Posts Tagged ‘canning’

You Are A Magician!

October 10, 2017

I got the sweetest text tonight as I was wrapping up at my internship.

My boss had sent me a message extolling my baking prowess.

I made the family an apple tart tonight.

It was going to be a pie, but they only had tart baking dishes so I changed up what I was doing and made a butter pastry, yes, by hand, it’s not that hard, and did my version of apple pie filling.

The nice thing about it too.

All the apples came from their tree in the front of their house.

It reminded me of when I learned how to make apple pies.

I was twelve, we had just moved from Madison, Wisconsin, to Windsor, Wisconsin.

I went from being in an urban multi-cultural neighborhood and school to rural white country in a blink of an eye.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, the racial stuff, the class system and structure, I got lumped into the “farm kids” group even though we didn’t live on a farm.

And yes, I have drank milk straight from the pail underneath a cow’s udder, I remember very distinctly that it was warm, but I was no farm girl.

I can pass for one though.

I currently pass for very urban, the tattoos do that and my funky style of dressing, which has been evolving for years, but it is still quite urban.

However.

I can pass for a country girl too, not so much a farm girl, but I know a lot about living in the country and the seasons, canning and jarring, making preserves, putting up food for the winter.

We had a pantry in the cellar.

And it was a cellar.

Oh, sure, we had a basement, but we also had a cellar too, an unfinished one with a dirt floor, which was spooky as fuck and after one winter of storing stuff there I declined to ever go near it again.

Some places are just too goddamn creepy and I had a penchant for reading Stephen King in highschool, which did nothing to help matters.

Anyway.

This country girl can also jam and she can bake.

My mom taught me.

We had an apple orchard on the property–4 Red Delicious Trees, 1 Golden Delicious, and 7 Cortland trees.

I don’t know that there are any Cortland apples in California, there might be, but I don’t recall seeing them in the stores.

I have dreamed once or twice about having my own apple orchard.

A modest one.

Maybe a hobby one.

I would be a famous writer.

Or better.

A writer who just made money writing.

I would have a big house and a small barn.

I would put up apples and preserves and make apple jelly and apple pies, apple sauce, and oh!

Apple butter.

So freaking good.

And of course.

Lots of apple cider.

I would write in my office in the barn and have a braided rug and a rocking chair, a big desk and a fireplace.

I would drink hot tea while the snow fell and be super content listening to the hush and crackle of snow falling.

I would fall asleep under large comforters.

I would have my bunny slippers of course.

It’s a sweet fantasy.

One I could imagine having here, partially, but it would be outside of the city, obviously.

Or.

Maybe I could just have my own house and I would have the trees that I like, a couple of apple trees, the Envy varietal or Pink Lady, I also really like the Mutsu apples.  And a persimmon tree.

Fuck I love persimmons.

And it’s persimmon season.

When I get done with my blog I will be having both and apple and a persimmon as my evening snack, I shall cut them up, sprinkle them with cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt and pumpkin pie spice.

The best.

I might have a pear tree too.

And definitely a fig tree.

Then a little kitchen garden–tomatoes, lettuces, onions, herbs–rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, heck, maybe even some sweet corn.

But really I want tomatoes, like the ones my grandfather grew in his garden in Lodi.

My grandfather helped my mom quite a bit with the planning of our garden in Windsor, we had an acre of land and the back of it was a big sprawling yard, halved by a grape arbor and then the back was the orchard and the garden.

The garden wasn’t as big as my grandfathers and I remember my stepfather (step asshole, step asshat, step misogynist, oops, sorry, digression) got some weird ideas about what to grow.

One year it was a god awful amount of cabbage and he decided we were going to make sauerkraut.

We made so much sauerkraut that four years later I could still find it in the pantry in the basement, not the cellar mind you, but the basement.

Another year it was potatoes and broccoli.

There was also a small strawberry patch, some raspberries, and red currants as well as rhubarb.

One of my mom’s masterpieces was her strawberry rhubarb egg custard tart.

God damn it was a miracle.

And my mom taught me her pie crust recipe.

Which, to this day, I can see on its index card in her small recipe box, the way she wrote her letters and the fanciful swoops and curves of her lines and the flourishes.

When I think of my mom sometimes I think that her creative soul can be found in her cursive handwriting.

I didn’t even need to look at the recipe card after a few years, I had made so many pies that it was unnecessary.

I made apple pies, of course, until the cows came home.

This is a saying, not literal, although there was a farm just down the road that the dog liked to go occasion once in a while to piss off my mother by rolling in the cow manure.

There is nothing fouler to smell than a dirty dog in cow shit.

Anyway.

My mom taught me well and it was nice to dip back into those memories, to feel the seasons change, to think about fall abundance and harvest.

I miss baking sometimes and I’m a good baker, so it was super sweet and a bit special to make the tart for the family I work for.

I cooked a lot today for the family as it was a stay at home day for the kids, Columbus Day school observance, but the pie made me the happiest to make.

I didn’t need to taste it, I don’t eat sugar or flour, so that was out of the question.

But oh.

I smelled it.

And it was so good.

It reminded me of home, the days crisp and cool and the leaves turning and the grass still green but cold now on my feet when I was out picking through the windfall apples in the tall orchard grass.

I am so glad and grateful that I get to live in San Francisco.

But once in a while.

Yes.

I do get a touch nostalgic for the Midwest.

And baking today felt good.

Sweet.

Homey.

Cozy.

It stirred me and I was grateful for it.

And touched too, that the mom would send me such an effusive message.

I am glad they liked the pie.

I probably liked baking it more than they enjoyed eating it.

That might not seem possible.

But.

Well.

I think it is.

You’d Make Some One

November 14, 2016

A good wife.

I thought to myself as I was canning up homemade chicken soup with rice a few minutes ago.

I burst out laughing.

I make me a good wife.

I am my own good wife.

I do it all.

I do the laundry.

Two loads today.

I do the marketing.

I cook the food.

And.

The food is tasty.

I just finished putting up my food for the week and for the next weekend of classes which is fast approaching.

It’s hard to believe that I have classes this Friday.

I don’t know where the time went.

But fuck me.

It went.

I do know where the majority of today went.

Into my 14 page, 4, 484 word Psychopathology paper.

Holy Toledo.

Yeah.

Most of my day was that.

I was supposed to meet with a couple of ladies.

That didn’t happen.

And I was going to go to yoga.

That didn’t happen either.

Although I set my alarm to get up early and go.

What happened?

My internal clock went off and said, “get the fuck out of bed!”

And in no uncertain terms, my day changed and changed for well, the better, not that I necessarily had a bad plan for my day, things changed, they often do.

I got up earlier than my alarm by an hour.

I got up because I have a cold.

Oh.

It’s not devastating.

Although it is annoying.

It’s a sneezy cold with a bit of a fever.

No cough, which is nice, but a nice low running fever and a sneeze, also, a slightly whisky throated cigarette smoking huskiness to my voice that is actually sort of fun.

I think I caught it from one of the women I work with or one of the families.

Everyone has had it.

I’m better off than most of the folks that I have seen come down with it.

I’m a healthy lady.

But.

I didn’t want to meet with the women I do the deal with if I had a cold.

However, I wasn’t going to cancel my blind date and I wasn’t going to not do my paper.

So.

I offered both the ladies the option to opt out.

My person does that with me, as she knows I work with kids and I do the same for her, if one of us is feeling under the weather but capable of meeting we do, unless the other person opts out.

Both my ladies opted out and I have to be honest.

I was grateful for the extra time.

The paper took longer to write than I thought it would, although not longer than I estimated.

I was just hoping that my  estimate would be over.

Nope.

It was pretty spot on.

I estimated four hours and I started writing at 10:30 a.m.

Yes.

I did get up early, but I also did laundry, took a shower, got ready for my date so I wouldn’t be stressed about that, even wore my favorite dress, and I had a nice breakfast, tidied up the house, and wrote my morning pages.

I also had a phone check in with one of the ladies.

Then.

I wrote the paper.

I finished it just after 3 p.m.

I took a lunch break in there for about twenty minutes or so and I got up once and walked outside and just stood in the sunshine to let my brain rest and let my body have some sun.

I skipped yoga.

Kind of hard to do yoga if you can’t breathe and are sneezing.

But I’m grateful to that too, I needed the time I would have been in class to write.

My paper, as I already mentioned, but feels good to say again, thank you; clocked in at 14 pages, 4, 484 words.

Yeehaw.

I wrote about Post Traumatic Distress Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder.

Things I know nothing about.

Ahem.

There was so much to write about and so many notes and books and stuff and things.

So much.

But it got done.

Thank God.

I even had time to proof half of it before I left for my date.

We met at Samovar Tea Lounge above Yerba Buena Gardens.

It was a beautiful late afternoon and I was grateful to be out in the world, even if it took a few minutes to come to and realize that I was actually on a date and not writing a paper.

It was a nice date.

I had a nice time.

There was not really any zing zip for me, but he was a kind man, a nice man, and we talked.

He wants to see me again, that was clear, though I will probably pass.

I am grateful for the experience though, to be out in the world, to be trying new things.

I mean, this was my first time being set up by a friend.

I’ve never had that happen before and it is super flattering to be thought of.

Speaking of thought of, I received an e-mail today in regards to a book project, turns out a photograph of me will be in the book.

I was super flattered and it’s really nice to be included.

My world feels sweet right now, heady almost, the relief of having that paper done is quite nice.

The author of the book asked if I was still in graduate school and a nanny, as those will be listed alongside my portrait in the book.

Yes.

And.

Yes.

Care taker–of myself, graduate student, budding therapist, Burner, all the things.

After I signed off the e-mail I finished proofing and editing my paper.

I printed it off and voila!

I’m done.

And so is my weekend.

Fuck it went by fast.

I’ve still got some reading to do for class but it can wait for tomorrow.

I have earned a video and a cup of tea.

My candles are all lit up, I have Coleman Hawkins playing and I have my bunny slippers on.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Happy Sunday!

Profoundly Happy

March 16, 2014

“We absolutely insist on enjoying life,” she told me adamantly today from across the table at Tart to Tart.

I am.

I swear.

“That’s your principle today, happiness.”

Enough said.

I am down with the getting happy.

I had a happy day.

I was, I realized, as I was riding my bicycle, slowly, obeying all traffic laws, ahem, through the Irving Street melee of Saturday afternoon parking, shopping, pedestrians, and drunken Irish revelers in green beads and sequined foam green top hats, that I was profoundly, deeply happy.

Part of it is a sense memory from being a child.

I grew up out here, remember, until I was just about five years old, so my earliest memories are of the area, most specifically what I seem to remember the most is the sun, the sky, the smell of ocean.

I was  sailing my bicycle down Irving, once I was through the crazy of 19th to 25th, Irving gets really quiet and it’s such a pretty, straight shot, right to the ocean, the sun was warm on my skin, my hair blowing off my face, the wind cool, and there, just there, a swelling of memory like a song of joy in my body.

This warmth, this sun, this wind, some of my earliest feelings of contentment and joy.

I felt a vast yearning to call my mom and say, thank you for having me in California.  Thank you for not birthing me in Wisconsin, thank you for planting the California seed deep in my heart.

I am glad for my Mid-Western upbringing, I like manners, I like hearing the sound of Mason jars popping when I canned my soup this afternoon, I like that I know how to cook soup and make jam and pie crusts from hand, I like that I know what the sound of snow falling on snow sounds like and the smell of wood burning sharp on a cold night in January.

However, the deep sensual feel of sunshine and wind on my skin that blows in from the ocean is one of my most cherished sensory memories and I was so softened with the emotion of being in the moment with the sun and the wind and the vast, deep indigo expanse of the ocean unfurling in front of me.

I wanted to stop all time, because all time had become right now, right with God, right in my body, right with happy and joyous and free.

Nothing says happy, joyous free, like riding a bicycle down the middle of the road with no traffic, in a new dress, with my hair blowing out behind me and the sun smothering me in warmth and light.

I felt like I was a song.

Just a bicycle ride you know, but something lovely and sweet and powerful in that.

I laughed earlier today as I had gotten up and showered, written, meditated, read,  ate breakfast, drank coffee, did trash and recycling, chatted with the housemate, tidied up and realized I had more than enough time to go grocery shopping too, and I rode my bicycle along the path that runs parallel to Ocean Beach on my way to the store.

How many folks can say that they ride their bicycles to the grocery store to buy laundry detergent while the Pacific Ocean keeps them company?

Not many I say.

Some, yes, but not many.

And I get to have this experience.

I suppose the novelty will eventually wear off and then I will be just going to the SafeWay on Fulton and it will be a chore, but right now, I revel in the going to SafeWay.

Not something I have ever, ever said before.

Most of the time I despise Safeway.

But, I have to say, this one is not so bad, oh, I still have to do my real shopping thereafter, I almost never get what I really need there, but I do get some staples–paper towels, a few toiletries, today it was for laundry detergent.  I think it’s partially because it’s not one of the newer remodeled ones with the weird lighting.

I got my stuff, headed back to the house, unloaded and went right back out in the opposite direction and got organic apples at the Noriega Produce Market, and then jetted it up to 7th and Irving, managing to also send off my niece’s birthday card and present at the post office.

Not bad actions to be taking all before noon.

On my return to the homestead I made soup.

Yup.

Food prep done for the week.

Chicken soup with kidney beans, cannelli beans, corn, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic, big pot of brown rice.  I canned it all up and set aside some in the freezer and boom.

Done for the week.

Toss it in the bag, grab a couple of carrot sticks and an apple and I am set.

So nice to have it out-of-the-way.

Then.

Relax.

Read.

Sit and sip some tea and enjoy the view of the blue sky flecked with the passing raven or three winging through the air over the back yard.

I read for an hour, did some laundry, then headed back out the door around 4p.m. to run up to Noe Valley where I had an evening commitment, but not until after I went and got a spa manicure and pedicure.

I splurged a little and went to the nicer place.

I realize that part of being profoundly happy is allowing for small splurges like this (besides the manicure lasts days longer then when I go to a cheap place) and letting in the happy.

I also allowed myself to buy tickets to go dancing next Friday, there’s a benefit at Public Works for the Flaming Lotus Girls–The Space Cowboy Collective will be playing along with Distrikt and the crew from Opulent Temple–great dance music and girlfriends.

I randomly saw a post on facecrack that a friend was contemplating going and I just decided to say yes and I bought a ticket, then Bonne said she got one and then Jesse got one and Beth got one and Tami got one and holy shit, I got a posse of girls to go dancing with next Friday.

And if that doesn’t make a girl profoundly happy.

I don’t know what does.

 


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