Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sharing in the Country Way

Sharing.  It's a simple concept.  One that we were encouraged to follow from early childhood.  However, if it is so simple, why does it come so difficult for some? 

It is a concept that wasn't only taught to me in words, but deeds by parents who readily shared excess with neighbors, family and friends.  It is also an act that continues on here on our mountaintop among my neighbors.

Several days ago, one of them showed up at my door with a milk glass candy dish, her sugar cookie recipe and a good sized pumpkin.  A relative of hers had shared a pumpkin windfall from overproductive vines and after she had baked up 44 loaves of pumpkin bread, decided that she would share the wealth.

Not one to turn away good food, I eagerly accepted the pumpkin and waited for a cold day.  Yesterday was just such a day, and early in the morning I began.  While the oven heated up to 275F, I halved the pumpkin and scooped out the insides.

Because of the size, I was only able to fit one half at a time.  Onto a baking pan and into the oven they went; each half cooking 50 minutes until soft.  Removing and cooling, the baked flesh was easily scooped from the rind and filled my colander.  Within a short time, I had 8 cups of fresh pumpkin packaged and nestled into the freezer for recipes to come.

While the pumpkin was baking, I removed the seeds and cleaned them thoroughly.  Several were put back to dry and will be planted come Spring.  The rest were put into a mixing bowl with a couple tablespoons of oil, salt, red pepper, paprika, chili powder and cumin.  When the pumpkin had finished, I raised the oven temperature to 375F for the gingersnap cookies I was going to bake.  The seeds were spread into an iron skillet and roasted for 15 minutes; stirring once during the process.  A nice crunchy treat and nothing was wasted out of the pumpkin because the rinds and scrapings then took a trip to the compost pile.

With a single gift from the generosity of a neighbor comes a stock of fresh pumpkin, a snack, an addition to the compost and seeds to continue the process again come harvest.

Now I will be taking my neighbor gingersnaps to express my gratitude... and the cycle of sharing goes on.

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