Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Day

The first day of May.  May Day.  I remember at one time we used to celebrate this in school.  I can't recall if it was Bellflower or in Colorado, but the vivid memories of the Maypole dance and celebration are still with me.  I thought that was the best celebration of all - music and dancing and art and beauty.  A celebration of spring. 

This fine sunny morning, I could hear Foggy (Foghorn Leghorn) crowing, but Zeus has been quiet since going outdoors.  The Americaunas seem fairly well settled in their new home, and the night before they went inside the coop at "closing time" without a problem.  The younger chicks are still too small to incorporate into the new flock, so they are still indoors.  For now.

I feed Star Kitty out back in the mornings, and Boots the Cat must know that, because he showed up to "his" window as soon as Star started eating on the other side of the house.  Apparently he'd forgiven me for whatever slight caused him to hiss and take off the day before.

Have I mentioned this place is magical?  The flowers are constantly changing, and there is one for every season, and often something new blooming every month.  The climbing rose vine started blooming this week, and it's another thing of beauty that catches my eye every time I step outside the back door.

Some of the bulbs were late to bloom this year, but they are starting!

I got myself organized and grabbed the bin holding all of the various tools and supplies needed for the watering system.  The first thing I did in the garden was finish weeding the last two beds (currently - more will be constructed) and add more soil.  I then got some gypsy peppers and basil in the ground, and set about constructing the new sprinkler system.  My hands ached when I was done, and I was hot and sweaty.  The good thing about the garden location is that there is plenty of sunshine, even first thing in the morning.  The "bad" thing is ... there is plenty of sunshine, even first thing in the morning.  Even with cool clothing and a hat, it gets hot working in the sun like that.  I walked away feeling really pleased with the work done that morning, new plants in the ground and a great, efficient watering system in place.

I took a look in the fridge and cupboards for something quick, easy and cool to eat.  Nothing grabbed me until I saw the black beans.  I searched, and yes, I had corn.  A black bean and corn salad is one of the easiest things to throw together, if you have those two ingredients prepared and ready, and I did.  A little lime juice, cumin, olive oil, chopped onion and peppers, salt and pepper, and after 15 minutes in the fridge, I was done and ready to relax for a little while with a light, yet satisfying, meal.  Yum!  Rachael Ray's recipe is here, and at the bottom of this post.

I had a moment of panic when I heard the chicks in the other room chirping loudly, and a strong sound of rustling and general commotion in their box.  My heart was pounding as I rushed to the door, worried that I'd forgotten to close the door containing the cat.  I really freaked out when I saw feathers flying and half the netting across the top displaced.  I rushed to the side of the box, prepared to grab a cat and hoping that no serious injuries had been sustained.  Imagine my relief when I saw that Traz had attempted another break-out, this time by apparently hopping on top of the feeder to pull down the net.  The other chicks were either cheering her on, or calling out to warn me, and the feathers flying probably happened when the feeder tipped over.  Weak-kneed, I fixed the feeder and secured the netting even more.  Those darn chicks.

I had about an hour to knit before picking Becca up, and then back home again after dropping her off for tutoring with her sister.  I cannot believe that there's only a month left of school.  Becca learns more every day, and not just from school.  I forget sometimes how kids are like sponges, soaking up everything parents and adults around them say, even in their teenage years when parents are "stupid."  I was reminded this week when we were shopping for replacement bands and lids for our mason jars.  I saw a one-piece lid, which would work well for our milk jars (they don't need to be sealed, as is required in canning).  I started to pick it up, and Becca said, "Mom, seriously?  Plastic?"  I'd forgotten!  The kid, however, remembered, and is holding me to my commitment.  Our commitment now, right?

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 14-oz can black beans (or 14 ounces of your own)
2 cups frozen corn (or fresh, or 2 cans, though I use equal amounts of black beans and corn)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce (Tabasco) or to taste (I didn't use any)
Juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss and serve. The corn will also place a quick-chill on this easy side-salad as it defrosts -- no need to refrigerate!

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