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  • Writer's picturecarlyjenessa

What's Cookin' In The Pot?

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

As part of a writing class I'm in, I suggested "What's cookin' in the pot?" as a prompt. I thought about it all week. I thought about how it's more important to me how I cook what's in my pot, than what exactly is in it. I thought about a story involving three men and a clove of garlic, but that wasn't quite right. I thought about how our planet is getting hotter each year and wrote a depressing poem. None of things really answered the question of what's cooking in the pot? Today, still stuck on the prompt, I'm writing about chicken soup.

I'm one of those lucky people, who can walk out of her door and straight into her garden. I can dig up potatoes, carrots, leeks, and kale to put into my pot. I have chicken carcasses' in my freezer from chickens I raised last spring.

I say I'm lucky because I know I am. My luck also has come with a lot of big decisions and a lot of work!

I live on an off grid island, not because it magically happened. I made a choice one day. I moved to a small off grid island from the city, despite working full time as a nurse in the city.

I tried to commute and live my days off on the little off grid island, and live in the city on my four days of work. This eventually left me exhausted. I was living two lives and found it confusing, tiring, and discombobulating.

Neither of my two lives were flourishing the way I knew they could if I were to give myself fully to one of them. I had to choose one.

The life in the city gave me security, financial independence, and the title of being a "professional" although, I never felt like such. The life off grid gave me a sense of freedom, a feeling of belonging, and forested landscape to live. I leapt towards the life that I dreamed of and moved full time to the little island of Lasqueti.

The place I now live did not come with carrots and potatoes. It didn't even come with soil! All the soil I now grow my food in has been brought there, collecting it from friends who were digging holes for ponds, collecting seaweed from the beach, collecting leaves from the maple trees in the fall, collecting sheep turds from the surrounding fields, and of course from making compost from our fruit and veggie rinds.

I won't lie though, some of it came from plastic bags filled with soil that I bought from the local soil stand. Regardless, it certainly took much time collecting and bringing these things to the site before I could plant any sort of successful garden. I had to set the stage for the magic to happen.

But now, after several years of building soil, I get to taste fresh carrots out of my garden. I helped mother nature to grow these carrots. I planted the seeds in fertile soil. I weeded and watered and she did the rest. It will never not be magical.

And the flavor of fresh carrots is unbeatable. I haven't been able to grow my own onions yet because my small children like to pull them out of the ground in the spring before they have a chance to grow. Maybe next year.

So, what's cooking in my pot? It's delicious homegrown chicken soup, with store bought onions and herbs I've grown and dried myself. I'm not a spectacular gardener yet, by any means- I'm probably average at best. But the amount of fulfillment I feel when I eat food I've helped mother earth grow is immeasurable.

I sip soup and reflect upon all the decisions I've made, the work I've done, and the support I've received from others to make this happen. And I can tell you, it

tastes absolutely divine.

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