In My Kitchen ~ Summer 2019

In My Kitchen… it’s Summertime and the living is easy. (Sing along if you know it!) Roadside farmer’s market stands are popping up everywhere with a vibrant array of vegetables and I feel blessed to have access to their bounty.

My own garden is coming along nicely, too. The tomatoes and cherry tomatoes (front and center) were picked just outside our back door this morning. Although my plot isn’t as large and prolific as most of my friends’, it feels good (and tastes twice as good) to grow my own. The Man Of Few Words and I were also blessed when some of our lake neighbors offered to water everything while we were away over the Fourth of July. Good friends.

Good eatin’ when we got home, too!

In My Kitchen… is (was) a bowlful of Potato Salad with Dill Pickles courtesy of Karen from The Backroad Journal. (It was her mother’s recipe and it was dang good!) Apparently adding dill pickles is a Southern “thang”… a fellow at the Mission recently raved about it and how much he missed that flavor. Guess I know what I’ll be making for our next church potluck dinner. :)

In My Kitchen… I debated whether or not to show some of the kitchen gadgets I’ve acquired since Spring. Most of you probably have them in your kitchens already, but they were new to me and too fabulous not to share. First up, my fish spatulas…

I’ve read about them, pondered how to use one if I had one (and/or how often or where I’d store it), but curiosity finally got the best of me. Plus, The Man Of Few Words keeps catching fish! The one on the left is from Pampered Chef and features a longer oval handle. The one on the right is from T-Fal and has a beveled edge. Which one to keep? I kept ’em both!

A lake girl can never have too many fish spatulas.

In My Kitchen… BLT’s are in progress with my new/used Black & Decker griddle — look away, my vegan and vegetarian friends, sorry! — another “find” at the Mission. I tried to take a photo of just the griddle, but it was rather shy (or difficult) and BLT’s are one of our favorite summer “sammiches.” Plus, it cooks and cleans like a dream. No more spatters, stove jobs, or skillet scrubbing to make one sandwich.

I also tried to depict my infusion pitcher, but the Oklahoma sunlight (and pitcher) wouldn’t cooperate. Right now I’m infusing a batch of Flat Belly Water. Ever heard of it? The first recipe I found called for 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup strawberries, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and a liter of filtered water. Check. Then I did more research.

Also known as “Flat Tummy Water” (and/or the Flat Tummy Detox), many of the recipes required ginger, cucumbers, and mint. The strawberry/blueberry version also seems to be turning out rather “purple-ish muddled-looking.” Now I don’t know who or WHAT to believe! However, I do know that drinking more water — no matter what flavor or color — during the summer is beneficial. Plus, I came home from Minnesota with more “middle” than usual as always (aarrgh!) and consuming fresh fruits, vegetables, and water helps. Do whatever works for you!

Last but not least, In My Kitchen… is this set of dishcloths, a potholder, and a towel that properly depict SUMMER — a vibrant “thank you gift” from a lake guest. (How thoughtful!) May your days be as colorful and unexpectedly blessed, no matter what season.

Thanks, too, to Sherry of Sherry’s Pickings for hostessing In My Kitchen each month, and for being so amenable as to include my seasonal inspirations, xo. I’ve missed you and everyone worldwide there! Looking forward to catching up.

Enjoying lake life,

~ Kim

Herding Armadillos and An Overdue Letter

How close can you get to an armadillo? Depends on how brave you are. The Man Of Few Words recently got close enough to photograph the hairs on its back, gently poked at them and concluded they’re more leathery than armored (oblivious, too), and grinned at me. We should all be so trusting.

Last week one of ’em almost ran up my leg. After a few “Oh, OH’s!” it scampered into the underbrush. (Didn’t realize they could run so fast!) As a result of that — plus previous encounters with cottonmouth snakes and a stray dog — I’m still a lil’ gun shy and/or photo shy with unexpected “up close and personal” opportunities to document Oklahoma’s wildlife. But, I appreciate “seeing” all of it — even through someone else’s lens — and I’m feeling braver by the day.

Thankfully Mama armadillo wasn’t around. (Not sure what I would’ve done with a full-sized armadillo chasing after me!) Here’s another pic of one of the babies courtesy of TMOFW, followed by a long-promised letter from me. Sometimes words are more forthcoming than photography on my part.

Dear Friends,

I’ve been a letter-writer all my life. Pen pals. Best friends. Family members. Even long distance crushes. (More on that momentarily.)

As long as I have a pen in my hand with access to paper, stamps, and a mailbox, I’m a happy camper. I’d even go so far as to say that if I don’t write something every day I’d be as skittish as an armadillo. (Bet you’ve never heard that comparison before.) Whether or not my thoughts make it to another human being’s mailbox, the fact is: I WRITE every day. Some days I scramble into the underbrush. Tentative. Unsure. Unable to to portray the real “me.” Still, I write nonetheless.

Life’s too short not to be candid.

Speaking of that long-ago long-distance crush, what a humbling moment that was in my letter-writing life. I grew up on a flat, fenced farm in rural Minnesota and the nearest body of water was a tributary named the “creek” (pronounced crick) a quarter-mile away. More of a dribble than a tributary, except during the Spring and Fall rains when it overflowed and chewed away at our rural gravel road with a gaping whirlpool — it served as a convenient get-away after a short hike — a respite and quiet place to think and write. I’ve been looking for the ideal spot all my life and finally found it at “The Lake.” (Thank you, God.)

Round about that time the musical “Oliver” was released. While everyone else was enamored by Mark Lester — the “star” — my girlish notions were captivated by The Artful Dodger, Jack Wild. (For some reason, I’ve always favored the underdog — a life-long habit, ahem.) I wrote a letter to him on the banks of the “crick” and put it in the mail, hopeful of his personal reply. Imagine my chagrin when the mailman returned my letter a few days later due to “insufficient postage.” (Who knew international postage rates applied?!) Appalled and ashamed, I tore up my love letter and tossed them into the flowing waters of the “crick.” Since then, I’ve decided to do a lil’ more research, pay the price (as needed), and continue to let people know how I feel — postage rates or not. Also sorry to learn that he succumbed from cancer at an early age.

I’ve also learned not to mess with Mama!Above is TMOFW’s favorite goulash with corn because that’s the way his Mom made it. Who am I to upset tradition? Ever the faithful wife. :)

Some lessons are learned alongside fledgling waterways, heart-felt love letters returned with insufficient postage, and “the lake.” (Even armadillo encounters…)

I’m grateful for every one of them on the journey toward being “me.”

Enjoying discoveries one day at a time,

~ Kim

The Current State Of Capital K

A few years ago I penned this post about being “nicknamed” and how thrilled I was to find a Capital K to express myself. Despite heartfelt pleas to PLEASE call me by my name (with continued disregard for my feelings and/or preferences, all in the name of endearing) it went on for six decades. FYI, my late brother and sister also despised their “lifelong nicknames.” I was sick of it — no disrespect intended — but there comes a time to draw the line and that’s the Truth.

Fast forward to The Current State of Capital K.

Initially (no pun intended, lol!) I was enamored by its old-school-font and whitewashed exterior — a fresh start — but soon after it arrived I relegated it to a bookshelf until I had time to decide what to do with it. Cool the way it was, but it was “missing something.” Sometimes self-discovery (and playfulness) takes awhile.

Last weekend I finally released my Capital K from its bookshelf-bondage, painted it metallic copper, added a few pressed-flower stickers I intended to give my sister (who died before I could “gift” her with my latest thrift store find) and thought NOW is the perfect time to play. Welcome to the new Capital K! I’m feeling more like “me” by the day.

My name is Kim — without a “nickname” attached.

Enjoying the freedom to be me at last,

~ Kim

Wildlife At The Lake

Armadillos and squirrels and woodchucks, oh my! You never know what might show up at the lake.

(Actually we have two woodchucks, but “Mrs. Woody” is a tad camera shy.)

Our above-ground friends add to the entertainment.

Recently The Man Of Few Words captured a photo of Oklahoma’s elusive state bird, the Scissortail Fly Catcher, too. So proud of ’em both…

Most days we sit on the deck minus the camera intent on watching the world go by. Ahhhh…

But, every once in awhile we get lucky. Tickled to share our glimpses with you!

In between we’ve also spied bluebirds, orioles, cardinals, hummingbirds, bald eagles, Great Blue Herons, cranes, geese, wood ducks, blue jays, gray jays, robins, thrashers, wrens, and assorted other “little birds” but they’ve been too fast to capture on film. (Or we’ve been too slow.)

However, life’s been good. Nope, make that wild!

Enjoying Nature at the lake,

~ Kim

Billy Loves Angie

There’s an underpass just down the road where the locals express their sentiments in spray paint. Most are innocuous, a few are ribald, and then there’s true love.

Apparently these two were an item at one time and I smile every time I drive past their declaration. I wonder about them, too. Did he write it or did she? Whose idea was it? Are they still together or have they gone their separate ways?

While those questions will likely go unanswered, they give me pause for thought. Have you told your special someone how much they mean to you today? I’m not suggesting that you deface public property in the name of love, but I do suggest being “bright red” about it.

I guarantee you’ll make someone smile.

Enjoying true love,

~ Kim

Indelible Evidence

“Indelible” often refers to ink, but I believe it applies to life as well. You leave a trail whether you intend to or not. What will yours say about you?

The thumbprints above were my Dad’s (which I inadvertently discovered in one of his favorite books, besides Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove below) — James Michener’s Centennial. He told me he read it so many times he lost count! Evidently… indelibly. I included it in his eulogy five years ago.

Last winter I finally sat down to read one of Dad’s “faves” and discovered his posthumous paw prints. I bawled like a baby before I could read the rest. Not only did I touch his past, I discovered my future.

Above is the well-worn cover from his other favorite. Whether you’re into Westerns or not, it’s an entertaining read. (The Man Of Few Words ‘n’ I still watch the video series on lazy Saturday afternoons.) Dad left his mark on my heart, and my point is this: history precedes us and we all leave evidence of our existence.

Leave your trails wisely!

As for my lil’ corner of the planet, life lately has been experienced through my lens (at long last) — between intermittent storms, loss of satellite signal, and meals that will never make social media. (I ate the evidence!) It felt good. Slightly stormy, but good.

Fifteen or more tornadoes touched down in our immediate area this week — prayers to all those affected — to keep us mindful. Today it was “just” torrential rain. We’re grateful for every blessing, and truthfully I slept through most of it.  Apologies for the “post-publishing” edits, too… it’s been a long day, but I was compelled to write.

We’re doin’ okay, but the wind sock in our front yard provided evidence of the turbulent skies overhead. Nothing but “rotation” could accomplish that.

Gotta love Oklahoma!

Leave an indelible mark on your journey… the path is yours to define.

Or pass on indelibly.

Enjoying the past, present, and future,

~ Kim

Fun At The Lake

Similar to Seinfeld’s hit show this may appear to be about “nothing”, but it means the world to me. Plus, I had FUN playing with some new blog themes thanks to WP. (Still undecided… what do you think?) Although it’s slightly less photogenic — being a photographer ‘n’ all — my images show up sooner or later and it was time for a change.

Today I tackled the Tool Room. After our house/garage fire a few years back we were blessed with a three bedroom abode and I envisioned this as a music room… writing room… respite to view the lake. (NOT!) Wish I’d taken “before” pictures, but life goes on and I’m patient. And, The Man Of Few Words helped.

After sorting through accumulated nuts and bolts (hopefully in a somewhat coherent manner) and wading around “future projects on the floor” I transformed it into this:

The long-neglected “jelly cupboard” (circa 1950’s) from my folks’ basement, which my son loaded into my U-Haul at the last minute as a surprise back in in 2016, acquired a primer coat of paint to cover up my late brother’s artistry with spray paint before he customized his Cuda (you can still see a blotch on the left door… oh well) and I moved a few things into an adjacent closet, threw a sisal rug down on the floor, and  as the ol’ adage goes: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Life is much simpler when that happens. (FYI, it doesn’t just “happen”… DO it!)

I still have a few finishing touches to implement. Grey paint on the floor. Perhaps a Monet on the wall? Overall, it’s progressing. (And my hubby can still find his tools.)

Most of the above was a blessing from the church thrift store (how ’bout that antique anchor shelf to hold my hubby’s fishing lures and filet knife?!), gifts from friends. and/or Amazon discount deals. (Soooo grateful.) Meanwhile I’ve been having FUN making the best use of our space even if it involves re-doing the Tool Room — or putting up with bright blue carpeting in our guest room. Sometimes ya make do. But, it matches the lake for now. Someday…

Wishing all of you a very Happy Easter. Hope you like what I’ve done with the place!

Enjoying life and FUN in progress,

~ Kim

P.S. Tell me what you think of my new blog format. I’m gradually transitioning into writing and trying to be mindful of my words.