Wife, writer, tinkerer, grower of food. I'm happiest outside our rambling farmhouse with a basket looped on my arm, picking dinner from the garden. That's joy right there. Please follow along; I'm so glad you're here!
So, ahem, where were we? It has been incredibly hot. Tonight we have a date with Patrick's parents' pool, and tomorrow the high temp is only 77, so we're closing out the heat wave in style. I'd be totally fine if the rest of the summer stayed between 75 and 80.
Moving on. Raspberries. Ahem. I have been dutifully picking the cup or so of ripe berries per day, and I have been making shrub. Maybe some husbands are lucky enough to have wives who make raspberry pie, or cake, or at least jam, but my husband has a wife who likes to stew her raspberries with vinegar and sugar and pour it over ice cubes with soda water. Has anyone else ever tried this? It's awesome. Here's a recipe. It's best to use Bragg's apple cider vinegar, as they say in the recipe, but really any cider vinegar will work. A few sips feels like the perfect tonic on a hot summer night-- light, crisp, full of good-- and, this may be a complete coincidence, but the mosquitoes seem to leave me alone when I have a glass of shrub in my hand. Hmmm.
Those old-fashiony drinks, man. There's a reason they caught on, and it usually goes beyond taste.
Two years ago I bought a slew of death's-door perennials at a July greenhouse closeout sale. I bought delphiniums and sea holly, and stuck them in this bed together. Where they are doing just swimmingly, without any help at all. And I'm loving how the gray-plumminess of the sea holly whispers to the alice blue of the delphs. Whisperwhisperwhisper.
We have eaten zucchini every night this week. I am proud. I am a little tired. Tonight I am trying a spin on these, summer squash waffles (squaffles?), though I won't be making them vegan... just because. Waffles should include butter in them, at least in this house.
There's a line in a favorite cookbook of mine about waffles, about how low-fat waffles don't, or shouldn't exist, because without the proper amount of fat you don't get the custardy innards. Any cookbook with enough spine to stand up proper and espouse the virtues of fat has my respect.
Our freezer looks like this. I'm not one to say OMG, but. OMG. It is July, people, and I need to plug in my chest freezer!
I have a chest freezer that could hold a dead body. I make a point of emptying it out each spring and unplugging it (usually in April, after we've eaten through our winter stores), and it rests for a few months before fall comes along and I need the space for bags of frozen peppers or tomatoes or cauliflower. This summer, I started freezing earlier than ever-- and more intently than ever-- and so our fridge-freezer is now bursting, two months ahead of "schedule." Peas and zucchini and broccoli and kale and spinach and beet greens, oh my. Oh my. Last night I froze my first gallon of green beans, which was officially the coffin nail.So there's that.
There's also these guys. I can't believe how big they're getting. They've stopped peeping and are in that awkward and very comic stage where they make this dumb honking noise every time they try to cluck. The two buffs-- June and Maybelle-- are totally docile and gentle and have caught on very nicely to the standard practice of how to be a chicken.
Emmy, on the other hand. Oh, Emmy. Since the beginning she's been a... special case. I would pick up a buff, and it would freak out for two seconds before it figured I wasn't trying to kill it. Emmy never seems to come to any such realization. She flaps and struggles and honks and flaps and struggles whenever I pick her up. When everyone comes in to eat, she stands outside on the ramp making a sound not unlike a party noisemaker stuck in a trash compacter, piteously, until I walk around the other side and stuff her ass in there with the others. I've taken to calling her, lovingly but insensitively, pollo retardo, because-- I'm sorry, but she's a chicken-- I need something help myself cope with her stupids. We love our chickens, but they can be an awful lot of work. Funny work. Work that you get paid back for when they start laying. But still, work.
Ok. last little bit of news. We are leaving for NASHVILLEin eight days. I have insane writing deadlines right now, and I'm trying to get in as much of the garden as I can before we leave (though I have arranged for a garden-sitter), but this morning I woke up and said to Patrick, "One week..." and felt that intoxicating giddy-dizzy feeling you get before a big, long-awaited trip. We have five nights in a hotel on Music Row. Next week I am going to get us reservations at the Bluebird, if it kills me. I have wanted this trip, and been looking forward to this trip, since I met Patrick. Before that. Since I was in Nashville with my parents, at twelve, and realized, even then, that I was holding them back. Oh, sweet vacation. How I hear you callin'...