Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall treats, Catching up, Repelled

1. I baked little apple pies because I can't wait for cooler weather and I want to start eating autumn foods now.
2. B. came over for a nice, long visit over coffee.
3. Sweeney's deer repellent seems to be working. The deer have not munched my Black Eyed Susans for a while and today there were enough blooms to pick a little bouquet.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lined up, Life in the country, Gift from the garden

1. Packing lunch bags- ice pack, cold things, warm things, napkins; fitting the contents like puzzle pieces and then lining the bags up on the counter.
2. While the glue set, we had to sleep with a sheet in place of the front door. The weather was dry and mild, so no problem... until I turned the lights off for bed and thought, what if a bear wanders by and smells food? We go back into the living room to slide a piece of furniture in front of the opening. It probably wouldn't stop a hungry bear, but at least we'd hear something crash and awaken us.
3. A bag of lavender placed in the old dresser to freshen it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meeting up, Current read, How can we fix this?

1. A huge flock of birds rises over the treeline. When they begin to flock like this it can only mean one thing; the curtain will be closing on summer.
2. I began reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Witty and charming. I love the characters.
3. Steve and I agree that we should try and repair the rotting bottom of the front door rather than hastily buy a new front door. We typically take this approach, to "make do" the way our parents always did. It's a little harder these days because many things are made of a disposable quality whereas our parents had better quality stuff to work with.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The auction, Candy corn, Vineyard evening

1. A country auction quickens my pulse. On certain Saturdays our firehouse will move the trucks out to make room for an auction. People arrive with folding chairs and coolers, ready to hunker down and wait for a deal. Pre-auction viewers examine the wares, sizing up the competitor standing next to them. I love musty, old stuff and the fun that is had in hunting it down.
2. I like to bite off the fat, yellow, bottom part of the candy corn.
3. Met with friends at The Fincastle Vineyard and Winery to spend a late-summer evening listening to music. People with blankets and chairs picnicked in the field while children played and dogs behaved, all under a darkening starry sky.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just add a touch of apple, A good day, Flash in the garden

1. The end of summer smells rich and sweet.
2. Tess' teacher replies to my inquiry. Her entire note is kind and considerate and I think this is a great teacher! An excerpt reads,

"I look forward to working with your daughter this year and will do everything in my ability to make her 8th grade year a good one. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have further concerns or questions. That's what I'm here for! Have a restful weekend."

3. Bluebirds visited the garden this morning after being absent all summer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tender thoughts and crust, Oh dear, Busy enough

1. I baked cherry and peach turnovers as a treat for dessert tonight. I've been thinking about my family all day.
2. Tess returned home from her first day in public school a bit shell-shocked. Her sisters encircled her with love, good advice, phone calls and facebook posts. Friends also rallied 'round her with encouragement. The best(?) advice was from daughter #3, "Suck it up."
3. The day passed quicker than I had anticipated.
4. We decide her motto should be, "♪ Always look on the bright side of life! ♪♪" from The Life of Brian...with the whistling on the end.

Bobby Had A Nickel

Today was the first day in 25 years that I did not have a baby or home schooled child at home with me. We have been anticipating this day all summer. Everyone has asked, "What will you do with all your free time?" I will admit that the day felt like a tight, new pair of shoes that I couldn't get quite comfortable in. I kept thinking of this book from my childhood, where a little boy is given a nickel and he must think of how to spend it. There are many pages to the book with sweet 1950's artwork depicting what he might buy. He finally decides to spend his nickel on an experience rather than on a thing to own. I thought of this book all day long as I thought about how to spend my precious time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunshine in the mist, The end, So cute

1. These sunflowers are right at ear level and each time I walk past them, the bees are buzzing and snuffling in their centers.
2. The cool, drizzly weather gave the day a subdued air. It seemed an appropriate atmosphere to mark the last day of summer vacation.
3. Little Henri lies on his back, legs sticking up in the air and floppy ears askew. I have to stop whatever I'm doing and cuddle this cutie pie.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Smile!, Ready and waiting, I'm smiling now

1. After two years, Tess got her braces off today! I am happy for her and her pretty, slippery teeth.
2. Dinner simmers in the slow cooker which is wonderful because we were out all day.
3. I return her call and the first thing she exclaims in her Pakistani accent is, "Oh! I don't believe it! You will live to be 100!"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sitting with Chelsea, Can you imagine?! Nice folks sold us this

1. Sitting on the shady steps in the garden with my daughter, doing nothing and going nowhere.
2. Lyrics from the song, I Will Rise- "...and my faith shall be my eyes."
3. A fantastic find on Craigslist! We purchased a beautiful antique dresser with mirror for $25.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday forms itself as the day wears on

1. I worked more on reclaiming my garden from weeds. This morning it was the vegetable garden. All the while I kept thinking that now I am paying the price for letting the heat keep me out of the garden. I can see the dirt between the rows! After I left, the littlest birds were happy to come and clean up any bugs.
2. Friends call Steve for help because their air conditioner isn't working. Tess and I go along and we enjoy a long visit over tea. The guys found the broken part right away and will order it on Monday. The part is inexpensive, so all ends well and we've had a nice catching-up.
3. It's a beautiful, coolish evening as we drive home. We decide to turn off our air conditioner and sleep with the windows open.

*On a perplexing note- the teenage, male cashier at Food Lion didn't know what string beans are.(!!) I said, "Don't you eat your vegetables?" and he said, "I eat them cooked." Well, I didn't understand that because they look the same cooked or raw. Something is seriously wrong in our world when a boy doesn't know a green bean.

Friday, August 20, 2010

'Shrooms, A healthy specimen, A smell so good, it hurts

1. All sorts of mushrooms are cropping up. Huge white, flat-tops cluster in the horse field, tiny brown ones line the path, and three cone-shaped ones in a soft shade of green poke up from a flower pot.
2. I've been searching for a replacement shrub and I haven't had any luck finding a match. A quick U-turn gets me to a garden center that I rarely use. They have the laurel I want and it's on sale!
3. Our dinner of homemade pizza and Greek salad summon the exact aroma of Pellegrino's, the Italian import store I frequented growing up in New York. Pungent cheeses, olive oil, and oregano; that store was one of the best smells in the world.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Morning fog, Gold satin, Mr. Scott

1. The garden feels close and cozy because the visual expanse of fields beyond is blocked out with fog.
2. Audrey's hair is shiny and slippery so that it slips right out of my hand while I work with it. Like pieces of satin slipping and sliding against itself.
3. The stone hauler uses his dump truck to unload the gravel with extreme precision, spreading seventeen tons of stone like icing on a cake.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whittle it down, Yummy dinner, Where I like to be

Tess photographed this hummingbird moth on the phlox.

1. I tackle the paperwork that has piled up on the kitchen counter. It is satisfying to sort this pile down and have all the business taken care of.
2. Audrey says she is craving macaroni and cheese and I am able to deliver! My favorite part is the crunchy, buttery bread crumbs on top. So, we have this with fresh tomato salad and Brussels sprouts for dinner.
3. More weeding and trimming. This rain has been such a friend and I am so happy to work in the garden.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More than bills, Watering, Movie night

1. Opening the mailbox to find packages! Lately these contain books for school and studies.
2. The sky darkens at dinner time and I comment that we are in for our daily, late afternoon thunderstorm. But this one is different as the sky turns to one solid sheet of gray and the rain steadily pours down for hours. Time enough to brew coffee and sit on the porch listening to the rain. Mist settles into the hollows, a buck comes to the tree for apples, everything is quiet but the rain, and the whole world sighs.
3. Steve and I watch The Namesake together. The scenes and culture of India are beautiful and fascinating.

Monday, August 16, 2010

All in the garden

1. With an hour to kill, I wandered the home store and ran across a new product to keep deer away. It's innovative, practical and affordable. I eagerly bought it and have high hopes for my garden.
2. Prompted with my new deer repellent, I tackle the raspberry bed which was left to languish after the deer ate them down. I weed it, apply composted manure and stake out the deer repellent. I really want this to work. Don't let me down, Sweeney's.
3. Steve comes out to photograph me as I weed. His habit is to photograph only one part of me as his sense of humor dictates. Whatever.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lifted up, Refreshed, It's been raining

1. We sing Be Thou My Vision at church. Such a beautiful sound from such simple components; voice, music notes, lyrics all sent Heavenward.
2. Family and friends filled the house this afternoon and it was funny how things sorted out. The two pregnant moms napped, the busy husbands napped, the late-nighters napped. This left a couple of us standing to watch the little ones play and their energy never waned.
3. Bent down to pull a weed, then another and another until I was addicted and had a mountain of weeds piled high.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sopping dirty, Planning ahead, Top notch

1. A warm shower is rejuvenates me after I've worked outside in the pouring rain, getting dirty from head to toe.
2. I've gotten a great head start on Sunday's meal and I'll appreciate the freedom from cooking tomorrow when everyone is here.
3. The production of My Fair Lady at our local theater was very well done and completely entertaining.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Keeping on a budget, Steve bails me out, Make-believe new wardrobe

1. First I have my grocery tab totaled. Then I give the cashier my shopper's card and watch as the total goes down, down, down. Then she swipes my coupons and it goes down even more! It's all still expensive, but psychologically it makes me feel better to see it go down.
2. Steve can stop on his way home to get the tomato paste that I've forgotten to buy.
3. Dreams of fall clothing that I see in the catalogs coming by mail lately.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New music, Blushing, Funny girl

1. It's been ages since I bought a new CD. The one I chose is by Fleet Foxes and I've listened to it so many times over that the songs go through my head for days.
2. The green crab apples are beginning to have a pretty, pink blush.
3. Having a good laugh with one of our girls.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A test, Watering, A real life movie

1. This pair of blue jeans is a challenge to patch with more than six gaping holes and tears. Someone must love them a lot, so we get creative...
2. By mid afternoon the thunderstorms begin to roll in. We have a succession of storms throughout the evening, pelting the windows and rumbling the window frames.
3. As planned, I re-watched The Straight Story and remembered what a beautiful movie it is. One of my favorite lines is when a cyclist asks, "So, what's the worst part about being old, Alvin?" Alvin answers, "Well, the worst part of being old is rememberin' when you was young."
I just love this movie.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Local lunch, Victory, A new experience

1. Girl's lunch at the White Oak Tea Tavern. My choice was a sun-dried tomato bagel with artichoke and red pepper cream cheese and a glass of blackberry iced tea.
2. Right, left, right and the locker door opens!
3. Two little girls volunteer their assistance as we make our way through schedules and hallways. They give us the serious scoop on which teachers are good and which are mean. The scales are tipped to the good.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mountain reduced, What's so funny?, Take me out to the ball game

1. Tackled laundry and ironing and enjoyed that "feel good" moment when it was all done.
2. Tess is reclined in the chair for her check up. The orthodontist turns to me and says I always seem so calm. In the corner of my eye, I see Tess laughing.
3. I take in all the sights and sounds of the baseball game. One of the last vestiges of summer.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nine, Smile, Convenience

1. "We really need a bigger table", I say as I set the places for Sunday lunch.
2. Someone, who will go unnamed, is grumpy. A hug and a few kind words melt the grumpiness away.
3. I like that I can go out to the garden for a tomato or an herb if I need one.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Postlude, Soft and cute, Wow, Steve ate two pieces

1. A lone little bird sings in the early morning. Where once we heard an orchestra, it now sings solo. This is how the ending of summer sounds.
2. Henri scampers around my feet and I feel his soft fur on my ankles.
3. The most delicious zucchini pie for dinner.

Italian Zucchini Crescent pie

A neighbor in N.Y. gave me this recipe many years ago. This is the first time I've made it and I'm sorry I never tried it sooner. It is SO deliciously good!

4 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 c. onion, chopped
olive oil
1/2 c. parsley, chopped or 2 Tbl. parsley flakes
1/2 tea. salt
1/4 tea. pepper
1/4 tea. garlic powder
1/4 tea. basil
1/4 tea. oregano
2 eggs, beaten
2 c. (8 oz.) mozzarella
1 tube crescent rolls
2 tea. mustard

In hot oil, cook and stir zucchini and onions for 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, salt, pepper, garlic, basil and oregano. Combine beaten eggs and mozzarella; stir into zucchini mixture.

Separate tube of crescent rolls into 8 triangles. Place in ungreased 9" pie pan, press over bottom and up sides to form the crust. Spread crust with 2 teaspoons mustard and then pour zucchini mixture onto crust.

Bake in 375 F. oven for 18-20 minutes or until center is set. Cover crust with foil during last 10 minutes of baking. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just like on TV, Go for it, Worth the wait

1. The investigator shows her a photograph and she says, "That's him." We look at each other and say, "Cool!"
2. I arrive at the supermarket only to realize I have forgotten my (detailed) shopping list. I grit my teeth and go for it. When I return home, I check the list and see that I forgot to buy only one thing!
3. Hugs, freely given, from a child who doesn't normally give them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Preparing, Don't blink, Color burst

1. School shopping makes the prospect of attending a lot more fun for 13 year-old girls.
2. I study the photograph of our little girl with the curls in her hair. The curls are still here, but where has the little girl gone?
3. Ziinias in a rainbow of colors are the garden's salvation at the end of summer

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Storm, Fried chicken, Up and running

1. A huge, dark gray cloud bank rises up behind the house. We run for cover and watch the storm from a safe vantage.
2. Forget the heat, we want fried buttermilk chicken for dinner, with mashed potatoes, peas and biscuits. The air conditioning makes it all possible.
3. Steve has gotten the lawnmower running again. I'm excited to get out there and tidy the long grass. *This reminds me it's time to re-watch of one of my favorite movies, The Straight Story.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Flutterbys, Check!, Tastes as good as it smells.

1. Dozens of yellow butterflies spring up from the mud puddle and flutter over us.
2. Steve knocks off the fix-it list in one evening. I help by handing up hammer, drill, screwdriver, just as a surgeon's assistant would do. My favorite kind of date.
3. Eating the food that's been creating the wonderful aroma as it simmered.

A Light Summer Tomato Sauce

This is a light red sauce loaded with fresh garden vegetables, perfect for the hotter days of summer. Lots of flavor, smells delicious when simmering and is one of my absolute favorites.

1 ½ c. chopped onion
1/2 to 3/4 c. chopped celery
1/4 to 1/3 c. chopped green sweet pepper
1/2 c. chopped carrot
1/2 c. snipped parsley
1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 16-oz. can tomatoes, cut up *I use fresh garden tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
2 tea. sugar
1/8 tea. salt
1/8 tea. pepper
1/8 tea. red pepper flakes
1/8 tea. oregano
linguine or other pasta
grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook and stir the onion, celery, green pepper, carrot, parsley and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is tender. Add the undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano. reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes or until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Spoon the sauce over cooked pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan. Mangia!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Out with you, Home again, A new room

1. The weeds are no match for me today. I have the rain-soaked ground as my ally.
2. I sit on the front stoop* waiting for their return. As they drive up, Tess opens her window and gives a big wave.
3. The room is put back together, freshly painted, everything scrubbed clean. I feel greatly rewarded for the four days of work.

*stoop (stp)
n. Chiefly Northeastern U.S.
A small porch, platform, or staircase leading to the entrance of a house or building.
Regional Note: Originally brought to the Hudson Valley of New York by settlers from the Netherlands, a few items of Dutch vocabulary have survived there from colonial times until the present. Stoop, "a small porch," comes from Dutch stoep; this word is now in general use in the Northeast and is probably spreading.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rain is falling down, Chelsea, Company, Chelsea again

1. The rare and beautiful sound of rain outside the window at night.
2. She exclaims, "Invite him over! We need somebody new. We need new blood for Bocci Ball."
3. Find out last minute that Chad's folks are coming to visit. We enjoy a chatty visit over peach cobbler and lemon meringue pie.
4. While rummaging in the basement, she finds a box of trolls. They become her subject in a photo shoot.
5. Today marks our twenty-ninth wedding anniversary.