Saturday, June 18, 2011

Of Mint and Men.

Somehow, I angered a spider, possibly a brown recluse spider, in my sleep.  I probably was mumbling something offensive, rambling about anti-spider legislation that should be passed.  That'll teach me.  I awoke 3 days ago with a fine specimen of a spider bite that made me think of every cable emergency-room-she-lost-her-leg-from-eating-shellfish drama I'd ever seen. 

So today, with the instructions of 'stay hydrated', while ambling through my backyard garden; I eyed the lovely mint growing in the nooks and crannies of the juniper logs and decided to do just that.  After crushing up the mint with cane sugar, kneading the sole remaining lime in my kitchen to utter submission, crushing ice up and cooling down grapefruit seltzer water and closing my eyes when i poured the rum; I created my own Anti-Spider Poison Limeade.
I made a second executive decision shortly after. I think I'll be growing lots more mint.  I hope the deer won't like it too much.  The spider bite feels better already.

And yes, I use my potted plants for drink holders. Keeps them upright.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Helter Swelter.

9:20 pm and 90 degrees. I've been waiting for the sun to set and the heat to slow its waves off the ground, the asphalt and the houses.  I've been thinking about the short walk down the back slope to the water, lit only by encircling half-burned-out christmas lights that have faded with the sun's glare, and sliding into the neck-deep bliss of a night-time dip.  I can't wait to hear the call of the summer cicada, and tonight, we're close to a full moon, gorgeous in the texas hill country night skies.

Its been a sweltering summer, and we're only 2 weeks, really, into it.  But with the daily thermometer inching over the 100 degree mark and the ground getting progressively Captain-Crunchier, I can avert my eyes from the heat waves on the asphalt to proclaim that yes, summer is officially here in South Texas, at least for me. 

I spent all of last week cooking in a quasi-retro-wtf chow wagon for a 5-day eco survival intensive class for The Human Path. There was no wash of air-conditioned relief to walk into when my brain started to overheat, and no ceiling fan to lie underneath while sipping imagined frosty beverages lined with rum and mint leaves.  The respite available was a solar shower under the stars and a horse trough filled with cool water in the herb garden there. But oh, it was a welcome respite for me.

Eggplants are pretty.

In between making eggplant (local from the farmers market, bitches!) sandwich filling and herbed hummus for the hungry masses and trying to fill the bottomless stomachs of some teenaged boys (can't be done); the frigid spray coming out of the well was a jarring and coveted pleasure.  At night, when the baked ground was still radiating enough heat to successfully cook yogurt outdoors(no exaggeration here), a soft blue glow from inside the solar shower stall tarp signalled another hot camper cooling down. 

I spent my days cooking, trying to figure out to to fill up the teenage boys without going into permanent debt and sweating.  Sweat running down my back, blurring my vision and making my socks soggy.  Occasionally I stuck my head into the freezer on the auspices of looking for something.  Mmmm.

You. Mo. Bumble.

I made homemade granola with apricot and almonds, yogurt that I set outside in 100 degree heat on the chow wagon porch, homemade bumble-bars, strawberry jam, oatmeal cookies with dried fruit, and homemade icecream sandwiches that I doled out on the porch with two spoons, a tupperware of fresh cookies and sticky hands.

Summer. Summer is good, no matter how hot it gets. It is full of rituals for me, and remains my favorite time of the year, despite the drought and the scorpions.  The rest of the state melts, a-gasp if venturing out past the safe confines of air-conditioned cars and buildings. Too-tight tank tops make their debut here, along with sweatbands, do-rags and the usual manly displays of patriotism and style.

So in the spirit of a summer game, here is mine. Tell me your best suggestion for filling up the bottomless gullet of teenaged boys -- while on a budget, and I will share with you, one of my new well-received recipes, of which you can choose.  The yogurt was DAMN popular though and maybe you should look into that, because your aquaintances and significant others will look at you differently after spooning granola over it. Just saying.... 

Make a comment on to illuminate me on the best way to stave off teenage hunger --- much like a vampire's insatiable hunger --- and I will share gladly. 

teenage eating machines!

And now, there is a cicada outdoors, calling my name.