Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Odds and Ends

Well it's really been a B-E-A-U-ti-ful summer here! I know you had to suffer through listening to me rag about the summer that wasn't last year, but that's not the case this year.

This southern girl is loving it!

We had a nice little stretch of 80's and a few 90's, with only one or two sweltering nights. I have had four upstairs and one downstairs window open for about a month. I run a fan out my upstairs bedroom to draft out the hot air. I did have to pull a second window on the Firebird's small bedroom. He is on the ell, with a bank of three windows facing east. Those hot sunny days his room was quite toasty by noon.
 (even by my mid-atlantic standards )
Tonight it is about 60 or less outside. The mosquitos are horrible still, now we are having a hatch of the micro ones that welted both Codeman and I tonight walking the goats along the stream.

We have been having a lot of fun with a cheap blow up raft, paddling up the pond and using it as a swimming launch to shore, one paddling and the other jumping in and swimming to shore and back, usually almost swamping the boat. Lots of fun when it's in the 70;s and 80's. :D

The Firebird scored two soccer goals and I missed it!!!! UGH!!!! We were running behind schedule (mercury retrograde) and I dropped him off and dashed off to run some errands. These summer soccers games run to almost dark and then a half hour home..Anyhow, I knew as soon as I arrived at the field he had scored a goal. He was playing with the freshmen, and a couple of his own grade he has had a year playing with now... and they were a fine honed machine.

The Firebird was playing center mid, his small fast freshmen ahead of him-pasing back and forth dominating the field, him setting them up for was a lovely thing to see, his confidence and leadership. :)  They won the first 2-1, Firebird both goals,(which I missed) and the won the second game against different opponents.

The third game they went to change fields, and the Willow and I gathered our chairs and dutifully followed, and the Firebird disappeared.  We were playing two teams, and I thought I spotted him at another field, so we dragged everything over there, and then he wasn't there.

We stood in the crosssection of four fields looking back and forth, wondering if he had gone to the loo? (which none of them EVER do no matter how many gallons of liquids they consume...)and then a couple parents started waving at us. I looked and looked and tried to see if he was on bench behind her, wondering, "Where the heck did he go?"

Finally one of them took pity on me and came over and told me that the Firebird and her son were playing for the other team -who was short players- and they had put on red vests.  HAHA! As soon as he put on red he disappeared in my eyes!!! Like a chameleon!  At least a hundred kids on four fields and I was looking for royal blue-he put on red and vanished.

Well, that was fun! Our two boys playing for the other team! And it was to the other team's (who was already quite good) advantage, since it was our two senior best players! Who obviously had to try very hard for the other team so the team knew there was no funny business! And very challenging for the boys not to pass to their own team mates in reflex. I think a few times they had fun skunking their teamates, though!

That team won the game, so the Firebird was 3 for three that night, very sweet.

Last night they played home with the whole lot of them, I counted 27! We had wicked (that's slang for terrible, awesome, amazing, pronounced, wick-hed)weather earlier, fast moving thunderstorms dumping rain. I kept waiting for the text cancelling the game, but these darn soccer coaches ain't no sissys, let me tell you.

The thunderheads and anvils and blowing their tops, and then dark clouds underneath...several lightning strikes and finally the ref blew the whistles, saying, "Ok, I saw that one," have them all sit in the open field on the bench while it passed.  Well, it was to our south,(but just over the tre tops at the far edge of the field south) and I hadn't seen any green...(not a good sign, means take shelter NOW) but lots of yellow...

Yup, I just heard tonight that cell spawned a TORNADO a mere 15 miles away. The weatherman said, "oh, it was a F0, 50-60 mph winds, -only 20 yards wide and .2 miles long.*la-te-da*

and I was thinking, that's 60 feet wide and 800 feet long...would of made a big dent in that field, I tell you what.

I don't remember if we won or lost last night. But we did finish the game after it went by. 

Just call me Cissy. ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mercury's retrograde

And it's in full swing.  First thing this morning I heard road equipment at the end of the drive. I took my time getting dressed over coffee, heard it diminish up the hill and then return. I booked it outside just in time to see the Irises planted around the mailbox stream out across the end of the drive, just behind a brush hog.

Roadside mowing time.

I went down to survey the damage.

My road frontage has had it's own mini story this spring.  Well, it began last fall. The road commissioner ignored all signs and did nothing to any dirt road.  They waited until the bitter end to post, because the road commissioner is also a professional logger and there is a bit of conflict of interest there.  Because once the back roads are posted for weight limits, loggers can't haul out on them.

So our roads went all to hell, nearly swallowed my car a couple times.  I even got out there with rakes and shovels and implements of mass destruction (at least that Arlo Giuthrie song was running through my head) to level out the ruts (which was a mistake, because they turned into a quagmire-which prompted action, so it's all good)

Right after the spring thaw, we had town meeting and a new first selectperson. Next thing we know, all the back roads are being re-worked. I kept my mouth shut for the most part, and watched over several morning's coffee as the locals ditched and graded and rip rapped and burlapped my road, mostly leaving me alone since I know the less work they do the better. :)

Well, they did smooth down my ridge and deepen my ditch and spewed hay and even seeded. I couldn't resist and overseeded with wild-collected coltsfoot (gone to seed at the time) and organic flax seed I bought as a food supplement at the health food store and which germinated better than any of the aforementioned seed stock.

The flax was on the verge of bloom; the tender grasslings they had sowed about 6 inches high, and the coltsfoot really just barely making a show, and the damn brush hog went through and scrushed it all.  I was so stinking mad it was a good thing I couldn't find the road commissioner's cell number/

I left on errands shortly after that, just in time to see the tractor and mower attachment loading at the crossroads, and realized that it was not any of the locals-apparently a private contractor on the mowing, so I let it slide.

The worst part was that they went right around my mailbox and mowed down all the Siberian Iris I had there, thank the luck they had already bloomed so maybe they will recover.  And I am holding out hope the flax was just pinched back and will bloom bushier than ever, as I gazed at a few early lonely bright blue blossoms severed on the banking.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, so on the way back home I stopped and grabbed a big bouquet of fallen black-eyed susans ( one of my favorites) and stuck them on a vase on the deck.  Then I went back out and raked a huge back end of the subbie wagon full of roadside forage for the goat's dinner (although I wondered if I spent more in gas than I saved in hay and grain)

I just wish that they would wait to mow until the perennial flowers have gone to seed, the yarrow and black eyed susan and Queen Ane's lace. The mowing is really supposed to keep back the brush, the roadside would be so much prettier if they allowed them to flower out with the native wildflowers.

Or the occasional sowed flax. :P

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Can't go back might as well slog ahead

I have been knocked off my high horse and landed in a swamp.

Last fall I started helping an old friend with a food business.  I had long ago retired from professional cooking.  One of the last places I worked burnt any desire for the business right out of me.

I was a lead saute cook for a huge Italian place, running a 24 burner gas range.  They worked me 6 splits a week, 11-2, 4- whenever dinner slowed down. Obviously that left me no life but the restaurant, which was good because it didn't pay for much of a life.

Before that I had several long terms stints as a kitchen manager, always cooking on the "hot" side, expediting, etc.

I tried a couple times to get back into the business, but found I had no tolerance for the job anymore.

Until last fall, when I came out of retirement to help a friend.  I spent the off season helping develop new markets, playing secretary, designing menus, fixing food costs, and actually preparing food.

We barely scraped through the off season, I found myself facing a horrifying financial position in July. Out of the blue I had a call from a place I worked years ago. I readily agreed to go back.

My friend dropped me like a hot potato. I couldn't be available 24/7? Bye!

Then what happened? The new job was right out of kitchen nightmares.  I had worked the place for 7 years then a co-worker bought it 15 years ago. The changes were not all for the good.

I think it could all be blamed on the menu.  Enormous menu. I was told people had walked out because the menu was too big. Whether customers or employees or both I forgot to ask.

The menu was not several things done different ways. A good menu would offer haddock for example, fried, baked, broiled, chowder; then chicken, shrimp, you have a few ingredients to use different ways to keep product fresh.

This place it seemed every item on the menu required three or four things specific to that item. Now times that by 100, and you can imagine the amount of storage you need for all those ingredients. So he added many refridges and freezers.

Along that philospohy of more is better, the kitchen tools had been breeding for the last 15 years.  dozens of inserts for all those fridges- scoops, spatulas, spices. The place was stuffed to the ceiling.  That left a 18 inchgap to pass food to the waitstaff.

Most of the cooking equipment had been downsized to make room for the fridges. One busy breakfast they had to break out an electric griddle to cook pancakes- and they still took forever.

The owner and designer of the menu rarely worked in the kitchen. Only if he was called down if the line was busy.

Most of the help were relatives.  The son in Law seemed to worked endless days and hours without a break and it quickly became apparent that was the status quo.

I was hired for the pantry/salad girl position, and I hated it. I got to run the microwaves, and root out all the ingredients from the freezer and thaw them in the nuker for the hot side all the while making salads out of the cheapest nastiest produce on the market. 

The other hot side cook was 23 years old and spent the shift questioning everything I did from if I was sure the baked potato was done, to a fried chicken tender I dropped for him when he was in the weeds, to criticizing the size of my chopped tomatoes.

If he was an accomplished chef I would not have been so offended.

I lasted almost two weeks.

Finding myself once again in a financial jam, I heard the farm where I used to work was short on help, so I swallowed my pride and sent an inquiry about possible employment.

It turns out the boss is still holding a grudge from a year ago over my questioning the amount of shavings on a concrete barn floor used for horses.

I still refuse to budge.

That's three bridges I have destroyed in a month's time.  I just hope there's a few pieces floating around because I am up the creek without a paddle.

Any good energy or prayers sent my way will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

That Boy can Jump!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Soccer

The Firebird is doing well in soccer.  He has been playing a lot with the upperclassmen. Last night the underclassmen had a tournament and he volunteered for goalie for the first two games.  I think you can see in the last pic  why I don't like him playing goalie!