Oh, where to begin.
My onions and squash, my potatoes and beans, my milk and yogurt, my beets and raspberries. (Click on my "Nourishment" category and almost all the food you see there was grown by their family. I grow a little of our food. Mary grows much of the rest. Heck, even my garden starts are from her farm.)
Mary is a certified organic farmer. She is the mother of nine boys. She is Amish. She is a soapmaker.
And she is my friend.
We come from different worlds but we share so much in common and I look forward to our weekly visits when I come to her farm for groceries. She looks forward to it too and sometimes stops by my house, hitching her buggy to the power pole across the road.
Last night there was a fire at Mary's house.
While she, her boys, and her husband are okay, the damage is significant. A part of their house is destroyed as is the new produce packing shed they worked so hard to complete last year.
When I left her house today I had tears in my eyes. So much is lost and I simply can not imagine the feeling of seeing flames lap the walls of my home. Or seeing the devastation that remains in the days and weeks following a fire.
I can still smell the smoke in my hair and I was only there for twenty minutes. My children sat in the car, wide-eyes staring at a house they know well that was now smoldering. Staring at these kids they know well, shoveling up smoking debris from what was once their home.
Dozens of friends, family, and neighbors from their Amish community were there, removing debris and scrubbing soot from the walls that still stand. Some of the house is lost (their kitchen, mudroom, and upstairs bedroom), but much what remains can be saved.
And standing there among Mary's true community this afternoon I wanted so much to help, too. Because she belongs to our "English" community as well. She grows our food, makes salves for us, and is a kind neighbor.
And we want to help too.
Mary is also an herbalist. That shared passion was the beginning of our friendship. And so in that spirit I would like to invite you to support my friend and her family in this time of need.
Mary has taught me a great deal about herbs. I am putting together a small PDF of six winter recipes for you, for sale for $6.00. (If you want to donate more you can buy more than one PDF. I'll only email you one copy per order, so don't fret about getting extra emails.) It won't be anything sparkly or elaborate, just a simple workbook of basic recipes. That seems appropriate, doesn't it?
Buy one or buy 100. All of the dollars that I raise by selling the booklet will be anonymously donated to her family. (If you are local and know this family, please don't tell!)
You can read a description and buy the PDF here.
Since I'm still putting the finishing touches on the recipes, I will email it out by December 15.
When the kids and I got home from Mary's I asked them if they could find
anything to be grateful for today. Sage paused and said, "All of those
people. Helping them." And then he added, "And that no one got hurt."
And he's right. Even in a crisis there is much good to focus on.
I believe that with all of my heart.