On Saturday morning we experienced our first death in the greenhouse.
Every year, despite out steadily rising confidence, we fail miserably at something. We trust our gut instincts only to discover they were wrong, or we simply forget to trust our gut altogether because we were just too busy to pay attention to it. We miscommunicate over the most seemingly obvious task, or we simply forget something we learned in previous years. We make mistakes all the time.
Farming has a steep learning curve. It is part of the joy and the pain of what we do. It’s how many of us get into this mess in the first place: because we love to be challenged.
My Carrot and I love a challenge. We love the complexities and difficulties of learning to master growing not one, not five, but dozens of varied crops. We love the perplexing task of making money at a business that is notoriously known for keeping people overworked and underpaid. My husband and I, we live for the challenges of this farming life.
Of course that doesn’t make it any easier to journey to the greenhouse on a Saturday morning full of spring energy, excited to rearrange, reorganize and spring clean the shit out of our recently built greenhouse, only to find three trays of mostly dead pepper plants upon our arrival.
864 cells. 600 teeny tiny seedlings that had sprouted. At least 400 dead pepper plants, fried from the heat within their well-intentioned warm and humid environment. All because we forgot to specify the time that the plants needed to be watered on a sunny Friday afternoon. All because of a simple moment lost between a couple who manages dozens of details on a daily basis. All because of one missed sentence, 400 plants are dead.
This is farming. It’s the most humbling job there is. You can be on the top of your game, and ignore one gut instinct or forgot one sentence and make a fatal mistake.
Farmers aren’t humble by coincidence. We are made this way by brutally looking mother nature in the eye, believing we understand how to manage its forces, and then failing in new and different ways over and over again.
That’s our business. That’s farming. It can be brutal. And I absolutely love it.
In times like these we don’t cry or complain; we don’t wallow in self-pity (okay, sometimes we do, but only briefly). We look the problem head on and we find a solution. We try again. We start again. We do it again. We purchase more pepper seeds and plant everything we have. We diligently discuss how this time will be better. We learn from our mistakes. We don’t stop. We don’t hesitate. We keep moving forward. We remind ourselves that perfection doesn’t exist on a vegetable farm. We know that this next time will be better.
And then we go home and make cookies. Because there is nothing in life that a plate of warm cookies can’t fix.
These cookies were a happy accident that came to me by way of spring cleaning. Awhile back I tried to surprise my Carrot with a box of his favorite childhood cereal only to discover that he was a Kix kid and actually hated Life cereal. This box of cereal sat in our pantry for nine months. I took a look at our overstuffed pantry this weekend and decided it was finally time to put this cereal to good use.
Small and perfect for snacking, these cookies are rich, dense and salty without being too sweet. They get a heft and crunch from the cereal that I just love. Spring cleaning wins again! This time in the form of a tasty and inventive new cookie recipe!
LIFE CEREAL COOKIES
Makes 5 dozen
Takes 1 hour
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2-1/4 cups Life cereal crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add the brown sugar and egg and beat until pale and fluffy, about three minutes. Add vanilla extract and stir just to incorporate. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides. Fold in the cereal and chocolate chips.
Spoon out dough balls, a heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Place on baking sheet, providing at least 1 1/2 inches between each cookies. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, until edges begin to brown but the middle is still a bit gooey! Cool before serving to allow them to hold their shape.