Whisked Away


We had our first pickup at our local CSA the other day: Dandelion greens, lettuce, collards, arugula, bok choy.   And we got to pick a pint of strawberries which we ate—still warm—right in the field.

In my own garden, my peas are up; several varieties of beans and cucumbers, too.  The carrots are just starting to put in an appearance and yesterday, I planted an Egyptian Walking onion my friend brought me from her garden. 

My strawberries are ripening, but, despite the fence I’ve got around the garden, the rabbits have found a way to reach them, to steal the succulent red berries and leave the empty stem dangling from the vine.

It looks as though strawberries won’t be available—to my family at least—from our backyard garden this year.  

Nor will there be picking at the farm down the street: The unseasonably warm weather followed by torrential rains rotted the berries in the field.  And so, I watch a second farm for strawberry season to begin there.

* * *

On a recent college tour, V told us that if she could go back in time, she’d go to the 1920s and be a flapper.  There was no question as to where in time my husband would travel: He’d surely be a Colonist.  But when I was younger, I wanted to go back in time and live completely off the land.   I remember being about seven, sitting in the dark cool forest on the bank of the river, cupping water into my mouth with both hands.  But then, my mother would call me for dinner.  I’d have to pick up the river—a container of tap water and—and check the forest floor—the green carpeting—for spills before fully coming back to the present.  My parents eventually sold that house and bought forty acres with real woods and a clear stream and my wish to go back to simpler times only strengthened.   

I always thought I was the only one who wanted to go back; who had this yearning for the old times.  But after attending a Colonial reenactment last weekend, after watching people dressed in costume speaking passionately about history, trying to live according to the old ways if only for one afternoon a week, I realized I wasn’t alone. 

And I wonder…what is it about our present lives that dissatisfies us so much that we long to go back to more difficult times?

* * *

I’m getting tired of using my vacuum; passively running a hose over the upholstery while it haphazardly decides whether to pick up dust and dog hair and popcorn kernels.  When my sisters and I cleaned house with our mom on Saturday mornings, tag-teaming a room at a time, we used a whisk broom to tackle stairs and couches. 

And I like the idea of using my own energy rather than fossil fuel to clean a room.  So I went looking for my own whisk broom to bring a little of the past back into my life. 

I tried Home Depot.

No luck. 

I looked in Target. 

Nothing there. 

Two grocery stores. 

Nope. 

In each store, there were rows of bottles filled with liquid, blue…green…yellow…orange.  There were fancy brooms and mops.  There were brushes of all sorts.  But there were no whisk brooms to be found.

Finally, in my Lehman’s catalogue, I found whisk brooms, Amish-made.

I ordered two.

And now I settle in to wait for the arrival of my Amish whisk brooms with as much anticipation as I wait for strawberry season to begin.

Labels: , ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Whisked Away

Monday, May 21, 2012

Whisked Away


We had our first pickup at our local CSA the other day: Dandelion greens, lettuce, collards, arugula, bok choy.   And we got to pick a pint of strawberries which we ate—still warm—right in the field.

In my own garden, my peas are up; several varieties of beans and cucumbers, too.  The carrots are just starting to put in an appearance and yesterday, I planted an Egyptian Walking onion my friend brought me from her garden. 

My strawberries are ripening, but, despite the fence I’ve got around the garden, the rabbits have found a way to reach them, to steal the succulent red berries and leave the empty stem dangling from the vine.

It looks as though strawberries won’t be available—to my family at least—from our backyard garden this year.  

Nor will there be picking at the farm down the street: The unseasonably warm weather followed by torrential rains rotted the berries in the field.  And so, I watch a second farm for strawberry season to begin there.

* * *

On a recent college tour, V told us that if she could go back in time, she’d go to the 1920s and be a flapper.  There was no question as to where in time my husband would travel: He’d surely be a Colonist.  But when I was younger, I wanted to go back in time and live completely off the land.   I remember being about seven, sitting in the dark cool forest on the bank of the river, cupping water into my mouth with both hands.  But then, my mother would call me for dinner.  I’d have to pick up the river—a container of tap water and—and check the forest floor—the green carpeting—for spills before fully coming back to the present.  My parents eventually sold that house and bought forty acres with real woods and a clear stream and my wish to go back to simpler times only strengthened.   

I always thought I was the only one who wanted to go back; who had this yearning for the old times.  But after attending a Colonial reenactment last weekend, after watching people dressed in costume speaking passionately about history, trying to live according to the old ways if only for one afternoon a week, I realized I wasn’t alone. 

And I wonder…what is it about our present lives that dissatisfies us so much that we long to go back to more difficult times?

* * *

I’m getting tired of using my vacuum; passively running a hose over the upholstery while it haphazardly decides whether to pick up dust and dog hair and popcorn kernels.  When my sisters and I cleaned house with our mom on Saturday mornings, tag-teaming a room at a time, we used a whisk broom to tackle stairs and couches. 

And I like the idea of using my own energy rather than fossil fuel to clean a room.  So I went looking for my own whisk broom to bring a little of the past back into my life. 

I tried Home Depot.

No luck. 

I looked in Target. 

Nothing there. 

Two grocery stores. 

Nope. 

In each store, there were rows of bottles filled with liquid, blue…green…yellow…orange.  There were fancy brooms and mops.  There were brushes of all sorts.  But there were no whisk brooms to be found.

Finally, in my Lehman’s catalogue, I found whisk brooms, Amish-made.

I ordered two.

And now I settle in to wait for the arrival of my Amish whisk brooms with as much anticipation as I wait for strawberry season to begin.

Labels: , ,

4 Comments:

At May 21, 2012 at 4:32 AM , Anonymous Style Maniac said...

Your story took me on an unexpected little journey. Nice writing, nice way to start off my day. Thank you.

 
At May 21, 2012 at 5:51 AM , Anonymous Jester Queen said...

The strawberries are simplicity in themselves. Everything came on early down here, so we were out picking in April. APRIL! Even in the South, that's early. Some farms have managed a bumper crop thanks to the weather, and I was picking them again last week.

 
At May 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM , Anonymous Shelton Keys Dunning said...

I work local renaissance fairs, for escape, for the chance to play "dress-up" as an adult. My husband always says he could live during that time. I always shake my head. I like the convenience of having a shower daily, keeping my hair lice-free, and sleeping on my memory foam mattress free of bedbugs nightly. For me I think "fair" is just a way for me to lose myself in a story, the geeky way.

But my clothing iron has holes in it for steam. I learned how to iron on a flat iron. No holes, no electric. I learned to gauge how much heat and water to use for cotton shirts and table linens. I set up a camp stove in the backyard under the clothes line with a pot of boiling water to steam delicates. But when I moved out, I found flat irons were hard to find and more expensive than I could afford. The new iron? I can't for the life of me figure out the complicated settings. I'd rather throw the article back in the dryer with a damp washcloth to shake the wrinkles out.

Some things I love to do for sharing what I've learned about history, some things I do out of tradition, some things I have to do because technology confuses me. I guess what I'm saying in this long diatribe is "I feel you".

Enjoyed my visit. Your posts are always so lovely and inspiring.

 
At May 21, 2012 at 10:38 AM , Anonymous Beverly Diehl said...

Visiting past times is fun - especially when you don't have to dig the latrines, but they bring in porta-potties.

I don't know necessarily that anything is "wrong" with our current lives, that we seem to like playing dress-up, whether it's Colonial, Civil War, Renaissance re-enactments, or Star Trek conventions. I have the feeling that although from our perspective those lives SEEMED less complicated, they really weren't. And I am happy enough not dealing with cholera, typhoid, polio or smallpox.

 

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