Sunday, March 16, 2014

weekend mishmash

Have you ever seen the magical moment when snow begins to fall? 

Perhaps you are gazing out at an open landscape, thinking about this or that. Your eye is caught by one tiny bit of something drifting down. And you think, "Is that ash? Is it snow?" Then another bit drifts down, then a dozen or a thousand, or countless millions more. And at that moment, even if you have seen plenty of snow for one season, you still feel huge relief that it is snow. Because that much ash would be a bit worrisome.

This morning I saw the snow begin. Then I checked the online weather report to see if a significant storm is predicted. I learned that the current conditions were "heavy rain" and "21 F," which made me laugh. Isn't there an inherent flaw in that combination?

Lately, a few things on my laptop screen have made me laugh. 
Here's one:

It may be the 15th century.
And those may be sheep, not goats.
Nevertheless, every detail of that scene is so familiar!
I love the expressions, and the authentic positions of the animals.
And of course, the determined youngster with something to say.

Maybe every herd has a Tsuga?

I hope so.

Now this is a sensible height for an oven!
If only I could find one of these, I wouldn't need a wall oven.
Not that I need one. Not at all. 

This weekend, I've been gathering recipes for oven-free breadmaking. (Doesn't "oven-free" sound nicer than "ovenless"? Liberating! No need to rush the oven replacement, no sirree!) I hope to become an expert a competent flatbread-maker in the weeks ahead.

But I'll tell you what: if you don't have a few hours to spare, you might want to avoid searching for recipes on the informative and inspirational rabbit-hole of Pinterest. One interesting image will lead a board (that link is to my Pinterest boards) then maybe you decide to click through to the original blog or YouTube video or website...and suddenly it's really, really time to get outside and unload the hay before nightfall, you lazypants!

Along the bread-lined way I've collected recipes for lots of other things. (Note: these links will take you to the site with the actual recipe, not to Pinterest.) Desserts from the days of WWII food rationing. Soups and stews from many countries and cultures. Crockpot chicken dishes to replace my standard (but totally unnecessary!) oven roasts.
As you might imagine, I always go for simple recipes, with few ingredients and a short list of instructions. Even so, an occasional recipe presents a challenge, like the one that calls for "one and a half eggs"... 

"Say what now?" 

...or the instruction to "line a large pot with a thin layer of vegetable broth."

Speaking of vegetables, my 2014 garden seeds are now in a bowl in the kitchen, where they make me smile several times each day. Every now and then, I move the bottom packet to the top. Today, a switch from broccoli, which I hope will be more successful than the 2013 cauliflower experiment: a variety of kale which I hope will work in caldo verde. Because seriously: I have tried and tried and if I can't duplicate the remembered flavor with this kale, I suppose I will have to go back to Portugal and collect some seeds by the roadside.

Still plenty of time before planting, as you can see by the intrepid hens. At least the snow has melted down enough that they are happy to go outside again! This winter is the first time ever that the hens have chosen to remain indoors for even one day, let alone days on end. I'm so glad they are venturing out as usual now.

The tulips are becoming fragile, but are still so precious. 

I will probably be refreshing the water in the vase when the petals have dropped and all that's left is the green stems, and yellow stamens and pistils.

Because green and yellow are colors, and colors are not to be squandered these days.

I hope you are enjoying a colorful weekend!