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DSC_1434Take and Eat

For a second year we are gardening on a grand scale. Well, to be honest, my husband is gardening on a grand scale and I’m supportive and help when I can. He and my daughter and a few other friends have helped put in potatoes, corn, beans (of all kinds), pumpkins, squash (in several varieties), okra, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, herbs, watermelons, sweet potatoes, and more. My help will be on the end of taking, preparing, eating and sharing as it arrives.

My daughter planted all the zinnias herself. And they are growing and blooming already. The sunflowers are taller than she is now. Both will draw in the bees and insects that the garden needs for pollination.

On the holiday morning this past Monday, we went out early to the garden. I posted on fb: “out mulching in the garden this morning and bringing home potatoes, cauliflower and kale . . . the best food is really is so close to the earth itself. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Good to remember that we are little more than that ourselves.”

It has been a week of ashes and dust . . . besides the mud and mulch of the garden it has included a few hard conversations, some digging around in my interior life, clearing up some muddy thinking in my writing, sweeping out some cobwebs and dust from the house and hauling stuff away to Goodwill and the recycling center, the messiness of grief. Trying to return some of the earth’s bounty to its rightful place in our ongoing effort at composting. Observing the end-of-semester dust settle while reading, grading and sorting through what was learned.

With water and sun and time things grow out of the dirt, and the week has borne fruit as well. Some work accomplished, some things figured out, some good meals shared with friends and neighbors, some worship and prayer and community.

Tonight’s dinner held its own dustiness and fruitfulness. The kale was forgotten for just a few too many moments in the 475 degree oven. It became ashes and set off the smoke alarm. We laughed and roasted more. Here’s how:

Kale Chips: Wash and pat dry large leaves of kale, leaving on the stem. Mist with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Spread evenly on cookie sheet and roast at 475 for five to seven minutes. The “kale chips” are lightly crunchy can be held by the stem to be eaten. Even children love them!

I also tried two new recipes that were both fantastic! Peach and Apple Chutney which I improvised from several recipes and what I had on hand. Served over grilled pork tenderloin it was just the right combination of spicy and sweet and savory. This accompanied corn on the cob, steamed cauliflower, fried squash and of course the kale. And dessert was nearly divine: Strawberry Gelato. You can find the recipe here. I followed it closely. It will become a permanent fixture of my recipe box. Mmmm!

Tomorrow we will take and eat with our congregation three times. We’ll start with first Sunday breakfast, the noisy monthly celebration of food and fellowship. Then we will celebrate communion in worship. Tomorrow evening is June’s annual “Ice Cream Supper.” You can guess what I’ll be taking.

In each meal we’ll bring our week to a close and also a begin again. We’ll bring our dustiness and fruitfulness, hard conversations, interior explorations, doubts, love, grief and hope. We’ll take the dust of the earth. We’ll eat from the bounty of the earth. We will remember. God’s presence is in all of it.  We will practice communion, community, commitment to Christ and each other. We will recall our partner churches, and we will name the suffering and war, famine and crises, heart-aches and head-aches, as well as new births and new beginnings that have filled up the headlines and our days this week.

We will take and eat and say in all this . . . Thanks be to God.