Golden Soup for the Day that the Tree Fell
It wasn’t planned, the falling of the tree that is.
It just happened that I made this wonderful soup on this day that the tree fell. Still, I want the soup to be in her honor.
We noticed in the morning that this very tall tree (140′ tall) was leaning at a strange angle, toward the drive into our house. Like many of the trees here where we live on South Whidbey Island she had had some kind of tree-mid-life-crisis, demonstrated by a strange bump part of the way up her tall trunk. But, once that bump was passed, she grew very tall, and stood erect and dignified. Until today.
Like the death of a loved elder, we could see it coming. The wind was up and it was clear that with that much tilt, she could not last very long at that angle. There has been so much rain here, (a good thing) that the ground around her trunk was totally soaked. This is how many of the trees here fall — they twist in the soft earth and come crashing down.
We had called a tree cutting guy to ask him to come take a look at her; but now there is no need for that.
As I was making the soup, I looked once again out the window to see what the wind and the tree were doing. She swayed a bit, at first without falling; but then after a very short amount of swaying I could see that she was coming down. Slowly, I watched her fall, with a great thud, and a splash of water where the top hit the bit of water in our seasonal lake. Most of the branches (already dead) broke in the impact, and the top section snapped off into various pieces.
It is a very good thing that Gary bought that tractor. A chain saw alone would not have liberated us from this fallen giantess. She fell across the drive blocking it entirely. Thus… after much sawing, and moving around with the tractor, the road was clear and I was able to help pick up the remaining smaller branches, and drive across the path of the fall.
All the while, making GOLDEN SOUP:
1.5 lbs golden beets, small (1″ -2″) cooked separately, peeled and then sliced 1/4″
1 lg onion, chopped med.
2 leeks, sliced 1/4″
4 -6 T olive oil
1-2 C chopped cabbage
1/3 C grape tomatoes
1-2 large carrots, sliced
1 yellow and 1 orange pepper, sliced small
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
1 apple, chopped (1/2 ” cube)
3 qt low sodium chicken stock
1.25 lbs chicken sausage
2 cans white beans (15 oz)
peel & juice of 1 large orange
2 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin
2-3 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 T red pepper flakes
Saute until very soft, in olive oil, onions, leeks, peppers, parsnip, apple, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes. Add the spices, orange peel, and once well done, the orange juice, & chicken stock. Let simmer on very low, or just sit.
In a separate pan, boil the beets in water until tender (18 min?); cover with cold water to chill, then peel, and slice into bit sized pieces.
In another pan, saute the chicken sausage, breaking up any large chunks.
Once all this is prepared, combine it all in one large pot. If time allows, let it sit in a refrigerator for 4 -5 hours, uncovered, and reheat just before serving.
Give thanks for this wonderful tree whose falling did not hurt any one, and whose life is hereby commemorated with this Golden Soup.