Sunday, September 06, 2009


Those of Head Start vintage (and others possibly) will remember the lovely job of picking lice nits out of children's hair. Yesterday I ended up with a similar task. It all started ...

I was going to mop the kitchen floor. But there was still food from a shopping trip the day before that hadn't been put away. So I took some downstairs to the pantry, and was reminded that there was a 50-lb bag of flour still sitting on the floor, which has bothered me since it was put there a couple of weeks ago. We do sometimes spot a mouse, and it's better to keep that stuff in the plastic tubs in the pantry. But the tubs were still too full for this bag. So I figured I could at least rearrange the pantry to make some room to put the bag up on a shelf. So I did that. At the end I moved an almost-full 50-lb bag of rice off the shelf, figuring that I could find another spot for it, as it didn't take up quite as much room as the other. I noticed that the rice bag had been opened, and the clip securing it wasn't all that secure. So I took the clip off and figured to roll up the opening tighter. But as I did so I noticed that it was invested with pantry moth larvae. Yuk! All that brown rice. This would never do.

So I took it back upstairs to the kitchen, and spent pretty much the rest of the day (with a few breaks, like lunch, but not much else), putting 1/3 cup of rice on a plate, shaking it gently to spread it out, and picking out moth larvae, putting the sorted rice into a ziplock bag to put into the freezer. It was a different way to spend a day, but oddly relaxing.

My back began to protest, and I got a chair to sit in, though I was continually getting back up and then sitting back down, etc. Got through the entire bag, though, just a bit after 5pm, after I had put on a big pot of brown rice to cook for dinner.

Interestingly enough, I got varied reactions to my task. One monk said, I can't believe you're doing that, I'd just put it all in the freezer as is. Another monk said, I can't believe you're doing that, I'd just compost it all. Gyokuko, the executive tenzo, head cook and co-abbot, said thanks for doing that. She's the one who counts. A couple of other people said the same thing.

So now we have a lot of brown rice in the freezer, where it will stay for a while. The kitchen floor never did get mopped. Maybe today? or ...tomorrow?


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