…in the blossoms of your hydrangea….
We were walking around the yard this morning, inspecting the fields, so to speak, and I saw this pollen-laden bumble bee.
She (she? he?) was just resting there. Not dead – I saw a leg move. I’m guessing she was still a bit damp from the overnight dew.
Whatever the reason, she stayed put while I got as close as I could with the camera.
I figure once the sun warms and dries her, she’ll be on her way.
For now, thank you, bee, for letting me photograph you.
We went clothes shopping today.
Bill and Alex.
Julia and me.
We’ve got a wedding coming up in the family.
Both kids are in the wedding (hee hee hee!!!!) and Bill will be playing guitar.
Fortunately for everyone, especially the photographers, who might not have brought wide enough lenses, I am not part of the ceremony at all. I’m hoping there’ll be a wide palm tree or something I can hide behind whenever there are cameras lurking.
Did you catch that?
While I was up tending the smoking pork butt recently, I baked some bread, made some mozzarella, and made this bread.
It’s kind of cake more than bread, but since it was baked in a loaf pan, I guess that allows the “bread” designation.
My recipe is based on a lemon bread recipe I found in the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. I made a few changes, and next time I make it I have a few other changes to make as well.
But here’s what I did this first time around:
Most of yesterday is a blur.
I’d had great plans to continue posting about the whole overnight pulled pork adventure, but it got harder for me to form coherent thoughts after a while, and so I gave up.
Bill got up around five thirty and made coffee, and I went downstairs to sit on the couch – just to get off my feet for a little bit – he brought me a big mug of coffee, and I fell asleep without even taking a sip.
If you missed part one, head over here to see what’s going on…Making Bacon – Step One – Curing
Just like we experimented with two cures – one with maple syrup added, one without – we also experimented with two smoking methods – hot and cold.
Hot smoke is faster, cold smoke…isn’t. But cold smoke seems more authentic, somehow. You know, like people would have done it back in the olden days.
It’s about time I wrote about making bacon.
We’ve done it twice now, and we’ll do it again this summer, because it’s yummy, and it’s cool to be able to make your own stuff.
That’s why we make lots of our own stuff – bread, cheese (well, working on expanding that, but still…), beer, we grow lots of plants, we can things and pickle things and make sauerkraut and kimchee…there’s probably more, but you get the idea.
So yes, last year, two times, we made bacon.
And I took pictures, and meant to write about it, but the giant Painting The House Ourselves project took over, and then other things came up, and I just kept not doing it.
That has to stop. And stop now.
So stay tuned…the Makin Bacon Saga will begin shortly….
When I was in the first or second grade I rode the bus home from school.
I was a very shy child – I remember being terrified going to Nursery School for the first, oh, 180 days – and so when a fight broke out between two boys in the seat in front of mine on the bus that day, and the boys were hitting each other with their metal lunchboxes, I just sat quietly in my seat, you know, like you’re supposed to.
And when one of those lunchboxes (this all happened within seconds – the bus driver did, in fact, intervene, but she probably had to pull the bus over safely to the side of the road first because we didn’t have bus monitors riding shotgun back then) hit me right between the eyes, I did my very brave best not to cry and make a scene, because I didn’t want all that potential attention.
When my nephew was very little – two or three, I think – one of his favorite stories was “Jack and the Beanstalk.” I remember reading it to him over. And over and over. Andoverandoverandoverandover.
I kind of grew a bit tired of that one. And Little Red Riding Hood, too. And the Three Little Pigs.
Well, this morning I got to revisit those stories, plus a couple more.
Bill made pulled pork not too long ago, and we had about 2 cups’ worth of the meat left in the freezer. (Odd as it may seem, there’s only so many pulled pork sandwiches we can eat over the course of a week.)
Anyway, this was the first week in May, and I decided to make tamales for Cinco de Mayo. I thought it would be a fun group project for the kids and me. Bill had to work late, and so I figured it would be a nice surprise for him, too.
And since I had some pulled pork in the freezer, why not use that for the filling?
Why not, indeed!
Sometimes when I’m driving around I’ll write parts of posts in my head. Or I’ll have conversations with various people, either as a rehearsal or as a “if only I’d said it THIS way” rewind kind of thing. Sometimes I have conversations with myself. Sometimes the conversations I think I’m having in my head with other people are, really, just more conversations with myself. Because, after all, the words coming from the “other” people in my head are really just me with a different voice.
Sometimes I wish they’d all – me included – shut up.
So there’s that.
When I asked Alex what he wanted besides ribs for his birthday dinner, he asked for curly french fries (I bought them frozen and then totally forgot to bake them that night. Ah well – we had them at lunch the next day.) and some cole slaw “so you and Daddy have something that you won’t have to share.” He’s not a fan of slaw – particularly any mayo-based versions. But that’s okay – it was his birthday. I wasn’t about to force anything on him. And I knew his main focus would be the ribs anyway.
So I decided to make a slaw using whatever we could to pull from the garden.
Years ago I used to watch CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt. (He wasn’t at my house watching it – he was the host.) I loved the show for its varied stories – long pieces, compared to sound bites on news programs. The show was always interesting, informative, sometimes fun, sometimes sad. There were reviews, done by that guy whose name I can’t think of at the moment – I loved his way with words, though…and then, for the last few minutes of the program, there was silence.
Well, an absence of human voices, which is about the same thing, in my opinion.
The camera would pan across a vast prairie, for instance, and all you would hear would be the rush of the wind…distant birds…the ssshhhhhhhhhh of leaves. Such a lovely, peaceful way to close a program.
I don’t have audio, so there are no sounds of nature for you…but here are some pictures from my gardens…and I’ll shut up now, too.
My mother used to make me strawberry shortcake for breakfast on my birthday when I was a kid. My birthday is in early July, which was at the end of strawberry season around here, but no matter – if she couldn’t get ripe local berries, she’d buy what was available and macerate them in some sugar for a while before making the shortcake.
I also remember that sometimes instead of the traditional biscuit, she’d get those spongy yellow mini-cakes (you can find them near the strawberries in most grocery stores this time of year). I loved those little cakes. Light and fluffy, they reminded me of another childhood favorite – Twinkies. Yep. Twinkies. I think my introduction to those has been blamed on my paternal grandfather.
But I digress….
He thinks it’s funny to say that.
Probably because I glare at him and tell him to shut up. And we’re not supposed to tell people to shut up in this house, so I don’t know if he delights in the fact that I actually SAY that or because he knows it is torturous to imagine him in double digits.
Freakin’ NINE, this boy of mine.
Yesterday, he looked like this:
I’ve been on an omelet kick lately. Or a scrambled-eggs-with-stuff-mixed-in kick. This morning my eggs and additions took omelet form.
Here’s what I used:
From the top right – two eggs, some leftover grilled salmon (wild caught, Alaskan), chives from the garden, and homemade Feta from last week’s cheesemakingpalooza. Okay, I guess I didn’t make enough cheeses for it to qualify as a “palooza,” but I made four kinds. And one was Feta. (The short-term version, fyi.)
Anyway, back to breakfast…
Time for breakfast, little tadpoles! Are they still tadpoles once they get hind legs? Yep – I just looked it up. They remain tadpoles (or polliwogs) until they’ve got all their legs, their lungs have developed, and their tails are disappearing. Then they’re called froglets. I can’t wait til we can refer to them that way – it’s cute.
Here’s what we’ve been feeding them – lettuce. Bits of lettuce (organic, from the garden – nothing but the best for our tadpoles!) that have been frozen (to break down the cell structure) and then chopped up into little bits. They thaw at this point and get all mushy.
At some point within the past year, our dishwasher started leaking.
Neither Bill nor I have plumbing or electrical skillz, really, besides knowing how to shut off breaker switches and press "play" on the stereo or "start" on the stove.
Okay, we're not that useless, but still, we're not pros.
And the bad thing about that is that pros generally cost money.
Money we'd rather spend on cooler things like pressure canners or skiis.
And I said, months and months ago, that I'd rather just hand wash the dishes than pay someone gobs of money to fix the thing! Besides, maybe I could figure out how to fix it myself!
And time has gone on and on and on and on...and I'm finally sick of washing the dishes - all the dishes - by hand.
Baby Bella Mushrooms stuffed with Ricotta, Fresh Herbs, and More Mushrooms.
I love being able to throw together dishes like these. I have no real recipes for any of them; no measurements, quantities or times. I just had a garden, a recent trip to the Farmers market, some homemade cheeses, and a few other ingredients – mostly local. And a hungry family.
Those (above) are blossoms on one of our potato plants. I’m very excited about our potatoes this year – several varieties and they’re growing well.
I’m posting the pictures I took this morning as Bill and I walked around the yard and looked at what’s growing. We do this on weekend mornings right now, and once school lets out, it will become part of our nearly-daily morning routine.
I think these have become my favorite flower.
Irises used to be my favorites, and I still love them…but these peonies have climbed a little higher over the years.
These peonies in particular. We’ve got these, and we’ve got dark pink ones that have slightly smaller blossoms. Both had grown in Bill’s mom’s yard, and when she passed away, they were among the plants we brought to our gardens.
From the top left – Plain, Black Sesame, 4C&G, and Thai Red Curry.
You know how sometimes when you’re experimenting in the kitchen and things are just SO easy and SO much fun that you want to keep playing around for hours and hours and hours?
That’s the kind of fun I had making these chips.