1 teaspoon sugar
4 heads baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle sugar evenly over cut sides of bok choy. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add bok choy to pan, cut side down; cover and cook 2 minutes or until browned. Turn bok choy over; add 3 tablespoons water to pan. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until bok choy is crisp-tender. Sprinkle evenly with salt.
Around 7:30 pm, my trucks battery light flickered on. After phoning my most reliable advisers, it was clear that I had no choice but to pull over. I skipped a dark exit and luckily the next had a truck stop lit up with activity. It had a gas station and motel, along with a restaurant. I took some readings with a volt meter on the battery, the wires, and the alternator and called Jim and my brother Dan. The consensus was that the alternator was bad. What the heck was I going to to? I was in a fairly remote area and it was later than most mechanic shops stayed open. I mentally prepared to stay the night, but decided to put up a fight. I asked the gas station attendant if she new where I could buy an alternator. She puzzled over it a minute, saying the closest places were at least a half hour away. She then suggested the I ask the mechanics that ran the shop around back. Well whaddaya know! They were open until midnight, she said. I power walked back across the parking lot, which grumbled with the sound of idling big rigs.
To cut to the chase, those guys bailed me out big time. They checked out my truck, confirmed that I needed an alternator, called and found one, and with no questions asked sent me off in their shop truck on the hour long round trip ride to buy my alternator. The folks at the auto parts store stayed open past closing for me, I hustled back to the mechanics, they put the alternator in, and sent me on my way, free of charge. I left there feeling like the luckiest, unlucky person around. I know it was the goodness of those people that made it work, but it felt like genuine magic.
I finally made it to Michigan around 4 am after being awake for just about 24 hours. I hurried to fall asleep, assuming that in a few hours time, Max would arrive with our equipment but at 7 am I got a text from him telling me that his truck, too, had broken down and that he wouldn't be able to make it until Friday! I was grateful for the rest, but doomed to anxiously await the event. We ended up getting it all off in one piece, but it was a real ordeal.
On Saturday the 10th, the following day, we had our first Michigan market in Dexter. It went wonderfully. I met some other growers in the area. Everyone was very, very nice and it went a long way to making me feel more at home. And then a few days later, Jim was back to NJ and then on his heels, so was I. We packed up the farm: Both 40' greenhouses, all the barrels that we use for heat retention, hand tools, our 8' by 10' walk in cooler, the wash station, all our tomato stakes, ground cloth, deer fence, row cover, hoops, irrigation supplies, cultivation pieces, hoops and plastic coverings for our 3 90' temporary greenhouses, and anything and everything else! All of it went into our 40' shipping container. It was a feat! And we had help. I sent out an email to some of my closest friends in the farming community and they showed up. What a gift! And what a send off. I feel so loved.
And we packed up our home. All of it went into a 22' moving truck. At the beginning, everything looked orderly, in neat stacks, but the last 10' of the box was a tangled mess, like bindweed wrapped around grass. It looked like a ramp!
We paid outstanding Whistling Wolf bills, closed our business bank account, forwarded our mail, tied up loose ends. Jim set out Wednesday in the rented truck and I headed out Thursday in our trusty pick-up, loaded to the gills, with Exie on a pile of blankets on the seat beside me. Both of us hit lane obscuring blizzard conditions but got through just fine. I got to Michigan around 12 last night, and again hurried up and slept
And now, here we are. Today! We unloaded the truck with the help of family, harvested, washed, and bagged, and ordered a greenhouse! And finally, I am writing to you. I don't plan on all of our emails being such listings of activity. But, this has really felt epic. This is (hopefully) the only move like this I will ever have to do. We are here for good. We are going to take care of this land and its creatures, grow delicious food here, be part of this community, start our family here. I slept that last night in our empty Phillipsburg house, with Exie curled up under my arm, feeling amazed that we have reached a new chapter. Events like this always feel so sudden it is easy to forget all that goes into them We are at that sudden moment right now. We have arrived home.
And we have vegetables for market tomorrow! Somehow with temperatures dipping below zero on occasion, much of our greenery survived , only to become unimaginably more delicious! If you are in Michigan, and anywhere close to Dexter, come and see me!
All our love,
Helen, Jim, and Exie the dog.