Several months ago Bear quadruple tore his gluteous maximus. To say he was in pain is putting it mildly, but thankfully, with a couple of months of chiropractic, physical therapy, and lots of rest, he was doing heaps better.
Until this week, that is. Then, thanks to the boisterous affections of a ram who still thinks he’s a baby, Bear thoroughly messed up his upper sacral lumbar. It puts the pain of the previous injury into the realms of a paper cut. Poor, poor guy. Again, thankfully, we have excellent health care folks who are taking good care of him and he will mend, but in the meantime, life as we knew it, with two people to manage the farm and work, has necessarily been pared back to what I can manage on my own.
It’s been hard for both of us. Him because he can’t stand not being in the thick of things with me. He wants to be out there feeding animals and building fences and getting the orchards done, but he simply can’t. And it’s been hard for me because I hate seeing him in pain and I’m only one person trying to juggle too many things in the hottest summer I’ve ever experienced.
So I brought out my dusty Set Healthy Boundaries tool set and went to work. I said no to good things so I could say yes to the vital things: keeping me and Bear healthy, meeting my work commitments, and managing the farm.
We’re figuring it out and our days are easing into a new rhythm that is manageable and good. We’ve found things that Bear can do to ease my load – fold laundry, cook, drive me places so I can rest in the car – and that frees me up to do the physical stuff around the farm that he’s forbidden from even thinking about. I made elderberry syrup for me to keep colds and flus at bay, and comfrey poultices for Bear to help his back heal quicker. We turn our 3-times-a-week jaunts to the city for chiro/therapy visits into half days of fun by visiting our favourite thrift stores and having coffees and toasted sandwiches at our favourite café where they’re always happy to see us and make time from their work to have a good ol’ chat.
And when we’re at home we make sure to do something fun every day, whether it’s watching a movie, progressing on a medieval project, or making interesting things like Pickled Cherries. It may be a rough spot in our lives, but we’re determined to make the most of it.
I waited eagerly for cherry season this year, looking forward to finally making the pickled cherries I’d been reading about. When my friend Rowan from Harrow and Finch Fine Hampers said she’d bring me some from Stanthorpe, I was thrilled to bits. Especially when I tasted them. Oh my word. So fat and firm and flavourful.
I’d never made pickled cherries before, so it was all a bit of an experiment. I read all sorts of recipes and the basic gist is this: fresh cherries covered with a hot sweet vinegar mixture seasoned with spices or herbs, then sealed. Easy-peasy.
I made three large jars of pickled cherries and saved the rest for snacking. Two of the jars I seasoned with coriander seeds, bay leaves, and a few peppercorns. The third I add fresh rosemary from my garden and more peppercorns.
They look and smell absolutely divine, but they won’t be ready for eating for another week or so. I cannot wait to try them.
In the meantime I let them sit on my dining room table like a centrepiece, looking especially gorgeous when the first rays of morning sun glisten through them.
Now it’s time to head to bed and read awhile. The kookaburras are cackling madly and dark clouds have rolled in bringing deliciously cool breezes to ease the sweltering heat. A cooler windy night is the right one for a good book. xo
Pickled Cherries with Coriander and Bay
4-6 cups fresh cherries
2 cups vinegar (apple cider is best)
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 fresh bay leaves
1/2 tsp peppercorns
- Sterilize canning jars, lids, and rings. Fill jars with cherries and set aside.
- In medium saucepan combine remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour directly over cherries, dividing seasonings equally between the jars. Seal immediately and set aside to cool. The heat should seal the jars, but if not, put through a hot water bath to ensure they seal properly.
- Set aside for 2-4 weeks to mature, then serve with cold meats and cheeses.