Saturday, August 31, 2013

Blame it on the Rain

It's raining today, and I am trapped (?) inside. It's been very busy here this past week from lots of produce needing to be put up (without canning since there's no kitchen to speak of), to fabric emergencies (yes, they can happen!), to my relentless need for swim time. Refrigerator pickles, frozen tomatoes, and Eggplant Lasagna, oh my!

We slept badly last night, so slept in late this morning. I blame Yoshi. At around 3 am he woke abruptly when loud rumbles of thunder invaded his peaceful slumber, the poor darling. Never one to keep things to himself, he shared the news with a series of sharp barks and some rumbling of his own. Gene seemed to recover quickly, but I tossed and turned. And it'd taken forever to fall asleep in the first place.

'Sleeping in' here usually means 7:00 or 7:30, but this morning the dogs let us lay there until 8. I think the cloudy morning let time sneak up on them. I crawled forth from my bed craving a fried egg in the worst way. My feathered friends are pretty useless right now - the 'babies' are still not quite old enough to lay eggs, and the two older girls only spit out one egg every few days - not enough for reliable food stuffs. As a result I have been getting eggs from friends; friends with 12 kids who just inherited a farm and are now stretching their agricultural wings in more open spaces than ever before. Their garden is huge, they have a lovely flock of 50 layers, Barred Rocks, and they're hoping to add pigs or a cow next spring.

When your eggs come from a fledgling farm with 12 kids, you can get great surprises in your cartons. First, you might get someone's stash of double-yolkers, as a thank-you for services rendered - I took one of the boys for his drivers' test a week or so ago. Second, you get happy eggs. I mean REALLY happy eggs!

I smiled all through breakfast.

When I reduced the kitchen I managed to pack all the skillets. Don't ask me how I did this, because I really don't know. In a pinch last week making lunch for a friend I ran to the attic and retrieved one to make quesadillas. The good news, at least from the perspective of the egg-craving maniac I had become in the moment, is that I hadn't managed to get off my rounded duff and get the skillet back upstairs. So eggs it was - his n' hers.

I leave you to determine which belongs to whom. It may help you to know what's on the plates. To the right we have a large pile of braised spinach, half of a tomato, sliced, and one double yolked farm egg. On the left there's a leftover brat, sliced and fried, two eggs over medium, and "some kinda garnish..."

It was a nice and peaceful breakfast, which should have led me to believe something was coming. Nothing can be as easy as breakfast was today without some payment due at a later time. And that time came.

I stopped at my father's to grab Girl - Gerbil is doing some outdoor work for my dad on weekends. Keeps both of them out of trouble. We were heading to New Hampshire to a place called Fat Chance, which is one of my favorite places on earth, most of the time. Today was no exception. I found the perfect (if modern) pie safe there on Thursday but it had been sold to a dealer before I arrived (Reflections Country Collections in Winchendon, MA). I was shopping with a friend, and we were very excited over the piece. We didn't know it was sold, and were taking pictures to email to Mr. W for his approval when someone let us know it wasn't available. I was kind of sad. I'd been planning on buying some kind of pantry cabinet from Ikea to put on one wall of the kitchen, and the discovery of this pie safe meant something with a little more character instead. But I swallowed my disappointment as best I could. And then the very nice man suggested that maybe I could call these dealers and maybe work something out. And then the very nice lady (Nancy O'Conner of Handweaving by Nancy, in case you need any handwoven shawls or scarves for gifts this holiday season) who was twisting scarf fringe inside while tending the counter said the same thing. She sent me their information via Facebook, and I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? So I asked them if we could make a deal.

And they said YES! I paid more than they paid, which I expected, but less than if they'd had to drag it back to Winchendon and clean it up for their showroom floor. And less than if I had to buy a new one and have it finished or finish it myself And I was very, very happy. It's not a small object by any means, but I was sure it would fit in my Rav, so I declined my father's offer of his truck for transport. I picked up Girl and we headed north to the wonderful world of pie safes, antique sewing tables, and barns full of books for a quarter (for such Fat Chance is) with plans to retrieve the furniture before heading deeper into New Hampshire for shopping. About a half an hour later we were headed south in an empty Rav. There was just no way the pie safe would fit. Adding insult to injury it was only off by a couple of inches; just barely too wide to fit. I called Mr. Wonderful. I think I sounded slightly - or possibly overwhelmingly - desperate. I don't know what it is about new furniture that can drive me to this kind of pathetic madness. It's like I become obsessed and MUST have the new thing NOW, and nothing short of NOW will do. Someone will sneak in and steal it? Someone will sell it a second time? I don't know. I just get all nervous and obnoxious and demanding (because I am not the rest of the time? Really?). Anyway, Mr. W agreed to meet me at my father's house, follow me back to New Hampshire in Dad's truck, retrieve the pie safe for delivery to our house, thereby allowing Girl and I to continue on our shopping trip.

When we got back to the house I immediately insisted it be moved inside, cleaned, and filled with items formerly in residence in the odd-pantry-closet in my kitchen - a closet that soon will be converted into something truly useful and logical - a coat and broom closet with shelves at the back to hide all those things you only use once a year but can't bear to part with, like Christmas platters and the big griddle!

And when the kitchen is finally done, against the entry wall will rest this - stuffed to the brim with essentials (and not a single pie!) like oats and black beans and raisins... and Teddy peanut butter in big tubs for filling the dog's Kong toys. Yoshi seems to think he needs a little something out of there now...

I have been obsessed lately with place mats and other things quilty. I made these recently. It started with the two nearest the dog and expanded from there.

And there's backs and batts cut out in my room to make four more Christmas ones, although maybe not all with that same tree motif. The trees are leftover from a table runner project I started last year and just finished. I got the idea from this Missouri Quilt Company video. I love Jenny's videos!

The others are scrappy place mats of my own design (if you can call it that) using leftovers from a quilt I never finished in the 1990's. I am going to teach Girl how to make them. I was thinking about doing a tutorial here on the blog, maybe a step-by-step, as I teach her what I do to make place mats. Then EVERYONE can make them! They are super easy, and use up lots of scraps and leftovers from previous projects.

For now I am going to go sit quietly, sip some cool water, maybe watch a movie and be grateful for the rain that's stopping me cold for a few hours. It's good to stop and sniff the roses now and then.


Sara said...

Yes, please, write up how to make the placemats. I just got my mother's old (at least 65 years!) sewing machine and it works and I've been thinking about placemats. I'd love to know how you make yours.

I love your blog and I'm so glad you've started writing it again.

kmkat said...

That's not a pie safe, that is an entire new pantry! Great find. And thanks for that table runner video. I have not been bitten by the quilting bug, but I could see myself making one of those.