Tag Archives: The Country

Animal Farm

5 Sep

Would you please check out these pigs?

The happiest pig in all the world.

Totally zonked, ridiculously cute

Totally zonked, ridiculously cute

I hope now you can understand why I’ve had such a hard time crafting a post this week. Every time I sit down to write, I open WordPress in one tab, and then Flickr in another, and then all I can do is surf through all these animal pictures from our trip to the County Fair last weekend.

Who knew chickens could give you the stink eye?

Looks like he should be cast in rubber.

So, I’ve given up on trying to find something witty or interesting or thoughtful to say and given into the cute.

I love this pigeon. She looks like some sort of exiled Russian princess to me.

I love this pigeon. She looks like an exiled Russian princess.

Who knew pigeons had so much character and gravitas?

Who knew pigeons had so much character and gravitas?

Given all the rancor flying around in the U.S. at the moment, the hurricanes and market swoons, I think we could all use to take a few moments to sit back and smile.

This goat desperately wanted to come home with me. Isaac said no.

This goat desperately wanted to come home with me. Isaac said no.

The sheep were not amused by this hay-stealing goat, but I was.

The sheep were not amused by this hay-stealing goat, but I was.

This is the county fair I attended and showed at when I was young. One year I won a blue ribbon for a bunch of radishes, and I always did well at the horse show. Another year while I was hanging out at my 4-H leader’s cow barn, I got to help birth a calf.

Goats can give the stink eye, too. Every time I would turn to look at this guy, he would stop chewing his cud and give me the stink eye.

Goats can give the stink eye, too. Every time I would turn to look at this guy, he'd stop chewing his cud and stare.

Her neck looks impossibly long.

Her neck looks impossibly long.

Very little has changed. The food is a little more diverse, which is nice. Apparently Columbia County is now aware that tacos are incredibly delicious. The rides also look a little more rickety and all the fair-goers look a little shorter.

He won a blue ribbon for fuzziness.

He won a blue ribbon for fuzziness.

Massive rabbit disapproval.

Massive rabbit disapproval.

But, the faces on the 4-Hers, which is, really, what the fair is all about, are still shiny, happy and full of the enthusiasm gleaned from a year’s preparation, hard work and love.

Despite their sheepishness, they still managed a smile for the camera.

Despite their sheepishness, they still managed a smile for the camera.

Sheep in T-shirts are funny.

Sheep in T-shirts are funny.

There was just one somber moment to our trip when I spotted that same 4-H leader’s spot in the cow barn and went over to say hi, only to find out that she had recently passed away. It’s been a long time since I cried at the county fair.

This cow had some crazy tongue action going on.

This cow had some crazy tongue action going on.

See?

See?

But a few minutes in the sheep shed helped sort me out. I think sheep may be the new goats, especially Oxford sheep. I’m in love.

I feel head-over-heels for this sheep.

I fell head-over-heels for this sheep.

I desperately wanted to take him home with me. Isaac said no.

I desperately wanted to take him home with me. Isaac said no.

I hope you enjoy this recipe-free detour. In all honesty, I’m still learning about my new kitchen; about it’s quirks and what I need to have on hand for cooking on the fly. So, even though our two dinners last weekend were delicious, I think I’m going to hold off on sharing them.

That piece of straw was there for the long haul.

That piece of straw was there for the long haul.

Thanks for coming! See you next year!

Thanks for coming! See you next year!

Happy weekend everybody. May it be full of fun, friends, family and fleece!

The Sounds Of Summer

10 Jul

With apologies to Simon & Garfunkel, at this time of year, darkness is my old friend.

Bird On A Wire

By the time I’m wrapping up my day at work, the building has shut off the a/c and I’ve been sitting at my desk, sweating from both effort and atmospherics, for on some days, over two hours. Leaving the sweltering confines of my cubicle and stepping out onto the half-lit, hurly-burly of lower Fifth Avenue feels refreshing.

Fly On A Fern

And by the time I step onto the by-comparison-silent sidewalks of Bay Ridge, the sun is nothing more than a spectacular neon bruise over Staten Island, bent into gaudy fractals by the evening’s weather pattern stomping across the harbor.

At The Top of Touch-Me-Not Mountain

The darkness makes it feel cooler, but it’s the sounds of the city settling into stillness that help erase the day’s woes. Let’s be honest, there are no sounds of silence anywhere in New York City. But stillness? Yes, stillness is something we can do. Stillness has a sound; many little noises melting into a gentle swell of quietness. Cats mewling for dinner, dogs yapping at planes, the Yankees game on my neighbor’s radio while she grills steaks for dinner, birds wishing each other good night, an easing of traffic, teenagers strolling hand-in-hand whispering as they head for home.

Dandelion

I’ve grown used to these noises and find them soothing. So it was a shock to arrive at our friends’ house in the Catskills on July 4th to the cacophony of the country; the rustlings and bustlings of animals settling in for the night, the whizzes and whistles of birds catching dinner, the humming and droning of mosquitoes, children giggling and screeching while chasing fireflies, dogs gossiping about the day’s events, thunder echoing off valley walls and finally, just past sundown, fireworks popping and booming in patriotic celebration of the day.

Shadows, Light

And what a revelation the morning was! What lies in a bird’s heart that makes it sing with such gusto and glee first thing in the morning? Is it the joy of seeing another sunrise? Happiness at being surrounded by so much greenery? The self realization that the ability to fly is a rare gift? It’s easy to be annoyed with birds in the summer, especially when one has gone to bed too late, full of the world’s most delicious barbecued pork ribs (seriously, better than any of the one’s I’ve ever managed to get here) and possibly one glass too many of rosé.  But one should never be annoyed with birds.

Ferns

What was in reality little more than 40 hours in the country felt like days and days by the time Isaac and I packed up and headed out for a hike on our way home. We were relaxed and well fed and ready to face another week of daunting proportions.

Sun

We arrived home just as Brooklyn was settling in for the evening. I walked to the back of the apartment, opened the fire escape window and reached out into the stillness to pluck two tomatoes off my plant. They were small, but perfectly ripe. I also pinched-off two wee crowns of basil.

Yay! \'Maters!

And then we stood next to the sink, half a tomato each held in our hands, and ate them with a dusting of sea salt and a few tiny leaves of basil, in silence.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Mint & Arugula Pesto.

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