An Epistle to Jen BossyPants from the Neighborhood


July 1, 2009

Dear Ms. BossyPants,

It has come to the attention of the neighborhood  that you are with-holding your mother’s Blueberry Buckle recipe.

While we respect ( sort of ) your right to horde your recipe as a state secret, we must insist that you deliver aforementioned recipe before the end of blueberry season.

The neighborhood has chosen to take the following course should you choose to with-hold that delicious recipe.

1. We will personally bring all the aphids from our gardens up to your 3rd story bug free porch garden.

2. We will put a thriple batch of very stiff bread dough into your antique KitchenAid and turn it on high.

3. We will purchase all of the bulletin boards along the highway and plaster them with your portrait — that you so love taken –for the whole of traffic to enjoy

4.  We will force you to eat rhubarb crunch with the big stringy chunks you love so well.

Should none of these actions inspire the sharing of that Blueberry Buckle recipe, we will be forced to pray on your phobias.

A. Mammoth Sunflowers

B. Squeaky Cottonballs

C. The noise the coyotes make when they take something down.

Please reply as soon as possible.

Sincerly drooling for blueberry buckle,

The Neighborhood

Published in: on July 1, 2009 at 11:29 am  Comments (3)  

Confessions of Childhood Mischief: The No-Large-Peas-Allowed Club


The bridge -- watch your step

The bridge -- watch your step

As a child, an antique school bell called me to our evening meal each night. It pulled me out of my world of books, down the valley, across the ancient creaking suspension bridge and up the long hill.

Plopping into my chair, I would ask,”what are we having?”

Now before I go on, you must know that my mother can cook anything. I mean anything! Iron Chef couldn’t rattle her.

When I was little, she taught cooking at a local college. And every single evening of my childhood, dinner was served at 7pm sharp. Many a gourmet meal was I served before ever knowing what that even meant.

Anyway …

Where was I? Ah yes, the inquiry.

Usually, it was some magnificent creation that made the mouth drool in anticipation. However, if there was a pause, it was time to panic.

I was a horribly picky child. Here is the very short list of foods I would simply have nothing to do with:

peas, mushrooms, stuffed peppers, chili con carne, long grained rice, anything with visible onions… and … lamb. Oh, or even worse, ram.

I was only allowed one napkin, because she knew my intentions. The dogs were fed outside at the same time. Sh*#! There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide these damn foods.

I tried to fake sudden illness, once, only to break the thermometer in a stuffed pepper that was significantly hotter than sick child.

Finally, around the age of ten … epiphany. The end of my torture. I was a genius!

Only last year, did I finally confess my brilliant stratagem to my mom. The most magnificent part was that she truly had never known.

I would arrive at the table with shoes on. Then, slide them off about a second after grace… And blissfully fill them with the miseries of the evening.

Okay, well, not the chili. There was just no way around that. But the rest of it…

Don't stand under those top windows next to the chimney.

Don't stand under those top windows next to the chimney.

After I cleared the table, my stuffed shoes and I would head up to my room to gleefully deposit dinner out my bedroom window.

Supposedly, at 37 I am an adult. My palate has matured and I now savor many of the things at which I used to balk. In fact, I bought a lovely leg of boneless lamb this weekend on sale.

However, the pea lingers. Not the delicious little sugar snap peas from my garden.

No! I mean the large squishy ones of terrible texture.

Note for my mom: Today, I have found a true kindred soul. We are starting a No-Large-Peas-Allowed club and you are not invited. No! in fact, everyone does not like peas. Click here for proof.

( Neighbor Nancy straightens her apron and marches off brushing her hands of the subject. )

( She peeks back at the computer )

Maybe tomorrow another book review or perhaps a post about the ease and importance of pea and bean innoculation.  We’ll see.

The Cockerel and the Granny Nightie


I am now going to reveal some things about my secret, at-home sense of fashion and my general lack of sanity.

One Christmas, my hubby’s grandmother gave me a blue plaid, flannel nightie, in the stylish granny cut, including eyelet ruffle.

During the night, this particular nightie gets all wrapped around me and itches a little to boot. Instead, I throw it on to cover a very respectable portion of my body. After adding a pair of black rubber knee high barn boots, I am ready to let the rabbits and chickens loose for the day.
We accidentally ended up with a rooster. Allegedly, this is rare when you buy day-old chicks at the seed and feed. Oh, we made our share of growing cock jokes and became quite fond of him.

However, since we have just the right amount of chickens, I had no desire to let him go after “the girls” and fertilize any eggs.

No chicken sex.

He lived in his own covered run. While the hens were inside laying in the morning, he got full run of the property. At noon, he went in, they free ranged.

One morning, just before dawn, he welcomed the day, signally he was ready to get out and play. I put on my stylish attire and headed outside, still rubbing the sleep from my eyes. Just as I let him out, a swift breeze made my fashionable nightie billow. Well, chickens have very poor vision, and he was sure that he was under attack.

He attacked back, sending me cursing and gullumping back to the house in my noisy barn boots. After every five strides, the bugger came at me talons first. Again and again he came at me.

Slam!

I leaned with my back against the front door panting. What fresh Hell was this? After I caught my breath, I looked up to see my loving husband. He was just about convulsing trying to keep the laughter back as he questioned my well being. He figured out I was okay, when I spouted a string of curses so thick that a sailor would have blushed.

I changed into my gardening grubbies and set about my day. After a bit, I went to check the mail. The rooster seemed fine, his normal calm self. But after I walked past him, I noticed he was strutting behind me. F*&#!

At the mailbox, he let me have it. Again, I sprinted and cursed. Was I glad my then 5 yr. old was at day camp!

I kept one of those foamy pool noodles with me for the rest of the day in self defense.

Now what? He can’t stay. What about my son? I have no desire to butcher the rooster myself…not that anyone in my family could have eaten him, after loving him so.
Maybe, I could cry my way to the slaughter house? Nope. “We only take large batches.” The usually so helpful extension agent actually suggested taking him for a ride and setting him free! I’m not kidding.

Hm…don’t know anyone else who keeps chickens. I called my best friend, who works at a local classifieds magazine. After she spit her coffee all over her key board and shared my story with her coworkers, they all put their heads together trying to come up with a plan.

By 5 pm, I had decided to put the young rooster on Craig’s List. At 9 am the following morning, a local beef farmer came for my old friend, now arch enemy. Oh yeah, he and his son laughed like hell, too.

Now, the rooster lives on a nice farm, where his whole job is to increase the backyard flock.

Keeping chickens tip #1. If you don’t want to increase your flock or have chicken dinner, get rid of the males….before they hit adolescence.

Published in: on February 4, 2009 at 1:06 am  Comments (4)  
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Recycling Pantyhose– A Zillion Household Uses


Oh why, does that word make me cringe? Wrinkly, droopy, evil. The word itself should have an odd odor to it.

So having a good day, huh? Oh, I’m sorry. You put your fingernail through your pantyhose as you were putting them on?

Happens to the best of us.

Well, instead of tossing them away. Let’s find some other uses.

Anything that could be tied together at my grandparents house was done so with old pantyhose. It was very festive. Taupe, off black, charcoal, nude.

Ah, there are a million uses.

Plant ties:
For staking wobbly plants like tomatoes, pantyhose are giving enough to not strangle growth.

Sprout strainer:
If you choose to grow sprouts…a very economical endeavor indeed… cover your jar, that you have cleaned and saved from, perhaps, tomato sauce, with a bit of nylon for the rinsing process.

Rubber bands:
Just snip a thin tube o’ leg. Ta Da! Rubber band. Waist band equals giant rubber band.

Maggot barriers for fruit trees:
This is a longer bit of leg that you actually slide over every dad-blasted apple in your orchard, assuming you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and alot of time

Here is my absolute favorite:

My grandfather was telling my mom about how he fixed his vehicle on the side of the road and used a pair he had in the glove compartment to protect his hair. Classic!

Being mortified, she called my aunt.

“Oh, please tell me he at least cut the legs off first!”

“I don’t know, but he did say the leg holes were knotted.”

“Were they cotton crotch?”

“Oh dear, I didn’t even think of that. Just picture him amid all the traffic. Pigtails and a cotton crotch hat. I wonder how many crashed their cars giggling.”

“We are lucky they didn’t lock him in the Booby Hatch.”

I made the mistake of sharing this story with my best friend. That Xmas my gift was topped with a lovely, ornate bow that she had crafted out of several months worth of colorful hose. She still fancies herself funny. Off to the Booby Hatch for her, too.

Please leave a comment with the best or weirdest uses of which you have heard for that magnificent miracle of modern science: pantyhose.

Oooo! hey, look at the randomly generated possible related blog enteries below. Leave it to a computer to think anything could be related to my grandfather’s wrinkly bunny ears, cotton crotch hair net.

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 12:06 am  Comments (9)  
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