Victory Yarden

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

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.

🙂

Happiness is…pickled beets!

I’m canning like a crazy girl this week.

Letting my inner domestic princess run wild results in amazing stuff coming out of the kitchen. Pickled beets are one of my favorite- and people beg from year to year to be on the list for Christmas beets. I’m sharing my recipe so that you’ll make some- I’d be willing to bet you’ll love them! There are a few secrets here and there I don’t share- because every pickling recipe is different. Tweak this one to please yourself and go crazy… mine have onions in the jar too this year.

Boil & peel your beets, and let them cool a little so you don’t burn your fingers off.

Sterilize your jars- don’t skip this step, EVER. You can’t be too careful, even when you’re canning something vinegar based.After they’re clean and steamy hot- fill them with your beets.

You can add anything you want really. I added a jalapeno pepper for one of my favorite girls that loves spicy things and they all got a chunk of onion from the garden too. Yummy. I don’t like sweet pickled beets, mine are more savory. Much better, if you ask me.

Boil your lids, clean the rims of your jars with a clean towel dipped in boiling water. Be neurotically safe- it’s worth it for the time it takes to get them canned. Boil your brine.

Get your hot water bath canner full and heating. It takes a while to get it going and if you time it correctly, this can be easy.

Brine… Every recipe calls for equal parts vinegar & sugar. Uck. If you’re using fresh garden beets, you don’t need that much sugar. You cannot mess with the vinegar- but you can use a whole lot less (if any) sugar. Play around with it, and taste your brine while you’re making it. If you don’t like it now- you will not like your beets. Be picky. Vinegar is cheap. Here’s my recipe:

Pickled Beets Brine

3 cups vinegar

1-3 cups sugar. Add it a little at a time until you like it.

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp pickling spices.

Boil it all together for 10 minutes or so- until it smells good and you like how it tastes.

Strain the pickling spices out and add it to your jars. Clean your jar rims again, put your boily-hot lids on with the rings, and set all your jars in a sink full of VERY hot water until the canner is ready. If you let your jars cool too much, you’ll blow the bottoms out when you put them in the canner. Nothing is worse than hearing that pop and seeing those bubbles. I promise. It’s worth being patient and letting them heat up. I lost 6 jars last year (out of about 400) so it doesn’t happen too often if you’re really careful about keeping them hot. Load 6 at a time- 7 makes it sketchy and I always end up getting burned.

10 minutes later you are rewarded with the most spectacular pickled beets you’ll ever have. Ever. Not that I’m bragging.

Victory… beautiful and delicious. What’s not to love? Raspberry jam coming up next….

Go domestic princess, go!

Dinner from the Yarden

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…

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.