Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Three C's...Cookies, Culverts & Conversations

So, this morning the Boring Excavators were back, bright and early.  I dashed through all of my chores with the chickens and the dogs and the cat and headed straight to the kitchen to bake cookies.  I really wanted to reward the workers for being so professional and doing such a good job the day before with the gardens.  As I measured and mixed and stirred, they were out there with the backhoe, digging and leveling and working.  I love the smell of fresh-baked cookies!

The first two sheets came out of the oven perfectly, gosh this was a good batch.  I carefully placed them on the cooling rack and searched for a disposable pan to put them in.  I found one in the cupboard, loaded up three dozen cookies and headed outside to deliver them to the crew only to discover they had just left.  I must have just missed them as I could smell the diesel fumes lingering in the air. Aw, phooey.

Well, I figured they would be back because they left a pile of old tires which they used to drive their heavy machinery on when they loaded their excavator out by my second driveway and a trailer with some cable on it, so I went in and mixed up another batch of cookies for us.   Then I saw I had one more package of chocolate chips in the cupboard, so why not, I made yet a third batch of cookies, too.  Thirteen dozen total, I usually freeze the ones we aren't going to eat right away. 

Between the second and third batches, I had to go outside with the doggies again as little Pudding Dog was standing by the door and when she needs to go, she needs to GO. Once we got outside though, Pudding's urge must have left her and she was doing the I Can't Make Up My Mind Dance--those of you with dogs must know what I mean--'Gee, this doesn't smell right, how about over here........oh, no, that's wrong too, maybe this smells better over here, on second thought, maybe the first place I sniffed is the better place, ok, ok, uh, NO, this is wrong too, wait---why did I come outside in the first place?" After some coaching, Pudding remembered why she was outside, and FINALLY did her duty. 

Upon my return to the kitchen,  I couldn't remember what stage of the recipe I was on.  Had I added the baking soda?  Or was it the salt?  How many eggs did I use?  I just kept adding things until it looked right, and I must have guessed correctly, because they did turn out, though not as good as that first batch.

I had just put the last cookie sheet in the oven at ll:45AM when a pickup truck from our township pulled in the driveway and tooted the horn. The town employee asked me about the tires lying by our driveway; he wanted to know whose tires they were and were we going to take care of them, so I told him the Boring Guys owned them. 

He was worried the tires weren't ours and would get washed into the ditch and plug up the culverts with all the rain we are expecting.  Then we discussed all the rain we've had and the records we've broken.  Then he told me the Township is planning on repaving the road probably next year.  I asked him how much higher the road would be, because right now, the only thing standing between a basement of creek water and my sanity when we have these flash floods is the fact the road is lower than our house and when the culvert can't handle the runoff and goes underwater, it runs over the road and our problems are pretty much over with at that point.

But if they make the road higher, then we WILL have problems.  True, the water has only gone over the road once in the 52 years I've lived here, but once is enough, and the road is my safety release valve. 

Remember the post about when we had lakefront property after almost 4" of rain in an hour a few weeks ago?  This same town employee had been called by our neighbors up the road to come look at the water in their yards and he had driven by here that night while Joel was kayaking on the lawn, so he had seen the flood.  Well, if we would have gotten a little more rain, it would have run over the road that time, too. So, this led me to ask him if it would be possible to take a look at the culvert in the field and maybe, pretty please, maybe? we could have a bigger culvert installed so I wouldn't lie awake in bed on rainy nights and worry about floating downstream?  

So, we walked down the road to the culvert, he peered inside of it, and we talked about how it's too bad no one's gotten around to cleaning out the ditches of downed trees and stuff, kicked some gravel around and then he said he'd talk to the powers that be about our culvert issue and they'd let me know.  Oh, I was so encouraged by that, it means a lot when they at least acknowledge there is a problem.  Whatever comes of it remains to be seen, but at least I have the groundwork done.

When we were walking back to my driveway, the mailman drove up and handed me my mail and sat in his car and chatted with us for a good ten minutes, too.  See, in the country, everybody more or less knows everybody else, at least the near neighbors---meaning anybody in a two or three square mile radius---and beyond really, especially farmers.  Our whole neighborhood used to be farms and now the only one left unsold is my land, which is sad.  But, back to my story, we talked to the mailman and he had some amusing anecdotes about things he's seen on the route which led the town employee to remember things he's seen and time just flew by.  Then the mailman went on with his route, so we walked the rest of the way back to my yard.

We went back to discussing current events, culverts and crops, not in that order, when another neighbor drove by and then turned around on the corner and drove in, too.  So we had another long conversation with him, probably another 20 minutes.

I got to thinking, "Gee, it's almost 1:30 and I'm getting hungry.   I could offer them some cookies."


I scold Pudding Dog for forgetting what she went outside for this morning and here it's almost two hours later and I forget I have cookies in a 375 degree oven?!  

(The town employee is also on the Volunteer Fire Department, so at least I was safe!)   

I excused myself and told my company I needed to check on something and I'd be right back, but inside I was filled with dread, oh, no!  But unbelievably, the cookies had sort of dehydrated into black discs resembling melted tar and the smoke was all still in the oven.  When I yanked the door open, the smoke came rolling out, so I slammed the door shut again and turned the oven off.  Good grief. 

What to do? 

I grabbed a pan full of fresh (uncremated) cookies and sashayed out the door with them. We munched on a few while we yakked in the driveway for a bit more and then everyone went their separate ways. 

So much for filling the house with the scent of fresh-baked cookies.  

Pudding Dog and I are a lot alike.



FlowerLady said...

It always is amazing how we can get things done when there are little interruptions in our days. You did have some nice conversations though and I'm glad your home didn't burn down, just a batch of cookies burned up. I hope your culverts and ditches get cleaned out so that everything will be free flowing and not filling up your basement.

Hope today is a great day for you.


Granny Lyn's Garden said...

For me it's always that last sheet in the oven that I forget.By that time my mind is onto the next task.Ugh,lost many a cookie that way...
Good luck with you water issues. How can they refuse to fix the problem when you give them cookies!!!
Have a blessed day, Lynda

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Great story Karen! I have done the several times and wondered how I avoided setting the house on fire.

It is pouring rain here this am so I am stuck in the house. I guess I'll have to clean something.