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Variety Day

If variety is the spice of life, this blog post is full of it!

The other morning, before sunrise, heading out front to get the morning newspaper, much to my surprise, I heard what I thought was an owl hoot. Naturally, in the pitch dark, I couldn't see a thing, although that did not stop me from trying. Then I heard it again, and a few moments later, again. Mind you, the oak trees are so very tall, even in daylight it would be difficult to spot what I was hearing. Apparently the owl hooting was to keep me out front long enough to remember I was to drag the trash cans to the curb, something I'd forgotten to do the night before. Bruce has been working steadily on Saturdays to tame all of our bushes, making lots and lots of yard waste. By now it was nearly daybreak, and as I was dragging the last can, I saw a big bird fly off. Maybe one of these days I'll actually see that owl, or so I hope!

Hearing an owl reminded me it was high time I return Beverly's copy of "Wesley the Owl," a book I just couldn't finish. When someone loans you a book it can be difficult to just come out and say it's not for you, however, in this case, it was not for Beverly either. We both agreed, what woman (I've forgotten her name), keeps an owl in her bedroom willingly? Promptly, I put it in my car so as not to forget it when we play bridge next Monday. Of course, now I have to remember to get it out, but for now, I'm on the right track.

The last few days I have continued to make my way through the magazine; in fact, I made three more dishes, including the one entitled, "Introducing French Chicken in a Pot." In this instance, all of his claims were true, cooking a whole chicken in a pot, covered with aluminum foil and the lid,
makes for both a delicious, albeit unattractive chicken. Browning in one tablespoon of olive oil, followed by a sprinkling of a handful of chopped onions, garlic cloves, a stalk of rosemary, and a bay leaf, the chicken is left to cook slowly in it's own juices for around 2 hours with the oven temperature set at 250 degrees.
Not quite done in this picture, but it did not look much different when the cooking was finished! The taste, on the other hand, was really good, moist and juicy. Putting the cut up pieces on Bruce's plate, alongside some rice and green bean, it was not a pretty sight. He ate with a little skepticism, however, said skepticism did not last very long. As well I made the "Simple Italian Meat Sauce" and the "Almost Hands Free Risotto", both of which were delicious.

While thinking about this current obsession of mine, I came to the conclusion that, having cooked for almost 50 years, using mostly the same techniques, I am enjoying learning new ways to make the old standards. Consider it, continuing education in the kitchen. Which reminds me, this may be the year that I let my x-ray license go inactive. At my age, who is going to hire me to take x-rays after a seven year absence from the profession? No one, that's who.

The above chicken was purchased from Freshfield Farms. I know I said I was troubled by what the cashier told me about their hiring and firing practices, but whole small chickens are hard to come by at Publix. As it turns out, my cashier was the manager of the front end, and as you well know by now, I'm never one to keep things to myself. Repeating the claims, she thanked me for speaking up. Remember when I spoke to the assistant produce manager about this? He rightly passed it up the management chain that day, and they were hoping I would return to discuss it. Calling in Julio, a vivacious young man from Haiti, he answered all my questions in a forthright manner. During our conversation he told me about his rise up that management chain, from the lowest job in the organization, to his most recent promotion as one of the managers at the new store they are opening in Jacksonville. I left feeling better, knowing that their starting wage is nearly $2 more than minimum wage with opportunities to advance for hard workers. Was it the whole truth? Probably not, but I learned enough to think it best to give you an update.

So what else is new? Cheryl, in her former life before becoming a newlywed, had a commercial interior design business for many years in Chicago. You can see her eye for color from the way she is transforming Lois's gardens. Lovely isn't it?
While we are on the subject of nature, in all my years of blogging, I don't think I've ever shown you a photograph of a "snake bird", otherwise known as an Anhinga, which seems funny as they are very prevelant in our area. I took this while roaming at the Ritz.
According to the Wikipedia link provided, in Brazil they are called "devil bird." A little trivia for you in case it should come up in conversation...

Hot and hotter at Winter Garden. Not to whine or anything, well maybe just a little, it was my worst sales day of the year, and dare I say, perhaps the last five years! I should have purchased one of these little Cokes to cool me off and drown my sorrows...
Then too, you will not be surprised to learn that the market closed early yesterday. Did it rain or storm? No it did not. While I was there, Angela called Bruce to help her with a few household problems, something she won't be able to do for very much longer, as they are closing on the new house today. Although she has a mail slot on Bimini Drive, she insisted on taking her new ladybug mailbox with her, especially since she has a neighbor who can do it for her! As well, he took down two very large ceiling fans to go to the new house. Like a good neighbor, Bruce is there!

Before heading to the market, I went to FAVO to do Will a favor. I'm still not sure what he intends to do with it, but he asked me to photograph Berto's palette just as he'd left it in his studio.
One of the other artists made this for his door:
We'll be in England during the next FAVO open house, sparing me the difficulty of his absence. So darn sad.

Did I tell you how nervous I am about the English weather? I am. What to pack? What to pack? Taking only one suitcase that fits in the overhead bin may prove challenging on this trip. Now that the trip is a mere two weeks away from today (!!!), it may very well be time for me to get out of the kitchen and into my closet. :)
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