Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Joy of Eating, A Favorite Author, Play Ball!

1. A variety of baby birds populates the yard. I can tell they are young by their eating habits. They clumsily dive and dart after bugs, missing their target much of time, yet never give up. When they do catch their meal, they eat it in a haphazard gulp. It looks like they make a fun game of eating. Come to think of it, they're like human toddlers when they feed themselves.
2. The passing of Ray Bradbury prompted me to begin a revisit of some of his books. I finished Fahrenheit 451 today and remembered how much I enjoyed his writing. I found myself checking and rechecking the copyright date as I read. 1953. Amazing. 
3. We scoffed at the heat and went out for a Salem Red Sox baseball game. As the sun went down, a cooling breeze fanned us in the stands. In this setting, I enjoy every gulp of a Coke on ice.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adorable Ears, Home At Last, Guess What I Saw!

1. Henri runs to my feet to lick something off the floor. His soft, furry ear tickles my ankle while I stand with my hands in the dishwater.
2. Steve has disappeared after dinner. I find him fast asleep on top of the bed covers. I can tell by his breathing that he's deeply asleep, exhausted from traveling. I quietly back out of the doorway, careful not to disturb him.
3. It's not unusual to see bears around here, yet every time someone spots one, it's still a major event. Daughter #2 calls me from Carvin's Cove to exclaim over the two bear cubs she's just seen. Although I'm in my robe, in the comfort of my living room I share her excitement. She needs to watch and keep clear of the mother bear who must be nearby. Sure enough, the mother bear comes along and daughter snaps a picture of her...from far away. It's on facebook the next morning. A shared event. : )

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's My Job to Embarrass, Ocean Rocks, I'm Not Sensing That, Sleeplessness Cure

1. Fifteen year old daughter won't look in the men's underwear department with me. She keeps walking as though she doesn't know me.
2. I spent the evening watering the garden, buffeted by the breeze of a cold front. The garden stones shine in their deeper, prettier colors when they are wet.
3. Daughter #3 walking through the kitchen: "Mmm, what's that good smell? It smells like cotton candy in here!"
Me: "Huh? It's beef and soy sauce."(Maybe she needs her tonsils and adenoids returned.)
4. The little box pops up on the computer screen and it's Steve sending me a message! We send a few back and forth until I am finally tired enough for bed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Just Passing Through, Also Passing Thru, Coming Home

1. Near sunrise, a black bear lopes up the neighbor's lane, across the yard, and into the woods. He/she's an adult with very long longs and a long body. The bears around here have the oddest shape. Seniorita-the-horse isn't troubled at all. She stands still and curiously watches him go by.
2. We've arranged to meet at Jennings Creek where daughter #2 and husband have spent three days on the Appalachian Trail (AT). I've brought a few supplies at the request of a thru hiker and as a last minute thought, I brought some of the peaches from W. I enjoyed meeting the hikers who hail from Maine, New York, Georgia, England and parts unknown. They absolutely loved the peaches and ate them on the spot, dripping juice and saying they were the best they've ever tasted. Daughter says I am on my way to becoming a trail angel. : )
3. My family is back home!! Suddenly I'm ambitious once again. I was a sorry case for three days all alone. I'll need to work on this. (Thanks for calling me every day, Claire!)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gotcha!, Just Waiting, Along the Way

1. Whenever I go out of town, Steve and #4 send me messages about how they are slobbing it up and being careless around the house- all just to tease me. This time I got #4 back. I sent her a note saying that I decided to surprise her and paint her room while she was gone...her favorite color... 1970's orange. Ha, ha! She actually phoned me to see if it was true.
2. The downside- I hate solitary confinement. The upside- I read an entire novel today. (The Great Gatsby) Thanks for putting the idea in my head, B. I appreciated it more now, reading it as an adult than I did when I was a teen.
3. Bright pink sweet peas grow wild along the banks of the roadside.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In Season, I Wonder As I Wander, Main Thoroughfare

1. Neighbor W. gives us a box of beautiful, locally grown peaches (and four nectarines) he brought back from Saunders Brothers. They are still hard and will be just the correct ripeness when all the family returns this weekend to help eat them.
2. Henri and I went for a very nice evening walk. Passing the Christmas tree farm, I played around with the idea of bringing a tree home and decorating it while Christmas music plays in the background. I tried to guess how much effort it would take for me to exhort the Christmas spirit to fill my house around the summer solstice. I decided I could never make it work. My imagination isn't that big.
3. Even through the dense undergrowth, I can see where a well-worn deer path breaks out onto the road. I suppose these paths are used from one generation of deer to the next, making some of them quite ancient.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In the Form of Laundry, He Needs Me, Toasted Banana Sandwich

1. Oh how I love to bring order from chaos.
2. "Hey Buddy!", I say to Henri as he comes up to me for pets. I realize that I'm not really as all alone as I've been feeling. Henri is here and he's a wonderful, loving companion.
3. Poking around the cabinets and the refrigerator, opening and closing, then going back and opening and closing again, trying to decide what to have when nothing is appetizing. Then, all of a sudden, seeing one thing that screams, "Yes!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Showcase Gardens, In My Own Little Corner, Climate Control

1. Neighbor W. invited us to see the property he just finished landscaping. Here is one little corner of this magnificent garden. I've only seen such places on the pages of magazines, so it was a dream to walk through all the outdoor rooms and imagine living among them. There are fountains and sculptures and an inviting pool area with bathhouse and pergolas.
2. Weeded and watered my own little haven and was glad for it.
3. Soaring temperatures and humidity make me very thankful for air conditioning. In the forty plus years we lived in New York, our homes were never air conditioned. Every summer we would suffer through two-to-four weeks of dripping heat. Not in the south!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Someone To Play With, Lawn Game, Sparklers

The Gingerbread Man
Electric Kiss

Ghost Prey

1. The quiet house lasted only a couple of days. Some of the kids are back around, food was on the table once again and there was conversation to enjoy.
2. A fun game of Bocci Ball until the gnats became bothersome.
3. We had a blast staying out late and playing with sparklers.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

An Improvement, Refueled, Shiny Gems

1. It's a privilege to work alongside kind, generous people who have given up their Saturday to work toward a common purpose. Tasks that were mountainous are reduced to manageable because of the many hands.
2. Have you ever tasted a lunch so good as that which is enjoyed after hard work? A simple spread of bread, meats and cheeses, a few condiments and sweet, juicy watermelon were pure refreshment. Maybe it tasted better because someone else arranged it or perhaps it was the esprit de corps. Whatever the reason, it was a great lunch.
3. On their way to becoming a pie, blueberries shine and shimmer in the pot with sugared water.
4. Our eldest's 27th birthday!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Abuzz, Air Flow, Taking a Breath

1. Bumble bees and butterflies keep the lavender in constant motion.
2. This wonderful stretch of cool weather lets us have the windows open and we can use the porch for dinner.
3. The pulse of the home downbeats into a quiet spell with no visitors and some family members away. The oven is off and we enjoy sandwiches and store bought cookies.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Future, Respect and Honor, Can That Be Real?!

1. The boundless energy, creativity, wit and humor in the four fifteen-year-old girls riding in my car was amazing. I enjoyed every second of their company. It also made me realize how far, far away I am from that age.
2. Hundreds of people stood in line for entrance to the amusement park. The hum of conversations suddenly hushed when the first notes of the Star Spangled Banner played over the loudspeaker. All at once, every single body turned toward the flag, men removed their hats and it was completely silent except for the song and the sound of the enormous flag snapping in the breeze.
3. We pointed the car west and set out for the three-hour drive home. Where the long strip of highway disappeared into the horizon before us, the sunset was a spectacle that caused all of us to exclaim at its beauty. It was a huge ball of glowing, deep pink, streaked with strips of purple clouds and setting on fire.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hay Dots, Making Fun, Our Small Town

1. After the fields are mowed and the hay is baled, they look like this to me, only in green and brown.
2. She plays really well by herself, going about and exploring the room. She pulls my rubber gloves off the sink, puts the huge things on her hands and counts the floppy fingers. "One... tree... one... tree."
3. Our wait at the orthodontist's is made more pleasant by seeing home school acquaintances from years ago. Their family is growing and the newest baby is adorable. We chat and briefly catch up on our families' latest.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Changing of the Guard, Not the Most Comvenient Location, Girls and Boys

 1. Switching out the bed sheets and airing the room as one house guest departs in the morning and another is due to arrive in the afternoon.
2. A busy little pair of house finches have built their nest among the purple pansies in the wall planter  Yesterday there were five eggs and today there are six. I'll have to try watering from the bottom.
3. Three of our four girls, plus granddaughter, are here tonight. We have a nice girl visit upstairs while a larger-than-usual gathering of men have their pool night downstairs. The men's shouts are heard through the floorboards and we pause in our conversation to smile at their good time. Later, the men climb the stairs to make their way home, nodding and politely thanking me (for allowing them over to play with my husband). They are the greatest bunch of guys.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In Season: Peaches, Up On the Hill, Butter Pecan

1. The Peach-Almond Galette has a wonderful layer of ground almonds made with almond extract under the peaches. It adds a delicious almond flavor with a tiny bit of crunchy texture at the bottom of the buttery crust.
2. Husband, Daughter #4, Henri-the-Schnoodle and I silently and companionably water the plants around the church buildings. The warm, breezy, summer evening and beautiful mountain views makes it a pleasant task.
3. When we've finished, we treat ourselves to ice cream cones at Bruester's.

"The fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It's what happens when you're thinking about more important things."

David McCullough Jr., English teacher and commencement speaker, Wellesley High School 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Straight Rows-Interesting Corners, More Martha, You're Not From Around Here...
1. Tractors chug along, making tidy, geometric patterns in the hay fields.
2. If you like spinach, then you will love this recipe for Spinach Phyllo Pie. It's fantastic! And don't leave out the raisins. It sounded a little funky to me, but they're perfect in there. As a main course, each person can easily eat half of one log. (I'm cooking out of back issues of Everyday Food this week, hence all the Martha.)
3. ...aaand there's a cow in the road. She's a youngster, just walking along like she's out for a stroll. She makes the slightest pause at our car with a nod of her head as if to say, "How do you do?" We make sure she's heading to safety, and she is. She turns down a lane heading toward the rest of the herd. This is the third cow I've encountered on roads since moving here ten years ago.

Friday, June 8, 2012

For Lazy Days, One of Martha's, In a Field
 1. Our library sells back issues of magazines for 10¢ a piece. I always find a great assortment to keep on our porch for leisure times when someone might like a magazine to browse.
2. We each have our own beautifully arranged Middle Eastern Platter for dinner. It's a perfect meal for a warm summer night. Down the middle, a colorful blend of chopped tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and parsley drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. A little pile of Kalamata olives, a "bird's nest" of hummus with olive oil and paprika in the center, slices of Feta cheese and torn pieces of Pita bread.
3. Sparks from the bonfire rise up to a clear, star filled sky. Around the brim, fireflies flick on and off, on and off. Whichever way I turn, there are sparkles.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

There He Goes!, Bull's Eye, Meat and Potatoes

1. Three children chase the tiny, white puppy around a bush. A little girl snatches him up just before he runs into the road. Oh! There goes a chipmunk, scurrying to safety. That explains it.
♪ All around the mulberry bush, the puppy chased the chipmunk...♪
2. I went to Target with Daughters 3 and 4. They're renovating the store which made it more interesting to poke around. (It's all the same stuff, put into new places.) We laughed at some of the funny greeting cards and purchased a few that were too funny to pass up.
3. A college friend of D#3 has come to visit. She's very thankful for the meal we prepared since she's been on her own, eating mostly pasta and sandwiches.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Seeking Truth and Knowledge, Stay Awhile, Only What Belongs

"A mighty woman with a torch..."   New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
1. Today marks the last day of youngest's freshman year at high school. There's been no drama, just plenty of happy memories and good experiences. For this I am very thankful.
2. The peacefulness of a June evening. Sunset lengthens shadows across the fields; summer's light driving winter's darkness back, deep into the woods. Day, reluctant to end, lingers as long as it pleases.
3. A weed free vegetable garden is a thing of beauty.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not Done by Elves, Cute with an Evil Eye, Off to a Good Start

1. What a fantastic, exhilarating feeling! I cleaned out the master bedroom closet. I'm positive I saw it sparkle when I showed it off to husband. I have to go see it again...
2. Mockingbird fledgling, round and plump, downy feathers, sits on the fence post while I garden. I'm surprised he doesn't fly away in fright. Either he's too fat to move or his parents have taught him that I'm The One he'll attack one day.
3. Rain comes again and I'm glad. It sets a mood that I enjoy. There's nothing so boring as long, drawn out spells of hot, muggy sameness in summer weather. I'm all about variety.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Her Project, The Buzz, Buttery and Salty

1. Boyfriend hovers while she makes cupcakes. He is clearly the more experienced cook based on all the advice he's giving.
2. The community room is packed for the monthly beekeeper's meeting. Several conversations are going at once as people share experiences and advice. Intermingled here and there are the old, sage beekeepers, those with many hives and decades of experience. When they speak, everyone quiets down and listens. One gentleman grew a flat of verbena seedlings and offers them for free because, "the bees love them."
3. The brussels sprouts are really good.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Beginnings, Mozart Sonata in G Major, Meeting at Our House

1.The littlest pianist hops up on the bench, feet dangling high off the floor, and plinks out his tune. His countenance bears all the seriousness of a concert pianist. If by chance he glances at the audience, our smiles will give away the fact that we think he's cute as a button.
2. She's not playing it for us, or for the audience, or even for her teacher. She's playing it for the Steinway.
3. A natural sifting and positioning takes place whereby ladies end up mingling on one side of the room, gentlemen on the other. The ladies "out noise" the men every time.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wake Up!, Thanks Dad, Hard to Be Still

1. A cold front has delivered crisp, cool air that energizes one's senses. I dress into my gardening clothes and quietly slip outside while everyone is still asleep.
2. Working my way through my dad's record albums, I play another D'jango album while I cook. I like the mood it sets and I think it's the perfect kind of background music.
3. We dined at the Lebanese Festival before going to the movies. My falafal was great, but we enjoyed the DJ even more as he played lively, traditional music for a string of men who began an impromptu dance in the courtyard.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tasty Friday Night Meal

Portobello Provolone Panini
2 Tbl. butter
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1 lb. portobello mushrooms, sliced (I used Baby Bella)
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 tomato, sliced
6 slices Provolone
 Mustard, mayonnaise and horseradish
4 large slices of sourdough bread
Additional butter for frying

Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in large skillet. Cool pepper about 4-5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic; cook additional 6 minutes or until liquid from mushrooms evaporates. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
Spread one slice of bread with condiments. Layer mushroom mixture, tomato slices and provolone. Butter outside sides of bread and grill on panini pan.

*Modified from a Kroger recipe. An alternative is to serve this on a French or Italian sub roll without grilling the bread. You may add slices of red onion, avocado and/or lettuce.
**A good sandwich to go with an ice cold glass of home brew. According to husband, who lovingly photographed his sandwich, above.