Solar Production 2016 and 2018

Solar Production 2016 and 2018

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Slow Work


We’ve been painting the house this week—washing, scraping, sanding, then painting. It’s a familiar ritual and we know what we are up against in terms of time and labor. And, once I get going, I love the slow work. I love standing on the top of the fourteen foot orchard ladder, painting the point of the house, and surveying the early summer, early morning world. Watching the students come and go, the house turn deep gold, the sun shining on the fig tree leaves. When I come down to shift the ladder, progress is made, easily measured. There is plenty of time for my mind to wander, tied down only by the rhythm of the task. It is a good thing.
            Painting is just one such activity. There is also weeding and mulching at Sunbow which I did this morning, alternatively sweating and shivering in the greenhouses as clouds and showers chased the sun across the sky. Knitting blankets, endless rounds of stitches, slowly building up on your lap.  Pitting cherries and slicing apples for the food dryer falls into the same category.  Skinning fava beans or shelling peas. Long drives down the highway. Kneading bread. All of these tasks take some skill, some consideration of the most efficient way to proceed, but, once the pattern is established, there is plenty of time to contemplate the nature of the universe. I feel my brains slowing down, pooling out, moving into new territory, losing focus. Time stretches out beyond me, endless.

Ful and Flatbread—the best mid-June dinner

Ful is best made from fresh  fava beans, which are labor intensive. They need to be shelled, then par-boiled, then skinned before they can be eaten. I usually pick a canvas bag full of the pods before beginning the soup.

Once the beans are prepped, mix with salt, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Then add enough water to create soup and cook slowly until yummy. It is hard to give proportions without knowing how many beans you’ll have, but it should taste strongly of garlic and lemon. More olive oil can be swirled over the top before serving.

Flat Bread

1.5 t yeast
1 cup of warm water
1.5T olive oil
1 t salt
2.5 cups of flour—I mix wheat and white

Proof the yeast, then add the rest of the ingredients. Knead briefly to bring the dough together. It will be somewhat sticky. Let rest and rise for two hours.

After rising, divide into eight clumps of dough and roll out in circles, like tortillas. Cook quickly on the stove, using a cast iron skillet. I usually keep the heat on medium high or high. Watch closely. When the dough begins to puff, turn over and cook the other side. It only takes one or two minutes!

Sprinkle with salt for savory dinner or cinnamon sugar for breakfast.

You can add garlic or herbs to the dough. You can also cook half of the dough tonight and save the rest, covered, in the fridge for several days. It will taste more yeasty, but that is not a bad thing.


  1. Hello. Read about you in mother earth news. Live in kentucky, but traveling to sheridan, oregon this october. Would love to come see your operation! Is this possible?

  2. Sure. We love showing our place. It won't be as lush by then as the rain will have stopped and the potatoes harvested.