To Have Fun With Anyone

Here in the Northeast, a chill is in the air. I’m relieved to say so, since it’s late October and last week it was inexplicably over 80 degrees for a few days. You know what autumn for realz means: leaves will fall and you will eat soup. This is not a recipe, but it plays one on TV.

First: go to a farm, a farmstand or a farmers market. Talk to a farmer! Farmers are so interesting! Pick out your favorite soup vegetables, even better if they’re organic. Which vegetables? Well, ask yourself this tricky question: Hey, you, what things are delicious? Then buy those. The farmer wins!

Prepare your vegetables for roasting. You may peel things. Here, I peeled a butternut squash and a passel of apples. I chopped up the peels and fed them to the chickens. The chickens win! I quartered onions and saved the tops and peels for stock. Future Me wins! Then I added spices I like, salt, pepper, bay leaves, a cinnamon stick and fennel seeds to my vegetables, swished them all with olive oil and roasted them at 350 until the squash was fork tender. My house smelled great, so again: I win!

Oh fennel seeds, you complete me.

Dewy glam shot of roasted vegetables. Everyone loves an ensemble cast.

I let these cool, pulled out the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, then I pureed my vegetables with an immersion blender. Those are fun to play with, so I win again! Then I simmered my velvety puree, added some apple juice until I was happy with the texture and seasoned until I was super happy. Happiness is good, so I win again!

 

Seriously, this is so pretty I'm almost embarrassed.

I added matchsticks of swiss cheese and a chiffonade of basil, which means I chopped them up with a sharp knife, which you can do! Everyone wins!

To summarize:

  • the farmer wins
  • the chickens win
  • future Me wins
  • I win
  • I continue to win
  • I win again
  • you win
  • everyone wins!

Finally, Pete, who is a chef and sometimes is sick of cooking, had a fine meal without having to lift a hand. Pete wins!

So: this isn’t a recipe, it’s a method. You can make yourself really good food for truly next to nothing, and besides you, a whole lot of people and critters win. Go, you!

They Fought With Expert Timing

My final exam is Tuesday night and I’ve reached a sort of saturation point. I’m having trouble telling similar ASL signs apart. I’m probably in grave danger of starting fights in the wrong bars.

wet hen.jpg

Wet hen does not seem particularly mad.

I’ve spent my Fourth of July studying, digging up potatoes and prodding the other chicken to leave the coop. Apparently, Other Chicken is trying to hatch an egg, which cannot happen without a rooster. That is the kind of help we do not need.

It’s drizzling tonight. I’m trying to be reasonable about taking and exam and not punishing myself for losing a couple of points here and there. There is literally nothing at stake for me. My career will not change. My work will not be affected. I am not going to get some dream job if I finished a degree. So I can relax and do my best, letting the chips fall where they may.

 

a chicken with a difference

Sez you, lady.

Yeah. That’s going to happen.

He Turns Down the Street

Cute little murder monster

Baby trash panda looks totally adorable when not lunging for me.

The raccoons have been gently evicted from the eaves of our house and relocated to a more rural locale. We hope for the best for them, but at least one did not have the best survival instincts. Fingers crossed, they live long, happy lives, full of delightful and mysterious leftovers. We hope so, but they couldn’t stay here. Pete found one of the babies inside the chicken run, nibbling chicken food, near very alarmed chickens, so that had to be the end of that.

 

I have one more week of American Sign Language class. Earlier this evening, I suddenly realized I’d acquired enough of the basics to tell a story. As you know, stories are my thing; being able to tell a story is kind of hip, kind of cool, kind of Charlie. Tomorrow, I’m going to tell a story in class, which would be much like tearing off my Foster Grants to reveal my superhero identity, but since I am a middle-aged person, I have zero doubt my young classmates will notice a bird, a plane, Superman.

 

Oh Bondage No More

Last week, I looked up and saw nothing but sticks.

Last week, I looked up and saw nothing but sticks.

Just about any time I’m listening to a radio station, I’m wondering where are all the women who make music. You may wonder, for example, who were the punk rock women and where’s the music. They’re here, in this one unbelievable catalog. And we are fucking lucky to have it.

Cool Down Stop Acting Crazy

My nephew comes to the house once a week to turn over the compost and do little jobs around the garden. I’d seen him walking down our street with an older guy and noted where they stopped, because even though this is a very small town an angry mob needs good directions. My nephew said this older guy is sponsoring him for Christian confirmation, but he, my nephew, is struggling with the concept of faith. His entire family goes to church every Sunday with sincerity and sheet music, so I waited patiently for him to say, “April Fool!”

We looked at each other.

We stood there.

We stood. Suddenly, I remembered I was the grownup, which was a little awkward.

The “African daisy” (Osteospermum app.) a half-hardy perennial  native to southern Africa. It comes in many colors and is a popular bedding plant. Photographed at Longwood Gardens. Photo: Bob Hosh

The “African daisy” (Osteospermum app.) a half-hardy perennial native to southern Africa. It comes in many colors and is a popular bedding plant. Photographed at Longwood Gardens.
Photo: Bob Hosh

I said, “Faith is kind of weird. It comes and goes. What matters is what you do.”

He said something much more mature than I am about collecting principles for testimony, but I am not a Christian and these are not my rituals. I know less about this than he does and more than I want to.

I uttered some platitude about how behavior is most important. By this time, I was ushering him to the door, grinning like a jack o’ lantern in a wind storm. I did not say, “Kid, I’m always in your corner. Call me for tattoos and bail money.” He will never need it.

Heaven On An Empty Meter

Are you registered to vote? Because you and your vote are needed in this participatory democracy. Never let yourself believe your vote doesn’t matter.

Eat clams!

Any weather forecast including snow should come with sooooothing pictures reminding us of the summer to come.

If your vote didn’t matter, herds of people wouldn’t be throwing buckets of money into convincing you to stay home. Please vote in every election, no matter how local.

Things That Make You Say

This stitch might make a nice - wait, what did you call it?

This stitch might make a nice – wait, what did you call it?

During some bingy YouTube-watching, I came across a series of videos for this interesting pattern called the Catherine Wheel stitch. It is a very pretty pattern, in the hands of someone who knows what she is doing, which I do not. As I was watching videos of very pleasant instructors very pleasantly talking about the wheels of the wagon and the balance of the stitches, I wondered over and over again, ‘Are we speaking in code here? Did no one think to look up the meaning of the Catherine Wheel?

You're thinking the Funny Thoughts. I can tell.

You’re thinking the Funny Thoughts. I can tell.