Mountain Musings: Deferred Gratification

Mountain Musings – A guest column by Dottie Simmons who lives in eastern Humboldt County describes life at her rural homestead:

Musing on deferred gratification…

jars of fermented sauerkrautThe beginning of November I decanted our sauerkraut into quart jars, which is how we store and use it. We started the sauerkraut back in August and it was doing its fermentation magic in a big crock on the table all that time. Somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds of cabbage made 7 quarts and a extra dinner’s worth which we enjoyed the same day.

Ferments are like that – you do the work and wait. The reward comes later. From yogurt that goes overnight, pickles that take a week, to KimChi that takes 10 days or sauerkraut that takes 10 weeks (not to mention Kombucha or wine or other brews), the effort comes first and the result is well worth the wait.

This country life is full of examples, from planting a seed in the garden to harvesting tomatoes months later. Even more so in the orchard where from planting until the first harvest can take years. As a traditional Chinese proverb states: ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now’. A long wait ahead should never be daunting to taking the first action.

fermentation crock next to a jar

L to R: Sauerkraut, KimChi, mustard, sour dills

Much of the rest of our life is like that, too. One of our house sayings is most big projects take 9 years from conception to completion! And what we discovered is the amount of pleasure and satisfaction we derive when that completion is achieved is often proportionate to the time it took! 

jars of fermented products

In this life not fueled by monetary riches dreams still come true. We often find we have either extra time or extra money, but rarely both simultaneously. So when we were building our home and materials became available at a cost we could afford or via another opportunity (barter, giveaway, salvage) we got them and set them aside for when we had the time to put them to use. Or when we did pay to have a project done, such as our deer fence, sometimes we did it in increments we could afford. The fence and gates took 10 years to completely get around the 2-1/2 acres we wanted to protect and it has been a joy to have in the decades since. 

We were ecstatic when we added the final double paned glass window to our house, 30 years after we started building our home! Using recycled, reused, new and custom windows we replaced our double paned vinyl sheeting and reused wood framed antique single paned windows one by one. And we still never take them for granted, they brighten our life every day!

woman working on tiled countertopThe original Covid lockdown provided opportunity to use glass tiles we had purchased on closeout sale 13 years earlier, finally completing a countertop we had planned even before that. All those years a plain sheet of plywood disguised with a tablecloth was the center of our home. That time of no visitors and no going out allowed us to destroy the place for months in order to accomplish the project! And the pleasure and joy and beauty it brings to our daily life is immeasurable.

tiled countertop in progressSometimes, although I know most all of us work toward big goals over time, I look at those folks craving to have things available instantly (more or less) and see them always going ‘next’ and I feel they miss out on really savoring the completion a long awaited goal. A feeling of accomplishment and contentment that can last for many years, if not forever.  They say: “All things come to he who waits”, but you rarely hear mention of how incredibly rewarding it is when it does.

tiled rectangular countertop

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Permanently on Monitoring
Guest
Permanently on Monitoring
6 months ago

Hot tile job! I love the colors and pattern!

I knew a Gynecologist who’s wife spent years on the floor doing wild tile in a old house the Doc was using as an office… Did it at an old house they owned near us, where they raised their kids…

Enjoy your lovely counter!

Ernie Branscomb
Guest
Ernie Branscomb
6 months ago

Absolutely no one who builds their own house ever completely finishes it to their own satisfaction. That comment comes from a person and wife who built their own house, and very long line of ancestors that built their own houses.

The trick is to never mention what you haven’t finished.

P.S. Beautiful counter top. I am envious of your Sauerkraut. I am in the middle of making too much Quince jelly… because I like it.

Last edited 6 months ago
Bonnie
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Bonnie
6 months ago

So enjoy your stories. Remembering building our house with just a handsaw, and a wheel barrow for mixing the cement for the foundation. Still using the wheelbarrow to this day. Alaskan chainsaw mill for the siding. Makes me smile thinking how far I traveled.

Lily Aquarian
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Lily Aquarian
6 months ago

Let us know if you run outta quinces Ernie!

Ernie Branscomb
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Ernie Branscomb
6 months ago
Reply to  Lily Aquarian

Thanks. Last year, no quince. The years before, and this year, great abundance. There is no lack of quince bushes. They have taken over a whole hillside, as quince will do.

tru matters
Guest
tru matters
6 months ago

We had a quince tree. I didn’t even know what is was until a lady stopped by for eggs and said how happy she was to see one and how her family used to use them to make jam.

”Quince forms thick bushes, which must be pruned and reduced into a single stem to grow fruit-bearing trees for commercial use.”

Last edited 6 months ago
Lost Croat OutburstD
Member
Lost Croat Outburst
6 months ago

Fruiting quince has been used as a dwarfing stock for pears with varying degrees of success. Might be worthy of trial to convert a hill to pears.

Lost Croat OutburstD
Member
Lost Croat Outburst
6 months ago

So yours are the typical fruiting quince vs. the Japanese flowering quince with its bright red flowers in January? The Japanese shrubs also fruit but I don’t know if anybody uses them.
any favorite recipes?