There's a Fall-ish tinge to the air here in the Rockies. The San Luis Valley had a frost advisory last night. We got our garden in rather late this year because of confusion about where we'd be living (more on that later) when the harvest came in, but the garden is starting to produce and I have some thoughts about extending the growing season so that we can "catch up".
I came home from work tonight and threw on my jeans and my ratty wool plaid bathrobe and went down to the garden. Started picking green beans which, overnight it seems, had grown into something edible. Now, whenever I pick green beans I think of my stepfather, Tom Kennedy. I remember how he used to come into the house with a basket of beans and with great delight would cook them up for supper. All of them at once. He'd dolly them up with lots of butter, pepper, and onions. After supper he would pour off the pot liquor into a tall glass and - to the absolute horror of my brother and I -drink it with relish. He'd even smack his lips for more effect.
I haven't yet gotten the taste for green bean juice, heavy on the butter, but I do love a green bean pot. Fresh green beans, onions, bacon or ham chunks, potatoes, basil, bay leaf, and pepper. Tonight I added some sun-dried tomatoes that I dehydrated over the weekend.
And when I pick beans I always think of my stepfather who taught me to love a garden.
I've been back to my beautiful home state of Michigan to attend Uncle Joe's funeral. I was only 18 months old when my own father died so my uncles were very important to me. I wonder if they knew that? Wish I'd told them. I got home late last night from a whirlwind weekend filled with wonderful family and lots of memories. I knew I had this picture of Uncle Joe and me somewhere and went through dozens of drawers and photo packets looking for it today.
I also found this picture of Cousin Jan and me (on the right) wearing our Christmas present from Aunt Peggy and Uncle Joe. It's too cute, right?
Good morning! It's another hot one today and I'm sitting here in the cool of the house hibernating. I do cold weather so much better and I'm pretty sure it's genetic. I hung the sheets out early and did some garden watering.
We had our first fire of the season up around Newlin Creek. It started yesterday but it seems almost out this morning. I hope so - it's always been such a lovely place for a day hike. The rains up until a few days ago have really helped.
(Photo by Someone Other Than Me)
The grandkids visited us all week. Whew! If I heard "Grandma?!" once I heard it a thousand times. These are Jerry's daughter's children so not technically my "blood" but damn close enough.
There was lots of cat cuddling,
and "mountain" climbing.
(the mountain climbing could have been a bit much for them).
It's blissfully quiet here now. I kind of miss them.
What have I been up to? It's been such a strange and unsettled time for Jerry and I. Our downsizing plans are taking shape with the speed of a snowball going downhill. We've been cleaning and clearing with the goal of putting our home on the market and that is probably the most unsettling thing that I can think of at the moment. Whenever my things are packed and I'm in between homes I get a little crazy. Everyone notices it.
I've been having hot flashes all day and all night in the midst of this noble transformation of my entire freaking life. I've given up all wine and most of my caffeine out of sheer desperation to find THE vice that is responsible for causing me such misery. And I almost went for my doctor's throat last week when I begged her for hormones and she hesitated. She acquiesed and wrote me a script when I told her I would just have to go to another doctor. The whole scene would have had more impact had I not begun to cry.
But, I'm all right! Really, I am. The hormones are kicking in and I'm sleeping just a bit more soundly. Waking five or six times a night was just not doing much for me. And the downsizing plans are moving along well.
In the meantime Colorado is having a beautiful wet Spring. It hasn't been this green here for years. I'm reveling in this.
I've been able to see my girls and the grandkids from time to time. Baby Delilah is growing so much and she smells really good!
And yesterday my sweet husband took us on a Memorial Day picnic up to Lake Creek Trailhead. I love him.
I've been at my daughter's home for a couple of days now, making supper, doing laundry, and minding the new granddaughter when Jessica needs to nap. I don't know how I managed to grow three daughters to adulthood. The energy it takes is something I'd forgotten. She feels so isolated and it's true that mothering now, I think, can be a lonely endeavor. I have thoughts of how it must have been for women centuries past when humans lived more communally - there always would have been some willing human around to jostle the baby, something cooking in the pots, older children hoisting that baby hither and yon. Moms now are lucky to find a play group for an hour or so in the afternoon. Strange society that we would abandon our young mothers so. Jessica has something called a "moby wrap" which is essentially a yards long piece of fabric tied so that the baby rests in a pocket close to mom's breast. Very primitive and Delilah seems to love the coziness. I'm enjoying being a part of my daughter's life for a while.
I'm sort of missing my own home, however. I miss looking out of my kitchen window to see if the sheep wandered into the neighbor's pasture again or at the chickens scratching, scratching. And I wonder how my seedlings are doing? I'll come home this weekend for sure and hope I miss the spring snow storm that is due Friday night.
A very nice thing about being in the city is it's proximity to textile shops. Denver Fabrics is quite nearby and I will have to visit their bargain bins before going south(!)
Sunday morning and it's to be a beautifully warm day today with no wind. I'm looking forward to opening up the windows, clearing away the week's clutter that seems to gather on the dining room table, and starting some seeds indoors. Jerry's talking about some outside tractor work to clean up the sheep pen and work the manure into our very dormant garden area.
We traveled up the Front Range yesterday to visit Madeline in Fort Collins. It was the first time we had seen her little apartment and so fun to see my baby taking care of herself so well. Her decorating style matches mine to some extent (surprize). Color is important.
I also learned that - like me - she cannot wink her left eye for the life of her. It's definitely genetic.
We went to lunch and then to a thrift store where I found two sets of cloth napkins to add to my basket at home. (We've been using cloth napkins almost exclusively for a while now to cut back on throw away mentality.) We found an ice cream store downtown that had forty varieties of ice cream - and guess what? I learned that Madeline favors peppermint stick ice cream, too. We remembered making vanilla ice cream together years ago to which we added crushed peppermint. I love that kid.
Have you ever attended a $5 prom? A coworker is leaving the agency at the end of this month and as a going away party she requested her favorite $5 prom theme. The idea is that no one can spend more than $5 for attire. You pull out what you have, borrow from others, make a trip to the Goodwill. Another coworker and I went to Goodwill at lunch on Wednesday to find our dresses. It was great fun just trying on the stuff we'd found and giggling at each other. No stress, no worries about "perfection" - who really wants to stress Friday night after a long work week about "what to wear"? Jerry got into this by pulling out his Buddy Holly eyewear.
Now, off to make us breakfast. I think waffles sound really good today, don't you?
Yesterday my mom, my best Audrey, and I traveled up to Denver to attend Jessica's baby shower. All my daughters were there for the afternoon and Jessica was beautiful in all her "babyness". The new baby's room is all ready and is simply adorable. We're all waiting for the Birthday next month.
It was a lovely day for us all I think. And good to see my daughters being such friends to each other now that they're older. Here is the women in my family. From the back right going clockwise - Tracy, me, Mom, Emily, Madeline, and Jessica. The 4th generation is in Jessica's big belly.
I finished a few little tems of baby wear and stitched them by hand with sheep (of course). I like to think that Baby Girl will just know they were stitched with thoughts of my love for her.
Today the promise of snow didn't materialize - just a few flurries - and we need the moisture. I am sorry to say that I finally succumbed to a cold and I'm really sorry that I brought it up to Denver with me yesterday. Today I've just been lying around - took some Robitussin cough syrup that is for night time and slept until 2 o'clock this afternoon(!) And have spent some time looking up things on the Internet with one eye on old movies from the Turner Classic Movie channel - "The Quiet One", then "Roman Holiday". Audrey Hepburn and Maureen O'Hara have the most beautifully tailored clothing on these old flicks. I enjoy them for just the chance to see the well made garments, I think. I've just had some tea and am feeling better but there is that "drip, drip, drip" in the back of my throat that is annoying.
Jerry made some venison chili and it's a perfect night for it. I still have two days off which is really a Sunday night treat.
We've been reading and watching about the deadly wildfires in southern Australia and the flooding in Queensland. My heart goes out to all of you. Please let me know how you're all doing.
At Christmas my Italian grandmother traditionally gave us torrone which is a nougat candy made with honey and almonds. It is very good and every year at this season I crave it. Nonna always bought La Florentine torrone. It came in little boxes decorated with portraits of ancient Italian aristocrats. You can still buy it but somehow it's not the same without Nonna making a present of it. I mean I wouldn't buy torrone just any old time - you know, flip to Amazon.com and order a case or so.
But today I made some! I've had a recipe card for it that must be 20 years old and I've never tried it. I can taste the honey, vanilla, and almonds all together and, yet, standing on their own merit. I've already eaten a bunch of it and have a sugar high going here.
Drop a note if you'd like the recipe for your own torrone tradition. Minus the adorable little boxes, drat!
Christmas nut breads
Cirrus, granddaughter of Cloud
Have a wonderfully blessed holiday season all!