Goodbye, Grill

Sometimes, no matter how well something has served you, the time comes when you have to replace it. Our beloved charcoal grill has been increasingly difficult to use due to its age (I can’t remember exactly, but well over ten years and possibly as many as fifteen). The grill, which was a much-appreciated gift back in the day, was the centerpiece of countless chai parties, and warmed hundreds of students on cold winter nights. No doubt thousands of marshmallows were roasted over its coals, not to mention burgers, sausages, and pork ribs. It’s so old that I’m sure my younger kids have no memory of any other grill.

But when we used it for my birthday dinner, and coals kept dropping through the corroded grate, it occurred to me that, you know, grills are still sold in this town. It would be possible to replace it. And since our anniversary is coming up this month, why not call it an early anniversary present to ourselves, so we could inaugurate it on the Fourth of July?

After doing a bunch of research, I found a replacement that worked with our budget, and after a rather ridiculous amount of red tape, we were finally able to pick it up this afternoon and bring it home. It is not quite as splendiferous as our old one was when new, but it’s a whole lot more functional than the old one is now, and I feel quite sure it will last us at least a few years. And yes, in case you were wondering, we are charcoal purists.

Parting Shots:

Our beloved old grill


Our new grill

Bonus Parting Shots:

I picked my first okra pods tonight. They are huge.
This is one of my newly-picked pods alongside a pickled okra pod from a jar.

Starting Over

How was your Independence Day? Ours felt kind of like a Saturday. Walter went to work on floors. I cut Lina’s hair, then later took Jasper to Walmart to get some work pants, since he ripped the ones he was wearing yesterday.

I also did a bunch of knitting while waiting for Jasper to get up—on the project I started last night. And just as I used up the last of the first skein of yarn, I realized I had been following instructions for the wrong size and in fact had cast on the wrong number of stitches. Grrr! I had to rip out all my hard work and start all over again. I hate it when that happens.

Lina and I watched some Netflix while I worked on re-knitting what I had already knitted, and she worked on sorting all of our playing cards. We had a drawer full of card decks left over from chai party days. She was able to put together 17 complete decks of cards! I think some of them will be going to a thrift store. I certainly can’t imagine ever needing that many again!

I made homemade ice cream and corn on the cob and cauliflower “potato” salad. I chickened out of grilling the sausages out in the heat though, especially as there were only three of us. Spencer and Jade had other plans, and Jasper was invited over to a friend’s house for the evening.

We finished up by watching a video while Lina and I knitted, and then I cut out some pattern pieces in hopes that I’ll be able to cut out fabric tomorrow. I have an idea for a dress design but I needed a pattern to base it on. Of course, I still have a jillion things to do before I start teaching again next week . . . .

Independence Day

Didn’t today feel like Saturday? It sure did to me. My thoughts were on the other side of the ocean today as people in the UK gathered to celebrate the life of Joan Hoyte. Wish I could have been there! One of those who did attend posted a video of the people there singing the Sakeji School hymn, “Come Children of Sakeji.” I cannot sing or even hear that song without crying. So many deep feelings and a host of memories go with it.

I went to Walmart first thing this morning to get the last few things I needed. Corn on the cob was ten cents an ear!

We had a few sprinkles this morning but by the time I returned from Walmart, it was just overcast and breezy so I went ahead and put in some more time weeding and trenching before I took my shower. I also beat lots of air into the ice cream I made last night so it would be ready by suppertime tonight.

After lunch, Lucy and I made a quick run up to Hobby Lobby and then to a fireworks store to get sparklers. I want to have them to celebrate our last chai party ten days from now!

Later this afternoon, I got some coals going in the grill and then attempted grilling my first whole chicken. I have one of those metal stands that are designed for putting a beer can in. Instead I used a metal cup with a little bit of wine and some freshly-snipped rosemary. It was hard fitting the chicken down over the cup, but I managed it.

I roasted it on the grill over indirect heat with the lid closed. I had looked up instructions, and they said that you should grill it for about 45 minutes at 375º. Well . . . it looked great after 45 minutes at 500º, but the interior temperature was nowhere near where it needed to be. Half an hour later I brought it inside, but it still wasn’t done inside and I had to microwave it to finish cooking it.

I admit I was skeptical about that 45 minute time estimate. My personal guess would have been two hours, and I think that is more realistic! Next time I will plan accordingly.

But anyway, we had plenty of hamburgers and hot dogs, and Greek salad made with my own cucumbers and corn on the cob and chips, etc. And later, there was watermelon and homemade ice cream, a movie and sparklers.

Sometimes things that happen in this country are very frustrating or saddening to me. But to be honest, there’s no other nation I’d rather belong to. Happy Birthday, America!


Independence Day

Someday, I hope, we’ll get to celebrate Independence Day like normal American families do. Not this year, obviously!

This morning I was on my own at Walmart since Jasper was camping out with his friend, Lucy had a friend staying the night, and Spencer was leaving to go to work with Walter shortly after I left to go shopping. The store wasn’t as crowded as I had feared, so I got through without too much difficulty.

Afterwards, I drove up to the car dealership where Walter and Spencer were working and dropped off some donuts for them to share with their coworkers. Then it was home to eat a solitary breakfast since the girls were still in bed and Jasper had not returned!

The rest of the day was mostly about housework, autoharp, and editing. I still don’t feel really ready to play tomorrow but I’ll practice a little more tonight and in the morning. I have spent the last week revising one of my novels and I finished this round today. This is my second time through. What works best for me is to go through several times fixing specific types of errors, rather than go through one time trying to fix everything at once. I really feel that is already stronger than it was. I have at least one more time to go through it, not counting the changes I’ll make as each section gets critiqued by my critique group.

Since Walter and Spencer were working all day, and since I didn’t know if they’d even be home for supper, we didn’t have an independence day dinner. We bought some tamales from our neighbors and had leftover chicken mango curry and chili with cornbread. It was still a good meal!

After Kat came and got Spencer to go to a friend’s house, the rest of us went out on the patio and lit some sparklers. We didn’t set off any rockets because of having two dogs in the yard.

7-4-15 sparkler

Happy Birthday, United States!