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Set my thoughts adrift…

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She wears one of my favorite symbols…The bee… a sign of resurrection and natural potential…. The symbol of Kings… and the loving seal of Napoleon when he wrote letters to Josephine… She wears them with pride… they are beautiful tattoos…and I’m a huge admirer of them…

The incredible persona that is Jenni is who I’d like to fill this space with…she fills the roles necessary to make the world seem right… she’s a mother, a cook, a farmer, a lover, a beautiful temptress, a wildcat, both in the sack and out of it….she’s a tempting bit of Mormon-meets-Catholic yet in the wild ways all boys love to hear but really don’t want to know….beware of the claws… in a moment of passion they can drive through your shirt like it’s soft icecream on a midsummer’s day…

Jenni is a girl who sets my thoughts adrift… creative bits of small emails litter our respective inboxes with tidbits about the day’s ability to break a person down.  She and I share addictions….we are addicted to the opposite sex…however, our selection process is very different…  I look for life….vivacious…mezmerizing…..  She, on the other hand, looks for vice, for Mr. Now wmixed with a possibility of lasting a couple of weeks, but those boys aren’t strong enough to work with the tools God gave them to shape something that could be a beautiful relationship.

So what is it that Jenni craves?  My view is pretty simple…  She craves what all humans crave….appreciation.  Honestly at times she’s more than a little drama filled, yet I can’t take my eyes off the impending crash that is coming.  The boys that she chooses are more about her personal eye candy than what they will do for her.  Her real type of man?  Strong, clean lines, takes care of himself and shows pride in what he does.  He’s a little angry but he’s too mysterious to let you know what he’s angry about.  She deserves something different….she deserves something that shakes her foundation to the core and allows her to realize she’s got what many others don’t have…  she has vision of what she could be.  I’ve seen more stories about men who have treated this girl in such a dire wrong way, that I want to beat the fuck out of them and go nap to rest my weary arms then pummel them once more to show her she’s worth the effort to stand up for… 

If you say that she’s not craving appreciation, but she’s craving something less than that, I’ll let you know that anyone in this day and age can go out to any bar out there and hook up for the sake of hooking up.  Jenni is not some dime-a-dozen kinda girl.  They just don’t grow on trees like this one.  She’s got a lot of people from my blog reading her material and living vicariously through her dating adventures.  Me?  I’m on the opposite side of the fence…  She needs someone strong enough to hold her….restrain her from the ways that I’m so guilty of myself and allow her to relax and feel like she’s worth so much more than the moment of ecstasy in sex….she’s the kind of girl who wants the adventure that’s never been afforded to her.

She’s at the razor’s edge with me…  I’m a guy who will tell you how I feel and I’m sad on one hand and I’m excited on the other.  She’s got the drive that I love…always on the go with a fire and some drive in her….she dresses like I can appreciate the figure underneath the clothes…the men she has chosen?  Well they’ve stripped her dignity along with her boat, her finances, and her hope.  I want to  give her all of those things.  You should help her rebuild hope too… 

I am capable of being all things to nearly all women.  I’m never sure if I’m going  to hurt a girl or not, but one thing I have down pat…..she’s going to feel like she’s the most important woman in my amazing life.  That’s the kind of love that she deserves….someone soft…and if she complains a little about going to slowly or being a bit bored, be a man and give her the attention she seeks and then return back to the person who starts his night by asking her to come closer….leaning in ever-so-softly and telling her, she’s beautiful in a voice barely distinguishable to make the words hit the hardest impact on her soul….it’s her soul that needs the love and attention…it’s her mind and ego that deserves to be loved ever so gently. 

She works so hard to have so little.  She reminds me of how I am….a lot of heaven mixed with a smidgen of hell.  I love her attitude and she’s not my ideal Mormon version of purity, but she’s got something most girls don’t have and that’s a ton of heart.  She gives and wants to please and be accepted for the incredible person she is.  She makes me smile by simply reading her thoughts on paper and wishing that I could be there to wipe away her tears.

Sure she’s volatile…we all can be, but one thing’s for sure….with an effort that is strong, and determination that males mules green with envy, and a heart that needs nurturing,  she’s not on the highway to hell….she’s on her way to being loved for everything she brings to the table… 

Men, If you’ re going to date her, be strong enough to rein her in, on the flip side, be strong enough to love her with the same amount of attention you gave her before she ever laid a finger on you…date her, don’t bore her….respect her and let her understand where real strength comes from… 

Oceans between us….yet she’s just a thought away… a beautiful opportunity that makes me wanton….but I’m not weak…she makes me strong, she knows I’m sincere and  want only the absolute best for her and her little family.  Thoughts of who she is in a sun dress walking down a row of grapes in Sonoma…yes, the girl who no man could turn away easily…Living so far away from Vacationville, makes it difficult at best to ever know if we will ever meet, I do want more than anything for her heart to be free and find that man who makes her complete.  I search honestly for something much bigger than myself…yet I have everything I’ve always wanted….including the belle of the ball..yet I don’t feel it.  Jenni makes those thumps in my chest move a bit more upbeat and she’s got nothing to give other than herself…which is the finest gift any man could accept from her. 

The amazing girl sets my thoughts adrift… an incredible boat without a captain, driving through the night looking for safe harbor…toss out an anchor and set it hard in the sandy bottom and view the serenity around you…breathe for a change and accept no crew’s advances when you only deserve a captain…  For me, I’m always a pirate…yet for you…I would sail in the most gentle of waters, looking out for the integrity of more than just the beautiful moments that we are locked in while sailing….but to places I’ve never seen, doing things you’ve only wished you could do…  it’s what you deserve… 

Incredible girl, my heart is in my chest filled with hope…  that hope belongs to you…take it…


Can It

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Sparkly pink nailed goodness is great for canning, oddly enough!

These acrylic wonders work miracles when it comes to blanching and peeling peaches.

Domesticity makes me inches off the ground happy, so the peach juice running down my arms and dripping off my elbows only makes me smile bigger.

The smell of jam boiling slowly on the stove, my favorite cherry print apron and hot canning jars in the dishwasher?

I’m in heaven. Sweet domestic bliss.

Canning is right up there with knitting. You start with the raw tools and it’s up to you what you put into it. The world is your oyster and you can have, be & do anything you wish.

Getting back to basics makes you value your skill base. It reminds you how capable you are.

Even if you fuck it up.

I had an entire batch of huckleberry jam fail last year…. so I changed the labels to say “Dessert Sauce”. Easy… and everybody loved it.

Because the reason I can and the reason I garden? Is to love the people who treasure me with the gifts I can make them from my heart. Simple homemade gifts of love.

Slicing vanilla beans in half and smiling at the tiny seeds bubbling in and around the soft sweet peaches I diced in cubes.

Foodie porn, in my kitchen, in heels even.

Baking, canning and smiling it all better.

One jar at a time.

Victory Yarden

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My garden, aka The Yarden was overwhelmingly huge this year. Nearly an acre- and completely redesigned this year. With a freaking rake. I was determined, heartbroken and lost. Definitely depressed. Beyond depressed.

My mom brought her tractor over and we tilled the whole damn thing up. Go big or go home, organic farmer style. Like a blank slate… that had to be raked and shaped into the sexy round garden of my dreams. Fuck straight lines, fuck that rotten ex of mine and fuck everyone who told me I couldn’t do it.

I did it, God Damn IT…

Ugh. Wayyyyyyyy too well. I stood in my garden on my birthday in July and it hit me… What on earth could I possibly have been thinking. WTF. If I wasn’t out there at least 4 hours a day, it went crazy… and at a certain point, I didn’t care anymore. Without the sexual tension from the Shark and my iPod it would have been a miserable failure. Oh… and…

My ego.

Because the stupid boat stealing asshole got right in my face and told me I’d never be able to do it without him… and I would have died trying before I let him be right about that. I was nothing but a pain in his ass for the last year of our relationship. Admittedly. I was awful. However… he deserved nothing more than that. Having him completely out of my life is like the ultimate second chance.

Hearing horror stories about how his child is acting now- seeing him in all his scrawny, grey, & bitter glory? It’s all just icing on my ego cake.

He was wrong. I grew 3,200 lbs of vegetables (so far, I still have more to weigh) this year in my garden. I’ve been fine alone… and pretty damn happy with the new men in my life. Mr. Favorite is 19 years younger than him. Ha ha ha ha… and on a completely petty level…I hope it burns his ass when he sees us together at some point. I have a new job I love, a great relationship with my family and wonderful close friends. Life is bliss.

Even better? I was right. He’s content to live in a car. He’s happy bailing on his son to be lazy. He’s old. Lazy. Stupid…. and all washed up before he ever began. He’s a failure- and we were the best part of his life. I hope he kicks him self every day for the rest of his life.

Because like I kicked him out of our lives, my garden kicked his ass. It unfortunately kicked mine as well in the process, and I learned a valuable lesson. I have a huge ego…and it killed me this summer. My acre of healthy vegetables laid claim to my soul this summer and I hated it. The market was a failure and I am literally swimming in veggies. Canning like a pioneer. Spending every spare moment I have, dealing with the biomass I created out of pure stubborn pride.

I really showed him…


Tomato Hoarder

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Seriously. My ego has gotten me in more trouble than I can shake a stick at. One of the last arguments with the dirty boat stealing asshole went something like this:

DBSA- What do you think you’re going to do? You’ll never be able to do it without me.

J- Hmm. You don’t think so, huh? Watch me.

Unfortunately we were talking about the garden. I expanded it, tilled all the rows in and remade/reshaped the entire thing. Fuck that guy, not only would I do it bigger, and completely erase anything he’d done in my garden- I’d do it alone.

I really showed him. Ugh. I was a slave to the damn garden all summer and now the fall fun has only just begun… I have thousands of tomatoes yet to ripen. I’m not exaggerating either. Literally thousands. 180 very healthy plants.

It’s a bit epic- to be completely honest…and a bit of an eye opener. I’ll never do it again. It’s just a ridiculous amount of garden…hell… it’s why we call it the Yarden. With a week of hot weather, and Th, Fr & Sat off- I’m going to be a canning slave. Marinara, salsa, pickled beets, more jam, pears, etc….

I’ve learned my lesson. I admit to being a tomato hoarder and I will never do it again.

I hope.


Dinner from the Yarden

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We were bored all afternoon- and came home to more garden chores… ugh. I decided we’d do fun stuff- to hell with weeding & mulching with nasty slimy grass clippings. Blech.

So I thinned the carrots… the shallots… the basil…and the lettuce. I picked a few strawberries too 🙂

I love having a garden…because it feeds my inner domestic princess. I love fresh baby shallots.

Probably like other girls like new shoes. Not that I don’t… but I’d give up the shoes before the shallots.

Baby carrots…shallots…broccoli…oyster mushrooms.  The kids helped too.

I made fresh pesto…and some pasta… Yum. Dinner only gets better when the garden starts to actually do something other than demand endless hours of work.

Happy kids, happy mommy.

Tomato inferno…

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I’ve never planted into black plastic before. If you ever wanted to know how hot hell just might be, plant 112 tomatoes in the dead hot sun… into black plastic. I look like a little lobster, cute little red yoga pants and all. I have a ton of work this week & this is my only day in my own garden so I’m racing to get everything planted.

Ta-Da!! They’re in!

Well… not all of them… but half. My gosh… you would think my family would have scheduled an intervention already.

The wretched hoop house is finally up. I had to literally fight this thing to get it up, lol…

The only picture of me during this nightmare project is the very definition of false advertisement. This was the most unpleasant thing I’ve ever done in my life. Ugh.

I tilled in some rabbit manure, Tomato Tone (on the left side only) and two bags of compost. I planted one of each of the 23 varieties I’m growing this year, along with peppers & basil and I’m amazed how much they grew overnight.

The purest of love affairs…

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I simply cannot decide which one I have to throw out this year… so it looks like the garden is going to be bigger than I can handle- yet again. Shocker, huh? 🙂


They never have an episode of  “Intervention” about tomatoes… maybe there’s some sort of 12 step program for us heirloom vegetable junkies…

Here are my lovelies:

Aunt Ruby’s German Green: Heirloom beefsteak variety from Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, Tennessee who passed away in 1997. Slightly flattened, 1 pound fruit that ripens to a pale greenish-yellow (“lime jello green”) with a slight pink blush that extends to the inside. Superb, fruity sweet and slightly spicy taste. A tomato I cannot live without…. and it’s one of the latest in the garden- so it gives me an opportunity to learn a little more patience…

Black Krim: Originally from the Isle of Krim on the Black Sea in the former Soviet Union. This rare and outstanding tomato yields 3-4″ slightly flattened dark-red (mahogany-colored) slightly maroon, beefsteak tomatoes with deep green shoulders. Green gel around seeds. Fantastic, intense, slightly salty taste (which is great for those not wanting to add salt to their tomatoes). Black Krim is one of my favorite tomatoes. Also suitable for container/patio garden. Perfect choice for slicing, salads and cooking. I picked the tomato in the picture on the way to the market last September. Yum.

Amana Orange: Huge heirloom beefsteak tomato named for the Amana Colonies in Iowa. This tomato produces big regular leaf plants that produce above average amounts of beautiful light-orange, irregular shaped (fluted) heirloom tomatoes that can grow to 2 pounds or more, with an average diameter of 5 inches. Excellent sweet, almost  tropical fruit flavors. This tomato variety has been a consistent prize winner.

Super Sweet 100 Cherry: Prolific, indeterminate plant bearing “juicy, sweet” fruit is similar to ‘Sweet 100’ but resists diseases. 65 days.

Green Zebra: Developed in 1985 by tomato breeder Tom Wagner, this is an unusual and exquisite tomato chosen by Alice Waters for her restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California. The 2-inch round fruit ripens to a yellow-gold with dark-green zebra-like stripes. The flesh is lime-emerald in color that has an invigorating lemon-lime flavor. A great tomato for brightening up salads and other tomato dishes- Absolutely DIVINE. The tomato that created this whole craziness. I used to buy these for $6 a pound from a vendor… then tore up the yard so I could grow my own. So so good.

Orange Roma: The heavy hitter in my garden. Where all good things come from 🙂 Amazing for salsa, marinara sauce- etc. Spectacular fresh or in anything- just the most fabulous tomato ever… and extremely prolific. Heavy producer- and produces well into fall. Sprawling plants with good yields of 1 x 2 1/2″ 2 oz. plum-shaped orange paste with pointed ends and a good sweet-tart flavor.  An all-purpose plum tomato with good disease resistance.

Speckled Striped Roma: The source of this tomato is John Swenson. A cross between Antique Roman and Banana Legs. The tomato has the distinct end nipple of the latter. Seeds produce compact, indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants that have a high yield of very intriguingly beautiful, meaty, 4-6-inch long, orange-red paste tomato with good flavors and wavy yellow stripes. Looks like a fat sausage with a pointed end. A great novelty tomato that makes the best tomato sauce, along with other colored paste tomatoes.  There is a heavy fruit production of meaty 4-5 oz. oblong fruits until frost. Some years, this has brought the highest yield of the tomatoes grown. The grower who produced this seed, and who has grown all kinds of tomatoes for years, says this is “exceptional – definitely one to save and pass down”.

Brandywine: Probably the first heirloom to achieve “cult status” within the growing popularity of heirloom tomatoes. A pink, potato-leaf, Amish variety from the 1880’s. Years ago, seed saving was done by individuals who understood that the greatest thing they could pass on to the next generation was some of the treasured food plants that had sustained life and had proven their value. One such pioneer was Ben Quinsenbury, who lived in Vermont. He died at the age of 95, passing on his legacy. The Brandywine was Ben’s favorite tomato. In the past 2 years of holding tomato tastings for chefs and tomato lovers, the Brandywine has always placed as one of the top three favorites. It is legendary for it’s exceptionally rich, succulent tomato flavor. Fruits are reddish-pink, with light, creamy flesh that average 12 ounces but can grow to 2 pounds.

Jaune Flamme: Extremely prolific French heirloom tomato that bears in clusters of 6, beautiful, 1 1/2-inch, round, golf-ball sized tomatoes that are persimmon-orange colored inside and out. A delicious tomato flavor that literally bursts in your mouth.  Very pretty. Makes a great flavored sauce.

Aunt Ginny’s Purple: A productive heirloom beefsteak tomato of German origin that was brought into circulation by Rick Burkhart if Indiana whose family has raised it for 25 years. Big, indeterminate, vigorous, potato-leaf tomato plants that yield abundant crops of 1-pound, deep-pink, juicy tomatoes with little cracking. Considered among the best heirloom tomatoes. Excellent tomato in salads and on sandwiches.  Aunt Ginny’s Purple is an American favorite tomato, and since I’m at least a dozen kids’ Aunt Jenni…. I had to have it.

Purple Calabash: A beautiful, drought tolerant variety producing small to medium (2 1/2 to 3-inch), flat, deeply ruffled, chocolate-brown to deep-purple fruit. Intensely rich, almost wine-like  flavor. Crack resistant and stores well. I’ve waited for 3 years for this seed… I am oh-my-heavenly-stars excited for this tomato. The plant is so beautiful I can pick them out amongst the other 500 in the greenhouse.

Chocolate Stripes: One of the Top 3 tomatoes of the 2007 TomatoFest.  Plants are very large, indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants that yield a plentiful crop of 3-4 inch, mahogany colored with dark, olive green-striping (similar to black zebra).  Fruits have delicious, complex, rich, sweet, earthy tomato flavors. Chocolate Stripe, another desirable ‘black tomato,”  is an excellent tomato. Produces well into the autumn A great sandwich tomato and salad tomato.

Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter:

Radiator Charlie lived in West Virginia during the 1930’s. He was a radiator repairman by trade, but a tomato breeder extraordinaire by right. He only developed one tomato in his life, but the plants sold so well he used the proceeds to pay off his home mortgage during the tough economic times of The Great Depression. Developed by M.C. Byles in the 1930’s, this heirloom tomato remains very much in demand in the Mid-Atlantic states. Mr. Byles, affectionately known as “Radiator Charlie” earned his nickname from the radiator repair business he opened at the foot of a steep hill on which trucks would often overheat. Radiator Charlie, who had no formal education or plant breeding experience, created this legendary tomato by cross-breeding four of the largest tomatoes he was able to find and developed a stable variety after six years of pollination and selection. He then sold his heirloom tomato plants for one dollar each (in the 1940’s) and paid off the six thousand dollar mortgage on his house in six years. It is said that each spring, gardeners drove as far as 200 miles to buy Charlie’s seedling tomatoes. The large, slightly flattened, pink-red fruits that range from 1 pound to more than 3 pounds, are meaty, very flavorful and have few tomato seeds. I can’t freaking wait! These are 4″ taller than everything else in the greenhouse right now!

Prudens Purple: Developed from the Brandywine. Many people find this variety comparable in every way to the favorite Brandywine. It has even ranked higher at times in taste trials. Great for hot day and cool night climate. Large potato leaf vine produces lots of 1-lb., slightly flattened, pretty, blemish-free, purple-pink fruits with few seeds and excellent flavor.

Big Rainbow: This spectacular heirloom tomato has been in circulation since 1990. originally from Polk County, MN.  Big, sprawling, indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants that yield moderate to large crops of 1-2 lb. rib-shouldered bi-colored beefsteak tomatoes with gold flesh with beautiful red streaks running throughout. As fruits ripen they have a rainbow appearance: greens on the shoulder, yellow, orange, gold in the middle, and red on the blossom end. Fruit often has dynamic red splotches inside and on bottom. Very juicy and fruity sweet. Good disease resistance. A late producer. Great for slicing thick into sandwiches or salads.

Sunset’s Red Horizon: This outstanding heirloom tomato, named by tomato grower, Gary Ibsen, for Sunset magazine in 2003, is a native to Southern Russia. Huge, red, 4 to 6-inch, meaty, heart-shaped fruits are borne from a big leafy plant with wispy vines. Introduced to the west by Nik Peplenov who immigrated to the US in 1999 and brought with him his favorite heirloom tomato seeds from the Rostov Don region of Russia. They are not only one of the first tomato varieties to produce, but produce fruit well into November (in Oregon and in California). Proven resistant to frost, blossom end rot and cracking. Delicious fruit with huge tomatoey flavors.

Black Cherry: The only truly black cherry tomato. Large, sprawling, indeterminate, regular-leaf, vigorous tomato plants that yield abundant crops in huge clusters of 1″, round, deep purple, mahogany-brown cherry tomatoes. Fruits are irresistibly delicious with sweet, rich, complex, full tomato flavors that burst in your mouth, characteristic of the best flavorful black tomatoes. Beautiful to mix with other colored cherry tomatoes. Unique tomato variety. Disease resistant. Once you try it…you want MORE.

Kellogg’s Beefsteak: 1 lb., pale to deep orange beefsteak tomatoes originally from West Virginia, that are thin-skinned, meaty, have few seeds and a fantastic sweet, tangy flavor. Juice and inside flesh have the same bright orange color as orange juice.

Moneymaker: These round, deep red fruits weigh about 7 to 8 ounces, and arise by the many dozen on extra-vigorous plants. The vines reach 5 feet or so, and are studded with luscious fruit. MoneyMaker’s flavor is a full, meaty, sweet bite — absolutely delicious fresh or cooked!

Jersey Devil: If I could only grow one tomato- this would be it. Don’t get me wrong- I’d cry about missing my favorite black & green tomatoes… but I’d survive. A prolific variety with 4 to 6 inch long, tapered red fruits shaped like banana peppers. The tomatoes are very meaty and sweet with few seeds — great for sauces, salsas, or even eating fresh. Color is a gorgeous bright red and yield is impressive.

San Marzano Redorta: Hooray for free seeds! They threw these in when I ordered my Jersey Devil seeds… Huge plum tomato is an heirloom variety from Tuscany, and named for a mountain in Bergamo. Used for cooking, but flavorful enough to eat fresh. Tomatoes are much larger than a regular San Marzano, with the average size being about 8 ounces.

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