11/14/12

Drip, Drip, Drip

We were enjoying one of the more pleasant Indian summers in recent memory here in Oregon when the rains of winter descended on us overnight.  After 34 years in Oregon, I've learned the difference between a temporary rainy day and the permanence of a rainy winter.  This one seemed to happen rather suddenly.  That isn't a complaint...not yet, however.  Give me a few months and I'll be whining up a storm (ha! Get it?) in true Oregonian style.

For now I'm happy to be back to baking and cooking up comfort food in my Dutch oven.  I always enjoy my winter menus over my summer ones.  Today I'm cooking up a new stew of short ribs called Porter Braised Short Ribs.

(Image credit:  Motoya Nakamura)

And since this recipe came right from our local newspaper, it seems especially appropriate for Oregon right now.  I'll let you know how it turns out, but here's a link to the recipe if you can't stand to wait.  I'll just say I've had very good luck with meats braised in beer, although I'm not a beer drinker myself.  

This morning I decided it was time to rid the refrigerator of the many thriving little mold cities that have been built since the last time around.  Garbage goes tomorrow, and so today's the day.  Also, the rain stopped long enough for me to venture outside for a few minutes.  We don't have public sewer, and therefore we don't have a garbage disposer.  Undigested food is hard on a septic system.  We learned this the hard way at our old place.

Instead, I keep a compost pail on my kitchen counter.  We don't collect compost year round, but for now we are.  We created a pile using the horse manure we scored straight from our neighbor's horse manure factory.  (It's one of the bonuses of living in the country...readily available horse manure factories.)  Add to that the fruit rinds, veggie trimmings, eggshells, and coffee grounds collected over an entire winter, and you have yourself another nice stew for your vegetable garden in the spring.  "Vegetable garden" is a term I use optimistically, but more often, disappointingly.

In any case, I figured I'd take the camera with me when I went.  At first glance, there isn't much to photograph.  But when one looks at the smaller parts of the landscape, a whole new world opens up.  Between the spiders, the rain, and the trees, there is a wonderland of water droplets, which is fitting.  It's also very quiet save for the drip, drip, drip that I can hear mixed with the sound of Smitty's scurrying feet.  He gets so excited when someone goes outside these days that his back legs run faster than his front legs.

So here's what I saw:





Pretty, huh?  

One of the blinds in my office broke the other day in a way that can't be repaired.  It will need to be replaced, and so a woman is coming over to measure the window today.  Since I live in blue jeans and sweat pants these days, I often feel somewhat put to shame by women who appear business-like and classy, as this woman did when I met her in the showroom.  Heck, as a social worker, I never looked business-like and classy even when I was working.  I was more often seen wearing long denim jumpers and Birkenstocks, which tend to be the stock in trade of the social work profession...especially those of us who work with the underprivileged, as I did.  In any case, it made me feel as if I needed to spruce the place up a little bit.  I know.  Why should I care what this woman thinks?  I'm never going to see her again.  Actually, I'm more attending to what I think.  And I think I will feel better if the house (and especially my office) looks a little less pit-like.

So I'm going to make a stab at cleaning things up a little, but for good measure, I'll be putting my stew on at around 3:00.  Maybe the good smells emanating from the kitchen will distract her from the dust, cat hair, and bits of embroidery floss that seem to litter the place no matter what I do.

So with that I guess I'll get to it.  But first, it's always good to stop and smell the blades of grass.


12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Karin said...

Well you need to come down this way and whine up a storm - we could use a few of those! And then you could be my photography professor and I would feed you from a cast iron kettle and not care what you wore! :)

Teresa in Music City said...

Way to go, finding beauty in the rain! I do love to go out after a fresh rain - the world seems to sparkle! But I would definitely not like to live where it rains as much as it does where you are. A little rain goes a long way for me :*) I am going to try that recipe - your stew looks absolutely yummy!!!

Cathy said...

Your short ribs look great. My daughter in law loves to cook with her dutch oven. Thank you for the recipe link and your wonderful pictures.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Wonderful, glistening droplets! Oh, love the ribs - looks so yummo!!

Denise :) said...

Oh holy wow -- those braised ribs sound great -- I'm saving that one, too!!! Your photos of the 'glistening' limbs are gorgeous! Take time to smell the grass, that's what I always say!! :)

And Barbara, Barbara, Barbara ... don't forget, you of the most beautiful, room-lighting smile -- it's just as gorgeous no matter what you're wearing!! :)

Loretta said...

Wow, what a beautiful post! I don't know where to begin...but know I love it all...Thanks for sharing Barbara!
Hugs,
Loretta

Julianne said...

Oh that food looks yummy!!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Smitty is growing up! I'll bet he loves to walk with you. When my husband and I used to walk our road a lot (before more people moved in) our strays would walk with us, we looked like a mini parade going up the road! Beautiful photos!

Judee said...

Love those raindrop shots. Hope your rain gets to us soon.

Kirsty said...

Love your photos. You are so talented. Gorgeous close up detail. Well done.

desertskyquilts said...

Love those drippy pictures. You did a much better capture than I ever do on stuff like that. I have a great camera and no talent!

Kate said...

Beautiful shots, drips make such cool images.

I'm trying to get into de-pitting mode as well, I'd definitely be happier.