I recently saw the Dark Day Challenge on the canning blog, Food in Jars. My immediate response was, well, here in the PNW during December, almost ALL the days are dark, making them ALL somewhat of a challenge. Giving it a bit more thought, I realize that the challenge for the dark days that are now upon us, we accepted early in the spring, and continued to do so throughout the summer, when we decided what we would grow and raise for the year, and then harvested and preserved it all when fall came. The menu-making and cooking done now, in the dark, dead of winter, is the easy part. A friend once asked me how we do all that we do here, and my response was that we do everything half-assed. The Dark Day Challenge also is met half-assed, so to speak. Very few of our meals are completely made up of only locally raised foods, but all our meals are made up of mostly locally raised foods -local mostly meaning we've raised it ourselves. I believe in moderation in all things, and though we frequently sit down to meals where we realize we've grown everything on the table, we more intentionally, seven days a week, strive to cook and eat meals composed of mostly foods which we've produced, and to call that good enough. But unless I really have no alternative, I don't WANT to cook without olive oil, lemons, and such. And I am NOT going without coffee (and I bet nobody else is either). That is a challenge I am just not up to.
Today is St. Lucia's Day, a transformation of ancient solstice rituals, that is celebrated in Sweden and by the Swedish and their descendants living elsewhere. Sometime before the winter solstice, my family will begin our winter holiday: the schools will all close, my husband will be off from work, my kids that have moved away will come back to the nest, and both my daughter and myself celebrate our birthdays. The next few weeks of the holiday season for my family, as has been done throughout the ages by all northern mankind to combat these dark days, will be filled with celebrating. Besides enjoying the holidays spent with the family here, I am also celebrating my 50th birthday. I can honestly say, I have been looking forward to this age for quite awhile. I firmly believe the next decade is going to be the best ten years of my life, and I plan to make it so.
"I don't think its a matter of taking or getting. You've got to make what you have be enough. That's the trick." -Jane Hamilton, Disobedience