Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 263 of 365

Who could have predicted that something that happened in 2007 in Indianapolis combined with something that happened in February of this year would come full circle today.

Back in the summer of 2007 we took our cross-country tent camping trip across the United States. From Idaho to Maine and all the way back. Lots of miles, lots of campgrounds, some hotels thrown in, restaurants shown on the Food Network and Travel Channel, and touristy-stops along the way. And in particular, lots of sports-themed stops.

Turner Field for an Atlanta Braves baseball game. Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. National Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Field of Dreams (from the Kevin Costner movie) in Iowa. Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was of particular note. Being a non-race car fan I've watched the Indy 500 a couple times but haven't been too interested. But when we stopped at the raceway and a Richard Petty Driving Experience was happening, my husband made me take lots (and lots) of pictures of cars. He especially wanted Tony Stewart's car. I had not a clue who Tony Stewart was.

Fast forward to February of this year. Recovering from shoulder surgery, in a sling, unable to drive, sitting at my daughter's apartment while she was at work, and no cable TV. Flipping through the channels and finding the Daytona 500 about the only thing on. I sat there and watched that race. And enjoyed it. (Granted I was on pain pills at the time.)

Right before I started this blog in March I was able to move back home. Told my hubby about enjoying the race. He suggested we start watching those NASCAR races. So we did. Every weekend they've raced since March, I've settled myself into my recliner to watch the races. For the first few weeks, I always picked who I thought would win the day's race - based on who had the prettiest car. Wouldn't you know it, for several weeks in a row I was always right.

After a couple months, I started liking one driver over the others - Carl Edwards. He won quite a bit and had great poise off camera. So I started rooting for Carl every week. My husband kept rooting for Tony Stewart, even though he didn't win a race all season - until these last few weeks.

Tony and Carl have been close in points through these few weeks. Today was the last of the Sprint Cup Series Championship races. Who could have predicted that the two drivers - my husband's longtime favorite racer and my driver who had lots of pretty cars throughout the season - would wind up in a tie in points. Except...

A tie in the series goes to the driver with the most wins in the Championship Series that was held these last few weeks. That would be the driver who won today. Tony Stewart.

So congrats to my husband who has been cheering his driver on for years. Now I know why I took all those darn pictures years ago.

I don't know why I took today's picture out my den window, though. Sun rising in the east shining on the dusting of snow on the mountains to the west.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 262 of 365

At the end of every gardening season we take stock of what occurred during the year. Since we hadn't grown a vegetable garden for a while, the past several years have focused on the lawn. This year is different.

As we looked back on this year's vegetable-growing season, we knew some things needed to change for next year. And some things needed to continue.

Our keepers:
  • Using the high school greenhouse to get a jump start on our vegetables. We would never have had big, beautiful beefsteak tomatoes so early - on July 18 (Day 138) - this year.
  • Keep the kale. My husband loves it and is still picking it now. It sure looked pretty all picked and washed back on Day 218. His favorite way of eating it - in a peanut butter and kale sandwich - isn't nearly as pretty.
  • Plant jalapenos again, but we'll also add in another variety of hot peppers.
  • With the red potatoes we might consider doing a couple different plantings so we have them throughout the summer instead of a bunch all at once like we had on Day 145. Same with radishes, arugula, and spinach - several plantings throughout the season will keep us in the salad-making business for the entire summer.
  • Having our daughter help with the planting. If it wasn't for her we wouldn't have had a garden. And if it wasn't for the garden, she wouldn't have gotten fresh produce to take back to her place, either.

Things to change:
  • No more russet potatoes. This is Idaho after all, and potatoes are easy and cheap to find around here. Might as well save that garden space for something else.
  • Probably no corn on the cob. It took up a lot of space, and there were people all along the roads selling it out of the back of pickups during corn season.
  • No more watermelon. Although the greenhouse jump start was beneficial, we had late frosts here and had to replant them. They came on, but much too late. My daughter and I wound up doing watermelon bowling with the smallest ones on October 27 (Day 239), but even the biggest ones weren't edible.
  • I want garden beds. This year we planted in rows and sections, but the organized part of me would like actual beds laid out. We have some old landscape timbers that line our rose garden that we've considered replacing so we may move those old ones into the veggie garden to give us true "beds". Although raised beds would be my preference, the old landscape timber idea would certainly be much cheaper.
  • No more pumpkins. Between them, the attempt at cantaloupe, and the late watermelon, the vines were just too much. Neither of us is great with our balance and we were always tripping over the vines in the garden. Yet...

After yesterday and today, I think I've changed my mind on one of those items we were planning on changing. Pumpkins. As much as the vines were a pain in the you-know-what, the beauty of the pumpkin puree compensates. I'm sure my husband isn't complaining about the pumpkin seeds we did up, either.

I still have several pumpkins to work up, but some of  yesterday's puree became very tasty, gorgeous (in my opinion) pumpkin bread. You can even see the pumpkin in there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 261 of 365

It's all her fault. I take no responsibility for this one.

Today I've been cutting up our pumpkins we grew in the garden to get ready for pumpkin pie. I baked one and I cooked the other in the microwave to experiment with which method I wanted to use for the rest of them. The pumpkin smelled delicious cooking, the house was warm, and I was wearing my sweats.

I usually have the TV on when I'm working in the kitchen, but Idaho executed someone this morning and that's all they were talking about so I skipped the TV noise. That's where the radio came in.

Now there's this gal I work next door to. She's the one that I went to lunch with and the movies with during the summer (and the one whose birthday I forgot). Well, she's been listening to Christmas music this week and singing Christmas songs around me. Three days in a row I've heard it. And so I just had to give her a bad time about it being too early for Christmas songs, about how I don't want to hear them. Those kinds of things.

But today when I was baking up those pumpkins and wasn't wanting to listen to the television, I turned on the radio. To the station she told me about. The one playing Christmas songs already. Yep, I caved in.

So it's her fault that I'm listening to Christmas songs. Yet it doesn't end there.

It's also her fault because of what happened when I was listening to Christmas songs. Not too long after the Let it Snow song finished as I was washing up some pumpkins seeds at the sink, I look up to see this out my kitchen window.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 260 of 365

We live near a sugar beet dump.

Lots of farmers around the state of Idaho grow sugar beets. (Sugar beets are a root vegetable that look a bit like a turnip but are closer to the size of a bowling ball.) When they are harvested in the fall they are loaded in farm trucks and sent to sugar beet dumps. Morning 'til night, week after week after week, those trucks arrive and deposit those sugar beets on the ground.

When the beets have been all collected at the dumps and the sugar beet factory is ready to accept them, larger trucks come back during early winter to load them up for their trip to the processing plant where they'll become sugar. Those bigger trucks work days and nights and Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the dump finally being emptied and shut down around New Year's.

We've had a couple solid weeks of beets being hauled in and now it's quiet.

A pile of beets as tall as a two story house and as long as I-don't-know-what are sitting, waiting to be picked up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 259 of 365

Well, Snake River Mart is no more.

I was so excited that the gas pumps there were converted to Shell pumps, I didn't realize there might be more changes coming. After almost 25 years of us shopping at Snake River Mart, our only little store in town, a name change has happened. I don't know if there is person named Logan who owns it, or if it's part of a bigger chain of grocery stores, but the building has been painted and a new name has appeared.

Logan's Market.

My husband reminded me about the good ole' days at Snake River Mart. Years ago when we first moved here we had a charge account there. No credit check, no credit card. Nothing like that. If you wanted to buy groceries, you just signed for them. And at the end of the month or the beginning of the month or the middle of the month or whenever you wanted to, you paid your bill.

We charged our groceries for years until that day when the building caught fire and burned down. It took a long time for them to rebuild a newer, bigger, nicer store just a block away. When that store opened, we just never started charging again.

Since then the store has had another owner (maybe two) and they've allowed grocery charging. But I heard today that the new owners have stopped the practice. And folks aren't happy about it.

I'm sure it was the same way when the local burger joint stopped letting people charge. (We used to do that when we first moved to town, too.) Go and get some burgers and fries, just sign for it, and pay it off later. Even as a teenager my daughter (responsibly) used to tap into our account occasionally. But we stopped going as often so we didn't charge. After a while we heard they had stopped allowing charge accounts.

Change is hard, particularly for people in a small town. We're used to doing things our own way - and by golly, we've been doing things the same way forever. I'm just fine to keep things the way they are, but I guess at some point we have to move into the modern age.

Another change? The weather.

While yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day, today has become a cold, blustery, cloudy day. When I left work this afternoon the temperature on one of the businesses read 33 degrees. It sounds like snow is on the way tonight. I imagine the only tree in the yard with any leaves left on it - the one outside my window - will be changing with this upcoming stormy weather.

But that tree against the backdrop of last night's sunset needs no changing.