Postcards, not from the edge

My daughter tells me that it’s gauche to share food pics on social media. That wasn’t her word, but it’s what she meant. Oh well. This was a lovely dinner for three that fed my spirit as well as my body. Recipe here.

Is this a food pic? A view of what I like to call the back 40. Just because it’s in the back of the back yard, not because I have 40 acres (or 40 of anything, other than weeds). This is cauliflower and brussel sprouts. I really don’t know what I’m doing–I put some plants in and I remember to water them occasionally. There are a lot of holes in the leaves. You can read about the beginnings of this garden here.

Seen on a recent walk. I took this photo because: a) I wish it were in my backyard; and b) I wondered why that door is so skinny. It has a very Secret Garden feel to it, and I’ve always wanted a secret garden. But because I’ve been consuming sinister audiobooks, I also kind of wonder if it’s a murder room.

Well, dang. Another food pic. Blueberries from the backyard. I have a veritable bounty of berries this summer (thank you, previous owners of my home). The blue ones have been ripening for two weeks now. There are some pink ones that are just starting to come on. I made a berry crumble that I found in this book:

Highly recommend the cookbook. Can’t find the recipe online, so I don’t have a link to share. Next, I’m going to try a recipe that Kate shared from Shutterbean.

This isn’t a picture of food. It’s a picture of love. Last Friday I fell on my face and my daughter made us this dinner while I sat on the couch and read a book. I might have to see if I can figure out how to get her to do this without me falling on my face.

Rocky, chilling on my lap, looking out toward the open door. He’s a good dog. (Another image of love)


That’s about it for the week so far. Love and food, a little bit of mystery, and a mishap. Ingredients for a good run of days.

13 thoughts on “Postcards, not from the edge

    • Rita says:

      Well, I am pretty clumsy, so I don’t know if I can make any promises about falling down 🙂 But thank you. I don’t think I can not write, and I’m glad someone wants to read my words.

  1. Kari Wagner Hoban says:

    I wish I had the forethought to grow food in my yard this summer. Especially since I am eating a migraine diet and organically blah blah blah. But alas, maybe next year. I love your salad garden, that is my name for it. I hope you don’t mind that I named your garden.

    It is so funny, I was just thinking of you while making my lunch just minutes ago. I just sat down to eat my turkey, apple, mozzarella quesadilla on organic wheat tortillas while (hopefully) reading some stimulating blogs and a new one of yours popped up and I was like, THANK YOU UNIVERSE AND RITA.

    I have been having a back and forth on Facebook with some people who are, I am quite positive, a bit close minded about things like the WHO and data and “open your eyes” and conspiracy and whatnot. It has been a rational and calm conversation as I am trying to educate but it is frustrating. I am definitely the “snowflake” of the conversation. I am tired but I will stay in the fight I guess. But I am weary. What is that Obama quote about one person and change? I think I will look it up and maybe I will write about it next month in a tater tot post. But I thought of you and I knew you could appreciate an exchange like that even though I know you have had enough. It’s tiring but it’s also good too.

    I miss you. But I love that you are taking pictures of food no matter what Grace says. 🙂
    Kari Wagner Hoban recently posted…The Perfect HomeMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      Here’s the reason I don’t garden more (or at least one of them): I can’t figure out how to get the timing right. Like, how do you have produce consistently throughout the season? And how do you make enough room to grow enough to make the whole thing worthwhile? I plant a few things that all come ripe at the same time (so I can’t eat it all before it goes bad), and then it’s over. I know there have to be answers to these questions, and I’ll find them eventually, but in the meantime I throw a few plants in every year and see what I can learn from doing that.

      I don’t know what to tell you about Facebook. For me, it’s not so much the conversations. I don’t engage in much of those any more. It was more the barrage of news and my inability to regulate my emotional response to it. But also, seeing some people I knew back in high school post idiotic things, which triggers my weariness with our country right now. I just can’t with the conspiracy theories any more. I think I’m going to move over to Instagram, which seems to be mostly friends posting pictures from their lives, which I like a lot. I can get my news in other ways.

      Also, your lunch sounds great! I would like to know more about your migraine diet. I’m afraid it probably doesn’t allow for much refined sugar, which would make me sad. I’ve already given up caffeine (mostly—I’ve found I can have a little bit every so often). I don’t want to give up dessert. I love dessert.

      Thanks for writing back—I love chatting with you. Wish we could do that in person.

  2. Marian says:

    My cereal bowl this morning looked very much like your cereal bowl. (I nearly took a picture, but then didn’t.) Unfortunately, we don’t have blueberries in our backyard (our previous owners left us twenty dead ash trees), but I do have a dear friend who went blueberry picking with her grandchildren yesterday, and she left a basket of blueberries on my stoop, which made my day.

    The afghan that Rocky is chilling on is making me want to finally get started on the scrap/stash-buster blanket I considered starting way back in March, when the pandemic first hit.

    I hope your mishap wasn’t too serious, Rita.

    • Rita says:

      A basket of blueberries would make my day, too. 🙂 I need to find a friend with berry-picking grandchildren.

      I love that afghan—it’s a thrift-store find from long ago. I am sure it was a stash-buster. It’s such a cheery thing.

      The mishap wasn’t serious. I was walking and at the same time trying to watch a video Grace had sent me of the dogs, and…WHAM! Face hitting pavement. Not enough time to get my hands out in front of me, so I busted my lip a bit. I feel very lucky that I hit flat pavement instead of the curb and that I didn’t break my nose or glasses. I think I hurt my pride more than anything.

      Also, what does one do with 20 dead ash trees? And how much land do you have? I thank the previous owners of this house regularly. They cared for it well, and I continue to feed off their bounty. Had some elephant garlic last night that keeps returning every year, and I LOVE it.

      • Marian says:

        Your fall sounds like something I would do. Thank goodness you didn’t break your nose or glasses! Very soon after the pandemic hit, I caught my foot on an ottoman and ended up falling into the hearth of our fireplace. Luckily I just managed to catch myself before my face (and glasses) hit the stone. (If it weren’t for COVID, I would have gone to get an x-ray of my toe; two-ish months on and it’s still not back to normal.)

        What does one do with 20 dead ash trees? Get extremely angry at the previous owners and then call a tree-removal service and pay to have them taken down. (And then rent a log splitter from Home Depot and spend a day making and piling firewood.) Our property is pie-shaped, so our front yard is small but our back yard is quite large. The 20 trees were dotted around the back and sides of the house, but although all our neighbours had done the responsible thing when their native stands of ash trees had died (apparently there had been quite a lush forest in and amongst our houses before the emerald ash borer hit the area), the previous owners of our house did not. We bought the house in late fall and moved in January, so we had no idea the trees were dead until spring. You’re very fortunate with your pick of house (and previous owners); the ash trees were just one more thing on a long list of things that made me swear at our previous owners.

        Also—if you do move over to IG, look me up. I only post sporadic photos of my garden or neighbourhood (or sometimes of me or my husband or kids) but I’d love to see you there. (I’m marianknits3 and it’s a private account, but I think you can still search for it.) I haven’t been on FB for months now (even before COVID), and the other day I deactivated my account. I hear you on the weariness (from your comment to Kari)—I’ve had a really hard time stopping myself from “doom-scrolling,” but I need to stop because I end up either scared or shaking with anger. (The latest was people protesting mandatory masks on the Toronto transit system—which my son will soon have to take twice daily—carrying signs that said “Hugs Not Masks.” Witnessing sheer idiocy is so hard.)
        Marian recently posted…Of Storytelling and EscapingMy Profile

        • Rita says:

          I’m so glad you didn’t land on your face! I had a broken toe once, and there’s really nothing to do for it but let it heal. It does hurt, and for quite a long time. Nothing to gain from an X-ray, and sure not worth risking a doctor’s office.

          Removing 20 trees must have cost a small fortune! I would be angry at the previous owners, too. I am trying to be worthy of my house. Painting the trim is a project on my list for today. The paint is faded and a bit flaky in spots, so it’s not a for-fun project. Not even changing the color (though it does look so much nicer when not faded). I am learning the joys of practical projects this summer.

          I tried to find you on Instagram just now, and it said “no results.” Maybe you can find me? ritaottramstad “Doom-scrolling” really needs to be added to the dictionary. I hope you don’t mind if I steal that one. That’s why I had to step away from FB–my feed was so full of doom. I know there’s some balance between staying informed (and challenged) and sticking one’s head in the sand. I haven’t found it yet, but I’ll keep trying.

          And yes, it is so hard to witness sheer idiocy. That’s the other reason I had to step away.

          • Marian says:

            I’m glad I made the right decision on my possibly broken toe. (I have a tendency to be far too “suck it up; you’re fine!” and this has, once or twice, not turned out well.)

            I can’t take the credit for doom scrolling. I found it here:
            but it looks as though it might actually be in the MW dictionary 🙂

            Yes, the tree removal was indeed a small fortune. We were extremely lucky to have a moving allowance from my husband’s company, but it really hurt to have to use some of it for that. I love the idea of being worthy of one’s house. The words “caretaking” and “caretakers” have been spinning in my head for a while now, and they tie in so nicely with your idea. Funnily enough, I re-painted the garage trim last week—it had been needing doing for a couple of years already, and it was very therapeutic to get it done.

            (I just found you on IG, and requested to follow you.)

  3. Kate says:

    Oh you know I love everything about this post. Especially because of food photos which I’ve also heard are terribly gauche (not the word used). I don’t care either. I love them. All the love in them.

    I’m so glad to heard your fall ended up being not serious. I feel off my bike this summer and have realized I’m officially at the age where falls HURT. I’ve been good with every other aspect of my aging but I do NOT like that my body doesn’t recover as quickly as it did when I was in my 20’s.

    Also your sinister audio book sounds like THE perfect davenport and ice cream sandwich book. I still haven’t started anything since Hunger so that may be it!

    • Rita says:

      I have more food photos! Made some cod that was so damn pretty, I had to take its photo!

      I am sorry you fell off your bike. I know exactly what you mean about falls and aging. When I realize I’m going down, that’s what flashes through my mind: Am I going to do serious damage? My great-grandmother fell and broke her hip near the end of her life, and it was, in real ways, the end of her life. She never returned to her farm after that, and she was never the same, either. I’m glad you weren’t seriously hurt. There are so many things you can impale yourself on with a bike!

      And that is definitely a davenport and ice cream sort of book. I listened to it mostly while painting my laundry room, and it was good for that. The narrator is a little tedious at times (and stupid and sort of mean), but it really picked up about half-way through. I’d recommend as a summer read, for sure.

  4. TD says:

    Hello Rita, I’m glad to see those snuggles with Rockie in the warm knit. My Yorkie would relate as she needs the warmth! She is usually against my body when I wake because she needs the heat my body generates.

    It has been a hard week. I also fell on Wednesday (tax due day) too much to explain other than I still do not have my footing, foundation or balance!!! I have had three falls on this property in two months.

    As we age, we physically fall more often, than when we were young for several reasons. My blue berries showed up on my rear left upper back thigh or just below my butt. Bigger than a golf ball yet smaller than a softball. Some sort of pain in same side of upper shoulder and a tiny tender spot on the same side of my head. No broken eye glasses or other type of glasses or evidence. I have no memory of the actual fall, but I know that I sleep walk since I was a child. I woke up in my bed with my Yorkie at my side as usual. So… it’s nothing that is explainable.

    Last night I had horrible nightmares. Also, nothing that I can control or explain.

    On Wednesday I wished that the power pole people would show up because they were storing the pole on my property and it was causing water damage. Thursday morning they showed up!

    As I went to bed last night, I wished that the invasive trees would be gone, cut down by the owner as the new utilities pole was finally completed. I did my part and paid to cut mine. But I understand that I only have control of my property as much as I have the financial support to pay. And THAT WISH came true.

    I share the similar feelings with M with the anger I feel and swear words that I use with purchasing this property about the previous owners. I get to the point of anger that I don’t like. So I relate about the trees and that awful tree eating beetle! I don’t like bugs, but I do understand that some are beneficial and some are JUST SOME BAD BUGS!

    Secret Garden: I too have a skinny door inside my house. My understanding is that doors were hand made to fit the space and no speculations or regulations were in order at those times.

    I read the Ruth Ware that you are listening to the audiobook. My lips won’t tell, but I enjoyed the read! I also have on my book shelf Ruth Ware’s book Turn of the Key.

    I offered to help my neighbor’s son who is my age to lift some sort of something into his truck to haul to the dump as I’m glad that the neighbor’s children are helpful with him. As we lifted this large black trash cover that stank into his truck… He said I promise that there’s no dead body in here. Yikes! I laughed it off, but he doesn’t know what I read it my imagination.

    Two wishes: Good.
    Also Good: the conversations that come from your work on your blog.

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