Monday, April 29, 2024

A Good Year for Epiphyllums



Our greenhouse is home to an assortment of these lovelies--also known as orchid cactus. I acquired my first one (the one pictured here) about forty years ago (can it have been that long?) when Justin was in a youth soccer league and my friend Sue (whose son was also playing,) found ourselves in an unfamiliar part of Asheville and after the game, just had to check out a local greenhouse. 


They had a wonderful selection of epiphyllums in various colors, but they weren't cheap, and I had to be content with selecting the gaudiest of the lot.                                                                                         

The weather has been too uncertain to put them outside yet, but they have been blooming exuberantly in the crowded greenhouse.

Somewhere along the way, I was given this red variety below.

And my friend Lisa S. brought me this dainty pink one below.  

When the weather is reliably warm, I'll try to get these babies outside and do some repotting and propagating. May they all last another forty years!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Florentine Butter Chicken

 A recipe from Food and Wine that John suggested we try. It's not especially complicated and is quite delicious. It does include an artery-choking amount of butter...which is, of course, why it's so tasty.


1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 (7-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded to 3/4-inch-thickness

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) cold salted cultured butter (such as Vermont Creamery), cut into pieces, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)


Place beaten egg in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Spread flour in a separate shallow bowl or pie plate. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working with 1 breast at a time, dip chicken in egg, letting any excess drip back into bowl, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

Melt 1/4 cup butter with oil in a 10-inch stainless steel skillet over medium-high, and cook, swirling occasionally, until milk solids begin to sink to bottom of skillet and start to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chicken, rounded sides down, and cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn chicken over, and add remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Tilt skillet toward you so butter pools, and cook, basting chicken often, until chicken is just cooked through and golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and carefully pour in lemon juice (butter will start to bubble). Serve immediately.

Friday, April 26, 2024

A Great Library Visit!


On Wednesday we went to the library. The library bears had on new summer clothes, and I had to hug them.


Then I returned my library books. We try to take good care of them and not get them mixed up with my own books.

I picked out some more books and then I played with the castle for a while. There was just one very little kid there and he didn't want to play. But then, guess what! One of my best friends and her mother came in! We went out to the playground at once.

We ran around and did the slides and climbed on things. Then I tried the monkey bars and guess what! I swung all the way from one end to the other! That is the first time I have done that, and Meema was amazed. She said I must have very strong arms. (I do.)

Then my friend and I did some puppet shows.

Puppet shows are more fun with two people.

And with a great big dog! (He is not real. He is a stuffie.)

We stayed at the library till almost five o'clock. I loved getting to spend time with my friend. She was in my kindergarten class last year but this year she is in a different first grade class. But we are still best friends.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

In Praise of Trees

As the trees leaf out in sparkling green, I realize anew how fortunate I am to live surrounded by these marvelous creations--the lungs of our planet.


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

When I Consider . . .

In this beautiful time of year, it's tempting to simply ignore the news and bask in the sun.

But I can't. I am fascinated by the daily reports of the Former Guy on trial--his dozing off, his scowl, his reported farting--all of these are laughable. But the fact that he is being forced to sit silent--without his Diet Cokes and without his minions and yes persons constantly stroking his ego--well, I gotta say I enjoy that. I enjoy that he had to hear what many of the prospective jurors thought of him as their posts on social media were read out. 

And then there's the testimony by Mr. Pecker of the National Enquirer--showing how the Enquirer coordinated with the Trump campaign to 'catch and kill any negative articles about Trump and to post any and all disparaging article about his opponents.

I, for one, have never accepted supermarket tabloids as a source of news but, alas, I suspect that many of the Orange One's supporters do.  Hillary pregnant by space alien; Ted Cruz shamed by porn star, Ben Carson left sponge in patient's brain-some people believe what they want to believe. So, add the Enquirer to Fox News as an enabler of the Orange One.

Linda, one of my FB friends said that she felt much of Trump's following came from his years on "The Apprentice"--a show that had about as much to do with reality as does the Enquirer. Her words: If there's anyone to blame for the Orange Buffoon's rise, I believe it is Mark Burnett. His careful editing of The Apprentice made the Orange Asshole seem to be a smart, compassionate, honorable and wise man.
Interesting. I never watched that show, unlike a great many folks. But wow! that is some serious editing. The mind boggles.

I wish I could think that as more and more of the Former Guy's machinations are revealed, that his supporters will see how they've been manipulated. 

Wishful thinking. Folks in a cult like MAGA have too much of their ego wrapped up in their beliefs. 

Ah, well, at least I can look forward to Don Snorleone having some more miserable days ahead as this trial grinds on. And with no Diet Coke.


Tuesday, April 23, 2024

At Random

The new green against the blue sky . . .ah!

At their ease, enjoying the sun after two days of rain.

The persistence of nature.

The rhododendrons are coming on.

Meanwhile, the tree peony has called it quits--a short-lived bloom time, alas.


Monday, April 22, 2024

Breaking News: The Rapture is Tomorrow! Again!

How many times does that make that some self-appointed prophet has proclaimed The Rapture? Or Armageddon or The Apocalypse or (fill in the blanks.)

Some people will believe anything. Witness the current state of the race for president. I think I'm actually more appalled at the number of Americans who choose to believe the Orange Blowhard (oops, I'm disqualifying myself from future juries involving him) than by the Blowhard himself.

I'd seen the "news" of the impending Rapture on FB but wanted to check the source. The first thing that popped up was Fox "News."

Surprise, surprise. When the history of the past decade is written (always assuming there will still be people capable of writing history,) Fox News will bear much of the blame for the Orange One's rise to power. Fox and Russian disinformation campaigns--though perhaps I repeat myself. They may well be one and the same.

Meanwhile, in other news, the bluebells are blooming, and my little patch of ramps is up. Years ago, I bought a bundle of freshly dug ramps and planted them. Now they are thriving and spreading. 

If I thought we were looking at End Times, I'd go on and pull up every last one and have a real ramp feast--kind of the fundamentalist approach to environmental issues--use it all up with no thought for the future because this world is not our home.

But I don't and I won't. I will continue to harvest only the occasional leaf, conserving the patch so it can increase. This world is my home.


Saturday, April 20, 2024

Pickled Onions

I was planning on a no-meat supper--field peas on rice with greens and a kind of corn cake on the side. But it just wasn't inspiring me till I thought of pickled onions--a perfect taste accompaniment as well as a nice shot of bold color to jazz up the meal.

And they're quick and easy to make. Do a bit ahead so they can spend an hour or so in the fridge. 

Here's how:

1 red onion
1/2 c cider vinegar (or rice vinegar)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar (or honey)

Slice the onion very thinly and shove slices into a glass jar (I used a quart size.) Combine the other ingredients in a small saucepan and heat till salt and sugar are dissolved. Take a taste and adjust the salt/sugar to suit your own taste. Pour heated liquid into jar, making sure onions are covered. Refrigerate at least an hour. Keeps about three weeks. 

I can eat this right out of the jar. Or on cottage cheese or in a cheese sandwich or on a burger or a taco. 

I could probably eat it on vanilla ice cream.