Cooking · Dogs. · Eating Locally · Garden · Healthy Eating · On Being Green · Small Joys

Embracing All of This

The dog asks to go out into the bright morning, and I climb back into bed grateful she wants to come in too, it is so cozy and I begin to drift off but there is a nagging sensation that I have forgotten something.  It is an hour before I realize it is Saturday and I am down to three radishes, a dozen and a half eggs, a lemon and a handful of wilted scallions in the fridge.  

I park in the shadow of a tractor trailer without it’s tractor and open the windows half way.  I am still saying there should be designated dog parking all summer long.  It is only 68, this is the only shade anywhere. How hard would it be, to make a corner of the lot safe for those who are out with their pets?

Now later I feel such a sense of peace and contentment.  There is a moment at which you find yourself, in a place where everything comes together and begins to make sense.  It is really just an inkling, but it is there and it feels like it will become more profound.  

I would not have this home, nor my yoga teacher without my ex husband.  I would not have this belief in my personal strength and integrity without the pirate nor would I have known that the problem was not with me with regards to our difficult relationship, would not have my daughter if it were not for her father… you get the picture.  I would not be cleaning my house organically and with such a small footprint without A.  and a Tau sister I lived with who reminded me that there was a time when this was what I did.  Oh. Yes.  The dogs at my side, my ex again, and a Tau sibling.  I feed them pea pods, blueberries, strawberries and sour cherries.  The pup putting her paw on my knee, asking for more.  What would my life feel like without them?

I wash and cut and prepare my fruit and vegetables.  Storing some in freezer bags, some in the fridge.  I slice cucumbers, the little ones with no seeds, and poor hot vinegar over them, cutting up cilantro and parsley from my garden, trimming lettuce to put it on later, with chickpeas.  

My sour cherry jam is boiling away on the stove and fresh homemade scones baking in the oven. A lifetime of having to live poor, now coming to fruition through living clean.  My six face cords of wood on order, I look at this wood stove and do math in my head, 75 dollars a month to be warm all winter.  Sometimes my gas bill was as high as 350 dollars a month, and that is cheap.  I really can get used to this.

I embrace this, it is perfection.  What a gift.  I am filled with gratitude.  

 

Eating Locally · Garden · Musings

Garden Fresh

There is something about this community here, part poor uneducated people, part intelligent (not to say poor and uneducated are not) artisan, hippy types.  Up here most of the women my age are grey, not colored hair and giving generous people.  Oh you don’t have a roof rack, grab our kayak at this dock, use it.  Oh your dill did not come up?  Here take this giant armload full of dill from the garden.  Oh before you go, would you like some lettuce?  Here are 5 giant bunches.   Oh you spin, come join our group on Wednesday nights, this is where me meet, bring your wheel or your knitting or a drop spindle, come!  Do you need a ride? Meet me here.

Ah.

I tell my friend my fear of judgment from others, my narcissistic leanings, I have known her for years, I trust she loves me anyway.  She tells me, that is the thing up here, there are those that judge you, and you just smile and nod, but the rest, for the most part, don’t judge at all, are welcoming and want to work together.

I love this.

She has this giant garden, well more than one, and her veggie garden has been raided so often by her dogs that she had to build a fence, but rather than do so out of lumber, she has raided the forest for long branches.

gardenfence

 

And to go with my last post:

Dustin Hoffman Interview

Eating Locally · Fishing · Healthy Eating · Nature

Day 2

I sleep fitfully, the rain and thunder wake me, the dog panting and thirsty, I worry about things from civilization, things I cannot control, 7 days of heavy metal that I cannot fathom after a day paddling and fishing for perch in the lake.  And in this case more than half of what I cast in gets a nibble and I catch a half dozen perch and a couple pumpkin seeds.  I throw them back when they are little, but the ones I kill by ripping out their throats via a hook I keep, soon I am covered in fish guts and worm blood, I love it.   And later I gut them myself, and then skin them, flour them, and put them in brown butter with the caramelized onions, and cover a bowl of brown rice with them, so simple, so delightfully delicious, and best of all the fish so fresh the house does not have any odor of fish.   But as I toss and turn in bed, my decision to keep my word, to maintain the integrity of that word, I know is the right one.  Still it bothers me.  In my sleep I dream of the ex, again, and I wake apologizing for falling apart when he left, though it still brings tears to my eyes.  I wake a bit later than I did yesterday, and do not want to get up.  I want to walk, but I am tired, my arms and legs ache, my back is surprisingly not hurting.  Come on buddy I say, lets go for a walk.  He remains at his place at the foot of the bed.  He hesitates as I put on my hiking clothes, he hesitates on the stairs, he hesitates at the door, he hesitates on the lawn.  My friend’s dogs, who refused the walk yesterday, are halfway up the first section of the hill, I cannot take the short walk this time.  And by the time we get to the turn around, I am happy we have taken this path.  The dog is slow and stays by my side, the male of A’s two dogs stops and waits for us always, never quite getting out of sight.  I begin to notice the smaller things, the small rivulet by the road the sound of the water under the swampy clumps of grass, the long vein of pink granite that flows down the center of the road, the gravel on the mushy parts of the road, the rocks near the beaver dam.  I will be bored, I think, in time, of this walk.  But I also want to love the exercise, the health of my body, the health of the dog’s elderly frame.

windingroad

barn2

We are nearly out of veggies and fruit, and the garden only has fresh greens ripe for the eating, I take her daughter on the long trip to the nearest large town and we buy from locally grown (no dumpster veggies here) and small but charming market.  I buy an empanada, the best one I have ever eaten, and I have enjoyed them fresh in South America.  This one is filled with brown rice, spinach, black beans, something spicy and it is phenomenal.

 

 

Eating Locally · Fishing · Flintknapping · Nature

Clearing the Blues Away

The wind is cold as we go out, he has attached a new scope to this old 22 rifle, my job is to site it in.  Meanwhile he has a beautiful 444 Marlin rifle that he is siting.  Someone has hired him to kill a buffalo for meat.  His friend M. was hired to do the same for some Onondagas that have a farm on the outskirts of the reservation, they will go together to the farm.  I am talking to him as I load 22 shells into the 10 round clip, I lose count.  Shit, am I a felon right now I ask him, I lost count is it 7 or is it 8.  I stop and just shoot with what I have in the clip.

The temperature is a surprising 45 as we drive out to see where this farm is, in my old stomping grounds.  We talk about trout fishing as we ride up the curving road along the edge of the creek.  In my head I am recalling the sweet taste of trout pulled fresh from the water, I want to go, I say, right now.

In the afternoon, I wash the dishes as I watch him boiling skulls in a big bucket on the veranda.  I go out and take a few minutes to finish the last of a collage I am making to help raise money for my friends school in South Sudan.  And then I take the cypress knob I bought from some guy at the stone tool show last summer.  I proceed to doodle on it with wood stain pens.  Until the sun starts to set, all peach and pink in the sky.  My legs are cold, and my cheeks and the big toe of my left foot.

cyprusdetail

I have spent the better part of the last 7 hours outside.

I can almost feel the blues like cobwebs being swept out of me.

Eating Locally · Healthy Eating

Healthy Oils

I have been experiencing a tremendous pain in the heel of my right foot, it hurts to walk, to sit, to lay down.  After talking to my Mom, HI MOM, I came to the conclusion that it might be plantars fascititis.  I already wear good shoes, vibram soles, birkenstocks, and all but a couple pairs of heels are about an inch high because I strongly dislike high heels not only for the pain they cause in my knees, feet and lower back but also because of what they represent through the objectification of a woman’s body.  And one day last winter I was out with the pirate and wore a pair of higher heel shoes and he scoffed at them as I slipped and slid over the icy sidewalks and told me, next time wear your Merrills.  Love this guy!

I went to the natural food store, which has a giant supplement section to ask them about inflammation and tightness in the tendons and they recommended that I add extra Omega 3 oil into my diet, suggesting a second fish oil and the addition of ground flax seed to my diet.  It has been five days and although my heel still hurts I am not absolutely hobbled by it.  I added a tablespoon of the flax seed to my oatmeal every morning, and to my pancakes one night and to my soup another night.  I am not saying I am cured, and I am not saying that this is the end of it, but I find it remarkable that how much the pain in my foot has been reduced.

Cooking · Eating Locally · Healthy Eating · Recipes

Two Fine Recipes

The pirate and I didn’t make it to the Farmers Market this weekend since it is hunting season and he, instead was finding food from another source altogether.  We decided while we were out running afternoon errands to go to Wegmans, perhaps the biggest and best store in the area.  There was a woman there sampling sausages of all kinds and they were phenomenal.  I bought a lovely smokey chorizo and then came home and made dirty rice.  I was unhappy with the finished product, but the pirate added his touch and viola.   Put two intelligent heads together and here is the recipe:

Dirty Rice ala Pirate and Wench

saute two medium onions, 5 cloves of chopped garlic, three stalks of celery and a green pepper on low heat until soft and translucent.  Push to the outside edges of the pot and add a package of sliced chorizo sausage, brown lightly.  Stir in altogether add two cups of rice (I used Goya medium grain rice which I absolutely cannot stand but that was somehow the only kind we had in the house) and 4 cups of water and your favorite Cajun seasoning.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to lowest setting and simmer til the rice is done.  Add one 8 oz jar of salsa to your taste (we used medium) and also optional a hearty squeeze of Sriacha sauce for extra spice.  mmm

I made my favorite lentil stew for dinner last night.  A meal I love but is not and has not ever been anyone else favorite.  So unless you adore lentils don’t bother.  BTW the pirate didn’t love it, but he liked it enough to have a second bowl.

No Fat Lentil Soup

add one and a half cups of green lentils to a stock pot and put in about 10 cups of water.  chop one onion into large chunks and add 6 whole cloves of garlic.  simmer for about a half hour.  add two large carrots cut into chunks, add one parsnip cut into chunks (opt) and two large potatoes and several stems of fresh thyme.  simmer on medium low stirring frequently until the veggies are soft.  add about six large mushrooms sliced, a half a head of broccoli chopped (you can add the harder stems when you put in the carrots and potatoes)  and about four ounces of tamari sauce.   Remove the thyme stems.  Simmer about ten more minutes until the broccoli is cooked.    Warm, fat free, and rich in fiber and vitamins.  LOVE LOVE.

As a good wine must be kept in a good cask, so a wholesome body is the proper foundation for a well-appointed inner ground. ~Johannes Tauler 

Eating Locally · Fishing · Healthy Eating · Nature · New York State Parks · Photos · Strong Woman

Fishing Queen!!

Once again we headed up to the ADK’s, although this trip was planned weeks in advance, last weekend’s brief overnight was far more impromptu.  We took the slow route, and when we got to our intended destination it was early afternoon.  We ascended up the short but strenuous incline and finally came to what we thought was the summit, but two days later learned it was not at all the summit.  The skies were cloudy so we found a good rock to fish from.  The pirate caught a couple trout, and I had several bites but couldn’t hook one.  Finally I passed him my rod and said, here something is biting please catch it.  Which he did, it was a tiny trout, but later I fried it in butter and it was so delicious!!  The decent was also a challenge and by the time we got to the end of it, our legs were so wobbley that we started singing “If I Only Had a Brain.”  Hot, sweaty, my face scarlet from the exertion (it gets really red whenever I exercise at all).  I regretted going for a run before we left the house!!  The next day we let our very sore muscles recover from the hike and went for a drive, we found a cool naturally formed stone bridge and cave, and then later on we went to Mt. Defiance overlooking Fort Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain.  After dinner we decided to go fishing, and suddenly I was on.  I saw the fish surfacing and I had lost my trout lure on a snag, so in the dark I just put on the first packets of hooks I came to.  I immediately got a solid hit and pulled in a really big female bullhead chock full of eggs.  Then threw in again to the same spot and pulled out another bully.  The third time I cast to that spot I caught a decent little trout, which I think was a native, judging by its pink flesh.  Of the four of us fishing, I was the only one to pull any in so they called me the queen of the fish.  I swear it was the Magic Margarita I was drinking out of a little canteen my friend gave me for “the road”, which we walked down in the dusk and back up again in the dark.

Sock Fish in Garnet Lake

In the morning we decided to fish in Garnet Lake, the pirate caught a perch and I caught a little sunfish, which I threw back in the water.  We then went back and picked up my friend and his daughter and went back up Crane Mountain.  My legs were absolutely burning and it was really slow going for me, but I finally made it too the top.  Our fishing spot was taken up by swimmers, so we went to a different spot suggested by my friend, and discovered that it was an absolutely picturesque spot.  The pirate and I fished there on the rocks for a couple hours.   It was still early and they were not biting but after a bit I pulled a decent sized brookie in, this one was small and had more of the white flesh of a stocked fish.  This morning we cooked up all the fish for breakfast sauteed in butter with a little lemon juice squeezed over it.  Delicious.  Nothing tastes better than fresh caught fish!!

Our legs and feet are sore.  The decline on the second day was hard.  Real hard.  The pirate had about an 80 pound pack and was taking it slow.  My legs hurt so much I was shakey and had to take it slow for safety.  I did some of the more difficult rocks on my rear end, dropped my new OFF bug keeper offer, which tumbled down the face of a cliff, shattering as it went.  😦  It worked really well, and I was awfully disappointed to see it going.  Close to the bottom I stepped on a small stick and my foot just slid out from under and I fell on my rear end in the leaves.  The first thing I did after shower and before food was take a couple minutes to stretch, so I am only a little sore today, mostly in my left quad.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It feels good to be so strong, though it was tough, I did it.  I loved fishing, and was thrilled to catch so many.  I loved being with my friends, and my pirate.  Whose encouragement on the hike helped me get through it.  The whole weekend was so fantastic, I cannot believe I spent so many years NOT hiking.  What a waste!!!  I am so happy to back at it again.  My life is so much better with my pirate in it!!

 

 

 

Cooking · Eating Locally · Festivals

Crawfish Festival

The day was cold and cloudy, I got into the truck and immediately the pirate and his friend admonished me to get another jacket.  I declined and of course the pirate who is always prepared had at least two extra jackets in the back.  When we got to Clinton Square I had to admit it was chilly, but within one hour the sun had come out and we were all removing our sweaters and jackets.  This was year five of the festival, started to raise money for Katrina and for the gulf of Mexico, it has continued to raise money for Bernard’s Parish.  The pirate is so personable and open that literally everywhere we go he “has people” and this was no exception.  We walked up to the man who was running the boil and he shook hands and greeted him by name.  We were treated shortly by a handful of boiled shrimp.  I tried the jambalaya and the gumbo which were delicious.  Later I tried a crawfish, I am not a big fan of lobster, ever since I boiled one alive, oh not by dropping it in the already boiling water, but by putting him in a pot and cooking him alive, his tap dancing toes on the bottom of the pot was the first sign of my ignorant mistake.  I am a soft hearted thing and it was one of the last times I ever ate it.  Also lobster carries some memories of my Mom being rushed to the hospital in anaphylactic shock, that leaves me leery of it though I eat crab, scallops and shrimp with little fear.  I was not fond of the crawfish though either.  I really felt queasy about sucking out their brains, I know it was all mental so next time I will try more.  Cyrus, the man who ran the boil said that last year they had 1600 pounds of crawfish and had 400 pounds left over, this year they ran out by about 330 in the afternoon.  Now that the boil was ended they ran a special boil using the venison sausage and peanuts that the pirate brought and we also had access to boiled garlic bulbs and some of the spiciest most delicious mushrooms I have ever eaten.  We finished off the day with biegnets and coffee, the beignets taste kind of like a sweet fried biscuit, I suspect though that they were not nearly as good as the real New Orleans ones.  It was such a great day, we stayed until the end of the festival, as the sun was going down I was getting pretty cold and the free t-shirts we were given by the boilers were a great, and I used one over my clothes to warm up.  I had a pretty good sunburn, I thought the week in paradise would have set me with a base tan enough to not burn, but it did not quite cut it, you could even see the imprint of my disk shaped necklace on my chest.

Crawfish boil

Crawfish
Beignets and Coffee