Today I got my Psychic Friend a job helping me out today at my friend's store as a shopgirl. I had to pick her up at our usual spot--a cuban coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard, and drive her to the store. A native New Yorker, she still doesn't know how to drive, even though she's lived in Los Angeles since 1973. She bought me coffee and a croissant, even though I insisted that wasn't necessary, as a thank you for the work and the ride.
While yesterday was insanely busy, today the store was dead. My friend, the store owner, let us go after two and a half hours and gave us $25 for our trouble. Not quite the $100 either of us were expecting. I felt terrible that I'd gotten my Psychic Friend out of bed early on a Saturday morning for such lousy cash. She, on the other hand, was thrilled that she'd gotten paid period.
We stopped back at Dinky Manor to pick more figs off the nasty rash tree in my yard. She's already processed the first delivery of figs and had some jars to give to me in trade for the free fruit.
On the drive back to her home I took her to lunch. I still felt terrible about not coming through with a full day's work for her AND she bought me breakfast.
Back at her house she loaded me down with FIFTEEN jars. She gave me five jars of fig preserve and ten different varieties of chutney, relish, jam, and sauce in exchange for the fresh figs.
I feel like I'm totally getting the better end of the deal, but she is more than happy to be my canning factory if I supply the jars, lids, and can source the free fruit. Canning and feeding her friends are two of her favorite things to do, and nothing would make her happier than a steady supply of fresh, free, homegrown fruit. She thinks that I'm getting the short end of the stick with this arrangement.
This is turning out to be one of the better deals I've made in my lifetime.
So, once I get my act together (which will hopefully happen by the end of October since that's Mr. Foxypant's purge-a-thon stay-cation month) I'm going to scope out the neighborhood for fruit options. I've already grokked a couple homes that have fallen fruit all over their yards. I'm going to approach them with the, "I will give you a couple jars of jam in exchange for access to your fruit which is falling off the tree," scenario and see how that goes.
I'd like my future gift closet to be more pantry and less stuff, because there's something really primal and basic about the pleasure I get from sharing food. It just feels right.