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Our Pay Dirt Farm School

Friday, July 25

I’ve pretty well standardized my morning routine before breakfast. Get dressed, have a glass of water, make the bed, lay out my towel, roll it up with my clothes for the day, grab that and my shaving kit, and walk to the basement for running water and a hot shower.

Next stop is the Plum Pit to wash some dishes and start the coffee. Mary Jane doesn’t provide coffee for workers; rather, if they feel like they need a boost of energy, she directs them to a cot off the workroom. Cots, not caffeine. There’s a new slogan for corporate America. And I think it makes good sense. MaryJane arrives with a bowl of baked potatoes for making hashbrowns (she claims that hashbrowns work much better when you pre-bake the potatoes) and an invitation to help her develop a new recipe for her book. The hashbrowns will have to wait.

Brad joins us in the Plum Pit for our brainstorming session over a smoothie and some cowboy coffee. MaryJane wants three to five seasoning mixes for deer meat, since her book agent has suggested she come up with some venison recipes. She wants some gourmet influences, maybe French. Brad wants Ethiopian or North African, like a restaurant in Denver that he likes. Like any Texan worth his chili, I lobby for Southwestern.

MaryJane and I, creators of culinary history, move to the basement, where food production happens. I’m responsible for finding a classic southwestern ingredient. I know sage grows everywhere in Big Bend. MaryJane calls for sage, and a seven-gallon container of sage appears on the bench. She calls for minced onions, and seven gallons are brought, immediately. She’s like a surgeon calling for instruments. I measure out teaspoons from a stash of more minced onions than a grocery store stocks in 10 years.

MaryJane drops in the seasoning and mixes it in, then off to the Plum Pit to cook it and taste it. I must admit that these healthy foods have made me feel better than I have in ages.


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