Monday, October 12, 2009

Soul Restoration, Part Two

Lately, my soul has been feeling kind of scraped up, as if it has taken a few punches. I think it started back in the spring, with the six weeks of rain; since then, every time the sky clouds over, I cringe and worry that it'll be December before we see the sun again.

And, I feel like I didn't get enough summer. I know that sounds whiny, but I find myself unwilling to put on socks, or dig out the winter clothes, or just give in already and let fall come. As if I could single-handedly keep fall at bay, through mental resistance. This is weird, too, because fall is usually my favorite season.

So, arguments with hubby have escalated, disputes with the kids end more often than not with me shouting as my eyes bug out of my head; everything seems a much bigger problem than it would, ordinarily.

And then, there's the food. We spent this summer in the grip of a huge tomato blight, and so many other locally grown favorites had trouble, too: the eggplant, the peppers, the strawberries, the cherry tomatoes, the tomatillos, the basil, the cilantro... and the list goes on.

So, that's been my underlying mindset - worrying, sadness, fear of what's happening to our corner of the world. My soul, the place inside me where joy and light live, has spent these last months with a shadow across it.

Until recently. I think it was right around my brother's wedding that I started feeling better. Also, each day brings rosier, more beautiful trees and weather that has cooled gradually; one week, I can still wear sandals, but I'd better find a sweatshirt. The next, we need another blanket on the bed. The next week, I actually want soup for dinner, with nice warm biscuits served alongside. It's like this gentle, lovely autumn is cosmically trying to make up for the recent abysmal spring.

And, because I am me, food plays a huge part in the restoration of my soul. Eggplant minestrone, our first soup of the fall, cheered me immensely, inside and out; here's the recipe, in case you want to try it.

When one of the hens started laying, that was a big strike against the shadow on my soul.

The egg from our girl is in the lower-left corner; in the House of Worrying, I fretted that the hens weren't getting enough time outside the coop, semi-free-ranging in their chicken tractor, but I don't worry about that now. The egg, alongside those we get from a local farm, is such a happy, bright orange color that it is clear it came from a happy, bright chicken. The shadow recedes a little more!

And, my friend Shannon loaned me the best book of bread-making ever, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I already loved baking bread, but this book makes it even more fun. My banner is the result of experimenting, with the book as a guide: Brioche au Chocolat, as good as you will ever get in a pastry shop (I know, tooting my own horn... it is THAT good.)

Candles help, too. What is it about candle flame that cheers me all the way through?

I think the shadow finally got gone this weekend, spent apple picking and corn-mazing with friends and relatives. Here are the boys and their cousins at a nearby farm, hamming it up for the camera:

So now, it is with a thankful heart and a restored soul that I look forward to autumn and winter, warmth and love... I hope you're having similar good thoughts and a nice fall, too.


Mister Dad (Professor Daddo-dore) said...

i hear ya! my soul's under a dark cloud, too.

then i read about the CHOCOLATE BRIOCHE... and, WHAT!?!?

if i don't get a sample-- or at least the recipe-- my soul's turning Seattle! or Salem! or Sheol!

so spare a brother and share, will ya? it'll help, i am sure...

jugglingpaynes said...

That looks reallllly good.

And I'm missing having chickens. I had them when I was a kid. They were fun.

Peace and Laughter,

Firefly mom said...

OMG - I have that bread book on hold at the library! How funny. And that bread you made looks soooo good! I may need a drool guard for my keyboard ;)

The Stone Age Techie said...

Prof Daddo-dore - I can tell you that I combined the 'braided raspberry almond cream pastry' recipe on pg. 231 and the chocolate ganache recipe on pg. 195 in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day... I just replaced the fruit filling with the chocolate ganache, and made sure to leave at least an inch of brioche dough around the border because in previous experiments, the ganache leaked out of the brioche.

Cristina - it's funny, I was scared of the chickens at first but now I see how gentle they are, and I just love them.

Firefly Mom - You are going to LOVE that bread book! I'm going on to challah bread next, and then pita bread, and probably my friend will not have her book back until 2010. Good thing she is a very good friend!

Your Friend, Michelle said...

Gosh, chickens are a great source of fun. I really enjoyed your blog. It has been a weird year for us also.
I'm glad you're feeling chipper.
-Michelle ( homeschool mom of 6)

The Stone Age Techie said...

Michelle - Just checked out your blog, your little chicks are just adorable!
Thanks for visiting -

Melissa R said...

me too. I am normally a Pollyanna. I don't have to try to be, I just am. But for the last 4 months nothing has seemed rosy at all. I have been behind the eight ball most of the time. I have been getting everything done but all just in time. I don't usually operate that way. I like to be ready well ahead of time. One clear sign of my unusual state is that I have had more library fines (and currently a LOST book!) in the past 4 months than in all the rest of my life added together. I know that's not unusual for some people, but for ME it's a sign that life isn't right. But, most of the stressful stuff is finally over. Important dates, events, to do lists, are behind us now. Believe it or not we are moving in a few weeks and yet I think that will not be stressful. I feel like I may be coming out of the dark, the last week has been a lot better. Fingers crossed that I get my groove back, along with my Pollyanna practices!

The Stone Age Techie said...

Melissa - I hope you are getting your groove back. And that you are not moving too far away! Will your son still come up this way for Pokemon tournaments?
Oh, and I hear you on the library fines! The same thing's been happening here.

Dana @ Our Sunny Side said...

So glad you're feeling better! Your bread looks amazing!