The Box of Misfits

February 28, 2021

I think I need more vegetables in my life, but I don’t want to go to the grocery store.

There an ordering site for just such a thing. It’s called https://www.misfitsmarket.com/.

I signed up for the smaller box every two weeks. Every other Saturday starting at 4pm we can build our box out of the available produce. What makes the produce earn the title of Misfit is because it might be too big, too small, or an odd shape. Then you can shop their pantry to add fresh and shelf-stable items.

Among the items I ordered in the first box were 2 green peppers. One was a little lopsided, and the other was a bit too long. The would not stack nicely in a store display. I already had some Seeds of Change rice mix and some Whippoorwill Farms sausage. I sautéed some scallions and mushrooms from the box, added garlic and diced green pepper and sausage and rice mix. Can you tell I’m making stuffed peppers?

At the end of the baking I added some blue cheese as a topping and browned it.

Not pretty but deee-lish

I ordered something called Napa Cabbage which, when steamed, is delectably tender and tasty, and is also good made into slaw.

Two weeks after that, we got this…

I had added Brussels sprouts, mushrooms again, and ginger cookies from the pantry section.

There’s a mango!
A wee pineapple plus winter squashes with friends

Leslie didn’t know how we were going to store all these veggies so he got out an enormous cooler which was purchased for hurricane prep. This was just the thing to store on the porch.

Blueberries and mushrooms from the pantry section

This was a ridiculous amount of food for less than $40, including shipping and the extra pantry items.

The next box was overflowing with greens. I ordered nine different kinds of lettuces, chards, and cabbages. Some of the mixed head lettuce was small. Honestly, some we can’t eat in time, and bits go into the compost. Have you eaten chard? You must. Steam it or chop it to add to pizza or make it a salad ingredient.

Misfits has a blog with recipes and suggestions. One of the suggestions was for apple tart. I found another recipe on the internet that likened their tart to a rustic one that a French grandmother might make “au pif “. Since we’ve been looking at old postcards and letters written in French, let’s try that one. I cheated on the crust. I did go to the grocery and got ready-made pie shells. Let them set out for 2 hours or so until they are softened because you want to be able to fold them. I made 2 tarts.

Slice 3 apples, thinly. You already know to remove the core. Leave the peel if you want. I’ve done it with or without the peel and had good results for both. Toss with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons butter, melted. Pile in the middle of the crust and fold the crust toward the center, making pleats and leaving the middle exposed. Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 minutes.

Eat it right out of the pan.

If you move it to another dish, it might be a disaster but we couldn’t wait for it to cool.

If you try Misfits, keep in mind that some items are too big or small or possibly unripe. For $20ish plus shipping and tax, it’s a good deal, and you are helping eliminate food waste since these items are considered blemished by the supermarkets. You can add those extra pantry item like chips, breads, oat milk, and dozens more. Stay out of the stores. Y’all be safe.

Now don’t you want an apple tart?

The most recent box came Friday, and it’s in the cooler. Lots of greens for good salads, with walnuts and pecans and blue cheese added. I don’t even know what else I ordered. Oh, two kinds of potatoes and two kinds of apples plus d’anjou pears. It’s a whole box of goodness especially when you can’t or don’t garden.

Try them. Use this code https://www.misfitsmarket.com/?promo=COOKWME-IX2UXE and you’ll get $10 off your first box.

Happy eating!

COOKWME-IX2UXE

Did the Chocolates Arrive?

February 28, 2021

We’re thinking of chocolates that were sent from Switzerland to Savannah, Georgia, about 100 years ago.

You can read more about that HERE.

Nothing would do except to order chocolates, and unbeknownst to me, Leslie did.

There are postcards inside!

This box of beauty is from Amazon.

And y’all? They have Autoship…

And That’s a Wrap

February 27, 2021

Covid19 vaccinations, that is.

The first one was on 1/26/21. I was on a list submitted by work to a division of a a local hospital. The process was simple: register on site, wait your turn, complete the screening, get a jab, wait 20 minutes for possible reactions, go home. Packaged snacks, canned soft drinks, and bottled water were provided. I was provided with an appointment in 3 weeks.

At the 3 week mark on 2/17/21, oh my goodness. I had an annual exam that morning, and with time in my hands, I arrived a full half hour before the vaccination appointment. The line was snaking around the building. People with walkers and canes and limps inched along. The facility is near a large retirement community, and they were out in force, analyzing the situation and longing for happy hour.

People continued to arrive. I had brought along some knitting.

Knitting steadily here. It was getting cold. There are probably 100 people ahead of me and more in the building.

Near the turn

More paperwork, more screening.

Second jab accomplished! On to better days.

The Goldmine in the Closet: Postcards

February 14, 2021

I have been encouraged, nay *nagged*, for several months to help a certain someone go through his old photos and arrange them. The plan was to do this when we were quarantined almost a year ago for 10 weeks. This did not happen, and it turns out that saying you would do something if you had the time is simply not true. I had time but not inclination.

We did start a couple of months back during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when I had some time. I gathered some small boxes and cardboard trays, the kind that cases of cat food come in. If you do not know what these shallow boxes with no lid looks like, you clearly do not have enough cats.

I assigned a surname to each box. Things were going swimmingly for the first 10 minutes, then we came to some papers. The unnamed party (okay his name is Leslie) refers to his collection as his archives. I’ve considered downloading museum archival quality software, like PastPerfect, to organize this mountain. I have not done so because I was hoping that I could paw through his photos and not have to donate any real effort. But this was not to be. The papers told me so. He had gone through a phase a few years ago where he printed everything he thought he needed to keep, in spite of me telling him that it was going to be on the internet forever. This means we have scraplets of information that might not even be true, because they were written by people, perhaps ordinary bloggers like me, who didn’t really document things. He seemed to be able to sort out the unverified articles from the verified ones, but still, one article might not be 100% documented and what to do about that? Let’s print it and worry about it later.

The early Virginia stuff was the most problematic. Should that go into a surname box or should we just make a Virginia box? He has too many ancestors. We made a Virginia box.

Then he found an old postcard written by an unknown person to his grandmother, Mrs. Lawton. It’s a postcard of a school in Switzerland, Ecole-Foyer des Pleiades sur Vevey.

And it’s in French.

I don’t speak French.

I tried the google translate app, and it is only as good as the user who doesn’t speak, read, or write French.

This calls for the hive mind. I scanned the front and back and put it out there to the Facebook world. I knew that several of my friends were native French speakers, so I messaged them. When I didn’t hear back from them, I posted it to my page.

Do you see how there is writing along the bottom and up the side?
Mrs. Lawton, c/o Mrs. Garrard, 324 Abercorn Street, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.

I got several interesting responses. The general consensus was that the writer was familiar with the receiver.

CousinSusan translated what she knew plus sent the images to her friend in France:

It says I am your great aunt and is asking if the young brothers would write

FriendRebeccah contacted her teacher friend:

“Merci chère madame pour vos vœux. Acceptez aussi les nôtres pour vous et toute votre famille. Je m’ennuie? De mes petits Édouard et William. Ed ne sait-il plus écrire? Vous m’aviez maintenant à parler Cliffe? Mieux que les garçons français. Je les ai ? La lettre que vous me promettiez. Bien des amitiés à Ed et William Chargez chère madame ? Les enfants ont ils reçu le chocolat ou s’est-il perdu? “

Thank you for your wishes. Please accept ours for you and all of your family. I miss Edward and William. Does Ed no longer know how to write? (???)Better than French boys (I told them?) the letter that you promised me. All the best to Ed and William – (then typical closing of a letter that is cut off) And the text on the photo = Did the children get the chocolate or was it lost?

FriendSusan offered this:

“Thank you (dear Madame–a tad formal), for your good wishes and please accept ours back to you and your family.” I can’t read the verb, but something like, “I haven’t (forgotten? think of?) your young ones, Edward and William…” something about (not?) writing any more? Something about Cliff being just a boy.

Chantal thinks it says this:

Susan’s translation is pretty good! She thanks the lady she writes to of her “voeux” (meaning I think in this case Happy New Year wishes) and she wishes her the same! The verb hard to read is “Je m’ennuie” – meaning in this case that she misses the two boys mentioned – she calls them “mes petits” (familiar term which could mean her children or grandchildren) and she wishes they would write more 🙂 – must be a very old postcard as my grand-mother in France used to write that way!!! ♡

Most people were in agreement that some chocolate was sent, but was it received or lost?

We still don’t know who wrote the postcard. Leslie remembered that his uncles went to boarding school in Switzerland, and there was something in Uncle Edward’s book.

My father favored Switzerland as the best country for an American family to live economically. We settled down for our longest stay at a small hotel overlooking Lac Leman in the little town of Territet, which is a projection of Montreux. Afterwards our parents took us up to an attractive country pension they had discovered above the Vevey-Montreux coast not far from the Chateau de Blonay. The landladies there had a brother, Monsieur Nussbaum, who planned to open a small school in a chalet higher up, on the slope of a mountain called Les Pleiades. He made a good impression on my parents; the result was that my brother and I became his first boarders. Having learned Spanish we were now, aged 8 and 6, to get a thorough grounding in French – or at least spoken French.

So the side of the card says something in closing. “Cordially. M. Nussbaum.” It’s almost off the page. But the receiver knew the sender, and the sender barely had to sign the card, if only to be cordial.

Were the children home in Savannah on holiday? Or did they live in Switzerland any more?

Are these photos of M. Nussbaum and his sisters and Leslie’s grandmother in a blog post I wrote 5 years ago?

And did they receive the chocolate?

The Eight-Pound Bowling Ball

February 9, 2021

About a month ago, Leslie heard a yowling in the bushes outside his house one evening. He searched under the foliage, but the intruder was gone.

A half hour later, he heard it again, this time by his open front door, and when he went to the door, a cat scampered away. It was not one of his cats, because they were all tucked in for the night.

He set the trap and by morning had caught the trespasser. I told him I could take the cat to my colony.

I say it’s a girl

The issue with a trapped cat on a Thursday evening is that they cannot go to the spay/neuter clinic immediately because there are limited, if any, surgeries since Friday is generally a pick-up, non-surgical day. This cat was going to have to go to the shelter and stay for a few days before his/her surgery on a Monday.

Which is what happened.

The shelter reported that he was ready for pickup on Tuesday and that he seemed calm. Leslie recovered the cat and got him settled into the Jaxpety condo with food and water, bedding, and a large litter box.

He sent me this photo to show that the cat was perfectly calm.

I checked on him that evening after work. He had flipped the litter box on its side, but had eaten all the canned food. He was hiding inside the condo, which, if you remember, is of lightweight construction reinforced by Leslie.

The next morning about 7am he seemed wary. He has wrestled the litter box back into an upright position during the night, and I supposed that he was going to have an adjustment from being free range to confined. But if everyone thought he was calm, then this could work until he became aware of his surroundings, and I could let him go. He might even get along with Jersey or at least be subservient.

He was hiding in the top compartment. When I looked in the little window at him, he took one look at me and stepped to the compartment’s doorway and launched himself at the latched condo door like an eight pound bowling ball shot out of a cannon.

Imagine my surprise when the aluminum sliding latch failed and the door shot open and banged against the side of the shed, and he kept going.

The last I saw of him, he was running for the far side of the fence, bounding like a deer in his escape.

Note to self: do not judge a person’s personality until the sedative has worn off.

Polluters in Our Midst: the Pellet Industry

February 7, 2021

Soon it will be a year when Sugar and I started quarantining.

To be transparent, he is a self-described recluse, so he stays home day and night except for the occasional excursion to the local feed and seed for birdseed, the grocery for foodstuffs, the Petsmart for dog and cats supplies, and the doctor for himself or the animals. Sounds like a lot but it’s not, considering that we also make online purchases from ChewyDotCom, Misfits Market, Amazon, and Whippoorwill Farms SC.

Being home a lot means that he is aware of his surroundings. His neighbors on one side have regular fiestas with vehicles coming and going, dogs barking, people making noise. His neighbor on the other side is retired but gone a lot; when the neighbor is home, he walks around his yard talking on a cell phone, and the conversation carries. Sometimes people ride four-wheelers along the back of his property, and Sugar goes out and tells them that they are trespassing.

Around the time we quarantined, he was contacted by the Coastal Conservation League regarding a pellet mill close to his house. The mill is on a dirt sideroad about 4 houses away on the other side of a wooded and swampy area, off the beaten path, about as far away as a football field. You wouldn’t know it was there because the only other thing on that little road is a turf farm. People don’t shop in person for turf; you just call up and make an order to be delivered.

It seems that the pellet mill is operating without proper permitting. There’s a thing called the clean air act, and the mill is not complying.

They also got a PPP loan in April 2020 for more than $190,000 as an “aircraft manufacturer”. This seems like a fraudulent description. “Based on their reported 18 jobs retained, this equals an estimated average yearly compensation of $50,709 per employee.”

That man working in the yard at 3:29 on a Saturday afternoon doesn’t look like he’s earning $50,709 a year.

We took a little drive by. We drove past the operation and photographed it on the way back.

Sawdust. That is what you are burning for heat. Sawdust.
The office without a name

We agreed to be interviewed by phone by the Coastal Conservation League and their attorneys. They explained the process and what could happen.

Here’s the intent to sue.

This is scary for me. If my name is reported in these proceedings, could someone try to cause harm to us? How big is this industry? I had a lot of personal worries but decided that this is the right thing to do. I grew up in an area that is located to what became a nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. So many of my classmates and friends died of cancer. My brother was diagnosed in his fifties with leukemia. I have lupus.

Here’s the write-up in the Post and Courier.

We read up on the harm the pellet industry causes to people and the environment. It turns out that other people in some neighborhoods on the other side of the pellet mill’s road also were tired of the sicknesses and coughs they were having, the noise of the trucks, the debris from the sawdust and pellets, and the odor. The odor is particularly prevalent at night, and when I drove past on my way to work with the car windows open in the early morning hours during the spring after the quarantine was lifted, the smell was thick and acrid and gagging.

The company has been fined and must come into compliance. The fine is small considering what amount could have been decided, but the victory is large. This mill is on the radar, and this sends a message to other pellet mills in the state of South Carolina. The mill chose to not go to court.

Here’s the latest news story dated January 2021.

These pellets are sold overseas to the European market for heating. I’ve seen wood pellets for sale as cat litter with the touted benefit that it breaks down into sawdust. I suppose that is a better use than breathing the fumes of burning pellets, but the volatile organic compounds created and released into the atmosphere poisons more than one person or animal.

What’s in your backyard? And can you do something about it or are you afraid?

The Accidental Comedian

January 24, 2021

The Butter is an accidental comedian.

All I have to do is take a series of photos, and the jokes write themselves.

In which The.Butter regrets his lack of opposable thumbs, Basil Cowper regrets trying to sleep in on a Sunday.

*****

That time The Butter specifically asked for “vine-ripe tomatoes”…
And Basil Cowper brought home “vine-gar”.

*****

The Butter: “And I told him, you come around here again, and I’ll kick your ass again! I don’t care if you bite my other ear off!”
Basil Cowper: “Umm, Butter? Nobody bit your ear off. You had an ear mite infestation, and you shook your head really hard, and your blood vessels in your ear ruptured and your ear healed all crumpled.”
The Butter: “That’s not how I remember it.” Basil Cowper: “And Butter? Jersey’s right behind you.”
The Butter: “Well, crap.”
Sue: “This scenario seems familiar.”
Sue: “Will our hero persevere? Will good triumph over evil? Which one is good? Which one is evil? Who’s gotten into the catnip?”

*****

Basil Cowper: “Butter, I seem to be stuck here! Can you lend a paw?!”
“Butter? BUTTER, are you there?!”

*****

The Butter: “She told me to get off her counter and I told her to get off my ass.”
The Butter: “I don’t see her. Do you see her? She can’t hear me, right?”
Basil Cowper: “Dude, you’re on your own.”

*****

That time The Butter called a staff meeting, and no one came.

Who knew having The Butter around would be this much fun?

Whippoorwill Farms SC and Ellie the Egg Entrepreneur

January 24, 2021

A Facebook friend mentioned that she loved Marissa at Whippoorwill Farms, and since I am a nosey noser, I did a little internet search.

Leslie and I had tried to buy some farm produce from another local farm and were basically told that they had enough for their family and they weren’t inclined to take food off their family’s table. We are not interested in taking food away from anyone, but this felt like a mixed message since they were advertising an organic garden with produce for sale.

Clearly a miscommunication.

So I found Whippoorwill Farms online but something seemed off. They were about 4 miles away. How could this be? This was too good to be true. What was the downside? (Spoiler: there is no downside.)

Pay What You Can Produce Stand

Here’s the interesting part: they built a farm stand by the road and stock it with seasonal veggies and you just pay what you can. That’s right. If you can pay nothing – and we’ve all been there at some point in our lives – then you pay nothing. It’s an honor system. Just drop your money in the lock box bolted onto the stand.

So back in June we drove over to check things out.

We had seen this stand before on the way to Garnett. I thought it was some kind of school bus stop for local kids. Nope.

We snagged some cucumbers and made some amazing sandwiches with brown bread and Palmetto Cheese.

Did you grow up eating fresh vegetables out of the garden? Then you have also been ruined and cannot buy them in the grocery store. Well, maybe I should say that I can buy them reluctantly but not eat them and let them go bad right on the counter top. This is most probably an unnamed mental condition.

Things rolled along smoothly and we met the happy farmer Marissa, husband James, and daughter Ellie. You see, you can order food online and pick it up at the farm or at a local farmer’s market.

Shop Regeneratively Raised Forested Pork Here

We don’t eat a lot of meat, but we have started eating some sausage, ground pork, and ground chicken, because we can see how the meat is raised, sustainably and regeneratively.

The driving force behind the farm is Marissa. She’s gotten some well-deserved press through various media, like https://www.thrivingfarmerpodcast.com/marissa-paykos/ or https://www.locallifesc.com/small-farm-making-a-big-impact/ or https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.issuu.com/southernsoil/docs/02.issue.2019_final/s/91603. You can also check out her YouTube channel .here.

Our first actual meat purchase was sausage. We fried it in the skillet, and used the small amount of ensuing grease to sauté some veggies. Biscuits are optional. Iced tea is not.

I’m used to sausage that fries up with a lot of grease. There is a very small amount of grease in the Whippoorwill products because the hogs are harvested at an older age when the meat is leaner.

This has mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, Italian seasoning, and garlic.

Marissa’s chickens have a natural diet that is supplemented with chickenfeed that comes in these dandy bags. I converted one of the bags into a tote. There are win/wins everywhere.

Back in September 2020, I had a doctor’s follow up appointment which confirmed my tentative lupus diagnosis. while at the doctor’s office, I got a Facebook alert that Ellie the Egg Entrepreneur was offering her fresh eggs at the Pay What You Can produce stand. Ellie, age 5, has her own flock of chickens that she feeds and maintains and gathers eggs.

It suddenly became very important after I left the doctor’s office that I drive immediately to buy some of Ellie’s Eggs.

Eggs, scrambled with veggies

For our Thanksgiving meal we ordered a ham. These hams are uncured, and we’ve never cooked an uncured ham. The baking thermometer was broken, and we used a recipe I found on the internet. The taste of an uncured ham is more like a pork roast. Who knew? Unbelievably delicious.

For Christmas I ordered a pork tenderloin. Again, using a recipe from the internet, we had success. We browned it in the skillet then baked it in the oven.

Two days later we still had pork leftovers. We sautéed more veggies and pork pieces and added cranberry sauce and Kalamata olives on the side.

So, local friends, go forth, shop, support, and uplift our friends at Whippoorwill Farms SC. There is no downside.

Covid Version 2020.21.02

January 16, 2021

I got a company email the first of this week that the company’s employees would be receiving an email from one of two local hospitals to sign up for the Covid vaccine.

The email was supposed to be received within 48 hours. The employees here had already been surveyed by my employer as to whether we would like to have the vaccine or not. This survey caused a lot of debate among some people at work. Citizen1 is worried about what is actually in the shot. TDawg is worried about something she saw on Facebook. Alabama is worried about a reaction causing Bell’s Palsy. Peaches needs to talk to her husband. Techs OneTwoAndThree are vocalizing their objections to being “forced” to take the vaccine because it was said that the practice owner was going to “make us take the shot”, and they have “rights”.

I said, when asked, Give Me The Shot. I remember polio. You could get sick without it. You could die.

The email never came. Yet the doctor in the Beaufort office where I work got her email from a different hospital. Apparently the email was worded that she and her assistants were eligible to sign up. So she signed up herself and two of her technicians.

Let me reiterate that I am a “patient services” worker. Our office doors are locked and have been since last summer. We screen people and take their forehead temperature at the door. We are within an arm’s length of people.

Yet we were not deemed as assistants by our doctor. We are the first contact with people entering the office and they might not be there to see the doctor. They might want to look at glasses, or pick up meds, or pick up glasses or contacts, or make an appointment or pay a bill.

I could have had a vaccine this past Tuesday. I’m mad about being left out. So Thursday night I found a website for signups and requested to create an account. It’s all electronic. You request, you receive an email with a link to create your account, which was mildly complicated. You sign up. You choose the location and the date and time. The soonest was 2/4/21 at 7pm, so I grabbed it.

Last night I got an automated phone call that the appointment was canceled due to a statewide shortage.

https://www.bmhsc.org/news/beaufort-memorial-cancels-vaccination-appointments-due-to-statewide-supply-shortage

To say that I am disappointed would be understating the indignation that I am feeling. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think that others in the office aren’t deserving. I don’t understand why the doctor wouldn’t choose to have a blanket immunity created for those who surround her daily.

I had sent the link to our practice manager who signed herself up and sent the link company wide. It turned out, that even though our company had requested through a special system that all its employees receive the email to create an account if they so desired, that system was crashing. I’m usually a good citizen and I wait my turn, but these are uncharted waters.

It’s coming for us.

Covid Version 2020.21

January 2, 2021

People were not careful enough in 2020.

If you had a thanksgiving gathering, if you didn’t wear a mask, if you believe that this plague is a hoax, you are part of the enormous nationwide spike of new cases and deaths.

This thing is coming for all of us.

All of us.

Just because the clock ticked over into a new year? That doesn’t mean that we are home free. This is not an actual game with made up rules.

I work for a doctor. Her husband tested positive one week before Christmas Eve. He hates to wear a mask and denounced the virus as a hoax. Our office screens patients and takes their temperature before we allow them to enter our building. I feel like I am the first line of defense in protecting my coworkers.

I never considered the possibility that this thing is going to slip in through the back door.

So far I am fine, but every day I ask myself if my throat is sore or did it always feel like that. Are my ears hurting? Do I feel nauseous or is that fear?

Y’all, please be smart and be careful. You know what to do.