Celebrating this northern hemisphere Beltane/May Day (which marks the midpoint between spring equinox and summer solstice) by bringing in a first harvest of the season: collards and a few serrano peppers.
So it begins again: the day’s meals dictated by what’s ready in the living pantry in the garden.
The hacienda, closed against the heat and wind, is aromatic now with a Jamaican ital style greens dish simmering. Ginger, garlic and onions for flavour instead of salt.
This mix of spices also went in. It is from a used book which came home with me recently after a little wandering downtown.
Because April has been so unusually hot, the collard greens are as tough as camel leather, and a little on the bitter side, having skipped over any succulent sweet phase completely.
The leaves were rolled, sliced in thin ribbons then simmered in that curried garlic, onion, ginger, chili spiced coconut milk to soften them. I will probably cook up a pot of rice to serve them over.
There will be plenty more of these kind of dishes in the coming days. The kale and collard patch is thriving.
Tahoka daisies, indigenous to these parts, are blooming everywhere a lovely purple.
I ate a delicious ripe strawberry straight from the plant and spied the first self seeded breadseed poppy bud forming, while wandering the back yard.
Also self seeded from last year’s sowing, cosmos bipinnatus are budding and flowering too, turning the kale and collard patch accidentally ornamental. With some help, of course, from Hopi Red Dye amaranth, who are coming up everywhere.
I manage to pull together a small, fragrant bunch of flowers for the household altars: the first Shasta daisy, honeysuckle, lavender, Tahoka daisy, yarrow. Not enough to make a lei - 1st of May is also Lei Day in Hawaii - but just enough to make a gesture. For my agrarian ancestry. On the altar.
In the old country, 1st of May was the one day I would wear red. To work. Yesterday, at the farmers market, when I told a customer, who was buying red print dish towels, that I don’t wear red, he interrupted me. Before I could say “except on 1st of May“ he had already gone down the road of women wearing red being sexually inviting.
That wasn’t the direction I was going at all. Now he will never know my history with May Day!
Or hear the sound of a nation’s broken chains clattering to the ground.
Happy International Workers Day!
Happy Freedom Day!