Monday, January 4, 2016

Tomine's Closer To The Ground

Firewood man, firewood.  It's all about firewood.

I'll come back to that in a minute.

Recently I was given the opportunity to dive into Dylan Tomine's book, Closer To The Ground.  The book centers around the yearly cycle of what the land, rivers and sea give to us to sustain us throughout our time here.  Tomine and his family do their best to be in tune with the seasons and the bounty each one brings.  It's a lesson that we as a American culture struggle with when you can get avocados and strawberries in January and a steak is down isle three wrapped neatly in cellophane
What do you mean you dont have this (insert out of season fruit or vegetable)?

It's awesome.

Appreciation for what is available is completely lost on us when you can have anything at any time. Tomine's stories and lessons take you from January to December.  Winter razor clam digs, the holy grail of spring chinook on the Columbia River, to setting a garden, pulling crab pots and being on point to when the wave of salmon hit the coast.

Then there's the ever present search for grade A top quality firewood.

This really hit home for me because the house I grew up in and still to this day our lake cabin were and are heated by wood.  Finding that buckskin tamarack was like finding standing gold, and then the labor thereafter was so much fun as a kid and so necessary for my father to take pride in.

Tomine spends a solid amount of this book talking about firewood procurement.  The process of finding, cutting, stacking and drying is just that, a process.  You cant flip a switch on a wood stove and get continual, even heat for as long as you want.  To heat your home with wood, you have to be prepared, months in advance.  You have to be ready to capitalize on windfall and get it stacked before some one else does.  The stress of an ever dwindling woodpile in the face of 6 more weeks of winter is a real thing that most dont experience, and there is a razor's edge truth to it.

Beyond that, you can feel his kids joy in finding the "showings" of clams on a windswept beach and the subsequent feast the family has just hours later.   Along with the stories, there are family recipes in this book that take the bounty of the land and helps you create amazing dishes to serve to your family and connect over.

It's the same joy I get from catching a fish and then taking it to the dinner table....then watching my kids and wife enjoy it.  Providing brings me pride, and knowing at least where a small percentage of my food comes from is of the highest importance to me.

There are so many great lessons and stories in this book that I highly encourage you to pick up a copy and share experiences like these in this book with your family.

Did I mention I love this book?

Pick up a copy of Closer To The Ground HERE through the publisher, Patagonia.

Lets hope that a resolution you can take into 2016 is to do just that, live closer to the ground.

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