Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Many Hands Make Light Work

We're getting a glorious foretaste of late spring and early summer this week here in northern Ohio. Sunshine fills the skies, and the stunningly warm temperatures have encouraged daffodils to burst into golden bloom almost overnight.

The fresh breezes have lured me outside more often than not, and today I had an excellent excuse to run away from work at lunchtime: I called the Innkeeper and asked her to meet me at the Inn for a little garden work.

She felt the same urge to get out among the greening things, so we joined up behind the Inn and got busy. As she pruned trees and large bushes along the back fence, I waded through and tackled the compost pile, a task I've wanted to put to rest for a couple of months now.

We've both piled plenty of vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and eggshells on the compost heap throughout the winter, and it was definitely time to turn things over. But I took on the task with great enthusiasm, noting a scattering of tiny blue scilla over the heap (see lower right corner), and I knew I'd unearth some rich, dark soil.

A short while later, my intuition proved correct, for under that initial layer of recent additions I found some dark, moist, ideal compost, ready to be used. I scraped out a bunch, shoveled the newer scraps into the hole, and covered it back up, adding in more leaves. I set aside a small pile of compost for the Innkeeper, as she mentioned that her son would be able to use it on his lettuce bed.

The garden work also gave me the opportunity to start on a new project (not my own, for once!) that has inspired me of late. Kelly at Her Able Hands has established the Able Hands Project and invited fellow bloggers to share photos of hands at work (and at play) in order to celebrate the many things we do with our hands in our daily lives: practicing skills, making a living, constructing our homes, and shaping dreams.

It's not strictly about food or local foods, but I think the philosophy behind the project (at least for me) has a connection to how I approach cooking and preserving food and sharing it with others. Work has so often become a nasty four-letter word for many of us, but there is so much that we do with our hands to make life easier for others or to create beauty or simply to do what we each feel is needful in our own lives. Work can and should be a joy and full of meaning, and that's what I try to practice in my kitchen as well in other aspects of my life.

That's what Kelly's project calls us to document and cherish, I think, and it's an incredibly inspiring and enriching project. Just in taking a couple of photos, I'm already looking at hands and work in new ways and with new respect.

So take a look at the project on Flickr. Then take a look around you. Whether you choose to participate or not, take a look at hands at work around you and let yourself be inspired.

And give yourself a hand!



At 4/09/2008 4:46 PM, Blogger justagirl said...

Hi there, I found your blog doing a search for other vegetarians. I'm in Southern Ohio, and I know what you mean about that glorious foretaste! It has been a long winter. I love the photos of your dishes!

At 4/09/2008 4:46 PM, Blogger justagirl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4/10/2008 7:09 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Welcome, justagirl! Always good to find a fellow Ohioan out here! I think winter has seemed especially long because most of the snow seemed to come in March... but oh! how welcome the sunshine and warmth is now! Keep hanging in there!

At 4/13/2008 7:38 AM, Blogger Kelly said...

oh, Jennifer, such a lovely post! That compost is gorgeous... Thank you so much for the linky love and the wonderful reflections about hands and work and play. Be sure to watch my blog today for a reciprocal post.


At 4/14/2008 7:55 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

And thank YOU, Kelly, for the inspiration! I'm still looking at hands and people at work with a renewed sense of respect and appreciation... it's very satisfying.


Post a Comment

<< Home