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Monday, September 27, 2010

Weddings: Now and Then

Well, it all went off without a hitch...except one. As intended.

Katie was lovely in a hot pink silk frock (stitched by sister Molly, who also performed the ceremony), the weather was that one gorgeous day on the cusp between summer and fall, both of the margarita machines worked spectacularly well, and no one fell in the lily pond.

Casey (and Tom, Brooke, Rachel, Amy, Joe, and Zach) produced a pig that was succulent, tender, faintly lemony, melt-in-mouth wonderful--barbecue like candy. Casey is likely not yet recovered from his all-day-all-night-all-day stint at the pit. What a guy. What a crew!

DiAnne's flowers were unbelievably gorgeous: a luxurious mix of wild and garden flowers from the neighborhood.

The young folks danced (I presume--the house was pretty much acting like a woofer-amp, vibrating to the bass) until near-dawn. When I got up for coffee and the newspaper there was a large pile of humanity bedded down on mattresses in the living room, which eventually sorted itself out into daughter Rachel, visiting Massachusetts mariners Joe and Amy, Jason, and Seth, who is two months into a bike trip to Seattle.

Ran into Milwandt while picking up the paper: he was cutting young loofa squash off our fence for dinner. Gave me a wild persimmon, a bag of pastries for the kids' breakfast, and a gigantic pale green squash, variety unknown to me.

Things are so different and yet the same: Twenty-seven years ago this week Tom and I got married on that very same front porch. DiAnne did the flowers (and painted Tom's waterlily tie that went so well with his white linen suit), Jill and her All-Boy Band sang for the reception, and Katie, who was about three, ran around in a little white dress with a circlet of flowers in her hair and ribbons trailing down her back.

She was darling. Still is. Thanks for marrying her, Leif.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekends. Students. Weddings. Wet Squirrels.

Last Saturday morning at seven here is what was going on at Sulphur Creek: I was heading to the corner store to track down George West (I was pretty sure he'd be at breakfast at the Round Table) and confirm that he was going to talk to my busload of Vandy students at eleven. (He was there and was.) Brooke was cutting a few more flowers for the market. Eric was in the study running off copies of the "Bells Bender". Kevin and Evan and Lulu and Ollie were breakfasting at the shed. Tom was on the phone confirming the arrival of a couple of soccer players scheduled for yard work.

The bus of Vandy students arrived right on schedule, and toured the farm, talked with George about farm life, whooping cranes, Vietnam and the meaning of life, and also with Barry about the endless complexities of preserving a small patch of land from bizarre and destructive projects--from the several versions of a dump (on land that was steep, rocky, and wet), to 2000 houses (on land accessible only by a single narrow road), to a city to be created ex nihilo. We rescued a box turtle from the road, and pondered the reproductive possibilities of the osage orange. A productive morning, overall, I thought!

My favorite quote: George, describing yet another discouraging event for the Bells Bend Defenders--"I felt like I'd been slapped in the face with a wet squirrel". We've all had that feeling once in a while.

This weekend: Katie's wedding, so we have a tent, a stack of firewood, pig pit prep, Esme' running barefoot through the pasture grass, and various combinations of fathers, groom, friends, extension cords, cut flowers, tables, hay bales, and cleanup crews wandering around the front yard.

And I haven't even mentioned Joe and Amy, our mariner friends visiting from Woods Hole. Welcome!

turmeric. I knew that.

Just couldn't get Blogspot to let me back in for some reason to fix it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Okra. Cumin. Tumeric.

Fall, but still hot, hot, hot.

Upinder, on the subject of her fabulous okra:

"It's easy--just take a few spices, and get Millwandt--he's very good at this--to cut the okra very carefully and put the spices inside. Then stack them up around the skillet, just a little oil, about as much as frying an egg, put the lid on and on stove. After a little, take the lid off and turn them over and cook some more. Done! Easy."

Whoa, there. "A few spices"?

Salt. Cumin. Maybe some citric acid "if you want a sharp flavor. Lemon juice adds liquid which is not good". Tumeric. "Tumeric is very good for you. Get some root--you can get it anywhere*--and cut a little piece"--she indicates her pinkie finger nail--"and chew it every day." Thoughtful pause. "It will make your teeth a little yellow. I put it in the back part of my mouth. Very good for you."

Maybe easy. Certainly extremely tasty. And, along with Upinder and Millwandt (resplendent in a lavender turban and an old Ralph Lauren t-shirt) and Sarah and Evan and Kevin and Dobro Dave and all the rest, a lively dish for a fall evening.

Thank you.

* Maybe anywhere. But not the Bordeaux Kroger.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bookshelf: What isn't there because someone is reading it.

Shed and farm denizens--Lulu, Ollie and Red excepted--are a literate lot, it turns out. Curious, maybe a little bored, I did a survey at last night's potluck. Nearly everyone was reading something. Here's the list--no guarantees about spelling, title correctness, or truthfulness. Maybe they're all secretly reading People magazine. And no, I can't seem to winkle out the secret of italicizing or underlining on this particular program. Just deal with it, people.

Alicia: Gardening with the Spirit of Place by Marge Hunter.
Evan: Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Emma Goldman's autobiography.
Kathleen: #1 Ladies Detective Agency, McCall.
Upinder: Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth--"not her best", according to this reader.
Peggy: Living, Dreaming, Dying--about the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Rich: Brewing Up a Business, and something called Kanban, which somehow has to do with Japanese manufacturing techniques and software. Go figure.
Ali: Napoleon's Buttons, subtitled something like "17 molecules that changed the world", and Caste War in Yucatan.
Milwandt: The History of Doubt. If you can believe him.
DiAnne: Yet another trashy bagatelle by Lawrence Sanders.
Devender: technical journals.
Sara: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
Jason: an anthology of Peace Corps experiences.
Jack (not to be confused, according to him, with Earthworm Jim): Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Also writing fiction.
Fletcher: The Easy Way to Quit Smoking
Lauren: Total Fredom by Krishnamurti.
Holly: "I'm not reading--I'm writing." Essays, journaling.
Jim: Lacuna, by Kingsolver.
Justin: Christianizing the Social Order and Scripture, Culture and Agriculture by Ellen Davis.
Eric: Sustainable Agriculture from Startup to Management, and The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
Hap: The Harvard Psychedelic Club, about the early Ivy League days of Timothy Leary, Andrew Weill, and Alpert.
Scott: The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel,and Slow Money.
Judith: The Bible. Really. Working through from beginning to end.
Anya: a novel called The First Betrayal, and Drood, about Charles Dickens.
Rachel: Magical Mushrooms and Mystical Molds.
And me: I've been mulling my way around a book called Composing Pictures, and reading short story collections by ZZ Packer and David Foster Wallace.

So there.