Monday, May 2, 2011

Harvesting Change (The sequel to Sprouts of Change)

(World events since Sprouts of Change: Japan was ravished by a tsunami and subsequent nuclear radiation. Libya is revolting against Gadhafi. Tornadoes wreak havoc in the US. A cafe in Morocco was bombed by Al Queda. Syria is embroiled in violence. And now Osama Bin Laden is dead.)

We planted the seeds. Morocco provided the sun and the rain. Now it's easy to bask in the sun, but no one likes rain. I admit, I am the first to be reduced to a foul and depressed mood on rainy days. I know it's essential for things to grow, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. The thing with growing is, it's really hard to see it. Sometimes I don't go in the yard for a few days (and usually that's the fault of the stupidly necessary rain). And even if I'm in the yard, it's usually make the 3rd request that one of the kids come remove their socks from underneath the dining room table or some other similar emergency. So, I'm not marveling at how big the spinach has gotten while I do that. When I do happen to glance in the direction of the garden the first thing I notice are the holes Mary, our yard turtle, has made nibbling the spinach. Now Craig did put up a fence specifically to keep Mary out. But Mary has counter attacked by figuring out a way to burrow underneath the fence so she can keep mainlining our spinach.

But one day right before Easter, I finally looked. Like really stopped and looked at the garden. And a funny thing had happened right under our noses. It had grown despite being in a less than optimal spot for sun exposure, despite being used as a litter box by stray cats and despite Mary's noshing. The spinach is ready to eat. So it's got a few holes? So it's not perfect? Nothing is in life. We grew this organic lettuce from seeds and we're gonna eat it. (Ok, I confess we will eat it after a very vigorous water and vinegar scrub down.) And we couldn't have done it without the hot Moroccan sun and the cold Moroccan rains. And there you have the yin and yang of it.

Now what do we do with it? So my kids, like probably a lot of the world is not real keen on eating organic, holey, litter box spinach. How does one yang that yin? When the kids were little I would make brownies with carrot juice and spinach. Let me say that spinach carrot brownies are not merely as good as real brownies. But at a point in time when my kids were little and weren't exposed to real brownies, this allowed me to cram extra vitamins in their tiny bodies and make them believe that they were getting a treat at the same time. It was a bit deceitful, but it was for their own good right? Well, how will my kids ever know that they like spinach (and yes, I'm being optimistic here) if they don't even know they're eating it? Change is honest and often painful. Now that my kids (and I) are older and wiser I'm far more upfront. I add spinach in salads. The kids favorite is mango salad. That's the yang of it. And just in case you didn't know (like me), mango skins contain an oil that is similar to poison ivy. And that's the yin of it. And next week it could all change and my kids won't eat mango salad either. Because the only thing that's constant is change.

Steps for a successful harvest:

1. Choose what to grow.
2. Plant the seeds.
3. Be organic.
4. Brave the rain.
5. Keep pests away if possible.
6. Give it time.
7. Pull the weeds.
8. Harvest.
9. Share.
10. Repeat as necessary.

"You must be the change change you wish to see in the world." ~Mahatma Gandhi

Mango Salad Recipe:

2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 (1 lb) firm ripe mango, peeled and cut into cubes
1 large cucumber peeled and sliced
3-4 cups of mixed green lettuce/spinach or combo thereof

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