About Us
Our Pay Dirt Farm School


Entrance to Farm; photo by Elaine McEnery

Potato BakeOver

Farm Landscape

Cow Parsnips at Sunrise

Sunday, July 20 (continued)

MaryJane and I cook our dinner, a BakeOver, in the Plum Pit. We use fresh organic vegetables, sautéed in a little olive oil. A MaryJane BakeOver is a pie, sort-of, made in a wok-style pan. You sauté the veggies (savory) or fruit (dessert) and other filling ingredients, then take a crust made with one of MaryJane’s own mixes and plop it on top. Bake it and flop it upside down on a platter. Cut it like a pie. Delicious. Beautiful. Easy.

After dinner, we walk down the road past the gardens, wildflowers and berry bushes, and all the way to the edge of the farm. It’s splendid, looking around, all sides with rolling wheat-covered hills punctuated by majestic Ponderosa pines. At night the door stays open; the screen latched to keep raccoons out. Windows let the night air breeze through. There are no smells of cars, no sounds of roads, no roaring of air conditioners, no sounds of neighbors. I don’t think I move an inch all night.

Monday, July 21

Today the sun rose at 4:30 a.m. It was glorious. Light beamed from the sky- light immediately over my head. Clearly, MaryJane wants her guests to feel exactly as if they are sleeping with nature under the open sky. Fantastic.

MaryJane’s instructions were clear. Meet her at 6:30 am for breakfast in the Plum Pit. Get up as early as I want and shower in the basement.

MaryJane e-mailed me before I came that if I want to learn to garden, I need to learn to cook. But before we cook, we need ingredients, so it’s berry-picking time on the farm this morning. MaryJane is making my picking bucket, an old plastic jug that she cut off to form a bowl with holes in each side at the top. She likes to use both hands to pick raspberries, and that’s why she threads a cloth neck-strap through the holes.

One thing is obvious: MaryJane likes raspberries. She leads me past dozens of raspberry bushes, around the Plum Pit, behind the basement and in the garden. She takes care to show me just how to tell which ones are ripe. They’re the darker red, not the bright red raspberries. The ripe ones are sweeter and will go better in our breakfast BakeOver.

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