Earlier this year in June,  we had the honor of visiting the Kultivator farm in rural Sweden. The artist group lives on an organic dairy farm on the island of Öland where they run a residency and raise their children, along with several different types of animals. While we were visiting, Malin Lindmark Vrijman was setting up a three sisters garden, planting corn, beans, and squash in a set of raised beds in front of the farm house. Ada, our daughter, and I helped her plant the seeds and water them. When we left the farm to come back to Copenhagen, we forgot about the new garden settling back into everyday life and travels elsewhere. 

Then November came and Kultivator (Malin and Mathieu Vrijman) came to Copenhagen to make a presentation at Astrid Noaks Atelier, a neighborhood artist space and residency program, about their new project, Urban Horse Soil Actionall about urban composting.

When they arrived, Malin said, “We’ve brought you a present: a pumpkin from the garden you helped to plant.” There it was, a giant deep blue-grey pumpkin on the seat of their car, almost too big to carry. The heat of the summer with the sheep and the cows lowing in the back ground came back in my head. Ada was excited to see the Kultivator folks and their pumpkin, too.”Sheepies?,” she said,”Farm?”

Malin told me that the pumpkins had gone a bit rampant and taken over the raised beds. They are hearty with a thick shell, and she said they would keep a long time. But we couldn’t wait to try it.

Part of living in a new country is trying to absorb the habits and traditions of your adopted culture. We have lived in Denmark for a little over three years now. This year we got to vote. This year we had our first parent/teacher meeting at our daughter’s daycare. This year our daughter commented that something was “hyggelig” (see here, here , and here) and really meant it.

And this year when Thanksgiving time rolled around (not that I am really a big fan of the holiday back home with its troubled historical implications), instead of feeling bummed that I couldn’t find any canned pumpkin in the grocery store, we turned a blue pumpkin that grew from a seed we planted into a delicious pie, or three. It felt like an important milestone to mark in our continued attempts to understand where we are.

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