Saturday, July 30, 2011

Identified, Kicks up a breeze, Crickets

1. The amazing wonders of the internet help me identify the "pear" post from July 21st. It's called an Opo Squash from Vietnam. The lady in the post office must have let hers grow way too long!
2. Afternoon thunderstorms, the typical summer kind, break up the monotony of blazing sun.
3. I've missed the sound of crickets chirping at night. It's one of those sounds that remind me of childhood summers in NY, falling asleep near an open window to the sound of crickets. I heard them today, but in the early morning out on the porch. It's a peaceful sound.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet corn, What a kitchen needs, From the mountains, Accomodating a family

1. The locally grown corn at Ikenberry's is tender and sweet. Slathered in butter, salt and pepper, it's the highlight of our meal.
2. It's a "Wishlist" so we get to imagine anything we'd like to have on it. It doesn't mean we'll get it, but we can wish all we want.
3. Chelsea phones from Floydfest where she is volunteering for the weekend. We are both surprised that her phone works from the mountains. I think she is being thoughtful to touch base with me because of The Incident* that happened the last time she was there.
4. Claire also phoned to say that they sold their Miata. She said she's a bit sad to sell the little, red, two-seater convertible but she's happy because now they are three.

*I'll write about this when I have more time

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Simple fare, Ladies night, Falling star

1. Fresh tomatoes and basil are still growing strong in the garden. We enjoyed another great recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook for dinner, Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil and Brie.
(I halved the recipe to serve three.)

2. As tradition has it, the ladies gather each month to celebrate whomsoever has a birthday. Tonight we met over wine and cheese, good stories and lots of laughs. Happy Birthday, Sara!
Oh yes- and a wonderful glass of Muscato!
3. A light drops from the sky like sparkling glitter falling from a holiday card.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dessert, There's no one around, Wow! I can see why people drink this stuff

1. My peach was perfectly ripe and loaded with sweetness. I needed two napkins to catch the juice.
2. In order to avoid the heat, I waited until 7:30 pm. to work in the garden. It was nicer than I expected with even a little breeze at the top of the hill. I stayed out until 9:00 when darkness began to make it feel lonely.
3. An ice cold glass of Coca Cola with bubbles that bite my throat and flavor that is loud and strong.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet relish, Getting somewhere, Getting somewhere without going anywhere

1. The pungent aroma of apple cider vinegar, sugar and celery seed simmers up from the pan.
2. We encounter a medical professional whose questioning is direct and with purpose. He exudes confidence and knowledge. This is a relief considering all the waiting rooms we've sat in these past eight months.
3. A surprise billing reminder arrives in the mail. It's due tomorrow! There's no way to make the drive to pay it in person, so we log onto their website, zip, zip transfer the funds, print a receipt, zip, it's paid! Think of the gas we saved! Oh how I love efficiency!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I know nothing, Now I know a lot!, A little better

1. I was thankful to have a younger, gadget-savvy person with me to prevent me from buying the wrong thingy for my phone.
2. The internet has the service manual for our eight year old dishwasher (which I misplaced). We can look up parts, troubleshooting guides and how-to videos. Looks like we can fix it ourselves.
3. Daily rains have helped green up the parched landscape, just a tad.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A weekend with everyone under one roof

1. How many people does it take to feed a baby? Apparently six. One to advise, one to spoon, one to observe for future, one to provide sips from cup, one to wipe clean and one to photograph.
2. Our little screen porch is encapsulated by the night. A lamp glows on the table and cicadas chirp from beyond the darkness. We have all mixed something cool to drink, Chelsea's has freshly crushed mint. It's good to have all of us together, chatting and laughing as a "whole".
3. The refrigerator is opened and closed a lot this weekend.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Daughter #2 Sews, Sitting with #2 and #3, #1 visits with #1a.

1. Chelsea spent the day here sewing the cutest little apron for her friend's bridal shower gift. I liked hearing the hum of the machine and her industriousness. It made me want to be industrious, too.
2. It was unbearably hot today, but we managed to get out of the air conditioning and enjoy the porch later in the evening.
3. Claire, Daniel and Marian drove in tonight for a weekend visit! Words fail in expressing the joy I feel when I hold Mari.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Produce far and near

1. I thought she was carrying a length of exhaust pipe, but it turned out to be a vegetable/fruit of some sort. It was an odd encounter for a post office setting, and I don't know why she was carrying it around, but it started my day off in a quirky way. Four feet long, light green in color, she says her Vietnamese friend sent her the seeds and called it a pear of some sort.
2. I have the bounty of summer in my shopping cart. Peaches, nectarines, plums and strawberries. Life will be spare of these come winter, so we'll enjoy every fresh bite while we can.
3. Here come the tomatoes!

* She offered me seeds but I think there are customs laws about importing that sort of thing, so I declined. I can see myself being responsible for some sort of natural disaster like the ladybug problem we have : )

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

CRAZY bird, Sun kissed, Fellow New Yorker

1. An aggressive mockingbird dives at me with a whoosh and screech every time I try to water the pots out front. Even when I anticipate the attack, I still duck and yelp with surprise. Tonight I figure out that if I face the bird, it won't dive at me. So I scold it, head-on, the entire time I'm watering. Ha! It's a game of chicken with a mockingbird.
2. A sun-warmed tomato fills the palm of my hand as I twist it off the vine.
3. My friend introduces me to the Fresh Air child who is staying with them. She is 500 miles away from home, spending summer in the Virginia countryside. When I tell her that I am from New York too, her shy demeanor falls away and a brief flicker of smile meets mine.
3a. This reminds me of being with my dad when he would run into old friends and they would shout to each other, "Ey! Paisan!"

Monday, July 18, 2011

The bane of my existence, Ahh, Taking care of business

1. Pulling up wire grass and the whole runner comes up, too.
2. I sit in the shade and remove my cap. When the breeze hits my sweaty brow, it has the effect of air conditioning.
3. I'm determined to wipe the slate clean and pay off my library fine of $1.20.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Triple Take, Chelsea came over, With tomatoes

1. On our way down the road this morning we saw a doe with triplets. They were sweet little things, still bearing their white spots and stripes. She must be a very busy mama.
2. A lovely, lazy afternoon, rocking, reading and visiting.
3. We walked across the field to say hello to the new neighbors in the rental house. He is a landscape designer and they plan to give the place a face lift. Yes!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Marathon in the kitchen, July?, Outside brought in, He thinks outside my box

1. I imagine the rewards we'll enjoy this winter when we open a jar of pickles or relish. I'll also remember how Steve chopped and Tess photographed.
2. The weather was overcast and cool, tricking me into imagining it was autumn.
3. Heads of lacy dill are spread over the kitchen table, mildly scenting the room with the garden.
4. Steve leaves his mark as evidenced by a lone string bean inside a jar of pickles, or slices cast into a jar of spears.

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's all about the pickle

Photo courtesy

1. My treasure today is a half-bushel of pickling cucumbers from Ikenberry's. They came tightly packed in a clean, white box, fresh from a local farm.
2. My canning book has margin notes that I've made over the years. I see that I bought a half-bushel of cukes in 1997 for $12. Today they cost $16. My notes also tell me how many quarts and pints a half-bushel yielded in 2005.
3. I notice Steve in the garden, picking dill. I think he's excited about having hot dill pickles this winter.

Hot Dill Pickles
In each jar place:
1 clove garlic
2 heads dill
1 piece of hot red chili pepper
1 Tablespoon canning salt
3 quarts water
1 quart vinegar

Pack pickles into hot, sterile jars. pour boiling brine over pickles, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
You may leave out the hot pepper, if desired.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reprieve, Snack time, Pink fun

1. Windows and doors are wide open today and a cool, northwest breeze ruffles the curtains.
2. We take our little friend into the garden. Cherry tomato juice drips down her chin and a fistful of wax beans is clutched in one hand.
3. I like slipping the skins off boiled beets.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I could easily eat five, Organizing can be addictive, By ones and twos we pull up a chair

1. Breadcraft is busy this morning and we see people we know coming and going. I order iced coffee and a delicious pastry. (Of which I cannot pronounce the name) As a treat for the family, I purchase four more pastries to take home, including a chocolate croissant.
2. Back to work on the basement with Tess. We've accumulated three large garbage bags to throw away, a huge pile for Goodwill and a much neater storage area.
3. It's finally bearable to sit outside at dusk. The balmy breeze isn't exactly refreshing, but it's nice to feel it stroking our skin. Our voices sound hushed in the night.

Monday, July 11, 2011

On being productive, There must be a lot of bugs to eat here, What we don't see

1. What to do when it's too hot outside? Clean the basement! The "three pile" rule definitely helps: give away, throw away, keep.
2. The barn swallows have tripled in numbers and they perform multiple aerobatic groups simultaneously. When at rest, they all line up on the power lines.
3. A flower within a flower goes unnoticed unless we look closer. There are so many mysteries hiding out there...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A day on the lake

1. It was a quiet, little cove where we could swim away from lake traffic. The water was a beautiful, emerald green

2. It makes me happy to see the kids happy.

3. She waited all day for the chance to drive. It's nice when we have the ability to make someone's wish come true.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Harvest, After the rains, Touching far away oceans

1. Our little garden is in full production now. We have three kinds of tomatoes, wax and green beans, lettuce, scallions, and red and gold beets. The dill and herbs are just going wild. I'll need to find someone selling pickling cukes so I can make some dill pickles.
2. The morning was cool enough for reading on the porch.
3. Claire writes that she has put her hands in the Arctic Ocean. As a youngster, she always dreamed of traveling. I'm really glad she can fulfill these dreams.

Leisure by W.H. Davies

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Looking closer, Friends, I feel sorry for the campers

1. Tess has an old, broken camera that she calls her "macro camera". The outer lens assembly is missing and so there's only a single lens on the photo sensor. This allows for only macro shots. She took this photo of a tiny snail on a wineberry. He's hiding in his shell right now, but when he comes out, you can see his tiny tentacles.
2. Morning coffee with friends sharing cares and concerns. S. also shares a bag of fresh Georgia peaches.
3. The clouds are low and heavy with rain. By evening the ground has turned sodden from hours of rain. Finally.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wineberry season, At least it's not boring, The case is Pepto Bismal pink

1. It's a drizzly, quiet morning for picking wineberries. Tess is a great berry-picking companion and doesn't complain while we fight brambles and bugs to claim our reward. A half mile walk back home, a refreshing shower, and then I'm working on tonight's dessert.
2. Steve made a CD of all the music on our computer for me to play in the car. It's a schizophrenic compilation of everything from Led Zeppelin to Nat King Cole, a bunch of jazz, to Trace Adkins "Honky Tonk Badonk-A-Donk." The afternoon's drive is one wild ride.
3. I love my new glasses! Now that I can actually see what they look like on my face, I'm pleased with the choice we made.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Everyone should have one, Barn Swallows, Red in white

1. We happily relaxed in our exclusive, private pool this afternoon.
2. The bird identification book with its beautiful illustrations is left open near the window. As soon as our daredevil visitors zoom in, I find their markings and identify them as Barn Swallows.
3. The strawberries are pretty, red jewels in the ironstone serving bowl. It's an orphan piece of ironstone, old and aged with no lid and therein lies its beauty.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Nature's pallette, Empowering, Country road

1. Bright pink Sweet Peas bloom alongside the white Queen Anne's Lace. I pick a tiny bunch for my bedside table.
2. I did some cleaning and organizing in the basement today. Each time I go down for laundry, I admire the tidy shelves.
3. The kids all have their own activities today. Steve and I opt out of seeing fireworks and late into the evening I take Henri for a walk instead. It's very peaceful with only one car passing by.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The kitchen to herself, Pushing the envelope, Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly ♪

1. Her pony-tailed silhouette is in the kitchen window, turning from island to oven with a cake in her hands.
2. These swallows do more than fly as a mode of transport. They perform daring aerial acrobatics, soaring, darting and diving in what appears to be a game of fun.
3. I brush my hand over the lavender blooms, releasing it's wonderful scent. Butterflies and bees have been in a frenzy over it for weeks.
4. Steve rented the movie, 3:10 to Yuma. I watched it with him, eyes partially covered. It was very good, though.
I taste a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!

Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue.

When landlords turn the drunken bee
Out of the foxglove's door,
When butterflies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!

Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
And saints to windows run,
To see the little tippler
Leaning against the sun!

Emily Dickinson

Friday, July 1, 2011

What will I fill this page with?, Another view, Not Drunkards Path

1. Turning the calendar page to July so a fresh month is laid out before me.
2. I move from one room to another, changing chairs, lighting and mood for the book I'm reading.
3. The tractor stitches tidy rows of quilting all over the fields and hills.