Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This Week's Zucchini Dish

The zucchini has started to come in from the garden, and in anticipation of the next 4 months of bounty, I spent an hour or so this spring looking up new zucchini recipes on line. I think I googled "creative zucchini recipes". This first one, pictured here, was not one of those (for some reason I feel like those recipes are too valuable to be used this early in the season, when we are not even sick of squash yet). It's not even a recipe, but I will explain what I did.
I cooked about 3/4 lb of pasta. This time, penne, but really, any kind is great. At the same time, I sauteed two zuchhinis in some olive oil, and towards the end, I threw in some garlic (lots of garlic. Jamey doesn't like garlic as much as I do, but he was out of town!). I drained the pasta and then tossed it into my big frying pan along with the zucchini. I put all of this into my big bowl and spooned in some ricotta cheese (see the blog entry from Tuesday, March 1 if you want to know how to make ricotta cheese - it's easy!). Lastly, I opened the back door and picked a handful of herbs to chop up and add. This time, it was chives and basil. Easy, easy easy! And really, really good.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Good and Bad Of Living In Old Houses

It's 7:30 a.m. and there is pounding on the roof that is seriously rattling our old windows. The work up there is right above Grace's room and is causing the chandelier in her ceiling to jingle. For a few years now, we've had a leak in our roof, along the front wall of the house - where the 'old porch' (which is now part of our living room) meets the 'new porch' (the one we sit on in the mornings and evenings and in between). Every year, with the first chance of rain, we would clean out the gutters and sweep the roof. And then wait to see if the fix that we had tried the winter before would work. But alas, the drip, drip, drip would begin, somewhere along that front line. SO frustrating! Finally, this year, we got the referral of a roofer from a trusted friend and they are on day three, the final day, of fixing the roof. Old houses have issues, but they also have character and charm, which is what you have to remember when you are about to bust out the checkbook and write a whopper to the roofing company. Over the past few weeks, Jamey has fixed a leaky pipe to the tub, the old screen door, and our dishwasher (also leaking). But the roof is just too tricky for us, thus the swallowing of the pride and hiring of the crew.
On day one, while the guys were removing old shingles and plywood, one of the crew brought me a page of a newspaper that they found. It seems the 'new porch' was added in 1951. We now know this because the builders used newspaper under the plywood. This page from the sports section of the LA Examiner on Sunday, June 16 is all that remains. Because we are a weird family, we all think this is the coolest thing we have seen for a while! Jason and I were particularly excited to see the picture of the baseball players in their uniforms, and the story about a pitcher named Holcombe who had a great game against the Boston Red Sox. On the other page is an ad from a store that was selling 'gowns' for $5.99 and some kind of corduroy fabric for a dollar a yard. Jason and I looked up the year 1951 in my "Baseball Chronicle" book (yes, I do own a year-by-year history of baseball, and yes, we do use it often. I told you we are a weird family!) In 1951, the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and the Giants were still in New York. Joe DiMaggio retired at the end that season, and Micky Mantle was a rookie. The best player in the American League was Ted Williams, Roy Campanella was best in the NL, Willie Mays was rookie of the year, and Stan 'The Man' Musial won the batting title. Towards the end of the season, in the National League championship series, the Giants beat the Dodgers on a three-run walk-off homer by Bobby Thompson, known as 'the shot heard 'round the world', and "the Giants won the pennant! The Giants won the pennant!" What an amazing year - and what fun to think about all of that happening as a porch was being put up on the front of our little old house!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bartering In The Neighborhood

In the summertime, some children watch pets while friends are on vacation and get paid to do it. It makes a pretty great, relatively easy beginning job. My neighbor has 2 very large dogs and 3 miniature horses (it is vitally important that it is known that they are not ponies, but real miniature horses. There - now it is clear.). One of the miniature horses is a baby, making it therefore a miniature miniature horse. Last weekend, I fed the animals for them so that they could go to their granddaughter's dance recital down in Burbank (the big city). In true Garden Farms fashion, I did not accept any paper money for doing this (that would be a rip off, because it is so easy to feed these animals), but my neighbor needed to give me something. She often gives me fudge or chocolate cake or brownies for feeding the pets, which is ok (we are, oddly, not a big chocolate family), but this time she gave me a couple of really useful items, pictured here. A bag of lemons (they don't grow up here - it freezes in the winter) and a wheelbarrow full of horse droppings. GOLDEN! The lemons are inside, being used up slowly but surely. And the horse droppings are out in the corner of the garden, slowly decomposing. I would have put them in the compost pile, but Max the Dog kept eating them (what a disgusting creature!) so I had to put them where I could fence them off. Now that's a payment we can really use!