Gingerbread & Open Ground
I dragged the old woolen armchair out onto the sun porch this morning. I needed a place away from the traffic and noise of the house, a place to write and to reflect before stepping into the action of the day. It's a lovely spot, and one we've hardly utilized since we moved into this house in the teeth of winter. In the summer, I imagine, it will be unthinkably hot, but right now, with the frost melting on the grass outside and the sun slanting in, it's just right.
There are many things to consider this morning. Much of it is practical and mundane: how to improve my record keeping to more easily track useful information like waste and cost of goods sold (this seems so basic but has proved surprisingly daunting), where to move my baking operation so that I can upgrade to a more practical oven (ideas?), and how to buy a car after years of avoiding such environmentally and financially costly entanglements (do you have an old wagon or SUV you'd like to sell me?).
But most of all I came out here to turn over the perennial existential question of what it means to live a good life. Or, put another way, who I want to be when I grow up. There is a lot of open ground between my aspirational public self—engaged citizen, thoughtful business owner, intellectual, generous friend—and the often selfish, overwhelmed, and escapist reality of my private self. Few of us, I think, are entirely who we want to be, but closing the distance between public and private, between aspiration and reality, feels like essential work.
So let me sit here awhile, quietly, to do that work. Let me sit here and do nothing but watch the street and listen to myself. Let me have this moment, now, before I get up to lose myself in productivity and projects.
I hope you, too, can find time to do nothing.
We are in the seventh week of the Winter Bread Subscription, which means Mountain Rye, Red & White, Rosemary Sea Salt, and Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies. Order a loaf, a half dozen sinfully rich cookies, or your Spring Bread Subscription in the online store. Orders for this coming week are, as always, due by Monday morning.
I sold out of North Sea Gingerbread early last Saturday, to the disappointment of many. Luckily for you, I can bake it again! But because it's a complex and time-intensive cake, I need a critical mass of orders to justify doing so. This strange and lovely Frisian treat is made with rye and packed with candied ginger, candied orange zest, spices, and poached quince. It must be aged for 2-4 weeks. If you would like a last taste of winter at the edge of spring, send me a note. If we've already spoken about gingerbread, I have your name on the wish list!
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