Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Inaugurating the Pizza Oven at Sunwise Farm and Sanctuary

Last Saturday, heavy clouds and drizzle parted for a few hours as our sewing circle gathered at Kathleen and Greg's farm to celebrate spring and the new outdoor oven they had built.

The evening before Kathleen and Greg and home-ground grain and prepared dough for four pizzas, and more for six loaves of bread and lots of rolls. It's likely they prepared the fixings for homemade yogurt, too. Then, as the morning light dribbled in, Greg stepped out and lit the oven with wood culled from the farm, so that by 8:30 it was well started, and would be ready about noon, some 800-900 degrees hot.

We made our way there by ten, and stepped out of our vehicles into, as Jenni put it, a place out of time. The gardens are lush with lavender, and melissa, varieties of thymes and others I cannot name at sight, countless perennials, a happy fig tree, spinach and vegetables intermixed. The wall at the edge of the drive is made of lilac in full, gorgeous scented bloom, barely-blue iris, grown for orris root as much as for their beauty, beneath. There are standing stones, honeysuckle at the end of a walk through the minute valley, views of distant hills beyond, a cozy house that they built full of air and light and Kathleen's gentle paintings and artwork, smelling like tincture of heaven and also of coffee and toasted grain.

The bees are hard at work in their boxes: they caught four swarms last week. We tasted last year's honey, and I grew greedy for it, because it tastes like every happy herb and flower you can name plus the love of bees, but alas, it's saved for bee tea.
We watched as Greg prepared the oven he had built, that they had painted and Kathleen had smoothed with slaked lime, an oven so sturdy it might easily last until our grandchildren's children are adults.

We gathered round to watch as coals were swept back, peels brought out, the heat radiating around us, and Greg placed the first pizza in. It sizzles, and flames licked the coals far back in the oven. Two minutes later, and he pulled it out, and there it was, the first pizza, and we ate that and most of three more out under the trees, new mown grass scent in the air, with birdsong and distant mooing and a cockadoodle-dooing as serenade.
The tots rambled the gardens and porch, rested their bare little feet on Cai, who is so Corgi-cute that I could just hug him about twenty times an hour, we talked about fresco-painting and bread and what the stars tell and prayer and gardens.
We planned more Regency gown details in Kathleen's studio. The boys hugged whatever person seemed most convenient at the moment, Cai had his ears scratched, no one worried about gathering clouds, knowing by instinct that they'd come in good time, after we had visited bee boxes and were ready to wend our way back to time.
Alas that not all of us could be there, but thank you Kathleen, and Greg, for the most blessed day one could ask for.

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