Ah, 2020, the year when we need to devise new ways to do traditional things. We have just completed the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These are wonderful events and, like most holidays, a time when we get together with family, friends and community. Except it’s very difficult to fit large numbers of people together in limited space and observe social distancing. Our congregation had a “sacred space” committee that sent out emails, suggesting ways we could all achieve or create a “sacred space” for ourselves in order to observe the holiday. They suggested that people should NOT just sit in their usual video conferencing setup but that we should all dress up, change locations within our homes, and otherwise beautify or “dress up” the space. I discussed this with my sister and we agreed that setting up outside, on my deck, would be a wonderful way to create a sacred space – outside in nature. Of course for me, this year has been horrendous with the no-see-ums so I knew if we were outside, I needed to be INSIDE of screens.
I already had one pop-up canopy, but it did not have sides. I went searching on the internet (WAS there life and commerce before the internet?) for another popup but with screens, and a way to add screens to the one I had. What a range in prices and styles. I didn’t want to spend THAT much because I really didn’t see the need for TWO popup canopies in my life. I confess that I let price be the deciding factor when I finally found some 10’x10′ popup canopies with screened sides. The add-on screens and the screened popup arrived a week before they were needed. My sister and I spent an afternoon setting them up, aligning them, figuring out how to ‘join’ them and keep them steady. That was Tuesday and when we were done it looked GREAT! Thursday morning I woke up and went off to make sandwiches. While I was making sandwiches it began raining. It poured. I came home and the new popup had collapsed under the rain. I was very very dispirited. But come Saturday the sun rose, and like the itsy bitsy spider the tent went up again. This time with pool noodles to try to keep rain from bringing down it down.
The holidays were wonderful. We made a beautiful space in the screened area. We had friends join us for meals, and we could be socially distanced because of the large space. We had multiple laptops and large added monitors so we could livestream services and have our families video conference in to join us while they ran a livestream for the services. Hurray for multiple devices! No rain from Saturday September 12 through Tuesday September 29. Last night was a major storm – someone on a morning business video conference called it a mini-hurricane. It was so fierce that it woke me up around 3:30 am, which is extremely unusual given how hard of hearing I have become lately. I went downstairs and looked out. Sure enough, the new popup was splayed and bent across the deck. I guess pool noodles will only get you so far. But it’s okay. It did what I needed it to do. If in the future I want to be able to build and KEEP an extended screened area, I think I might invest a few more dollars and get something a bit more sturdy. It seems you do get what you pay for. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, PEACEFUL new year, filled with hope and good things. 🙂
Ah, my husband has gotten SO WISE in these last few decades. 🙂 He has learned that it is NOT a “soft word turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1) but a WITTY reply averts annoyance. Our stove – our beautiful, 2-yr old, 6 burner stove – is having a problem. One of the middle burners does not light. Not only is it not lighting but I noticed it was causing a different burner’s lighter to spark. Hmmmm. I cleaned all the burners, then turned them on one at a time to see if the difficult one would light properly. It did and was fine for a few days, but started sparking again today, instead of lighting. We stood in front of the stove discussing it and that probably a good cleaning would resolve the problem. Then my husband said “We have a warranty on this, we could have someone in to take a look at it”. Ahhhh, that famous “we”. “We” means *I* will end up calling, *I* will end up arranging my schedule, *I* will do what needs doing. I looked at him and said “We?” Pause. “We?” “Weeee?” He looked at me and grinned and said “We – Woman Extraordinaire”. Okay, he wins. 🙂 It’s really hard to argue with THAT response.
It’s getting exciting around my house these days. The mushrooms are very persistent. My neighbor is as determined to NOT have huge mushrooms in her yard. I went out the other day to assert my dominance over my yard. It was close but I believe I won. My neighbor was out, dealing with HER yard. All this rain. It’s a shame we can’t share it with California. Our grass is growing 5 inches a night, I’m sure. 🙂 The rain encouraged the mushrooms to mount a foray. Overnight – 3 large mushrooms. I have my neighbor so well ‘trained’! I pointed out the mushrooms and she said she hadn’t pulled them yet because she wasn’t sure if I’d taken pictures!!!!! Love it! I ran and got my camera, took the picture and thanked her. I told her that her yard was getting lots of exposure on my blog. 🙂 By the way – the mushrooms are gone again. We are expecting rain the day after tomorrow. We shall see what happens. Ball is in their court! Stay tuned!
Over the years I have entertained many times, many people. I remember one dinner in the sukkah where every single couple attending had at least one person who had dietary restrictions. I managed a meal that satisfied everyone. 🙂 When I threw my “New Kitchen Open House” party last year I had something for everyone. Vegans. Vegetarians. Kosher. Gluten-free. Low-salt. Sugar-free. I did miss the one person who didn’t eat any nightshade vegetables, but to be fair to me, she also wouldn’t eat the gluten-free spinach quiche I made. I don’t know what is objectionable about the spinach but apparently that made it a no-go for her.
Now there is the Keto diet, very similar to the Atkins diet from years ago. I refuse to put links for those. If you want to know about those 2 diets, YOU do a search. I’m already being bombarded with keto information because I had to check some recipes. We are entertaining some friends this weekend and they are on the keto diet. They’ve requested a no or low carb meal. Sigh. Since we are STILL in a pandemic, we are eating outside. That means it’s easiest for summer BBQ foods, which usually means carbohydrate salads. No macaroni salad. No potato salad. No chickpea salad. No corn salad. No corn-on-the-cob. Meat and certain specified vegetables. *shaking my head* I LOATHE this diet. I LIVE on vegetables. Most of the ones I like – banned. No Jersey tomatoes. Seriously? You live in NJ and NO tomatoes??? Grrrr.
I’ve come up with a menu. Oh yes, one other annoying thing about this particular meal. My guest always insists on bringing dishes. Sure, one dish, a bottle of wine. That is fairly typical. No – it was an offer of 3 sides dishes and dessert and a “What else can we bring?” Um, why don’t we just eat at YOUR house? I know this is probably NOT a gracious attitude on my part. But the way I HEAR this offer is “I don’t really like what you cook so I’ll bring things I know I’ll eat.” I got it down to 2 side dishes, one of which I won’t eat because I don’t LIKE eggplant and one of which was stated after I said one side dish, and the dessert. From now on we meet at restaurants I think. *grumble, grumble*) MY menu: Their 2 side dishes (eggplant and mini peppers in vinegar ). Chicken on the grill. Deviled eggs. Coleslaw. Grilled brussels sprouts and grilled cauliflower. I’ve been practicing those last 2 in advance for this dinner. I LOVE the brussel sprout recipe – delicious. I don’t know why it seems complicated when I read it, but it’s very simple and oh so good. I did the cauliflower as well, and like it. I object to the concept of cauliflower steaks because a cauliflower only makes 2 steaks. That means buying 3 cauliflowers to have a sufficient side dish. I’ll use the leftover florets, but something about the concept seems wasteful and offends the frugal part of my soul. 🙂
No matter. It will all be fine. I’m just cranky and feeling low and worn out. Having one of those weeks where everything just seems too much and I have no energy to smile and just cope. But I have a BIG piece of dark chocolate stashed away for ME as a bedtime snack. 🙂
I get it – I have a garden too. I don’t want the hibiscus flowers bitten off my plants. I’m not fond of deer poop in my front yard.
But let’s be real for a moment. Whose fault is it that the deer have no place to live anymore? Who has insisted on developing just about every little wooded nook and cranny? Our local roads are already over-crowded. We’re driving out ALL the wildlife.
We used to have raccoons, deer, possums, ground hogs, skunks and the occasional fox. Admittedly I’m not fond of some of those, but they are nature, and I DO love that even here in suburbia wild animals can survive. Then we began overdeveloping, using lawn services with their poisons, trapping animals because they are inconvenient for our gardens. Some of us admitted defeat and changed what we planted. Also an option, right? In any case, it’s been years since I last saw a fox or a skunk. I haven’t seen ground hogs in quite awhile either. The last possum I saw I think might have been injured. Deer, we have lots of deer. So I plant a lot of deer-resistant perennials and annuals, and make sure that my tasty treats are surrounded by such things as marigolds and peppermint. I use hot chili powder as my animal deterrent.
Now there are many people in the town who claim the deer are a nuisance. The deer are raiding our gardens and spreading disease. Oh, and we humans aren’t spreading disease like crazy (ahem – covid19? remember? and I’d be willing to bet that the people complaining about the deer could be the same population that refuse to wear masks). There was a town meeting. The decision? Shoot the deer.
You have GOT to be out of your minds. This is the most left-leaning town in the state, I swear that must be true. Green green green. KILLING defenseless animals is your solution? Who ARE you??? How about some non-violent tactics? The deer are all over town because they are HUNGRY. FEED THEM!! Feed them with birth control in the food. I checked. That is a solution that does produce results. Or perhaps it is better to call it a solution that leads to NO results.
There is a mother with 2 fawns. I know her well. They are hanging out when I pull up in my car. They nibble the bushes along my driveway. I see them cruising down the street when I am driving. Yesterday I was on my way home and I saw one of the fawns at the side of the road, hesitating. I waited. It crossed. I waited some more. Sure enough, Mama came across. I waited and there came Fawn 2, hustling to catch up. I LIKE seeing them. I get the downside of too many deer. But these days – omg – do we REALLY need MORE violence? Can we not just stop and enjoy for a few minutes, the beauty of nature and wildlife?