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Not a chef. September 30, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. I was reading a review of Anthony Bourdain’s latest book, Medium Raw, this afternoon, and it began this way: “Anthony Bourdain is not a chef.”

Well, I beg to differ. The reviewer apparently felt that Mr. Bourdain is no longer entitled to the title of chef because he no longer works in a restaurant kitchen. To me, that would be like saying Beethoven was no longer a composer because he skipped a few years between symphonies, or Gertrude Jekyll was no longer a garden designer because it had been a while since she’d designed a garden, or Johnny Depp was no longer an actor because none of his films were currently in release.

Tony Bourdain was classically trained in the culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America, and worked as a chef for 28 years, eventually becoming executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles, a highly regarded restaurant in New York City. (He also wrote their cookbook, as well as the sensational memoir of his life as a chef, Kitchen Confidential.) That he’s now traveling the world seeking culinary adventure for television does not mean he is not a chef. He’s simply no longer in the restaurant business.

Me, I’d say he’s a very, very lucky chef.

                    ‘Til next time,

                                 Silence

Mischief. September 29, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. My sister just got a new puppy, a brindle-with-white female boxer she’s named Mischief. I’m of course planning to send her our copy of the Monks of New Skete’s The Art of Raising a Puppy, in the hope that we’ll have our beloved black German shepherd, Shiloh, at least twelve more years, and when the need arises, we can ask her to send it back. I’ll add a copy of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. (Like us, Liz also has cats, birds, and fish. It must be genetic.) 

But I don’t think that’s really quite enough. So I’m turning to you all out there in cyberspace, hoping you’ll tell me your favorite puppy-rearing book, and if you have any other essential dog-related books that Liz might like and/or find helpful. All advice will be much appreciated!

            ‘Til next time,

                         Silence

Jello banana pudding beetles. September 28, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Yes, it’s that time again. Our virtual inbox here at Poor Richard’s Almanac is overflowing with more wacky blog search phrases, and we need to clear them out to make room for the (inevitable) next batch. This one has some classics, many—unsurprisingly—related to the recent inundation of stinkbugs. We hope you enjoy them! As always, original search phrase in bold, our response following.

eating elephants: Sometimes it feels really good to be vegetarian.

did julia child have a facelift: If she did, please don’t share the name of her plastic surgeon with us.

cat makes noise when a mice is on its mouth: I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the noise we’d make if a mice was on our mouth. 

what role does the inept British official: We invite you to send in your favorite ideas for completing this sentence. Right now, we’re leaning toward “play in the decline of crumpet sales worldwide.”

what is big cheese called: Well, you could start with Tom and see if it answered.

did the romans have ketchup: A good question, and believe it or not, they did. But it wasn’t kept in bottles, it wasn’t red, and it wasn’t made with tomatoes. Instead, Roman ketchup was a fermented fish paste stored in jars. Like many Americans with today’s red stuff, they used it liberally on pretty much everything, too. Today’s ketchup is a direct descendant of that awful-sounding stuff.

stink bugs gatorade: There’s always some marketer lurking—just like a stinkbug—in hopes of catching the latest wave, but this time, Gatorade has gone too far. We doubt that this new flavor will catch on, even if some pro team changes its name to, say, the Seattle Stinkbugs and employs a stinkbug mascot.

poor richard’s almanac critical analysis: Spare us, please. We get enough grief as it is.

why do cats have colored eyes: It would be too hard to see them if they were clear.

jello banana pudding beetles: This is a new species for us.

stink bug desperate: Who could blame it? In this economy, we’re all getting a bit desperate. 

just smash a garlic clove with a hammer: Then smear it on the nearest vampire, and use the garlic-laden hammer to nail the coffin shut. Problem solved, and just in time for Hallowe’en!

woodpeckers eat stink bugs: We wish. We have plenty of woodpeckers, and plenty of stinkbugs, around here. But we’ve yet to see a woodpecker pick off a single stinkbug. However, here’s another great marketing opportunity: stinkbug-filled suet blocks! They already have seed- and even mealworm-filled suet blocks. Why not put those stinkbugs to good use?

hairspray & stinkbugs: We’d been wondering why all our stinkbugs were going around with those tiny beehive hairdos. Clearly, they need a new stylist.

why does broccoli taste so good with mayonnaise: Mayo on broccoli? Eeeewww!!! We prefer ours with butter and lemon juice or olive oil and garlic, but hey, fat is fat, and fat is where it’s at when it comes to flavor and satisfaction. Beats the hell out of fermented fish paste, whatever Caligula may have had to say to the contrary.

why are there holes in mushroom containers: Another good question, and the answer is the same as for garlic containers: Mushrooms and garlic keep longer if they can breathe. That’s why they tell you to store mushrooms in a paper bag rather than in the plastic-wrapped container or plastic bag they’re likely to come in.

That’s it for this batch! Stay tuned for the next installment…

A multinational rice salad. September 27, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I recently treated ourselves to supper at Alando Kenyan Cuisine (http://www.alandoscuisine.com/), a delightful, tiny little restaurant tucked away at the back of a coffee shop on Main Street in the historic district of scenic Bethlehem, PA.

The food at Alando is distinctly Kenyan, yet reflects the strong Indian influence on the area’s cuisine. Our favorite appetizers are lentil samosas and bhajia, out-of-this-world fried potato slices with pili pili sauce (a hot, housemade dipping sauce). And we can never resist splitting a cardamom-studded chapati, served warm and delightfully fragrant. (Actually, I’m sure we’d prefer splitting a whole basket of chapatis, but only if we opted to forgo food. It might even be worth it.)

Our friend Ben ordered coconut chicken (chicken in a coconut curry sauce) with sauteed cabbage and basmati rice. My entree was a rice pilau, which in this case is basmati rice mixed with masala spices. (Kenyan masala contains garlic, black pepper, coriander, ginger, mustard—presumably black or brown mustardseed—and cinnamon, according to the menu.) The rice was topped with kachumbari, a Kenyan-style fresh salsa containing chopped tomato, fresh peas, diced green and red bell pepper, scallions, and shredded red onion with cilantro, lemon juice and herbs.

The rice pilau and the kachumbari were both delicious, but I couldn’t help but feel that the combination wasn’t right. Strange as it might sound to put a fresh salsa over a masala-spiced rice, the combination wasn’t the issue: It was hot rice and fresh (cold) salsa. You don’t want to heat fresh salsa, since that would kill the crunch and flavor, so it seemed to me that the solution was to chill the rice. Fortunately, since Alando serves boat-sized portions, I was able to bring home a huge container of leftovers, refrigerate it, and experiment today when it was time for our lunch.

Poor OFB! I had big ideas but no idea what I was doing. But as I explained to him, if it turned out badly, the chickens would love it and we could try again with a more conventional lunch. Nothing ventured, nothing lost. Ben proved to be game, especially after being plied with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

You see, after thinking it over, my idea was to toss the chilled spiced rice and salsa with crumbled feta and extra-virgin olive oil, add pepitas (roasted pumpkinseeds) for crunch, and serve it as a cold rice salad. Mixing elements of Indian, Kenyan, Greek, and Mexican cuisine could have proved disastrous, but it didn’t. In fact, it was delicious. “This is really good!” said OFB as he ate half my plate after polishing off his own. And it really was. Well worth recreating from scratch next time you make basmati rice and have leftovers. (I always make extra so I’ll have plenty for fried rice or to add to other dishes anyway.)

To put it together from scratch, here’s what I plan to do: Make a big batch of basmati rice, enjoying some hot with an Indian meal or as a side to chili, black bean soup, refried beans, a Chinese or Thai dish, or what have you. (We also love basmati rice as a side to conventional foods like baked sweet potatoes and broccoli or green and yellow wax beans, and of course it would be great with chicken, shrimp, or gumbo.)

While the food is cooking, saute masala spices in extra-virgin olive oil. You can use a blend of fresh-ground or powdered spices to make your own masala mix (such as the Kenyan mix), or use your favorite garam masala or chat masala mix. Don’t go overboard with the oil, since your goal is not to create greasy rice but to release the flavors of the spices and to help them adhere to the rice. Add the leftover rice to the masala mix and stir well to blend. (In Alando’s version, this creates the look of “dirty rice.”) Refrigerate the leftover rice.

When you want to make the salad, thaw a package of frozen peas. (America’s Test Kitchen swears that thawed frozen peas are sweeter, more tender, and generally far better than shelled fresh peas. I have no idea, so I’ll go with their assessment.) Finely dice a red and a green bell pepper, chop two red tomatoes, mince a bunch of scallions, chop a bunch of cilantro, and shred or dice a large red onion. Mix everything together and season with the juice of a fresh-squeezed lemon, salt (we like RealSalt), and fresh-ground black pepper to taste, stirring the seasonings into the salsa. Cover the salsa and let it sit, refrigerated, for 1/2 hour so the flavors can marry.

Toss the cold masala rice with the fresh salsa and crumbled feta cheese to taste (we like plenty of feta, half a carton for a two-person serving). Taste and adjust seasonings, including olive oil; add more, a little at a time, if the salad seems dry. Sprinkle on pepitas (again, we like lots). Serve each portion on whole Romaine leaves with halved cherry, pear, and plum tomatoes, a trimmed scallion, and fresh cilantro sprigs on the side. Yum! 

Our friend Ben and I found the rice salad to be a very satisfying lunch. But if you’d like an accompaniment, I’d think warm chapatis or chilled baked or grilled chicken breasts would be ideal. Or maybe some Kenyan soup, such as the African peanut soup or coconut lentil soup Alando dishes up. (I’m still dying to try them, along with Alando’s 16-bean veggie chili. OFB and I will be back!)

               ‘Til next time,

                               Silence

The drought drags on. September 26, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, gardening, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Dear God,

Given that it’s Sunday, we at Hawk’s Haven thought it would be an appropriate time to mention a situation here that You might have overlooked, given Your busy schedule. It’s certainly something we’ve been missing around here: rain. Try though we might, we can’t remember it raining more than twice here all summer, and mind You, we live in the normally verdant countryside of Southeastern Pennsylvania, not the Mojave Desert.

This endless drought has desiccated our landscape and decimated our vegetable garden. Our poor little stream, Hawk Run, has been dry all summer, causing untold hardship to the fish, frogs, crayfish, and innumerable other wildlife that make their homes in it, not to mention the birds, butterflies, dragonflies, toads, and other creatures who depend on it for rehydration and food. Just as a reminder, we’re all on wells out here, and we’re getting quite nervous about our water levels. (Our next-door neighbor just drained her well last week after abruptly deciding to power-wash her house.) Yes, of course we have rain barrels, but they’re not too useful when there isn’t any rain.

It’s not that we’re ungrateful for the upsides of the drought. Our friend Ben is thrilled to have not had to mow the lawn for the past three months. The endless parade of clear, humidity-free days has meant that Silence Dogood has had fewer sinus headaches this season than either of us can ever remember. And we’ve enjoyed sitting out on the deck night after night watching the sunset with our black German shepherd, Shiloh.

But it’s not just about us, Lord. It’s about this beautiful little piece of paradise you’ve entrusted to our care, and the millions of plant, animal, and insect lives that depend on it. We can’t do our job without a little help from You.

Thanking You in advance,

            Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood

Good luck with not cooking. September 25, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Ever had a problem with too much good homemade food almost exploding from your fridge? Well, join the club.

Here at Hawk’s Haven, my love of cooking has collided with the harvest abundance to create a crisis situation. Since there are only two of us—me and our friend Ben—to eat my creations, our fridge is overflowing with homemade spaghetti sauce and Red, White and Gold Pasta Sauce, salsa verde (I’m trying to find an “open” night to make bean and Mexican cheese burritos to go with our tomatillo harvest’s bounty), chili, vegetable curry, dal, and mac’n’cheese. We’ve tried to share the bounty with friends and neighbors, given away take-home containers, invited folks for supper, everything. But our fridge is still at explosion point. And to make matters worse, our next-door neighbors just gifted us with a big container of pasta salad and three-bean salad and a plate with bazillion desserts.

OFB has now forbidden me to cook anything new until we’ve managed to eat all the food already calling our names from the fridge. But, as a friend said, “Good luck with not cooking.” I concur. Those burritos are calling my name. The weather has finally cooled down, and I’m dying for roasted vegetables. It’s been three weeks since I’ve made pizza. We need to find a way to enjoy and distribute the food that’s now in the fridge so we can make space for new delights. Sounds to me like a lot of dinner guests are in order.

                 ‘Til next time,

                                Silence

When will stink bugs go away? September 24, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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“When will stink bugs go away” has become the #1 blog search that leads desperate homeowners to our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac, in these stinkbug-laden times. We can relate. There must be 40 stinkbugs on every door here at our rural cottage home, Hawk’s Haven, to say nothing of the stinkbugs clinging to our windows, walls, and deck. Eeeewwwww!!!!!!!

There’s bad news for everyone hoping that the stinkbugs will soon be moving on: forget that. They’re actually moving into your home for the fall and winter months, and have no plans for moving on until spring brings a return of longer days and warmer weather. According to the entomologists, the stinkbugs (technically brown marmorated stink bugs) are trying to move into your walls and insulation for a nice winter nap. But since it’s so comfy inside the house, it tricks some of them into thinking it’s time to wake up, and that’s when they show up on your walls, windows, curtains, doorframes, and etc. And then blast off onto you. AAARRRRHHH!!!!

But we digress. The entomologists suggest a two-pronged approach to dealing with stinkbugs: First, seal every entry point. Add weatherstripping to your doors and windows. Close off the flues in your fireplaces and the vents in your attic. Then, if you still see stinkbugs in your house, call in the exterminators.

But what if you’re organic like us and don’t want a pesticide-drenched house? Poor Silence Dogood has been trying to grab invading stinkbugs with her bare hands and toss them back out the door. Needless to say, loathing all bugs as she does and stinkbugs in particular, this has shredded her last nerve and made life for the rest of us here at Hawk’s Haven chancy at best. But fortunately, an alternative is at hand.

Virginia reader Patricia Carey came on our blog to tell us that her family has had success in combating stinkbugs by spraying them with mint alcohol. As Patricia put it, after spraying them, “they fly around for a few seconds and then die.”

Thanks, Patricia! We’re willing to try it if the invasion gets any worse. Trouble is, we have no idea what mint alcohol is, and a Google search did nothing to enlighten us. We doubt it’s Creme de Menthe, but is it rubbing alcohol, grain alcohol, or vodka with fresh mint muddled in, then strained? Or is there something called “mint alcohol” you can go to a store and buy? Please, readers, help us out.

Meanwhile, good luck battling your stinkbug invasions. Don’t let those bad bugs get you down!

A Highland fling. September 23, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. If you live within reach of scenic Bethlehem, PA, and you (like yours truly) have a weakness for men in kilts, and/or love watching the Highland Games, Pipe Band competitions with plenty of bagpipe action, great Celtic music, and/or all things Celtic, don’t miss this weekend’s 23rd Annual Celtic Classic. It’s held in the historic Moravian section of Bethlehem, so you can see some marvelous, unique 18th-Century architecture while you’re strolling around taking in the sights, examining Celtic crafts, listening to Celtic music, or wolfing down traditional Celtic food (and, of course, beer).

The Celtic Classic kicks off on Friday afternoon around 4:30 with a Border collie exhibition, invitational caber toss, haggis-eating contest, Irish step dancing, and plenty of music, including Celtic groups like Blackwater, Glengarry Bhoys, Enter the Haggis, and Barleyjuice. The action continues on Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. (yow!). But don’t look for me and our friend Ben to show up much before 4, when our favorite events happen in rapid succession: the caber toss, Border collie exhibition, drum major competition, and massed (pipe) bands. After all that excitement, OFB and I will be in major need of refreshment. Please don’t tell anyone, but we’re planning to bypass the haggis and head up to the main street to eat at the wonderful Kenyan restaurant, Alando’s Kitchen, instead.

Let me say a word in praise of the caber toss, in which men perform—or attempt to perform—a feat that is seemingly beyond human agility and endurance. In the caber toss, a man must lift a pole the diameter of a telephone pole and up to 18 feet long straight up off the ground, run forward, keeping it balanced upright, then toss it end-over-end so it lands in a straight line from the direction he’s facing. The sight of kilt-clad men hoisting telephone poles aloft in this fashion is incomprehensible—your brain can’t credit what your eyes are seeing. Admittedly, most of the athletes fail to make much headway with the caber, but we’ve seen one, James McGoldrick, who could make the toss almost every time. It’s a thrilling thing to watch.

The massed bands are thrilling, too, at least if you love drum tattoos and bagpipes (not to say the aforementioned men in kilts, and gentlemen, there are girls in kilts in those bands as well). Seeing the bands saunter onto the field in perfectly synchronized formation, hearing the drums pounding and the bagpipe music swelling, would make anyone’s heart beat faster. You can instantly see why the British used these bands to pipe their troops to battle.

The Celtic Classic continues on Sunday, also beginning at 9:30 a.m. (There’s an ecumenical service at 10 if you’d like to combine church and festival attendance.) More Highland games, more bagpipes, more kilts, more collies, more Celtic music, dance, food, crafts, souvenirs, and fun, culminating in a performance by The Red Hot Chilli Pipers at 6:30.

If you’d like to bring the kids, please don’t be daunted by the ubiquitous beer: The Celtic Classic is very family-friendly, with tons of fun events specifically for kids as well as performances the whole family will love. Much to OFB’s horror, I always like to get a spray-on Celtic tattoo at the Classic, lining up proudly with the 8-to-12 crowd and choosing my Welsh dragon or Celtic knot with glee. (Hey, with Scottish and Irish as well as British ancestry, I figure I’m entitled. But I still haven’t persuaded OFB to get one.)

So come one, come all, and enjoy a Highland fling! You can find out all about the festival, get a complete schedule of events, and see lots of photos of the goings-on at the official website, http://www.celticfest.org/. And should you happen to see a short, enthusiastic dark-haired woman dragging around a tall, rather stunned-looking blond-haired man, please come up and introduce yourselves. We’d love to meet you!

             ‘Til next time,

                        Silence

Easy as pie. September 22, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. I don’t know about you all, but it drives me crazy to open the fridge door and see three jars of preserves taking up precious space with about a quarter of the preserves (or jelly or jam, as the case might be) in each one. I love jellies, jams, preserves, marmalades, and the like, but since I rarely eat breakfast, I seldom have the opportunity to eat them, though I’ll often add them (especially marmalade) to a dal or lentil stew to deepen the flavor. And, much as I try to coax, browbeat, or outright threaten our friend Ben, he seems constitutionally incapable of finishing a jar before moving on to the next… and the next. Grrrr!!! I need that fridge space!

What does this have to do with pie, you’re asking. Well, our friend Carolyn’s birthday was yesterday, and I’d been thinking of making a peach pie as an end-of-summer celebration. I’d decided to make a peach-and-blueberry pie. Staring at the three jars of sparkling red preserves (cherry, four-berry, and cranberry-pear), I decided to make a peach-and-blueberry pie with a preserves glaze. Would it be good? Well, I figured I had nothing to lose by trying, since I had a yummy pumpkin roll, made by Mennonite farmers and sold at the nearby Kutztown Farmers’ Market, in reserve. If the pie was a flop, I knew the pumpkin roll would be delicious. If the pie was great, OFB and I could enjoy the pumpkin roll all by ourselves. Talk about win-win!

So here’s what I did: I began with a Pillsbury refrigerated rolled piecrust. I was already making the entire birthday dinner, centered on my easy and yummy Red, White and Gold Pasta (you can find the recipe by typing “Red, White and Gold Pasta” in our search bar at upper right), with a side of broccoli and a huge, hearty, elaborate salad. Damned if I was going to make piecrust from scratch under the circumstances and wreck my countertop while I was trying to cook. I remembered reading that the Pillsbury refrigerated rolled crusts were the only premade piecrusts that the good folks at America’s Test Kitchen, who publish Cook’s Illustrated and my favorite, Cook’s Country magazines, consider a good substitute for a homemade crust. So I picked up a package at the grocery, along with six locally grown yellow-fleshed, cling-free peaches and a carton of blueberries.

Back at home, I unrolled one of the two crusts in the package and pressed it into a 9-by-9″ glass pie pan. I agonized about whether to prebake the crust, but decided against it. This turned out to be a good move; it cooked up beautifully. Whew! Then I washed, halved, and sliced the peaches lengthwise, then cut across the center of each half to make chunks. Thank God for cling-free peaches, where you can simply pop the stone out of the center of each peach rather than having to hack around it with a knife, usually bruising the peach flesh in the process.

Pretty much every peach pie recipe on earth insists that you peel the peaches before slicing them and adding them to the pie, but I say to hell with that. Those peels are good for you! Besides, I have to wonder if this isn’t another holdover from the past, like peeling tomatoes or cucumbers or stringing beans, that’s just been carried forward in knee-jerk fashion. Back in the day, tomatoes had tough skins, cukes had bitter skins, and green beans had tough, ropey “strings” that had to be removed before cooking, pickling, or eating raw (in the case of cukes). But these problems have long since been bred out of today’s cultivars, so unless you’re cooking with heirlooms from the Nineteenth Century or before, you should be good to go, peels and all. The peach skins would add beautiful color to the pie. And again, if it proved to be a disaster, no big deal: At least I’d have learned something.

So I distributed the halved peach slices to cover the pie crust, pressing them down a bit to fit in all six peaches. Next, I sprinkled several teaspoons of sugar, a half-teaspoon of salt, and some generous shakes of Korintje cinnamon over the sliced peaches (any powdered cinnamon would do), following this with dots of butter. (Mind you, ground cardamom or cloves would probably be excellent as well, not to mention more complex spice blends like garam masala or ras al-hanout.)

Then I poured the carton of blueberries over the peach slices and patted them in, distributing them evenly over the pie. Finally, I emptied the three jars of red preserves over the top, spreading the preserves evenly over the pie with a spoon. (Note that you could just buy a jar of cherry preserves or four-berry jam or whatever and use that. I’ll bet marmalade would be luscious instead, too.)

I was concerned that, once the pie started cooking, it might overflow the pan, so I lined a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, set the pie plate on that, then covered the pie plate with more aluminum foil to keep the peaches and blueberries from burning. I slid the whole shebang onto the middle rack in my countertop oven, which I’d dutifully preheated to 400 degrees F, breathed a sigh of relief, and went on to make the rest of the dinner. (Well, the salad and pasta sauce, minus the bag of shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar. OFB and I had to transport everything to Carolyn and Gary’s, and I didn’t want to add the cheese to the sauce until we got there to prevent curdling. Ditto cooking the broccoli and pasta.) 

I checked the pie roughly every half-hour to see how it was coming along. My working hypothesis was that, once the peaches were cooked, the pie would be ready, and this proved to be correct. I wasn’t timing it, unfortunately, but eyeballing it, so I can’t say how long that was, maybe an hour or (at most) an hour and a half. Bear in mind that I was using a countertop oven, which tends to take longer than a conventional oven.

At any rate, by the time the pasta sauce and salad were ready, the pie looked perfect—and perfectly gorgeous—so I pulled it, under-tray and all, out of the oven. (That foil-lined tray proved to be a great idea, since some of the preserves had leaked out of the pie plate. In retrospect, five rather than six peaches would probably have been a smarter idea.) OFB and I loaded up the car, swung by the local grocery for some vanilla ice cream to top the pie, and headed over to Carolyn and Gary’s. The pie looked and smelled so wonderful that I decided to leave the pumpkin roll at home and take my chances.

Thank goodness, the dinner was a huge success. Carolyn even sent us home with some leftover pasta and sauce. But I noticed that no pie was offered; every bit of leftover pie and the remaining ice cream were carefully transferred to their fridge for future indulgence. If that’s not a sign of a good pie, I don’t know what is.

I’m not huge on dessert, since for me, it’s either food or dessert, not both, but I simply had to try my Radical Peach Pie to see how it was. I only had a forkful, but I have to say, that was a good pie. And it was so easy. Easy as pie.

Unfortunately, I had to endure OFB’s outraged complaints during the entire half-hour drive back to our house. (“Why didn’t they send some of that pie home with us? How come you never make pie like that for me?!” and etc.etc.) Well, hey. We still have the pumpkin roll!

                   ‘Til next time,

                                  Silence

Stinkbugs: The invasion has started. September 21, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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4 comments

Silence Dogood here. Alert readers may recall an earlier post, “The stinkbugs are coming!”, in which I quoted entomologists who predicted “an epic year for stinkbugs.” Well, they’re here.

I can’t look up without seeing the ominous shield-shaped silhouette on a window, screen or door. Every time I open a door, one of the evil creatures blasts inside the house, however fast I close it. (In my opinion, stinkbugs don’t fly; they simply blast off from wherever they’re lurking with a roar like a gunning motorcycle, and shoot forward to their next location, which all too often is the front of your shirt.)

This forces me to seize the intruder stinkbug and hurl it back out the door. (I can’t say what the stinkbugs make of this experience, but having to touch a live stinkbug ranks right up there with picking up after the dog or cleaning up hairballs as far as I’m concerned.) One especially audacious stinkbug buzzed right back into the house after its first expulsion, again before I could shut the door, and I had to touch it twice. Eeeewwww!!!!

Yesterday had to be the worst ever, stinkbug-wise. I needed to run errands in town, so I opened the front door, kicking stinkbugs away from the sill as I went out. (Fortunately, none made it inside that time.) I opened the car door; there was a stinkbug inside the door. I stopped for gas; there was a stinkbug on the gas pump. After pumping the gas, I decided to clean the windshields: There were two stinkbugs on the front windshield and one on the rear. And on it went. Worst of all, a stinkbug landed on me while I was reading in bed and the hapless OFB had just fallen asleep. My bloodcurdling scream probably deprived him of at least three of his nine lives (though after recovering his wits, even Ben had to acknowledge that I couldn’t help it).   

AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I hate stinkbugs!!! Go away, you evil things. Find something better to do with yourselves, like plunging en masse into the ocean. At least take up a useful hobby like eating poison ivy or kudzu. It’s starting to look like a very bad fall…

            ‘Til next time,

                          Silence

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