Risa has been at the coast, a journey that was a repeat of last year's, except Beloved, whose nose is to the grindstone, could not come, and so Risa played hostess to a couple of wonderful friends. A walk on the beach in sunshine was a rare treat.
She's home in time to see the wetness, which we had been more or less promised was over, roll in and roll over the valley with low enough temperatures to stop all the summer vegs in their tracks once again. Someone said this has been Oregon's longest stretch without an eighty degree day since record-keeping began. The logs crackling on the fire this morning certainly give evidence of that. For much better writing than I can give you on the effect of this weather in these parts, visit Throwback at Trapper Creek, last ten posts or so.
For breakfast, Risa's having steamed barley with veg leaf flakes (these are mostly collard greens, bok choi, kale, spinach, chard, chives, beet greens and turnip greens, dehydrated last summer), lightly salted and buttered, with a dash of homemade herb vinegar, and a cup of water in a Moomin cup.
Barley is interesting to Risa because she's heard that it can be relatively easily grown on the home scale, and because one can make beer with it. (She'll be bottling a five-gallon batch, later today.) Barley has nasty little spikes on the seed, called awns, and she's sort of lazily seeking an old-time processor that can remove these from the winnowed grain.
The breakfast confirms that one can learn to like barley, though there was much prejudice against it as a cooked grain in the Middle ages as it was a sign of class differential -- the Master and his family ate wheat, and the apprentices and servants ate barley. Barley has a somewhat lower nutritional value.
Don't want your weevily wheat/Don't want your barley ..."Small beer" had for some a similar stigma, being made from a second sparge of the malted barley and offered to the help accordingly.
The Moomin cup, a gift from a treasured Internet friend in honor of a mutual literary obsession or two, is decorated with characters from a series of children's books by Tove Jansson, an artist from the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland.
If you have not read the Moomin books, begin now. Whatever you're doing for your mental health at the moment could not possibly be of more benefit. Perfect for laying low on a coldish rainishy Junishy morning.
There was a rumble in the distance.
"Thunder!" said Sniff. "Ooh, how awful!"
Over the horizon loomed a threatening bank of cloud. It was dark blue and drove little light puffy clouds in front of it. Now and then a great flash of lightning lit up the sea.
"We stay," decided Moominpappa.
"The whole night?" squeaked Sniff.
"I think so," Moominpappa replied. "Hurry up now and build a house, as the rain will come soon."
The Adventure was dragged high up onto the sand, and on the edge of the wood they quickly made a house with the sail and some blankets.... Tove Jansson, Finn Family Moomintroll