Friday, May 21, 2010

Stockport Week in Review

Up in the aerie with clean wood blinds tilted shut against still blazing sun now arced west. Hot day, but relaxing. Yesterday I got a surge of energy and resolved to clean the house thoroughly from top to bottom, including things I rarely get to such as the blinds and living room drapes (dust bombs). Not much to report at the moment. (Missing you.) I felt very tired on Monday but chipper the rest of the week and did a lot of cooking. We have since polished off the braised lamb shanks (scored four packages in one go, marked down 35 percent, which covered the $6-7 of red that goes into the recipe). I turned out two more spinach pies of which we've been heating slices for breakfast. I bought three more large bags of farmstand spinach today, but am almost out of phyllo from Sahadi's in Brooklyn. I suppose I can find it at the supermarket here, though it might be an "international" item and thus overpriced. Right now I have a faux-shepherds pie ready to go in the oven. I took advantage of a couple of half-price (beginning to spot) cauliflowers, which I steamed to stabilize when I got home. Googled cauliflower ground turkey; found recipe; mashed cooked cauliflower with yogurt, which will be the low-carb "mashed potato" topping on sauce of (35% off) ground turkey (interesting effect, one package white meat, the other dark - combined, turkey Trix); a mirepoix of onion, celery, and carrot; soft (marked down) plum tomatoes; homemade stock; and carbs in the form of storebrand frozen peas.

Honestly, between farmstand produce and marked-down supermarket items - that's how I do menu planning. It's a game for me. As much as I like to cook and to eat I'm pretty haphazard about it - I'm better with "found" ingredients than starting with a recipe and shopping for it. We eat very well, and hey - rosé doesn't grow on trees, and whether or not one has a resentful spouse recently expressive of Marxist marital analyses à la Swept Away, one has to contribute to the household economy as one can. So spinach pies, no gingerbread, and housecleaning it is.

Oh dear, the starling is plaintively squawking. This has been a day of free-range animals. First, this morning, marching up the driveway were two large dogs, unfamiliar to me, who stopped by long enough to pee on the lilac and scare the cats. They looked thirsty so I went inside and filled a large bowl with water. I took it to the end of our driveway - but by then they were way down the road. So I brought the bowl back in and learned from D that they're a neighbor's dogs, though I've never seen them before and wonder why they're running around unleashed.

Then D heard squawking, in what seemed to be inside the house. But it turned out to be out in the garden. One of my next door neighbor's chickens had managed to escape under the fence. Neighbor came over and collected it. But not long after D thought he heard squawking again indoors. Just as he was pulling out of the driveway to go to work I heard it too, and managed to flag him down just in time. But the bird (we assume it's a bird, a starling) had fallen silent. D and I tried to defend ourselves against mutual unspoken self-accusations of craziness. Perhaps it was a KZE song, I allowed. Indeed there was one on at that moment with joyful noises, trill, yells, yodels - yeah, maybe a squawk. D left the house and I realized I had survived mystery squawker this long and was okay with it as long as it didn't decide to fly around the house. I went upstairs and set about to writing. Then, an hour or so later, the Wild Called again - AWK... AWK . I went downstairs to investigate. It was coming from the open ceiling of the laundry room (yet another raw space in this fixer upper). I wanted to get back to writing but felt sorry for the creature so I filled a dinner plate with water and left it on the washing machine in case it got thirsty. Then I went upstairs and when I lost the dialup connection (it disconnects of its own accord every afternoon around three) I took the opportunity to dial D's cell and tell him the bird was still in the house.

"I gave it a plate of water," I said.

"You're determined to give some animal some water today, aren't you," said D.

"Yes, that's right. I'm determined to give some animal some water today." I felt like Gwyneth Paltrow, absurdly repeating those words. But it was true.

D came home soon after even though I told him it was cool, he didn't have to. He climbed the stepladder and tried to find the bird in the ceiling. Then he opened the laundry room window from the top. He left again for work and I lost myself again in writing. Then the bird squawked again. Louder, somehow, than outside, louder than a housecat's most indignant meow.

I went downstairs and pointed out to the bird, which had fallen silent, as it was apt to do, but which I assumed was listening, that the window was open. I suggested that it fly out. Perhaps it's waiting for darkness but if I were that starling I wouldn't count on that because we may wish to close the window before a bat flies in.

So here I am, as gloaming falls - oh no, it's just a bit unnaturally dark with the tilted blinds, I should open them again.

On my way back from my walk this morning I stopped the car and snapped a picture of phlox growing wild on the roadsides here just now. Our souls are united. Kisses, my love.

Update #1 - not a starling in the ceiling, but a "tree frog." I don't even know what a tree frog looks like, but boy it's loud.

Update #2: frog is under washing machine.

Update #3, the captured creature, as viewed under drinking glass:

Update #4: frog is released, back into the wild folds of the garden, with wishes for its peace & contentment.

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