One of my activities today was to string rhubarb up for drying. Dried rhubarb will keep for a while, and then you can boil it down for rhubarb sauce and pie later. So there are two strands of rhubarb hanging on the wall of the summer kitchen. Maybe in a week or two we’ll have enough for one of those super 70s-like door curtains, you know, the kind they made out of love beads? Do you suppose that’ll become a fashion trend? Okay, maybe not.
I opened the door to the stairs where we store our flour and sugar in plastic containers and our newspaper and matches for lighting the fire. Something smelled like death. Sitting next to the pile of newspapers is a “tin cat” – a metal mousetrap. I made a mental note to ask my supervisor to show me how to check it. I built a fire in the woodstove and in the bake oven. The smell was forgotten quickly as smoke billowed out the chimney. After fetching water and setting up some rinsing basins, I stepped outside to sit down and enjoy the sunshine. A black and white cat came ambling up the gravel path. He sniffed at the doorway into the summer kitchen, mewed at me a few times, and moved on. I wondered if he smelled a mouse. When my lead came by after lunch, I mentioned my suspicion to her, and she showed me how to open the trap. Sure enough, a dead mouse was inside. She wrapped it in a plastic bag and disposed of it in the trash, so as not to spread any more poison into the food chain. I apologized for asking her to perform such an unsavory task right after lunch, but she laughed it off with a comment about what she does to be paid the “really big bucks” at Old World Wisconsin.
A school tour group came by in three installments. I was surprised to see how many kids had brought phone cameras. I was also surprised that some of the teen girls didn’t want to knead the bread dough. What? Too squishy? Afraid to get your hands dirty? Don’t want to put down the camera? Whatever….
A homeschooling family of four arrived later, each with massive lenses and expensive camera equipment. They were taking pictures for our annual photo contest…for the eighth year. They had each won prizes in last years’ contest. The teenaged boys enjoyed chatting about the merits of Nikon vs. those of Canon and making “Saskquatch” prints in the garden. They snapped away as I opened the bake oven door and placed the 8 foot pile inside (the bread paddle). I wished them good luck in the contest and mentioned other great photo opportunities I had taken, like the oxen and the zigzag fence.
Cash prizes, folks! Photo contest reception is September 7. Come on by and take some pictures! And say “Guten tag!” to me!