An early arrival to home sweet home

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My field partner and I worked hard and fast this week and we got our field work completed a couple of days early.  We thought that we would only be able to drive part way home on Friday, but we finished the work early enough that we drove the entire 8.5 hours and still managed to get home before dark.  Barely.  It was a relief, though.  I slept fitfully all week, and I was very much looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep in my own bed.  I gave Hubby plenty of advance warning so he would have time to clean the house before I got home.  Apparently it was a bit of a scramble to get it cleaned up!  Are all dudes this way?  My field partner says her guy is exactly the same.  Funny.  I tend to keep the house pretty clean when Hubby is gone.  It never ceases to amaze me how different the Y chromosome is from the X.

We camped at a state park all week, and one morning I noticed a cool-looking shadow on my tent wall, so I had to capture it.  The plant is yellow sweet clover, which is a non-native, but I thought the shadow was neat anyway.  The photo below is spiderwort growing up around a log near our campsite.  The spiderwort was in full bloom and it was just beautiful.  Our first night there I was sitting outside reading and my field partner has just crawled into her tent when we heard this crazy swishing noise.  I looked up to see this humongous bird flying up into a tree–it was a wild turkey.  My field partner, with a panicked look on her face, asked “What was that?”  I paused for a second, just to make sure I really did just see a turkey fly 30 feet into a pine tree, then replied, “Turkey.  There’s another one.”  She popped her head out the door of her tent and we watched 3 more turkeys fly up into the pine trees above our tents.  We spotted a 5th one about 75 feet away in a dead snag.  If you have never witnessed wild turkeys roosting in the trees practically right above your head, it is a sight to behold.  It is also quite the racket to hear them fly down from their roost at 5:00am the next morning.

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I have noticed one big difference with me and my attitude towards field work this summer: I am not as into it as I was a couple of years ago.  I think a big part of it has to do with my desire to spend more time at home in my garden and with Hubby and The Stinker.  The Stinker is starting to get up there in years, and even though she is healthy, it is getting harder to leave her for extended periods of time.  I just want to spend as much quality time with her as possible while I can.  She was so excited to see me last night, and we went for a run first thing this morning–with my brand new running shoes to boot (I’d finally worn enough tread off my other pair that I was concerned for my safety on the steeper sections of trail).  She enjoyed our run so much and then when we got home, Hubby had made us breakfast (The Stinker gets some eggs, too), which was so sweet!

The other thing I have noticed about my attitude towards field work is my attitude towards food.  It seems a little weird because I’m so into cooking at home, but in the field it’s just such a pain to deal with pots and pans, cutting boards, and clean up.  Sometimes we have a picnic table, other times all we have is the tailgate of the truck.  Plus, who wants to deal with that after having worked 12 hours?  I just want to shove some food in my mouth and be done with it.  Most of the time I don’t even use soap to wash my bowl–I just give it a rinse and call ‘er good.  Everything’s clean when you’re camping, right?  I’ve always tried to keep meals in the field pretty simple, but this year has been more extreme than in the past.  I don’t cook anymore.  Ever.  In part because I am just too damn lazy and in part because it is usually too damn hot to eat warm food.  I usually buy a bag of pre-cut stir fry veggies (carrots, broccoli, and snow peas) and a jar of salad dressing.  Then I just dip veggies in dressing for lunch and usually dinner as well (I said I was lazy).  I might add a bagel and some hummus to mix it up one day.  This trip I took about 5 heads of lettuce from my garden and a bottle of salad dressing.  For lunch I would rip off chunks of lettuce, pour salad dressing on the leaves, and cram it in my mouth.  Very gourmet.

I missed our CSA pick up earlier this week, so Hubby had to do it.  He is so freaked out by the volume of veggies from the CSA and our garden that he gave most of our share away to co-workers while I was gone.  I don’t mind that he shared the share, but I was disappointed to find that there was only 1 carrot left.  I found a recipe for a curried carrot butter that sounds delicious, and I was going to make it today.  Unfortunately, I need more than 1 carrot to make it.  My carrots in the garden aren’t quite ready to harvest yet, so I’ll just have to wait.  I hear that patience is a virtue.

This morning Hubby told me a neat story: While he was picking up our CSA share Tuesday, he saw a father with his young sons at the pick up as well.  One of the items this week was red chard.  We’d gotten rainbow chard a couple of weeks ago, and I put my Swiss chard pizza recipe in the newsletter that I write each week.  One of the boys commented, “Hey, there was a recipe for Swiss chard pizza in the newsletter!”  Hubby said he thought that was really cool because it shows kids that you can eat healthy veggies, but you can do it in a fun way, like on pizza.  That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, knowing that instead of saying, “Ew, gross,” this kid actually knew what chard was and that you could do something cool with it, like eat it on pizza.  Even though writing the newsletter is a volunteer effort that takes up several hours of my week, I enjoy it, and hearing stories like that tells me that it is a worthwhile endeavor.

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