As you can see, I've adjusted to my new glasses perfectly already. In fact, there really was almost no adjustment required. I felt a little let down, actually. Cheated. All that hype for nothing. Why can't I be sick and dizzy and falling-down and seeing crazy flying bookcases like everybody elllllllllse?
My guess is I was "in training" for the new stomach-turning, fuzzy, blurring, dizziness-inducing glasses by the system I was, with not so much success, using for the last half year or so out of sheer cheapitude. The drugstore reading glasses on top of the contacts was not the best solution, but even worse was the drugstore reading glasses over the regular badly outdated prescription glasses. Things had gotten pretty bad. It was that last step of putting the sunglasses over the reading glasses, OVER the regular glasses that made...me... finally....realize...it...was....TIME...already. And then I'd have the reading glasses on and actually forget they were on. I'd get up from my knitting chair and walk halfway down the stairs, wondering why in the world I could see ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and was going to trip and fall and possibly kill myself (or yes, break a hip, Greta dearest!), then remember I had on the reading glasses. Yep, that's me: the absent-minded professor. So there I am with my new reddish-colored frames. I kinda like them, as much as I can like any glasses. I'm not a great lover of glasses on me. I'll still wear my contacts for most forays outside the house, but it's nice to have good glasses to put on when I need them. So no rose-colored glasses for me, but rose-colored frames are fair game.
Speaking of adjustments, I feel like a fraud for even saying I'm going to take part in this:
This will require almost no change for me, at least for a large part of the year and for the majority of items. Not much of a challenge, really. Challenges are supposed to be hard.
I already eat mostly Vermont-grown......well, EVERYTHING. Much of it comes from my own backyard. The goat's cheese I buy is from a farm about six miles from me. I don't consume much dairy other than that. Some occasional yogurt from, you guessed it, Vermont. (and yes, the once- or twice-a-year Ben & Jerry's ice cream, produced right in my town) The eggs I get from a local farm (I love opening a carton of eggs and having each one a different size and color -- coolest thing ever). The meat I eat (including farmed venison, chicken, turkey, beef and buffalo) -- is at least 90% from Vermont and organic, the garlic from a farm about three miles from me. The only challenge comes with grains. There really aren't any grains grown here. We don't eat wheat anymore, but do eat a limited amount of spelt, and that is not available locally. However, I buy spelt bread baked at a Vermont bakery, which sort of makes me feel better.
Same goes for rice - it's not available here. But I'm not going to get all guilted out about that. And I've tried growing watermelons...not so successful in Vermont. Muskmelons (like cantaloupe) are good here, though. But I don't have the space to really grow many of them, so I gave up and buy them at the farm stand two miles away. So I eat whatever local fruits and berries I can, but I also indulge in fruits from the market.
I can my own tomatoes and beets. I dry hot red and green peppers to use in my cooking later in the year. I freeze sweet green peppers and shredded zucchini and summer squash. I store winter squash. I freeze broccoli and dandelion greens and herbs. I store onions and potatoes that I grow myself. I should say I did store potatoes. I'm not eating them anymore, except on very rare occasions, and therefore I'm not growing them this year. I do have to buy fresh salad greens from the market in the dead of winter. Fruit, as well.
I have the luxury of living in a state that makes it easy to get food grown locally. I also have the luxury of owning a little piece of land (only 1/2 an acre, though, and only about 30 feet by 40 feet of vegetable garden) on which to grow things. But we have an awfully short growing season, so it's tough to live a modern life, complete with full-time job, and do all that's required to store enough food for a whole winter. Therefore, I'm realistic about it. There are a few hydroponic greenhouses locally and just across the border in Canada from which we can buy tomatoes and cucumbers pretty much all year long.
And lest you think I'm a slave to the garden, I'm not really. I've learned a lot of lazy ways - ways to conserve water and control weeds, ways to enhance production, all of which I've talked about in the blog before. I'm pretty casual about going out and picking stuff on a daily basis, creating the menu out of what's ready on any particular day. I take a lot of this for granted as just the normal way of life. It's really not "normal" for most people, I guess. I realized that this weekend when my guests were watching me with some sort of question marks over their heads as I slapped marinated chicken breasts on the grill, then walked up to the garden. ("up to" because our vegetable garden plot is up a steep hill from our back deck)
I think they might have thought I was being antisocial at first. I started picking summer squash, scallions, Swiss chard and dandelion greens, and my brother-in-law shouted up, "What are you picking, Norma?" I held up some things, but I don't think they knew that's what was for dinner. I came back and washed the Swiss chard in a sinkful of salt water. This kills the bugs and slugs if there are any on the greens, and they go down the drain. Then I rinsed it in fresh water, shook the excess water off, shredded it crosswise in half-inch(ish) strips.
For preparing the Swiss chard:
I heat high-quality olive oil up in a large frying pan, add some chopped garlic to the oil. Saute it lightly for a minute or so (don't saute garlic at high heat or for too long - it becomes bitter if you do that -- just medium heat, gently sauteed to release the fragrance and flavor), then add the shredded swished. (I include the stems) Saute for a short time, just until the greens are evenly wilted and the stems are tender, but not overcooked. Add some sea salt and some freshly ground pepper, and you're done. DON'T OVERCOOK. This is more "wilted" than cooked.
Meanwhile, I had sliced lengthwise the baby (four-inch-long, approx.) summer squash, zucchini and scallions. I coated them in olive oil and put them on the grill with the chicken.
I included these "recipes" because of the reactions my guests had to this meal. They had never tried Swiss chard before. They thought it would be bitter. (I didn't tell them they also ate dandelions, hee. Although they willingly ate dandelion omelets later in the weekend.) They had never eaten baby summer squash and zucchini and scallions on the grill. So perhaps you haven't, either? You ought to try it. Seriously.
So, some pics fresh from the garden, since some people asked and since there's precious little else around here to show you.
A new word for the Mensa invitational. Tomatorgasm (tm): The feeling you get when you eat a warm, ripe, organic tomato straight off the vine.
Oh, and Rule No. 1 about tomatoes? DON'T PUT THEM IN THE REFRIGERATOR. Geesh, it's like an act against God or something. I could die when I see someone do that. I could kill when someone in my own house, trying to be helpful, puts them in MY OWN REFRIGERATOR! They need to be at room temperature. Please. I beg you.
Yellow summer squash, the plant (I've forgotten the variety, but it's a straight-neck, not crookneck variety), flanked by blue Bachelor's Buttons. Bachelor's buttons provide a great hangout for beneficial insects. These are the insects that prey on the insects that would otherwise have their way with the veggie plants and veggies.
Swiss chard (this is what's called rhubarb chard....there is also a plain green variety) already grown back from being cut to the ground on Friday evening. Notice the peanut shells (unsalted) being used as mulch. My husband likes his peanuts, and in order to slow himself down from eating them by the bushel, he makes himself get them still in the shells, so at least he has to shell each one before he pops it in his mouth. All winter we save the shells and put them in the composter, but they decompose more slowly than a lot of other things. When I emptied the composters about a month ago, I put the not-fully-decomposed compost around the plants. I have found that to be highly beneficial. It appears that the bad insects, nematodes, etc., get distracted by munching on the compost (because it is often teeming with insects and movement) and leave the plants alone. The plants positively thrive.
And a couple of sunflowers to make
you me you smile.
Knitting and fibery pursuits will return one of these days, I sort of promise.