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Old Blog

Grow. Gather. Hunt. Cook.

Scars & Killer Harissa

It was a normal start to the day. My partner got up earlier than me, as she does every weekday. She wakes me up standing by the bed with a mug of hot brewed coffee that steams in the cold bedroom air. She sat on the edge of the bed and we shared that five minutes together before the kids come in, preparation for the school day begins and the morning slips into chaos. This morning was slightly different. I got a happy birthday kiss, a few nice handmade kids cards and a pair of old country records. I'm almost 40, I guess statistically I'm halfway to the end. I don't feel anything like my age, I just feel me. But these past few days I have been contemplating my existence thus far. I liked me as a kid, pre-teenage years. I haven't really liked me since then. I've made a lot of mistakes, there have been plenty of moments where I've been selfish, thoughtless and mean. I'm not a total arsehole but I'm no angel either. I'm sure all of us would be able to say that if we where honest with ourselves. I like be honest with myself, it helps me to introspective and thus make change.


I really didn't like the old version of me, so I've been working on change. I want to be part of something positive, I don't want to be part of the problem. Anyway, a lot of this probably isn't making much sense. I just know I carry some scars of my past, be they physical, mental and emotional. I try not to dwell on them too much, I'd rather try to better myself and move on, which is the harder option. The other option is to load up my truck and disappear forever.

Having a go at it is what keeps me going. For example, last year I built a poly tunnel to grow warm climate veg. I was too late in the season finishing the build, so I failed to get the veg in on time, and thus had a shortened season. The late summer winds also blew the structure down and I had to rebuild one from scratch. I was so devastated about fucking up and not building something strong enough to withstand the weather. But I had another go, built a new one, with stronger steel frames sourced from a generous mate. It has survived summer and now it looks like it may withstand the fierce autumn winds. As a result I have red ripened jalapeño in big numbers for the first time. The red jalapeño makes a nicer Harissa, it makes a nicer smoked chipotle too. Hell red is just sweeter and full of taste. The green ones are ok too, I still have plenty of green jalapeño that will get used in salsa picante and maybe get smoked.


We as humans can be a great support network or we can be emotional obstacles to each other. Over the years I've put myself 'out there' and it's brought about some great positive interaction and also plenty of negative reactions. I'm not trained in public relations, I'm not well versed in how to effectively communicate on social media, instead I'm just a bloke that kind of fell into it. And that has brought about some problems. Somebody told me recently that I ask for too many things, and that I should get off my arse and get a job like everyone else. This hurt me. Just because I no longer have a desk job, I actually work very hard, and I've only ever used social media to ask for help where I can't do it on my own. I guess I'm too idealistic when I think people out there are as passionate about this cause as I am. And I'm sorry for that. I take full responsibility for that mistake. And that's why I've been doing things myself. I'm working towards buying land with my own money to set up this little project I have planned to share my way of living with people that are interested in learning (btw - every veg box I sell allows me to put money towards a deposit for land). Nothing is set in stone with this project, it's going to be a continually evolving concept, just like us humans. We change, even though we carry scars of the past. Things that hurt us, challenge us and generally bring us down. If we only worked together.

We have many problems, us humans. But we also have the potential to work together and make something good from something that's a bit shit. Last year I didn't have red jalapeño Harissa, but with the help of a friend I now have a jar of spicy hot Harissa to enjoy over the next few weeks. In the scheme of things it's rather insignificant, but for some reason I couldn't help but make a note of it as I tightened the lid on my jar of hot red sauce. Sometimes it's those little things that make all the difference.