Day 9: What are 5 passions you have?

  1. Truth. I don’t like grey area and I don’t like games. If you want to know how I feel, ask. I’ll tell you. Lying pisses me off more than anything and liars are weeded out of my life like the dandelions in my garden. I have a lot of patience, but I don’t fuck around with lies. Hurt me with the miserable truth and I’ll love and respect you forever, but lie and you’re dead to me.
  2. Knitting. It’s a guilty pleasure because I rarely have the time to turn my yarn into anything but silky soft loops of therapeutic peace on my needles. I have half a toy elephant dress finished and my baby nieces are growing at the speed of light. My Dumpling had to go with her daddy last month and it always makes her a little anxious at first. I knit her a bunny with a tiny heart on it’s chest that we spray with my perfume when she has to go. It’s a snuggly soft reminder that home is just a state of mind, a smell or a person. The bunny goes a long way towards making her feel right at home, right away… with her dad. Knitting is magic at your fingertips, all you need are a few sticks and some string.
  3. Writing. In the last year I’ve written three times as much as before, with most of it private or contracted. The work I’ve turned in professionally has earned me more financially this year as well. That’s not what has stuck with me though. I find it so much more satisfying that I wrote my own self out of feeling like warm trash this year. In yelling at the world through a keyboard, I taught myself to let shit go and move on. I love the entertainment of it all, but the therapy of it all is why I began writing in the first place. Sorry to all of you along for this crazy ride, and thank you for your shared perspective.
  4. Love. I love out loud in ways that make me painfully uncomfortable on occasion. I still wouldn’t have it any other way. I smile at strangers, I help people who are grumpy… it’s just who I am. It comes from my adorably sweet grandma Elaine and my equally spicy red-headed firecracker Grandma Afton, both of whom taught me to love the whole world and everything in it, to my toes. Sure, sometimes it ends badly and I end up hurt again… but at the end of the day, purely because I refused to give up, I like to believe my life will have been full of more love than I knew what to do with because I never let fear stop me from having faith.
  5. Gardening. My beautiful obsession with the dirt has gotten me through things I never thought I would survive. Losing my son, my house going through foreclosure (twice), an epic water leak in the yard, countless cheating boyfriends, 5 years of celibacy, having a baby alone from birth, poverty, depression, etc… You name it, I’ve coped with everything by putting on a headlamp and pulling weeds into the wee hours of the morning. Some of the worst and most insurmountable pain can be soothed by digging potatoes and beets. Some of my greatest heartache has only been kept company by tomato plants in need of staking, peppers in need of picking and long, quiet rows waiting for a fresh blanket of straw. When I’m at my breaking point and in desperate need of a reminder to keep myself grounded… I take my shoes off and stick my bare feet in the dirt.

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What are you passionate about?

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Day 8: What is your dream job?

2016

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.

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Peace

I used to really care what other people’s opinions were. I don’t any more. My mother says the same thing to me, every time I need to check back in with myself.

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I’m proud of myself after surviving the last year. I’ve learned to love the less spectacular things about myself and the messes I’ve made within the confines of my life. I fell head over heels in love with a good man and suffered the worst heartbreak. I don’t regret a single tear. Life is too short to be anything less than passionate and though it didn’t end the way I wanted, I learned a million things from every painful day. He may have broken my heart, but he also broke my douchebag magnet and flooded me with the faith that comes from realizing that you can fall crazy in love again when you least expect it.

I learned to play more and clean less. I’ve made buckets of slime and have spent quality time just listening to my children. I’ve turned the TV off and focused on the reality of the beautiful home mine has become. We cook, clean and laugh together more than ever before.

I found peace in the small details when the big picture felt too overwhelming. I asked the uncomfortable questions and got the answers I needed to feel better.

Talking to my favorite man and hearing some painful truth was the cure to what ailed me. I can happily cook again … and eat for that matter. I overslept this morning and it felt like winning the lottery. As an overthinker, my mind had gone down every dark path and I’d made Everest out of molehills. Cold silence is the way I punish people but it was the first time I’d been on the receiving end of it. Having the difficult conversations has become one of my favorite things because I found my will to be blissfully happy again, even on the heels of hearing things that made me sad.

The truth sets you free, but the details dust you off and help you back up.

I miss my Anthony so much it hurts more a little each day because I feel so much better lately and he’s not here to hear all about it. He died in the midst of me folding myself up like a dying flower and he didn’t get to watch me bloom again. He always insisted I would. I find myself looking skyward with a simple wish that the clouds obscured heaven, like I did as a small child. I understand balloon releases a lot more these days because I wish so much that I could write him a letter that he’d actually be able to read.

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My priorities have gotten clearer and I’ve begun the new year making choices that feel better and aim towards happiness instead of delaying the hard work involved to change my life. I’m truly happy, all alone. In feeling so sad last year, I forgot about so many of the luxuries in my life that give back so much more than holding a man’s attention.

I spent yesterday cleaning up and throwing out the things that clutter my life. Blank surfaces inspire me to clear the cobwebs from my head and they heal my heart as well. I pulled my knitting out from the long-since abandoned basket of yarn and made a washcloth. Just like the first few days after I learned to knit, I caught myself moaning and groaning about how slow going it can be. It’s that way with everything you neglect… you have to get your feet back underneath you when you’ve been sitting down for too long. I pulled some black beans from the barely touched pantry and made chicken tortilla soup for dinner, relishing the simple one foot in front of the other magic that goes along with cooking.

A week on my mama’s farm was like therapy and I miss my little chicken friends this morning. Along with farm chores and cooking to my heart’s content, I realized a lot of the things that I’ve been giving my time to aren’t worth the sacrifice. I spent a week disconnected from the internet, unplugged from the television and hidden away in the mountains. I fell in love with my life again, separate from the “things” that make it so difficult. I got surprising answers to questions I didn’t know to ask and finally duct taped that hole in my heart.

Somewhere amongst the baby owls, blooming orchids and fresh straw… I found peace.

Happy new year to each of you. I hope if you’re struggling that you’re able to find some peace and If you are content, then perhaps offer a little to someone you know that has run out.

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Baby Mouse Munchers

I’ve been staying at my mom’s house for the past week or so, and have fallen in love with the most adorable creatures.

Baby Pygmy owls. ♥

It doesn’t hurt that they eat mice, my least favorite creature.

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They look tiny and sweet, until you watch it rip into a dead mouse. I’ve never been so in love with a bird in my life.

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It’s about the size of a can of Campbell’s soup… but don’t let that fool you. It’s a mean little thing, racking up a body count to be proud of. The chickens aren’t so excited but it’s still tiny enough to not hurt one of them and they know better than to mess with a predator.

I hope…

 


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! 😂