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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Carlton Henry Days

Last Saturday was the much-anticipated (in the Chalmers household) annual Carlton Spring Festival or, as we referred to it, Carlton Days. It was fun! Locals should definitely come out here for it next spring. (Carlton's the third C-town on highway 72, after Colbert and Comer.) The town fathers set up tents in a big field, and there were people selling the usual junk—potholders and church-shaped birdhouses and such—but also two beautiful, delicate alpacas and their yarn (I didn't buy any, but I probably should have), a full-scale bluegrass band, and lots of summery foods. We all went on a wagon ride behind an enormous steer named Buck and listened to this old farmer tell us about what I assume were country things. The bug had more chance of knowing what he was saying than I did; I'll never crack Southern.

We had two meals in a row: first a couple of homemade tamales, which were good because they were tamales, but really rubbery and bland when considered objectively; then some barbecued pork ribs, beans, and a great potato salad.

Ever since she was very small the bug has enjoyed a good pork bone. Her other hand is buried in the potato salad, of course.

Later that afternoon, Mr. Chalmers took the bug to the grocery store and they came home with watermelon! I weeded the asparagus rows while they were gone, and it was a perfect spring Saturday.

She likes to stand on the window seat in the kitchen and try to reach whatever's on the counter. (Often there are knives and cutting boards piled with raw meat, but we usually manage to scoot them out of the way just in time.) She very quickly figured out how to eat watermelon—she ate a fair amount of rind on her first slice, but her second through—what, eighth?—went better.

In case you're wondering where the bug's bib is, this is why I don't bother much anymore unless she's eating strawberries or something else that stains and is wearing good clothes that haven't already been hopelessly stained:

While we're here, I'd like to express my love for the Safety 1st booster chair, the cheapest booster chair available and probably the best, too. I almost immediately hated the fancy and expensive Chicco Energy Polly high chair I ordered online, for so many reasons: basically it's just a ridiculously complicated design that was hard to get the bug in and out of and impossible to clean—truly impossible. As soon as the dining room table arrived and we got some normal chairs, we switched to this booster chair. If you're shopping for something like this, there's one thing to consider that will help you decide which way to go: the fewer parts there are, the fewer spaces for gunk to accumulate and the fewer things that can break; also, the fewer parts there are, the cheaper it will be. So just buy the cheapest.

I'm getting excited about making a big Mexican supper on Thursday for the Republican debate. Right now it's looking like there'll be chocolate-Kaluha flan (using some of the luscious-smelling homemade liqueur that Courtney gave us for Christmas and that I've been saving for a special occasion—um, the debate?), preceded by shredded pork picadillo tacos (featuring raisins and almonds and a roasted tomato and chipotle sauce) and black beans (with epazote) and rice, preceded by one of my all-time favorite foods, ancho chiles stuffed with chorizo and potato in escabeche.

Good times here in Carlton.


Heidi said...

Maeve has always enjoyed chewing on a bone too, but for some reason she won't eat watermelon.

I want to come to the Mexican feast!!

Deborah said...

Wow, in the month I've been away, she has really grown!

Courtney said...

The Bug just gets cuter and cuter each passing day.

If you ever need a translator for Southern, I'm at your service. Assuming you can understand me . . . Hmmm, flaw in that scenario. Hee!