Dear Southwest Airlines,
I have long been a loyal customer, choosing your airline even when flights are a bit more because it is just less stressful to be around cheerful flight attendants, not worry about my bags costing money, and to not constantly feel like I am being "upsold" along my journey. Less stressful that is until last November. On a trip to lay my grandmother to rest that month, the TSA screeners gave me such a vigorous pat down of my genital area with the fronts of their hands, and with such a negative attitude, that I made a decision: If I can drive I will.
You see, while the federal government does control the TSA, so do the airlines. Now, I know it is much easier for a business to blame a federal law for why you need us to stay in our seats and off our computers on takeoff and landing. And yes, it is nice that we don't have to listen to folks on cellphones loudly share the intimate details of their private lives for long flights due to a federal law rather than airline policy. I get it - you need to make money and I support your efforts to do this by choosing you each year as my primary provider.
But truly, if airlines demanded changes in how passengers are treated at the security checkpoints, or of they pressured airports to privatize screenings as has been done in Orange County, I believe we could be both safer and less molested.
It is not in my control to change the TSA, but it IS in my control to not fly. So today, I thought I would share how much money you did not make off of my flight to Dallas this coming week: $731.
That' right. I am driving to Dallas and back to avoid being molested by the TSA again. And you know what? I feel much less anxious about this trip than my last one where I could not avoid flying.
I will continue to share how much I do not spend this year as it progresses so that there is documentation of the loss of business from just one of your clients because of this issue. I have spoken with multiple frequent fliers and they share my frustration. Indeed, you may not be aware that you are losing business, but I am confident that others are also choosing to drive rather than go through the airport theater.
Don't worry. A few times a year I must go so far that a flight is unavoidable and when this is true, I will use you when I can.
But for now, I just wanted to pass along that I did not spend $731 on a ticket to ride the friendly skies with you.
Direct Download Link: http://traffic.libsyn.com/nicolesauce/NicoleSauce_Podcast_June_4_2016_-_6316_5.34_PM.mp3
What we are eating this week
- Elderflower Fritters: a recipe - do not use olive oil
- Items from the root cellar: Spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes
- Still getting lettuce galore but that is about to change
What we are preserving this week - and how
- Bee balm - finally about to bloom
- Sour Cherry Jam
- Blackberry leaves
- Pickled Beets - Recipe coming soon!
- The flea beetle
- Squash bugs
- Does the duct tape trick really work on squash bug eggs?
- Neem oil or Dawn
About the Root Cellar and Canned Food Storage
Final song: Every Way written by Nicole Sauce, performed by Sauce
While I was taking a shower, my phone rang three times:
2) Ex husband
3) Uncle Steve in New York
The last one was the first message I heard on September 11, 2001. Uncle Steve, unable to reach anyone locally decided to call me and let me know that he was OK, but that he'd appreciate it if I got the message out to everyone else in the family. What followed was a very long day for many Americans ending in some mourning lost family members.
At the time, I was in charge of training executives from Europe who ended up stranded in the states, was an ESL teacher for interns from Germany, and had family in both DC and New York. Many frantic calls were made that day to find housing for those stuck in the states, make sure everyone was OK in the family, and to cope with the feelings of anger that arise from terror attacks.
And it was quiet. SOOOO quiet. You don't realize how much sound comes to a city from the air until the planes are gone.
Kirk said at the next Sauce practice, "They awoke the hidden dragon."
I never could come up with words to communicate all the emotions of this time, but I did write a song - my only instrumental. I hope you enjoy it.
Some folks have said they can't view the player, so here is a link to the song: http://traffic.libsyn.com/nicolesauce/9-1-1.wav
Something strange happens when you disconnect from the tech world and spend regular time in nature. Plants begin to pop out of the forest. Often while taking an evening walk, one plant or another will capture my attention. I will become obsessed with it. I will wonder - is it edible or medicinal?
Like most things on the homestead, the best path toward knowledge is to learn a few things at a time so that they become habits. Rather than try to learn every plant in the area in one weekend, focus on a few plants over time based either on something you wish to find, or on the latest plant that has captured your attention.
Nine years ago, when we made our big lifestyle move, I only knew that wild berries are dangerous, garden plants should be grown in tidy rows with lots of bare dirt around them, roses like a heavy pruning in the fall and require an antifungal spray, and lord help you if you nibble on a wild mushroom by accident. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Kruse and the nearby forest had filled our yard with lots of wild edible plants ready for the forage so long as we did not hit them hard with a weed eater.
As the years have rolled by, things have changed. Bare dirt is almost impossible to find in the vegetable garden. What started as companion planting has evolved into a darwinian approach to seeding and hand cultivating beds. If it volunteers it stays where it is. Evening walks often yield the evening's salad. And the world is full of possibilities for new edible plants to learn about and more ways to avoid inflation at the grocery store.
- Watercress crowns
- Dryads Saddle Mushroom
- Baby kale leaves
- Baby lettuce leaves
- Hairy vetch
- Pea shoots
- Bee balm (to dry for winter tea)
- Dandelion (to make into a medicinal infusion)
Homestead 1, The System 0
Today, I was thinking so much about my 96 year old grandmother. She is still alive and fairly healthy for her age. I have always regretted that it was not until after my grandfather died that his song came to me. This is a recording of his song, My grandfather was a wonderful man, master gardener, and silent but stable mentor.
It is time to write a song for his companion in time for her to hear it because my grandmother IS a wonderful woman, caring about everyone, a great story teller and with the memory of an elephant.
It is nice to take some time to think about some of the good people who were there as I grew up and beyond.
Sauce first performed Grandpa's Song at the Rabbit Hole in SE Portland and Skip VonKuske jumped onstage to play cello with us. Grandma and her twin were there to hear it.
April 12, 2016 Update:
Several asked more about this song. I wrote it about our last days together with my grandfather after we found out he was terminally ill. It was a beautiful time where we were visited by family from all over, where Grandma told stories about the past we had never heard before, and when my grandfather taught me one last lesson: death is natural and beautiful, not scary. And he loved my grandma so much that the last word we heard from him was her name.
Grandpa's Song by Nicole Sauce Williams
Light Love Life Hope
Light in darkness -love eternal
Life you showed us - hope - it's hopeless
Look into your eyes, now there's nothing left to say
Feeling of your hand holding on to mine today
Inside Out Bound
In the final hours together
Longed to show you - you remember
Fire in your eyes looked across the room to her
Feeling in the air taking you forever
Showed us how to right through small deeds
Speak with silence, love in all things
Look into your eyes, now there's nothing left to say
Feeling of you hand holding on for one last day
Grocery store lettuce tastes rotten after months of fresh from the garden greens. Yet, with the latest round of heat, home-grown lettuce has not been seen around here in a long time. Luckily, with autumn falling quickly toward winter, some nice wild plants are back on hand lending the potential for flavorful salads.
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (find vine ripe ones or skip it)
- 1/2 cup avocado puree (Froze this during avocado season)
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa
- Two bunches of watercress (enough to fill two soup bowls)
- 1/2 apple
- 1 onion
- 2 tblsp lemon juice (fresh is best but use the bottled stuff if you have no other option)
- 2 square inches of feta
1) Add 2 cups cold water to dry quinoa in a saucepan and simmer covered until it is done (about 25 mins)
...while that is cooking...
2) Dice onion and place in bowl with lemon juice
3) Slice cherry tomatoes in half
4) Dice watercress
5) Dice apple
6) Mix onion mix, tomatoes, watercress, avocado puree, apple
....Quinoa should be done - remove from heat to cool a bit
7) Cut feta into 1/8 inch cubes
8) Mix feta, a bit of salt and pepper to taste into the salad
....When quinoa is cool enough to be just slightly warm (takes about 20 mins)
9) Mix in the quinoa
10) Serve at room temperature
Add nasturtium or other edible flowers like tiger lillies to dress up the bowl!
Update: Some of my non native English speaking readers have noted that potato greens are poisonous, and THEY ARE! Please do not cook the leaves of potato plants. The Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) plant is completely unrelated to the potato plant. More info here.
Did you know that sweet potato greens are edible?
Sweet potatoes grow as very creepy viney things and they were taking over our porch from their raised bed so today they got a haircut. With the spring greens gone due to heat, and the fall greens not yet large enough to eat, sweet potato greens are an August treat.
Unfortunately the Internet is filled with recipes for sweet potato greens that yield chewy, stringy dishes (and must not have every been tested in Real Life.)
After much experimentation, we have decided the best way we like to prepare them is as follows:
1) Trim the leaves off the stock, and compost the stock unless you feel motivated to chop the stocks in very this slivers. (With high canning season upon us, I am not motivated to spend time on the stocks.)
2) Rinse them well and chop as you would any greens.
3) Saute onions and garlic in olive oil.
4) Toss in the greens and add a touch of balsamic and salt - cook these as you would spinach until they are soft.
This dish goes well with steaks, mexican soups, fish, and just about anything else. I like to add a fistfull of these greens to a squash and okra saute, and they do well in summer stews.
What not to do? Please avoid boiling the CR@!! out of them (and ruining their flavor and vitamin content) to tenderize the stocks, sauteeing large hunks of stocks which will be stringy, or adding too many spices to them. These babies have a slightly nutty, soft flavor that is worth experiencing.
The key to getting past jet lag is (drumroll please): don't take a nap! Nine years ago was my last overseas trip and it worked back then and it still works today. Cala d'Or was a great town to arrive in after about 24 hours of travel and only two hours sleep. The shops are full of interesting things, the weather is nice so you can walk outside, and it is touristy enough that the restaurants are open early - even at 4pm.
By sticking to a few rules, on day two I am not feeling jet lag's pull at all:
1) Sleep is not allowed later than 8:30/9am or before 9pm.
2) Coffee is not allowed after 2pm in the first day, 4pm after that.
3) Absolutely no sugar on day one. Very little sugar on day two. (Even though the cakes here look heavenly!)
4) Wine and other alcohol is not allowed before 8pm on day 1 (and then never drink too much, or you wake up again.)
5) Get outside as much as possible.
There is simply too many interesting things to see the let jet lag get in the way by stealing precious daylight hours!
Getting ready for travel and heading out on adventures reminds me to let go of the unimportant, like my attachment to specific items in my suitcase.
Years ago, on a trip to Peru, I took care of all my Christmas shopping early in the trinket markets, gathered all film that would need developing, crammed it into my backpack and checked it under the plane. It was luxurious to fly home with a lightweight carry-on. In Houston, I took my bag through customs and re-checked it for the final hop home.
That was the last time I ever saw that backpack. I lost all my casual clothing. I lost all the gifts. I lost a pretty darn cool internal frame, convertible pack. Worst of all, I lost all pictures that my friend and I had taken in Peru.
Don't think because you put your name on the bag, both inside and out, that it will be found when Continental Airlines or another airline loses it. Don't expect to receive the full value of your loss financially if they do.
Better, is to only check things in your bag that you are willing to lose: like clothing, makeup, and so forth. Photos and sentimental items are better carried on if you must bring them with you.