Week 11: Pepperfield Principles in Action

I have always been interested in prinicples – ideas, concepts or beliefs – that people avidly stand behind. David has many of them that I respect and witnessing them unfold is truly amazing.

The week started with an early breakfast with some overnight guests. During which Bobo, aptly named, stirred up quite a ruckus in the woods. When David went to investigate the disturbance he happened upon a bright orange mushroom that I came to know as chicken of the woods. After our quick foraging adventure David and setup a trellis for melons in our last isolated bed for seed renewal crops. We took a quick trip to town to do some maintenance at the hospital garden which involved tying up the tomato plants. Afterwards we went to the store and ran a few miscellaneous errands before returning home for lunch. Since all of our tomatoes are on the same clock I ended up tying up more of them here as well. I then sickled weeds between the grapevines, something that has to be done by hand because the mower won’t fit between the vines safely. I did some light weeding as well and then came back to the house for dinner. I cooked up the mushroom and it was glorious. As it hit the pan the house filled with this haunting floral aroma, completely different than any mushroom scent I have experienced. The taste was even better, a combination of light earthiness, scrambled eggs and a gentle nuttiness. It is a rarity in nature so just like the fawn pate I was honored.

Tuesday we began cleaning the house for the wedding guests. We were hosting the groom’s family and we had a fair amount of work to do. Shortly after David and I planted some walnut seedlings down at his creek for erosion prevention. When I came back I weeded the berry patch, a monstrous job, and then did some more weeding in the vineyard. I felt pretty good still so David and I built a compost pile. I made a quick stop by the wedding site to finalize plans with Carina and see the venue. The day after I went to town to get some errands done for the catering. I picked up equipment from Ruth, the caterer I worked with last week at village fire. I then went to the local produce store to pick up most of our ingredients for the event. When I returned I ate a quick lunch and began some light prep. I made mustard and the vinaigrettes for the wedding. I also pickled some red onions for condiments. I returned to my afternoon with more weeding and finished of the my work day with cooking quinoa for a salad. We have our first vegetables coming in to harvest, so I grabbed a few bunches of kale and braised them with bacon and onions. I was pleasantly surprised that they held up in the pot and had a fantastic flavor, very reminiscent of collard greens. Thursday I helped clean around the house by vacuuming the upstairs rooms. After I cooked potatoes for potato salad and then spent my afternoon napping. When I got up I did some weeding in the main garden.

Friday, David and I went to the dump to drop of the accumulation of trash from six months. Surprisingly it was only a pickup truck bed full. More of it recycling than anything else. When we returned we collected some hay from one of his mowed fields and then I spent the afternoon preparing food. I made the quinoa salad, finished the potato salad, made some coleslaw and packaged a few items. We all went out to the local pizza farm to get some great coal fired pizza. In preparation for our guests I made a sourdough starter and let it begin to ferment overnight. The next day I spent exclusively working with food. I started my day cutting melon for the event. Afterwards I went to town to finish my final tasks before the wedding. I through a few loaves into the oven when I returned home as our guests began to arrive. The aromas of the whole wheat wafted through the air. It must’ve smelled good because as the family arrived they ate nearly an entire loaf. Later in the afternoon, Pippin – David’s son – and his family arrived and I made an introduction. Carina was holding a pre-wedding reception that lasted for a few hours. When I got home I finished the roasted squash and went to bed. Sunday started with breakfast for the groom’s family. I got the car loaded later in the morning and began to get organized. I went to wedding a few hours early to do my setup and help out with anything I could. Then I picked up some of the food from one the restaurants in town before returning to brief my servers and greet guests. I made one last stop at the house during the ceremony to grab all the cold food; we had to store it all at the farm because we have a massive refrigerator. The party went late into the evening, everyone enjoyed the food and I got bombarded with various compliments about my service and the food. It felt great.

One of the Pepperfield principles is “Do what you love, do it to the best of your ability [and you will be rewarded]”. David has frequently told me this and it has always been significant to me. I also strive to give me all when I do anything. I got a perfect taste of this in action during this last week (really the last day of this week). I received a multitude of compliments but also a fair amount of tips for my work. Not only did I take this catering job on as a challenge, I offered it as a gift to David for all the work and help he has given me over the past 11 weeks. One of the comments was in appreciation of the work I was doing. It felt even better because the gentleman told me he too worked in the industry and enjoyed watching me “fucking kill it”. As he discreetly handed me a $20 bill, tears welled in my eyes. I was overcome with a tremendous amount of pride and sanctification that not only was my cooking something to be commended, but that my work ethic and service did not go unnoticed as well. He wasn’t the only one either, many people came up to me over the course of the night and slipped me various tips while feeding me compliments about the food. It really was this surreal experience – one that I have never actually encountered before. Each week here has seemed to increase in greatness; I’m making strides in my growth of my body, mind and spirit but also beginning to see the different experiences and rewards that derive from food itself.

Check out what you may have missed this week here!

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