May Day, Anzac Day, garden day

It's been an eventful, crammed two weeks. I shut the car door on my son's finger last Wednesday evening. It hurt him like hell and cut me to the core. I've been rather cavalier about minor injuries for the most part, but to cause pain like this made me realise how utterly central my children's safety is to my own job description - the one I wrote unconsciously a long while back. So that was Wednesday evening, the entirety of it, at Accident & Emergency. Thank goodness we still have a local hospital.

The next day, trying to find a park at the hospital in order to take Fionn for an x-ray, I crashed into another car. Entirely my fault. No one hurt in the slightest, though my bank balance is going to hurt a lot by the time I've paid the insurance excess for the other car and sorted out our own (we only have third party on our car).

The weekend before, we spent some time getting the 08 memorial ready at Blackball, the museum of working class history which has been so long planned and is now reality. We also went to the Dawn Service on Anzac Day, and Fionn and I went to the cemetery service later that morning. With my Dad's cousin Mary, we visited the graves of her husband and his brothers. Lou and Doug served in World War Two and Lou spent much of his time in a Prisoner of War camp.

On Thursday night Gaylene Preston's movie Home by Christmas premiered in Greymouth, with Ms Preston herself there and many people dressed up for the occasion. I loved the movie though I keenly missed the fact that the film, though set in Greymouth, was shot on location in Wellington. How I would love to see our world on the big screen.

Saturday was May Day. We went up to Blackball and enjoyed the forum, the march and the opening of the 08 memorial/working class history museum. This year's forum was on the establishing of a progressive voice on the West Coast. By the time I got to the forum, I was exhausted and I felt something of a fraud as I knew I was in no position to offer my skills and time to a new project. I saw some familiar faces from last year and loved that there were some new children. Last year we had our daughter (then two) with us and this year there was a tiny baby, a toddler and a very pregnant woman contributing to the forum. It gives a powerful sense of hope and continuity.

The opening itself was marvellous. Jose Garcia, the Cuban ambasador to New Zealand, spoke and I really enjoyed what he had to say. Damien O'Connor, previously Labour MP for the West Coast and now list MP, impressed many people with his speech. Perhaps losing his seat has sharpened his focus.

Neither of us went back for the evening, interesting though it promised to be. Exhaustion from the week took its toll.

Today was birthday day. Firstly we farewelled our cousins Bruce and Sharon and Mary. Mary is my Dad's first cousin and a special person in our lives. Her son Bruce and his wife Sharon visit from the US every two years and we enjoy their company greatly. As they work diligently to meet Mary's needs and plan for her possible needs for the coming years, it is an emotionally intense time for me as I contemplate the cycle of needs over a person's life.

Then we tootled off to a seventh birthday party. I had made a bag for Ella and put some craft items in it. Earlier plans to make her a dress had to be shelved as the reality clock struck. We all had a nice time but the best part of the day was when we got home, having picked up Favourite Handyman from work, and I got to garden.

Yes, GARDEN! I have not done that for too long. When I was initially hooked on Linda Woodrow's Permaculture Home Garden book, I imbibed her sermons on the drawbacks of shop-bought seedlings, how they were root bound and all round inferior. But trial and error showed me that shop seedlings were better than shop-bought vegetables and that as I took on more paid work, I had to grab the gardening bits in whatever shape I could manage.

Today I planted some seedlings which have been in little pots for many weeks, left for almost dead until recent rain and now in the ground ready to have a go at life in the big soil. Five kale seedlings and three celery seedlings are now in the ground. I also transplanted three self-sown seedlings of flat-leaved parsley and weeded heaps of weeds, borage and dying marigolds out of the way. I harvested leeks and rhubarb.

My other project, starting tonight, is to note here what we ate for tea each night and how it measures up to the Weston Price/Sally Falloon school of nutritional thought. Don't expect it to look saintly! Tonight we ate pasta. Here is an attempt at turning it into something as facy as a recipe:
1 leek (from the garden)
3 cloves garlic (from the garden!)
1 stick of celery (from the garden)
2 carrots
handful herbs (I used marjoram and thyme, from the garden)

Saute all this (chopped) in a mixture of olive oil and butter. Then add some red wine and put the lid on the frypan. After a while add a can of chopped tomatoes, stir and keep on stirring when you can as you mind crazy children. Boil some small pasta. Since we discovered tiny pasta shapes (macroni or little shells), pasta has gotten a lot more pleasant. Add a can of tuna to the sauce when everything seems nearly ready. Then add the pasta. Remember that there are no greens and grab some rocket from the garden, tear it up and mix in.

Chop up some black olives and some stuffed green olives. Grate some parmesan cheese. Turn heat off the frypan. Mix in some cheese and the olives. Dish onto plates and take the remaining cheese to the table to add onto individual plates.

Rejoice if your children eat it. Mine did. More satisfying than meeting anyone else's food guidelines. The Price/Fallon reckoning? Pasta is a refined grain and thus out of fashion for these guys. I'll eat it a couple of times a week just for the satisfaction of seeing my children finish their plates up. I cooked in olive oil and butter as I have definitely taken on their concerns about canola and soy oils in particular. I gunned for lots of vegetables - what civilised diet does not? The butter should help make the minerals and vitamins in the veges easily absorbed. The tuna is the last tin with soy oil in it. I wasn't organised enough to be fussy tonight, but shopping-wise I have shifted to salmon for tinned fish supplies as it has no soy or canola oil in it. I think the cheese and olives are okay.

Perhaps this project will get me to blog more frequently again. If you are interested in the Price/Fallon school of food thought, then a google search will turn up lots. The Nourished Kitchen blog in my sidebar is not a bad place to start either.


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