We’ve had several ongoing projects this summer. First and foremost, of course, would be the farm. Sydney’s been growing a lot of new things this year, and the customers who visit us at the farmer’s market have started coming as much for new ideas as for “basics” for their recipes. Winter radishes from various countries in Asia, Polish peppers, pea shoots, several new kinds of dried beans, bok choy, red okra, several varieties of summer squash, and at least six kinds of potatoes (red, gold, and purple skin, with gold, white, and purple flesh, in various combinations). Kentucky weather hasn’t been kind this year, with wild swings in temperatures and precipitation, but he’s still managed to haul in a lot of lovely food.
Mom and I are working together to make some changes in the kitchen, since this is far outside my skill set. An electrician installed these pendant lights (bye bye, fluorescent light box!), and I painted the island black. Word to the wise: don’t try spray painting anything in the house, no matter how smooth that finish looked on the bar stools, no matter how open the windows and doors are, and no matter how well you think you’ve covered potential overspray areas. Ha! After scrubbing my kitchen floor (every inch) and white trim for four hours in the middle of the night, I think things are back to normal, but that was an unnecessary panic.
Now I have to gear up to paint the ceiling in the kitchen. All the supplies in the world won’t keep that from being a nerve-wracking job, but school’s coming quickly! Also, there are plenty more ceilings that need painting in this house, so I’d better figure this out soon.
The kids have had several interesting projects running this summer. Nathaniel showed interest in origami, so I got him some paper and instruction books, and he has kept himself occupied with those for long stretches of time. He’s also, of course, left small scraps of paper in his wake every place he’s been: Oklahoma, Iowa, and Kentucky. I recently came back from a conference trip to this:
Katherine, meanwhile, has devoured books of all sorts and shown a surprising willingness to be our “buddy” on trips to the farm or to work. She tagged along with me to a luncheon with two of my colleagues and several recently-graduated students. We’re English types, so the luncheon lasted roughly 3 hours. She just watched, giggled when spoken to, and, late in the game, discreetly opened her book on the bench next to her. Sydney’s also taken her to the farm with him several times to sow beans. When she’s in the right mood, she’s careful, patient, and interested. She’ll also dutifully weed as long as we’re doing it, too. That has been amazingly helpful!
Here she’s typing, if slowly, responses to her new fourth-grade teacher, who sent the incoming class a brief questionnaire. Can I just say how weird it is to see my child maneuvering my computer? More of this to come, I know.
Finally, Nathaniel spied The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook at the library, and brought it home, hoping he and Katherine could start cooking. Since we haven’t really worked on knife skills just yet, their first endeavor was a fruitcake (applesauce in lieu of the brandy). A week later, they tackled Katherine’s pick: cinnamon rolls. In both cases, they took their time, worked together, and showed a lot of interest in continuing this experiment. I stayed close, but largely stayed out of their way. I’m sure the novelty will wear off, but so far they have two recipes in cookbook binders of their own, and today they peeled nearly all of the potatoes for the soup I was making (roughly 4 pounds of potatoes!), and nobody nicked any fingers. I can’t say I always manage that . . .