November 19 – Greetings to you all after a very busy day. Dale just listened to Survivor with the group being in Nicaragua for this season’s weekly programs. Now he is watching a special on PBS about landslides, their causes, their cures if possible, and how the people in the area suffer. (hmm, not all that cheerful of a program I guess!)
I had the usual kind of late fall day, except that after staying inside and staying inside for days and days, I told Dale I was going out to see if there were any chestnuts on the ground, but would get the mail first. When I found out it was warm enough to be out, I went back to see if he wanted to go out as well.
Since it was about forty degrees by then, we walked a couple of the pasture trails just to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. For folks who stay outside so much during the warmer parts of the year, it’s discouraging to be cooped up day after day. We stopped by the chestnut trees to see if we could find any more nuts that had fallen down in the burrs and were partly hidden under the leaves. In one place, I found an open burr, and right in front of it was a little bowl, the remainder of part of a meal obviously enjoyed by a squirrel. Dale found about twenty more good nuts that are now part of those in the big bowl in the fridge. And since it was just about time for Jeopardy, we finally came in.
When we were getting dressed to go out for our walk, Dad mentioned that if Dawg were in the house instead of Fat Cat, she would be excited, begging us to hurry up, rushing back and forth trying to get us to hurry, then leaping and dancing up in the air outside to show her great pleasure. But Cat? She did nothing but lie in luxury on the chair, until we got back.
Today we saw the big farm truck full of soybeans go down the road towards the company that buys them from the farm across the road from us. I wondered about how many millions of those hard brown beans were piled together and what kinds of products would be made from them. I usually don’t cook up a batch in the summer as the garden produces so much for us to eat and can that they are not appreciated then as much as they are now. I had forgotten just how much those beans swell up as they double in size from the soaking and cooking. That’s why the pressure cooker continued to get fuller and fuller, and just would not cook the beans. I know that if I had taken about half of them out, all would be well. But I didn’t, and it wasn’t! Instead in about twice the time it should take to do the cooking, I still had soybeans that were a bit undercooked, until I did the job over again. Back in the old days, with the old pressure cookers, it would take me 30-40 minutes to cook the beans, whereas it takes only about 13 minutes now in the modern ones.
So what did I do with the beans? Some of them were chopped up in the blender, mixed with onions, eggs, oatmeal, and then seasoned with soy sauce among other things. I fried them up like I do the oatmeal patties I have made for years, and they were good! No one would ever guess that soybeans were part of the patties. Some became part of the big batch of vegetable soup I made today. Sure was a good food to have for supper tonight, with all of the cold outside.
Now about the soup. I can remember my mom made that kind of soup fairly often, but it was different every time depending on what leftovers she had. When people would be eating and enjoying bowls of her hot food in the winter, they would ask about the ingredients as they wanted to make some at home. What did Mom give for an answer? I remember it very well because I thought it was such a strange thing to say. Mom would lift her spoon and enjoy a bite before she answered, “Everything but the kitchen sink!” As a very young child, I often wondered how anybody could put a kitchen sink in a bowl of soup anyway!
One final thought – based on the recent weather reports, I am glad that we’re not back in Erie these days, but especially thankful that we don’t live in Buffalo, just about 90 miles away! Yes, of course, I loved snow, the deeper the drifts the better when I was a kid, but I can very cheerfully do without it now. Thus far here near Kansas City, we have not had even one snowflake! Hooray! – CHRIS