Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's Raining-- A Lot

I spent the day in my raincoat.  

And I was inside the greenhouse.

The rain was just pounding down on the glass roof and leaking in through all the places that leak in a glass greenhouse.  Maine needed a good rain as wells in the northern section of our state were going dry.  So--keep the rain coming.  We need it.

I am having trouble getting the upper hand with my allergies.  The itching eyes.  The sneezing.  All the usual allergy symptoms.  The Zyrtec makes me sleepy.  So, at work yesterday, I was sort of zombie-like.  Today, not so much.  But still not really alert.

I did have a good lunch both days.  It's amazing how the quality of my work day improves with a "good lunch".

I am going to share the pasta sauce recipe I have been making for G lately.  One chopped onion sauteed in olive oil, then add a package of Jimmy Dean's precooked sausage crumbles, a shake or two of red pepper flakes (if you can't find the spicy crumbles).  While that works, clean and slice a package of button mushrooms (or open a can of sliced mushrooms).  Add the mushrooms to the pan.  Let it fry--get some of that brown stuff going on the bottom of the pan.  Add a can of Trader Joe's marinara sauce (28 oz).  Simmer while the water comes to a boil for the pasta and you cook the pasta.

Easy and G says it's delicious.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Eating Simple Things

Like avocado mixed with lime and red onion.

Like an enormous pot of soup---over ripe tomatoes, cabbage, kale, overgrown carrots, potato and onion, summer squashes.  All but the potato and cabbage was from my garden.  The cabbage was a leftover chunk from the pot roast dinner's cole slaw.

G's soup was tomato with homemade soup dumplings.  I did them correctly this time and beat the dickens out of the dough.  G said they were wonderful.  Chewy.

I think it's cool enough now for baked potatoes.  Sweet or White.  Butter soaked with sour cream and chives.

I also think it's cool enough for a weekend pot of beans.  Every weekend.  I have the most interesting beans in the cupboard -- white and tan yelloweyes.  I think they are popular beans for Maine baked beans.  New to me.  Last winter it was chili beans and all of the variations were very good.

And there are still the beets in the garden and the chard.  I will bake the beets and saute the chard (mixed with ricotta) to fill tortelloni.  Larger relatives of the tortellini.

I am still carrying 5 to 10 pounds of vegetables from the garden when I have time to go out and pick.
I have already decided which things I will NOT be planting next summer.  I will finally give up on fennel (it never makes a bulb) and jalapeƱos (I have few reasons to eat them).

I may try growing potatoes again.  I like the way they taste and am missing them this year.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

All (eye) Need

Is a hot compress.  Followed by a cold compress.  And then a decongestant.  And to keep my hands away from my eyes.

The decongestant has made the world of difference in just two days.  No liquids leaking out of my eyes onto to my skin--and burning (though the skin is still pretty raw).  The eye doctor thought the ducts might be clogged and the "tears" had no where to go--but out over my skin.

I slept better.  I didn't rub my eyes.

I remember (why so late???) that I used to take a very effective decongestant for years and years.  And then the FDA banned one of the ingredients as "too dangerous".

So, now I need to find a safe decongestant.  And breath easily.  Sleep. And hopefully keep the tear ducts-unplugged.  And my skin--not dry and raw and itchy.

Worked five days straight.  Off next two days.  Then five straight again.  So, so tired.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Season For Cast Iron Pots

I had an appointment with the eye doctor today.  Which meant leaving work early.  Which meant I could actually cook my pot roast.  It's seasoned, browned and in the oven.

I got a 24 in Flame as a wedding present from my mother's sisters.  My aunts.  Can you sense the distance? Emotionally. But I loved the gift.

Now, thanks to discount bargain hunting, I have a 24, 26 and 28.  I'm still hunting for a frying pan. On sale.  All Flame.

Back to the pot roast.  Pot roast has been my choice for a birthday dinner for years and years.  This year's birthday seemed too warm for a pot roast.  But, when I went grocery shopping over the weekend I noticed, sitting all alone in the meat case, a very nice pot roast.  I figured it was meant to be.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Starry Night

Last call for the dog last night.  Out the front door and into the inky black night (1am) and the stars twinkling in the sky.  So many stars.  I wished there had been no house lights to ruin the magic of a black sky full of stars but then I may have tripped down the steps.

The trees flanking the garage dapple the light that comes on (motion) as the dog passes by.  Reminds me of Florida landscaping.  The way the lights in the gardens make everything look so sophisticated and lovely in the evening.  So I enjoy what little we have of sophisticated evening landscaping.

These are my thoughts as I wait for the dog to come, rustling past branches and leaves, from his nightly visit to the wildness of a Maine night.  A night, I am sure, filled with small and not so small animals standing still as Riley walks past.

Like me.  Standing still as the stars slide past.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Best Birthday Ever.

I had to work---but spent the day with the really nice people I work with---- which is why I still work. The nice people.  One even sang happy birthday to me as I walked into work.  Thank you, R! (she also baked delicious pumpkin doughnuts for me)

I got to be outside most of the day--what's not to like about that?

Dinner (with a very sweet birthday card from G) was cheese nachos with Diet Coke and lime. Just what I wanted and it was delicious.  There's a little Key Lime tart in the fridge with a candle.

My horoscope:  Professional or educational decisions must be made based on what you want, not what someone else wants you to do.  You will pick up information easily as long as you don't let others limit your progress and success.

Image sent to me by my Dentist.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Almost, But Not Just Yet

My birthday.

Never before has the number of my birthday age been quite as "meaningful".  Even 21.  Even 40.
I know others who partied until in a coma @21.  And covered mirrors in their homes @40. I never cared too much.

And, it's not that 69 scares me.  It's just that I think 69 means some "planning" needs to be in place.
I need to be deciding how the next 30 (wink) years will be spent.  In reality, it's only the next 20 if I go by heredity and my parents.  And 20 goes by so quickly as we get older.

How do I want to spent these years?

Doing what I love to do, I hope.  Not worrying about things I have no control over.  Not doing things out of a sense of duty, rather than desire.  It's a work in progress.

Yesterday, at work, was a lesson in being present.  Not wanting to be (all 9 hours), but presenting a pleasant open invitation to customers to chat about gardening none the less.  It was exhausting and exhilarating.

One moment stands out.  I was out front chatting about bloom times with a customer and we noticed an older couple across the highway with a flat tire on their big truck.  My customer said the police had stopped and then drove off. The wife had the instruction book out and the husband was trying to get the flat tire off.  They were struggling.  And traffic was zooming by--too close, I felt, and too fast.

Then a souped up low rider of a car passes them and pulls over.  Out steps a guy (20's) with pants riding only the lower half of his rear end.  Reed thin. (you could see the older couple was apprehensive)  He walks over and takes control of the tire iron.... and as my customer reported to me--I had to go answer the phone --- takes the tire off and puts the new one on in about 10 seconds.  I arrived as he was tightening the lug nuts.  Then he said--"you're good" or something and hurried off to his car, waving off the offered cash from the elderly couple.  He starts the car and cuts back over to our side of the road and roars off.  My customer, a guy, says--"well, that just made my day--or more likely my year. What was an amazing instance of humanity"

Yes.  It was.

My intuition says he was traveling north, saw them, turned around, came back to help and then u-turned in the road and went on his way north again.

Somehow, I don't think that young guy will be wondering how to live his life at 69.  Like me.  He already has a very good idea of how to live his life.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

This Is Why We Love To Garden With Children

I think I had the same happy grin on my little pre school face when my grandmother let me pull a carrot out of her vegetable garden (back when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth).

That's how we grow the next generation of gardeners.

Today I carried a very heavy basket of produce into the kitchen.  Squashes.  Tomatoes.  Cucumbers.
Peppers which have started to color and will be a brilliant RED in a day or two spent on the kitchen counter.  In my other hand, I had the last of the red onions, pulled from the dirt and dangling from their dried out tops.  I had an amazing crop of onions this season.

I also have delicious kale.  And Swiss chard (which I intend to saute and mix with ricotta cheese and make into tortelloni.  Big square filled dumplings we used to have in Germany--made by a talented Italian guy.  If I only knew what magic was in the simple sauce he served with them--and which we licked, shamelessly, off the plates..... any Italians out there with an idea of what sort of sauce this would be?

The French eggplant plants are just starting to make flowers (and hopefully fruit)--I hope the weather reports I have heard are true.  6 more weeks of summer.  At least here in Maine.  We are unseasonably HOT, Humid and Miserable, but --in the garden--no complaints.  I need a few more weeks to get everything ripe and ready to harvest.

The three winter squash plants I rescued from the dumpster (and they were wilted and beat up) have perked up finally.  They are covered in "boy" flowers (no noticeable "girl" flowers) but each of the three plants has produced at least one winter squash.  A tiny 2 inch butternut.  A tiny buttercup.  And the acorn plant has two 3 inch squash growing.  I looked at the seed packets at work--and I have enough time for them to grow large enough to eat.  Another 30 days.

Next summer I am planting and growing the pattypan squashes that look like little flying saucers.  We have a farmer's market in Town and I meant to visit on Tuesday and see if anyone had that variety for sale.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Looking For A Reason Not to Go To Work Tomorrow

G says I am "this close" to not working anymore.  It makes him happy to think I will be here to spend my days with him.

I have a dentist appointment mid morning tomorrow.  I pulled the ligaments on the right side of knee when I stumbled in the kitchen and it hurts to step down on that right leg and I wonder if I need an Xray.  My bee sting is getting redder and larger as the days pass. Tomorrow is going to be 92 degrees. Oh, and we have new hours. 8 to 4 tomorrow.  All of which is "yuck".

The tomatoes are coming in from the garden at a good clip these hot days.  Not that many cucumbers. One gigantic zucchini that I seemed to have missed on my daily visits to the garden.  Flowers on the french eggplant but no fruit yet.

I have made five huge pots of ratatouille this summer (so far) and each has been better than the previous one.  I am learning.  Yesterday I grilled the vegetables instead of roasting them.  Too hot to turn on the oven.  That batch and the previous one are in the fridge waiting for me to pack them up in freezer containers.  Easier to freeze them and not have them spoil in the fridge.  Meals aren't regular around here.  And the freezer meals can be enjoyed when the garden and summer are far far away.

I saw indigo dyeing on Soulemama a few days ago and the package the dye came in looked familiar. so, yesterday, I dug around in the cabinet where I store art supplies.  And there it was.  Indigo Dye. I am thinking of dyeing my stained white dish towels and napkins and my very old and sad looking blue workshirts. Also some white linen fabric scraps.  And anything I find that just isn't very nice looking in it's original color.  I love wearing white.  And I love wearing blue.  And pale pink.

Perhaps I will heavily bleach the tee shirts and see if that works for them.  Nice and white.  I have to keep them as long as possible--no one makes them anymore.  Everything in a "new" tee is thin and see thru. The ones I have are over 20 years old.  Not see thru.

Well, we are having sweet corn for dinner.  Then apple pie.  We had Dairy Queen for lunch. See what I mean by meals not being regular around here.  I think it was 89 today.  And humid.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Porch Swing

That's what I call a vacation.  A nice porch swing and a good book.  Minus the mosquitos.

Today the skies above my house will be filled with the roaring jet engines of the Blue Angels. Perhaps all that noise will scare away the mosquitos????

On my agenda for the three days I have off (last time this summer):  another batch of ratatouille (which I find I actually love), dinner of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and sweet corn for dessert, another batch of crab apple juice for jelly (I want to see if I can make four cups that taste good before wasting sugar and jars on the jelly) and I have some foraged apples, from an abandoned tree near where I work, to make into a pie.

G says it's time to cut the grass again.

This is my second attempt at a post for today so I may stop writing while I have the opportunity to press 'publish" and have something happen.

When I was 14 and 15 years old, I spent both summers (when not at the free public swimming pool or babysitting my baby sister) on the glider on the front porch.  I read Gone With The Wind each summer from cover to cover while making the glider move with my bare foot.  I ate warm, just picked tomatoes from the garden.  I had no idea that I was actually having the best summers of my life right then.  But I remember them.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Early Work Day

For me.  Most of you are probably up way before I am.  But 6:30 is way too early for me. Which is why I didn't actually get up until 6:45 and had to be at work by 8.

I didn't want to go to work.  Resented having to go.

See.  I tell G that this means I am getting closer to deciding to be "retired" or "semi-retired".

Today it was stinking hot at work, humid and I was damp and sticky by 8:15.  And then I had to go empty the water plant pools which had gotten thick and stinky.  OMG.  Sticking ones hands in the water and having slimy things "brush" past and touch you---- I felt like running around screaming. and then there were the water spiders and the frogs.  I ended up dipping stuff out and pouring it on the gravel.  We also hosed off the plants.  Later, while watering the sedums--I got stung by a BEEEEEEE

G and I had a nice dinner.  Steak wrapped in bacon (oh, stop), steamed broccoli, plain white rice.  I had vegetable kabobs as an addition to my plate.

I am trying to "eat mindfully" and at work I had a cucumber, cantaloupe chunks, water, ham and cheese rolled up (low carb), more water, a nice juicy "eastern" peach, and more water.  Mostly I was choosing foods that would elevate my water levels.  I think my "hunger" is more about being thirsty than being hungry.

I went out to the garden to get veggies for the kabobs and got many many many mosquito bites as it had rained about 30 minutes before I went out there.  Got a lot of cucumbers, some squash and a shirt front full of Sun gold cherry tomatoes.  I left the peppers and tomatoes for another day.

My parsley plants are almost 5 feet tall and ridiculous.  I need to pull them out and strip off the leaves and make my frozen parsley leaf rolls for use in SummerFallWinterSpring recipes.  Remember Princess SummerFallWinterSpring on Howdy Doody?