Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

the grace of ice cream

Things are somewhat indescribable of late.  Aside from the fact that it is mind numbingly hot, not even really cooling off at night.  (The tomatoes Do Not Like It at all but oddly the Butternut squash are going crazy, we have four Charentais melons on the vine, and the Chair Vert melon plant in the back has quadrupled in size to an almost sci-fi extent.)

The Dog has some allergic food reaction and is covered in spots.  There was, for the first time since we’ve been here, a fire that would have roared over the hill and destroyed our yurt (and maybe lives since it was blocking the only way out from here as well) if Cal Fire hadn’t gotten on it immediately.  It made me slightly sick to see the burnt place on the way into town,  but at least I got to thank the firefighters, barely able to not blurt out a question about how come they’re always so darn HANDSOME.  People I care about are having health issues and there’s a lot going on that seems very out of any kind of measure or control.   Also I found that as hard as I try, the poisonous atmosphere on Planet LPV and all that comes from same has crept into my little brain (aside, I mean, from wondering what I’ll do with no health insurance and an internet controlled by Comcast and Verizon, voter suppression and Environmental Protection c/o Exxon Mobil and how long til this guy gets COMMITTED???…oh well.  You probably know).  This was forcibly borne in upon me when in a couple of days, I got two follows on this blog, for which I am grateful!, in Arabic.  I watched my stomach clench as my brain said, Oh boy, this is IT.  “They” will ….they, who?, will do what, exactly? I mean, really? I get hits from all over the world, amazingly, and sometimes from places we’re “supposed” to fear.  (The many Russian hits are generally hacks and ripoffs from my website to porn sites, big surprise. Flower pictures, right?)  Don’t ask me what allure this bear’s life holds but there it is.  It’s kind of like when the sheriff drove up that day and clearly realized we’re just a couple of old hardheads and no arrest could, in any universe, be forthcoming for any reason.  ANYWAY the whole thing made me a bit more tense when I found that Google Translate would not let me cut and paste any language to be translated, as it usually does when such things come up.  Maybe it’s my antediluvean laptop. Finally I figured out that I could drag the text over and? Guess what? All of it was WONDERFUL poetry.  Beauty and expression thereof, carrying on a long tradition.  One person I couldn’t get enough blog translated to be able to leave a comment since, not reading Arabic, I couldn’t figure out where that might be.  So I very much hope they don’t think I am being rude.  I often wonder what would have happened to both Christianity and Islam had Capitalism not inserted its noxious snout- perhaps the inherent love at the base of both might have gotten the upper hand.  However, alas, it did and has and now? What the heck has happened to us that the simple act of reaching out and sharing one’s thoughts about reality becomes questionable and prone to causing wonder about who else might be “looking”.  At the same time I was filled with a kind of huge radiant joy at knowing there are people, everywhere, who do create beauty and strive for truth.  And  some of that was shared with me.

So.  Swinging between the twin poles of CHUFFED (followers! who write wonderful things!) and OH DEAR (fire, dog spots, dastardly politics) I turned to my latest obsession: Dulce de Leche.  Traditionally it is made of goat’s milk which is caramelized into total fabulousness.  It is also made quite simply by putting a can of Eagle Brand in a water bath for 40 minutes or so until it becomes thick and caramelized.  It being so hot and all ice cream seemed like the obvious solution for such a preoccupation.  Also I did not want to find that I’d eaten a whole can of Eagle Brand by itself.

The first batch was good, even if the experiment of caramelizing the Eagle Brand in the microwave went just. a. tiny. bit. awry.  The valiant and elderly microwave needed to be cleaned anyway and of course I expect this sort of things-reaching-past- their-assigned boundaries as routine.  The next time I started early in the morning on one day, using the stove, and putting the resulting cooked can into the refrigerator.  When it was cool enough a day or so later to even think about again turning on the stove, this is what I did:

1 cup of milk with the thickened Eagle Brand mixed in, heated slowly.  Three egg yolks beaten, tempered, and stirred in until spoon was properly coated.  Into the refrigerator with that.  About three hours later I mashed up a cup and a half of strawberries from the garden, put a tiny bit of sugar in them, and let them rest for a couple of hours.  A few drops of vanilla into the custard, berries mixed in, and into the ice cream freezer.  The Partner says it’s the best strawberry ice cream he’s ever had, and I think he may be right.  Now, if I can just convince the Dog that he’s not being punished by the now total absence of cheese treats, potato treats, and Daddy’s leftover milk from cereal, and get him to come out from under the table, all may yet be well.  May the Poetry be with you! and as always, blessings and thanks!

what’s in a title

It has been hotter than Hell here, and nobody is even thinking about disputing that, unlike when we first came and when it was 118 F every day you’d actually hear people saying, oh, this isn’t hot, I LIKE THIS.  So. Now? You see strong men in tears. People are more torched off than usual, they’re driving as though lobotomized, and all in all, it’s rough.  The vet is no longer going to carry the kind of dog treats the Dog Prefers. A problem indeed. The poor man who owns the laundromat recently lost his wife, totally unexpectedly, and another friend’s husband got thrown from a horse and it seems pretty serious.  And, it’s hot.  Thank God I saw that article about how hydrating beer really is if you’ve actually had enough water to drink.

The garden is doing OK, though, which is nothing short of amazing, and something else quite interesting happened.

I still, (in Spite of It All, the LPV,  “Congress”, Bill Cosby, the “health care” crapfest, Putin, Korea, the complete idiocy one hears no matter how hard one tries not to about everything in the world….) Participate.  I write letters to my “representatives”, make fun filled phone calls to Sheriff’s Departments, Governor’s offices, saying politely, please don’t do that ghastly thing with the firehoses you’re doing, so to speak.  I’m polite to the Sheriff when he shows up in bug eye sunglasses and remind him that there’s still no drug lab here. I remain calm while my time is constantly being wasted by How Things “Get Done”.  I also know that in some big ways none of this current malarkey is going to last, even in a tiny human conception of time,  so there’s not much point in blowing one of my precious remaining gaskets.   (I need those to figure out whether the shade cloth is keeping the tomatoes from getting pollinated, honestly.) Non-violence, like truth, takes a long time, but it really is easier in the long run and ultimately less embarrassing.  Unconditional Love doesn’t mean you always LIKE what someone’s doing but it does mean you recognize the common (one hopes) thread between you, and go from there.

So anyway, it’s been clear my Representative in the House has had me on the Ignore setting for some time.  I wrote to him once again recently about something, either climate change or the Russia Investigation, and for once there was a drop down menu for “title”.  WELL.  Gentle Reader, I went to town.  One of the selections was REVEREND.  And actually I AM a reverend, although I have misplaced my little certificate of reverendification, and I’m pretty sure no regular Church would want me preaching.  (The Temple of the Divine Dog and Flower? Maybe). So.  I selected Reverend.

For the first time ever, I got a response from this individual.  An actual e-mail letter.  And actually it freaked me out some because I realized that the only reason this happened was my use of the title.  Which in these parts people take to mean you are as Christian as the day is long and in these parts THAT means pretty much that witches are being burned, most likely behind the Pastor’s marijuana grow.  The sort of person this Representative counts on to vote for them in this very conservative area.  So it’s hard to know what to think except that I suppose this represents some positive step in the ongoing process of compromise and reaching agreement on challenging topics.  It amuses me to think that someone will connect the dots and realize I’m that same person they’ve been ignoring for so many years.  Then they’ll get the hiccups, most likely.   Still.  The information being discussed is pretty black and white, actually, and it may just be that a letter from such a person as myself has some tiny impact on the side of what actually IS.  We live in hope.

Meanwhile, on more important issues: still no pictures.  I’m working on it, let’s just say.  Blessings and thanks.

searching for the muse

It’s one of those days, Gentle Reader, where one’s head feels as though it is encased in a jar of vaseline.  So even though I can barely move I’m still thinking about all the things I’d LIKE to do given it’s Saturday and all.

I actually started a new drawing this past week, and got the garden planted for the most part, negotiating tricky things like where to put the cabbage.  I’ve taken a bunch of pictures now that I am firmly in the 21st century.  However the chasm of getting pictures to reproduce on my laptop after being sent from the SMARTPHONE is still big and deep so the promised stellar Dog Portrait will have to wait for another day. *sigh*  Someone remarked to me a long time ago that watching my life was like watching someone hiking up an uneven surface, advancing a few steps, then being grabbed on the scruff of the neck by a wolf and taken someplace completely different, where the enterprise started all over.

I’m not sure, truthfully, that this is a fanciful characterization, and this past week, including photo, er, bombs…. lent some clarity to how it works in practice  For example.  It finally dawned on me that 90% of interactions with “professionals” of any ilk is aimed at keeping you chasing your tail.  There’s the scruff of the neck part.  I need some medical tests.  Provider says, contact your insurance to see if they’ll pay for it. So I do that. And they say, first,  we can’t tell you THAT. I say, what has to happen so that you CAN tell me? They say, the doctor has to send us the order. I felt my eyes cross as I thanked the person for their “help”, declined to take a customer service survey, and hung up.  What this means in actuality is that I will have to go to the lab, where they will look at my insurance and in a crowded room say loudly what that lowly insurance is and that it probably won’t pay, by which time I will have already, since I’m in the lab, signed up for the tests.  In short, you can’t find out if a procedure will be paid for until after you have it.  Which, if whether not it gets paid for is a potential deal breaker, is a bit of a problem.  So that was fun.  BUT.

Clearly progress has been made because not only did I navigate this rocky ford calmly, this past week’s political events did not plunge me into a dark pit of despondency. ( This must be the part where the wolf drops me off and I keep going.) In fact, since it was virtually impossible to miss the LPV Gang’s response to certain Testimony, I found myself looking at the LPV’s attorney, and thinking, jeesh, he BARELY got his human suit zipped over his reptile body, and what a tour de force anyway! What poise in completely changing what basic English means, and confidence in describing something everyone had actually seen as being completely different than what it was.  I was less successful when hearing a snatched bit of the LPV braying about being exonerated or whatever word was used but thank god for mute buttons.  On top of every other thing that was done last week, and all the other things that got done that we don’t know about yet, this really made me feel more firmly that the entire situation, everywhere, is so rotten that only a complete change is going to do a thing.  And since the situation is rotten, it will collapse, and then? It begins again, in a completely different place, having been grabbed by the scruff of the neck by a wolf that couldn’t take it any more and hustled it away.

All this is to say there was some wisdom in that wolf analogy.  We live with the illusion that people are in control.  Then when things go some way we don’t want, we get bent out of shape.  Depending on where we are on the food chain, we either go after the nearest thing until it’s all gone, or? We assess our position.  Maybe we do nothing for a while.  Maybe we give thanks for having enough brain left to take in what’s going on without wasting a lot of energy in resistance.  Resistance really IS futile, because so often resistance is just a small spoiled brat deep down stamping its feet and saying, no I don’t like it like this, I will not accept reality and I’m not playing.  Instead of looking at what it is, not shooting the messenger so to speak, and doing something DIFFERENT.  Turns out that changing your thinking isn’t as hard as it seems in the gnarly initial stages- it’s a matter of consistency and gentle focus.  Also turns out that this very act is what does change things.  It reminded me of a story about two yogis.  One was under a tree, a huge, huge tree with uncountable leaves.  The guru told this yogi that he had as many lives to go as there were leaves on the tree.  The yogi thought for a minute, smiled and said, good! I take refuge in this Work!  The guru proceeded to the next yogi, who was sitting on the ground in a clearing, next to two ants, telling him that it looked like he had two lives to go only.  This yogi pitched a massive hissy fit: this wasn’t how he liked it, he’d worked so hard, it was wrong and unfair, etc. etc. You know.  All the stuff we say to ourselves when we resist what IS.

So. Let us give thanks for wolves.  And also pray for technological inspiration so the Dog may be revealed in his current photographic splendiferousness.  In the meantime, do what you can do.  Gandhi said that even if what you had to do seemed completely unimportant, it was most important that you do it.  So, yee haw, right?  Blessings and thanks!

 

what just happened here?

Lately it’s been a daily-ish experience to kind of have my head, unexpectedly of course, snap around and wonder what just happened here?  It’s almost as though Sleeping Somebody just woke up and however much sleep is rubbed from the eyes, it’s still an unfamiliar vista.

Staring at the now Very Big fennel area in the garden, which was seeded  four years ago, I not only wonder where the time went but who was that masked person who planted those seeds?  The descendants of Tyrant, the OG Hummingbird, flock around the feeder now and eat all together.  We can see the markings of everyone who went before, including the amazing copper hummy we saw last year.  Spring came and went, in the usual quick fashion of this place, with incredible lush swaths of green everywhere and the wild flowers blooming as if in arranged bouquets, short to tall, complementary colors.  Lots of new cows and goats and lizards.  It took about a month but now everything is dry and crisp for the most part, the snow and cold are a memory, and the rabbits are once again lying in the relative coolness of shade spots on the driveway.

I’m feeling the permanence of the impermanent, maybe.  We try, all of us I think, to throw off the weight of entropy, of inertia, what F. Scott Fitzgerald called the dead hand of the past, and live our lives.  At least we try to do that when we commit to being present, feeling what we’re feeling and following that, in an effort to find Peace of Mind. And when we are able to do that? There is a brilliance to things that is almost blinding,  They race by, they stand still, but everything is somehow different in its unfamiliar familiarity.  It’s a flow, a big river of energy and light and stops and gos.

Our quotidian struggles have come and gone and been replaced by new ones, of course.  (Notwithstanding the periodic bleak moments that happen when I hear “the news” however briefly and it seems like we are in a Really Deep Hole that Goes On Forever.  Like seeing that a municipality in Oregon is going to spray a 200 acre organic farm with Roundup to “eradicate weeds” so, I’m guessing, they won’t grow on the Interstate.  Uh.  If that isn’t a deep hole I don’t know what is.) The leap into the 21st century continues and I only cried once.  So I’m proud of myself, continuing to assume that my learning curve will be a curve and not a sheer drop off a cliff.  Photography, for example, how to actually get the pictures somewhere else than the phone….my oh my.  But, hope springs eternal.  In other news: The Dog did something strange and had to be rushed to the Vet a week ago, an untimely bank account draining, equanimity squashing ordeal.  However, he appears to have been restored to vim and vigor from Whatever Happened (see?) and once again I am overwhelmed with gratitude. The xrays revealed that he has an absolutely splendid trachea and spine, so there was that as well.  His Legend Continues of course.  He had to be sedated and when he woke up and came out to the waiting room? He bounded out with a huge grin, trotted briskly over to the reception counter, stood up and put his paws down as if to say, hey! I’m here! Where are the treats? Drinks for everybody!  The staff continued to tell the tale of it later in the week when I went in for…well, more treats…and they pointed to me and said, you should see HER dog!  In other good news all the seeds I planted germinated….still waiting on the culinary herbs but it may already be too hot for them.  The Partner has done a stellar job of clearing grasses and mixing soils and transplanting tiny tomato seedlings.  The beans are in, soon to be followed by winter and summer squash, melons and cucumbers.

The continuing sense of deep unease and doubt is something I’m trying to experience calmly, in order to deal with it without screaming.  Admittedly life here is a matter of continual touch and go, new gnarly things rear their heads constantly, and we watch our opportunities to adequately support ourselves dwindle.  Most of this has to do with things that are entirely beyond our control, and the only influence we have is in how we think about these things and each moment as it happens.  Given that there is so much beauty and reward here even amidst the challenges, it’s pretty disorienting. It’s a strange business working on equilibrium and basic happiness in view of the fact that everything dies and is reborn, over and over, and we really don’t have much clarity about that for the most part.  Nor are there really any reliable guidebooks, other than those containing what is often referred to as “perennial wisdom”.  It takes some time to absorb that perennial wisdom, let’s just say.  I’m wondering how to get it to work at the checkout stand in the grocery store, for example.  As in, why NO.  That total is NOT OK.  How about a whole lot less?

In the end it probably comes down to good housekeeping.  Not only can you not take it with you, you shouldn’t lug it to the departure gate either.  Nothing stays the same, even when the architecture and firmament are recognizable.  This is actually a good thing, and leads me to my personal big question, which is: why why why why why is there all this fear?  All the acting out, selfishness, war, unfairness in the world….has a substrate of fear.  So really.  What are we so afraid of?  Even in the worst circumstances peace can be found, the moving river of whatever this is moves, you take the next step into the what is, if we’re honest, always unknown.  But it isn’t necessarily BAD.  In fact, it’s often really good.  Nothing to fear. Maybe that’s what’s been happening.

Blessings and thanks!

 

time travel

How long has it been, Gentle Reader? Time is right now  its own, very weird, hard edged commodity.  There’s never enough of it of course, which strikes me as strange now that we’re in this here rural lifestyle where it appears that people think we simply sit around and fan idly through magazines all day long and have oodles of it, when in fact it’s your basic sun up to sun down and beyond.  Just for the basics.

Skipping over current events, or more like it dashing over sinkholes pursued by hellhounds, it seems simple survival is quite a success these days.  I heard Representative Labrador (from Idaho, go figure) say that no one had ever died from not being able to get health care in response to a constituent’s disapproval of the current proposed “healthcare” legislation.  So, OK.  That’s so totally stupid I think we need say no more.  We’re just in for a really bumpy ride before this all immolates, and it’s everywhere.  One has to decide pretty quickly just how excited to get over each explosion.

Meanwhile our efforts to get at least part way into the current century in terms of “technology” continue.  It no longer makes my head explode when people dismissively say, oh, you can too get internet/doctors/books there and blahblahblah.  No, because we learned that the even the actual City of Redding does not have optic fiber connections anywhere.  The official municipal communications apparently occur on some sort of paper cup and string arrangement.  So why should I think my precarious existence should have more up to date arrangements?

Nevertheless.  The telephone situation here is dismal.  The ATT cel phone only works at a distance of about 14 miles from home.  The Hughesnet satellite home phone connection works when it feels like it and aside from not liking snow, it’s not clear what makes the satellite say, uh, NO.  Not Now.   I’ve thus been casting about for a better, more cost effective and workable phone solution that might also allow me to do more marketing for my website and products.  You know, like Instagram and stuff.  So.  I got my first smart phone.  (And yes it IS somewhat intimidating and I feel like a gorilla trying to type on it.) Credo Mobile, an at least relatively ethical carrier, free (” “) IPhone, and apparently coverage even HERE in the round house.  I agonized over the decision, but if all goes well I can get rid of three devices and just have one that works as it is supposed to.  And save money in the process which is becoming ever more important.

However the usual key words here are: IF ALL GOES WELL.  Because so far? It has been a marvelous exercise in equanimity, mindfulness, staying calm, and carrying on.  I haven’t cried, even under intense provocation, and only had one small slug of vodka after the first six hour stressathon.

Initially things went reasonably smoothly and the phone came to my mailbox when they said it would, the offer had changed in the few days since my first call but not significantly.  I felt a strange unease about setting the phone up,  without knowing why (SILLY BEAR)….and then it all became clear.  First, there was the connection for customer support, after the 2+ hour attempted online connection could not be made,  to someone in Nigeria which on my phone felt very much like the aforementioned paper cup arrangement.  Turned out I couldn’t have my old number ported to the new phone because I did not know what my ATT PIN was.  So, fine.  Give me a new number, we’ll carry on.  But NO!!!! My Apple ID wouldn’t work.  An hour plus into it I hung up and called Apple.   An hour plus into that? My home phone died.  Nothing having been successfully wrestled to the ground at that point.

AFOG, for sure.  I realized I had about a second to make up my mind not to freak out about it all, to breathe, do something else, start over tomorrow.  This was the part with the vodka.  Then I went outside and transplanted seedlings.

I started anew the next day, already having about six hours into this.  I called Apple first, where to my stupefaction (since this was about the fourth time I’d called in the past few months about this issue) the Rep revealed that? GUESS WHAT? There’s a website where you can reestablish your Apple ID.  I was thrilled.  Moving on, 45 minutes down, to calling Credo again to get connected, I found that the Apple ID had not been instantly updated so I still couldn’t do anything with that.   Fine, fine.  Another hour and another mini-death for the house phone later, it was revealed that my new IPhone was not going to power up.  Period.  No way.  It seems it needs a new SIM card.  Which we hope will arrive on the morrow when we have to go to town anyway.  Then I get to suit up and do it all over again.  Anyway it took the bulk of the weekend and while, yes, I learned a lot, nothing really got DONE.

I’m assuming this will all get wrestled to the ground and be fine.  The lacking PIN and unfindable ID related to a time long, long ago where someone else was doing my IT.  Good to sever all that and move forward into the NOW.  The question really is, how does one deal with all this overwhelming frustration and time suck?  Over something one doesn’t, in the big picture, really need but in quotidian context, must have.  It seemed sort of like everything else- all these things move in one’s life and have impact (like health care, let’s say, or a recent mystifying spot visit from two huge sheriffs trundling up our “driveway” one morning) without one having any ability to influence any part of it.  Except how one responds.

So I decided to use this as an opportunity to really work on my thoughts.  Revamped my brain as follows: 1) this is manageable 2) time can be used productively even in hacked up increments, to wit our lovely bean seedlings 3) no reason for fear or anxiety, (actually really ever) but if those things rear their unshapely heads, there’s a five minute limit and  4) in spite of feeling as though one is flying into the maw of some huge devouring reptilian creature, things are really OK.  Let’s ramp it back down to just thinking about a PHONE and not branch into ISTHEREAMETEORWITHGODZILLAONITCOMINGMYWAY.

Essentially, what I realized yet again was that we live in rather…interesting times.  The level of discordant energy is over the moon and it’s pretty hard not to feel that to an at times overwhelming extent.  Everyone really does feel it, and around here it appears to be contributing to a Night of the Living Dead atmosphere full of heroin users. However, that isn’t this.  The discord isn’t about us, personally,  and although things are dicey there’s no reason to assume the worst is always just around the corner.  In a decadent situation, things will fall down.  It is what it is, and it is where one finds oneself.  The saying used to be (pardon me, guys) if it has tires or testicles you’re going to have problems with it.  Now it’s more like if it has bytes? You’ll get bitten.  These things are par for the course though, and the continuing effort has to be toward conscious discernment in terms of just how important any given sandtrap really is, and are there sharks.  Also, even if you lose strokes you still get out of the trap for the most part so it still all boils down to learning from experience, and accepting that winds always shift.

To think I at least thought I was out of school.  Now I find I’m not only still there, but I’m playing golf in another galaxy.  And golf? used to be my most-detested sport but I find now it is quite calming to watch.  Which I take to mean, on some level, that once you put your preconceptions down, it’s a whole new world in a rather stunning way.  I’m just hoping this newest new world includes a working IPhone.

Blessings and thanks! oh, and, the Dog is fine. Even if he has lately tended a bit to melodrama- but that is a story for another time.  Right now he needs to play……

retrospect

For me, Gentle Reader, retrospect is something that often involves at least some level of eye-watering horror.

Leaving aside the grisly truth because, well, why?, we’ll just examine my relationship with CAKE.

I’ve had pound cake on the brain for a while.  Since it’s made in a standard size loaf pan (although needing to replace some bread pans has lead me to realize that finding even something like a standard size bread pan is akin to the holy grail now- they’re either ENORMOUS or TINY) it seemed perfect, given my prior history of dyslexia regarding cake pan size.  Not realizing that I should, er, measure the cake pan for proper size? I embarked at one point on making a Lady Baltimore cake for a friend’s birthday.  My pans were too big and I wound up making double the cake, cutting the tiny layers in half, and making more of a Lady Baltimore torte.  The fact that everyone wanted that cake over and over was good, of course, but once the Partner clued me in to the mystery of Different Sizes of Cake Pans, it also made me glad I’d kept my mouth shut about the roundabout way the cake was made, instead looking down and smiling modestly and saying thank you and no, I’m not a master chef, stopping before I blabbed the awful truth about having to bake the whole thing twice and sweat bullets while cutting it up.

So, as I say.  Pound cake.  This particular recipe, with the rather sinister name of SIMPLE POUND CAKE (in retrospect a First Clue) promised a dense cake, leavened as it is only with eggs.  I will digress a bit only to add that the Partner has been noticing of late that his bread is rising in an unusual, ballistic way.

We see our heroine mixing said cake, following instructions exactly (which honestly I often don’t except with cake because it’s chemistry, after all and, explosions…..), feeling rather proud of the lovely thing as it went into the pre-measured correct size pan and pre-heated oven.  I pulled out all the stops, in short.

So. When I looked in after a few minutes to make sure the oven temperature was right, imagine my, yes, eye-watering horror, when I saw that the cake had become your basic little volcano and there was cake All. Over. The. Bottom. of. the. Oven.  It exploded a bit, in short.  There was smoke during the extra long baking period, for added value.  I found myself plummeting down into old, often travelled waters of “you just can’t do anything right, can you? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”.  After the allotted hour of baking passed and the thing was still wet in the middle I almost cried but thought, no.  We’ve done a lot of heavy lifting and we’re not giving up now.  We can use it for something.

After an extra half hour of baking, it was at long last time for The Reveal.  Not without incident, it involved a tricky bit of jaws of life type crust carving to get the pan off. Fortunately I’d already had the Lady Baltimore Tutorial.  At this point, the cake looked OK, if not like a “normal” pound cake.  The oven duly cleaned, dinner made and eaten, and cake cooled, it was time to face the music.

And? It was PERFECT.  I was stunned.  And then I realized what the cause of the eruption was.

EGGS, Gentle Reader.  We’ve been getting eggs from our neighbor and they are not, we know now, just any old eggs.  I made rellenos with them and the batter was almost radioactively yellow and puffy as a cloud. And since for some insane reason I made several the same night, also kept perfectly til the next day.  The bread, using these eggs, has risen crazily, driving the Partner to chew his nails.  Then, the exploding cake.

Aside from the issue of one’s ridiculous very important story intruding its lifelike Godzilla head into metaphorical sky scrapers for the most nonsensical reasons, and all that…..the important take away (aside from remembering never to despair too early!) from this episode is the nature of food now.  We’re often told that organic food is no different from food not grown organically.  And heavens to murgatroyd.  GMOs? No danger to public health there.  The fact that the US has a population of bloated, immunosuppressed, unhealthy people can’t have anything to do with what they eat.  Can it?

The fact that something as ubiquitous as a freaking egg can be so incredibly different because the chicken is fed organic food and allowed to toddle around (within reason of course given that we do live in predator world here) instead of being confined, just for starters, is totally mind boggling. We used to buy organic, free range eggs at the grocery store, but even they are far from these eggs on every level. If such an egg has such an effect on a little old cake? Think what it can do for your body.  It’s like a big shot of the perfect magic.  Who knew? Right? That Nature actually does NOT do the stupid stuff- doesn’t have to be fixed and controlled- and food as it IS, without manipulation or waterfalls of chemical interventions, is actually good for you.  Keeps you healthy for the most part.  Once again what you are “told” is not necessarily so. Food, as we say, for thought.  I’m quite sure that for the Partner and for me? The fact that we eat almost completely organically and locally (barring essentials like coffee, chocolate, vanilla…and pineapple), grow our own produce in the summer, and cook our own food daily is why we’re still alive.  This place we are is, to put it mildly, physically a ball buster, and even young people can look worn and “old”.   Without real, good food? Good luck getting through a day.  I mean, I’ve always been a bit fanatical about this stuff, always revered seeds and baked my own bread.  But this egg thing was a real revelation.  Leavening with rocket fuel, kind of.

I think, actually, that paying attention to what you eat and where you buy it may be the one most important thing you can do NOW, politically and personally.  We simply cannot allow the unthinking rush to “profit” to destroy us all.  Seeds are not being preserved, land is being killed by chemical overuse, and people are made ill by the poor nutrition mass produced food provides, along with the reactions the body has to the poisons used all around it. For example, there is in fact  evidence that gluten intolerance is really a reaction to the herbicides-  like roundup-  used on grain producing plants.  And then, supplementing their healthy meat byproduct and antibiotic diet, cattle get to eat this stuff too.  Is this really what you want? Don’t think so.  Connection with what is real has got to be re-established.  You gotta know where your food comes from and what’s in it.  To think otherwise is to be, as they say in baseball, badly fooled.

This relates to the War Against One’s Very Important Story, to me anyway, because it has to do with disrupting the patter, the voices inside, the propaganda we’re inundated by, and being in the here and now.  It means thinking for yourself and expanding your awareness of what’s important to a much bigger radius- in other words, to what other people feel and need and do.  It has to do with not listening to the familiar refrain, and with starting to actually plant your feet on the ground and look at the sky.   Where you will, if you are lucky, see birds and bees.  And if you can’t? You will see the road forward truly means being your brother’s, and sister’s, and fellow creatures’ keeper.  I don’t think there’s any other way, now.

The tale of How the Dog Got Blow Dried After His Bath for the First Time and Liked It, following the Miracle of Actually Finding the Blow Dryer which Saved the Day in and of Itself,  will be saved for another time….blessings and thanks!