In February I am tired of rain and tired of meat and sweet potatoes and eggs. I am tired of transferring our crap to and from the truck every day so we can get to and from our house through the mud. I am tired of our hot water refusing to work for three or four days at a time. I am tired of sleeping poorly because I'm handling the dog, who wants to come in and out, and the fire, which wants to go out, and stuffy children, who want to be up and down, every night. I'm just plain tired of everything, exhausted, bored, and depressed. And uninspired.
And then March arrives.
It's not that March is fundamentally different. If anything, our weather is even more hormonal, switching from this...
...within just a few hours. We still have to deal with the truck a few times every week. Our hot water is still temperamental, and I'm still not sleeping all that great. But I feel better, in some way. I definitely feel inspired to take up new projects. It seems worthwhile to plant seeds, to eat greens, to clean the coop, to let my son, my six-year-old son, teach me to knit(!).
(He says to me, "Don't worry, Mama. The first time I knitted anything I had GIGANTIC holes.")
When I get down, the only thing that helps is realizing how blessed I am. My family is amazing, I love my community, and I live in this tiny house in the middle of all these green acres by choice. I'm living the dream, baby.
I must admit: sometimes I see big houses, beautiful houses, and I feel this tug, this feeling that can best be translated as I should want that. Because all normal people want to live in big houses with 2-car garages. Right? On some level I think I should be disturbed to be at such a distance from any sort of latte-dispensing station. Maybe I should not care so much for the brilliance of the stars, or the quiet open spaces, or the fact that I can do naked yoga in the privacy of my front porch, should I get the urge. (Which I do not. If you were wondering.) Instead I should be thinking about updated appliances and big-screen TVs and walking distance to such-and-such. If I were normal.
But I like getting disgustingly dirty in the chicken coop. I like silence. I love my itsy-bitsy house, because it is itsy-bitsy. It is no comment on anyone who lives in one, but for me, the thought of living in a big beautiful house makes me cringe. I'd have to clean that, after all, which would leave less time for planting lettuce. I'd have to work to pay to fill it with things. What a drag.
And this is not theoretical. I have lived in a big beautiful house. It was a big beautiful old house and I practically had to sell an organ to heat it. I stressed, constantly, about keeping it clean and organized. Over the year that we lived in that big beautiful old house we gradually occupied less and less of it until three of the four bedrooms stood empty. By the time we moved out, we lived in the kitchen and one bedroom, and that was it.
I can't believe my good luck that I get to live in this ramshackle cabin in the middle of nowhere. This thought elevates me.
And now that spring is upon us, I have the chance to expand on projects that were only notional when we moved in. Jeremy and I, along with the kids, dug three more garden beds yesterday. (Only twelve more to go!) We planted lettuce starts and beet seeds and carrots and greens. Our girls laid several eggs throughout the day, including the first brown egg, and the rabbits are nearly ready to eat, and the coop is clean and dry and warm, and our house is, too. Things are coming together. After all the shit we've had to deal with since we've lived here, we're finally seeing some benefits from our hard work.
This feels really, really good.
I have weird food needs in the spring. I'm working harder, outside, and yet I don't want to eat much meat, or eggs. I want greens, of course, but I want whole grains, too, which I perceive as more of a winter food. I've been eating oatmeal for breakfast, which is really weird for me. (Veritably soaked in butter, with a touch of honey. Yum.)
I also want to bake more, which is odd. This recipe is a perfect example. Gingerbread? is not really my thing. I don't care for ginger. But I wanted to bake, and only this mix of ingredients would do.
As with banana walnut bread, I used a mini-loaf pan. I doubled the recipe and saved one loaf to send with the kids throughout the week.
This bread is excellent for breakfast with a cup of steaming hot, milky coffee, or for an afternoon snack with tea.
Here's hoping that spring is bearing out for you, as well.
Sweet Potato Gingerbread
1 c. almond flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. non-aluminum baking powder
1 1/2 t. ground ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 pastured eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sweet potato puree
1/4 c. molasses
1 T. unrefined brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Thoroughly grease a petite loaf pan ( 5 3/4" x 3") with butter and set aside.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl.
In another bowl, stir the sweet potato into the beaten eggs. Stir in the sugar and fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
Spoon the batter into the greased loaf pan. The batter will come almost all the way up to the top. Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.