When I started to think about writing this morning most of my thoughts were focussed on Nature's Bounty. Then a few other minor or major themes started to show up and I thought, well we won't just restrict ourselves to Nature's Bounty.
And for those of you who would like to see some numbers, please check back tomorrow since I think I will be doing an analysis of the sales price vs. assessed price for a small number of houses in Northumberland county. This isn't the simplest sort of task (rather time consuming and not part of my usual pulling numbers together) and so that is why the number of houses is small. Yet, I think it might be helpful for me and one of my clients. Also, you hear from different people--often from Realtors that the assessed value is or is not a good target for a sales price and why. Not really a simple equation....even from one county to the next. But that's tomorrow's assignment to me.
For today well, it's Nature's Bounty, first.
Sundays are obviously days to regroup and reflect and hopefully put our ducks in a row so that the coming week will fall into place in a better manner and be less stressful, or perhaps even stress-free. My reflection for today has been to look at the meal I prepared last night and see how singularly Northern Neck it was, and how very good.
Earlier this week a good friend of ours took us out fishing for rockfish. I haven't been fishing in a dozen years and just got my license number a few weeks ago in anticipation that maybe we'd go out. Because of our schedule, particularly mine, it seems whenever we are invited it is at a moment's notice and the timing doesn't work. This time I explained, we either plan a few days in advance, or we will seem like the people who never want to go fishing. So we did go and we did have a good time and it was a great experience to be out on the water (the Potomac) when it was still warm and not rough at all....and after an hour or an hour and a half...there were fish!!
I had to shake my head a bit about going out on the water and doing this. The question was, cell phone or no cell phone? As most anyone who is in business can understand, one's cell phone becomes a bit of an extension of one's hand. It just is there. Always there. And there's always something you can do. Check email, make one last call...check email again. What a set of habits!!!
The cell phone got left behind. There were four full hours in which the world couldn't influence me from a far, and I couldn't influence it. And it didn't matter. And it was a relief because I didn't have to make the choice of turning off my life in the great outdoors to deal with that bit of electronics. It was heaven.
So dinner last night. It consisted of grilled rockfish with a bit of Old Bay and olive oil. Had it just been for me it would have been a butter sauce with garlic and basil, but one does have to compromise when cooking for a spouse. Still it was good. Really good. I'd been invited by to pick up my filets and while there given access to a fall garden which is just tumbling over itself to produce. Arugula....great, reseeded and producing well. It had been my request and some had been planted this spring. In late May my friend called me to come and taste it...that there must be something wrong. When I went and tasted it, this same party was startled to find out that it tasted just perfect....that that is what arugula tastes like!!
Yesterday I was invited to pick a bunch of red peppers and neon eggplant, but most wonderful of all was the collards that are so young and tender. I like collards regardless provided they are cooked right, but with these little newbies there is no right or wrong...there is just tender and tasty and not too strong.
In addition to these vegetables (and we didn't have the eggplant, the red peppers or the argula yet) there were ears of corn that I had purchased a few days ago from Garners. I knew it was really good when I bought it, but I also knew I'd kept it wrapped up in a plastic bag at the top of the refrigerator for four or five days. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, it was so cold at the top that the corn was really as good as you'd expect had we cooked it the day it was bought (which was the day it was picked). I can't say I've had better corn at any time of the summer. Small tender ears. Sweet. And in October!!
So Nature's Bounty is evident everywhere. Driving back from picking up my photo show at the Westmoreland County Museum yesterday, and squeaking out of Montross before the Fall Festival parade, I saw that Sisson's stand at the corner of Rt. 3 and Zacata Road has a ridiculous number of pumpkins and gourds. And ridiculous means terrific. What a display...what piles of the beautiful offerings that come from the fields all around us. This doesn't even begin to include the various vegetables, the white and yellow sweet potatoes, the wonderful winter squash, the different types of "salad" which includes turnip, collard, kale and other greens.
Just in one meal I found that I am very rich. Rich in friendship. Rich in being able to be out on a boat when there are perhaps two or three to be seen ....as far as one can see....and in a huge expanse of water. Rich in wonderful foods that are so simple, but real, really real. Not packaged, not questionable as to where they came from or how they've been treated.....there was no one in the middle.
I have been good friends with the Garners for years and find their stand to be the most friendly and joy-filled, not to mention the quality of the produce. I particularly like the "bang and dent" produce which means that if I'm making a tomato sauce or something that is going to happen today, I can buy vegetables that have virtually no shelf life. They are ready to be cooked and if it isn't today then they are ready to be history.
Second...nature. I think what I wanted to express here is that nature is something that one can't avoid while in the Northern Neck and in actuality it is so everpresent as to make each of our days richer even if we aren't paying attention. The sky that we experience, whether we live on the water or not, is spectacular. If one just takes a moment to notice, you can see, really see the sky and the changing clouds and the changes of light through the day. The sky is alive. The same is true of the water, whether it is a small creek where the sunlight slowly climbs to fill the area with light and as it climbs the filtered light shifts the colors and the impressions. On the big rivers it is more a big spash of a single color that shifts and churns as the winds whip them up. That color is framed by the shoreline and sky and its simplicity is direct and forceful because of the scale. What I think I'm trying to say is that living on the Northern Neck gives you the opportunity to be really alive. Turn off that cell phone for a couple of hours, and see and feel the basics of this beautiful area....it will be worth your while!