All the days lately have been either full of silver mist with sunshine at the edges, or golden and blue with somber grey in reserve.
Some very sad news reached us a few days ago – a very dear family friend passed away suddenly and unexpectedly over the weekend. He was only a few years older than myself, a keeper of poultry and cultivator of the earth, guardian of seeds and mentor to my son.
We helped each other in the hard work of slaughtering. We helped with his rabbits and PJ helped us with our pigs. We taught sausage-making classes together.
We are heartbroken, along with so many others, because although there were many things that were unfair in PJ’s life, he rose above them all and dedicated so much to the community while living simply on very little.
One of the things i loved most about PJ was that he never thought anyone was too weird. Having suffered with prejudice his whole life, first as gay and then as trans, he accepted other people’s unusualness completely. I know i could always talk to him about anything. There are really not that many people you can feel so comfortable around. And it’s inspiring, because i really believe that there is something wonderful about everyone, no matter how different they are, if only you let it reveal itself to you.
Like digging sweet potatoes in the garden, pulling back the gnarly, tangled foliage, loosening the soil, grasping little ends barely visible in crumbles of earth, and pulling out a huge root, shining gold inside and deliciously sweet. It’s so easy to miss them if you are careless.
This is a delicious mostly home-grown, all- local and grain-free variation on stuffing.
Savory Sweet Potato Stuffing
6 large sweet potatoes (for about 3 1/2 cups when diced)
1 cup butter
2 cups chopped pecans
4 sprigs rosemary
4 cloves of garlic
1. Chop up pecans, peel and dice sweet potatoes, mince the garlic.
2. Melt butter and gently toast the pecan pieces.
3. Add the sweet potato chunks and the garlic. Pull off the rosemary leaves and add them and season with salt and pepper.
4. Gently sautée until the sweet potatoes look a little soft.
5. Stuff a turkey (or 1/2 recipe for a chicken) and roast. Otherwise, you can also put it in a roasting pan and roast separately in the oven for 15 minutes or so.
Feeling thankful for all the years we had to be friends with PJ, and for all the other great friends in our lives. It’s always so important to let the people we love know how much they are appreciated, because you never know when you might have to say goodbye. I will always wish i could have given PJ one last hug.
Thank you so much for reading here!