Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 4th

Monday July 4th was a great day because I got to spend it with my wife. We (read I) wanted to go hiking, but for a lot of reasons, that just didn't work out. But we got a lot of other things accomplished instead.

The morning started early as do all Mondays at our house with me taking the dogs out. As I walked to the back door, I could see a red fox in the backyard, staking out the rabbit burrow under the back stairs. This is the first time that I have actually laid eyes on said fox, but I have known of it for a couple years from plentiful scat and from tracks in the snow. About this time, Charlie spotted it and commenced to barking and carrying on. The fox cocked its head and looked at the dog going crazy, then trotted off in the direction of the hedgerow behind the house, where it sat for a while before heading out of sight. I would see it a few more times throughout the morning as it was scoping out the rabbits. Persistent bugger.

Coffee with Grace the Lap Cat
The weather was a bit misty/chilly so we took our coffee in the sunroom before Ann headed off to yoga. While she was away, I planted and transplanted several plants in the garden, created a new bed for our cucumelons and another for some iris that we would get later in the day, and dug a hole for a newly acquired prickly pear.

When she returned, we went to the annual July 4th plant sale at the local nursery. We save our pennies all year and give ourselves a $100 budget. This year, though we only found one thing out of four on our wish list (irises), we managed to score 22 pots for $96. Our meager funds go a long way though. For example, two pots of irises I divided into 12 plants, but your guess is as good as mine about what colors they will be. That's the downside of the big sale; very little is marked and often it's a crapshoot. Our other crapshoots in years past, Rose of Sharon and wisteria, turned out great and no doubt these irises will too.

A bonus was the overcast, chilly, and slightly rainy weather that kept a lot of people away from what is usually one of the biggest circuses of the year. It was raining lightly by the time we were checking out.

Quick Lunch Out at Thai Winchester
From the nursery, we headed downtown to the restaurant to get a bottle of wine for dinner and my heavy workgloves so that I could plant the prickly pear. Ask Ann about those spines! It was midafternoon and we were starving, not having had any breakfast, so we popped across the street to Thai Winchester for a quick lunch. Look how fabulously skinny Ann looks in the photo above tackling her Singha.

Siu Mai at a Thai Restaurant???
By the time we walked to Thai Winchester, it was raining solidly and we were pretty wet and chilled. There was never any doubt that we were going to order bowls of roasted duck noodle soup. Ann surprised me by ordering "steam dumplings" for an appetizer. They turned out to be pork siu mai, not something that I would ever expect or order in a Thai restaurant. They were fine but I've had and made a lot better. The soup was fabulous as ever.

Roasted Duck Noodle Soup
Back home, we spent a couple hours out in the rain putting in all the plants that we bought in the morning and were thoroughly wet and miserable by the time we were done. After hot showers and a bit of rest in front of the TV, I made us lamb burgers with cucumber-yogurt salad. Dolmades were on the menu too, but Ann pulled them out for late afternoon snack while we were watching TV.

Lamb Burger, Cucumber-Yogurt Salad, Dolmades Absent
We had planned all week to have lamb burgers for the Fourth and so I made them at work on Saturday morning, starting by grinding a leg of lamb. The mix contains EVOO, cream, salt, pepper, pimentón, oregano, garlic, and feta cheese. I would have grilled them except the weather sucked and we ran out of gas last week and forget to get a new tank. The cucumber salad is cucumbers, Greek yogurt, salt, sugar, and rice vinegar. We had a Barolo with our lamb.

It was a really good day, just Ann and me. I would pay for the day off later in the week, but it was still worth it.

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