Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Busy Day

My goodness, what a busy day!

We had a gully-washer of a rainstorm last night.  Here, it's pouring from a corner of my 6" gutters, and before it was over water covered an area from a couple of feet onto my lawn, across the sidewalk and curb and almost met the water on the opposite curb.  Fortunately, it drains quickly once the rain stops, but I did notice a high waterline on the lawn this morning.

I started this day out with a nice, long ride on the Silver Comet Trail.  Hadn't meant to go so far, but was determined to ride for at least 30 minutes before turning back.  Then, I noticed mile markers along the trail (don't know why I never noticed them before, but I didn't).  These are different from signs at road crossings and access roads, which always show mileage to the tenth of a mile.  I'd noticed one at 52 not too far from where I get on the trail, then saw more.  At the 30 minute stage I'd just seen another -- not sure which -- and thought I'd keep riding on to the next one, then the next one, and the next.  I saw 57, thought I'd try for 58 but apparently there isn't a sign for 58 and by the time I reached the next sign it was something like 58.75, so I thought what the heck, let's try for 59.  Then, I reached Shiloh Road and a little frisson moved all over me.  I knew where I was -- the little burg of Esom Hill which is my mom's ancestral home for many generations, and where generations of ancestors are buried at Shiloh Baptist Church.  That was mile 59.1, or something like that.  OK. The entire SC Trail is only supposed to be 60 miles, and I couldn't get that close without trying for the end even though I didn't have my camera with me and would really like a photo of the state line and the Chief Ladiga trail sign.  At the next road crossing the Trail continued, but the sign marker said 60.07.  I thought maybe my memory was wrong so I turned around to head home, where I checked the map and found that the state line is maybe 1/4 mile further on.  That's OK -- a goal for another day.

I also found, not for the first time, that the Trail headed west is a very slight uphill grade for most of its length, although it looks flat.  My legs were feeling the exercise before I turned back (can you say, jelly?) but once I turned around, I was immediately going faster with less effort, and I didn't rest or even get off the bike.  So, at least 16 miles on the trail, probably 18-19 total including the distance from home to the trail head, and I still had lots of energy afterward and I did it all at my old average cycling speed of 10mph.  Not fast, never was, but it's consistent. Never mind that I used to manage that average even when riding the Rockies and Sierras, not just a flat little trail. Next time, I'll take the camera, some water, and maybe a snack, and see how far into Alabama I can get.  It's a good thing I had lots of energy left,  because I had lots more planned for this day, such as....

Making some goat's milk yogurt.  I have some of the Redwood Hill brand left to use as a starter, and can't imagine that the process is any different with goat's milk than it is with cow's milk.  It takes several hours to set, so I won't know for awhile.

Yummy tomatoes, after the boiling water bath, before peeling.

Making some tomato sauce for the freezer.  I wasn't going to do it, but last night it was cool in the house after the rainstorm, so I took advantage of that to boil some water to loosen the skin on the tomatoes.  Anyway -- what is the point in planting San Marzano tomatoes, which are supposedly the finest sauce tomato in the universe -- if I'm not going to make sauce at least once?

A nice mess of fresh herbs from the garden -- basil, oregano, rosemary and parsley.

After easy peel removal they hit the food  processor to reach a nice rough consistency (I was taught years ago when I cooked at Mama Nina's Italian Restaurant in Yountville, CA that you need chunks of tomatoes in the sauce, not just smooth tomato sauce), they hit a pan already sizzling with chopped onions and garlic in olive oil.  A bunch of chopped fresh herbs hit the sauce along with a little pepper and some kosher salt, then I moved the pan to the simmer burner which I now love!  At its lowest setting it is perfect for all-day cooking of tomato sauce without burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Gotta love that!  And even though it's still cooking, the house smells utterly wonderful when I come in from the outside, and it tastes great, too.  I just may have to find a way to use part of it for dinner tonight, rather than putting all of it into the freezer.

I didn't leave it on the chair long -- put it flat on the grass so it's easier to keep the lumps of down loosened up.  This thing is actually white -- I've had it for so long and never washed it that I guess I thought it was supposed to be off-white.  Giggles.  What can I say?

I also decided to wash my king-size down comforter (the new washer has a 'comforter' setting and is something that could not happen in even the largest center-agitator washer).  Worked like a charm and it's now drying out in the sun on the grass.  Hard part is getting the lumps of down broken up and loose again.

Where are you, little hummers????

And...I've had my back porch buzzed by a hummingbird a couple of times this week -- once when I was standing out there and it hovered eyeball-to-eyeball for awhile as if to say "OK dude, where's the food". So today I bought a cheap feeder, made some nectar and hung it up.  It'll probably take them a day or so to find it.

Gosh -- aside from running errands around town, I think that's about it, but the day is young.  I got my vitamin order from  Swanson's last night and immediately took three of the new whole food multi-vitamins with dinner.  I've always scoffed at people who take some supplement and say it's worked miracles right away -- it just doesn't seem possible to me, and I've certainly never had it happen to me personally -- but last night I had lots of energy, attacked the other window in this room so I can paint it when I paint the other, worked on the tomatoes, and the energy this morning and day has continued.  What else could it be?  The stuff is called 'Alive' by Nature's Way, and if this continues I'll sure be taking more of it. The customer reviews are great and it's just filled with good stuff.

Kinda hard to see now, but give it a few days.

The buckwheat is coming up this morning, and it happened literally overnight.  I've been covering the area at night, uncovering early in the morning.  Not a sign of it last night around 8pm when I covered it, but it was up and already yellow from lack of sun when I uncovered it early this morning.  Wonderful!  If it follows the pattern from the other bed, it'll keep coming up for several days before all is sprouted.  Life is good.

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