Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Storms and Crashes and Grillin' and Marshmallows: What I've Been Up To

I am lame: no typecast, no pencast, no nuffin.  But there are pictures!  Lots of pictures!

The end of last week was rough.  Thursday morning, I was in a car accident on the way to work.  Another driver pulled into me from the side as I was going by, and the whole passenger side of my bitty car is scraped up.  Looks like someone keyed it with a Really Big Key.  Her insurance company and my insurance company are duking it out, and the whole process makes me queasy and uneasy.  I guess I've been really fortunate...aside from a few minor parking lot bumps and the one time I slid partly off the road in the snow and popped a tire, I've never had an accident.  And as accidents go, I guess it's pretty minor.  Still...oof.

And then Friday, I woke to news that there had been a major hail and wind storm back home in Northeastern Vermont, like nothing anyone had ever seen before: roads washed out, vehicles and homes flooded, trees knocked down.  One of the biggest roads near town (Rt. 5, which runs North/South) is closed down due to a major cave-in.

I've driven down this road I don't know how many times...it's hard to fathom this kind of damage.  And many of the smaller roads are at least as bad.

Closer to my own heart, the pond where we used to play growing up is gone--the storm took out the embankment that held it in place, and there's really nothing left but a big muddy hole with a little stream running through it.

The big gap left after the storm rolled through...

Obviously, it wasn't that big or that deep to begin with, but it's still sort of impressive that it disappeared literally overnight.

I actually shed tears, though I realize how silly this is considering that a) this wasn't even our property and b) others suffered far greater things.  Fortunately no one I know was hurt or anything like that.  Still...the pond!  I don't know how many hours I spent down there as a kid, skipping stones, catching bugs and frogs and salamanders, sailing toy boats, coming home muddy and smelly and wet...  Good times.

Apparently one of the neighbors on the road is hoping to start a fund to repair it, since the young man who now owns the land is likely unable to be able to pull it off alone.  Here's hoping it lives again.  Poor little pond!

But this weekend was good, if busy.  Things I did this weekend:

1. Played with inks, including the very pretty new Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses.

(Those of you on my letter writing list should have a chance to see this ink in person soon.  Yes, I'm actually getting caught up on letter writing.  Try not to faint.)

2. Planted a bunch o' flowers and herbs: petunias, alyssum, marigolds, basil, rosemary, dill, and a few random others.

Hopefully at least some of them survive.  I have a tendency to go, "Oooooh, pretty!!" whenever I walk into a greenhouse / garden center, end up purchasing more than I set out for, and then forget to water come July when Washington suddenly becomes high desert.  But for now, everything is doing well except the basil.  I'm batting 0 for about 5 where basil is concerned.  It's starting to feel personal.

3. Went on a nice long walk with thedog, down paths now green and leafy.  These pictures are actually about a week old, but I didn't think to take any this weekend...so you get old footage.

Gratuitous shot of the trees Jeff liked a few posts back.  I'm not quite sure what these are, actually!  They aren't the standard white "paper" birch we have back home, though in certain light, they do look like them.  But they're more silvery, and the bark is pretty solid.

4. Bought a bitty little gas grill, and after a day where I debated using it or taking it back (I sort of had post-purchase sticker shock, I guess)...I broke down, put it together, fired it up and was very pleased with the results.  Best grilled chicken I've ever made, by far!  And it's just big enough to make dinner with leftovers for the week without having to do batches.

I also grilled mangos (they're on sale this week, and ohh, I love mangos!) and avocado.  The avocado in particular was a revelation.  Cut it in half, took out the pit, brushed with olive oil and slapped it down on the grill for maybe six minutes.  It was soft and creamy and subtly smoky.  I put a little salsa and sour cream in the middle and...nom.  So good.  I'll be making those again.

And I didn't torch any major structures!  Yay me!

Now I have a very, very short work week, and then a brother I haven't seen in awhile and my baby sister will be visiting.  They'll mostly stay with another brother and his family up near Tacoma, but I may kidnap 'em for a day or so to show them the sights.  Next weekend there's a music festival in Winlock, WA, and I'm hoping to drag my brother to that.  It's maybe my favorite local music festival, for a number of reasons: first off, there's a wide variety of acoustic music from bluegrass to Celtic to...whatever.  Also, after the concerts, everyone hangs out to just play music for hours.  Also--and this is important--there's a pavilion with an open fireplace where you can roast marshmallows.  I mean, c'mon--marshmallows!

Speaking of which, I was at Fred Meyer this weekend and they had GINORMOUS marshmallows.  Like...almost-the-size-of-a-small-apple marshmallows.  What is this world coming to?  Aren't regular marshmallows more than enough sugar for the average person?  And yet...giant marshmallows are just awesome, especially if (like me), you're one of those people who toasts marshmallows by burning the outside, peeling it off and eating it, and repeating.  You could go a long time on a marshmallow like that.  Woo-hoo!  If, on the other hand, you're one of those weirdos like my Dad who like to carefully, carefully toast marshmallows to a perfectly even golden brown outside and complete inner gooeyness, I'd guess these'd get very messy.

I didn't buy any, but I keep thinking about that open fireplace deal coming up next weekend.  Hrm.


notagain said...

That's too much excitement. I'm glad you're ok though.

notagain said...

Betsy says they are red alder and I'd trust her to know.

Hey unrelated, if we set up an Olympia type-in what Sunday do you think you'd have free for it?

Art said...

<3 The giant marshmallows. Yes, I know it's starnge that those are all that caught my eye, but I've got very good memories of them and a kiln and what turned out to be a perfect firing.
Word of caution, though... don't try to eat a hot one in one bite. It gets messy. :)

Little Flower Petals said...

@notagain--please thank Betsy for me! I like knowing these things, and that had been bugging me. ;)

Most Sundays are free...but this month is a little crazy. When were you thinking?

notagain said...

the 26th I will be a zombie from Field Day, the 19th is father's day so we might not get Justin, the 5th is too soon, so let me ask around about the 12th

Little Flower Petals said...

I was thinking more like mid-July, honestly. Like I said, this month is pretty crazy. And a lot of people are busy the first part of July due to the holiday.

notagain said...

ok I'll keep you posted

Strikethru said...

I was rooting for you to bust out the grill and not take it back!

Millie said...

I'd be heartbroken if my childhood landscape was destroyed by weather (or man, I guess). I hope they fix your pond.