Our Life

Christmas Eve

Spot on Christmas EveAnother day.  A day a lot like yesterday.  Cold and still, until I notice the busy birds flitting around the yard.  Not as gray as yesterday.  Not as windy.  They sky is bluer, too.

It’s Christmas Eve.  Or Holiday Eve, if you will. Bob and I have a little preparing to do for the big holiday tomorrow.  I’ve already begun by moving the Tofurky roast from freezer to refrigerator.

I’m planning to make gingered molasses cookies this morning and if they turn out well, I’ll take some to Fred and Reda next door.  I promised Jason and Haruka I’d bring a chocolate beet cake to Christmas dinner tomorrow.  Bob will roast the tofu and seitan beast and I’ll make gravy.

We dressed up the front porch with new lights and sparkly garlands cast off by an unknown person.  Spot is wearing a red holiday bow in anticipation of meeting many new visitors to Trouts Farm on the first day of 2011.  Our second annual Hoppin’ John New Year’s Day Party is bound to draw some new faces.

Bob bought two cases of champagne and we’ve been amassing a supply of bottled orange juice.  I bought six pounds of organic black eyed peas, and rice and corn meal and checked our deep freeze to make sure we have enough greens to go with the Hoppin John and corn bread.  We’ll have plenty of cleaning and cooking to do next week in preparation for our big party.

But today is a quiet day.  A good day to reflect upon our good fortune.  We moved into this house the day after Christmas last year, joining a neighborhood of great people.  We traded garden harvests with Fred and Reda all summer.   Big bags of sweet corn and peppers came across the fence in exchange for potatoes and carrots.

Most Tuesdays we picked up a big box of freshly harvested produce from Jason and Haruka at Edible Earthscapes.  Beans and rice!  Butterhead lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, edamame, carrots, beets, daikon, shishito peppers, garlic, white and sweet potatoes – the list goes on and on.  Nearly every Thursday evening, we shared a meal with anywhere from two to twenty neighbors and friends.  Spot’s scrapbook has grown to eight pages, one new face at a time.

The list of activities we enjoyed over the past year without having to drive anywhere is impressive. There was a trail crawl and numerous games of disc golf and badminton thanks to Lyle and Tami.  We plugged mushroom logs, participated in work parties, harvested mushrooms in the woods and cleared trails together.  Tami and I occasionally walk through the woods to work at each other’s homes.

We are also fortunate to be connected to the larger community in meaningful ways through Bob’s work with Central Carolina Community College and my work with The Abundance Foundation.  Our roles, both professionally and personally are to put positive energy into promoting local food and renewable energy.  Our work connects us to a diverse group of like-minded people and puts us in the path of the growing stream of people drawn here to learn how to create community resilience.  Our ultimate, collective reward is watching local self reliance bloom and grow.

January 1, 2011 will be an extraordinary day.  Perhaps even a spectacular day.  Our home will be filled with old and new friends and co-workers.  The synergy will make our heads spin.  As will the mimosas.  And then the next day will just be another day.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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