Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday, Where Did You Go?

Dandelions have been popping up here and there since January with a concentration of them behind the garage in the pile of rubble that was meant to turn into a greenhouse.
The greenhouse is on hold due to Jim's injured shoulder.
Last spring I juggled flats and pots of seedlings on the shelves along the south windows of the garage/shop--getting in J.'s way, constantly watering and turning seedlings that leaned toward the glass.
As the weather warmed I carried them to the front porch, where the damp-bottomed pots attracted large clans of woodlice.
As well as being a time-consuming process, it became a bit pricey, as I lugged home bag after bag of potting soil.
We've done some thinking this season as to how much garden we need--and how much energy we can summon to take care of the plantings we so enthusiastically envision.
We have canned tomatoes, green beans and pears [Oh, the PEARS!] left from last season.
Our three summers in KY have taught us that early spring plantings and late summer-into-fall plantings are the most productive.
The heat of July and early August is good for cucumbers, corn and melons--when they have enough moisture.  Lettuces bolt and 'greens' can get tough.
Fall plantings of cabbage and broccoli have carried us well into December.
Some of our tastiest green beans were planted in late August and produced until frost. Swiss chard falls to the first hard frost, kale becomes sweet and tender in colder weather.
Tomato blight is a problem early and mid-season and squash borers are a pest.

Edward inspects a mole's run at the edge of the garden.

Today we went off to buy seed potatoes. The local seed and fertilizer company has changed owners and they no longer carry potatoes.
An ag store the other side of town had only a few left, languishing in a big box. They were Yukon Gold--our favorites--and we took the lot--29.something pounds, which I cut into chunks for planting as soon as we returned home.
I pawed through my seeds, intending to plant lettuce, beets, greens, even willing to risk a hill or two of cucumbers and melons.
Coming into the kitchen to scrub my sticky hands I took note of the time and decided I would be wise to prepare lunch--something that would be ready when I fell through the door in exhaustion after my labors.
I chopped onion and garlic, set them to sizzling, added a qt of canned tomatoes, a handful of tiny pasta, pinches of seasoning.
As the kitchen bloomed with the odor of simmering soup, I brought out the ingredients for skillet cornbread.
I pressed the button to start the oven.
Nothing happened.
No 'beep' to indicate functioning, no numbers for selecting temperature.
I glared at the display which showed a strange code: 5A6.
I tried various ploys, nothing worked.
The oven was not heating up, but I was!
J. came in the back door.
"What are you baking?"
"It would appear that I'm not baking anything," I snapped.
J. suggested unplugging the stove, then reconnecting it.
Up popped 5A6.
I dug the owner's manual from a cupboard, began paging through.  None of the 'trouble-shooting' suggestions seemed to fit.
I don't like to be defeated by technology.
Neither would I like to summon a repairman only to find that there was some silly glitch I should have been able to manage.
A quick internet search informed me that 5A6 is a universal code on electronic/computerized ranges of recent manufacture.
It indicates--of all things--'Sabbath Mode.'
Continuing incredulously to read about this feature, I learned that it can be used to prevent using the oven for 72 [!] hours although the stove top will function!
My blasted oven had put itself into "Sabbath mode!"

Obviously Tuesday is not "Sabbath" by anyone's reckoning! After an hour of reading the owner's manual and internet 'help' sites, pushing a variety of button combinations on the touch pad--the d----d oven came on! I am scrupulous about wiping down the stovetop, the oven door and the control panel after each session of cooking--my swipes with the dishcloth must have triggered the 5A6 command [??]

At that point I was ready to jump on my broomstick and roar around over the treetops! Whatever happened to a sleek white kitchen range, an oven with an off/on clicker dial,
another dial for temperature settings?
As the oven heated, I used the momentary adrenelin of temper to beat up a batch of cornbread!

Cornbread, hot and crusty.

J. was expecting a couple from Tennessee who were interested in buying our Chrysler.
Knowing they would need to come in the house, I hastily swept the kitchen floor, tided my seed packets away.  I remembered that the registration and insurance cards were still in the glove box of the car and whisked out to get them.
There were oily looking spots on the interior door panels which I had cleaned as part of my 'detailing' efforts on Friday.
Stomping into the garage I demanded of J. "Did you spray anything on the car door panels?"
He had sprayed Armor-all--a vinyl 'dressing' best applied with a soft cloth.
Feeling very harassed, knowing if I said anything it would be too much, I fetched a towel and a cleaner which would remove the Armor-all.
J. poked his head--unwisely--through the opposite door of the car.
"It looks," I snarled, "as though someone had fried chicken in front of the doors!"

With the car interior once more immaculate, I dove through the kitchen door which snapped to with a twang that nearly beheaded me.
J. with a cautious glance at me--I'm sure I appeared combustible--reached up to adjust the spring-thing above the door.
I ladeled soup, cut a wedge of cornbread and lavished it with butter.
I glowered about, daring anyone--any inanimate device--to interfere with my need for nourishment.

The car shopping couple drove in just as I finished washing dishes and [very carefully] wiping down the stove.  I gathered up the cats who were making welcoming gestures, summoned a smile and small talk, then left J. and the very pleasant couple to get on with the delicate art of 'wheelin' and dealin.'
It took an hour, but they bought the car, intended for their 17 year old daughter.

It was nearly dusk when I finished typing and handing over the appropriate documents and we waved the couple on their way.
I thought of the tasks I intended to accomplish during the day.
J.  planted the potatoes while I was raging over my cold stove.
What had I done?
Shopped for seed potatoes.
Prepared two simple meals.
Pegged out a wash, folded and put away when wind-dried.
Wrestled with the wretched oven!
{ I did at least solve the problem!}
Fed cats, cleaned litter boxes, performed the minimal tasks which keep bathrooms, kitchen and bedroom fresh and clean.
I retreated at last to my desk, bringing with me a slice of G.'s banana-cranberry bread [almost cake-like] and a large mug of green tea.
I have recorded the frustrations of the day!
I didn't have time to admire the old pear tree in nearly full bloom or to sit in my rocking chair with a comforting lapful of cat.
I wonder--how will Wednesday and I get on?


  1. Morning...saw your comment about broccoli salad over on Kath's blog...have you the recipe please? Denise x

    1. Hi Denise; Your's is a blog I've visited often, but maybe not left a comment. I'll write up broccoli salad as a post later today--it might appeal to others as well.

  2. I can understand your frustration. Hope Wednesday is better for you.

  3. Isn't retirement amazing, I'm always telling people i don't know how I ever found time to work, sounds like you're the same.
    We had a code pop up on our stove and had to do an internet search to figure it out, not the sabbath though, that's a new one one me.

  4. I hope that Wednesday was a better day for you! Days like yesterday are best not repeated too often!

  5. Oh wow! I thought I was the only one who gets frustrated by technology.