Saturday, December 10, 2016
Day in the Life
As most of my long-time readers know, this is my favorite time of year at work. The days are short, so when we leave work it's dark. Things have slowed down both inside the tasting room and in the vineyard and Chef's Garden, and it's the time of year when you can plan projects, catch up with that to-do list you made in August, and just hang out. Pretty much an ideal work day for me.
I decided to try a winter chef's garden at work this year, and so far the results are mixed. Beets, carrots and turnips have sprouted from seed...slowly... but the parsnip seeds I put in (twice!) yielded bupkis....also known as Nothing, Zip or Nada, depending on your cultural leanings. The transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, chard, kale, and brussel sprouts are doing fairly well except for the ones being murdered by a mystery insect or mammal. But as it's an experiment, I'm keeping my hands off, mostly, and watching to see what happens. Sometimes science and inattention intersect and when they do it's a beautiful thing. Especially in December.
What I love most about working this time of year is that it's such a pleasure being outside. It's cold enough that you can work hard without breaking much of a sweat, and there's usually a cold breeze to make things feel brisk -- pleasantly so. Ever since I took an Alaskan cruise to the glaciers and stood on the sundeck in a sleeveless dress, sipping an iced tea while everyone else was in parkas and drinking hot chocolate, I've realized that between my father's Middle Eastern heritage and my mother's northern European background, Mom's DNA dominates, the older I get. Cold weather agrees with me more and more as time goes by.
But the other thing that agrees with me is having a job with a lot of physical activity. I absolutely love coming home from work tired -- muscles complaining slightly, cheeks stinging a little from being outdoors all day, and a most pleasant feeling of fatigue taking over as I sit down and put my feet up. Really, what point is there in working if you don't feel like you've worked by the end of the day? I spent a good portion of time in my 20's living the office cubicle life, and finally get why that was so depressing. We were never meant to spend eight hours a day inside.
Yet sometimes the nicest part about working outside is, in fact, returning inside once your chores are complete. The other day I headed into the tasting room at about 2:30, famished after working in the chef's garden for several hours, and asked the chefs in the kitchen to make me up a special vegetarian burger with horseradish aoli, pickled onions and bacon (yes, a veggie burger pattie, but one with real, oink-oink bacon on it. I'm an freaking iconoclast, aren't I?). I absolutely devoured it, knowing it's totally acceptable to gorge yourself once you've already burned off enough calories earlier to balance it out. And I spent a little time behind the bar chatting with folks and generally just watching the day fade and the sun go down. Finished up my shift with a little red wine and some good conversation. How many people end their work day like this?
Of all the days in our life, one of the things that matters most is how you spend your ordinary days. I'm happy to spend mine the way I do.