Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of my move to a house just of Dog Bar Road in Grass Valley, CA. I can't believe how much has changed. Here are some highlights:
One morning, my neighbor Pauline called over the fence and asked me if I wanted apricots. Her tree was heavy with them. I grabbed a bag, waded through the burrs, and climbed up the ladder to pick as many as I could without feeling greedy. She told me to take more. I had big plans to make a pie, but we ended up eating them as is -- perfect.
Back in May, when I first looked at the house, there were two goats and a broken down Chevy in the backyard. I made sure both would go in the lease that I signed. The truck offended my aesthetic sensibilities, and livestock overwhelmed me. When I moved in, the goats were gone. And the truck would disappear once the firewood that was blocking its tow path was removed. Then I found out the goats weren't happy where they were boarding. I suggested they come home for a trial period, and, well, I fell in love with them. Girl Goat (left) is like a rambunctious Lab, always eager to get her ears scratched. Boy Goat (right) is a sweetheart. Yesterday I asked my landlord if the Chevy could stay because the kids love climbing on it so much. He wants to save it from total destruction, so then I started thinking about how I could build them a jungle gym with the free wood I saw by the side of the road. Ummm...what has happened to me?!
Celebrating my niece Layla's 4th birthday on my deck. It's nice to be a daily part of a family again.
One of the best parts of my new house is the guest room. I have already had friends Allison, Noah, and Reese come visit. Reese (above) and Darby hit it off.
My niece Sabrina. Irresistible.
I love my tin roof. I like to think of it as a magnet and a beacon. And, according to the NY Times, it's saving our planet. So it's kind of a super hero too.
Last night, Layla came over to help me pick peaches from the tree in my backyard with her mom, Sheila, and her sister, Sabrina. I was also experimenting with the white eggplant I bought at the farmers' market. I have never seen a white eggplant (the kind that gives the vegetable its name) and likened it to the sacred White Buffalo of Native American legends. It was spectacular...
...Unfortunately, it is so mild it doesn't have that eggplanty taste we expect. I made whole wheat penne with eggplant, onion, garlic, toasted pine nuts, basil, mint and Pecorino cheese. It turned out good, not great. I think I let the eggplant soak up too much of the pasta water. Need to tinker some more before I pass on the recipe.
It was such a fun night picking peaches, experimenting in my lab (kitchen), talking to the goats, meeting Bones the neighbor's cat, and coloring at the kitchen table on the huge sheets of packing paper left over from my move. Layla didn't want to leave. She had one more peach for the road...
Next up, I need to do something with all those peaches. I am thinking peach chutney. Developing...
P.S. Thank you Noah, Allison and Reese for taking the top six photos, and Sheila for the last three.
P.P.S. I am selling my 9' 3" surfboard so I can buy a new camera. Click here to see the ad.