bells and whistles and a vuvuzela chorus

You know about the vuvuzela, don’tcha? Well, get out yer vuvuzela, because we had an egg! A little one, and they pecked it to death before I could get out of bed and feed them breakfast — but our chickens (one of them) gave us a practice run. It’s nice to know that someone’s equipment works. Alas, don’t know which hen to cosset and persuade. I’m waiting for more…stay tuned.

The garden continues apace. Here’s what I had for breakfast: a handful of berries on my cereal (note the one lonesome blackberry at top of the photo, above). Sometimes there are a couple of raspberries, mostly a handful of strawberries, occasionally a couple of blackberries. I freeze about a handful of these every day as well. By the end of summer I will have a gallon bag full, ready for jam or cereal-eating until they’re gone. By the way, Grapenuts are the food of the gods. I think I could live on them. It’s my A-Number 1 comfort food.

We continue with the freezing or eating of green beans, tomatoes and zucchini. Added two more quarts of beans to the freezer and have been perusing the various canning books for interesting relish, chutney and chow-chow recipes. I’m still nervous about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang — my pressure cooker — that I haven’t tried her yet. When I become inundated with tomatoes, in 3-4 weeks, that’s when my panic will overwhelm my anxiety, and we’ll start chugging out canned salsas and sauces. So far, no good.

Did a little frugal reuse last night and finished two orphan cans of frosting (one chocolate, one vanilla) by spreading it on graham crackers and dipping the edges in sprinkles (assorted leftover Halloween, Christmas and birthday nonpariels). You’d think I brought home a pirate’s treasure chest, Black Beauty and the goose that laid the golden egg — that’s how excited the kids were for leftover frosting on graham crackers. Hint: If you call it “a special dessert,” they will eat it. No questions asked.

I’ve noticed that the garden is creating its own environment — attracting creatures who normally don’t visit. The tall sunflowers are so large that small birds perch on the leaves long enough to scratch and preen.

And this is who I saw the other day — another first-time visitor. A female hooded oriole. That’s two different orioles within 2 weeks — where before, there were none. She was hopping around the tops of the sunflowers with her delicate curved beak and soft yellow feathers. Nothing flashy about her. Just very busy eating bugs. I like that in a garden visitor — eat the bugs, leave the plants, thanks.

Today is my shopping-errands-foraging day. A visit to the bread-sharing site, the farmers’ market, pick up the Boy after baseball camp, fetch his bike from across town, and then I’ll spend a little time at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, where I recently joined the board of directors. But in the kitchen as we speak, however, there are 10 pounds of gleaned windfall apples (little goldens), and these desperately want to be made into dried apples and apple pie. So I’m off to the market, and later, back to the kitchen sink. Sounds a-peeling, doesn’t it?

Oh, stop. You love my puns.

It’s toot-toot-Tuesday, don’t cry!

Tuesday is deadline day at the Sun, so if there’s a day to cry, it would be today. At one of the last places where I was an editor, a magazine, on the first day I bet my fellow editor lunch over which of us would be the first to cry. And I lost! It was I who cried first! I was shocked. But the stress of the day can break you sometimes.

That’s why it’s good to go into D-Day in fighting shape: don’t have too much, or any, writing to do that day. Don’t try to plan lunch or meetings. Just rub your hands together, eat a good breakfast, and jam, baby, jam. It’s worked for me so far.

I’m glad school is ending for summer. That means the beginning of summer interns for me — which means a lot more features and assignments to give. I’ve got three interns starting in a week and look forward to their arrival.

I wish the weather would warm. It doesn’t feel like summer. I know we have June gloom — I was remembering swimming lessons when I was a wee girl, in Terra Linda, in the TL pool, and how gray and overcast it was on those mornings, and how cold the pool, or getting in and out, was. My mom used to buy us some kind of Planter’s Peanut toffee bars — can’t remember their names, but they were packed with nuts and energy, and it was a novel treat to be given a candy bar after swimming.

It was the same when the girlies were small — swimming lessons seemed to begin in chill weather, but by the time we got home, the sun came out and they could go and play. But getting the kids into the pool for a 9 a.m. lesson in foggy weather — not easy. I think I bribed them with candy bars, too, come to think of it.

Chlorine eyes. Tan lines. The blue of the water. A whiff of bleach still takes me there.