I've been busy gardening and haven't had much time for cooking. This is too bad, because the supply of herbs outdoors is very plenteous.
Well, I do make big pitchers of herb tea to keep in the fridge —a combo of mint, lemon balm, pineapple sage and stevia. Occasionally, I grab a precooked pizza crust and clean out the fridge and stack various vegetables or other edibles between the tomato sauce and cheese on top.
That will last me for a few days of eating or keep my husband happy if he comes home hungry.
Sometimes I cook some pasta and top it with my home-canned marinara sauce — even with a bit of Scottish Highlander hamburger mixed in.
When I wrote my last column, I was still cheering about eating locally (even Wisconsin) raised strawberries. Perhaps led by delusions, I thought there would be time to cook up a batch of strawberry jam.
Instead I used up the last of the strawberries in a half batch of rhubarb strawberry topping, on lettuce salad and eating a strawberry smoothie. I'd frozen some overripe bananas to use in smoothies.
The last of my Greek yogurt was consumed with the fruit topping and in the smoothies.
I have plenty of vegetables in the fridge and bread I've purchased at the farmers market. Last night I was thinking I should create an herb butter spread for the bread to make it even more special.
I wasn't done packaging herbs for Tuesday's farmers market until nearly 10 and by then the butter was nicely softened. My bible on cooking with herbs, a cookbook I purchased at the Huntington Gardens in San Marino, Calif., offered several options.
However, most called for unsalted butter and I just had “regular” butter. So I picked the simplest option, a recipe that included chopped parsley, chives and lemon juice. It had gotten too dark to go out and pick more tarragon.
Tonight, I finally got a chance to peel and slice some golden beets I’d gotten from Nancy at the farmers market. I love golden beets. They have a milder flavor than red beets and don’t bleed all over everything else in a stir fry.
So tonight I made a John Deere stir fry (greens and yellows). Since tonight was also my birthday, my son and daughter-in-law stopped by with grandkids. Jenna suggested it might be called Green Bay Packer stir fry.
Although we spend a fair amount of time in Wisconsin, we haven’t become Packer fans, so that never occurred to me.
No, I was thinking of the soup my mom would fix us sometimes. We thought it was wonderful, but it was just dry packaged chicken noodle soup with green flecks of parsley. Since my dad was once a John Deere dealer, for some reason this got dubbed “John Deere soup.”
Over the weekend I enjoyed a couple of classic Eyota Days meals — the Friday night “meal deal,” which is still sold for $5 after I don’t know how many years. It’s a shredded pork sandwich with coleslaw, chips and root beer floats, served by volunteers. On Saturday, after the parade, it was the annual Eyota Volunteer Ambulance’s grilled chicken dinner.
I could smell it from several blocks away, where we watched the parade in front of Sally’s house. Served with the chicken is locally grown sweet corn, along with baked beans. It’s a wonderful meal.
Afterwards, and following a long nap, I resumed my pursuit of establishing an extension of our perennial beds in the back yard.
I will admit, I was feeling a sense of loss that needed activity to keep me from dwelling too much on what I had lost.
Friday night, hurrying to get my camera after helping serve the meal deal, I turned it on to take photos and was met with a message: “Memory exhausted.” This meant I needed to switch memory cards.
I was in a hurry, grabbed my camera case, inserted the other card that also was pretty full, so then I thought I should delete some old photos. I took a few photos of the activities, and got the Citizen of the Year award photo (congrats, Peggy Swenson!) Then I ate my portion of the meal deal quickly, so I could cover the start of the 5K race.
At what point I started wondering what had happened to the memory card I’d removed, I am not sure. But when I found the case in my pocket was empty, I was suspicious. But surely, I had put it in the camera case, I thought.
Not there and not on the ground near my backpack. Others searched. I covered the beginning of the race and searched again. And again.
No, I did not find my 8GB memory card, which included almost all of the photos of tractors I’d taken that morning…except for the three saved by being sent off in an email.
It was going to be a great story. Seven of the 10 Flies brothers, originally from Plainview, were driving with another seven or so friends on their restored antique tractors to Racine for a tractor show. Once I tracked them down to the Eyota Café (not so hard, the tractors were lining the street outside the café) I realized what an interesting story it might be.
Irv, who was breakfasting with the group, organized a drive by city hall once they were headed back to the road, where he had them line up for a photo. Realizing one could not see their faces after getting the tractor shots, I had them get off the tractors and line up for a brothers shot.
The neighbor boys, Evan and Elliot’s, grandpa was one of the brothers and Kathy Gust’s cousin was another. Kathy is the chair of the Eyota Days committee.
I don’t have much hope the camera card will be found, but just in case, if someone finds a tiny black and red memory card near the Eyota Legion, with a whole bunch of tractor photos (along with a myriad of family and event photos), please think of me.
That said, I enjoyed the John Deere stir fry, as did my husband later on, in the company of birthday well-wishers in my messy kitchen, where I stuffed a week’s worth of dirty dishes in the dishwasher. (Noah asked about the smell; it wasn’t a good one.)