Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wedensday - 257th

The day before Thanksgiving. Normally, in years when the family gathered, it would be near chaos here, at the farmhouse. There have always been three meals in the game plan for Thursday -- a breakfast for when everyone arrives (baked goods, some store bought, some freshly made), a lunch that keeps them all from going wild with hunger when the turkey is not even near ready (roasted squash soup with dumplings, chive scones), and then of course the Big Meal. 

By comparison, this year, Wednesday is quiet. But not as quiet as it was in the years when the kids were taking their families elsewhere for the holiday. I don't know why, but this year, I decided to do a Thanksgiving meal for just Ed and me. Maybe it was because for a while I thought we may be having at least one young family here for the day. So I began making plans for that possibility. When we realized we couldn't pull it off safely, I could have cancelled the whole deal: the bird, the side dishes -- all of it. Ed wouldn't have batted an eye. 

But I did not cancel. Somewhere in my head I thought that in cooking along with my daughters (albeit not in the same kitchens), I'd be part of their day more fully (and they would be keeping tabs on my turkey as much as they had in years when they were in the next room). I did beg the turkey farmers for a shift to a small bird, but they told me that this year, their birds grew and grew. They picked out the smallest of their flock and last I heard the turkey clocked in at 13 pounds. I am grateful that Ed likes frozen leftovers, otherwise we'd be eating turkey from now until Christmas.

[A bit of trivia for you: are all Thanksgiving turkeys Toms? For some reason, I always imagined that they were. But it's not so. First of all, male turkeys are more appropriately called gobblers. Why? Because they gobble as they chase the girls. But, tom will do. If your turkey is big, like over 15 pounds, then it's nearly certain that it's a gobbler. The smaller ones? It's a toss up. All hens are small, but I suppose at 13 pounds, mine could be a scrawny gobbler or a robust hen.]

Still, my Thanksgiving this year is greatly simplified. There is only so much food you want to make for two people (especially where at least one of them never wastes leftovers). We'll skip the lunch prep. And breakfast? As you know all too well, Ed and I always have breakfast. This year I'll add a baked good option. But I wont be baking it. 

Given all this, my Wednesday is nothing if not easy. 

I get up late, face the anxious cats (where is our food??)...

Walk the wet and bare farmette lands... (snow? what snow?)

And fix us a breakfast that Ed is willing to take outside, even though it is 41F (5C). One of the cats is out there and he wants to keep her company!

[We are in a state of cat shock: sometime in late August one of the big guys, a twin brother to Friendly, disappeared. We assumed he died because he was, like his brother, very affectionate. We called him Friendly II. Yesterday, he showed up again! Scampered into the shed for the morning feeding, startling his siblings and me, happy to reintegrate into our daily routines. Was he lost? Sick? Hurt? As usual with these cats, there is a lot that we will never know. So once again, we have six cats with us here.]


At noon, I drive to do my curbside pick ups. Bakery first! I'm a bit wistful. It's raining hard, but I'm staying outside. I dare peak in, but what good is that -- I can't inhale that bakery smell that I love so much. No matter. I open the trunk, hop back into the car and wait, imagining that maybe next year I'll buy out all the croissants and cinnamon rolls and apple cakes, letting loose all that pent up craving for a real bakery experience.

Next, I drive to where the turkey farmers are distributing their prepurchased toms and hens. (Turkey pick up in someone's driveway...)

Honestly, I haven't had such a fresh bird since my grandma chased a hen around the yard and took an ax to her over a tree stump before Sunday dinner. We will see tomorrow if I can do her (or maybe him) justice.


Evening. In normal times, you do not want to cook big stuff on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. You're gunning to meet holiday deadlines.  But I'm not really gunning for anything grand this year and so I get a tiny bit ambitious tonight. I have a huge mound of tatsoi (that deeply green veggie that is sort of like bok choi only different) and lots of clumps of fresh ginger from my CSA farmers. A sautee is in order. Too, I have this ground salmon which could be made into delicious Bun Cha (Vietnamese meatballs, typically made with pork, but in this case -- with the bits of fish that remain after cutting the salmon fillets).

A big meal on Wednesday. That's not a good thing! Ah, but this year, we are allowed to break the rules.

And then I settle in to do some reading, allowing myself to think back to other years and other meals, feeling grateful that at a time when there is so much wrong with life on this planet, there, too, is so much that's right and good and noble.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tuesday - 256th

It's day two of Thanksgiving week! This is when I should develop a cooking timeline. Normally, I'd be out grocery shopping. Not this year, of course. We had our food delivery. All that's left are the turkey and the bakery goods.

Ah yes, the turkey. Today, our bird moves from being a live animal, to something you marinate and sprinkle with herbs and stick in the oven for a hearty meal. Our farmers promise us that all their turkeys lead joyful, carefree lives. Today it all ends for the poor birds. Tomorrow I'll do a curbside pick up of our guy.

But it's hard to focus on any of the food preparation this morning. We wake up to a beautiful, sugar coated landscape!

It wont last. Not in its splendid entirety. By afternoon, the snow will change to a misty rain. But for now, it's lovely out on the farmette lands!

It's a good reminder that winter isn't a season we merely want to pass over and leave behind. Ed and I are real snow fans and especially when the white stuff comes in a quiet way, staying put on even the most delicate twigs and pine needles.

The day will come when every surface will be ice covered and slippery. When the car will feel bitter cold. When shoveling a path will be a chore. But none of that happens today. For a brief while, we are all enchanted!

Breakfast is a little hurried. I want to run over to my daughter's house to deliver some ingredients they need for their own holiday preparations. And I want to witness that kid joy that comes with the first bigger snow. I need to hurry before it turns soppy wet! Ed! Wake up! It's breakfast!

Ed! (Note that I finally trimmed both beard and hair.The Santa look is gone for now.)


I'm off.

For once I tell the kids to skip the masks. I'll stay only a couple of minutes and keep to a super distance. Sometimes it's good to let them just stay in a moment of normalcy. 

(The little girl has one outfit that she likes. Call it her isolation leisurewear.)

(Sparrow, on the other hand, is proud of any animal that appears on his shirt or sweater.)


Again I am thankful for Zoom, in my meetups with friends of course, and today -- in my camera lens!

It's true that by afternoon, the rain is pernicious and not at all pretty. But that's okay. We're promised sunshine for the holiday. Now, where was I with my Thanksgiving recipes??

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday - 255th

Welcome to Thanksgiving week! Let's talk about it during the morning coffee moment.




To readers who live outside the United States, I think this holiday may be a bit of a puzzle. We have an image of warring peoples coming together on this day, back in 1621. Yet over time, we have come to understand that our image is just that -- a wishful thinking about an event that was far more complicated and had more than one troubling aspect to it. We impute a generosity of spirit on all sides to that first Thanksgiving, even as it may have had little of that. Possibly for good reason.

And yet, we can take that image and run with it and let its finest details become part of our celebration. And that's what we do: we create a holiday that at its essence celebrates graciousness and family and coming together in this godawful month when the weather is rarely pretty and daylight hours are short and few between. And we all cook the same meal! Or, mostly the same. Unless you're a vegetarian, you're going to be eating turkey. And cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes and maybe pie. Pumpkin pie. I mean, we may be creative in our recipes, but they're all dancing around the same core ingredients! In our imagination, this is what a fall harvest would have netted those sharing a meal way back when, even though, of course, few of those components were likely to be part of the bounty. With the exception of cranberries which were, in fact, native to North America. Oh and a yes to pumpkin, though definitely not pies, as there were no ovens and no ingredients for a crust.

And yet, our meal reeks of tradition. Isn't it just so strange? And strangely wonderful? 

Man oh man, do I love this day!

For years and years I've roasted that bird and worked all day at putting food on the table for my family. This is what you do on Thanksgiving. You cook, you eat together. That's it.

So, are we eating together this year?

No we are not. 

My younger girl's family lives in Chicago and though they are excellent at taking precautions and mitigating the spread of the virus and both she and her husband work at home, nonetheless, their child goes to day care and so there is a risk of transmission.

My older girl's family lives a 16 minute drive from the farmette, and my daughter and her husband, too, work from home. But baby sitters were helping with child care and so even though the family maintains strict isolation and safety protocols, there, too, is a risk of transmission. They tried to meet the isolation guidelines (14 days without sitters or any outside contact would put them in the category of safe), but work demands were too great and so our initial plan to meet up on Thanksgiving Day fell through.  [On the upside, they are gunning for that 14 day isolation as we speak, and by December, they may have counted off the requisite number of days. That, coupled with testing would allow them to rejoin our bubble and I will be able to jump in once again to care for the kids, giving them a break from sitters, at least for the month of December.]

When you measure the disappointment, I think you'd have to take it from the perspective of the younger members of our multigenerational family. They are all doing Thanksgiving alone, in their nuclear pods, for the first time ever. But for Ed and for me -- well, we've had solo holidays before. My kids have many households to balance during the holidays. In-laws, their dad and his partner -- they all deserve their share of holiday time. And so there have been years when Ed and I would dine alone, ordering Thanksgiving sushi and calling it a day.

How will this year look for us all? It will be super interesting! My girls and I are all roasting turkeys. I'm going back to one of my oldest recipes, my older daughter will be picking up that recipe as well. My younger girl will be repeating a stuffing she and her husband baked here last year and they will be doing a corn recipe that belongs to his family. There will be moving pies: my ex will be dropping off a pie with my younger girl, I'll be dropping off a pie with my older girl. She'll also get my cranberry corn muffins, just because she likes them. We have technology in place so that we can look in on each others cooking efforts. Honestly, from my perspective, it's not as intimate as when they're all here, but I haven't had them all here very often in recent years and this is a heck of a lot more in the spirit of Thanksgiving than sushi with Ed. (A few years back, he and I actually ate at the Japanese restaurant: sole diners, surrounded by the family that runs the establishment, all anxious for us to be done so they could run out and start shopping for bargains.)

And there you have it! A 2020 Thanksgiving. Followed by a distanced masked park meetup with my younger girl a few days later, and a December resumption of the bubble we will be able to create with my older girl's family.

But for now, let's stick with Thanksgiving. What do you do on a Monday of the big cooking holiday? You make sure your pantry has all the essential ingredients. I've been doing lots of grocery washing, sorting, shelving, Our mudroom takes the overflow and I do have to admit it's hard to walk there right now. Too many squashes, onions, potatoes, yams, broths, sprouts, and garlics.

Next? Well, it's important to use any good weather hours for exercise. They aren't a given this week, so in the late afternoon, we squeeze in a hike in our county park.


And it's super important in these days of isolation and more isolation to squeeze in time with friends. I do that as well.


And then we glide straight into a quiet evening. First day of Thanksgiving week is behind us. Tomorrow, two things have to happen. Oh, but wait -- that's tomorrow. For tonight -- I am loving the glow of the candle, the color of our year-round lights on the staircase, the promise of good leftovers for supper and a moment with my sweetie on the couch, picking up some yet unseen episodes of Grand Designs, were real people struggle to construct dream homes in inhospitable surroundings under trying circumstances.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday - 254th

We seemed to have spent a good part of the day engaged in the act of selling. Hold on there -- did we really do this in our state of total isolation? How do you sell stuff without dealing with people?

All good questions. The thing is, I have a couple of old cameras that basically still work and Ed has been after me to pass them on to someone else off of Craigslist. Not only for the money this brings, but, too, so that someone can squeeze a few more years of life out of them. Realizing that my repeated statements of "not now, I don't have time" are mere excuses for an inherent reluctance to take money for used stuff, he finally did the legwork for me and set up listings for two of my old machines.

Today, an interested party called. 

It's a cold day and I did my morning walk briskly. 



I was about to start in on breakfast prep when Ed sang out -- someone wants to come to look at the camera.

The game plan: put it out neatly with all its accessories on the chair in the driveway and stand back.

What if he picks it up and drives away?

Not likely. 

The interested party didn't pick it up and scamper off. Instead, he examined it, put the money in a box and drove away happy. Now, in truth, I don't know that he really left the amount of money we settled on, but it almost doesn't matter. He was happy. And we have less clutter on the shelf. Importantly, someone will enjoy taking photos with it. Thank you, Ed.

The cats came over to see what the fuss is about, so Ed of course does not want to abandon them. We eat breakfast on the porch even though it's a pretty cold day! Just a touch above freezing!


We do still go out for a walk, but without great ambition. It's as if one accomplishment for the day is enough. We walk the New Development and talk housing choices. And admire the farmette from its rear end.


And in the evening I take a supper over to the young family.


I used to vary the menu, but I got a crew of happy seafood pasta eaters and so this is what we have been having every Sunday for the past several weeks: seafood pasta!

Ed and I don't mind. Repetition of a reliably yummy dish is a good thing in our house as well. Candle lit, sauce bubbles away on the stove, salad in the making.



Again, the feeling of gratitude stays with us, even as we realize how many are working beyond exhaustion right now to help care for those who are not so lucky.

Thinking of them now, with love.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Saturday - 253rd

Who knows why we sometimes choose to do the things we do. Something within you steers your attention in one direction and before you know it, you and your sweetie are washing all the windows in the south facing front room. He on the outside, on a ladder, you -- indoors.


I know we're rather focused on the way the front of the house looks right now, ever since the front entrance was reconstructed earlier this fall. Suddenly, (on my morning farmette walk), I care that the geraniums look pretty as you peek into the farmhouse from the road.


But it's not as if you can tell that these windows have not been washed for some half a dozen years. And yet, after breakfast, after we tick off all the things we should do today (move chips, trim that beard!, take a walk)...



... we bypass everything on that list and attack the windows, Ed using exactly three squares of paper towel for all seven of them, me -- well, slightly more generous on the towel end, but with the same sparkling result from both sides. (Guilt has me reuse some towels on kitchen windows, so long as we're on this glass cleaning trip.)

Don't be fooled by Ed's short sleeves (and shorts) outside. It is a cool day. Just a handful of degrees above freezing. Nonetheless, the sun is out and so a walk is definitely in order. Ed is really smitten with the vast new area of the Nature Conservancy that we explored just yesterday. We hadn't ventured more deeply into the woods. Perhaps today is a good day for it?

We drive the few miles to the trailhead and immediately change our minds. It's November 21st, the start of the deer hunting season (it lasts a week and there are many guns and many men aiming them at moving things). Not a fun time to walk the woods. But so long as we are at the southern tip of Lake Waubesa, why not explore the community that abuts the eastern shores of the lake? We often stroll along the lakeside road near us (meaning along the western shores). Why not check out its analogue to the east?


We've looked across the lake so many times, but we've never actually explored this area. And it's interesting! Hilly, with homes descending steeply to the shore. People are out on a day like this -- putting up holiday lights, playing ball in the driveway. The community has a good feel to it and as we stop to chat with one of the residents (at a great distance), we find out more about the village's commitment to clean lakes and restricted development. So we learn something too.


Wouldn't you call this a most productive day? I'll add to it grocery unpacking -- the bulk of all items needed for the holidays and beyond. And picking up one of the final CSA veggie boxes, with beautiful sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts and still some more squashes and pumpkins for future roasting.

I opt for doing one more day of leftover chili. Perhaps I should have been more ambitious, but still, with a salad, it's a healthy supper! I was reminded today of Ed's eating habits prior to our time together. The guy often leaves old scraps of paper  in their place, way past their useful moment. He has a grocery shopping list on the side of the small refrigerator at the sheep shed. It has to be at least 15 years old -- from before the time of me cooking dinners for the both of us. 



I think we are a step above that in terms of healthy eating.


Evening.  Clean windows make for good views (this from the kitchen window)...


Primrose and her mom call, now beautifully on display on the small kitchen TV...



I stir up the chili, chop up veggies for the salad.

We are lucky: the gift of good, seasonal food, of a beautiful November day, of knowing that the kids are fine. And a quiet evening at home, with popcorn. Yes, so very lucky.


Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday - 252nd

 I felt like we took a step back and approached everything from a different perspective. This in many ways, including in how we should be thinking about the holidays, about December, and, in the same breath, how we should be approaching the wetland wildlife area of the nearby acres of the Nature Conservancy. I know you want to hear about the first two, but the holidays and December will come soon enough and they will have their moment in the Ocean sun, so for now, I'll just tell you about the Nature Conservancy.

We wanted to do an early walk today. My morning stroll to feed the animals made clear to me that this was going to be one heck of a beautiful day!


We do eat breakfast. No picture of Ed and no picture of the flowers on the table but trust me, both flowers and Ed look pretty much as they did yesterday: pink and gettin' kind of old.

We talk about where to walk. Ed is itching to approach the Conservancy Lands (that stretch for many lakeshore, woodsy and sometimes muddy acres just up the road from us) from a new entry. Surely there will be paths if we come at it from the south and east rather than north and west?

I put in a mild protest. The Nature Conservancy, in the best of times, does not groom its trails well. The more popular approach (from the north) rarely has people on it and by early summer, the grasses and brambles and who knows what else begin to encroach on the walking trail. Heading out from a side that is even less used is going to put us in a thicket of prickly growth very quickjly. But, Ed really wants to try it out.

We have to get to know our corner of the world! -- he tells me. Ed often talks like that: as if we had a duty to our own back yard. As if we needed to know well the land, the flora and fauna that surround us. 

Okay, but we don't do this unless there is at least some sign of a beaten down path! He agrees.


It's a pretty approach, made all the more beautiful by the soft blue sky. A few high clouds, a gentle, rural landscape -- what's there not to like?


(A stunning old barn, don't you think?)


In fact, the trail is obvious and easy to follow. At the beginning.

And it's all the more wonderful because it's completely new for us! It does fizzle out a bit eventually, but in early winter (yes, we are in the Upper Midwest, I call late November "winter") it doesn't matter: you can trample down the dry stuff.

Too, we come across another feature of these vast lands -- there are power lines that cut right through them. But look! There's Ed at the foot of one tower and there's a nest on top -- perhaps that of an eagle? 


He points me to one of the warning signs posted just above eye level. It's marked by bullet holes.

People like to shoot at signs -- he tells me.

There are some people games that I simply do not understand.

Our evening is... sedentary. The bad thing about wearing a FidBit step tracker is that once you've passed 10,000 (and I did!), you no longer care if you take 2, or 200 or 2000 additional steps that day. So I sit and read dismal news stories and, on a more upbeat note, I order groceries for the next indefinite time period. I don't want to contribute to shopping chaos next week. Stock up now and give these store people a break. 

And cut yourself some slack too. For your moods, for your passivity, for your sedentary morning or afternoon, or even a whole day (just not every day!). Keep your mask handy and hang in there!

With love...

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thursday - 251st

Well, we did plant both garlic cloves and hundreds of little seeds that came from this year's garlic crop. The first part was easy. Eight little cloves, two or three inches deep. Boom. 

The little seeds from the scape? Well, there were just too many.

And so, even though the day is like a November dream -- occasionally sunny, warm, reaching 63F (17C) this afternoon -- and the morning walk is so gentle and sweet...

And breakfast is chatty and so very soothing...


... the work outside becomes challenging. Not physically speaking. Digging places for tiny seeds requires little spade work. But it is tough to figure out where to put all those little pearly droplets of future garlic (grown from seed, it will take three years to develop into mature garlic).

In the end, I chase Ed off to go for a bike ride (such great weather is a rare gift at this time of the year) while I poke around all over the farmette lands, sowing the seeds in weird places, hoping for the best. (The seeds do not like weed encroachment and so we expect most wont get far, since weeds are a constant menace here.)

In the afternoon, I have a meetup with Snowdrop. Outside, distanced, with masks. It's not easy to put these in place these days. The cold weather interferes into our usual outdoor routines. But today we are golden! 

It's grand to have small breaks from the tougher demands of the day. As infection levels soar and the holidays approach, it seems that everything is just that much harder. Grocery stores are trying to keep up with the demand, but this time of the year has always been a challenge. This year surely must be a huge headache for everyone. When I call with a question, I'm surprised at how good-natured the store clerks are. Would you have it in you to answer the millionth query from yet one more customer, while a deadly virus raged down one grocery aisle and up the next? I don't even know how to thank the staff enough for the work they do, day in, day out. And don't get me started on the pain I feel for those who work in our three city hospitals. You think you have a lousy week ahead of you? Can you compare it with theirs? 

So I don't care that there are items missing from my grocery list. I don't care that setting up a delivery time from my store is once again starting to be a challenge. I don't care about any of this, because I can be home and as I tell Ed -- we wont die if we can't get cranberries for our meal. He laughs. You mean we were going to have cranberries? And when is Thanksgiving anyway?

He does make me smile. Every day, no matter what, most often quite unintentionally, he'll make me smile.

Sunset driving home. Totally gorgeous.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wednesday - 250th

Remarkable. 250 days -- a round number, a record, a sign of the times. And counting.

Here's what I'm thinking now about living the life of a recluse: I am super grateful. Grateful that this period of isolation is likely to end by spring. That quite likely there wont be another 250 days where Ed and I are alone and apart from the rest of humanity. And hey, how about this -- it could well have been 2500 more if science hadn't stepped up with promising vaccination results. In other words, if you're still COVID free, you should be telling yourself -- I am lucky. And in a few months this will be over.

And who wants to go out and party in the winter months anyway? In the cold season, you sleep. Skip the dinner invitation and pull a quilt to your chin. Give yourself permission to do nothing much.

If you're retired, here's what a do nothing much day looks like: 

If you have chickens, chip away the ice in their water dish and fill the bowl with warm water. Chickens love warm water in the winter. Then, take a walk outside and admire the bare trees. What, you don't think bare trees are especially beautiful? Well, take another look. (Sometimes beauty is tough to recognize at first glance.)


Let's talk about breakfast next. A do nothing day has to have an easy breakfast, but something more than tea and toast, please. I mean, it's good to make it last. If you can cajole anyone in your household to join you for this meal, you can really drag it out!

A do nothing day is the kind of day where you can spend a lot of time just listening to the wind outside. (And oh, is it windy out there today!) You tell yourself you should be planting garlic bulbs (we have a number we want to plant still this fall -- it grows really well here) and then you don't do it at all, because, well, planting requires thought and a modest amount of effort.

Still, sitting on a couch all day is a no no, so Ed and I do go out for a walk. Where to -- he asks. I definitely don't want to give it much thought so I say the obvious -- our local county park. Same trail? Same trail 

Same bare trees.


If your step count is low after all this, you can always pace your living room in the late afternoon, telling yourself how lucky you are not to have to go out anywhere tonight! I mean, all that wind! 


Now, my "do nothing" does not always coincide with a "nothing's happening" day for Ed. Today, for example he decides to install a bidet onto the one toilet in the farmhouse. You know what that is, right? Water squirts in the appropriate places. You need no toilet paper, ever. This appeals to Ed who hates to waste anything, including paper, especially since even the thinnest squares inevitably fill up the septic system. So he wants us to try the bidet. 

People rave about it! Cleanest job ever!

That was a selling point to him as well. I agreed. Of course, I should have known he would pick the cheapest model on the market. $27, delivered.

It got great reviews! They say if you turn it up full power, you get a blast that cleans your insides! Don't worry, I did not set it on full power.


The thing is, Ed was not willing to spend a whole lot more and do a complicated installation just so you could have warm water hitting your derrier. You know, like they have in Japan (where the toilet seats are often heated as well; they really treat your bathroom time royally in that country). He warns me -- it's a little bit of a shock the first time!

 I'll say! A strong cold spray of water! You should have installed this in the summer. I may have appreciated it then.

You'll get used to it! And if not, well, I did buy enough toilet paper to get us through more farmhouse isolation days.


On a do nothing evening, you reheat leftovers. You think about all the great meals you've cooked in the past and you smile to yourself -- cooking will always be in your blood. You don't have to prove yourself every single day anymore. Leftovers are more than just fine.

I give passing thought to the book I was supposed to finish writing this fall, to the online daily French lessons I've stopped taking (last one -- 251 days ago!), to the big meal I normally cook on the last Thursday of November. And I do nothing about any of it.

Now, on the one hand, you can say -- sounds like a pretty nice day to me! But part of you I am sure is thinking -- it will be sooo much better here on Ocean once she returns to doing something with her days! And if you're in that camp, well then, aren't you glad I likely wont have another 250 days of doing nothing before me? Yes, we are lucky. If those of us who do not work can only keep on doing nothing for a while longer, we'll get out of this mess and rejoin a life of doing grand stuff once again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tuesday - 249th

So, let's start off with a bit of humor today. A cartoon popped into my Inbox today. If ever there was one that hit home, this one is it! (Under the New Yorker copyright guidelines, I'm allowed to let you see it.)


My granddaughter in Chicago (and my friends far away who have been Zoom calling me for the past eight months -- gulp! has it been eight months?) will surely crack a smile!


It's a sunny day and that's a good thing. No one is in the mood for a drippy gray day. We're looking for uplifts here and sunshine is a reliable source of positivity. 



In fact, I'm so taken with it that I diddle a little in the flower beds (and listen to the lovely birdsong) before coming in for a kitchen breakfast.


Later, we install the new camera gadget onto the little TV in the kitchen. We're set for virtual holiday sharing with the Chicago bunch! 

And still later, Ed and I search out another reliable hike trail -- over at the Nature Conservancy, maybe a mile down the road from us. I know, we could have walked from the farmette to the trailhead, but I've grown allergic to strolling along our rural roads. I'm convinced that for too many, an empty road is an invitation to pick up a smartphone. I don't want to slog through 249 days of isolation, only to be run down by a texting driver. So we drive over, park the car off road and hit the trails!

Back home, I'm itching to try out our new communications center. Yes! Primrose and mom, right on my little kitchen TV!

Perfect. And perfectly wonderful!

Evening: I think this kind of a day (how would I describe it? Oh, sort of like yesterday and probably like tomorrow) calls for a frittata. With spinach and mushrooms. And onions and potatoes. And gruyere cheese. Wonderfully nutty gruyere cheese.