Sunday, November 08, 2015


You had to laugh. You want to finish up your annoying tasks. Dot the i's. Cross off things that should have been crossed off months ago.

You get up early, even before sunrise...

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You take a sweeping look over your yard, liking what you see (the emerging sunshine helps)...

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You finish cleaning the house, patting yourself on the back for having done half the work the previous day. You sit down to a relaxing breakfast...

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And then you say -- we'll finally put the patio door project behind us. I'm going to paint over the spots (all over the farmhouse) where I used the wrong touch-up paint (the last time I wanted to put the patio door project behind us).

So you take out not the big can of paint, the one which you inadvertently used the last time, the one that was glossy and intended for the base boards, but instead, you use the little can. The one that has your handwriting on it saying "walls." True, it has a question mark after it, but you already know that it cant be the base board paint because that one is in the big can.

You paint with abandon, doing a thorough job, going over all the places where you touched up with the glossy paint (which looks like spit marks all over your walls).

A few hours later, when things have dried, you stare with disbelief: you've just applied glossy paint all over again, only in even more copious amounts. Now you don't just have spit marks on your walls, you have explosions of blotches. Thus the paint trim around the patio door remains, once again, in a state of "to be finished soon."

In the meantime, you just have to laugh.

We were productive in other ways: I trimmed the asparagus bed and did a half-assed job on the grape vines. We tiedied up the old veggie bed and threw a proud look at the new one. I trimmed spent flowers in the big flower field.

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(Do you agree that the day lily is a superstar? Look at this wee thing, still throwing blooms in mid November!)

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And in the late afternoon, we go for a short hike -- along one of our favorite paths, the Brooklyn segment of the Ice Age Trail (where we also release farmhouse mouse number five; so far, none have come in from the basement). It's a brown world out there, but this is when you appreciate the luminescent red of bramble leaves...

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The trail leads to one of my favorite vantage points in Dane County (where we live). The incline isn't steep, but it offers a sweeping panorama of our farmlands, forests, wetlands. It's grand in every season!

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At home, even by 3:30, the light takes on an evening richness. I settle in to cook, but I have a view onto the crab and it is lovely.

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And in the evening we have the pleasure of the young family's company for dinner. In other words, I can hang out with Snowdrop! Long time readers may recognize my apron: it's Polish (gifted from my sister) and I've had it for decades. My wonder-bread apron. Never thought I'd wear it with a granddaughter in my arms.

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I made braised chicken with braised artichokes -- a dish that is perversely French. I say this because it requires a level of detail that really adds so much time to your cooking schedule, even as the added flavors from said process are there only for those who sniff and savor over and beyond what we normal human beings do. Case in point: the braising of the artichokes (actually artichoke hearts by the time you're done dismembering them) is so carefully orchestrated...

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... and honestly, it would take a real food obsessed individual to notice the difference between these hearts and the ones you'd get by simply boiling artichokes in water. The French can be a tad over the top in terms of their food preferences. (The chicken is braised in an equally complicated fashion, but I do think that meats are easily made mediocre by improper cooking habits so at least there, I think the fuss is justified.)

But let's focus on the little one.

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She was amazing (says the very objective grandma)! She ate with us today -- chicken meat with a bit of roasted squash.

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I am sure she appreciated every bit of flavor contained therein!