In My Kitchen ~ May 2018

I’ve spent most of my life cooking for the folks I love, but these past five years have included an additional blessing: treasured friends from around the world witnessing my culinary antics. I revel in theirs, too! Thank you Sherry (Sherry’s Pickings) for continuing to hostess “In My Kitchen.” To see more global goodies or to add your own, please click on her link.

In My Kitchen… is an “official” quiche pan. Previously I made it a pie plate, so when this beauty appeared at the thrift store I snapped it up. Real quiche at last! (Please pardon the uneven nutmeg distribution on top; the grater I ordered was en route and I got a little heavy-handed with sprinkling. :) The crackers, baguette, and party goods are for future appetizers and impromptu serving.

In My Kitchen… are an industrial-sized Crock Pot, a Cuispro olive oil spritzer, and the cutest lil’ mini bakers for warm dips and such. (My new Microplane nutmeg grater, too!) It’s been a process deciding what to replace or live without since my serving pieces and kitchen gadgets disappeared a few years back, but it’s been fun “personalizing” my kitchen again. You might even say I earned it…

Winte bottle stopper

Meanwhile, I’m almost done painting my office. IMK headquarters! The “flowers” that besieged my eyeballs all these years will be gone. YAY!

Painting in progressAfter that, the only posies left blessing my surroundings will be these:

Okie posies

Enjoying an entertaining life in Oklahoma,

~ Kim

Gently Reclaiming My Turf

dawn

This past week I went on my first walkabout in over two years (unmitigated life-events notwithstanding) with a sincere desire to reconnect with “my” landscape.

Dawn was ushered in by a pastel sunrise and I couldn’t resist exploring.

Viewing the lake from afar is lovely, but up close and personal restores my soul.

geese

Ma and Pa Goose escorted me the first fifty yards, honking furiously and strutting indignantly. (Must be a nest nearby.) After spontaneous flight the shore was mine.

This time of year the lake is the least colorful and most hopeful — a wait’n’see kind of attitude that initially appears unimpressive cloaked in muted tan, brown, and gray — but, there’s SO much more to see once you get past your first impression.

Shapes. Shadows. Surfaces.

Treasures lurk beneath!

So far I haven’t stumbled upon anything of value yet (nor the hundreds of lures TMOFW and I have “donated” to the lake over the years), but this was priceless.

Beauty and serenity — not to mention self-worth — are in the eye of the beholder. I hope you recognize yours, xo.

peaceful-shoreline

Transient residents are welcome, too, to tell the story of the ever-shifting shoreline tempered by wind, water, and time — a continuous Do Over.

We ought to learn something from that. (Every day’s an adventure!)

Nothing stays the same, but we can bear with it gracefully… even scenically.

sea-serpent

This driftwood castaway reminded me of a sea serpent. (Maybe Lake Eufaula has a Nessie?) Wouldn’t that be something.

Raccoon tracks (among others), shed feathers, and a barnacle-laden rock or two are but a few of the many reminders that this is a shared space… a sacred place.

We respect each other’s right to partake of the the lake. Yay for my turn!

It felt good to wander again… gently.

Enjoying Oklahoma,

~ Kim

How High Is The Water, Mama? (Rhapsody in Blue VII)

Old Boy contemplates a cloud

Old Boy (my Great Blue Heron friend) usually sits in the “driftwood tree” farther out in the lake. Remember? 

These days he’s roosting elsewhere and I can’t blame him.

The tips of the branches you see in the photo below are the top of that tree after two weeks’ worth of rain… with another weeks’ worth of thunderstorms in the forecast.

High water

That’s a lot of water!

(Or, as they say around here: a “Lotawatah.”)

There’s a road by that name not far from here — for good reason.

High water 1

This photo is more “brown” than “blue” but you get the idea…

A neighbor called to check on the flooding by his cabin. (This is the photo I sent in reply.) Somehow it reminded me of Johnny Cash’s song, “Five Feet High and Rising.”

How high is the water, Mama? Two feet high and risin’… three feet high and risin’… four feet high and risin’ — and on it goes. Whether or not you’re a Johnny Cash fan, The Man In Black wrote real-life lyrics (even though his song pertained to flooding in next-door Arkansas at the time.) Yup… that’s our “real life” at present.

According to the Army Corp of Engineers — the efficient folks letting out the deluge day by day at the dam 15 miles east of here (yes, our lake is THAT big!) — Lake Eufaula is hovering around 598 feet… 13 feet above “normal.”

Disappearing driftwood tree

Generally there’s a 15 foot “drop” between the lake and our “lakeshore”

It’s comforting to know that the ol’ Lightning Tree has witnessed this before — and oh, how I love looking at things from a tree’s perspective! There’s less chaos and more calm about the rising water level when witnessed by a stalwart soul — merely a phenomenon to note (despite the waves crashing ashore on windy days) — ho hum, been there, done that. Que Sera Sera.

Thankfully we live farther up “the hill” and are safe and well, other than the occasional water moccasin (aka poisonous “cotton mouth” snake) in search of a place to sun themselves. Can’t blame them either! Their habitat is in more danger than ours.

Please pray for our friends and neighbors (vertebrates and invertebrates alike) living in the low-lying areas. We may be treading carefully these days, but at least we aren’t treading water!

Enjoying “life on the lake” in spite of things,

~ Kim

Riding Off Into The Sunset

Surprise visitors 1

It isn’t every day that a renegade trio shows up in your front yard, but I’ve come to expect that from Oklahoma.  After grazing undisturbed for a moment or two, this wayward threesome trotted up the hill, satisfied with their adventure.

When I wrote home about it, my Dad was tickled by the tale of their unfettered freedom — he loved anything that hinted of “Westerns” — and on June 8th he followed suit, peacefully riding off into the sunset.

I mean no disrespect by announcing his departure this way; in fact, when it’s my turn to saddle up, I hope to hit the trail with half as much grace and good humor as he did.  Plus, “cowpoke dialogue” frequently meandered into our conversations.

On the heels of my last trip — not knowing whether I’d see him again — I said goodbye ala The Duke:  “Well, I guess this is the part where I ride off alone.”

Dad responded with a nod and an “Adiós.”

His fascination with the Old West rubbed off on me.  He shared my delight in moving to Oklahoma, even if it meant not coming to visit very often (we both accepted the ramifications of being apart), but the prospect of wandering at will or being “willing to wander” held mutual appeal.  In my lifetime, I accomplished it in the cab of a semi; in his, via the pages of his favorite books.

While it’s difficult to sum up eighty-four years of life in a few sentences, here’s an excerpt from the eulogy I gave in his honor:

“Dad loved the land and the stories associated with it.  He once told me that he’d read “Centennial” so many times he lost count!  Not only did he love the geological descriptions, he admired the settlers and cowboys who expanded this country — a country which he proudly served.

Taking Dad’s respect for the land into account, God blessed him with a small piece of earth he called “home” (which he loved dearly) and a wife and family he loved even more.  It was there that his own story was written.

Dad’s story includes a trail of sawdust… being a good neighbor… working up a sweat and cooling down in the shade… the satisfaction of unloading the last bale of hay in the barn… cows mooing contentedly… hitting a nail square on the head… sunrises and sunsets… finding the first pussy willows in the ditch… the tug of a fish at the end of his line… his infamous “grin”… Sunday drives on the back roads he knew so well… going to the A & W… mowing lawn… family picnics…. watching his kids, grandkids, and great-granddaughter frolic on the front lawn… a refreshing sip of cold water gushing from a garden hose… snow flurries on the way to midnight Mass… reading the newspaper with a good cup of coffee… the merits of homemade pie, sit-down suppers, and Westerns on TV… serving God, country, and family… and surprising Mom with a vase of red roses on the kitchen counter…

Dad recently compared his time on earth to his favorite book, “Lonesome Dove.”  In a conversation between two age-old friends — one of them near death — the character comments that it’s been “quite a party.”  Dad grinned at me and said, “I’m glad you came to my party.”  That’s how he felt about all of you.

Today we give Dad back to the land he loved, but his story continues… written on our hearts.”

Surprise visitors

Adiós, Dad — and Happy Trails.

Enjoying memories of you,

~ Kim