07 May 2008

the new peasant economics

Why is it that time and money exist on parallel planes? It’s like some evil economic quantam scale where you invariably have a rude abundance of one and a dearth of the other. It's also like a Snuffleupagus and Mr Hooper scene (never the twain shall meet). Whatever, the imbalance is stress-provoking and anti-life.

Since joining the ranks of daytime gadabouts (ie, adequately furnished with time), I’ve noticed a peculiar change in my activities...

Fire. I am besotted with it. After rousing from bed and feeding the cat, my first priority is to light the woodstove. Throughout the day I feed it, poke it and monitor its behaviour like a new mother. This is because it is both a brilliant heat provider (do you know how close Gippsland is to Antarctica?) and the cooker of our hot meals. Hail the woodstove. You are my new god.

Tools. The pyro preoccupation has led to a parallel interest in the chainsaw. Yes! Last week I wielded death in my hands, surviving Chainsaw 101 and Kickback 102. I figure it’s probably good to know how to use the thing, just in case wood supplies here run low. Which is not likely to precede melting of the polar caps, but anyway…

Bread. As noted previously, I’m on an upward sourdough curve. After mastering the folding in and low-knead techniques, I’ve cracked the flour:wet ingredients ratio. Breakthroughs that resulted in a loaf which doesn’t digest like stone. Next assignments: Tibetan barley bread and ginger bread…

Herbs. While the elder relic plays in the vegie garden, I’ve begun my ‘I will never buy herbs from the supermarket again’ campaign. Cuttings from E going well. Seeds sown but yet to sprout. The sun’s return would help. (I might have also thrown a bunch of random vegie seeds in a pot – my competitive streak lingers despite the change of postcode/lifestyle.)

Handicrafts. Object of my fascination Mystic Medusa promised an answer lurking in a clogged-up cupboard. To offset further goading from one of the relics, I began sorting through boxes of old school/uni work. The mega-deed ended in a craft session (and a disturbing flashback to my youth) as I sat on my bedroom floor making notebooks out of photocopied waste. If the question was whether I will ever need to buy another notepad again...

All other incarnations of food not already covered. Have swanned into role of house chef. Food prep enthusiasm has returned in full, courtesy wads of time to dream and create. Of recent note was a black-eyed bean, tomato and spinach curry with minted yoghurt and coconut rice. Didn't sound all that appealing when I tried to describe my vision to the diners. Verdict? They did rave. And I would serve it with girlish glee to a table of me and David Wenham. In other food news, an order for lamb roast has been received for mothers day.

<$ Since I’ve been watching it like the woodstove, I’ve noticed how much of it I waste. I’ve been paying monthly salary packaging fees since last September… without actually earning a salary! The car also caused acute haemorrhaging last week – I still can't talk about it but have regained my composure after a weekend of wine and 100 kinds of dairy that I can blame on visiting brother and T. And of course, every single recurrent expense I have was recently ‘adjusted in line with CPI’. Bah! Grrrr!

All these activities have been bubbling alongside the vision quest, which of course is to (*closes eyes and clicks heels thrice*) creatively fund my continued existence in this new part-time, fire-starting, tool-wielding, cultivating, crafting, baking mode (where creative = on my terms and legal).

Gordon Bennett! I’ve joined the peasantry!

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