072 The garden wakes up

072 The garden wakes up

The garden is waking up, so I take a good look around and enjoy some sunshine before heading home to prepare a pork roast in the air fryer. I’ll also explain why I am no longer vegan.

There is garlic! Yay! Oh! The onions are coming, too!

Looks like everything survived the winter. It looks like my roof and the entire garden house made it through a very wet, very windy winter. I am so excited to get back here and work on the rest, because most of this still looks pretty bad.

Let’s check on the second hut real quick. I know that it looks bad, but it’s fine, because I knew I was going to take this down anyway. So, the second hut is going to go very soon. I don’t think there’s any way to save this.

I decided to finish a full circle of the neglected piece of land I hope to restore this summer. It looks like trimming the blackberries might have worked. I’m hopeful.

I still have a few rounds of trash to drive off. I’ll start tackling that soon. But first, I need to prepare for spring. The garden is slowly waking up. The trees are budding, too.

My balance is still horrible, both from the stuffy ears and the winter without training. I try to do some balancing and hanging whenever I’m here.

Another thing that really fascinates me is just how much water there is in this rain barrel. It has not been connected to any collection system, so this is just how much water fell this winter, evaporated, fell, evaporated, fell… It’s just how much rain we’ve had. It’s more than two-thirds full!

That’s how many millimeters of rain, or inches of rain, or however you want to express that, we’ve had. And I haven’t even installed a rain collection system, because that’s still in there.

I was also really excited to see that some of the so-called weeds on the unplanted beds were edible. With the sun hiding behind thick clouds, I headed home after a good look around.

Time to prepare dinner: a pork roast we’d gotten from the local farm we get our meat from. I’d fermented some sour cream for the sauce with kefir grains. As there was no fat on the meat, I added some lard before adding the roast to the air fryer.

While the meat baked, I filled up the hydroponics system. And took yet another break, of course.

After the first half hour, I removed the roast from the pan and set aside the juices for the sauce. I haven’t made pork roast in years. And never in an air fryer. The night before, I’d prepared some onions and bell pepper.

While I prepare the sauce, let’s talk about meat. My friend recently went vegan, roughly when I stopped. This has sparked some conversations. I was vegan for years. I still think that was the right choice. So, why do I eat meat, dairy, and eggs now?

Two things lead to me no longer being vegan: availability and health. Don’t worry, I’m not going to claim that a vegan diet isn’t healthy. Bear with me. But let’s start with availability.

For years, I tried finding good sources for meat. For years, I failed to find anything. When we moved into the middle of nowhere in Eastern Germany, that changed. A garden neighbor provides chicken and eggs. A local farm provides beef, pork, and dairy. I know the cows, the chicken, the pigs we eat. I know how they are raised. I have pet the animals.

My conscience is fine with eating their meat. Most of our meals are still vegetarian, though. If we move somewhere without this option, I’d go vegan again. Without hesitation. I still choose the vegan options whenever we are out and about. And this roast will last for days.

So, health? Yes, health. Let me explain. As most of you know, I am chronically ill with classical Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Endometriosis. One of the biggest issues I struggle with is eating. Changing intolerances, indigestion, stomach aches, and worst of all: nausea and lack of appetite.

My medication is known to cause the munchies, but even with that help, I struggle with eating. A lot. I have been on all kinds of restrictive diets to figure this out. So far, nothing has helped permanently.

When we were sick, I couldn’t eat, as I couldn’t medicate. I currently eat peanut butter by the spoonful to get some of the weight I lost back. I lose weight very easy, but struggle to keep it. Thanks to my illness, I have an eating disorder. I know it’s the kind of eating disorder people give you compliments for. Somehow, that just makes it worse. So, I cook from scratch and only restrict where I get my food from, not what I eat.

Actually, there is a third reason. When I was vegan, I relied a lot on processed, plastic-packaged foods. I am sure the very local approach has less of an impact on the environment–and actually, probably even animals.

My diet is one of the very few things I regularly call myself a hypocrite for, so I won’t blame you if you do. But for now, this feels like the right decision.

Speaking of decisions: we won’t get animals. At least now any time soon. Not while in this apartment. One day, when we own land, we’ll have chickens. But not now that we have to drive to get to the garden. I’ll still garden with a view of the chicken we will eat in fall. I’m okay with leaving the raising to others I trust.

There are a million things to do in the garden. As I edit this, I have officially started working on them.

So long, and thanks for being here.

French Toast Bake

You’ll need stale bread in cubes or pieces. Feel free to mix breads. The better the bread, the better the result.

You’ll have to adjust the below depending on how much bread you used:
150 mL (non-dairy) milk
2 eggs
40 g sugar or to taste

Mix milk, eggs, cinnamon and sugar. Pour over the bread cubes. Let that soak for a while (up to over night in the fridge), stirring a few times to coat all cubes.

Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Stir and continue to bake until desired crispiness.

Frozen berries or chopped apples are a great addition.