Thursday, August 30, 2012

Is it a grape?

The other day while I was in the grocery store, I spied a clear plastic container of what appeared to be teeny tiny grapes. Of course I just had to have them. 

It’s no secret that I don’t have much of a green thumb and it seems that every time I plant a vegetable or fruit they always grow stunted.  Once I actually harvested a fully ripe Barbie sized cantaloupe—a one-bite wonder.  But putting all my agricultural failures aside, what were these amazing wee grapes?  Were these grapes some happy accident?  Were they the result of someone’s poor abilities in farming? 

These little jewels of fruit sometimes called champagne grapes (another advertising moniker) are actually Black Corinth grapes.  Have you ever had any baked goods with currants in them?  If so you have tasted Black Corinth grapes. (Gee, I never knew what a currant was) Yes, the dried miniscule raisins called currants are actually an ancient Greek variety of grape.  In their natural state they don’t produce fruit any larger than pinheads and take a lot of finagling to encourage them to an edible size. They must girdle them and shoot them full of hormones.  Sounds like someone whose going through menopause, don’t you think?

All I know is Black Corinth grapes are yummy!  So if you see some in our local grocery store you better pick them up.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oh baby!

The other night while dining at my favorite Chinese restaurant I noticed that one of the veggies in my stir-fry was a tiny ear of corn. Even as I ate the teeny ear whole my mind wandered to visions of Ton Hanks in the movie “Big” as he tried to eat the kernels off of the mini ear.  I wondered-- what do these itty-bitty little ears look like while they are still growing?  Being of an inquisitive nature, I just had to Google it.

I discovered the “baby” sometimes called candle corn (it does sort of resemble a candle doesn’t it?) really is “baby corn.  It’s the same corn that you eat at backyard Bar-B-Q's in steaming bowls of butter.  And you can even grow it yourself.  As soon as the silk forms and the ear is fertilized you pick it! Believe it or not at this point the corn stalk is about 4 feet high!  Let it stay on the mamma stalk too long and oh baby it turns into a real ear of corn!!!  Bet you didn’t know that.

My inquiring mind (and honestly I don’t work at Enquirer) wasn’t satisfied with baby corn because when I got home and opened my fridge, what was right there in the veggie bin to greet me but baby carrots?  So back to my good friend Google to discover that baby carrots are not really babies at all.  Technically they are baby-cut carrots.  Yuppers! An enterprising California carrot grower got a bit tired of discarding carrots because of slight imperfections and figured out how to use an industrial bean cutter to cut regular old adult carrots into lengths and then peel them!  Voila, baby carrots!

Now, what can explain this?  Stay tuned!!!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The back is back

I’m not going to lie.  This summer for me has not been one of my best.  First it was the hand surgery, then a power outage lasting 5 days in record-breaking heat, followed by a 3-week bout of bronchitis.  I thought the worst was over and then last Thursday—I decided to polish my toenails.  I bent over, not really very far and I felt something snap. 

For two days I was unable to bend, stoop, or sit comfortably without grimacing from pain. The pain in my back steadily got worse and almost had me in tears, so Saturday I visited the doctor, who prescribed muscle relaxers and pain meds. 

Unfortunately, demands do not stop when one is in pain.  Since I am the first one awake every day and cannot sleep past a certain time, mornings were a difficult.  Everyone knows that I don’t operate that well without that first cup of coffee, but that must wait while I attend to four legged demands. That is when I have to feed the dog and cat and attach the dog’s leash and take her out to do her business.  Ever try and attach a leash to a squirming, hyper, and super excited Jack Russell terrier?  It can be daunting even with a healthy back!

Additionally, since the dog eats the cat’s food if it’s on the floor, I feed her on top of a shelf in my laundry room.  And while she doesn’t have a problem jumping up there, in the mornings she expects me to place her daintily in front of her bowl.  She twists around my legs and meows waiting for her human domestic to do her duty.

I sink to my knees, gritting my teeth at the knives stabbing in my back from each and every slight movement. In a robotic and ungraceful way I manage.  These simple chores, take much longer than usual.  I eye my aromatic cup of coffee that is sitting un-sipped on the counter as I finish the tasks at hand.  Finally I am through and I greedily swallow a few gulps of the semi-warm brew.

The next day and the day after that it is more of the same. And then on Tuesday, five days later, just as quickly and mysteriously as what I like to call the back attack occurred, it was gone.

From now on, however, lion tamers will tame lions, trained athletes will run marathons, and in my house at least, professionals will do pedicures. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Are you Chaos, or are you Order?

The other day I noticed that my son was eating each item on his plate one at a time.  So that is when I took a look at my own method of eating and I realized that I take turns.  I eat one item and then go on to another.  (Not at the same time of course, we’ve already discussed that)  There is an order to the way I eat.  I work around my plate in a clockwise motion.  My son, on the other hand, while still in an orderly fashion, will completely finish an item before he takes a bite of the anything else.  And he saves his favorite for last.  Now what do you think both our styles of eating say about us?

While we are talking about eating styles, how do you eat your corn on the cob?  Do you eat across like a typewriter?  Or do you work completely around starting at one end and finishing at the other?  Or…. are you like me, a haphazard corn gobbler, biting from wherever the mood hits? 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hey Mr. Summer are we done yet?

Who’s tired of summer?  Do you see me raising my hand?  I read in the paper that this summer in Va.  Was the hottest on record—even hotter than the previous record of the 1930’s dust bowl.  We sweltered in our homes with no electricity after the effects of a derecho.  (What, you’ve never heard of a derecho? Mr. Webster didn’t   either)

I know all of your beach lovers are having a blast, but who can spend the entire summer at the beach?  Most of us have to trudge through the thick, humid days without so much as a wisp of a sea breeze while we slather on the aloe Vera for our sunburns. 

On a personal level, summer has not been fun for me.  I had an operation on my hand the beginning of June, and then spent 3 weeks in July with the worst cold I’ve had in years.  And I’m still not 100%.  There goes my mother’s theory about catching a cold from getting a chill.

I admit it.  I am not really a fan of summer.  I much prefer the cool and sometimes brisk nights in autumn.  The leaves start to turn orange, reds, yellow and burgundy.  Football is in full swing.  Kids are back in school and holidays are looming.  Come on down Mr. Autumn…I’m waiting with baited breath.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cover art

I'm so excited!  My art is featured on the cover of Equine marketer magazine in the August 2012 issue. Just had to show it off!  
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