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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back again.

It has been a busy past few days. Let's see. Thursday afternoon I got one of those rare moments of inspiration to actually do a deep cleaning vacuum job. (Not that I DON'T vacuum, it's just rare for me to be inspired to do so.) I had no sooner began than I was scared out of my wits by my husband coming in behind me. As per usual; when I get inspired to do something, something else always come up to interrupt it. A cow up the road needed help calving. So I was called on to act as nurse. I will spare the details; but the short of it is that the calf was in the wrong position and was dead when hubby finally got it out. The cow is doing OK though. I always hate it when that happens; it's depressing.

Friday I went shopping then came home and did another batch of those garlic dill pickles. I sure hope they turn out. They smelled so good, I will cry if they are icky when I try them in a few weeks.

Sat we did an all day trip to Marshfield to get a couple of things hubby needed.

More reflections:

5. I care so much less about what people think about me. I wish I had learned that about 25 years ago.

6. I try and say what I think needs to be said instead of keeping quiet about it.

7. I am working on not putting off until tomorrow what I know needs to be done today. The trouble is finding the time to do it. HA.

8. Much to my surprise I am finding myself becoming fearless in the kitchen, with regards to trying new dishes andto doing new things; like making dill pickles.

9. I find myself having more patience with other peoples' failings now. Maybe that is because I am more aware of my own.

10. It has taken awhile but I have worked at eliminated sarcasm from my conversation and thoughts.

11. I have much less tolerance for those who rely on sarcasm; especially when it is obvious they are using it to try and make themselves feel more important.

12. Kids don't bother me as much as they used to do; obviously that is because I have one of my own now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Forty Reflections...well, not quite that many

Sorry for the silence the past couple of days here on the dairy. Things have been busy, as you might have expected. Plus the computer has not been cooperative and the weather has been having fits every time I had a moment to be on line.

So. Here I am. At the moment I am in the process of pickling beets. Our beet crop didn't do so well this year, for which Iam actually eternally thankful. But I will probably get 2 or 3 quarts out of what hubby brought in. I dislike pickling beets because of the mess they make. I am not the most prim and proper of cooks, so by the time I have finished pickling beets it looks as though some large creature met it's fate and was slaughtered in my kitchen. But since I am only going to have one batch, I am not too resentful of them this year.

Day before yesterday I did a batch of sweet cuke pickles. I have enough cucumbers to do another batch of one kind or another, but not today. I will keep them in the fridge until tomorrow and perhaps do one of the simpler recipes.

Yesterday was my birthday. Yes. A full FORTY years have come and gone since I made my earthly appearance. Yesterday I was going to blog on Forty Reflections on being FORTY, but I didn't have the wherewithal to do so. Not to mention trying to think up that many all at once. So maybe I will try to do so over the next few blog posts. Remind me if I forget...my mind is going. Maybe it's because I keep getting interrupted by Ellen, who is dragging books from the bedroom in here and wanting me to read them to her. So if I type something about Pooh or Little Miss Muffet, please understand.

Forty Reflections on being FORTY

1. Really it doesn't bother me THAT much. Last night at church I told the teens that what really bothered me was that my brother will turn 50 next month. For some reason having a brother who is 50 bothers me more than having turned 40 myself. Never mind that my husband turned 50 two months ago. That didn't bother me, either. Dunno. The mind plays funny tricks on you.

2. Ten years ago when I turned 30 and was living in a metro area, walking on pavement every day, working in a jail, going to a church of 5,000 and drinking Starbucks coffee almost everyday, I never dreamed ten years in the future I'd end up on a dairy in the Ozarks hosing muck off my rubber boots, scratching chigger bites, checking for ticks and canning my own produce.

3. Having a 17 month old rampaging around the house when you are 40 is a challenge. I don't have the energy I had when I was 30. But maybe that has something to do with much less sleep and getting up at 3:45 AM every day.

4. Gray hair. I started going gray when I was in my mid-20s so this is not too big of a deal either, except for the fact that there is much more of it now. What drives me nuts is that I have more than hubby does, and he is, as stated earlier, 10 years older than I am.

OK. That's 4 reflections. It's a start. Any suggestions?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Food for thought...ducks and monkeys

Lately I have been thinking about ducks. Not as food though. I have tried duck before; some duck hunter brought our family one of his ducks way back when I was a kid. I still remember biting into the birdshot and how oily/greasy the meat was. URGH! Just not my thing. Maybe if it was fixed better I might like it.

What got me thinking about ducks is the fact that they seem to play such a major role in babies lives; cute little duckies are everywhere, seemingly, when you go looking at baby things. They also feature in songs. A couple of weeks ago I got one of those little CD song books for the baby, with different animal songs in it. Two of the songs feature ducks. For some reason one of them just quacked me up, it is sung to the tune of Star and Stripes Forever and starts off "Be kind to your webfooted friends, for a duck may be somebody's mother..." Listen to it at this site:

http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/song/song-1499.asp


Monkeys are also prominent in kiddy lyrics; chasing weasels and jumping on beds. Why? Why ducks and monkeys so much? Dunno.

And some kiddy poetry is gruesome; blind mice getting their tails chopped off, Jack breaking his crown, Humpty Dumpty breaking himself apart, Jack jumping over a candle and burning his toe (Jack seemed prone to injuring himself, didn't he?) among others. I told hubby I probably could write stuff just as good as all that. Maybe I ought to try.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Up the tree on camo day

Today was the last day of VBS, which always involves a barbecue and some kind of entertainment for the kids. I slipped off to home early to put the baby down for her nap, so I don't know what exactly the entertainment was.


Yesterday was "wear camouflage" day; something that one of the teachers and his class of boys came up with. I don't own a stitch of camo so I ended up borrowing a camo T-shirt from a friend there. Some folks didn't bother with it either, including the pastor's wife. The pastor is big into hunting and owns lots of camo, apparently his better half could care less. This is a picture of him up a tree in the parking lot doing a lesson on Zacchaeus. It was hard to get a good shot of him because the sun was behind him, but this turned out pretty well; keeps him anonymous.


He stayed up the tree for at least 2 hours; from about 9:30 AM 'til 11:30 AM or so. For a couple of the classes it was a fun surprise, but the older ones had caught on by the time their turn came.



Here's another shot of one of the classes in their camouflage. Note the mascot, Cooper the dog, in the middle of the kids. The particular girl, aged 12, who volunteered to be Cooper said; "Never again!" Ha. She had to pose for a shot with every child there; some 50 or so over the course of the week. I guess she got tired of that pretty quick.



Anyway, we had a good time. Sunday will be the big program, where the kids will do their songs and skits and whatever else they've worked on all week. They will also get their crafts and a treat from the teachers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More cukes today...

Today I made a batch of the freezer dill pickles after I got home from Vacation Bible School. I have enough cukes to make another batch, but I don't have enough time or energy.

Today's snack at VBS for the kids was Rocky Road Cups: a cup of chocolate pudding with two graham cracker sections pushed down in it and a few mini marshmallows tossed on top. Voila. Ellen had a couple of the strawberry newtons left over from yesterday. I wasn't going to mess with chocolate pudding for her. Nope!
Tomorrow the topic for VBS is Zaccheaus up the tree. To illustrate this the pastor is going to climb a tree in the parking lot and teach it from there. I am going to bring my camera; this is going to be too good to pass up. He is going to give this lesson to 5 different classes, so he has plenty of opportunity to injure himself, pick up lots of ticks and mosquito bites and such. He's such a good sport!

Moe observed in a comment on a previous post that the kids go home and tell their parents about their teachers; yes, of this I am aware. I try desperately hard to not reveal any of my terribly personal secrets during my time of teaching. But I am sure they pick up on what seems to them my peculiarities and spread them abroad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kids Snacks

Here it is just the middle of July and I am running out of ideas for food blogging. Well, maybe it's because I don't have the time to really sit down and think. Here are the two snacks they have prepared for the kids at Vacation Bible School so far:


Monday's snack:

Butterfly Cupcakes

Down the center of a cupcake place a section of one of those nasty-tasting fruit-flavored licorice-like ropes, on either side of which place a Nutter Butter cookie.



Tuesday's snack:

Friendly Fig Bars

On a fig newton, or strawberry newton, or whatever flavor you might prefer; using vanilla frosting attach two mini marshmallows upended on one end, then place an M&M candy on top of each marshmallow-these are the eyes. Under the eyes place half of a gummy LifeSaver candy. Tah-dah! A smiling friendly fig bar! Each child got two of these and there were 51 kids. It was quite the production line assembling these.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A day of kids and corn...

Today was the first day of Vacation Bible School at church. Attendance is down somewhat this year, most people attribute it to the price of fuel. Dunno. Maybe so. At any rate I am team teaching with the pastor's wife, the 3rd and 4th graders; we had 8 students, but the "older" class ahead of us only had one so she joined ours. It was a good day. They are impressed by the fact I speak Spanish, so they want to learn part of their memory verse in Spanish. This should be fun.

A couple of years ago I taught one class how to sing "Jesus Loves Me" in Spanish. They drove their parents nuts at home singing it.

One thing I learned long ago from my mom, who was a teacher's aide in gradeschool, is that kids are so honest and you learn the beatin'est things about their family lives from them. Things you don't really WANT to know. So far they haven't divulged too much personal stuff. But one Wed night (I teach the Wed night teen class) one student was disgusted that his mom collected and read those cheezy romance novels; has a whole wall of shelves full of them. Hmmm...not really info I cared to know.

So today, after herding 9 children ages 8-10 around for 3 hours during the morning, I came home and processed 66 cups of corn that my hubby and m-i-l had shucked and cut off the cob this morning. I boiled it for a couple minutes, packed it all into freezer bags, iced them down and then tossed them in the upright freezer. YUM!!! There's nothing quite like homegrown corn.

I remember when we were kids my dad would grow what seemed to be a vast field of corn and we would go out and raid it; eat it raw, straight off the stalk. That is one thing that evokes the strongest memories of childhood and summers; the taste of fresh, raw produce straight from the garden. Hubby thinks I am crazy for going out in the garden and grazing off of stuff raw; green beans, carrots, cucumbers, peas, corn, turnips. But to me that's the tastiest way to do it; hose it off and chow down.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hey, Grandpa...what's for supper?

Hubby says I ought to blog about what we had for supper last night. So I will. I baked some chicken breasts; just sprinkled a bit of onion soup mix over them and chucked them in the oven 'til done. It's a quick meat dish when you don't want to fuss.

Then I tried something new; a wax bean soup. It's easy and turned out pretty good. I will attach the recipe at the bottom. I grew some wax beans this year, unbeknownst to hubby. He seemed to like the soup, but said the wax tasted funny. *sigh* He has a sense of humor that must be endured rather than enjoyed at times.

He's been hauling hay off and on this past week, so yesterday he comes in with some tomatoes and green peppers the hay guy had given him. I sliced them up. We also had sliced cukes and onions (also homegrown) in salt/vinegar water, which is how hubby likes them served. Oh, and at the last minute hubby brought in some corn on the cob he'd just picked from his mom's garden. Hubby was pleased that the only things we had that weren't homegrown were the chicken and the bread and margarine. And seasonings of course.

Here's the wax bean recipe:

Wax Bean Soup

Green beans can be used in this recipe but yellow wax beans make a more attractive soup. It makes a wonderfully creamy soup.


½ lb fresh yellow wax beans cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon flour
1 small onion chopped
1 egg beaten
1 Cup whole milk or half+ half
Salt and white pepper to taste

Cook beans, salt and onion till tender in water to cover. Do not drain. Beans and water will be the base for the soup
In another pot bring milk just to a boil (scalding). Turn heat off and cool while you are cooking beans.
Beat into the milk, the flour and egg mixture.
Carefully add milk mixture to the bean mixture off the heat so as not to curdle. Soup will thicken.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

NaBloPoMo is blown...


I missed yesterday...but I will persevere throughout the rest of the month. I had two trips into town yesterday, plus a batch of sweet pickles. This picture is another one taken while I was in Malaysia. I felt it was an appropriate pic to share on a sweltering 90 degree day.


This is starting to degenerate into a pickle/cucumber blog instead of a dairy blog, but stick with me. Cuke season will be over with eventually.


Yesterday I tried a new pickle recipe. This time another recipe I got from an Amish cookbook. (My in-laws like to travel to Amish country and pick up copies of their cookbooks.) This particular recipe is called Garlic Dill Pickles and was relatively easy to do, however you have to keep in mind that I had to use artistic license with some of these recipes because I think the authors or cooks who submit them assume you know what they are talking about. For instance in this particular recipe it doesn't tell you the amount of cukes to slice; it just says to soak sliced cukes in salt water for an hour. I just guessed and sliced up a gallon of them.
Here is the recipe:
Garlic Dill Pickles
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups vinegar
2 Tablespoons salt
3-4 garlic buds per each quart
2 heads of dill per each quart
Soak sliced cukes in salt water one hour. (This didn't say what the ratio of salt to water was, I made it one cup salt per one gallon water and did only one rinse on it...my pickles may be salty as all get out...we will find out in a month or two when I actually try them. HA!)
Drain.
Bring to a boil: water, vinegar and salt. Add sliced pickles and stir until they change color, then ladle into hot jars (one gallon of sliced cukes makes 3 quarts of pickles). Put flats on jars temporarily to keep warm. Add the sugar to the vinegar mixture and bring to a good boil. Pour boiling mix over the cukes in the jars. Turn rings on tight and set jars upside down to seal. Do not cold pack. Makes crispy pickles. (This also didn't say when to add the garlic and dill, I just put them in the jars before I added the cukes, and then made sure to shake the cukes down really well before I capped them.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Cucumber Day

Yesterday morning hubby said his mom had some extra cucumbers; would I like them. Since our patch isn't yet producing mass cukes, I said yes. So here he comes later with a bucket of cucumbers. This is what it looked like when I added our few to the top and sides:


So yesterday I sliced cucumbers for the Amish Sweet Pickles recipe my mother-in-law gave me. It's not hard, just kind of gross to start out with.


Here's the recipe:


Slice up one gallon's worth of cucumbers and soak in a solution of one cup of salt in one gallon of water in non metallic bowl. (Does that make sense?) Let soak for 3-5 days. (This was the gross part...they smell rather strange after just 3 days, but remember that salt is a preservative and in the end the pickles are really good. I made a batch when I was expecting...that was rather a mistake, but I won't go into that here...hahaha)


Drain and rinse with cold water about 4 times to get off all the salt.


Boil in alum water for 10 minutes. (2 tablespoons of alum and water to cover cuke slices.)


Drain and rinse in HOT water.


Make syrup:


2 cups vinegar

2 cups water

6 cups sugar (This is where I balked and used 4 cups instead, they came out just as well.)


Put into spice bag (I use one of hubby's old hankies tied up really well, so far it has worked and a little bleach makes sure he doesn't know...ha):


1 tablespoon celery seed

1 stick cinnamon

1 tablespoon whole cloves

1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices


Put spice bag in syrup, add cuke slices and boil for 10 minutes. Remove spice bag, ladle slices into 3 clean, warm quart jars, place lids and rings on tightly. They will seal as they cool.




Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Food from the Past


I don't remember if I've posted this picture before or not. I think I have, but it never hurts to post it again, does it? Is that cheating? I dunno.


Anyway. This is Lobster Thermidore, I think, and was served to us (a group of friends) at a restaurant in Malaysia.


Yum yum.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Zucchini Brownies and Grass Seed

Here's a recipe to use up any extra zucchini that you may have on hand this time of year.


Zucchini Brownies

¼ C margarine or butter
1 ½ C sugar
2 Tbs cocoa
2 eggs
2 C flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp soda
2 C peeled, ground or shredded zucchini
1 C chocolate chips
½ C nuts-optional

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, cream; add zucchini and beat again. Add flour, salt, soda and cocoa. Place in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until it tests done.

Grass Seed

There isn't too terribly much going on in the dairy department. Last week hubby happened across a fellow who was combining in a neighboring field to get the grass seed. Hubby told him to come and try the dry cow field if he wanted. The Seed Guy does this on shares; 50/50. So he came and tried it..

In a field of about 20 acres he got just a wee tad over 1,000 pounds of seed, 700 pounds of which were good grass seeds. That blew me away. How could grass seeds weigh that much?!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Speaking of cucumbers...

here's a great recipe I stumbled onto last year. When I get the time I visit Homesteading Today and pick up some great tips and recipes from their cooking and recipe forums. They are a nice bunch.

Freezer Dills:

6 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (I sliced mine paper-thin last time...will make thicker this year)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
3 Tbs. pickling salt1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbs. dill weed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional-I didn't use it because we don't like spicy stuff much.)

Mix cukes & onion together and set aside. Combine sugar, salt, vinegar, garlic, dill, and red pepper. Stir until all sugar is dissolved. Add mixture to cukes. Mix well. Pack into freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible. Place in freezer. When ready to eat – thaw in refrigerator.

Last year I packed them into pint sized bags, then when I took a bag out of the freezer, I let thaw and then emptied into a pint jar and kept it in the fridge. Hubby doesn't much care for them because of all the dill floating around in the jar, but I think the taste is superior to store bought dills. I loved them; plus they are hilariously easy to make. It's a quick way to use up any extra cukes you may have on hand.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Here's the cuke...and a recipe


Since he didn't download in the previous post; here is Larry the cucumber, as jel dubbed him. But I don't think he's really any relation to the REAL Larry the Cuke from Veggie Tales. Well, maybe a very distant cousin. I did 7 more quarts of green beans yesterday, bringing my total up to 21 quarts. There is still more out there in the patch, I am thinking I will probably be able to get another canner full this coming week. Funnily enough I haven't much felt like having green beans for supper for the past few days, I can't imagine why....


The following is my favorite cookie recipe. I have only tried it once, but it won my approval from the first bite. Hubby loved them too. If I have one weakness in the cookie department it is for the good quality shortbread cookies you can sometimes find around the holidays. These, made at home with no preservatives, win my vote hands down; especially because they are so easy. Also, I intend on varying the toppings the next time I make them.


Candy Bar Shortbread


1 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

pinch salt

3 (3.52 ounce) Toblerone chocolate bars, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Stack 2 baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper.


In a mixer bowl cream butter and sugar until blended. Add flour and salt and mix to make a stiff dough that doesn't quite hold together. Pat dough into a 13 x 9 inch pan lined with parchment paper and set pan on prepared baking sheet. (Or pat dough directly onto baking sheet in a rectangle of about 14 x 10 inches) Bake until golden, 25-40 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate on hot uncut shortbread and let stand about 5 minutes, then spread chocolate around. Cut into 2-inch squares and remove cookies to fridge or freezer to set up.


I had to go to a town 20 plus miles away to find Toblerone chocolate bars, so next time I plan on just using choco chips or whatever happens to be on hand. I am not much of a candy bar fan so I don't have them on hand around the house anyway. Maybe I will just drizzle melted chocolate over the bars once I have them cut. I guess you could also use white chocolate or a combo to get creative with them.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Food from the recent past...

I was elated to find this cucumber out in the garden patch back when I took a photo of the dearly departed Luke. This cuke didn't last any longer than Luke did. I picked it and ate it on the spot.

Well, it's almost 9 PM, the baby is squalling and I need to get to bed. I will try and read your comments, if any, tomorrow.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Busy 4th of July


Happy 4th everyone. No plans for major celebrations on the dairy. When you get up at 3:45 AM, you kind of care less about staying up til dark and shooting off fireworks.


Anyway, here's a happy birthday salute to hubby's granddad; he turned 93 today.


Here is a pic of my hard work. The back jars of beans I picked and canned on Wednesday. The front jars I prepped today, hubby helped snap them; they are ready to be capped and put into the canner. I did that earlier, I think they all sealed, that's always a welcome sound; the popping of the lids sealing.
Yummy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sad food news...good food news


Bad news:
As I stated in my comments in the previous post; Luke is a goner. The plant he is on was demolished by squash bugs. Yesterday when I went out to take his pic I noticed he was turning yellow. Another good idea gone bad.

Good news:
Here is a picture of more of my future food. Yesterday I picked and canned 7 quart jars of green beans. I took a picture of them, but am too lazy to download the photo. I did it all by myself this time; pick, snap, wash and can. It's time consuming but not hard; just hot and sweaty work. Not bad for my having been scared spitless of the pressure canner 4 years ago. Now it's a breeze. We have another larger green bean patch to do, hubby and mother in law will likely help. We will go down and help MIL do her beans sometime next week. It's more fun when you work as a team.


The other day I went out to take photos of the calves to update my heifer records. I photograph them for ID purposes. I went into the pen with two of the bottle calves. They are the most skittish calves I have ever worked with. Usually when you go into their pen you have to be on constant guard for your toes, they will come up to you and try and suck on your knees and hands and all. Not these two. I got a fairly tolerable pic of calf number 10, but calf number 11 had other ideas. She skittered around and found the slot I'd slipped through the fence to get into the pen. Out she went. I made a grab for her tail, but she was already all the way out except for her tail and left hind leg, which was kicking like mad. There was no way I could haul her back through without major damage to my anatomy.


So she got out. ARGH! Well, I fooled her and got a picture of her while she was out. Then we galloped back and forth along the fence a bit until she found the hole I'd opened for her and lunged back into her pen. Was I ever glad. Hubby wasn't at home so I was on my own. You never know what you are going to get in to just doing routine chores.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Luke the Zuke...


...or Future Food from my garden. Isn't he cute? He hasn't even bloomed yet.


I took this picture on July 1, no matter that my camera date was messed up and says two days earlier. I am going to try to take Luke's photo every day and then pick him when he's ready. Should I pick him earlier when he is of slicing and frying size, or should I wait until he's bigger and make him into a zucchini pie? I dunno...we shall see. I probably won't be able to post a pic of him every day, but I will try and get them all posted one way or another. He isn't going to last all month, but I am going to post about other things too.
The past week or so I have had a problem with wayward animals. I think it was last Fri or Saturday my husband turned two cows dry, took them to the dry cow pasture up the road about ¾ mile. The day after I went up to feed them as usual. I opened the gate and drove the 4-wheeler up to the corral. As a general rule I leave the gate open simply because the cows know I am going to be putting feed into their feed bunks and they will follow me and chow down. So having counted them on the way in I didn’t bother to count how many actually followed me down to the corral. Therefore I was quite surprised on the way OUT to see a cow standing next to the highway looking at me inquisitively. She honked at me a couple of times to make sure I knew I’d been had. I chased her off the highway and back up my hubby’s granddad’s highway and buzzed back to the barn and told hubby. He took the baby up to her Grandma’s and we took both 4-wheelers back up there to fix the situation. He strung up a dummy hotwire to block off access to the highway and we shooed back into the proper corral.
The next morning I closed the gate behind me and hang me if it wasn’t the right thing to do. She ignored me and the rest of the cows as we headed to the feed bunks and she walked to the gate, stood there and honked over it at the bull and heifers in the adjacent pen. What a character. I have been closing the gate behind me every morning since, even though the past couple of days she HAS been following and going in to eat.

More on my next escapee tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July NaBloPoMo Theme: Food!

This should be a fun one; I can't wait to visit other blogs and see what they are blogging about on the subject of food. I plan on blogging on different aspects of food; different foods on the dairy and such.

This will be a great challenge to blog every day and there is a great probability that I will NOT be able to blog every day. I haven't figured out how to do the cheater thing with regards to messing with the dates. I just don't have time. This week I am going to have to can green beans (highly appropo for this month's theme though) and I am gearing up to teach the 3rd and 4th graders in Vacation Bible School the 14th-18th of this month. Summer's are busy around here.

Anyway, here is my quick food offering for today's blog, a short but pithy poem from Ogden Nash:

Reflections on Ice-Breaking

Candy
Is dandy

But liquor
Is quicker.

Not that I sanction boozing it up to break the ice and get to know a bunch of strangers, but I like Nash's way of cutting to the chase to get his point across.