Thursday, July 23, 2009

I forgot

I just told Denis we needed to reboot our router, so we both headed downstairs, me to get a drink and him saying let’s talk a minute while down there. A second later he was saying, why did I come down here now? And then, what were we going to talk about?

That reminded me, though who knows if I can retain this long enough to make a post? I’m working on the last page of the next issue of Notes From Toad Hall. I’m going to title it: “Things I had a minute ago and can’t find now. “ Like: Title to the book I was going to write. Or: Cell phone. (I’m always calling it from the land line and running up and down the stairs to locate it. Yesterday it was on the back porch, but my ringtone is a bird call and I thought…oh, well. This is making me short of breath.)

If you want to contribute a list send it along. If you remember to do this soon I might be able to use it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chicken Salad

The other night we took a supper out to Joe & Becca and their interns. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked for such grateful people. Pretty simple meal. I made a chicken rice salad that looks really sexy when done. (Of course, I forgot to snap a pic of the finished dish.) With savory bacon/cornmeal muffins, fresh lemonade, and chocolate chip cookies…man, I just killed my back trying to stomp on something running across the floor really fast…okay missed it…made by Anita. Joe showed us the hens’ nests he’s building in the shop, nice three-storied condos. They even have carpet inside. The chickens began laying this week. Suddenly, 13 eggs the first day, 8 the next and they’re off. Pretty exciting. But sad thing is they’re mainly white laid by the white leghorns and customers are beginning to prefer the brown. They think that when the dog got in and killed so many earlier this spring he got mostly the other breeds which are a bit more laid back personality-wise. The leghorns are wary freaked-out creatures and probably ran away like that centipede I just tried to kill. They sent us home with a huge bag of basil and some other vegetables.

Still, went to market today and took some pics. (See more on my Facebook.)

Here’s recipe for the chicken salad. It can easily morph a lot of directions and is always a little different every time I make it.

Chicken Rice Salad

1 cup cooked chicken breast or thighs (can substitute crab or shrimp)
3 cups rice (I use brown and wild)
¼ cup sliced celery
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped red pepper
¼ chopped green onion
½ cup mayonnaise
salt, pepper
Combine and chill. (I often add calamata olives.) Serve on platter or large shallow dish on a bed of greens. Mound the salad and garnish all around with alternating wedges of avacado, lemon and tomato. Beautiful.

Friday, July 17, 2009

O God without, within, above

Morning prayers for the 17th day of the month.

…O God above me, God who dwellest in light unapproachable, teach me, I beseech Thee, that even my highest thoughts of Thee are but dim and distant shadowings of Thy transcendent glory. Teach me that if Thou art in nature, still more art Thou greater than nature. Teach me that if Thou art in my heart, still more art Thou greater than my heart. Let my soul rejoice in Thy mysterious greatness. Let me take refuge in the thought that Thou art utterly beyond me, beyond the sweep of my imagination, beyond the comprehension of my mind, Thy judgments being unsearchable and Thy ways past finding out.
…and so let me in all things obey Thy will, through the grace of Jesus Christ my Lord.

Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie.

Friday, July 10, 2009

On closer inspection

July 6. Baby wrens flew this morning early. It’s so quiet in the back yard now. No parents scolding us for walking past. No babies screaming for food. We’ve watched them for about five weeks. First the male who sang and sang and sang from the lilac, the clothesline, garage roof, until finally a female deigned to join him. The twigs this tiny couple (they weigh half an ounce each at most, that’s like less than one square of baking chocolate) hauled and maneuvered and pushed through a hole the size of a quarter! That would be like threading logs through the mail slot.

Wrens build scrappy, messy nests, nothing fine or woven about them. We took down the nest to clean it out. Good thing, too. It’s possible they’ll raise another brood, or the chickadees might decide to move in for awhile. The house has hinges so the roof and side can be opened. Nifty. It was packed full. I pulled the whole mess out and noticed there was a lot of dust in the bottom like black pepper had been dumped. Shook it out, peered at it and noticed it was moving. Adjusted my glasses, bent closer, and saw the little grains were piles of living mites. I guess it’s not uncommon for birds to carry mites, but this was so creepy. I still shudder to think of it and all the more when someone joked maybe that’s what our mattresses look like. Ahhhh. I don’t want to hear. What a mix of beauty and repugnance.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Recycle the old

C.S. Lewis said one of the distinctive aspects of the modern mind is the assumption that newer things are always better. We’ve become preoccupied with things we don’t have, rather than the nurturing and stewarding the things we do have. (Huh? Me?)

The old metal cabinets in our kitchen were peeling and corroded. I did not like them any more. Refinishing seemed a huge ordeal and I imagined to do them right, we should take them out sandblast them and reinstall. A good friend advised me to just go to Home Depot and get new stock cabinets and zing, zing, in they’d go, and we’d have a nice new look at a pretty reasonable price. Walking through the displays made me realize that what I really liked were custom-made and cost the earth. Dejected. I finally decided we should repaint as best we could. They wouldn’t be perfect but what in life is? We kept them glossy white and didn’t replace hardware either. Anyway, after years the handles still don’t show a lick of wear. I lined the inside shelves with black contact paper – which gives them a surprisingly cool look.

When Anita, and okay, she did most of this work beautifully, was doing the panel under the sink, she popped off the metal logo that was covered in old white paint and Denis decided to look on-line to see what color it was originally. Or if we could even find out anything about the manufacturer. He discovered our old 1950s cabinets - GMK by Geneva - and learned they are a sought-after vintage item. Who knew?! Suddenly, their value soared and I felt more brilliant (and righteous) by the second.

Turns out the metal logo thing was brass and the letters are sort of reverse embossed so when Anita stripped off the paint and polished it, they glowed fair. She then, clever girl, gave it several coats of bright red auto paint to fill in the background, re-buffed to remove excess and snapped it back in place.

The old metal cabinets fit our “industrial” theme after all, (renaming makes it look like we planned to expose those pipes on the ceiling) and I still grin when I walk into the kitchen and see that little flash of red and brass beneath the sink. So: keep the old and be green. Woo, I’m into them now.