Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mis en Place*

Fife, just 24 hours into motherhood, grunted to urge back the wandering piglet. Simultaneously she used her snout to toss some straw into the corner of her farrowing hut, where the pile of straw combined with heat lamps keep the squiggly bunch of eight piglets warm. We farmers worry if it is warm enough but otherwise are thrilled. We’ll sleep well tonight with all this in place. Fife seems to be doing a great job figuring it all out. Without immunity and with the 2 to 500 pound ratio not in the piglets' favor uncertainty lingers. And we are sobered since the ninth piglet didn’t make it. Luckily the compost pile reached the optimal 140 degrees F earlier in the week, the temperature required to ensure a clean outcome. So the ninth piglet too is covered and warm, in its place.

As November advances winter readiness projects proceed at a snappy pace. Mark has used patience, 2x4s, trigonometry and scrap wood to finesse snug sides for the second hut. Collin, Forrest and Mari assembled 100 cedar posts and associated lumber to install a new fence around the winter loafing areas. Laura and Liva sorted and topped copious crates of lovely carrots and turnips. These will be stored with other delicious storage veggies in Kati’s root cellar.

Our friend MJ introduced us to the concept of Mis en place. MJ, taking some days off from her work at the Food Network to prepare for Greek exams (she does Classics on the side), generously coached us on our home catering exploits and cooked turnip champ. We learned a ton and ate well.

Mising en placing seems endless to Mari and Laura! It seems inevitable that snow and cold will seize in place some tools and plants that haven’t gotten prioritized on our mega-spreadsheet of projects! Soon after that we’ll be able to see less and less that is out of place, if we are lucky enough to get a blanket of snow anything like the last two winters! Snow or no snow we know we’ve landed in a wonderful place for us right now. It is because of all of you and your tomato pies, blog feedback, hands-on-help and overall encouragement. Thanks.

*Mise en place (pronounced [miz ɑ̃ plas]) is a French phrase defined as "everything in place", as in set up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mise_en_place

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