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More notes from a country kitchen - 7/2/12

By Vicki Christianson

Fri, Jun 29th, 2012
Posted in All Columnists

I love summer when it’s sunny, about 75 degrees, a little breezy and no humidity! And how often is the weather just like that here in Minnesota!!! I think I could count on one hand the number of perfect days just like the one I described!

Anyway, when it is nice I love sitting outside in my glider or swing. For several years I had a wooden swing that my husband hung in the frame of his old metal swing set. That swing lasted many years before it finally wore out. It sat out all year long in the winter and in the summer months. The wood finally gave out but the old frame is still good and down behind the barn.

After that swing I went and bought a new “2-seat glider” with a canopy. Had to pay a friend to put it together as there were way too many pieces to screw together for me to tackle. Needless to say that cheap swing only lasted three summers! Last year my husband bought a wooden glider for me at a garage sale and I am really enjoying it! I can sit in it for hours and read! Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. Sometimes the old barn cats will wander up to the house and sprawl out in front of me enjoying the sun and breeze.

I also have a reclining lawn chair that I use when I get the urge to take a nap outside. I plop that chair under our big acorn tree, recline it back and sleep away. I usually don’t get to sit outside till after 3:00 as the sun is just too hot for me before then. By 3:00 the sun is over the garage and I have shade on the east side of the garage which is where my main lawn is.

As a kid I don’t remember much about sitting outside. Seems like there was never any time to just sit and relax. Once in a while when it was really hot in the house we would sit outside after supper waiting for the sun to go down and the house to cool off. If mom was sitting outside she had her lap full of mending. She never just sat and looked around. The only chairs we had were two old metal lawn chairs that were in need of paint! Nowadays that type of chair is a collector item!

Us kids usually sprawled out on an old blanket or rug and would lay there waiting for the stars to pop out. If we had enough ambition we would play hide-n-seek or croquet. We had an old set with worn out mallets and balls with the paint chipped off but we still had fun. I don’t ever recall eating outside either. I think it was just too much work. We didn’t have paper plates or plastic silverware. We didn’t own a picnic table, but dad did set up a big plank on a couple of sawhorses a time or two. But, it was just easier having everyone sit up to the dining room table and eat supper.

A couple of times us kids did go on picnics by ourselves. Mom would wrap up bologna or peanut butter sandwiches in wax paper, toss in a couple of home-baked cookies, and fill a quart jar with water or Kool-aid. She would put everything in an old sack and then we would load the food and an old blanket or rug in our wagon and head out to the woods. We thought that was great fun! We never got too far from home – always had the house in sight. We would spread that old blanket or rug out beneath some old tree and plop ourselves and our food down. We all drank out of the same quart jar and none of us ever died from the germs!!

Sometimes the dog or cat would trail along with us. A couple of times we would ride our Shetland pony, “Nipper,” out to the woods for the picnic. That depended on Nipper’s attitude! If he let you put his harness on then he was willing to go. If you tried putting on the harness and he “nipped” you in the behind or on the back of your legs – he didn’t want to go so you had better just leave him alone! He could be very stubborn at times!

Currently I do a lot of grilling during the summer months but we usually end up eating it in the house where we can enjoy the air conditioning!

Mostaciolli Salad

Dressing: 1 ½ cups sugar, 1 cup vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. garlic salt, and 1 T. prepared mustard

Mix all together, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

Cook a 2 lb. bag of pasta (Penne pasta is good) according to the directions on the bag. Drain and rinse in cold water. Dice 1 vidalia or sweet onion and 1 large cucumber with the skin on. Toss into the cooked pasta. Add one large jar of undrained pimentos. You can also add grape or cherry tomatoes or chopped bell peppers.

Pour the dressing mixture of the pasta mixture. Toss together to coat. Refrigerate. Stir the salad occasionally as the dressing will settle at the bottom of the bowl and you need to keep the pasta coated. Best is made ahead of time.

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