time of year money-wise. My high point as far as income goes is September-November. January-March is always a struggle, and then I pay my yearly taxes at the beginning of April and after that, ugh. Trying to get by from week to week is a combination of crossed fingers and constant visits to my bank account to see how many dollars are left. And of course that’s when my car decides to go up and there are a thousand things to pay for.
But the cooking is what really gets me. I’m always looking in the freezer and feeling like I’m on an episode of Chopped. Today I have: a top round roast, frozen peas, and oh right I bought some asparagus at the farmer’s market. Um. For lunch, I usually eat whatever’s leftover in the fridge, but it is literally empty. We actually ate all the leftovers. I have… pasta?
It’s the time of year when everyone is spring cleaning. For us that means the freezer. Whatever odds and ends are leftover from last season, we want them out so we can fill the freezer with fresh frozen veggies from this year’s garden. We are looking forward to our annual pig, which will fill the freezer with hams and homemade sausages. In the meantime, we have a load of truly odd bits and pieces. I try not to spend much money in April, because of the aforementioned bank account issues, so spending is limited to absolute necessities, and asparagus. I really love asparagus.
In other ways I love the challenge. In the summer I’m usually struggling because I get tired of trying to think of ways to use tomatoes, peppers, squash and green beans. Especially because someone in our household hates squash. But summer is a time of plenty- there is so much to use, the problem is more like, can we actually eat all this food? Who else can we invite over for dinner to eat some of this? Oh my god why did we plant so much kale AGAIN what else can I make with kale?
Spring is a time of odds and ends, of in betweens. But it’s also a welcome challenge, because it gets you out of the cycle of winter cooking (soup, stew, casserole, rinse, repeat). It makes you think about what you’re eating in a way that gets a little lost in other seasons. You’re thinking of the veggies you put up last year, and how soon it will be that time again and you’ll be shelling peas all night and trying to cram more of them into the freezer. You’re thinking of the first fresh lettuce. The garden is not quite going yet- there are things to do but then it rains for a week and you can’t get in there anyway and you’re really just standing ankle deep in water, staring at it, whereas in a month or two you’re going to be like, HOLY SHIT WHERE DID ALL THESE WEEDS COME FROM? And there will be no time to get it all done. Spring is the last deep breath before the utter madness that for us is summer, fall, and honestly half of winter. One last chance to get out and see some friends before it’s hi, sorry, wish I could spend time with you, how do you feel about pulling weeds?
And it’s a time for waiting. Waiting for the flush of income that comes at the same time as the flush of harvest. Waiting for the time when we can pay rent without literally searching cushions for extra dollars. Waiting for the rain to stop and the garden to grow. I originally intended to write a post about not spending any money during these spring months, because it’s the lean time for us, the time when we’re just barely scraping by. How we go about that particular task. But I guess it’s less about not spending money and more about this time of year in general, with all its ups and downs.
Here’s to perfect weather and a bountiful harvest this summer.