Saturday, August 01, 2015

Moonstones and Beanstones and Nursery Cats

While William and Geoff took care of the Bird House & Barn, Max, Maria, Alex and I went places north and west. It was part vacation, part academic. We visited schools... viewing, assessing, rating, and ranking by our own precise and unique criteria. But let's talk about moonstones, and other gems. We spent lovely hours on the beach, reading books, walking, talking, and sifting through sand and pebbles in search of luminous, pale, smooth and round moonstones. The risk, I suspect, of naming a beach for a singular treasure is that the poor beach will be pillaged and robbed of its treasure. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the search, and came upon our own treasure: Beanstones. If you ever find yourself combing the shores in Cambria, California, do stop and look down; there are beautiful beanstones, everywhere. We found pinto beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils and split peas, black beans, adzuki, and all sorts and sizes of Scarlet runners. Little caches and piles of these stone beans made a pretty sound tumbling in our hands, and pockets.

The beach was cold, windy, bitey. We were not well-prepared for this kind of weather, which was fun in its own way. It made it all the nicer when we hunkered together, or dashed back to our room and sat by the fire. We explored the town, too, which is quaint and charming, and winds through a valley, and up the sides of high sea bluffs... making for enjoyable explores, fun discoveries, like finding Cambria Nursery and Florist. We followed paths, came upon a tea party, made friends with the nursery cats, and declared it a very good nursery. I could have filled the van with salvia and blue hibiscus, cape mallow, and rock rose, too.

The sardines? Naturally, that's a long story. Last summer, when we were in Wisconsin, we celebrated Paul's birthday. Geoff's brother took us out on his boat, then back to his lovely home for a cookout. A friend brought appetizers, including a can of sardines. The sardines that changed my mind about tiny fish in tins. And I cannot be entirely certain they were sardines. Could they have been anchovies? She opened the can and introduced them as having particular qualities making them delicious and above all other tiny fish in tins, but I was foolish, reckless, unheeding, because, after all, I do not like tiny fish in tins... or so I believed, and I did not pay close enough attention. The brand, the ingredients, the specifics? I know not. To be polite, I took a small, timid sample, on a big cracker. The small, timid sample changed my beliefs about these things. All year I have had happy recollections of this particular delicacy, and have held firmly to the hope that it could not be so difficult to find the same delicious tiny fish in a tin can. I didn't realize it, but Max had tried the fish, too. And on this trip, perusing the aisles of the Cookie Crock, searching out our supper, Max asked if we could try canned fish, sardines, or anchovies, or something. Whatever it was we had at uncle Paul's birthday party, last summer.

Round One: Cento, Skinless and Boneless Sardines in Pure Olive Oil: No. Not bad. But not the ones we enjoyed at Paul's birthday party.

We will not give up. We will not surrender.


Janece said...

All these pictures are so great - but that last one! Oh, that last one. The group selfie taken by Max is perfection... VanValkenberg gold. :)

I'm so glad you had a lovely trip! Makes me happy!

Good luck! And if you find the magic tin can of sardines... I will forgo my own curling nose and conviction that I don't like 'em one bit and I will try them. :)

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Ah, thank you! Selfies get such a bad rap, but a few, every now and then, cannot be too bad, right?
Next can of fish... I'll ping you!