Day 29: If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

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I’m going to dream big and say I won 500 million dollars. I need that much for this.

  1. I would set my family up for success. College money for anyone who wants to go, trade school, you name it. I would buy them each a house and reliable car. Family, taken care of. My mama has worked hard her whole life and I would love to spoil her.
  2. I would move to Kauai the same day. I would buy a ridiculously expensive piece of property on the ocean and would grow all the things I’ve never been able to grow.  I can’t wait to plant my North Idaho gardenia in the soil of her people. 🙂
  3. I would buy the homes of my enemies and evict them. Yeah… I can be a bit of a cunt when inspired.
  4. I would then purchase the companies that employed those same assholes, and liquidate them.
  5. I’d hire a hundred gardeners and have the vegetable garden of my dreams. I’d grow hundreds of varieties of tomatoes in a rainbow shape of ombre colors blending into each other. A good portion of my winnings would go into the dirt.
  6. I’d travel the world with my children and finish writing all the books that sit collecting dust on my laptop.
  7. Tattoos… so many tattoos…. I’d get on a plane and fly to Florida to have my very favorite tattoo goddess do them for me, too.
  8. I’d go to law school, focus on family law and represent single mothers near and far.
  9. I’d spend a month in all my favorite countries, learning how to prepare every cuisine to perfection. A gnocchi lesson in Italy, dim sum in China, and a rainbow of curries to learn in Thailand. I love food, and I hope I always love learning to cook new things.
  10. I’d adopt that baby from a Chinese orphanage like I always wanted to. I read all the books after the birth of my son, cried for years about the ongoing bias that had women leaving their newborn daughters on the side of the road like trash or tucking them into a basket to be abandoned in a busy market. I love being a mother more than anything and absolutely think I’ll foster or adopt a few more children before I retire into being a Grandma.

What are you going to do, make or buy?


Day 8: What is your dream job?

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To be a financially successful farmer.

I really hate leaving the house, if the truth be told. I’d be blissfully happy to work from home and avoid people even more than I already do. I work in a small group that I manage so it’s essentially my way or the highway in my life, with the exception of my garden.

I love the messy wetness of it all. The dirty organization that makes the stress of my life, melt away. I like a headlamp and mosquito repellent far more than perfume and diamonds and much prefer a night under the stars than in a bar.

It just isn’t lucrative. At ALL. When I calculate the cost of canning jars, lids, and time spent … I could have saved money buying all the same things from the crunchy hippie store down the street from me.

Peace is priceless though, and I dread going into a summer I know I’m not going to plant a garden. I have new houses all around me who are full of tourists turned residents. They buy salt licks to lure the deer to their backyards, which happen to neighbor my garden fence. My fence has been defeated and it’s a year of rebuilding the garden in a new place much further away from the salt licks and foot traffic.

Heirloom tomatoes are my favorite and I have a few new varieties to grow this year, along with my old favorites: Black Krim, Thornburn’s Terra Cotta, Jaune Flamme, Jersey Devil, Brandywine, Aunt Ruby’s German Green and an odd cherry tomato here and there along with a tomatillo or two.

Once you’ve picked a warm, ripe tomato from a plant you’ve been nurturing since February… you taste life differently.

Ohhhh how I wish I could earn a living growing them. I’d quit my job tomorrow.

Mmmm


Fermented obsession

The thing about having a garden and being moderately OCD is that I grow things I don’t eat, purely for color and shape. I end up with a lot of shallots, cabbage, beets, and so on…

Some of it takes up a huge amount of space after you have harvested the garden for frost. 8 cabbages, for instance. I was trying to juggle other groceries in amongst the giant purple and green orbs, and it was damn inconvenient.

At the last farmer’s market of the year, I bought a jar of beet balsamic sauerkraut.

Not only is it delicious, but it gave me something to do with all that cabbage.

Here’s a recipe:

https://therealfoodrds.com/how-to-make-sauerkraut/

I used regular mason jar lids and burped them every day.

I leave a few inches at the top and flip the jars. It’s worked wonderfully and I haven’t had any issues with anything being out of the brine.

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I’ve had the best luck quartering a whole cabbage and slicing it thinly with my mandoline. Sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze the cabbage to massage the liquids out of the cabbage. Pack tightly into a mason jar (I prefer a half gallon). You can add thinly sliced beets (Paper thin or they’re crunchy strange) and I’m trying watermelon radish for the first time. So far I’ve loved all of it and had to buy some this week because we ate it too quickly last week!

I’ve internalized a lot of my stress this year…  to the point I ended up with bleeding ulcers. I’ve had to learn to speak up and I had to give up coffee. I’ve been able to drink it again after adding this delicious fermented delight to my diet.

It’s supposed to relieve stress and help with gut health. Make some with me! 😂


Dirt

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My garden is a luxury item I can’t help but afford because walking through the gate is my favorite form of therapy.  I find more joy in spraying myself with mosquito repellant and putting on a headlamp to garden in the moonlight, than I have ever found on a date.

My tomatoes are starting to ripen and things are getting tall and lush. It’s beginning to look like I actually do something out there in the dirt and my salads are getting more and more spectacular by the day.

I’m hiding from my problems in the garden and the resulting vegetables are more comforting than the vapid attention of a man I don’t want. I had no idea that the consequences of this mess would land me back on celibate island, but I’m actually really relieved that I’m inclined to take care of myself a little instead of trying to fill the hole in my heart with some random dick.

Something shifts in me when I give my heart away and I should have known better than to pick up those casual dice. I’m loyal to a fault and I don’t know how to downshift. Once I’m in fifth gear, we’re either going to run out of gas or die because I don’t have any brakes. I’m all in, always.

If I’m your friend, I will cut a bitch for you. I AM that person that tells a motherfucker where to go if he makes the grave error of hurting you. Some people hate that about me, which is the perfect sign that we’re not meant to be friends- because I cannot sit silently while someone is mistreated. My beloved Miss Earthy went through a loud breakup this month, with her childish brat of an ex posting his diatribe publicly on Facebook. I was camping in the woods with a tiny sliver of 3G and verbally took his ass to the woodshed for doing it. I don’t give a single fuck if I’m the only one standing up for someone, I have no problem standing alone in the truth.

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When I’m in love though… ah hell it’s embarrassing. I blame my Mormon roots and Catholic heart. I bake, cook, spoil and fuck the daylights right out of a man. I don’t share and I loathe jealousy… but pity the lady who thinks it’s a good idea to look twice at what’s mine. No dick is worth inspiring my wrath. I lose myself in loving and it’s not supposed to be that way, so maybe he did me a favor by breaking my dumb, overachieving heart. Happily ever after only exists in fairy tales.

I’m safest when I’m single and happiest when I’m dirty. Not to mention… so damn satisfied by all this gorgeous produce.

Mmmm

This is what therapy looks like, to me. Blanching and peeling tomatoes, filling jars for the winter and healing what hurts from the inside out.

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I planted far too many peas this year and remembered how good they are pickled when I had 5 gallon bags of sugar snap peas. Canning is my second favorite form of therapy and it’s a damn good thing, because I have a wealth of ripe tomatoes now, too. This weekend is destined to be a rainy, quiet canning party of 1… with marinara up next. Here’s my recipe if you are also swimming in produce. It’s delicious and I love to spread my canning obsession around. It’s easily frozen for those of you that don’t share my love of mason jars and steam burns. ♥

Jenni’s Heirloom Marinara

12 c. heirloom tomatoes, seeded & chopped
3 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. lemon juice
3 12 oz. cans tomato paste
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp oregano
4 tsp salt
2 tsp basil
1 tsp pepper

Saute onion & garlic in olive oil. Add spices. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large stock pot & boil for 2 hours. Ladle into hot jars & process 20 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts in a hot water bath.


Jenni’s Heirloom Marinara

The funny thing about being a gardener is that the vegetables don’t care how you feel. When they’re ripe, it’s time to can them or throw all your hard work away. It was a horrible year for my garden, so I am a slave to canning any and everything as soon as it’s ripe.

Yesterday, it was the marinara I’ve perfected after 20 years and I’m going to share the recipe with you in the hopes you will enjoy it as much as we do.

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Also it means I won’t lose my recipe again. 🙂

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Enjoy ♥