Pasta, Pope, Paint, Berries and Slaughter

Over dinner tonight my sister and I discussed whether or not we’d be comfortable serving puttanesca to the Pope.  She says she just wouldn’t feel right serving him anchovies.  His loss I say, it was delicious.

And while I lie here fiddling around on the computer she’s making homemade toaster pastries from this book.  Yay breakfast!  Who am I kidding?  Yay midnight snack!

So all this is to say that because my sister does the cooking fabulously well AND does dishes and because we are on a homeschool half schedule – which just means that we never did finish our math curricula and are using the summer to get them done – I have had time to do a few things around here.

This is how I know my kids are getting older:  after years of only being able to tolerate neutrals because anything else seemed too busy and I needed a place to rest my eyes, I am finally enjoying color again.  I was a little nervous so after I narrowed down my choices with the paint “chips” I bought two quarts and made big squarish swatches on the wall.  To my surprise the darker color won.  It just looked nicer with the white woodwork.  Kind of a big decision.  Anyone who says, “If you don’t like it, just paint over it” has never painted an old house with miles of window frames and door frames and baseboards to cut in around and probably has never had to deal with patching plaster walls.  I work slow, too – just a careful hour or two here and there.  The dining room has been off limits for about a week now and will be for probably a week longer.  My family has been very patient with me.

polka dots!

polka dots!


I’ve also been eating a lot of strawberries from our accidentally huge strawberry patch.  Last year I ordered 25 strawberry plants.  I thought.  But um, they were actually bare root strawberry plants packaged in lots of 10.  Wait.  Maybe I ordered 10 strawberry plants that turned out to be packaged in lots of 25.  Anyway, you get the idea.  I wound up with 25o strawberry plants.  I just shoved them all in the ground kind of haphazardly and hoped for the best.  This year we weeded, strawed, and netted.  And surprisingly – we got strawberries.  And let me tell you – a fresh, ripe strawberry warm and right out of your own dirt is something luxurious.  I sat in the sun in my camp chair with one leg thrown over the arm just savoring that first juicy jewel.  A queen should have it so good.

I just eat them fresh.

I just eat them fresh.


And finally, today was the first time I ever intentionally killed anything other than a bug.  My husband and I did two of our eight meat birds.  We followed these directions pretty closely.  I have to say the killing part was the easiest for me because I was able to practice it in my mind – I could see how it should be done.  The gutting not so much.  It was a little messy but not as bad as it could have been.  I did nick the crop and had to clean that up, and I did cut myself twice, but other than that no problems.  It took about an hour for the two of us to do two birds, which I guess is alright for first timers.  We’ll do two or four more tomorrow after church.

waiting for rigor mortis to pass

waiting for rigor mortis to pass

So that’s What I’m Doing on My Summer Vacation.  You?


4 thoughts on “Pasta, Pope, Paint, Berries and Slaughter

  1. Julie says:

    Oooohh, there is nothing like a fresh berry right off the bush! Our area is known for berries and dairies. When the berries are ripe I’m in heaven 😀 and congrats on the first two birds – well done!

    LOVE the color. I like LOTS of color – hope it sings to you when you’re done!

    • Sara McDaren says:

      Funny, when that blue first struck me, I thought of you. Not quite as vibrant, I think, as your style (I think of you as more periwinkle and turquoise) but still…

      OH the birds. Thank you. I have such a hard time explaining to people how odd it is for this little old city girl to do this and yet how perfectly natural it is feels for me. I was voted the weirdest in my high school graduating class so maybe it was foreshadowing – I was weird for that time and place but here I fit right in. We did four more chickens yesterday. I must have gotten the scald temperature wrong because plucking was a pain. But we ate the first two and… they tasted like chicken. 🙂 We’ll butcher the last two on Saturday I think.

  2. Julie says:

    Oh, I totally get that – the whole raising/killing/eating food. We never raised ours, but I come from a hunting family.

    And you’re right about me being more periwinkle/turquoise/lime etc. But I like your blue, too 😀 Mostly, I’m the cheering section for people breaking out of the mold of whatever is popular and/or safe, and having colors around that make them happy!

    My architect husband refers to spec houses, painted all in neutrals as “vanilla boxes”. Sure, it can be a nice neutral background to somebody’s personal decor, but often it’s just “SAFE”. And now the in color is gray. GRAY! Here, in the PNW, where it’s cloudy and rainy nine months of the year. My SIL painted her daughter’s nursery a darkish GRAY. I’d lose my mind.

    So, go YOU!

    • Sara McDaren says:

      So funny – I had a friend over yesterday who hadn’t been here in a while and I could tell right away that the color of the dining room was too overwhelming for her, but she relaxed right away in my breezy neutral living room – I guess she found it calming? Different strokes, I guess.

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