Sunday, July 06, 2008

is that just me?

The bad news is: I think I missed strawberry season. And by missed, what I really mean is What? Gone already? Because we've been picking up pints of local berries every couple of days and we picked all those buckets full a few weeks ago to stock our freezer, so it isn't like we missed them at all. But it wasn't enough. We aren't ready to wait a Whole! Year! for more. They taste better, after all that waiting, but my! They sure were so sweet right now. My favorite summer treat, which tastes so fresh and perfect: red, ripe strawberries cut into halves or quarters, a generous dollop of plain yogurt, and then a whole lot of ground almonds on top. I regret not eating that more often. It should be an every single night indulgence, while it lasts.


The good news is: blueberries are here! and I have a new (secondhand) sink to wash them in.

new: berries, sink

(And the best news of all! A long and picture-heavy post ahead!)

So even though the kitchen sink was low on our list of potential home improvement projects, we couldn't help snagging a replacement recently at a nearby church rummage sale for a whopping five bucks. The faucet came from the secondhand building materials store in town (proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity) and the fittings and pipes and such came because sometimes fifty plus year old pipes are so corroded and rusty they just can't be salvaged and, thankfully, my not-a-plumber but earnest-and-capable-handyman husband was patient enough to make a lot of trips back and forth today to Lowe's.

he can do it

It's amazing what a difference the new sink makes. I try to be in the moment, grateful, chopping wood and carrying water despite the irritating little details that clutter my path. I try. But when one of those irritating details is suddenly erased, it's amazing what a difference it makes. I have a clean sink now! Shiny! Not rusty and stained brown, impervious, even, to the caustic kiss of bleach. It's deep enough and bigger on one side to hold so many dirty dishes! No more dirty dishes splayed halfway down the counter for lack of appropriate soaking space! It's wide enough to hold a casserole dish! The pizza pan can fit entirely! Really you must sense how excited I am! The sprayer nozzle works! I can pull it out and spray crumbs and such away! I don't have to splash water to the corners with my cupped hand anymore!

Having the right tool for the job makes all the difference. I have wasted a lot of time in the last nine months hand washing dishes all the wrong way. The chore went so much more quickly tonight. And it feels so much better in there now.

But I don't want you to think all I do is moon over enamel (not cast iron enamel, like the old one, no, but apparently enamel over some kind of composite, which hopefully means fewer chipped dishes in my future) and moan about what little project might next revolutionize my life.

While the porridge cooked on the stove this morning, and the berries drained in the colander, I took pictures of the children.

The boy, who did not want to wait for breakfast but did want to wait to have his diaper changed, and he wallowed around on the chair, on both counts:


And the girl took up her customary position, at the table with pen(cil) and paper, an idea in her head, a story growing from her fingers, a hummy song on her lips. . .

above: drawing

. . .and cats on her lap (okay, just one cat, but she is a cat charmer, believe it, and it is a wonder that our sour old puss is tolerating the spry kitten now enough to be this close):

below: knees, cats

There was a busy day of watering yards and putting laundry away and reading and eating sugar snap peas sun-warmed and perfect right off the vine and reorganizing kitchen drawers and then, later, while the pizza dough was rising, a rousing family bicycle ride. We parked the bikes and trudged down a rough path to a precarious dock to the river. It was beautiful and we think we would like a canoe. (Although the one of us prone to motion sickness especially and not at all in favor of boats, in general, wonders if this is really a wise whole family endeavor or not).

from the dock

There was a steep hill on the return ride. I tend to like the hill + bicycle combination quite a lot on the downward journey. wheeee! As close as many of us may ever get to the sensation of flying, I imagine. I am less fond, you may guess, of uphill. I expected to have to walk the hill, pushing my heavy bike (it's a new-ish but clunky cruiser meant for riding with an upright carriage and nod-and-smile attitude toward the people I pass, and it is not, in any way, streamlined and designed for speed, which is fine because I like to smile and notice things and do not, at all, will not, ever, bicycle leaning forward and hunched down low to my handlebars). But guess what? I didn't have to stop and walk it and I made it up at an even, respectable pace AND so did the girl, who also was intimidated by the hill.

I punched down the dough and assembled the pizza as soon as we returned home. It was already closing in on eight, but it's so hard to adhere to dinner-time dinners in the summer in Oregon when it stays bright until past nine o'clock.

And then we ate, sunday night pizza, I've perfected the pizza sauce, after all these years of pizza making, and maybe getting a little bored with the weekly gig, changing up the sauce (of all things, the sauce!) is making such a difference. I get compliments now and they gobble it up and want more and there's not enough left for lunch tomorrow.

I remembered we were out of crushed red chili peppers. Did you know that I can't eat pizza without (a lot) of crushed red peppers? It must be genetic because my sister is the same way. We both have a predilection and a tolerance for Hot and Spicy that maybe edges a little on the weird and neurotic. Anyhow, we were out and the walk-to store was closed and did I really want to get in the car and drive somewhere for crushed peppers or skip the pizza or what? Or how about I just break into my secret stash. What? You don't keep a little emergency packet of crushed red peppers hidden in your wallet?

secret stash


leaky said...

I drool at your sink!

Deb said...

this is one of my favorite posts. love all the pictures! would you share your sauce recipe? I have tried a couple over the years but usually end up going back to the Muir Glen canned pizza sauce.

I have (storebought) organic strawberries, plain yogurt, and slivered almonds in my kitchen right now. I think I know what's for breakfast.

Kristal said...

I really missed Oregon berries this year. They really are the best.
Fortunately blueberries and yogurt (and I prefer granola over almonds) are so wonderfully delicious.
What a beautiful post!

Holland Elli said...

ha, yeah- I also savor the spicy like you do, but, if no crushed red pepper is possible, a little jalepeno will do the trick for me :)