Growing up we looked on in wonder at my Carpatho-Rusyn Grandmother’s own collection of homemade pysanky eggs on display in their dinning room. Believed to be a tradition that dates over thousands of years (historians have to admit eggshells don't have a great shelf-life in archaeological sites), it is prevalent among Slavic cultures. The eggs are decorated by being dropped in various colored dyes with wax drawn on to block off areas in each layer to make intricate designs. The original symbolism is left to speculation, however intuitively it's easy to see eggs as a branch bursting from Springtime's Great Tree of renewal.
Around the transition into Spring there's an Eastern-European religion that has adopted this egg decorating tradition and also practices a fasting period that includes abstinence from eggs, and begs the question- aside from decorating, what happens to all the eggs no one is eating? Hard boiling was believed to be one method, though modern Health Inspectors would likely disagree. Unwashed egg can last a few months, but eggs buried in boxes of wood ash, can be even more effective providing something like 6 months of protection. That might bring up feelings of familiarity for those 1000-year egg fans out there. These beautiful dark brown, green-ish eggs said to have originated in China are made from being submerged in something alkaline like ash/ lime and cured in clay. More on that further down the pipe.
For your reading pleasure this month we are very excited to have together a flax-to-linen tutorial. In an effort to make things as straight-forward as possible, these articles are attempted to be written as concisely as possible, thus outlining the whole process starting from seed to just a few paragraphs. The ironic part of it all is that this has been four years of effort distilled down to its most essential parts. We hope this summary helps someone get there a little quicker.
In a makeshift urban root cellar such as we have, the turning of the weather is felt in more places than the breaking of tree buds. While a fermented french fry recipe featured above seems lighthearted and fun, it serves a practical purpose as the tail-end of our stored potatoes, like the trees, also experience a "bud-breaking" (or spud-breaking?). It works two-fold as what needs eaten needs done with a little more pep, while those potatoes put aside for seed are getting a little pre-sprouting before going in the ground soon enough.
These potatoes are included in a "post" about favorite subsistence crops. Making lists is silly but we did it anyway because we think there's some real value in turning people's attention to the foundations of feeding yourself in this geography where growing tomatoes is far more popular. Even if you don't have the space to produce that much food you can still save the seed, pick up the rhythm, and make a tradition about it. The list was formed back in March of 2020 when starting up the farm coincided with a jolting uncertainty.
For those local and curious about pysanky there's an annual festival just down the way in Carnegie that we think is a neat afternoon on April 10th. More info.
Happy Spring & Happy Fermenting!