Sunday, October 31, 2010

I miss civilization...

Marilynne Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead, spoke at nearby Skidmore College on Friday night. The Handsome Husband and I went to hear her speak. (She must be cool because she appeared on "The Daily Show" this past summer.)

I wish I had taken notes because I liked what she had to say about the current state of public education. Her talk wasn't mostly about that, though. Rather, she read from three of her books and spoke about writing. Later, she answered questions from the audience.

After her talk, I had the chance to speak with her briefly and I asked if she had written about education anywhere.

"No," was her terse response.

I told her that I hoped she would consider doing so one day, because I certainly agreed with much of what she had said.

Despite her reluctance to schmooze with the likes of me, Ms. Robinson gets my vote for the best quote of the weekend: "I miss civilization...and I want it back."

I wonder if she'd mind if I used it on a product line of bumper stickers, tee shirts, and organic cotton tote bags?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A quiet Saturday

Saturday was a quiet day of chores and home cooking. While the Handsome Husband mulched leaves with our mower, I pottered around tidying up patio plants and putting away outdoor furniture. I am always late doing these things because I live in persistent denial that the warm weather is truly behind us.

Before cleaning out the last of our small vegetable garden, I managed to harvest a few late tomatoes and two small cucumbers. Some of our herbs are still looking good, although the basil was an early victim of the colder nights. The tomatoes and herbs went into the cast iron dutch oven with a pot roast in mid-afternoon for our dinner. Later, coming in from our chores, the scent of the slowly cooking roast was wonderfully comforting.

I posted on Facebook that the roast smelled good and our friend Brian asked for the recipe. The truth is, I rarely do pot roast the same way twice. The key to good pot roast is slow cooking at a low temperature and something liquid in the pot. What you use for the liquid is largely a matter of taste and what's on hand. I've used beef broth, onion soup, wine, diced vegetables, beer, and various combinations of these. The HH is not a tomato fan so I don't think last night's version was his favorite. I liked it, though, all the more for having grown some of the ingredients myself. That feels very satisfying, like being a self-sufficient pioneer woman.

For Brian: one of the best pot roasts I've ever eaten was a Cuban Pot Roast (Ropa Vieja) made by a friend for a dinner party. Try as I might, I can't quite duplicate his recipe. But I am going to keep trying because it was very tasty and satisfying on a cold winter night. The recipe here is a good place to start. Our friend served it with rice and black beans. Yummy.

As I was finishing my chores yesterday, I gathered two small bouquets from the this-es and thats still bravely carrying on in the garden. Some late phlox, purple sage, boxwood, rosemary, ivy, some stalks of red leaves: these I stuck into the little silver plated jug I had bought for a quarter at a garage sale a few years ago. See? I am still refusing to declare the growing season over.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to John and Kristin!

With lots of love from Mom and Bob

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Unexpected History

The Handsome Husband and I decided to take our two small dogs for a walk this Sunday along the banks of the Hudson River in Moreau State Park. It was a brisk fall day and the river was looking lovely.
We arrived just as the "Indians" - Mohawks, we presume - were beaching their canoes.
A film crew, we were told, was doing a piece about Saint Isaac Jogues. This scary-looking fellow, getting a bit cold between shots, donned a jacket.
It's no wonder. He really had very little on (note the absence of actual, um, pants.)

All sorts of characters were wandering about. Below, the director was talking things over with two more Indians. These two looked as if they might actually have been native Mohawks. (Note my husband in the back left, scurrying to get himself and the dogs out of the pending film shot.)
We were told by a cast member that their finished piece would air on the "Catholic channel" (by which they may have meant EWTN ) and also the History Channel.
We got our walk in by detouring around the film crew.
Moreau State Park is a lovely spot but like many New York State parks, it has a "carry in/ carry out" policy. In other words - no trash cans. The trouble is, lots of people carry in but don't always carry out.
Below, the HH* easily filled a bag with other people's crap on our return loop.
Hey, folks, please don't make my dogs walk on your broken beer bottles.
This probably wasn't an issue for Fr. Isaac Jogues in the 1640s.
Although come to think of it, the Iroquois did, allegedly, cut, chew or burn off several of his fingers so he was no longer able to say Mass.
Really, his was not a happy ending...

*HH =Handsome Husband