Saturday, March 30, 2013

Z Acres Easter, 2013

by Zinta Aistars

Although I am now into the very beginning of my second year at Z Acres, my 10-acre farm in southwest Michigan, this is my first Easter here. All these many years, the family has gathered in Chicago for our holidays. My sister and brother-in-law have a wonderful and large home, many guest bedrooms and lots of space to take us all in, and my brother-in-law has been our gracious chef through all those many Easters, Thanksgivings, Christmases ... but at last, I get to take on my share.

While my previous home was actually a tad larger than my current red farmhouse, it was that suburban yard that tickled no one's fancy. Now that I am surrounded by woods, pond, pine groves and meadows, the family has begun to come here for our celebrations.

And I'm loving it.

Even as I have a new appreciation for all the work our previous hosts took on to make us all welcome in their home ... I am enjoying now my turn at being host. The kitchen is filled with the aromas of cooking (and I get to keep the leftovers, if any!), and I am enjoying the pleasures of transferring my love for my family into the dishes I make. There is something so nourishing and nurturing about feeding the ones we love.

That was part of the reason I moved to Z Acres, after all. This is my return to a simpler life. Here, I can grow my own vegetables, keep beehives for honey, make my own jams from the berries that grow here, and later this spring ... take on the new adventure of keeping my own chickens.

It is wonderful to share all of that with family and friends. So this Easter, I was struck with the sudden wish to bring back a little playfulness. Isn't Easter about being born anew? About opening our hearts in renewed faith, believing in the blessing, trusting in tomorrow, and finding our joy again. Because all things are possible.

To have the heart of a child ...

Mama's "paska," a favorite Latvian Easter treat
And so, along with preparing those delicious dishes, sauerkraut Latvian style, hard-boiled eggs in our tradition of coloring with onion skins and grasses and vegetable dyes, mushroom tartlets, spinach salad with strawberries and almonds, maple-glazed ham, spicy potatoes, sausages wrapped in bacon and cheese, deviled eggs, challa bread and Latvian rye, carrot cake, and oh so many Easter chocolates ... I watch the end of that driveway, a tunnel of sunlight through the pines, for my beloveds to arrive.

Struck with the wish to play and celebrate spring, celebrate my many blessings, I picked up a box of 200 plastic eggs at the store last night. Well after midnight, I filled each one with chocolates and candies and nuts. The youngest among us is 31; the oldest among us, 86. Yet there is something of the child, or should be, in each one of us, and as I share my joy of living in this beautiful place, I have visions of all of them wandering the woods, hunting for eggs, my old chow pup trotting among them and laughing his dog laugh. I have visions of chocolate-smeared faces, and I can already hear the laughter.

It's Easter. It's spring. The skies are blue, and my heart is light. Happy Easter to all of you, and the children among you and in you. This Easter, have the heart of a child ... and trust, and love, and believe.

Mom and Dad arrive at Z Acres for Easter ...

Sunday brunch ...

1 comment:

  1. Delightful! Yes, Easter is a wonderful time of new beginnings, joy in being with loved ones and friends...and carrying on the family traditions. How wonderful for you that you are now able to be the hostess for these family events at Z Acres! I totally understand exactly what you are feeling in that regard. Thanks for sharing this special time with us.