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Daily Archives: October 9, 2012

Cooking With Gas

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The grill kind. I wish we had gas for heat and cooking, but we don’t. So, I insisted. A really good grill. Besides, when the power goes out, I have the grill with a side burner.

the gas grill, in all its glory

It was cheaper to get me a good grill, than to run a gas line over a hundred yards to our house, then do the massive renovations to get gas heat and a gas stovetop. We grill mostly in spring and fall. Summer it gets just too hot and humid to stand over the grill. Today I wanted to check out the grill and make some sausage. I first had to clean out the inside as the field mice (or chipmunks) keep bringing things into the side burner.

Today it was peanuts and bird seed. Thankfully, the leaf blower cleans it out quickly. In winter, if we don’t use the grill, the mice build nests in it. We now know to use it often when the weather warms up a bit. Tonight I had some PA market Berkshire hog sausage.

I also made corn on the cob, and grilled up some naan to serve with pumpkin hummus.

Yes, you heard it correctly. Pumpkin hummus. Simple recipe. Roast a cheese pumpkin.

Blend the pumpkin (about a pound of it) with a can of chickpeas and two garlic cloves. Add lemon juice, 2 tbsp. A neutral oil like grapeseed, 2 tbsp. Spices like garam masala, or cumin, about 1 tbsp. A pinch of nutmeg and of cinnamon. I used sriracha to add some heat. A few dots of it. It came out really smooth, yet with a hint of heat. If you want it hotter, add more garlic and more pepper.

It ended up a bit too cold to eat outside, so we brought our picnic indoors. Sausage, naan, hummus and corn. And, a lovely VGV from Black Ankle. The pan holds some melted butter with garam masala, for the corn. VGV is a Viognier and Gruner Veltliner blend.

Eating mostly locally, as usual. And, loving the fall weather.


Retiring “To” Something

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Great Advice. We heard it twice last weekend. Once at the wedding, and again, while talking at the dinner at RdV. My uncle was talking to someone who was considering retirement. His first advice. Don’t retire in the winter unless you have something lined up and ready for you to do. And, I don’t consider digging out of Snowpocalypse a highlight of retirement.

blizzards 2010

Even if you retired like I did, in spring. Or summer. When there is an overload of things to do outside. Or even now, in October, while we are still activity-driven for weeks until the weather changes and days get shorter. My first winter was easy, because I did the HoLLIE training twice a week. Spring naturalist training, as well. With HoLLIE gearing up, the info program tonight at Miller Library 7 pm is a good place to hear about opportunities for active Howard Countians, who are retired or thinking about it.

Moving from a circle of work friends to that new circle of fellow volunteers, or hobby sharers. Finding people with like interests is difficult for many of us. Especially when we worked in DC or Baltimore. I found that after 18 months, even if I got together with old working buddies, we had no bond to keep the conversations going. So many changes in their offices. I knew few names, and finally knew we had to build our retirement circle.

Now, filling my hours with fellow naturalists, gardeners, wine lovers and the amateur radio community, oh yeah, almost forgot, the bird club and my fellow bloggers, I hardly have time to think.

Somewhere in there, we do get housework and yard work done, and a few home improvement projects. Traveling not as much, but we did way too much of that for our jobs. It is actually nice to stay home for a while and see the local world. And, make a difference.

nature photo program for families at Conservancy

Whether it is leading programs for families. Leading hikes for the schools. Cleaning up the streams that feed the Patapsco. Working on the watershed programs. Caring for the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area. Or any of the other activities my fellow retirees are doing, the satisfaction of a job well done keeps us feeling that we matter.

One recent example this past year. Greenfest was filled with countians who focused on their interests while having a great time.

Greenfest at the Community College

I love the work the Master Gardeners have done, creating different historical garden plots at the Conservancy.

And, all the volunteers who organize and support Earth Day. Besides the Day itself, volunteers spend hours planning and preparing materials for events.

Earth Day supplies

Many times in conversations, at clubs, or at events, we hear how shorthanded the nonprofits, and the service organizations have become. I have heard that the numbers of people who stay retired is smaller. Many go back to work due to those long term effects of a slow economy. Others, who now are supporting elderly parents, have limited free time. If you have retired, or are thinking about it, take time to consider where you might find your calling. Your thing. What makes you smile, and feel good at the end of the day.

HoLLIE 2012 class heading out for a hike at Sharps