Saturday, August 28, 2010

I'm Back!

We had a lovely time at Shell Cottage.  I was terribly sorry to leave so soon, but Norbert had an afternoon bat mitzvah to attend, so leave we did.

I suppose you'd like a little more info than that.  Let's see.  Monday was sort of an easy day.  Norbert slept in, but Myfanwe and I acted like adults and only slept an hour (me) or two (Myfanwe) later than usual.  We made a trip or two outside -- to the orchard for a big bag of peaches and a mess of corn -- but other than that, we were lazy.  We went to the library -- I checked out another Foxfire book and a book on calving for persons involved in bovine husbandry.  We had lunch in the village Saloon -- which we never would have done six months ago, but thanks to the new smoking ban in Michigan, we can and do avail ourselves of the vittles served up by our neighborhood publicans.  In the afternoon I knit more on the Eiffel Tower Shawl -- I'm nearing the end of the 2nd Chart and will then do a repeat of it to create a large shawl.  I sort of remember napping a lot, which must have been more tiring than it sounds, because I had to go to bed early!

Tuesday we kept to basically the same schedule.  I slept an hour later than usual, Myfanwe slept two, but Norbert only slept three hours later than usual because we were going on an adventure.  The three of us went kayaking on the Galien River.  (River does sound a bit than this body of water.  We were told that the return didn't take any longer because there was "zero current".)  Anyway, it was beautiful, peaceful, and a bit of a thrill.  I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to do it.  But I could!  And we saw a beautiful, big Blue Heron at pretty close range!  He flew out of the reads about 20 feet ahead of us and flew down the middle of the rive so we could get a really look.

Wednesday we drove to Shipshewana, Indiana for the Flea Market, the Antique Auction, and -- my favorite -- E & S Sales, the best Amish general store in the Midwest!  I bought stone-ground course whole wheat flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, and bread flour (all grown in Indiana by people the owner knows, milled locally, and all carrying kosher certification!), six pounds of SAF Instant Yeast, raw honey, beef ring bologna, and various pickled veggies.  We ate at the Auction House Restaurant -- we all ordered the chicken & noodles special and Norbert & I split a piece of peanut butter pie.  Michelle bought an old 12-light window with frosted panes which she is going to hang in our bedroom at the cottage and use to frame photos from our trip to Ireland.  She's going to mount one photo in each of the panes of glass, and hang it where she can look at it from bed.  (She really misses Ireland.)

Thursday we went to St. Joseph, Michigan to Silver Beach, possible the finest beach on a Great Lake.  It really is a stunning beach, clean, orderly, with benches in the shade along the periphery and a few shaded picnic tables for lunch.  Myfanwe had packed a picnic, so we availed ourselves of the shade.  It had warmed up nicely -- it was, for the first time all year, a little cooler than normal -- but warm air does not necessarily mean warm water.  When Myfanwe says it's cold, it's COLD!  After the beach we walked around downtown St. Joe, including and especially Kelwins's Ice Cream & Candy!  Yum!  I had two scoops -- 1 cappachino chocolate chip and the other toasted coconut.  I would like to go back every day for the rest of my life, please!  SO delicious!

Friday.  Hmm.  Norbert and I started off the day with another kayak excursion.  Myfanwe begged off.  The river was beautiful again -- though I can't move a quickly as Norbert can -- he flies!  We need to find another person to go with us who can move at the same speed so we aren't holding Norbert back.

We made another library crawl.  Norbert had to collect his prize.  He entered the summer reading contest which offered a prize to the top 5 readers and a Grand Prize for the reader who read the most minutes over the summer.  Noah felt a little handicapped, since he only had 3 weeks to read and keep track of time before he left for camp, and he was volunteering full time at his school's preschool during those weeks.  But he really focused on reading and keeping meticulous time records.  The outcome?  Norbert read 43 hours 15 minutes, besting his nearest competitor by 6 hours and some odd minutes.  His Grand Prize?  $50.

After that Myfanwe and Norbert went to the beach in New Buffalo while I went and had a visit with our friend Jaye, who was our realtor when we bought Shell Cottage.  I enjoy her very, very much, so that was a big treat.  When I left Jaye's office, I staked out a little bench on the main, boardwalky sort of street and sat in the shade and knit.  If there is a better way to spend an hour, I don't know what it is!

This morning I started off by going to a friend's to meet her new goat, Posie.  Posie is a real looker!  I'm completely smitten.  I thought she was so cute that I felt her up at the first opportunity!  Yes!  Me!  Milking a goat!  It isn't as easy as it looks, but I did it, and I plan to get better in the future.  Posie is a very patient young goat and forgiving by nature.

After I go home, we ran to the orchard again for more peaches and some apples this time.  I do love quality produce!  These are the last peaches we will have for the season, so I'm sorry to see them go, but with the end of the peaches we should also soon see the end of the heat, so I can start backing some apples pies and cakes!

I know there are no pictures.  And that's because I can't find my camera.  I took a whole bunch of pictures with my phone, but then my phone died a horrible death while kayaking.  At least it was quick, that's all I can say.  (And thank Bob our contract is up and we are all going to get new phones, maybe as early as tomorrow.)

Good night.  I'll write again soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Do I Do Now?

We had a guest for Shabbat -- Norbert's best friend, Leroy.  Knowing how much Leroy likes lox -- he really can eat a pound without noticing -- I picked up a pound of Nova at the grocery yesterday.

This morning I put out a spread of soft baby pita. homemade fromage blanc, lox, diced read onion, tomatoes, and blueberries.

Leroy arrived at the breakfast table, asked for cereal, and then ate a bowl of (dry) cereal instead.

We leave for a week at Shell Cottage tomorrow.  What in the hell am I going to do with a pound of lox?  Did I mention I don't LIKE lox?  Oi!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knitting Needles and Tools Reviewed

Knitting Needles and Tools Reviewed

I don't like charts, so I would never use this, but this is an easy, inexpensive way to create charted patterns. $6! Who'da thunkit?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Not the Same as a Trip to Paris

...but it will have to do for now.  Last Thursday I cast on the Eiffel Tower Shawl, which was inspired by the iron work detail in the tower.  I'm half-way through the second chart, and enjoying it.  It is, for the most part, an easy, mindless knit -- which is exactly what I need right now!  The end border will be more involved, which I am sure I will enjoy as well.

Norbert is home from camp.  He grew two inches while at camp and is now 2 inches taller than I.  And he is only 13!  His return is much appreciated -- I didn't realize how much I rely on him for the tie breaking vote on things like going out for Vietnamese or buying ice cream for dessert!  All joking aside, he is a good boy and I am so glad to have him back.

Next week is vacation.  The three of us are going to Shell Cottage.  We'll spend one day in Shipshewana, Indiana, but other than that we plan to stick around and go to the beach, go kayaking, and lay around and read a lot.

While on the subject of books, let me recommend a couple I have really enjoyed:  "The Good Good Pig" by Sy Montgomery is at the top of this year's list.  I enjoyed it immensely and it really touched me deeply.  I'm also re-reading "Miss Mary Bobo's Boardinghouse Cookbook.".  I love the unfussiness of the comfort food.

Gotta run.  Have fun.  Be good.  Stay well.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Myfanwe and I spent the weekend together at Shell Cottage sans Norbert, who is at camp. We went to hear Uncommon Folk at the band shell in the park and took a wonderful picnic of grilled pork (don't tell my Rabbi), sliced tomatoes, marinated green beans, some perfect melon, lemonade, and peach cobbler. We ran into a former colleague of Myfanwe's, Fakurdi, and her husband and son and ended up staying well after the concert was over. If the mosquitoes hadn't gotten so thick, I think we would have stayed even longer! They have a house nearby, so we'll be able to take up again soon.

So. This spring we had all the raggedy bushes in front of Shell Cottage ripped out and I planted 6 hedge roses (Rosa Rugosa) in front of the house. I wanted a low maintenance, healthy rose. When the roses came, they really looked like nothing more than sticks poking out of the ground. Not a surprise -- I knew and was expecting it. And I expected that they would bloom for the first time next year or possibly even the year after. So you can imagine my reaction to this:

I hope it will be in bloom when we are there next. If it is, I'll update the pics! Have a good week!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I Have No Excuse.

Except to say that I've been having a good time.

I've been chided in comments, in e-mail, and in person. Please accept my sincere apology and know that I've missed you, as well.

Let's see. Since we last spoke, we've done our best to spend 2.5 days a week at Shell Cottage. More if we can. The spring was kind of cool and wet, which didn't stop us from enjoying much! It made the grass a bit harder to cut, but not for long. Because right behind the cold and wet Spring came the hot and wet summer. (We've had good luck, though, with cutting the grass. Only one weekend so far was too wet each to find a window of opportunity to mow.)

When I said hot, by the way, I wasn't kidding. More days over 80 degrees than in any summer since they started keeping records. Our guest room isn't air conditioned, which has cut down on summer company a little -- but not entirely. (One weekend Norbert slept on the floor in our bedroom, and another Myfanwe and I slept in Norbert's room while he was at camp. We took turns -- one of us in the bed, the other on an inflatable twin mattress.)

Just in time for Flag Day we found a piece of folk art that we love and had to have. (It is made from remnants of now demolished Three Oaks barns!)

Flag Day, which is a major holiday in Three Oaks, Michigan, was great fun. We had an open house and friends and neighbors filled the house up, ate, drank, then watched the Flag Day parade.
I have started making my own cheeses -- fromage blanc and chevre. It has been too hot to bake much, but I did find a wonderful recipe for Amazing Corn Cake in a Nebraska 4-H cookbook that I'm very happy with.

Norbert, Myfanwe, the pets and I are all happy and healthy. M & I are working a LOT, but feel lucky to have jobs. And lucky to have jobs that challenge us. Norbert is at camp until the 14th -- we miss him lots, but also are so glad to know he's having so much fun.

I've got to run and take a cake out of the oven. Stay well. I'll try not to take so long between posts. Love. Peace. Cake.