This Friday the new moon saw the other farm apprentices and I cycling back from a bar, sharing torches and running afoul of some sprinklers. We got to glimpse the milky way (which the bright moon usually crowds out), counted constellations and all of this to the tune of a flat tire. It was a lovely moment, there in the dark.
Two of the apprentices are leaving this week. So within our high jinx, by which I mean climbing the local mountain “Wemagooah Kazuhchich” (or “Ancient Mountain Heart Sits There”), there is an element of sadness. For three months we have weeded, watered, seeded and grown together. While they are going on to do really wonderful things, they will be missed.
Our final weekend has been marked by a barbeque and by my insistence on watching the England game. The finale, crikey. Of course, the woman’s football team made it to a final in 2009, but for the men’s team, it’s been 55 years. Yikes. Countrywide sexism aside, I have really loved the team for their anti-racism gesture of kneeling for the anthem, their commitment to donating the prize money to the NHS, Marcus Rashfords vital work around Free School Meals, and the beautiful way the team brings out Tory flip-flopping. Ridiculous that we live in a state where the football team is attacked by the prime minister for even addressing racism, where our national health service needs charity proceeds as opposed to being fucking funded correctly. I’m not proud of the shithole country that needs to fixed in so many ways, but I sure am glad that the team representing said country is using their platform to begin to challenge it.
While it did not in fact come home, the match made me respect the team even more. Over 2 hours of frantic running and all of it resting on the shoulders of a young Black man. While so far the responses I have seen online have been supportive, the worry is the escalation of racism players like Saka will face. We can only hope the backlash is minimal, but knowing England I doubt it will be. The whole team should be proud of what they have achieved and the hellova match they played.
This weeks tarot card is the Four of Swords. Signalling a time for mediation, relaxation and the postponing of imminent tasks, this card is a wonderful for the weekend. With swords, thoughts are brought to the forefront, but not dwelled upon. Ask yourself: what can I sit with? How will putting things off help me to recover? How can I regain focus? Why do I drunkenly keep stealing swords?
Weeding has taken up most of our time this week. Between the classics of Dandelion, Quack Grass, Mallow and Lambs Quarters, a new challenger emerges; Purslane. Looking somewhat like a succulent (because it is) purslane is a highly adaptable “weed” that spread to the Americas due to European Imperialism. Its water storage capacity allows it to readily adapt to harsh climates, and it is also a viable land-based source of Omega 3 Fatty Acid. It’s commonly used on the Indian subcontinent, which means a beautiful range of recipes can be found, from a classic Hyderabadi Kulfa Curry, to this delicious Dhal, to Purslane Parathas or even this Aubergine and Purslane Pilaf.
When identifying purslane be careful that you are not confusing it with its much less edible (poisonous) cousin; Spurge. The best way to check is that purslane, when cut at the stem will have a clear liquid whereas spurge will have a white one, called Latex. The leaves are a lot thinner on spurges, as they are not actually succulents so won’t have the glorious water-filled feeling, they also grow in pairs on either side of the stem instead of in “star” clusters of four leaves as on purslane. One other warning, before you make some simple steamed purslane or chimichurri, just like rhubarb and spinach, purslane is high in oxalates which when consumed in high quantity can be uncomfortable.
This week we harvested our first napa cabbage and it blew my tiny mind. Brushed with a little sesame oil and toasted on the grill, it was pure heaven. We will soon be swimming in cabbage and the ideas bounded round for it have ranged from Kimchi to Coleslaw, with all the in-between of Perogi and Tofu Stew. Also coming into season are all the stone fruit. We are currently processing and freezing two boxes of peaches, but I am also inclined to try making a cobbler, some jam or even some hard cider. The experiments in brewing continue.
This week’s Podcast is from the Community Witch, they are a vital part of the astrology and activist communities within London. At present, he is in vital need of financial support to get to safety. Please consider donating generously to their Go Fund Me Campaign.
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Until then, stay scrappy
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Awesome info!!! ☀️