Giving Away the Farm

Our older daughter’s boyfriend emails me that he is crazy about my strawberry fruit chips.  Would I please send him instructions?  He’s fantasizing about mass commercial success.

Of course, I write back, copying our daughter.  Just puree the fruit and pour it into the dehydrator trays.  There’s really nothing to it, I write.  I’ll take pictures and put them in my next blog.

Moments later, the phone rings.  “MOM!”  It’s our daughter.  “No offense, but you have no business sense whatsoever.”

“That’s true,” I say.  “What have I done now?”

“Putting the fruit chip recipe on your blog!” she says.  “How can he make money if you’re giving away the farm?”

“There is no fortune in fruit chips,” I say.  “Way too labor intensive.”  Not that her boyfriend is a raging capitalist.  He’s a self-employed fisherman, an entrepreneur who wants to send his kids to college some day, not buy an island.

This is not the first time the subject of making money from our farmlet activities has come up.  Family and friends have asked why we don’t sell the eggs, chickens, or goat fleece?  Can’t we milk Pearl and sell cheese?

The Bearded One and I tried to start a business together once — to turn our big empty-nest house and view acreage overlooking Agate Pass and Puget Sound into a small retreat center.  After an expensive year-long, ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of the necessary permits (and $10K in architect fees) we gave up, sold it at the height of the market and moved here.  We were lucky.

Still, our daughter doesn’t want a political discussion.  It’s Labor Day, we’re between political conventions, and her boyfriend has got a hot idea he’d like to capitalize on if I’d just keep it quiet, thank you very much.

“But the recipe for fruit leathers is in every dehydrator cookbook on the planet,” I say.  “I don’t own it!  Nobody owns it!  The only secret is leaving them in the dehydrator for a few more hours.”

The Bearded One insists that I have, in fact, invented a whole new thing — potato chips made out of fruit.  Strawberries and peaches work beautifully with no added anything.  Blackberries have too many seeds and aren’t sweet enough.

“Can you just write about something else this week?” says our daughter.

“Of course.”  The kids all know they have automatic vetoes over any blog involving them.

She thanks me, and I set to work pureeing strawberries.

Wash the berries, cut off the tops, and puree them. A flat yields 4 full bowls like these and will make 20 cups of puree.

I take pictures of pitchers.

This pitcher holds 10 cups. Here also are the plastic liners for the dehydrator trays that hold the puree.

And pictures of puree.

Pour puree into each plastic liner in the tray ’til it’s 1/4 inch thick. For my liners, that’s 2-1/2 cups.

Set the dehydrator to 140-145F. At 9 hours, the top is dry but the bottom is still moist. At 11 hours, I remove them from the liner, wash the sticky off the liners, flip the disk over and put it back on the liner to dry the bottom a bit more.

Fourteen hours after the machine starts, they’re finished.  Nice and crisp.

Ready for breaking up and bagging. No added anything, just straight strawberry.

I send the step-by-step commentary and pictorial to the entrepreneur.

The next morning, he writes back that he is elated and energized.  He says that he has changed his mind, that I should share these delicious, healthy fruit chips with the world.

And speaking of the world, I read my Tasmanian friend’s blog, and see that her husband has borrowed the Bearded One’s stickman idea.

I show the Bearded One and he laughs.  He will not issue a cease and desist order, he says.  In fact, it gives him an idea for a new political party.  He’s ready for one.

“Bored, unoccupied men ignoring their women got us into this mess,” he says, referring to the economy of the USA.  “The Stickman Party’s platform is about men drawing cartoons to amuse their wives.  I am the president.  My VP is currently residing in Tasmania.”

He reaches for my hand, and waves to our adoring public, the chickens and goats.  He’s putting us in the stickman pose he draws on the labels of Farmlet Jam we send out as gifts.  “The Stickman Party is born,” says the Bearded One.

The goats bleat.  Chickens cackle, and I sing out the rest of the Stickman Party platform. “Fruit chips for all!”

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15 responses to “Giving Away the Farm

  1. pyrophobicburner

    I am grinning in delight. 😀

  2. I absolutely loved this one!

  3. Here…as I often say to our extraordinarily kind and appreciative guests…the serenity (& in your case the sweetness of the strawberry fruit chips) ripples out to the world.
    I am joining the Stickman Party.
    Count me in.
    xoxoxo
    Christine

    • Another stickwoman joins up! Denny can use his magnificent photographing to amuse you, he doesn’t have to draw stick figures unless he’s moved to. It’s all about amusing the woman. lol

  4. I am with the Stickman!!! That way I can still enjoy all the free jams and eggs! tee hee

  5. Suzanne, the Stickman platform is free food for all! Let’s get radical here. 🙂

  6. Consider the Sidmouth Chapter of the Stickman party present and accounted for! We give our eggs away as well, along with numerous free sponge cakes to deserving friends, family and people in need of something light and fluffy and sweet to put a bit of colour into their grey days. I love the idea of fruit chips…tell the daughters boyfriend that I am going to steal the idea, market it from Australia and make a killing (lol!). I have something else that will make him hop up and down…take your idea…meld it with my idea (thick greek yoghurt swirled through with pureed fruit, in my case strawberries and mango puree) and make creamy fruit chips…what the heck dip those suckers in yoghurt chocolate or even full blown dark chocolate and create something to write home about! Value add baby! Disclaimer…all these ideas and many more supplied to you by the Stickman party and may be reproduced with impunity so long as no-one gets food poisoning or falls off the roof or sets themselves on fire whilst following the recipe instructions. 😉

    • Value add 🙂 Sounds like you have a head for business, Fran. lol I’m so glad Steve — he who has 9 earrings — is chuffed to be VP. And his Aquarius muse should work just fine with the Bearded One’s Virgo. Keep those Stickmen and women coming, Steve! 🙂

      • all I can say Christi is “don’t fear the reaper”! Steve was one of the original punks in the U.K. in the 70’s and merged into Goth back when it was suits and big BIG hair in the early 80’s. Steve loves horror movies, weird music and anything a bit avant garde. He was also born in the Chinese year of the dragon and is naturally charming and aside from babies and animals loving him (no votes there…) old ladies flock to him like moths and so we should have the old lady vote in droves! The Bearded One is going to have to cover the rest 😉

  7. i like the stickman logo (holding hands) just the way it is. but a woman might find it more amusing if it were to more resemble a heart shape – looking to the right of the page could do it.

    • Cool, David! I never noticed that heart under their armpits and down to the feet. The Bearded One says he’s been aware of it all along….just didn’t want to make it obvious. Interesting.:):) I am amused!!

  8. Here is Steve’s reply to the forming of the Stickman party…you can’t have a party without history!
    http://theroadtoserendipity.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-rise-of-the-stickmen/

    • I LOVE IT! This is so wonderful, Steve and Fran. THANK YOU. This history is so right on. Captain Cook as Johnny Cash’s great great great grandfather, the sour face of poor Mrs. Cook who got no attention, and of course, the Stickman drawings of Cook himself receiving jam from the natives. Teaching men to make women laugh is our goal.:)

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