Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pollyannaism, a contest, etc.

Well, no word yet from the real estate agent. Maybe those people will come look at the house. Maybe not. I keep telling myself that at least I have already scrubbed the front porch! It looks quite nice, if I do say so myself.

I have no way of knowing (thanks to my realtor!) how the next few months of my life will take shape, but I'm strongly considering going to Thursday and Saturday nights of Twangfest this year. I attended Twangfests 1, 2, 3, and 5 (I had tickets for #4 but missed it because my dad died, which is ironic because he was a massive Commander Cody fan and would have been pleased as punch if I'd gone to see Bill Kirchen live), and I think it's time I showed my face there again. Good friends, good music. I've known a lot of the organizers and attendees for years, and I miss them. Hard to believe this thing has been in existence for NINE YEARS.

Cairo and I are playing ball as I write this. Nature is amazing. One drop of retriever blood in a dog and the instinct kicks in--the prospect of cavorting with an old tennis ball is almost too good to be true. Hours of amusement. It sure brings a smile to my face to see him that happy.

Another amazing thing about nature is how quickly plants begin to thrive when they're given a couple of really perfect days (warmish sun mixed with sprinkles of rain). The trees I transplanted look pretty good--even the hawthorn, which was touch-and-go for a while because I managed to snap off the tip of its taproot when I dug it up. It could still die, but I don't think it will. The crabapples, meanwhile, look as though they've been growing in situ all their lives.

Out in the garden, the turnips have doubled in size, the kale is sprinting upward, the eggplants are putting out a new whorl of leaves, and the first round of lettuce has reached a stature where it's finally worthwhile to pick it. Most notably, the radishes are ready to harvest--red, cheery, round, and poking up out of the soil. That means I'll be making radish relish in the very near future.

Radish relish is a recipe I got from A Midwest Gardener's Cookbook, a very useful tome by a Mennonite woman named Marian K. Towne. It's organized by season and then by vegetable or fruit (in the approximate order of harvest time), and it has lots of recipes for quick salads, casseroles, and preserves. So last spring when I was deluged with radishes all at once, I consulted it. Lo and behold, it gave me radish relish, an alarmingly fuchsia-colored concoction that tastes amazing on bratwursts and hotdogs. It's one of the easiest and most satisfying canning projects a person can take on, in my opinion. Now I grow extra radishes just to make sure I'll have enough relish.

Who would like to try radish relish? If your answer to that question is "Me! Me!" you'll need to work for it. Write a 25- to 50-word essay in the comments box on why you deserve to have a jar mailed to you. Time limit is 10 AM EST tomorrow. Most compelling and amusing essay wins the prize. The s.o. will be the judge since he's very clever, yet impartial, and doesn't know any of you.

I suspect Greavsie will be irked by my timing because he is traveling today and can't possibly write an essay while he's on an intercontinental flight, but again I promise: This will not be the last contest offered here.

And now I have to keep working on some writing of my own...