Yesterday we had such a productive day of shopping fun! So now I’m basically set for the next month. I bought a lot of dairy and potatoes with Chanukah in mind. Generally we can squeak by on 50 lb of potatoes a month, but when the kids realized I only bought 65 pounds, they started clamoring for more. They saw a sign as I pulled into a gas station right before getting on to the highway ’50 lb of potatoes for $12′, and since that was an amazing price, I followed the signs to the home of a Mennonite farmer.
What nice people! Our interaction, though not very long, was really nice. She has eight children, about the ages of mine. When I asked her the age range, she said the oldest was 17, and then said ‘there would have been two more’. I didn’t think I heard her correctly, so I asked her to repeat herself, and she told me she had two children who died- one at the age of 12 days, and the other at the age of 18 months. They both died of the same disease – Hirschsprungs. One would have been 18, the other 12. So, so tragic.
After she told me that, I understood the indirect way she answered me when I initially asked about how many children she had, and how old the oldest was. How do you answer a question like that? Can you answer as if those children were never born? When she told me they both died, I was shocked and horrified. Losing two children at two different times may not have been unusual one hundred years ago, but now it’s almost unheard of. She saw my reaction, and said, “Yes, it was hard.” I started to respond and got so choked up thinking of the unimaginable pain of that kind of loss that I couldn’t even get through my sentence. It doesn’t take a long time to connect with the heart of another mother.
I often think of how each of us are meant to be exactly where we are at every moment. How did I end up at this woman’s house? Because I thought I bought 130 lb of potatoes, and didn’t realize that the bags I got were actually 5 pounds instead of 10 – that’s why we ran short. It’s not that I didn’t think about getting extra for Chanuka- I did, but I was meant to overlook an obvious detail when figuring out amounts so I’d have this interaction.
And this is true of unpleasant situations, too. Just before I pulled out of the gas station to get the potatoes, I saw someone who was waiting to pull into the main area. As a courtesy, I waited for him to go first, but instead of a wave and smile, he cursed at me (short unpleasant epithets are easily lip read :)). I pulled ahead to go by, and as I went by, glanced towards him, and he started cursing at me more. I looked directly at him, gave him a big sunny smile and an enthusiastic wave, and went on my way. That was a situation I was meant to be in also. I felt very glad to have been sent an opportunity to practice not getting sucked into someone else’s negativity. Reacting in this way left me feeling sorry for him that he’s so unhappy but not personally attacked.
As far as my shopping, it was great, as always! You could say that I was in just the stores I needed to be in to buy what I was meant to buy! I got a lot of fruit – 2 cases (80 lb) bananas, 1 case pears (36 lb), 30 large navel oranges (so nice that citrus is coming into season now!); 45 dozen eggs, and plenty of dairy for Chanuka – 16 lb cottage cheese, 18 lb ricotta cheese, 15 lb sour cream, 10 gallons of raw milk, and ten lb butter. The kids always enjoy the abundance of fruit right after my big shopping, because I basically let them take as much as they want!
I was hoping to buy some wild salmon, but the two kinds I saw were both labelled ‘wild Alaskan salmon’, product of China. Sheesh. When you look at labels, it makes you wonder how food can be grown/harvested on the other side of the world, be shipped over here, and be sold more affordably than something grown/harvested locally.
But as far as local goes, I got a few humongous heads of cauliflower for .75 a head! It was brought in by a local small time farmer to the store I was shopping at – it’s nice how small stores owned by families can do that! I also got a few heads of cabbage at $1 a head. I bought about six heads of cabbage a few days ago (along with 50 lb carrots), and since I got another 10 lb of carrots yesterday, I’m going to need to get busy preparing some sauerkraut and ginger carrots. I started a quart of preserved sliced lemons (the recipe from NT) a couple of days ago, but otherwise the countertop is empty of jars of ‘preserves’.
I found five packages of sprouted organic tortillas for just .50 each – I was so excited about that! A couple of weeks ago we made tortillas and it takes way too long to be more than an occasional treat. I haven’t have good luck baking with sprouted flour (that I made, maybe store bought is different); maybe one day I’ll spend more time figuring that out, but for now I prefer soaking flour instead. And for a snack, I bought some organic blue corn chips and organic veggie chips – they were a super price and it’s nice to give the kids something like this for a special treat. It’s particularly nice with bean dip and salsa.
As always, it was nice to go, and nice to be home and know the shopping is basically done for another few weeks.