Hand work

Greetings, HaQ readers! Here’s the odd bit that’s on my mind today – hands. Specifically, how many words and phrases we use about “hands”: hands in, hands on, hand up, handmade, handiwork, all hands… the list goes on.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot because, as the world moves on and things change, I find there are some things I want for myself that I have to get my hands into. It usually starts with food things. I like to cook (OK – and eat), so I like good products and food that doesn’t 2017-02-06-10-46-04make the grade is a little offensive, especially if it’s deliberate.  For example, the granola bars I mentioned a couple weeks ago – my favorite brand changed their recipe and the result is chalky and disappointing. (Seriously. Dudes. What the heck? How did THAT get you anywhere you wanted to go?) I thought, “I can do better than that.” And I did. The homemade ones take a little effort, but the recipe made enough to last several weeks and they are much more satisfying. I can do that. And what’s more – to have food that doesn’t taste like a cheap substitute for the real thing – I’m willing to.

Really, I was raised to do that. I learned to cook, to sew, and to change a tire. We grew vegetables and picked wild berries, eating some, preserving the rest. I remember the year my parents had so many hard small green tomatoes at the end of the season that they pickled them. They were delicious. I know the reason they did that was to feed the family – it takes a lot to raise a pack of growing kids. Somehow, the fact that it was all made by hand, with love, made it special. It’s even more special now. 

berryfingers-cropSo I’ll attempt just about any do-able project that doesn’t involve live electrical circuits (there are some things that are most decidedly NOT DIY for me) or going over five feet up a ladder (color me chicken). I have changed a tire on the side of a freeway and I have dug a garden bed with a mattock in a December rain because that was the only way the hard clay was malleable and I wanted a place for my miniature roses. Every time I walk in berry season, I come home with treasure. I’ll wear my purple fingers as a badge of self-sufficiency. There is something enormously satisfying when you work hard and have something good to show for it: a garden bed, a solid repair, a good meal, a pantry stocked – a Good Life. Hand made.

If you haven’t tried them, pickled green tomatoes are wonderful. Here’s a website with a number of recipes: Garden Betty’s Pickled Tomatoes . If you have a favorite recipe for pickles or preserves, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!

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