Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When you see bugs you know it's fresh.

Let me tell you where I've been.

Housecleaning. No, I'm not kidding. Once a year I hire an Amish woman (who has since become my friend), to houseclean for me. (Amish = no photos, sorry) In years past, my DH and I spent two WHOLE days cleaning our townhouse, once a year, top to bottom. My DH can give Adrian Monk a run for his money. (To his credit, the rest of the year he survives with my version of cleaning. Which I can tell you doesn't come close to his standards. Ah, well, ya' can't have everything.) But I digress. I used to look forward to these days with trepidation and loathing. At the end, I'd feel like I had been hit by a truck, and my hands would look like lobster claws. But we'd have shoveled out of the mail, and some of the flotsam and jetsam that accumulates over the course of a year.

Then one year he injured his back, and was incapacitated for over a week. When he was finally back on his feet, there was no way I was going to allow him to think about moving furniture etc. I hired two local women to come in and houseclean instead. (Let me define houseclean here: Wipe/wash walls and ceiling, move and vacuum under furniture, scour bathrooms, scrub floors, wash all the woodwork, clean the dishwasher (I kid you not, ya know all that crap that accumulates around the door?), wash windows (inside and out) all the stuff that a working person doesn't have time to do on any regular basis. Well, they did most everything in the course of one day, I helped by putting all our "stuff" (books, CDs, knick-knacks etc.) in boxes, and helping to move things when asked. It was much better, and even though it wasn't exactly as we did it before, it was fine by me.

The next year, I just went ahead and tried to call the same person back, but couldn't reach her. I learned about Mary Ann from a friend of mine, and she agreed to come. She brought along her sister-in-law Nancy to help, and it was like having two tornadoes in the house-and they were funny and entertaining to boot. And Mary Ann loves to do windows! When she is finished, you can barely see the glass. Anyway, it isn't inexpensive, especially since I have to pick them up and take them home (it's too far for the buggy), but I liked their work (and work ethic) enough to ask them back. This is the fourth year that I've had Mary Ann. This time she came with her two nieces. (It turns out Nancy and her husband purchased a food concession and are busy with their new business. The Amish are nothing if not resourceful.) Well, even though I have these folks to do the heavy lifting (so to speak) DH and I still have a lot of "prep" work. So it isn't a picnic. I still look forward to it like a trip to the dentist, but I gotta say, I much prefer it to doing it myself (with DH). You don't get "sidetracked" by trivia. Like cleaning out the junk drawer instead of just wiping it down. (BTW, Mary Ann wiped out the insides and outsides of the cabinets in the kitchen. I'd never do that!) Anyway, I take the day off as a "vacation" day, and do stuff that I'd rather have them not do, so they can focus on the hard stuff. With three people, they finished a little earlier then they had in the past, and I got them home by just before 4:00pm. I still had to "reassemble" the place. You know, nothing was in the place where it began, but all you have to do it organize/find it. You haven't seen my bath pouf, and my Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book have you? I still feel like I was "grazed" by a truck, but at least my hands are not raw!

The bugs? Oh yeah, the bugs! Because all of these women live in the same rural neighborhood, one passes a number of farms, many of whom sell produce at farm stands. I stopped on my way home and got some sweet corn from a tractor on the side of the road, and as soon as I got home, I threw it in the microwave.

My corn cooking system is something like this:

Cut the silk off the top, peel the outer husk and snap off any long stalks. Allow a layer of husk to remain on the corn. Soak for a few moments in cold water. Throw in microwave (I usually do 3 at a time because of space.) for four minutes. Turn and do another three or four minutes. Rinse and repeat. At this point, cool slightly, and the silk and remaining husks will come right off. (I slice my kernels off the cob to eat. Expensive dental work.....) I'm getting to the bugs. When I'm husking the first few layers, I've learned to look for signs of insects and those charming little worms that like sweet corn. If I pick my own ears, I'm pretty good at spotting the signs. But this time the farmer put them in a bag for me instead. I got a bonus ear though. Anyway, this time there were several with tell tail worm signs and one ear actually had little bugs scurry out when I stripped off the first few layers. IN MY VERY CLEAN KITCHEN!! I washed them into the garbage disposal, cut off the chewed portion of the ear, and when ahead with the cooking.

That's fresh corn folks!!

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