All right. I have to tell you that that focaccia/pizza rustica/whatever you want to call it, was one of the best things I ever made. After it was baked I dressed all of those tiny arugula leaves that I patiently stripped from a plant many people would have pulled up long ago with a tiny bit of olive oil and balsamic, salt and pepper and we ate that on top of the pie-without-a-name and had bowls of squash soup and it was pretty much heavenly.
Do I miss going out to eat with my kids and grandkids?
Yes. Of course. Because of the social aspect, because it's fun to see everyone. But not for the food. I'll tell you the truth- I don't think I brag about much. I admit that my housekeeping skills are a bit of a joke, that my husband is obviously a much better gardener than I am, that as a chicken-tender I could definitely keep things cleaner for the birds, as a seamstress I'm subpar. But when it comes to cooking, I can do it.
And last night I really did it.
I may have discussed this before (what? twenty, thirty times?) but sexing young chickens is a fool's errand. I'm not about to stick my finger up anything so I just judge on looks and I don't claim to be an expert but this morning I got a picture of a youngster that I'm fairly certain is going to crow eventually.
I love the way the sun is shining through his little comb and wattle. He's a very handsome guy.
Combs and wattles do vary as to size and even presence according to breed and I don't know enough about chicken breeds to testify to anything but I do believe he's a man bird.
So this morning I was in a horrible, down mood. Tears spilled without prompt. I'd had so many ridiculous and disturbing dreams and they were hard to shake and I just did not feel good. Jessie and Lauren were planning on taking all the kids blueberry picking at a local farm and had invited me and I really thought I wouldn't go. It was already so hot and humid and honestly, berry picking in Florida is a special sort of hell. But after I got the sheets on the line and the chickens all taken care of I decided that I'd join them. Lily was at work but sweet Lauren, being a trouper, agreed to take that brood. I met them at the farm after a beautiful drive a few miles north of here. Everything is so very green right now and the road the farm is on is a canopy road with giant oaks bending towards each other over it. I'd never been to this place before and it's pretty cool. They've moved three old farmhouses out to the property that I would gladly live in. They are fairly primitive but beautiful in their unpainted, chinked log walls. I have no idea if they do anything with those tin-roofed, graciously-porched old beauties but I'd live in one.
I met up with my sweeties and it was hot. Hot AND humid. But we started out cheerfully enough. The bushes are in full sun, of course, and I'd forgotten my hat and the bushes were absolutely NOT filled with berries. We found some as big as marbles, but they were few and far between. Even the little ones were sparse. We trudged from field to field, from row to row and thankfully, before I admitted defeat, Maggie and Gibson and Levon put their little feet down and said, "That's enough.
The little man was just exhausted.
Maggie needed water.
Resting in the shade.
We probably didn't pick for half an hour and between all of us, I doubt we got a pound of berries. But it was fun, talking to August and Owen as we walked between the rows. August wants to be as big and as cool as Cousin Owen so bad. He wants to impress him. And Owen is sweet with him. We were talking about what time we get up in the morning and Owen said, "I sleep until ten o'clock!"
I said, "I'm pretty lazy. I sleep until about 8:30."
And August said, "I sleep until 31."
"Wow!" I said. And Owen didn't point out that thirty-one is not a time and he calls August "dude" which makes August feel like a man, and it's something that I love to witness.
On our walk back to the parking lot, Levon and Maggie had a long conversation and it was precious to see and hear them just talking away. Such sweeties.
But we didn't walk back to the cars empty-handed. Turns out that you can buy pre-picked berries for the same price as the ones you pick which is truly ridiculous. People are paying for the privilege of sweating their asses off and I get that it's a grand experience for children and people who are thrilled at the idea of harvesting something right off a living bush but really?
Yeah. I'll take three pounds. Here's fifteen dollars. Thank you very much.
They're really not that cheap but they are good.
August asked me what I was going to do with my berries and I told him I wasn't sure. I think I'm going to give Hank and Rachel some and maybe make a pie. Sounds good, right?
And speaking of Rachel- she's been accepted into the FSU Master's program for social work! We are all so proud of her. She's just amazing. That's a line of education I had considered at one time. The counselor who saved my life had an MSW and it was something that I probably could have gone on and done with my BS in nursing behind me but I never did. I don't know that I regret that but it sure makes me happy to see Rachel going for her own dream.
She's a very, very strong woman and our family is so lucky that she's part of it.
And that was my day. I also made Lily another mask and put the clean sheets on the bed and I've got a nice little chicken (not my own, of course) in the oven with stuffing and everything. I'll put some potatoes and carrots from the garden in with it along with some garlic and onions in a little while. My husband is home from working hard all day at the duplex. It's getting close to being finished. Mr. Moon posted this picture on our thread after Rachel made her announcement today:
His text said, "Rachel your office and study room is ready for the floor."
Such a good daddy. Such a good man.
And so somehow during this day my mood has lightened, my spirits have risen.
One more picture.
This was taken on the road I drove home on. The orange clay is so very much a part of north Florida, just as it is of southern Georgia because borders are so random and do not reflect geology but rather man-made constructs.
Not unlike time which we think we have harnessed with phones and watches and nuclear clocks while my chickens go to bed at the same time every evening although it is only the same time in their estimation which I think is probably the truest one.
Perhaps they go to bed at 31. I would not be surprised.
Happy Friday, y'all.
To bed at 31! I live the idea of getting up at 31. Ling ago a musician friend and I were tuning ready to play, she piano I violin, her little girl whipping out her flutophone, as we were talking about the notes, tuning, what was a bit flat, when Elizabeth announced My H is very flat!ReplyDelete
Oh, H's are so often tricky.Delete
And your food is not flat at all, it's impressive!ReplyDelete
Thank you, dear Boud.Delete
It's Owens raising that makes him the kind person he is. And Rachel! Wow. Social work is the hardest profession, the saddest, the most soul bursting of any. I think she will excel, and I think that because of the family commitment to her.ReplyDelete
I think she is already amazing and she's going to be even more so as she goes along. She is some strong woman!Delete
I'm glad you had a better day today. Your food always looks beautiful. Having done grad school, my hat is off to your Rachel for her ambition and all the hard work ahead of her and for the desire to help people in this world. I think I'll follow August's lead and sleep til 31. Have a sweet night.ReplyDelete
I know that Rachel will persevere. She has so much strength and spirit.Delete
Sleeping until 31 is an excellent idea!
Your focaccia looks sooo good!ReplyDelete
I wish that I could sleep till 31 this morning. I think that I will roll over and give it a try.ReplyDelete
Did you do it? I hope so.Delete
Your blog is a treasure to me. Days like today remind me of this. I feel lighter having read about your day.ReplyDelete
Oh, Jill. You are always so kind. Thank you.Delete
that dirt road reminds me of the red dirt of East Texas and the piney woods where my aunt and uncle lived and I would go visit them every summer. as for blueberry picking, I've done it a couple of times but it is so easy to get heat stroke and we would go as early as we could get there. where I live now it's a two hour drive to the blueberry farms and Costco is so much closer. congrats to Rachel.ReplyDelete
Yep. It's hot work and blackberry picking, even worse if you're picking in the wild. Snakey and prickly. Costco sells good berries.Delete
Thirty onety clock and a half is the best time for pizza. Did you make the dough yourself? It looks scrumptious - so rustic. Good news about Rachel. Hank struck lucky there!ReplyDelete
Of course I made the dough, Mr. P! And scrumptious it was.Delete
You are correct about Hank.
I’m so glad your mood improved over the course of the day. I remember tomato picking as a little kid and I LOVED it. (I doubt I picked many tomatoes, though!) It’s a lot of work but makes good memories. Congrats to Rachel! The world needs more like her!ReplyDelete
The world DOES need more like Rachel. I swear. You are right.Delete
The red dirt reminds me of PEI and The Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.ReplyDelete
I'm glad your mood got better as the day progressed and yes, the pizza does look delicious.
We have a lot of red dirt around here. It's part of our blood, I think.Delete
Congrats to Rachel! Wonderful news. As for the berry picking, those days can be hot, sticky and miserable in the living of them but often they become worthy of nostalgic in the remembering. The togetherness is the thing.ReplyDelete
Yes! Maggie already asked me today if I'd had a good time picking berries. I told her that yes, I had. And asked if she had. She said she did. We have short memories. Haha!Delete
I admire your ability to go out in warm humidity, To pick berries with the kids and be so joyful about it. Worth it for just ONE ofReplyDelete
August's comments, and DUDE! great response. I feel like I have been somewhere having read your post- a little vaca- LOVE your red road which probably deserves a poem.