Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 9, 2013

A bit of this and a little of that

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — Let’s consider this week’s time together an interesting stew — a little bit of this and a little bit of that until we’ve all had enough.

First matter at hand: My daughter’s cat, Noel, walked up on her porch Saturday and meowed to come in.

That won’t be unusual except that we thought she’d gone to that great kitty playground in the sky. It’s almost a year since Noel went outside and never came back.

Someone in our general neighborhood is probably looking for a butterscotch cat that’s lived with them all this time. We figure someone thought she was a stray, took her in and made her their house cat.

Noel walked in and took over again. And it felt so right to walk out my back door and see her laying in her favorite place, the screened window facing my back door.

Ingredient number two: Wasn’t this a great Fourth of July? Okay, yeah, it rained and rained. But there was still time for picnics, fireworks and family get togethers —and great local parades. I’m always so proud to be an American on Independence Day.

Ingredient three: I’m so grateful for a mother who taught me how to make the best of anything. The new puppy tore a hole in my couch last week and spent the whole day in her kennel as penance. The grandgirl who owns the puppy cleaned the entire house in apology.

I solved the problem of a missing chunk of couch by covering the seat with the thick foam of a camping sleep mat and using a queen size sheet I bought at Goodwill for $4 as a slipcover. A little time, a few T-pins from the sewing section of the hobby store and it looks fine.

A bonus: Now I can change the cover by the season for a little variety in the living room.

Ingredient four: I can still cook like I used to. Making meals for one means quick stuff and carryout in my life. But I made a promise as I watched a food show with my daughter-in-law that I’d make chicken fried steak for her.

I did that on Sunday and paired the meat with mashed potatoes and cream gravy made from the fixings. Compliments abounded from adults and children alike including my favorite from a nine-year-old: “This is the best gravy I’ve ever had.”

In the worlds of Elvis, thank you. Thank you very much.

Ingredient five: There are some mighty fine pickers in South Shore. I went down to their community sale last Saturday and had the opportunity to listen to a circle of musicians and singers sharing bluegrass and country tunes. Trust me, that was a treat.

And the final ingredient:

Farmers markets are back! That makes me very happy since I’ve finally faced the hard truth that the finest things my gardens ever produce are weeds.

So look for me to come rolling up with a wad of one dollar bills in hand looking for the tastiest in tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet corn — you know, stuff that’s good for me as a buffer for the damage my chicken fried steak and cream gravy have done to my long-suffering arteries.