Bucket List for the Ages | Tarragon Oil

Sometimes the cure requires surrender. Reverend Joe Evans

A while ago I met a friend for coffee and a man typing on his laptop sitting nearby asked if I was who I am, and yes, I said, I was the very same. Looking into his eyes, I saw the handsome young man he was and even now the looker with a halo of white hair. I knew he had to confirm me because of the same passing of time.

He smiled and said that he carried around an essay I’d written in November of 2012 for the local daily. “Here it is,” he pointed to his computer screen and he began to read with enthusiasm.

What? He explained that he often shares Bucket List for the Ages with friends. “You do?” I said.

So here it is; I give you the humus by way of an lasting encounter with Wendall Berry (thank you, Marsha) and a prized coffee shop exchange:

I just read Wendell Berry’s essay, The Work of Local Culture. Though I quake at his admonitions of a disconnected and reeling society, I am heartened by his reflections on what counts in this world.

In this particular piece he speaks of a galvanized bucket which for as long as he can remember has hung on a fence post on what was his grandfather’s farm. Mr. Berry now an elder gentleman himself has never passed by the bucket without a peek inside – a regular routine that he has maintained for decades of walking the farm.

He says, “….for what is going on in that bucket is the most momentous thing I know. The greatest miracle that I have ever heard of: it is making earth.”

Autumn leaves, rain, snow, nuts, insects and birds have each left their deposits. Berry notes that the resulting black humus is “an artistry of farming superior to his or any human.”

His metaphor now is thankfully in my bucket and yours as we consider the growth of a whole individual which, though painstakingly slow, is assured if we maintain an open lid and release the particulars.

I had my own experiment this year after acquainting with fresh tarragon, an herbal taste and cousin to licorice. Buying seeds to scatter close to the back door, I subsequently forked over rare but respectful attention.

The plant has awarded me with yellow flowers for cutting and added flavor when preparing above the fray scrambled eggs, chicken salad and now salad dressing.

So, surprise. It seems that I have over thought what it really takes in life. For all my educated ignorance, there has been a living intelligence superior to anything I had to offer. And now I know that to receive such power, you must honor place and hang out your bucket.

Tarragon Oil

From the beloved Heidi Swanson blog 101 Cookbooks

3/4 cup tarragon
3/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
3/4 cup extra virgin oil oil
Sea salt

Bring a sauce pan of water to boil.
Salt well and blanch tarragon and parley leaves briefly, until bright green.
Drain quickly and transfer to a bowl of ice water.
Drain once more, and pat with clean cloth to remove water.
Use a food processor or blender to puree the leaves and oil until smooth.
Strain through a fine sieve (tea strainer or cheese cloth)
Transfer oil to jar.
Refrigerate for as long as 2 weeks.
Bring to room temperature before using with a mild vinegar, such as rice, to make a vinaigrette – two parts oil and one part vinegar.