Archive for July, 2007

berry nice indeed

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

I had heard through the local paper that it was about to be berry picking season, and they had a recommendation for a place over in Wisconsin, Rush River Produce berry picking. We got all excited, especially Emma at the prospect of being able to get gooseberries (you can get them at the grocery store but they’re madly expensive).

So during the week Emma called them and asked about the berry situation – the guy said “this is the *best* weekend for gooseberries!” so we decided to trek over this morning. It’s about an hour and a half along beautiful roads – slightly scary as we had at least three close calls with wild turkeys either running or flying across the road – and we had to start really early because the forecast was for a bit of a scorcher – it’s almost 8pm now and still 97F (over 36C). We got there at about 8:30am when it was about 73F, not too bad at all. it’s completely beautiful there, up on the hills overlooking the Mississippi and Lake Pepin, birds singing, flowers all over the place, and really nice people at the farm too, all very welcoming.

The fruit was amazing too. They have hundreds of blueberry bushes, but we were there for the gooseberries primarily. We ended up picking ten pounds! A good mix of green and red/purple (which were delicious right off the bush) and plenty of scratches on our arms, but well worth it. Emma’s going to do some chutney and also a few gooseberry pies I think. We also got about four pounds of redcurrants – they were practically dripping off the bushes, and she’s just finishing off some redcurrant jelly. Then another four or five pounds of blackcurrants, which are completely delicious. We’re going to have some in a pie or two (we think blackcurrant and apple pie will be fantastic) and also just plain with vanilla ice cream. The question is what to do with the rest? We could do jam, but we can get pretty good blackcurrant jam here, but we can’t find any other recipes. Do any readers have any blackcurrant recipies they could recommend?

what a country

Friday, July 6th, 2007

I’ve had my green card for over five years now, so theoretically I am eligible to apply for citizenship of the United States (“of these United States,” as I would say if I were a presidential candidate, which I can’t be because for a start I was not born here, and you have to be natural born American to be President). Not sure if I will – I have a real attachment to living here, and the people, and it would be nice to vote and all, but it would still feel a bit strange, even though I’d be able to keep my UK citizenship. Hmm. Either way, wouldn’t it be cool to have the citizenship ceremony at Disneyworld? With a parade? And F-15s flying overheard? What a country.

On a smaller scale, I found out (both these pieces of info today come from a blog from our local paper, that today is National Fried Chicken Day. I wonder what we’ll have for dinner? I was at a party a couple of weeks ago, where the hosts got fried chicken from the deli counter at a supermarket, and it was about 100 times better than KFC. I’m sure it was calorie-free too.

a hero for our time

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Terrorists: Don’t mess with Glasgow cabbies. Here’s a story about one of a few hard cases who effectively tackled the terrorists at Glasgow airport: Hero Cabbie. A snippet of the story from “battling taxi driver Alex McIlveen”, including some amusingly colorful language:

“He was going crazy, just lashing out at everyone and babbling pish in a foreign language the whole time.

“I’ve heard people say since that he was shouting ‘Allah!’ but I didn’t hear that. It just sounded like a lot of crap to me.

“I ran for the guy and punched him twice in the face with pretty good right hooks.

“Then I kicked him with full force right in the balls but he didn’t go down. He just kept on babbling his rubbish.”

UPDATE: The “original” hero of the story was John Smeaton, who has been elevated to celebrity status on the web, but now according to his mother is “having a wee rest“. His message for the terrorists at the time was: “This is Glasgow and we’ll no accept this. You try this and we’ll set about ye.”


Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

I think my toe is getting better – it’s still sore but not as excruciating as yesterday. Maybe that’s because I had a couple of beers after work, we’ll find out tomorrow.

In the meantime my son has been taunting me. He’s quite into Loony Tunes cartoons at the moment – he said to me last night “Because you hurt your toe you can’t go fast any more. So I can’t call you Speedy Gonzales – I will be Speedy Gonzales. And I will call you: Slow Gonzales.”

sports of sorts

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

I got a sports injury on Sunday, kind of. The day was going really well – I was part way through slow barbecuing a load of pork baby back ribs for dinner; we had several friends coming over so a large-scale grilling experiment seemed in order. I also made my own barbecue sauce. The ribs were incredibly good, slow barbecued in my trusty charcoal Weber grill.

So part way through the afternoon I took a full trash bag downstairs to the garbage. Stupidly I didn’t think to put on shoes, and even more stupidly didn’t turn on the lights in the basement. On the way back I smacked my left foot into something – a piece of seldom used home fitness equipment (that’s how it counts as a sports injury, ahem). I limped around the rest of the evening, but some booze helped as an analgesic. Today was a different matter though – my little toe is purple, almost black, and hurts like a bugger. I’m limping around, not looking very cool. There’s nothing much you can do about a broken toe, just have to tape it to its neighbor and wait for it to heal, but at the moment it’s not a lot of fun. You’d think that the little toe on your left foot would be the least important, but you would be wrong.