More books, less booze

My latest mantra is more books, less booze. Mostly, it seems that reasonable quality red wine is far far cheaper in the supermarket than reasonable quality paperback books in the bookshop (we don't quite have a real bookshop here either, just some best seller shelves in the stationery/magazine shops). But if I watch Trademe and have a lucky find, or even if I take advantage of Book Depository's free worldwide postage and the current high NZ dollar, and if perchance my body has announced that 2-3 drinks, 3-4 times per week really needs to go down to 1-2 drinks, 1-2 times per week, then books are the new black round here.

This weekend I read Andrea Levy's Small Island, set in Jamaica, India and London either side of World War Two. I loved it. Would I be so comfortably removed from the reality of the racism if the book were set in New Zealand? No. Gilbert Joseph fights for England in the war and yet finds himself more hated by the English when he moves to London afterwards than any German or Japanese enemy. The reason for the hatred? The colour of his skin. With an even greater run of good luck than the $4 Small Island, on Trademe tonight I won Levy's latest book, Long Song, for $1. Better than booze indeed.

We've had spring winds in July this year, and the plastic roofing on the chook run is no longer entirely where it should be.

We are still eating from the garden. This simply red mesclun mix from Kings Seeds is going in my salads and sandwiches most days.

The lemon tree is providing almost as much excitement as when I gave birth to my children.

Yellow lemons! On my lemon tree! Only took four years and three plants.

Next, the bits which need work. Not quite more work as I've done so little so far, but lots of work.

You can't see my precious snowdrops in this lemon balm jungle. The snowdrops are from an old bulb which did not flower for the first few years after we arrived, because it had been squashed and starved. Then it appeared like a miracle two years ago and now... now it is overtaken again. I have rescuing to do.

The front of the house. I've decided it needs a beautification project, though in my head I keep saying beatification, which is less justified.

Also in front of the house. I need to win against blackberry and long weedy grasses. I used to want vegetables, but now I'm thinking flowers. Strong-against-wind flowers.

Still no machine sewing. I do have the loan of a wonderful book called Sew What Skirts as of today, so I need to finish my current skirt. Finishing sewing seems not to be a strength.

I used to be a kitchen queen, a kitchen wizard even, every Sunday. Not so lately. Perhaps the children will die from eating uber-wrapped Le Snak packs at school and kindy. I'm trusting not at this stage. But I did make a new-to-me soup tonight for dinner. It's a combination of reading Nourishing Traditions briefly, shutting it before Pandora-the-food-whiner got out, and remembering reading this carrot soup recipe from Hazeltree Farm.

Peel and chop about six large carrots. Wash, strip and finely chop one leek. Finely chop some ginger. Melt lots and lots of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook the carrots and ginger and leeks in it for a bit, then add some orange juice (I used orange and apple juice cos' that's the supermarket had and real oranges are too expensive for this recipe), put the lid on and turn it down low. Cook for quite a while, maybe half an hour. Add some quinoa (the mere act of adding quinoa to anything makes me feel virtuous) and cook some more until it too looks cooked. Pulverise it all with a whizzy stick. Then add some cream slowly and mix in. I served it with toast, and followed up with apple crumble. Pudding. Maybe I was a kitchen wizard today after all.

Even better for lifting spirits, we planned a camping holiday for summer and a holiday involving the children at their grandparents and FH and I at somewhere lovely for in ten days' time. Roll on next Sunday.


Nikki said…
You seem to have the same lemon tree success as me *snort*. However, like you, I also have a happy little tree finally producing. I'm just waiting for the first lemon to finish ripening and there are plenty more there too, which is very exciting (it's been in the garden for a few years).

I also made that soup (actually, I see I commented on her post), but the kids found it too sweet for some reason and wouldn't eat it!
Isa Ritchie said…
I hope they're spectacular lemons for all your effort! It's soup season - I'm cooking pumpkin for soup and hopefully pumpkin pie too!

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