Some days when Michelle stays home, we act like a lady and gentleman of leisure. We tend to enjoy long lunches.
For instance, yesterday, the clouds blew away and a bright, sunny day developed just before high tide. We fished together on the northern boundary rock. Before long, we had a good sized pink salmon.
I’d set the Sun Oven out on the beach to catch the sun (see Cooking with Solar). I put a small container of empty egg shells in it—we like to bake them a bit before we crush them up for tomoato plants or the compost (the ravens seem liess likely to fish them out of the compost if they’re fragile). At the time I set the oven up, we had about enough sunlight for egg shells, not much more.
When we finished cleaning the fish, the Sun Oven had hit about 300° so we baked it for lunch. Michelle added a couple of small potatoes, and we gathered a salad from the garden. I brought out a bottle of homemade wine we’d opened previously, along with a couple of Lexan glasses. Before we knew it, we sat down to a feast.
We lounged on the veranda on the edge of the beach, flicking bones onto the rocks below, watching Lynn Canal and the Coast Range peaks on the far side. Boats passed north and south. A raven investigated the fish head and guts. Towering clouds drifted gently by.
We had so much to do! We worked to level a new garden bed while waiting for the fish to bake, breaking rocks with hammer and chisel (see Stone Breaker). I needed to haul firewood out of the forest to dry in the sun. Both of us had a list of other jobs we intended to focus on while the sunny weather lasted.
And yet, we lingered. We waited for the potatoes, which took a bit longer than the fish. We chatted, discussed the books we’re reading. We even opened a new bottle of wine. We acted like we were whiling away an idle afternoon at a restaurant or sidewalk café, not grabbing lunch in the middle of a busy day on a working homestead.
Why not? I find that I in particular get too caught up in maximizing time use and focusing effort on our property. I feel like I need to justify my lack of wage work by throwing myself wholeheartedly into operating the homestead. I sometimes lose sight of what we’re doing, and why.
On some days, we grab a quick bite in the middle of a job. Occasionally, particularly when I’m here alone, I skip lunch altogether. But every now and then, we put things in proper perspective, and take a long lunch. All too soon, the warm, sunny days will pass. We won’t be comfortable sitting on the veranda. We’ll have to eat our meals inside. We may as well take advantage while we can.