blackhat

(no subject)

Collapse )

The peaches haven't all gone ripe at the same time, so i made a little progress last night with another six peaches: five to the dehydrator, one split and half under vodka with ginger (cinnamon arriving), the other half under Southern Comfort with a vanilla bean (that had been used to make vanilla extract). I ponder whether maybe i DO want to can. I think i'd want jelly jars....

By my count we've given away ten peaches and gone through twenty so far.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/861716.html .
blackhat

(no subject)

Collapse )

Bats will be remaining where they are; roofer has assured my dad that the bats are just under the tiles and above the sealed roof.

My parents stopped by after a medical appointment to see the trombocino squash that are climbing the smaller crepe myrtle trees. I'd shown this photo to them on Monday.

I processed six of the peaches for drying yesterday. The pectin-sugar dip seems to be a win for producing brightly colored peach slices. I need to be more consistent about slice width - i think i will not do wedges next time but half rings. We bought some Southern Comfort to pickle some in (with a vanilla bean, i'm thinking), and i plan to make another jar with vodka, cinnamon, and ginger. I bought Vietnamese cinnamon from The Spice House online vendor without doing much comparison shopping or thinking. I hope we enjoy that cinnamon! What a splurge. Next time i see i should buy the stronger, higher proof bourbon.

Plenty of okra in the garden last night. Lima beans are thriving. These are Violet's Multicolored Butterbeans from 2018 seeds Dad passed to me. It's possible i gave the seeds to them. I was initially planning just to let them all dry, but there is enough vine out of my reach that can have drying beans.

Must focus on work, have not been very productive the past few days (well, have been letting myself be distracted.)

I need to write up notes about Tuesday's therapy. Attending to the joy of my life and not so much the weight of everything. Not sure how to do this. I know at the 5 thousand foot level that our life is incredibly fortunate or blessed, but up close i overwhelm myself with gottas and critical observations that sap joy.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/861561.html .
blackhat

(f&f, cooking, travel, road trip)

Collapse )

The return drive home with my nephew was delightful but intense with an extended stretch of driving in a deluge in Florida and another stretch of terrible traffic in South Carolina. But otherwise we had a good time and enjoyed seeing the drama of different landscapes. We stopped in Darien, GA and appreciated the charm of the pre-revolutionary war port and thought about returning to explore the historical and natural sites. Saturday we went to the near by Sapelo Island landing which includes a small museum. We stopped in Savannah for brunch, and then at a farmer's market where i bought MANY peaches. Sunday i just rested, reading up on different ways of handling the bushel of peaches. So far i've applied lessons from these sites:

* “DON’T THROW AWAY THOSE PEACH PEELS AND PITS!” https://www.dvo.com/newsletter/weekly/2016/9-23-411/cooknart3.html.
* Tastes Better From Scratch. “How to Peel Peaches,” July 30, 2020. https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/how-to-peel-peaches/.
* Instagram. “Old-Fashioned Peach Pie.” Simply Recipes. https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/peach_pie/.
* Tom. “The Best Way to Ripen Peaches.” Tall Clover Farm (blog), July 5, 2008. https://tallcloverfarm.com/74/the-best-way-to-ripen-peaches.

The peaches are just ripening. Yesterday i made a pie. Today i will dehydrate peaches dipped in a pectin-sugar mix (Healthy Canning. “Fruit Drying Pre-Treatments.” https://www.healthycanning.com/fruit-drying-pretreatments/ and the rest of the pages on drying food are excellent summaries of other sources) and dry slices for snacking, skins and pits for tea. I've been saving skins and pits to make a juice that may become a vinegar syrup (shrub) or a base for jelly. Or hard candy. So many options!

Monday i took off and did chores and visited with Mom & Dad. The garden had a large patty pan squash and lots of okra, so i roasted the squash and tender okra and a sad russet potato from the pantry. Two thirds of the okra was tough, so i pulled out the pearls and have over a cup of okra pearls (seeds) for adding to my next okra dishes. I might dehydrate them for winter soups. I think i will have a decent crop of lima beans, and the Trombocino squash is up in crepe myrtles dangling two long sqaush.

My sister has been with Grandmámá since i left. She and her daughter E are bored. The water leak turned out to be from the water heater, and was easily repaired. I think the impact of water on the slab is being considered as Someone Else's Problem, that will go away when the house is sold. I have had waves of recognizing that the hug i received as i left might be the last hug i get from Grandmámá. Here's a video my sister took of the bats returning home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwIceMblnRE
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/861266.html .
blackhat

Belfrey

I was sitting on the back porch at Grandmámá's early this morning as it got light, listening to unfamiliar birdsong and an unfamiliar noise, as if a bird were nesting up against the end of the house. It was fairly dark, so i didn't really want to be poking around with flashlights like some odd prowler. The sound continued and, as it got light, i went out and found So Many Bats. (Dozenish not thousands, but still.) They were flying at the tiny gaps between the tile and the edge of the roof. Sometimes they disappeared -- getting up under the tile, i guess -- sometimes they seemed to miss. By the time i had returned with my cell phone to take a video, all was quiet.

Dad was Not Happy when i called, but hey, nothing boring for my sister and niece! (Who knows, maybe W-- will want to get in on this before he leaves.)
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/860928.html .
blackhat

Spanish moss at sunset (travel)

Collapse )

The week sped by. I walked a few more evenings, had a long talk on the phone with my aunt one evening, and am now waiting up with Grandmámá for my sister and the niblings to arrive. W-- and i will drive back to NC tomorrow, stopping along the way. We plan to have a group Cuban meal, hurrah! I was thinking i'd leave after dinner, but now want to leave after lunch. I want to go HOOOOOMMMMMEEEE.

Work went adequately this week, given that i didn't work full time (a longer lunch, and stopping at 4 pm). I could have squeezed in a full eight hours but that would have left Grandmámá alone even longer. Admittedly, she slept a lot -- but still. The extremely high bandwidth right now -- 280 Mbps down and 180 Mbps up -- disappeared in the afternoon when i was on conference calls. Very frustrating.

So. Heading home.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/860681.html .
blackhat

(no subject)

Collapse )

Something about Cheraw caught my eye as i drove through. It might have just been the light as the sun set in the next fifteen minutes. On the other hand, Wikipedia notes, "It has been nicknamed 'The Prettiest Town in Dixie'." I imagined making a road trip to Cheraw in some future summer to photograph the lushness of southern summer days. It's on US Highway 1, a road of some history in the US, which attracted my attention ever since i was a child, and i have wanted to drive its length at some point.

I talked to my friend B about going to Key West (before it is washed away) -- that is the southern terminus of US Highway 1.

Now i ponder a loop drive, take US 1 north to Fredericksburg, VA, get on US 17 and follow the Rappahanock to the Chesapeake Bay, then down through North Carolina and Williamston (great oyster bar there) and then to New Bern (old port on the Neuse), Jacksonville (old port on the brief 50 mile long New River -- which is not the important New River in North Carolina in the Mississippi watershed), skirting the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, crossing US 1 in Jacksonville. While the route 17 takes from Jacksonville looks interesting -- taking the west side of the ST Johns, then crossing Florida's peninsula heading south west through Orlando to unfamiliar to me parts of Florida, i think that would be the point to head back to NC on US 1.

That would be a pleasure.

And i have sufficiently distracted myself at this point that i must get to my day.

Yesterday i did get a bit overstressed:

- worried about what my Dad's medical appointment would find (he did crack his ribs 4, 5, and 6 in an accident running into a tree branch while riding on his tractor, mowing, but other concerns all were minor -- he was worried he'd need surgery on his rotator cuff.)

- worried about being locked out of my work laptop (support gave me a magic code that solved that).

- worried about whether my nibling W-- contracted COVID from his vaccinated & mask-wearing orthodontist who had contracted COVID. He did not, so my sister will still be relieving me on Friday.

Anyhow, hopefully today i can get some work done.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/860664.html .
blackhat

(no subject)

Collapse )

I was disappointed in the little outing i took today: the self service stamps one can buy from kiosks are printed on demand as QRcode-esque stickers. I'd bought some so that i could have some extra postage on hand beyond forever stamps. I was hoping for definitives. But no. I got out of stamp collecting when they went to stickers, and i'm glad.

And i also looked for fruit stands but nothing was to be found. Fie. I suppose it's NOT the growing season here.

C-- doesn't ever leave Grandmámá alone in the house, i think, but my Dad does, so i've not felt guilty in my two outings nor my walks in the evening. But now the work week begins and i need to try and work. For some reason i have felt compelled to wash my clothes. I'm not sure why -- because i can? because i don't want to hang worn clothes in my cousin's closet? because i don't want to put sweated in clothes near others? I dunno but i ran the tiny load.

And then there's the weird probable sewage leak. If i leave a towel down where the wall meets the floor it becomes sodden. And i just know it's gross. So i am washing tiny loads of towels because i can't bear the thought of those wet towels festering at the bottom of the washer. Ugh, ugh, ugh. And i won't tell Christine about the sewage issue because she will resent it on my behalf, like it's someone's fault. Dad's, i guess, for being willing to wait a week.

I did adjust the hvac, so it will be cooler at night. Cooking in the kitchen does get a bit steamy and hot. Cooking with tamarind was intriguing; and the tamarind and ginger fish curry turned out fairly well. My grandmother say she appreciates it, but she eats so little it's hard to tell if she's just being polite or really appreciating someone else's cooking. C-- says Grandmámá is like a two year old. I have never had a two year old: she seems plenty cat-like to me. Some ritual of moving from room to room, a bit of finicky eating, and much sleeping.

I finished The Monogram Murders. I did try to speed up the reading, but the accent for Poirot and the dramatic changes in volume made that problematic. Knowing that i would not get the book back in time to keep listening on this trip was part of the motivation, but i also have a compulsion to finish the story. If i was in need of audio books, i think getting this series from my library would be pleasant, although i certainly have found a number of other period mysteries far more enjoyable. Here period was incidental, not part of the story to be told.

Christine has the amazing-to-me capacity to put down a book or a movie. I've just borrowed an Isak Dinesen collection from Open Library to read the rest of this week. I don't trust myself with a novel. I am hoping the short stories will be engaging but leave me free to close the book. I would like to develop a habit of reading before bed without the risk that i won't stop until i am done or will be distracted and craving finishing the story.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/860395.html .
blackhat

(no subject)

South Carolina, where you need to be warned about setting fireworks off near propane.

Collapse )

Because the gas station sells both.

--== ∞ ==--

I finished Hail Mary Project last night because i had a beer at dinner and my self control was just that much reduced. I didn't wanna go for a walk in low 90°F with high humidity. I enjoyed it, but Christine and i had a nice chat critiquing various plot and characterization aspects. I look forward to finding out why KT gave a side eye at one point (but she enjoyed it as well).

Mushroom stew turned out well, and Grandmámá liked the tiny conchigliette pasta. The small container of thyme in the cabinet had never been opened and was "best by" 31 Jan 2017. I used lots. I think the new seasoning stood out for her. I didn't have rice flour and used double wheat flour -- i don't think i needed to double it, but it was still lovely. No veggie stock, so i used Goya sofrito as a veggie base.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/860083.html .
blackhat

(no subject)

Collapse )

I think i have sort of settled in.

When i arrived at 4 pm on Thursday i was overwhelmed, partly because Dad's cousin C-- didn't really have an organized schedule for me or anything like that. Friday i found something posted in her room, which would have made a great starting point, but even that bugs me. How hard is a schedule, in order, of the day's needs? And the days the garbage gets picked up, and the paper comes, etc, etc?

Then there was a sort of shocking news about bathing (i'm leaning on my sister who bathes Mom for this) and the discovery that there's a plumbing issue. I'm pretty sure the black water pipe from the toilet is cracked and perhaps partly blocked and leaking into the wall and floor. Maybe even another pipe. I suspect the worst, in fact, and that major work will be needed. But hey, no plumber available until Friday, when i am handing off to my sister. Note that a full accounting will be left for her, plus a programmed thermostat so that at least at night it won't be 78°F in the house. (I'm getting used to it, although i am parked under a rapidly spinning ceiling fan.)

This morning i went to a Mexican (Honduran?) Carniceria to get some supplies. It made for a little adventure. Lots of lovely pan dulce which MAY tempt my grandmother, including a marranitos (Mexican Gingerbread Pig), concha, a sesame seeded cemitas, and something Danish like. I found tamarind and ginger, jicama and chayote, which i bought, but no fresh tropical fruits. Including no plantains.

Apparently Grandmámá prefers soups (oy, soups in Florida in July) -- i suspect we are talking about well cooked, easily eaten food. So i'm making a mushroom soup and roasted diced chaoyote tonight, and then a fish curry with rice tomorrow. C-- had made quite a quantity of cheese and mushroom soup, a large amount of fish and shrimp gumbo, and .. something else is in the freezer. I don't know how much variety Grandmámá wants, but this weekend i can try for variety and the rest of the week i think we can manage left overs. C-- doesn't make pasta, so i'm going to try some.

I went through the spices and it's weirdly duplicative. I assume all the cajun stuff including filé is from my Dad's visits? Although C-- grew up near New Orleans and says that's her style for making gumbo -- but the filé isn't open? Anyhow, i will make do and not buy any more.

Reading Project Hail Mary (Andy Weir) which colleague KT and Christine have both read and found delightful. I started the audio book The Monogram Murders, a "new" Poirot mystery, in the last hour of my drive. I borrowed it a week and a half ago, so only have a few days left. I'll see if i can finish it before it goes to the next person. It is engaging enough, with the mystery less the locked door murders but the new friend of Poirot's learning that Poirot's attention to detail is an important skill.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/859763.html .