Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sitting and watching

I've been trying to slow down these days. And I've also been trying to ramp things up. Mostly I've been trying, trying, to keep things running.

A long time ago I was given the gift of an astrology reading. The main message I got, and that stays with me still, was that my task this time around was to experience as much as possible and to stay calm while doing it. Easier said than done, to be sure.

This picture is the dish of water I have outside my front door. It's a water source for my bees. Who knew? Bees need a drinking fountain. So do my cat and dog. Frequently they all three drink, all at the same time. One of my favorite things to do is to come home and sit on my front step. I'm right next to this beautiful blue water dish and the bees come and go, drinking, flying in, flying out, drinking more. The cat and dog drink too, and then, generally, lie at my feet. I like being there. Very much. Every once in awhile I find a bee floundering in the water. Bees do not swim, so, if I'm there, I help out, ushering the little girl (almost all the bees out flying around are females) over to the edge where she climbs out, dries off, and carries on. Every once in a while the dog or the cat or, perhaps, a bee will knock over this little stack of pebbles. I put it back. Carry on.

Things have felt frantic to me lately and I have been searching for how to find equipoise, balance. Acupuncture is helping. Talking with friends is helping. Pilates, bike riding, dinner in front of stupid tv, and walking my dog all help too.

At work I fired a chef, rolled up my sleeves and got back in the kitchen, found a new chef, am training him, and am dealing, concurrently, with some other stresses. Business ownership is like this. One of my mentors said, "Getting bigger doesn't mean you get rid of the problems, you just get bigger ones." There are plenty of days when I don't want anything to do with any problems.

On those days I just go out onto my step, restack my little pebble stack, maybe rescue a bee, and, mostly sit still.

The Goldenrod is in full bloom now and the bees love it. Apparently Goldenrod makes stinky honey, but honey is honey at this point in the year. The bees are stocking up for the winter and it doesn't matter to me what kind of honey they make, as long as it helps them get through the upcoming cold months. One of my friends never opened her bee hives, never took out any honey, was happy when her bees swarmed and left. To her that was all a part of the natural order of things.

Perhaps that's what all this is, this tumult, stress, relaxation, calm, frenzy. The natural order. Is it possible to adjust and roll with it? Is it possible to remember that this is exactly what I am supposed to be? Continued immersion into the fray, continued practice at staying calm, attentive, alert.

Maybe it's enough just to sit and watch and restack some random pebbles and save a floundering bee every now and then. On many days it's enough for me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's tomato time!!

Yessiree! Tomatoes abound, fill our lives, fill our deli case, fill our hearts.

These are one day's haul from my tiny collection of plants at my house. I bought a handful of cherry tomato plants and stuck them in the ground around my garden guardian. She quickly was overtaken by the greenery and now is covered with bowls full of these bright beauties. For awhile I ate a bowl full with pasta or on a salad or simply right out of the bowl. But I have finally slowed down and have been hauling them in to work where I deposit them on an unsuspecting coworker's desk. Yesterday I took a BIG bowl full of them to Jubilee and tucked them into a nook on the altar. During the sharing of the peace we ate them.

This month is the offical month to celebrate the tomato in Asheville. Our local group, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Projects does a promotion of a specific product each month. Now is tomato time. And someone, perhaps someone from ASAP came up with the very smart idea to have a Tomato Walk. A bunch of us Independent Restaurateurs will feature this beauty during a 2 hour Tomato Happy hour.

We'll have Foccacia slices with heirloom cherry tomatoes; Gazpacho; Heirloom Tomato salad; Pasta Salad with Cherry tomatoes; beer specials; and a whole lot more.
Stroll on by this Thursday (the 20th) between 5 and 7. Nice!

And if you can't make it during that time, fear not - we're well-stocked with tomatoes of all kinds. And will continue to do so.

In other news:
We've been enjoying being open later. Do feel free to come by in the evenings as we're now staying open until 8, Monday through Friday. You can have your dinner to go right here (which makes it dinner to stay) or you can browse our deli case for evening offerings that are the result of the mood of our cooks and the mood of the day and the mood of the weather.

And yes we have beer. And wine.

Oh - and finally, our Farmer's Dinners are gaining in popularity. Put September 17th on your calendar. We'll have three of our farmer friends join us for an evening of Dinner and Conversation. I cook. They talk. You eat. Sound fun? We think so. Reservations are required for these. 828-252-1500.

See you then if not sooner.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zippy offerings

This is a snap of our deli case. If you haven't been to see us recently, well, this might tempt you to make haste to do so.

It's a fine time in our local fields. The farmers are calling us every day, bringing us their bounty, filling our refrigerators and shelves with the most wonderful produce. I'm back in the kitchen these days and there really is nothing I like better than to putter around, poking into all the boxes and seeing what we have. I'm big on bright colors and so I am particularly happy right now. Heirloom tomatoes are here. Sun Golds. On it goes.

And, did you know we are now open later in the evenings during the week? Yup! You can now come, browse through our offerings, and make yourself comfortable in our airy cafe. We'll leave you alone to enjoy your dinner.

I'd say that's a pretty nice thing.

OH! Before I forget!! We're now having a monthly dinner with some of our local farmers. These are called, DRUM ROLL!!!, "Dinner with our Farmers." (Smart title, don't you think?) You come, dine with new friends and with some of our farmers, and get to hear, first hand, how and why they do what they do.

The August one is scheduled for the 13th. Call my Wednesday if you'd like to join in. 828-252-1500. (The September one will be on the 15th.)