While working in the garden I think, talk, recite, dance–and recently I found myself singing the classic “If I were a rich man,” from Fiddler on the Roof.  Truthfully, that one comes up pretty often.

“All day long I’d dibby, dibby, dum . . . if I were a wealthy man!”

I got a great question last post that’s had me a bit stumped.  It seemed easy enough, “How did you come to buy your land and the resources to become independent?”

It sounds like a simple question, but actually it’s rather philosophical.  I could write a book about that, and thanks to Joey, I just might.  But how to answer it in a blog post?  I’m inclined to give advice, when that’s rarely called for.  I think, what was the step-by-step, for clarity and brevity sake.  And then, I think, how to do it quick, try to simultaneously entertain–never an easy endeavor.

I ask myself questions too often and over-think all the replies.  One of my many:  If I were a rich man,  or woman . . .?

I stand from the computer deciding I’m hungry.  It’s mid-day, sunny, the fall breezes are just beginning to bring the unique scent of parched pine needles atop wet musty leaves as I make the few paces to find my lunch.  The garden is basic at the moment, the late season plantings just beginning to flourish, but the summer crops are mostly long gone.  I choose some Malabar spinach, a few sweet red peppers and an over-ripe jalapeno, dig a few sweet potatoes, a spring onion, clip some arugula and some herbs-it takes less than 10 minutes.

To that I add broth from our own chickens and in 30 minutes I’m back at the computer watching news while I eat a nutritious meal co-created between us and Mother Nature.  It’s an experience so rich because it takes out almost every middleman.  Nearly everything I do, most of every day, is aligned with my values and my passions.  It’s taken a couple hurricanes and a lot of clarity, but I really believe it’s totally do-able for anyone.

“To be a wealthy man!“  To me this meant a kind of freedom, health, tranquility, sanity, wholesomeness.  My life and my work are one, my purpose is staring me in the face from a dozen angles from the moment I wake in the morning.  I LOVE waking up in the morning.

Now, whether that’s what a rich man really does I have no idea, dibby, dibby, dum, but when I was truthful about what wealth meant to me, then it was as simple as lining my life up with that.  I say my life, but of course I mean, our life.

I could not be out here truly alone, I must be transparent.  For half the month Handy Hubby is full-steam-ahead and partnership in a vision is a very powerful force.  My life is not spent between the pillars of comfort and ease, but even as a rich girl, I’d never choose that.

This is my easy street.  When it’s not, I recall what it was like in “civilization.”  Fun and full of some enjoyable distractions, sure.  But how very bored with it I was becoming.

“How did you come to buy your land and the resources to become independent?”

In some ways, I didn’t see a lot of other options.  I don’t like the burbs, I was fed-up with the city, what was left?  It’s actually still hard to imagine what true independence would look like, but I love trying.  So really, while we’re aren’t there yet, we came to make the move in small steps, but with a vision in mind.  The funniest thing is the hurricanes actually helped us along, and that’s what my forthcoming novel is all about:  Evacuation Vacation.

I would love to hear from y’all–what makes you feel like a rich man?  And if you were, what would you be doing? The one thing I know for sure, it’s never really about the money.

Three garden greens potage

Three Garden Greens Potage: Soup for one? Or many!

If I were a rich girl, I’d experiment with recipes, and sometimes they’d be successful, like this one!

Three Garden Greens Potage

This is quick hearty soup to make with whatever garden fresh veggies you have available.  Even after a long day you can throw it together in 20 minutes and let it simmer while you get comfie.

Sauté some bacon, ham, sausage or other smoked meat.  These are not as unhealthy as you may think-read this awesome article! Reserve cooking fat but remove meat and set aside.

In the food processor in small batches shred (to the point of consistent very small pieces, but not to a pulp) several potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, parsnips, turnips or other “hard” veggies you have on hand.  (If you have extra time, try roasting them first for extra flavor.)

Sauté these in the bacon grease or olive oil, again adding in small batches starting with the onions.  Add your smoked meat of choice into the pot at any time.  Season with fresh herbs like thyme, marjoram, basil, dill or cilantro, depending on your taste and the season.  Add a stalk of lemon grass or sprigs of lemon verbana and cover with homemade chicken stock.

If you have other soft veggies you can add a few of those too, like squash, cabbage or corn-just wait until about 10 minutes before you serve.  Taste at this point and add some fish sauce or Worchester sauce or high quality Balsamic vinegar if it seems dull or flat.  Also add several dashes of Tabasco-you won’t taste it, it will just a wee bite to the cream.

Add some Cream, sour cream, milk, buttermilk, even butter if you have nothing else, just something to give it the right consistency-unfortunately soy milk or nut milks really don’t work so well.  Instead if you are too lactose intolerant to indulge a bit, don’t use carrots and instead boil a sweet potato, blend it to a pulp and add it as a consistency replacement.

Serve over 3 different kinds of fresh raw “soft” greens like spinach, Malabar spinach (pictured here), arugula, thinly sliced kale or swiss chard, etc.

Garnish with a bit of shredded cheese of choice. YUM!

And I’d be playing with my sweet pets!

Or just laugh while they play

Or just laughing while they play

And I’d be growing stuff . . .

and showing it off

and showing it off

And learning all about all kinds of plants from all kinds of fascinating people like:

Merriwether on foraging in Texas and the Southwest

and

Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

So, by definition it would seem I AM RICH!