Yup, He’s Orthodox

Today is St. Patrick’s Day – a huge secular feast day in America, and one that has huge religious roots.  It is seen as an Irish-based holiday, and indeed most all of the people I encountered today here in the heart of Massachusetts had green on (and I was on pinch patrol).  On Facebook today someone posted an article entitled “YES he’s Orthodox and NO he’s not Irish!”.  Well, yes on the first and, I would argue, no on the second part.  St. Patrick is indeed an Orthodox saint (and a great bridge between our faith and American culture).  He is, like many others, a western saint who lived before the great schism – a period of a thousand years shared by the west and east.  While St. Patrick was not ethnically Irish, he made the country his home and became one of the people – like coming to American, buying into the program, and becoming American.  His Eminence Metropolitan Savas has shared a great article on what food St. Patrick likely would have had at a feast.  Here is a hint – it is likely not like the local pub’s St. Paddy’s day special.

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March 17th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Day 37: Vegetables

One of my favorite topics!  As you can see from the subject, this is day 37 of the exercise, so we have three more days until Christmas.  And as I write this – late December in Massachusetts – I have three crops still growing to yield in our garden – swiss chard, lettuce, and, especially, kale.  Truthfully, the first two have been pretty played out at this point, but the kale is still growing and every week or so at this point I harvest enough leaves to make a nice dish of sauteed kale greens.  Kale and chard continue to grow as you harvest the bigger leaves even into cold weather – kale actually does better in cooler weather.  Lettuce has the advantage of growing quickly – you can easily get three harvests from spring to fall or just keep planting seeds and letting things come as they may.  Once Christmas is past, though, the sad season, as I call it, sets in.  We just had the solstice, so the days are starting to get longer, but we have a long way to go until planting season.

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December 22nd, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Day 31: Glog, Grog or Wassail

Today Fr. Peck has us blogging about holiday drinks.  I am going to freelance a little because I think for Christmas this year I will debut our new homemade wine.  Our grapevine this year – its second full year – produced grapes.  As we did last year, my good friend Al and I foraged for wild grapes (this being New England they were concord grapes) throughout the area, and we took in a pretty decent haul which we combined with the several bunches I harvested from the house grapevine.  Al took some to make jam, and I used the rest to make wine (Prez being the chemist in the family did most of the work).  We ended up with about several gallongs worth, total, of sweet wine.  Besides the Christmas supply, the rest will be used for communion wine since it is sweet red wine.  My challenge to Orthodox readers: go beyond making prosphoro.  Make wine! 🙂

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December 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

The Garden

Our assignment today is to talk about soil.  When we think of our faith or of scripture we naturally think of the parable of the sower, where we can identify either with the sower – we need to take care where we plant – as well as the soil – are we receptive to the Word?  I thought I would talk about our garden here at the house, because through it I have frequent and direct contact with the soil, which helps me appreciate the parable.

Normally I fall off in blogging and the planting of my garden – most of it goes in the ground the week before Memorial Day – inspires me to start writing again.  This past year I didn’t blog for months on end – my watch and heart just weren’t in it.  But I am back, and even though it is early December the garden is still in action!  This year I planted kale and swiss chard for the first time, and wouldn’t you know that these crops continue growing into the cold weather.  You can harvest leaves from them throughout the summer and fall and they keep growing.  In my main gardening book the author talks about one of the best kale crops she ever harvested came after wiping snow off the leaves and cutting them. When it snowed the other day I deliberately went out, shook off the snow, and cut some kale to saute and eat with my meal.  It is so cool to still be harvesting things from outside in December.

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December 5th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Harvesting Fennel Seeds

We are approaching mid-November and the garden is pretty much done for the year.  Except for some celery that is still going strong, the other fruits, vegetables and herbs have been harvested.  This doesn’t mean the work has ended – I have to get everything ready for winter – but the joys of picking stuff and just in general playing around in it have finished.  Today we had a final major gathering – I took in our fennel plant, and Prez and Vaia took out and collected the seeds.

You can read about fennel here and here.  The Greek word for fennel is marathos, so Marathon in Greece – the place where the epic battle took place and that gave its name to the road race – was named after the plentiful fennel found there.  Here is a picture of Prez and Vaia and then one of the final collection:

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November 11th, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Sprouting Celery

Today is the third day of spring, but who’s counting?  I grew up in New England until the age of 18 and then spent ten years in Virginia; my body has never adjusted back to the weather up here.  After picking up gardening a few years ago I found a new frustration – the seemingly endless winter compounded by the desire to get back out there and garden.  My coping mechanisms this time of year include planning the garden as well as sprouting seeds or roots with the hope of planting them in May.  The picture below features one of these sprouting attempts that doubles as a project for the girls – the bottom of a celery plant, normally discarded, was put by the girls in a shallow plate with water.  You can see the results; our next step, once the sprouts have grown, will be to plant it in a pot and then ultimately transfer it outside, perhaps in a cloche before the weather truly warms up.  The picture also shows a ginger root (on the left) which is also starting to sprout.  Just out of the picture on the right are lemon seeds that have sprouted, and by the window in the garage I have an onion which we discovered with a shoot coming out of it.  I planted the onion and put it by the window, and after a day or two of sun the shoot turned green.  As always, stay tuned…

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March 22nd, 2013 by Fr. Greg

Chamomile

Our garden has grown tremendously in the month or so since I planted it, and I am overdue for an update.  One of the pleasant surprises each spring is what may pop up without being planted.  This year the major crop was chamomile.  Huge bunches sprang up and I successfully moved almost all of them to the hill behind our house.  Soon after we harvested the flowers and dried them, and now I have been drinking chamomile tea (actually chamomile mixed with rooibos, a very tasty combination) every night ever since.  Here are a few photos of Vaia helping with the harvest and replanting:

 

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June 30th, 2012 by Fr. Greg