Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Quote du jour - from Wodehouse to Stout

I have just finished re-reading Some Buried Caesar, book 6 in the Nero Wolfe series by Rex Stout. After it ended there was, on the Kindle version, a 1969 letter from P.G. Wodehouse to Rex Stout upon reading this book for the second time. The letter is actually a copy of the typewritten one. Be still my reader's heart - to think of two of my most favorite writers actually being friends, and respecting one another's work.

"What a good story Buried Caesar is. I had read it before, of course, but had completely forgotten what happened after the adventure with the bull. I find I can re-read Rex Stout indefinitely, which shows the importance of atmosphere."

Atmosphere is what I recall when I think of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. The house, "the old brownstone on West 35th Street", I feel I know as well as my own. When I walk through the door, it is a bit like coming home. And the places visited when Wolfe has to leave, which he abhors doing! I, too, had forgotten all the details in Some Buried Caesar, but the bull in the field was as clear in my mind as could be.

                                                             Rex Stout


                                                P.G. Wodehouse


Sunday, August 20, 2023

Chickens, and ...

 The ... in the blog title means roosters!! Only once in all the years of getting chickens has there been a rooster. I may have mentioned that we gave it away to a fellow, after warning him that he was not kindly toward the kids. He was fine with that, until the rooster went after his daughters. The man shot the rooster. 

The chicken people always warn buyers that they aim for just hens, if that is what the customer orders, but there is always a 10% chance of roosters. 10% of 18 is 1.8, and we have 2! We began to notice maybe a week ago that a couple had red combs. Female Speckled Sussex do not have any red on their heads. Well, this morning, Tom went into the barn early and sure enough a rooster crowed! We are actually quite excited. The Sussex is a mellow breed so fingers crossed the roosters will be as well. 

See those red combs!

The dividing wire between the young Sussex and the older Dominiques will stay up until the little ones are about the same size.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Anniversary Brownies


You can see these are not called "anniversary brownies". I call them that because today I made them for Margaret and Matthew for a belated anniversary of the date they got together, and the date they got engaged. I have probably noted over the years that they had known each other practically their whole lives though not in a romantic way. But one evening they re-met at a party, and the rest, so they say, is history. Matt wanted to give her a ring on the date they met, but Margaret had to work so he asked her the next day. 

I made a recipe out of a book I've used before here. I put in softened butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla and no nuts.

The brownies tasted very delicious, but looked quite a mess!

I have a feeling about what the problem is. I've recently been reading about how baking pans aren't all the same sizes. A 7x11 or a 9x13 may not be exactly those dimensions. I have had a few problems since I bought these stainless steel pans after the "glass breaking episode". I need to measure all the ones I have and see about getting new ones if they aren't right. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Other breakfasts (of more famous people than I!)

I came upon this in my current print book which I just adore, and thought it went well with my last post.

 Breakfast at Charleston

'Vanessa [Stephen Bell] presided in the dining room, the magnetic centre of all our thoughts and activities. At breakfast she was always down first, and sat for some time alone, enjoying her solitude. She had dressed and washed quietly, almost secretively, and would be in her habitual place on the far side of the round table, looking with dreamy reflectiveness at the still-life in the centre, or out of the window at the pond and the weather.... Now, as she ate a piece of buttered toast with coarse salt and held a steaming cup in long, straight be-ringed fingers, she considered her letters, absorbed the temper of the day, and braced herself to meet its demands....

'Duncan [Grant] sometimes overslept, in which case someone would ask me to play a particularly irritating little Écossaise by Beethoven on the piano directly underneath his room. Eventually he would enter the dining room, growling his dislike of the "beastly tune", ruffling his hair through his fingers and blowing his nose on a large red bandanna. Insouciant and natural, every day he peeled an orange, ate porridge and drank coffee with fresh appreciation, almost as though he had never done it before, conscious perhaps that each new day was a miracle that might not be repeated. For him, objects seemed alive, never simply things, just as repeated actions never bored him but became a source of reiterated pleasure. After wishing everyone good morning and hitching up his trousers, which were tied round his waist with an old red tie, he would squat to help himself to porridge, kept hot on a low trivet in front of the fire, and tell us about his dreams - often very amusing - or about the book which, tradition has it, he absorbed by putting under his pillow.'

                Angelica Garnett, Deceived with Kindness, 1984

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Today's picture - breakfast


Because Tom and I get up at different times, I eat my breakfast alone. It is a little oasis for me. I am not much a creature of routine, but this meal is the same every day: my toasted homemade bread, plain yogurt with fruit (blueberries and cherry plums today), coffee, orange juice, and water. And my book. I got a terrific new book holder, and I happily read quietly for that time. The rest of the day is filled with something different each day, but this remains the same and I love it.