I'm Jessica Dang.
Last year, I was going on my thirteenth year of living in New York City. I was living in an apartment downtown and had a demanding job as the studio manager for a fashion photographer. At night, I authored a blog called SINGLE GIRL DINNER. I had a gym membership and ordered Thai food delivery every Monday night. The only things stocked in my kitchen were wine and instant noodles. My idea of nature was strolling along The High Line, an elevated park built on a former railroad.
Did I ever imagine myself living on a ranch in the mountains of California? Not in a million years!
At the recommendation of a friend, I scheduled a phone call with a psychic who told me that I was just about meet my soul connection and would soon move somewhere "surrounded by mountains and trees that would be a place of golden happiness" for me. But, wait a second! London isn't surrounded by mountains and trees... Neither is Paris! Surely, this woman is mistaken. I was certain of it and brushed off her prediction.
Well, what did I know? The very next day, I met my boyfriend Tonny, who was in town visiting from Los Angeles. Our romance blossomed unexpectedly, but you know a soul connection when you have one! After a few months, he asked me to move to his ranch in Three Rivers, California. Perhaps that call with the psychic gave me the nudge, but I said yes without so much as a blink of an eye. We both left our city lives behind us.
It's funny–we're in the middle of nowhere and the middle of everything at the same time.
Stoney End Ranch is a very special place. The family that previously owned the land named it after Barbra Streisand's 1971 album Stoney End and he decided to keep it. It's located right near Sequoia National Park, which is home to the largest concentration of sequoia trees in the world. Sequoia trees are the oldest living things on Earth and so, he told me, Stoney End Ranch is "emanating from the highest vibration". I believe it. There's also a river that runs through the property, which serves as a daily reminder of the ebb and flow of life.
We're learning and creating as we go. Right now, we're raising chickens, pigs, and tending to a burgeoning biodynamic garden. Admittedly, it took a few months for me to adjust into this new lifestyle, but now the chickens run to me when they hear me call out "Hi chickies!", I can tell the difference between all the seedlings in the garden, and I'm jumping into the cold river naked with glee!
The kitchen, though, has truly become my domain. I'm cooking things I've never dreamed of making before. Venison heart tartare, anyone? In New York, I'd never cook with heavy cream but, here, it's been a staple in our fridge. I used to avoid carbs like the plague, but now I'm baking French baguettes.
Every day is a new adventure and I wanted to share everything I'm discovering. And so, The Kitchen at Stoney End Ranch was born.
This blog is just one of the ways for me to fully embrace this moment. With that, I'd like to leave you with a quote I found recently that really resonated with me:
(Tonny asked why I didn't find a quote by the Dalai Lama or Eckhart Tolle or John Muir–it's because this is the one that says exactly what I feel and it could've been said by Bobo the Clown, for all I care!)