Wednesday, 8 February 2017

10:02 – It was 48F (9C) again when I took Colin out this morning. It’s to reach a high of 66F (19C) today, with colder temperatures and snow moving in this evening. Tomorrow the high is to be 34F (1C) and the low 18F (-8C).

A bit of excitement this morning. A couple of minutes after she left for the gym, my phone rang. It was Barbara. She was sitting up at the intersection of our road and US21, and said there’d been a minor accident. Her car wasn’t hit, but a guy trying to make the sharp turn off of US21 onto our road had almost hit her and then steered away from her and run down the stop sign.

She asked me to walk up to the corner. The other driver was an elderly guy with disabled veteran plates. He was unhurt and there was only minor damage to his car’s bumper and fender where it had hit the stop sign. Barbara had already called 911, so we stood around and waited for the cops to show up. While we were waiting, a guy driving a tractor with a hay fork came up our road and pulled over to make sure everyone was okay.

So we all stood around talking while we waited. It turns out the elderly guy served in Korea during the Korean War, and then in Viet Nam. He left Sparta at age 17 and finally got back when he was 38. I stuck around because I was concerned the shock of the incident might cause him to have a heart attack, but he seemed perfectly okay. He said there was no one we needed to call for him, and he didn’t even want to sit down.

As is the norm up here in Sparta among all us Deplorables, Barbara and I both thanked him for his service. So did the guy on the tractor when he showed up.

* * * * *

Barbara mentioned the other day that the next time she went down to Winston she could ask Al to take her to Sam’s Club. We were Sam’s members for a year back a couple years ago, but we ended up dropping that membership because we just weren’t using it often enough to make it worthwhile. Sam’s does carry some stuff that Costco doesn’t, and Frances and Al have often offered to take usĀ  as their guests anytime we like.

So I was putting together a Sam’s Club list for Barbara. One of the things we use a lot that our Costco doesn’t carry is Campbell’s Cream of * soups. Between casseroles and skillet dinners, we probably go through 100 or more cans of this stuff a year. So I was going to add four or five 10-packs of the cream of mushroom and another two or three 10-packs of the cream of chicken. I may still do that, because canned soups are convenient. They require no preparation, and can be stacked in minimal space.

But it’s also easy enough to make cream of * soups from scratch, at the cost of a few minutes work and another dirty pan. The bulk of it is simply a standard white sauce, with whatever the name ingredient is added in relatively small amounts.

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or substitute 1 tsp of dry garlic flakes)
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced (or substitute 2 Tbsp of dry onion flakes)
  • 1/2 cup main ingredient, diced or chopped (mushrooms, chicken, celery, etc.; fresh or rehydrated)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter (or substitute 1 Tbsp of butter power in 2 oz. oil)
  • 1/4 cup flour (or substitute cornstarch or dried potato flakes)
  • 1 cup milk (fresh or reconstituted dry)
  • 3/4 cup broth or bouillon (chicken, beef, or vegetable)

Saute the garlic, onion and main ingredient (mushrooms, chicken, celery, broccoli, etc.) in the vegetable oil and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat, whisk in flour, and cook for two minutes. Add milk and broth, followed by the sauteed items. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring regularly, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper and use as you canned condensed cream soup in any recipe.

* * * * *

Until two or three years ago, Barbara refused to watch any TV series that we’d seen before, even if it had been 20 or 30 years since we’d watched it. Nowadays, because of the dearth of recent series worth watching, we’re mostly re-watching series that we really liked the first or even second time around.

Neither of us has any interest in watching zombies or serial killers or cartoons or progressive propaganda, which seem to make up the bulk of recent series. My strong preference is for peaceful series set in small towns or rural areas, stuff like Heartland, Everwood, Gilmore Girls (the original series, NOT the crappy four-episode follow-on that Netflix made), and even Jericho.

We’re just finishing up re-watching Lark Rise to Candleford, alternating with Jeeves and Wooster, so I pulled out the Everwood discs. I love watching Emily Vancamp as a 15-year-old cutie.

One thing I’ve noticed about the series I prefer is that with minor exceptions the young women main cast members keep their clothes on, not just in the series I watch, but period. You won’t find nude images, for example, of Heartland’s Amber Marshall or Everwood’s Emily Vancamp or Jericho’s Sprague Grayden. They simply turn down roles that require them to disrobe on camera.