Fall Harvest (2012)

I’ve been a busy little bee these days, with the pantry to show for it. Growing an acre of vegetables comes with it’s challenges, and I’ve tied my pretty cherry apron on this week to become reacquainted with my inner pilgrim.

Chicken vegetable soup, which damn near drove me mad after an hour and a half of the pressure canner whistling at me. OY! There’s a reason I don’t can more veg & meat- but it’s SO nice to have healthy home-cooked meals for my little darling to eat while I’m at work. Keeping your eyes on the prize is a necessity when it comes to canning.

Homegrown and home-canned green beans are right up there with lobster, if you ask me. Greenbean casserole with these babies qualifies as an edible orgasm. My gawdddd good, and they seemed like a walk in the park after the chicken soup. I’ve been wrapping my bean plants in the garden with my favorite sheets for the past week to stave off the frost that keeps threatening to end my bean-canning bonanza. Wish me luck and I’ll be pickling them in no time 🙂

My new canning recipe of the year… marinated mushrooms. My darling Superman loves all things spicy (shocker, lol) and I added a whole unseeded jalapeno in two jars, just for him. This amazing super-hero of a boyfriend of mine works out of state from October-May and I’ll be crying the blues in no time, missing him. Until then… I’ll can my love for him so he has some homegrown i-love-you food to take with him. 5 pounds of mushrooms… 6 pints of goodness. I hate to admit it… but they’re from Walmart. The high temptation of low prices, and all that…

I work in paradise, selling sushi. It’s right up there with my favorite job ever- and she’s my favorite boss. I feel so blessed… but I have a confession. My favorite thing on the menu, is our wontons. Simple cream cheese & green onion wrapped in wonton and well… fried. The plum sauce is amazing… and when I eyed my ripening plums, the wheels started turning. Thank heavens, because this stuff is intensely good and takes a crazy long time to make. 6 tiny jam jars full of goodness destined to be re-created. Wow is an understatement, and I simply must share this with the people I work with (and love so much).

It’s not all a rose garden, right? Canning potatoes is a fucking pain in the ass, don’t believe anything else you read. I spent an entire day peeling, washing, BLECH. I ended up with 7 quarts of overcooked potato chunks with at least a one inch layer of mashed potato silt at the bottom. Not only are they ugly, I have no desire to open them. My mama has an old fashioned dug-into-the-side-of-the-yard root cellar, and I think the rest of the tatos are heading there to wait out the winter. It’s simply not worth the work after you’ve tasted the plum sauce.

Strawberry white plum vanilla bean jam. Just the list of what’s in this glorious jar of heaven should make your mouth water. It’s so good I should be arrested. Nuff said.

Same thing goes for this ridiculously tasty spread. Ginger vanilla bean peach jam. I picked the peaches that made the juice run down my forearms and drip off my elbows. The peaches that smelled like every summer memory I treasure. I diced tiny bits of pungent ginger and scraped the treasured centers of three vanilla beans. This jam is right up there with your favorite summer songs. It takes you back to the moment you fell in love with the man of your dreams, the day you got accepted to the school of your choice and the magic of the first sunflower blooming in your garden. It’s love, in a jar. You’re welcome. ♥

Pickled sugar snap peapods… purely for my darling MSOK and Mr. Man Card. I’ve never tried them, I’ve never wanted to, and it’s simply a case of over-canning. I had vinegar. I had peas. I couldn’t not love my favorite friends with something they love. It’s just my nature…. plus they look pretty in my pantry 🙂

I had more basil than I ever expected this year… and made a dozen batches of pesto to stock away in the freezer. I’ve won contests and stuff… my pesto kicks ass and makes my darling girl the happiest little sweetheart on earth. She’d eat pesto every day if I let her, and this year…. I could. ♥ Ok maybe every other day…

Nothing cures what ails me, quite like a ripe heirloom. My uncertainty… my heartache… it all eases just a little at the sight of these ripe beauties showing me; yet again, that I can indeed have it all. This little rainbow to save me from my garden of hard work and stress… I know what a ripe Brandywine globe feels like in my hand. I know the real meaning of “no added preservatives”. They taste like sunshine, true love and success. I’ll be canning salsa and marinara as soon as they ripen. I haunt them with my Instagram app.

There in the soil I found a heart. My heart. My sense of purpose. I laughed when I found it, and walked directly to the house with the most pure example of my love I can give. I found my Superman, made him close his eyes and open his hands. He opened them and beamed the smile that makes my stomach tighten, at me.

S- Ohhhhh it’s a heart. Beautiful, that’s so cool. Do you want my help?

J- No. I just wanted you to have this. Hungry?

S- We can’t eat it… we should at least wait to show Little Red.

He thinks about my daughter too. He suffers through the typhoon of tears my son’s absence creates. He’s a band-aid on my broken heart, the one that holds it together so it can heal.

My Superman makes me the Superwoman I was always destined to be.

In a week that has me heartbroken beyond my wildest nightmares, horrified beyond words and resigned to a different future, I have what I always needed most.

Hope.

Peace.

and love in the purest forms.

A job I love, with a boss I adore like a sister. A view from work that defies explanation.

A group of friends that treasure me as much as I treasure them.

The man who redefines men, my happily ever after.

The daughter I can’t wait to see, who is treasured by the masses and reminds me every day that I’ve done a damn fine job as a mother.

The mother I always wanted, with all her quirks and hippie delightfulness, she has made me the woman worthy of the beautiful life I have, and I am happy, loved and successful.

I have faith in myself. Faith in my abilities to provide what I can’t afford to buy and the abounding faith in a love I only dreamed possible.

Regardless of the overwhelming loss of my son, of the loss of a few great friends… I’ve clung to what truly defines me and I’ve found myself when I’d become so lost.

I’m gardening. I’m canning. I’m knitting.

I’m smiling, I’m laughing and I’m righting the wrongs in my life. Paying bills, raking leaves and giving a jar of jam to the water man as he comes every month.

I may not have it all figured out and I may not be where I want to be yet….

But at least I have a pantry full of proof that the effort is worth the reward. ♥

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