Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lazy Sunday

     The day of rest. 
     We try not to work on Sundays, whether it's housework or yard work - but sometimes that's impossible. Especially when outside work needs to be scheduled around the weather forecast. We've been blessed - for at least the past nine days - with sunny and dry weather here in the Pacific Northwest.
     And, I have been on vacation. It's been wonderful. Hubby and I have spent a ton of hours in the yard working. We have a half-acre to keep "clean." Over the wet spring, we let the back third get overgrown. Not on purpose, mind you. We learned a valuable lesson. If it's sunny for even one day, make sure to mow because the next day - or days - it will rain. It doesn't take very many days of a little sun and a lot of rain for the grass to become three feet tall. No joke. See the photo below.
     Steve normally mows the yard in thirds - the front, the middle part of the back yard and then the lower part of the back yard. He got the front and the middle part of the back in order one day, then decided to do the lower part the next day. But it rained. A lot. When the sun finally came out, the ground was too wet and our Craftsman riding lawn mower is not four-wheel drive. Perhaps when we need to buy a new riding mower, it will be four-wheel drive. Hint. Hint.

I need a haircut.
     Keep in mind, too, that this "little" area is about 75 feet by 75 feet. Steve used the weed-eater to forge a path to the apple trees and blackberry bushes. He forged a path on the right, also, so we could haul grass clippings, weeds, etc., to the spot at the back of the property. Steve thought he could cut the grass with the weed eater, but, he would have been working all summer long. He looked into renting one of those DR trimmer thingies. That was going to cost at least $100 for four hours, although the guy at the rental place suggested picking the machine up on a Friday night, that way it didn't need to be returned until Monday so we'd have it the entire weekend. The downside? The cutting path of the machine was pretty dinky. In other words, it probably would have taken more than the entire weekend.
     We decided to call a former co-worker of mine. Many, many years ago - like more than 15 - Ed cleared off some of the land for us. A quick phone call on a Saturday morning and Ed was here bright and early Monday with his beautiful four-wheel drive Kubota.

See Ed work. :-)
     A little over a half-hour later, Ed was done. He also pushed two apple trees that had fallen over during a recent windstorm down to the back of the property where Steve could cut them. Thank you, Ed!
   So, here's what it looked like after he was done. Lots of long grass laying around in clumps that needed raking. 

Kitty likes the long grass. He's hunting field mice.
     We spent the good part of two 80-degree days, raking and raking and raking and mowing and mowing and mowing - and numerous beverage breaks - until finally, it looks like this.

     And this morning, we woke up to sprinkles and some much-needed rain to help the dry, brown grass become green again. 
     We haven't been working the entire time I've been off work. We've eaten meals on the patio, visited with family and friends, cooked steaks and potatoes on the barbecue, grilled hot dogs and fish on the barbie, napped on the patio and enjoyed fires in the Chimenea in the evenings. Love those fires ... the smell of wood burning and seeing the stars sparkle in the night sky.
     I spent one entire day reading magazines, some dating back two years. Some were dated 2000. Sheesh! What was I thinking? Oh, yeah, I had folded the pages of "stuff" I wanted to save, then stacked the magazines in baskets, boxes and book shelves. One day I will get to them I kept telling myself. And ... that one day arrived. Although I didn't get to all of them.
     I clipped and saved numerous recipes, craft project ideas, gardening ideas, ideas for the house, hints and tips, paint colors and more. You name it, I probably clipped it. But ... I didn't organize any of it. I just dropped it all into a big box. Hmmm. What good is that? Oh, yeah, it takes up less space than the magazines. Basically, I took one mess and made it a smaller mess.

Please buy me.
     I am convinced I need one of those NeatDesk Organizers. You know, that "powerful ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) scanner and organizer that transforms piles of paper in your home or office into neat digital files on your computer."
     NeatDesk includes patented Neat software "to identify and extract key information from receipts, business cards and documents - then organizes it in a digital filing cabinet. All scanned documents can be searched by keyword, so you can find exactly what you need in seconds. It's like having your own personal office assistant," so says the NeatDesk website.
     Oh, yeah ... that's for me.
     There's just one teensy, weensy problem. The machine costs $399.99.
     A girl can dream.
     Both Steve and I still have many, many magazines tucked away, but inch by inch, anything's a cinch.

     OK then, enough of that babble. I shall end this post with one recipe I found in the May 2011 issue of "Food Network Magazine." It's for a French Fry Deluxe salad.
     I know what you're thinking. Who puts French fries in a salad? Well, don't knock it until you've tried it.

     3 cups frozen curly French fries (about 9 ounces)
     4 strips bacon
     1 tablespoon yellow mustard (We prefer horseradish mustard with seeds)
     3 tablespoons chopped dill pickle, plus a splash of pickle juice from the jar
     1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup (look for some with no high fructose corn syrup - we buy Hunt's)
     3 tablespoons mayonnaise (look for some with no high fructose corn syrup - we get ours a Winco, their HyTop brand)
     1 1/2 tablespoons malt vinegar
     1/4 teaspoon sugar
     2 tablespoons water
     1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (I prefer Mediterranean Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink salt crystals)
     1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
     1/4 to 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
     2 romaine hearts, torn up
     1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
     Toasted sesame seeds, for topping (optional)
     Bake the French fries as the label directs until crisp. Let cool.
     Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 4 minutes per side; transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Cool slightly, then break the bacon into pieces.
     Make the dressing. Whisk the mustard, pickle, pickle juice, ketchup, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and water in a large bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
     Add the French fries, bacon, tomatoes, red onion, romaine and Cheddar cheese to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Divide the salad among bowls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.
French Fry Deluxe Salad courtesy of Food Network Magazine

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