One Fourth

Been a while.  For one thing, we've been, as my father likes to say, busier than one-armed paper-hangers.  (When I was 16, I actually met a one-armed paper-hanger, which added a whole extra nuance to that expression of my dad's.  He was, in truth, a busy fellow.)  For another, it is hot and muggy and has rained enough to make me think more about building an ark than a menu.  For a third thing, the mosquitos around here are like terrorist zombie invaders, and big and numerous enough to carry off what's left of my brain. My most note-worthy activity of the week, other than stumbling across this and being reassured that there are far loonier people in the world than me, has surely been tending to the swollen foot of our eldest rooster, Duane, who will probably hear from someone (it won't be me) that he was already lucky not to be coq au vin at his age, and especially after this week.  But because he knows nothing of French food, when we offered him a hot soak for his sore foot, look where he settled:


I started out holding him to keep his foot in the soak (no garlic or rosemary in the pot, all you jokesters--just epsom salts and plenty of ground ginger, which you should know is stupendous for restoring circulation to all or part of the self, whichever kingdom or phylum you call home), but after a moment it became clear he needed no restraint to stay put.  Blissfully unaware of the implications of being an old rooster sitting in a pot of salted and seasoned water, he sat, blissfully, for fifteen minutes, and has returned to the porch steps every day to request another.

Excitement ramps up still further tomorrow. Whatever one's level of patriotism, and wherever on the globe those feelings are directed, 7/4 is a one-way ticket to my favorite destination: Pot Luck City. It's the official launch to the season when you get to ponder for days what you'll make and how you'll transport it and try not to watch to see if it is getting enjoyed by all or be bothered that one person is poking repeatedly in the bowl, frowning a little or mining for certain ingredients or hogging it all, and later on, ponder when you'll have time to swing back to pick up the serving spoon you left behind by mistake, only to collect, months later, someone else's.  I love it.  I love it when nine salads arrive, and when there is nothing but dessert, and even more when it all works perfectly.  I love seeing what everyone is proud to serve and what everyone rushes to eat and I love adopting and adapting what I've seen and eaten into my own bag of tricks.

Tomorrow we get to fit two potlucks into our life.  To one, we'll bring this new and very up-to-the minute shrub or drinking vinegar, and this old standby in case the first one bombs.  To the other, maybe this tried and true salad, or possibly these untried (and possibly yet-to-be-found-true) cookies, or a batch of this very reliable substance.

What's in your cooler that you are very much hoping will not spill on your way wherever you are going?