GPS loaded, we hit the road to check out areas of interest and look at houses again over the weekend. Personally, this process is taking too long for impatient me, so I am considering heading down to Any Mountain and purchasing a large tent with several rooms and calling it good. Couldn’t we just hitch up our wagons and when the gun is fired race to a spot and set up camp under an old oak tree? Seems like a more reasonable way to do things. I assume there’s some silly law against homesteading these days, not reasonable laws like the Florida law that prohibits keeping a hippo on the roof of a building, or the one on the books in Alaska that makes it illegal to push a moose out of a helicopter. Those are keepers. Then one wonders what to do with those unwanted moose (meese, mooses) now that they’ve eliminated the helicopter option.
There were three of us in the car on this trip. For the next month, we have an additional place setting at our dinner table. Our fourteen year old granddaughter has joined us for a bit. Experiencing all the unpleasant side effects of transitioning from childhood to young adulthood, it seems she needs a break from her family and visa versa. As we live nearby and have a close relationship with her, we were the obvious solution to facilitate this.
When I heard of our shift in numbers, I immediately went to the store and picked up project oriented things for her age group to occupy her time. Young people with too much time on their hands often think of interesting ways to fill it. It has been a long time since I was a teenager, and some time since I raised one, but I do remember all the longings and confusion associated with being a girl who age and there isn’t enough money in the national treasury, well that’s a statement that could stand alone, anyhow, to convince me to relive those high school years. Once was enough, thank you. It was like trying to swim through a sea of molasses with a swarm of bees on your tail.
After she washed her laundry yesterday, I suggested that she might like to press her clothes. After staring at me for a minute or two I could see this suggestion was causing some confusion. Press them, it seems has more than one connotation these days, and often does not include retrieving the iron from the cupboard, setting up the ironing board and removing wrinkles from clothing. The natural question on her end was why her Facebook friends would be interested in pictures of her shirts. Point taken.
After probing the surface a little further I determined that she had never used an iron. Really? Are irons obsolete as well? Is there an ap for this now?
At any rate, I conducted an ironing lesson including visual effects and hands on working experience and an hour later she emerged with ironed clothes and an amazed look on her face. My job here is done.
I digress. At any rate, freshly pressed (argh), map and GPS at the ready, and the big chief at the wheel we headed southeast. In the first city of interest there were only two houses that fit our criteria, which, if boiled down to a gnat’s eyebrow, would be cheap and available. The first house was right next door to one we saw on our last trip, and neither house looked any more promising than the first time we saw them. On our second at bat, the house was described in the ad as “slightly off the beaten bath, nestled in a lovely forest setting, three bedrooms, two baths and a large deck”.
Following directions, we passed a state park sign and then wound through a sparsely populated wooded area. As we proceeded, the condition of the roads went from poorly tended asphalt with potholes to just plain clay and dirt with deep pits. Fortunately we took the SUV so other than bouncing off the roof occasionally and severe whiplash, we were able to navigate. Two vehicles passing one another on that road would have involved either one hanging off the side or some form of levitation, but fortunately no one else seemed interested in going to or coming from where we were headed, so the problem never arose . Finally after winding around for about 20 mins. and just a hairline fracture away from emergency back surgery we arrived at a fork in the road. The GPS indicated we were less than a mile short of our programmed destination. To our left a driveway led up to a house so disheveled that most likely a short sneeze would have leveled it to the ground. A large tree stood to the right of the driveway. At the base of the trunk the carcass of an unidentified animal was posed as to appear as if it was hugging the roots. A small straw hat was perched on the remaining portion of what might have been his head. The other driveway to the right just wound around a corner and disappeared into the dark overgrowth. Okay, cue the theme from Deliverance. Without words, a unanimous decision was made and we turned the car around and made our way back to civilization. Sigh. That tent is just looking better and better, I’m telling you. A little paper on the walls, some fresh sawdust on the floor, it could work. I’m just two houses short of searching for the old Coleman lantern in the garage.
The good news was we had a great lunch at our favorite restaurant, Awful Annie’s in Auburn. They have the most outstanding comfort food and are kind enough not to post the calories so you can shorten your lifespan in blissful ignorance.
16 oz. fettuccine
(reserve 1/8 cup pasta water)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 shallot, chopped fine
1/4 lb. button mushrooms, sliced very thin
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Cook fettuccine according to pkg. directions. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in large heavy skillet melt 2 Tbsp. of butter. Add shallot and mushrooms and saute about 5 mins. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Whisk 2 cups of the cream and lemon juice in same skillet to blend. Add 3/4 cups butter to skillet and cook over med. heat until just melted, about 3 mins. stirring often. Remove from heat.
Add the pasta and 1/8 cup reserved pasta water to the pan and toss well. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cream, Parmesan and Romano cheeses to sauce. Add lemon zest, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper, and reserved shallot and mushrooms. Toss the pasta mixture over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Plate and garnish with parsley. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.