Philip and Patrick are gone this weekend. Left yesterday at noon.
That left me baking and the rest of the family to tend chores and get ready to sell at market.
Believe me, I am thrilled that Philip and Patrick had the invitation to join friends to watch the Blue Angels perform. They work hard and it makes me happy to see them get a down day.
Even so, I was a bit concerned how the rest of us would handle a working weekend.
A cry for help went out to Rebecca, my dear friend.
She not only volunteered to help sell breads, etc, at the Grandin Farmer's Market, she even volunteered to show up at our house at 7am on a SATURDAY to load up and take the girls to show her the ropes. When she got here we had been up for hours, doing chores, baking, separating, picking garden and other farmer's market type of stuff. She just jumped in, helped write price lists by hand when the computer quit working, carried stuff out to her car and basically took off to market with virtually no instruction, just a blessing and a hug. I guess I had faith and total confidence in the ability of Maggie and Rose to show her the ropes.
I headed north to Daleville with Thomas and Nora to man the Ikenberry Farmer's Market. Patrick's territory. He has been the young man in charge all 2009 season.
It was such a pleasure to hug necks of other vendors and loyal customers. I loved seeing all our Botetourt friends. It was a real hug back to see that they missed me too and were happy to see me. It was also a real treat to hear so many people comment on Patrick and his wonderful salesmanship.
The downside was the blustery breezy brisk 41 degree temperatures that assaulted us. A wonder any customers came out at all. The hours ticked by, the bread, beef and other goodies slowly made their way off the table and into bags and we gratefully headed home to drop off our leftovers and run into Roanoke to pick up Maggie and Rose and our other farmer's market paraphenalia.
Tired. low blood sugar, we cruised into Grandin neighborhood, picked up gals, deposited moolah into the bank. We really needed a good weekend to cover several rather large financial needs this week. Considering the weather I figured we would come up short. What a sigh of relief when we added up the sums and found out we had made JUST enough. Not too much, not too little. Made me think of that wonderful verse in Proverbs 30:8-9
"Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, "Who is the LORD?" or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
Once again I was humbled by the generosity of the people who chose to buy from us instead of Wal Mart. I know Wal Mart is cheaper. I know times are tough and everyone is having to be more careful with their pennies. I was grateful.
Tired, but grateful.
Upon coming home, we unloaded, checked on Priscilla (still the same), the turkeys, the sheep, the garden. I opted out on covering up plants, hoping for a light frost, not a hard freeze. Wanted to go straight to bed but needed to eat.
We had some leftover steak uncooked from the other night. That seemed like not only the most logical, but the most sensible option.
With some money I had received from someone as a tip I bought some shiitake mushrooms from one of the other farmers at the market. I also got some more butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Didn't feel like a muti-course meal so I stashed the other veggies and sauteed some of the shiitakes in the very last of Coco's butter. Added a little garlic. Then carmelized one of our onions in that very same butter. Then threw on the ribeye, coated in cracked black pepper with garlic. Medium rare. Just barely. Generous with the sea salt. Opened the bottle of wine I bartered for some lamb chops. Took my feast into the living room, lit beeswax candles the girls made (because our light doesn't work in there and I didn't feel like fixing it.) Ate my carniverous feast whilst the girls ate their baked potatoes. Thomas joined our cozy retinue and we had the best time discussing holidays. First we covered halloween costumes as that is the pressing concern of all the 12 and under in our house. Then we talked about Thanksgiving and our hopes and expectations. We discussed our sadness that we might not be able to go to Texas again this year. We wondered if we needed to stay home because maybe there were some friends out there who might need to have a family with whom they need to share their holiday. We remembered our former Thanksgivings with friends and how fun it is to share tradition with friends.
Then we got on the topic of Christmas. We had so much fun, each one of us, sharing what we would get for each other if we had all the money in the world. Or if we only had a few dollars. I was amazed at how well the children knew each other and how appropriately they chose. They never even thought about themselves. We laughed about silly gifts people give that are never used and the ones we treasure forever. We wondered about how nice it is that some years we have more money to get fancy stuff and other years it is more simple but every year is terrific. The fire died down, the plates emptied, the candles flickered out. We yawned, hugged and headed each to our cozy beds.
I sit now and type for a couple of minutes, desperate with the need to capture, for at least a moment, the relief at not missing an opportunity. I thought I wanted to go isolate myself, leave the kids to themselves, read a book and go to sleep by 7:45. The kids would have been fine. They know how little sleep I get on the weekend. They love to read a good book themselves.
Tonight we had a fire in the woodstove, a feast, even if a simple one. After so many different wonderful faces at the market this morning, we needed a dark room and comfortable chatter and fantastical imaginings. Dreams and laughter and thoughts of castles being built in the hay field and crowns and fancy dresses and commercial kitchens and housekeepers, and lots and lots of books and billions of dollars of dark chocolate and rooms full of doll clothes and grand pianos and collections of knives and a lifetime supply of chewing gum and New York and lifetime tickets to Yankees baseball games. And oh, so much more.
I almost missed out.
But I didn't.