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All original material on this site © Maggie C, What Rhymes with Stanza, 2015-2021
The first day of summer dawns hot and dry; not like it used to here in the moderate Pacific Northwest of my youth. The air outside is stifling, so I stay indoors listening to the hum of the fan and worrying about the young plants in my nature garden. The shrubs and berries and grasses – all native to this area – are not supposed to need supplemental watering because they are acclimated to thrive in their natural environment.
But this climate, altered to unnatural heat and drought, is not what Mother Nature signed on for when she gave us the delicate mosses and ferns, the soft evergreen needles, the supple, shiny leaves of shrubs like snowbrush and Oregon grape.
This evening a breeze will pick up and give at least the illusion of coolness to the air. I will visit the garden to make sure the ladybugs, bees and butterflies have water in the little pool I made for them. And I will utter an apology on behalf of my species for the damages this planet has endured. The rain, when it comes, will be happily welcomed.
summer solstice pendulum
pauses, shifts, recedes.
Smudging windows with your nose,
Marring floors with dirty toes,
Shedding on the furniture,
Crud you’ve rolled in cakes your fur.
Snoring, scratching, snorts and whines,
Odors one cannot define,
So many things best left unsaid,
For now, it’s late. Hop in my bed.
My daughter texted me this morning:
Question… if you asked me how I wanted my eggs and I said “cowboy style,” what would that mean to you?
My answer (of course!) was “however they turn out.”
She said that was her understanding as well, but no one else she had consulted was familiar with that phrase in terms of egg cooking.
“Cowboy style” was pretty much how I got my eggs all the time growing up. They might be “over easy” if it was a hectic morning with little time for breakfast. If the cook (Mom) got distracted and the eggs stayed in the skillet too long, they became “over hard.” If the yolk happened to break, you got your eggs scrambled.
Was “cowboy style” just a Mom-ism? A more kid-friendly way of saying “you’ll get what you get and like it?”
That was fine with me. In fact, when my dad took to making omelets, he was soooooo slooooow at it, that I would have much preferred cowboy style. Come to think of it, when I make omelets now, I do them cowboy style. If they stick in the pan and start to break up or if I get impatient waiting for the eggs to set, the menu changes and they become scrambled eggs. No muss, no fuss (another great phrase, by the way).
A google search of “cowboy style cooking” came up with a posse of recipes with lots of “yee-haw,” “giddy up” phraseology, and even a reminder to “wipe the cow patties off your boots” before sitting down to eat. (Let me jus’ wrangle up an eye roll emoji right here, y’all.)
The definitions of cowboy style are myriad: easy to make, hearty, cooked all in one dish, cooked over the campfire, bone-in (so you can pick it up and eat it with your fingers), …
Then there’s the outlier (or should I say “outlaw-er”) recipe for Cowboy–Style Baby Green Salad with ingredients like shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
I would have imagined a cowboy salad to be more along the lines of a wedge of iceberg lettuce with Ranch dressing (out of the bottle), which coincidentally was also a staple of my mom’s recipe repertoire.
Well, boy howdy! I have a hankerin’ to rustle up some eggs now, so I reckon I’ll stop right here and mosey into the kitchen to make breakfast. Y’all have a great Sunday!
“I wonder if I – “
“It wouldn’t work.”
“But what if – “
“You can’t. No training; no expertise.”
“But – “
“Can’t afford it.”
“I’m curious,” I say. “Do you even know
what we’re talking about?”
He glances up from the newspaper.
“Does it matter?”
As my native habitat garden takes shape, I’ve been drawn to it almost daily. In the wet fall I checked for problematic standing water at the base of the young crabapple tree and marveled at the resilience of rain-battered kinnikinnick. In winter I fretted over snow-covered Oregon grape and ice-encased flowering currant.
As spring unfolded, I searched bare twigs for the slightest hint of green, watched tiny sprigs rise from the ground and swell into verdant foliage; and now – finally – flowers are maturing, bugs are pollinating and wild strawberries are sending out runners to claim yet more ground.
I always considered autumn to be my favorite season with its crisp rain-filtered air, crunchy carpets of fallen leaves and trees dressed in flame-inspired palettes. Now, I believe my favorite season is whichever currently holds sway over my everchanging garden.
lupines point skyward
blooming flower moon beckons
who will eclipse whom?