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 make 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.
So 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!