Angie

My little huntress. You pull me along like a ship’s sail billowing, dragging my reluctant stagnant heart toward joy for your thoughts and your ways are simple, guileless and true.

You take in at this very moment, every rustling leaf, flying bird, small scurrying thing. The minutest detail of being, the soft scent language of the breeze, and those savory ghosts left behind in the night by some prowling thing that vanished into the undergrowth. You revel in its fragrance, scrutinize and consider.

And what surprise might come around the bend? You are neither nationalist nor patriot, nor are you swayed by ancient texts or great ambitions. You do not see the differences in features or colors or language. Everyone is your friend, and I am drawn along in your wake, offering up explanations.

And should you come to a crossroads, you stall with a backward glance inquiring, “Are you coming? Will you be right along? I cannot lose sight of you.”
My little beggar. At the end of the day you wait and wait casting about sad eyes until the time is right. You love everyone but you worship at my feet. You lean into me and caress my cheek, you lean into me and you sleep. And all I can hope is that, though I will not have you for all my days, that we will have us for all of yours.

The Dirt

(From Chapter 31 Grove of the Patriarchs)

These words,

Heralds of what’s to come

Crawl under my skin

Like an army on the move.

A battalion of rumor

A rear guard of whispers.

I grasp, finally, the incursion,

The stone cold double deal.

  Jessica Rush

Bits and Pieces

Recently I finished writing my first fiction novel, and I think I will publish here bits and pieces of it.  Many of the chapters begin with a scrap of poetry to set the tone.  This is the heading for Chapter 4 of Grove of the Patriarchs.

Busy bobbing birds

Flitting and feathering

Needing naught but nests and nuts

Seeds and scavengings

Courting and calling

Hailing high aloft the hedges

Far unfettered flight

                                                   Jessica Rush

Plastic Container Greenhouses

From time to time I end up with those plastic containers that once housed strawberries or spinach. According to my curbside recycling guide they are not recyclable (differs by refuse company). So, I like to reuse them when I have them. Besides using them to organize my pantry or the kids markers, we make them into little seed starting greenhouses. You can buy a fancy seed starter system, but I find these work just as well and are easy to transplant.

Simply fill the bottom with soil and sprinkle in the seeds planting to required depth, water, close the lid and wait. I have successfully started onions, herbs, gourds, chard, and numerous other plants this way.

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Happy Little Sprouts

Happy Little Sprouts

Once seedlings have reached a level of growth where they will tolerate transplant, usually when they have developed roots and true leaves, I use a chopstick or spoon to separate out these tiny plants which then go into either 4 inch pots, or in the case of onions and squashes right into the garden.

Plastic containers need to be thoroughly cleaned in between plantings to discourage disease.

What other uses have you come up with for plastic containers? Happy planting!

Non Stick Pan Nonsense

Non-stick coated “Teflon” pans make me nervous. We are told to throw them away if the surface becomes scratched to avoid getting the non-stick substance in our food (this seems wasteful to me).   Toxins may be leached out of non-stick surfaces into our food and into the air whether they are scratched or not. That is part of the reason I do not use Teflon non-stick frying pans. There is an interesting history of Teflon, etc. at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytetrafluoroethylene. The other reason is that if you have a quality frying pan that is well seasoned not only will you have a naturally non-sticking pan, but you will either keep it your whole life or it can be recycled.

The oldest non-stick frying pan (without teflon) would be the cast iron pan. Cast iron was so valuable and durable historically in the kitchen that old time homemakers often passed them on to their children. Cast iron pans have excellent heat retention, can add iron to your food (great if you are anemic) and when well seasoned are non-stick.

Though I have some cast iron I primarily use Calphalon frying pans in my home. My pans are about 9 years old. I am unsure whether they are the same as what is on the market today, and I am not advertising Calphalon necessarily. What I enjoy about my pans is that they are receptive to seasoning.

Large Seasoned Frying Pan

Large Seasoned Frying Pan

This large pan I use to make quesadillas and grilled cheese and items of that nature. I no longer need to add any oil to this pan when cooking low-protein foods. It has darkened into a perfectly smooth surface. I never run this pan or the little pan I use for eggs through the dishwasher. I hand wash these and scrub sparingly. Though I seasoned them when I bought them, time has seasoned them better.  Seasoning can be reached through applying shortening or lard to a pan and heating it. It may take a few seasonings to reach non-stick.   For me it took carefully cooking in the pan for awhile. Then I baby the pans, only lightly scrubbing so as to not remove that precious layer. For more detailed instructions for seasoning various kinds of pans click here: http://www.webstaurantstore.com/guide/562/pan-seasoning.html

Take note: that if you do burn something in your seasoned pan, you will have to scrub it thoroughly and then reseason.

Lastly, how you cook in your pan also determines how well your seasoned pans work. Overheating or burning something in your pan will cause problems on the slickest surface. When cooking protein’s like fish, meat or eggs it is best to heat your pan first, add a little cooking fat like olive oil or coconut oil and make sure that it is hot, usually on a medium heat before adding eggs or meat.  Cold dry pans cause sticking. In other words, you’re best friend in keeping your pans in prime condition and your food at it’s yummiest is patience.