I admire those who make significant turns in their life and take on new adventures.
Case in point: with the gauntlet of “new mind” thrust before them, Tim Diebel and his wife, Lori, made a thrilling and extraordinary pivot after years of service to the community to start in a new field (pun intended). You’ll learn about their experiences and the Taproot Garden in this week’s episode of #thedeliciousstory.
After 30+ years, Tim who was a pastor, and Lori who was an educator, turned the notion of retirement on its ear and dived into the unknown as agrarians. Yes, that’s right—with some study and determination outweighing their reservations, they dived into life on the farm. You’ll get a sense of their self-made oasis when Tim describes their 10 acres—the timber, the wildflower pasture, the chickens and the garden.
Tim explains how he and Lori felt detached from nature and food production in particular, and that this is unfortunately common for most of us. Tim and Lori were determined to change their connection to the earth and have since found that other people are hungry, too, to be more grounded in nature and appreciate the process of cultivating food.
SOUS VIDE EGGS
At the point when Tim described his memorable meal, I didn’t want to stop him to get an explanation of what Sous Vide Eggs were, so I did my research later. It turns out this is a process to cook eggs in the shell at a lower temp for a longer period and yield something similar to a poached egg (but without the mess of sloshing cracked eggs into water).
I found a nice description along with some preparation tips over at Splendid Table. How yummy to think of that yoke thickening up to the consistency of Hollandaise sauce inside. Yum! I’m sure the eggs prepared this way out at Taproot are especially good, as they are fresh from the chickens each day.
I had NO idea what Tim was talking about when he mentioned that, occasionally, his chickens go “broody.” I had this idea of chickens strutting around in the yard in a belligerent huff, perhaps ganging up on other farm critters—a Gangs of Taproot kind of drama.
A little research, however, and it turns out the reality is different but as crazy. Broodiness is when a chicken decides to nestle in and try to hatch a clutch of eggs. They become quite puffed up with attitude and can be hard to sway once they become “broody.”
I always wondered how chickens feel about all those laid eggs that disappear and don’t become chicks. Do they have a sense of something lost, or something missing?
Based on what I learned about maintaining chickens over the course of this interview (and how temperamental they can be), I have a new appreciation for those who work with them. Over at The Spruce in an article by Lauren Acuri, she breaks down the brooding situation so that even I can get the picture of the behavior.
THE GREEN TOMATO SOLUTION
I’m not a gardener, but occasionally I’ve had access to green tomatoes. Last year, for example, my neighbor gave me some at the end of the season. I wanted to be polite, so I accepted them, but because I’m not culinarily creative I had no idea what to do with them. I researched relishes and fried green tomatoes, but nothing jumped out as something I wanted to try. However, this year if I get green tomatoes, I’ll be ready, because Tim explained a great solution for converting them into savory bread by switching the tomatoes out in a Zucchini Bread recipe. Doesn’t that sound good? Now I can’t wait for the late August harvest to try this!
We did visit briefly about the concept of stewardship of the earth and Tim’s take on what that means. In these times with more awareness of climate change it seems we have lost sight thanks to political spin and misinformation. Politicians (who are not scientists) are influencing an issue which should be bipartisan. And somehow, they’ve persuaded some to distrust the very experts that study and research and bring us crucial information to take proper action.
Tim’s take seems sound, stating that no matter what, people must be persuaded to believe we have an obligation to clean up after ourselves and make certain we don’t sully the places that produce the food we eat.
Tim’s memorable meal was charming and exactly the kind of story that brings together all the elements of precious time around the table. It was a planned affair with friends gathered, none of whom had any idea what to expect. The evening unfolded with Tim in the kitchen and each course connected to Taproot.
Tim finishes up by providing details of upcoming seasonal retreats available at Taproot. For those seeking to “go to the ground” and enjoy a time of connection and reflection, a visit to the farm could do the trick.
Alexandra and Sherry, 2016
Sherry is the founder of Storied Gifts a personal publishing service of family and company histories. She and her team help clients curate and craft their stories into books. When not writing or interviewing, Sherry spends loads of time with her grandchildren and lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
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