Every day for so many days I have been finishing my work of milking and chores as soon as possible and rushing into town for various reasons.
It is such an intense world out there in those places of asphalt deserts baking off heat and trampled every minute by the mad monster of traffic, where wires and blasts of light obscure the jewels of the constellations and hide the beautiful face of the moon.
I feel surrounded by death when I find myself in the trackless wastes of stucco and cement, devoid of every living thing except a few of the same plants that survive being molded into shapes. And it is lonely among the noise of engines and hubbub of people so enthralled in their own chase of a desperate dream they can’t even be nice.
Have you also noticed that so much about surviving modern life is coping mechanisms to deal with this horrible lifestyle we have created? The stress and the pace of it all… I don’t know that it has been very good for us.
I just want to run into the forest and hide. I would rather walk in meadows where the wild turkeys saunter in the early mornings and evenings, and see wild flowers covered in butterflies than the plastic landscapes. Isn’t it funny how we keep starting with something beautiful, and somehow it ends up as a sterile lawn or under black cement in the end? Over and over again it happens. Am i the only one who prefers the butterflies?
So maybe it is just me, but I would a hundred times over rather walk among the cows than rush in traffic, see their graceful shapes around me dark against the sun, and feel the heavy power of their hooves that makes the earth around tremble, hearing the rhythmic whoosh of breath and the gurgle of rumen. Instead of the anxiety and the crush there’s the feeling of being a part of something, that I love them and I know that I belong to them.
I know we walk together, beholden to each other. I work with all my human knowledge and and heart for them to thrive and multiply. They capture the living light of the sun through the grass, processing it in their bacterial ecosystems, and by their milk and meat I have sustained and created myself. I give them my best, and we are bound together.
I have noticed that every animal has its own unique power and force that can be turned to enrich or destroy the landscape.
When cows eat grass, it causes the roots to send out sugar and partially die, feeding and enriching the life of the soil, their hooves and saliva stimulate more future grass growth, their waste feeds whole ecosystems of beetles, beneficial fungus, and bacteria behind them. But they can also shake the earth into clouds of dust. Under their hooves the desert spreds by the same power.
With the goats, the pigs, the chickens I’ve seen that it is the same. The more large and powerful the animal, the more goodness or destruction it can cause. Their natural purpose that serves both themselves AND everyone else can be channeled into creating landscapes of beauty and plenty or it can dominate it into wasted barreness.
It makes me wonder…. what natural power of human beings has become stuck towards destruction, and how can we unbend that power and channel it to make the world fresh and beautiful again?
I’ve been thinking about it. And here is a delicious pie, made with the last of the Egyptian spinach from the summer garden, so good fresh from the oven or cold if you are too busy to light a fire in the stove to warm up leftovers:
Cheese, Chicken, and Spinach Pie
1 large bunch of Egyptian spinach, stems removed (you could also substitute callaloo or Malabar spinach, or regular spinach if you live in that sort of climate
1 the meat from leftover roasted chicken (optional, leave it out for a vegetarian version)
Juice from lemon, or tablespoon vinegar
1 onion or several garlic chives
Salt and pepper
A large spoonful of butter or drizzle of olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
3 eggs, beaten
1 extra egg for glazing the top crust
- Roll out half the crust and lay it in a casserole pan and prick a few times with a fork. Pre-bake it in a hot (350F) oven for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the spinach, garlic, and onion or garlic chives. Heat the oil or butter in a pan and fry the onion and spinach until wilted. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice or vinegar.
- In a bowl, season the cheese to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the beaten eggs.
- Chop up the leftover chicken meat and season with salt to taste as well in a separate bowl (the cheese tends to be very bland without salt so that’s why all the seasoning here)
- When the bottom crust is out of the oven, crumble the seasoned cheese and egg mixture in a layer at the bottom. Then add the shredded chicken, and then the wilted spinach on top.
- Roll out the top crust and carefully place it on top of the pie. Gently tuck the edges over and pinch to seal. Beat up the last egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush on top for a glaze.
- Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.
Wishing you a peaceful weekend!