Sunday, May 27, 2018

Shopping local, apple pies, and a holiday weekend

The daughter and her husband came to visit last Tuesday evening, as usual; she suggested we do a cookout/holiday meal this weekend.  I was all for it.  We have too few of those family get-togethers these days.  Her husband said, "I'd rather not do it on Monday.  I'd like to relax on my last day before I go back to work."

So today's the day.  I volunteered to make potato salad and the usual Oreo Delight.  Yesterday I realized I needed another box of Cool Whip and a couple other things and told Cliff we needed to go to the store.  He asked which store.  I said, "I think Dave's will do it, although there's a big chance he won't have his advertised specials.  But surely on the Friday before Memorial Day, he'll have them."

I really would love to do more of my grocery shopping there.  You see, I remember how great it was back when my little town had a grocery store.  When we moved here, Walmart didn't have groceries, and it was twenty-five miles to the nearest town with Walmart and large stores, both of which had lower prices, and great bargains.  We didn't buy everything at the store in Wellington, but it sure was handy when we ran out of something.  Back then we had a gas station, a drug store, a hardware store, and a bank in our town.  Over the years they all shut down, one by one.  Now we only have insurance agents and a mini-mart which is also a gas station, but since we have to leave town to get anything else, we buy our gas on those trips.   There's also a catfish place, but our budget keeps us from going there more than once a year.

My point is that Dave's (formerly Harold's) is the nearest actual grocery store we have, and I'd hate to see them shut down.  I think it's ten miles away.  I try my best to shop there, but I'm often disappointed.  I'm not put off by the prices at all.  It's a home-town store, and they don't have the muscle to compete with Walmart, which is another 10 miles from Dave's, in Richmond.

I went in the store and grabbed a cart.  The first thing I saw wasn't even on my list:  Apples that had seen better days, marked down significantly.  "Oh, Golden Delicious!  They're great for pies, and apple pie would be a great addition to our Sunday cookout," I thought.

Then I went on to gather some bargains... but typical for Dave's, everything bargain-priced was gone.  I ran into the manager and asked if they had any of the Thousand Island Kraft salad dressings in back someplace.  "I doubt it," he said.  "But the truck comes in tomorrow."

"But I live in Wellington," I said.  "Oh," he replied, chuckling.  "That isn't far."  No explanation, no apology, no offer of a rain check.  For some reason this hit me wrong, so I said, "Well, I guess I'll go on to Richmond then."

So I went back through the store and put back the five or six items in my cart (except for the apples), because I'm not that person who just dumps unwanted groceries any old place, even when I'm angry.

So we went to Richmond and got what I needed.

I don't know when I've made an apple pie.  Cliff and I can't leave them alone once they're made, and ever since Thanksgiving two years ago when the granddaughter-in-law's grandma brought pie, I've given up making pie because I know someone who makes them better.  Sandy's crust is magical.  She has no recipe, like many old-fashioned cooks.  She even tried at one point to make pie crust and measure ingredients and write it down, but found it an impossible task.

Since I had plenty of apples, I decided on cobbler, rather than pie.  Not the biscuit-topped cobbler or the cake-topped cobbler.  I wanted the kind Grandma used to make, which is basically a big, rectangular pie.  I mixed up the crust and got ready to peel the apples.

I took a taste of the first apple I peeled and realized it was NOT a Golden Delicious.  It was one of those tasteless Granny Smiths.  Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, so I forged ahead.  

The cobbler just now came out of the oven, and it looks OK.  Cliff didn't eat breakfast, so I'll let him sample it pretty soon. since he was hovering over my shoulder a while ago when I peeked in the oven.  I'm a little concerned about whether I used enough sugar:  I know how much sugar I need if I'm using Golden Delicious (not so much) or Jonathan (a little more).  These stupid Granny Smith apples, I know nothing about.  If it's too sour, we'll just plop some vanilla ice cream on it and hope for the best.  


P.S.  This cobbler is as good as any I ever made.  The only way it could be better is if Sandy had made the crust, but I'll take it.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Well. Here I am.

This morning's sunrise behind my favorite cottonwood tree
It almost looks as though I'm gradually getting out of blogging, but that isn't my intention.  Morning has always been my time to blog, and there are many mornings our little girl gets here at 5:30 AM.  Don't ever try blogging with any child from ages one to five around... or, in the case of girls, from ages one to infinity, pretty much.  Girls like to talk, and they want 100% of your attention while they're talking.  That isn't every day, though.  The thing is, once I get in the routine of NOT blogging, I forget about it.  

Of course, I forget a lot of things these days. 

I'm not organized, so the old "a place for everything and everything in its place" doesn't work for me.  I'll bet I spend more time hunting for my camera than I spend cooking.  It's only by the power of prayer that I locate anything:  After one of my futile searches in all the likely places, I remember God is right there and ask Him to help me find the object.  Somehow, with very few exceptions, I'll remember what I was doing with the object, or where I was going with it last time I had it, and walk right to it after consulting God.  Cliff thinks it's hilarious that I assume God has no more important things to do than help me find my camera or shoes or purse or iPad, but every time I find something with His help, I whisper, "I give You the credit for this"; not so loud that Cliff hears it, though.  See, I have this running conversation, mostly trivial, with God all day long, so it's only natural I'd ask Him for help.  I also have running conversations with my dog, but he's no help at all.

Gabe was well-behaved, staying mostly in the back seat of the truck, curled up and sleeping

Cliff, Gabe the dog, and I went camping last weekend at Harry Truman State Park, to try out our camper.  We were very much prepared to stay a couple of days.  I even talked Cliff into buying $10 fishing rods, and he dug the old tackle box he had when he used to go fishing out of the attic.  He says he doesn't really like to fish, although it used to be a favorite pastime of his until we moved to the country and he discovered the joy of owning tractors.  I haven't fished since I was a kid.  Ever since I found out people over 65 don't have to have a license, it's been bothering me, because I hate to miss a bargain of any kind.  So, we were ready to fish... and then the rain started the first morning we were there.  It rained, it hailed, it blew; at one point after dark, a guy came and suggested we take cover from the coming 60 MPH winds, but we didn't; we live in a mobile home, and we laugh at 60 MPH winds.  I cooked.  Cliff read a book on his Kindle.  The rain made it seem sort of cozy for a day, but when it was still raining the next morning, we were sick of it and went home.

We learned that the refrigerator, stovetop, and oven in the camper work great.  Oh, and the bathroom worked great!  If we'd been without a bathroom in the camper, we'd have been drenched every time we went to the rest rooms.  The second night we discovered a little leak, which Cliff has since worked on.  I'm a doubting thomas and expect it to still be leaking when it rains again.  Cliff is confident it's fine.  Keep in mind I didn't expect the refrigerator, toilet, and oven to work... but they did.  I used to be SUCH an optimist.  I think I've turned pessimistic in my old age because when the worst happens, you've already expected it, so it doesn't take you by surprise. 

So we still haven't gone fishing.  Cliff hates dressing fish, and only likes to fish if he's catching something.  One of these days I'm going to beg him to take me to Maple Leaf Lake, not far from here, and we can try our luck there.

Who, me?  I NEVER chase cats!