Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Yes, the Eclipse

This property is in the August 21st Great American Total Solar Eclipse path of totality, only 70 miles wide and the target destination for millions who intend to stop their cars right on the freeway where they are stuck in a jam, get out, and watch the mighty eclipse, the first one the U.S. has had since 1979 and the first one since 1918 that sashed the country, northwest to southeast, in the same way. It's a sensation! Genuine fun for everyone and children of all ages! I'm inviting people over and serving Oreos and Moon Pies. What other foods look like eclipses?

Naturally there are products tailored for the eclipse-crazed market. Naturally I bought an Eclipse scratch-off ticket for $5. Didn't win a cent. Saw "Eclipse" bronzer in the makeup section at Walgreens.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Breakfast Alfresco

"What would be fun?" I asked myself and could not come up with an answer. This is very abnormal because I think everything is fun, from hikes to mud to old trucks to blizzards. How else could it be, living in the world's most wonderful place?

When nothing came to mind, I tried another tactic: If I was in love, what would I be doing right now at 8 a.m.?

-I'd be serving breakfast to the loved one.
-I'd make this breakfast from the very best I had, to be the best and most memorable breakfast in the world, all for love.
-I'd skimp on nothing nor would I care about calories, because my loved one is perfect as is and thinks I am perfect too. So I'd use real butter and the works and serve enough to fuel the loved one all morning long.
-I wouldn't care about the number of bowls, pans, dishes, paper towels, or anything.
-I'd go to great lengths, even trotting everything outside to the red picnic table a total of four round trips, to have breakfast in the ideal quintessential vividly green July morning, the grass perfectly mown so any chiggers would have to leap really high to bite me behind the knees.

With day-old French bread, plus eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon, syrup and some (uncured, excellent, local) bacon I'd frozen and forgotten about, I fixed the imaginary loved one the best possible breakfast and served it in the shade beneath the twin oaks. Then I ate it, in the company of one bumblebee attracted by the fragrance of syrup. Oh yes, memorable. I ought to do this every day for a year.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Gift Wrapped

A full inch of rain had barely woken or greened anything because it's been so dry. Dry means no mushrooms, not since late April, and no chanterelles for sure -- normally the woods is paved with big ruffly yellow ones, and my lawn, when soaked in summer, is host to as many as 17 different fascinating Missouri fungi. Today I saw for the first time that the juniper bush under which grew, annually in autumn, 20 pounds of rare Hen of the Woods 'shroom has been pulled out: sigh.

The walk led me to the former mushroom capital of my woods where there wasn't even an LBM ("little brown mushroom," as in "Never eat little brown mushrooms") to be seen; it simply hasn't been wet enough. As for any hunter, some years are plentiful and some not. I turned to retrace my steps and saw these Dreamsicle heads of Chicken of the Woods, beautifully fresh, ribboned with orange, yellow and white. I took the smaller head, about the size of a cabbage (see the glove, at the very bottom, I put in the photo, for scale) and within half an hour the fronds were roasting to a crisp in my toaster oven preparing for my Sunday guest.

Why didn't I take the big Chicken, or both? Didn't need it, and conservation means don't rip everything up out of the earth. Why not take the big Chicken and freeze it for later? Freezing fungi dehydrates the best out of it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Simple Pleasures

"What would be fun?" I asked my shattered self, and then thought of stopping at the local bakery for  coffee and maybe a pecan roll, if they had one (these quickly sell out). I used to eat them weekly until they attached a label saying they are 670 calories apiece. So I now go a year between pecan rolls or until I can't stand the vicissitudes of life any longer.

I got there and they had one, and I also ordered a plain black coffee to be put in a "real cup," a.k.a. a ceramic cup. I once asked at a city coffeehouse to have coffee in a "real cup," and the waitress beneath her pink hair and piercings said, "We have imaginary cups too."

On every trip far from home I take a time-out to have a pastry and coffee of the local kind, and have very fond memories of a chocolate croissant and espresso at a sidewalk table in Quebec, and a light coffee with a custard pastry in a gilded coffee house in Portugal, and sitting with a coffee and pastry is always fun, a happy moment, even a peak experience, perhaps the most concentrated experience of contentment in the short time we live on this Titanic called the Earth. Come on, said my spirit. Hey, skinny one; hey, Cheerful Tearful. Enjoy it. Enjoy life.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I Set a Tomahawk Trap

Friday night the creature sprung the Tomahawk trap and got away with the peanut butter, stupidly placed (not by myself) on a piece of foil. It grabbed the foil from the outside and moseyed it along out of the trap without triggering the trapdoor and then left the trap yards and yards away in tall grass.

Disgusted for the whole day after that I decided then, after dragging concrete blocks in front of the hole in the wall, to set the trap, but never having set one before I pulled and yanked this way and that for about 15 minutes, before reasoning that:

1. A man probably designed this trap.
2. Men do things the easy way (such as leaving me the trap on a Friday so I would have to set the trap Saturday and Sunday).
3. They can figure out very clever ways to do things the easy way.
4. Man stuff, such as car engines, motherboards, etc., looks much more technical than really is, and is simpler than it looks.

So I went on YouTube and learned in two minutes how to set the trap (lift, push, pull), this time dolloping the peanut butter (a lot of it, to appeal to the greed of the little xxxx) directly on the platform so there would be no shenanigans. Am waiting to see if it works, but I think an actual tomahawk would be better.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Smiling Bowl

Early, early, early, between first light and 7 a.m., or the humidity is oppressive, and you must wear long pants and a long-sleeved high-necked shirt and boots, plus gloves, to pick blackberries from the briar bushes. And you wait all year to pluck them gently (because only the ripe berries are really worth eating) from the thorny twigs, as many as are ripe. It's an annual ritual around July 15 and it's one reason life is worth living.

Even more so if Patrick, who mows the lawn, comes by with a bowl he got at a yard sale. It's a Buffalo China restaurant-ware bowl, the classic with the green stripe around it that looks like an endless smile (it looks like that to me, but I am not normal), and he said when he turned it over and saw the stamp he remembered I like Buffalo china, and here is the whole day of July 15 in a bowl.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Solar Self

Are we all not like the Sun, thinking we are at the center of everything?

Briefly I went back on Facebook after 19 months, back among 251 wireless friends, and was passionately interested in them and in quizzes, including "What is my soul color?" ("silver") and photos of cats and grandchildren, and not only that, but FIVE-YEARS-AGO-TODAY photos of cats and grandchildren, and furthermore, news and outrages I would rather not know about, that made me heartsick and reminded me I was already so, and furthermore so many people I knew were already so and to the brim, and after two weeks could stomach no more agony and left, but regretfully, because Facebook had made me feel like part of a web, ya know.

I walk between 6 and 7:30 a.m. these summer days so now and then I see something special in the morning light.