What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

– expectations of myself regarding the cooking of kale, leeks, and chickpeas “salad”

A couple-to-three years ago, a CSA (“community supported agriculture”) farm that Nimue and I participated in shared a recipe for “kale, leeks, and chickpeas salad.” She rather liked and I fell into an infatuation with it that matured into a steadfast love. So, I cook and we enjoy it often when kale is “coming on.”

I have come to regard the recipe as the merest of a sketch. To start, I make vastly more of it (leftovers = tomorrow’s lunch, x2). I had no leeks tonight, but it was trivial to substitute an yellow onion (Georgia grown, to its credit). But experience has proved that roasted red peppers are essential.

Some fine day, we shall grow and preserve our own. But not today. Today, I needed into my “boughten” peppers. But I couldn’t unscrew the lid.

That would’ve irritated me when I was young and thought I should be strong enough to force it with just my brute strength. And after I got over that, it would have bothered me a bit that I couldn’t attempt it with a tool more refined than Grandpa’s old pipe wrench.

But, heh-heh, Grandpa’s old wrench cranked that sucker right off. Give Grandpa and me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and we’ll move the world.


And here’s the recipe, for which I regret I can’t credit a source:



1/4 cup olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green part only, quartered, chopped and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 bunch kale, stemmed, chopped and washed in a colander
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 heaping tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper (fresh or from a jar)


In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add oil. When oil shimmers, add the leek, garlic, salt and paprika and stir until leek wilts, about 1 minute. Add kale, chickpeas and red pepper and stir to combine. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes, checking to make sure pan doesn’t scorch. If needed, add a tablespoon of water to keep a very small amount of liquid in the pan. Once kale is tender, taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold after a night in the fridge.

shedding style: release

Comments welcome … have you celebrated the subtraction of any perfectionism lately?

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– my favorite paintbrush

I’ve had my Porter Paints 2” wide paintbrush for some 30 years. Not to brag, but it’s lasted this long because I’ve taken exquisite care of it. I always rinsed it out promptly, used a brush comb to keep its bristles aligned, hung it to dry, and stored it in its cardboard brush-keeper till that finally fell apart. The brush was worth that investment of effort because it feathered better than any other I’ve ever worked with.


But late last year it suffered a solvent incompatibility accident, and it’s never been the same since. Material has hardened to something like stone in its heel, and Nimue strongly suspects it of leaving contaminating particles behind in what are supposed to be satin-smooth finishes.

It’s not working anymore. And we don’t keep what isn’t useful.

But I’m going to let myself stop by a “pro” paint store and try to buy its genetic clone.

shedding style: throw away
destination: landfill (sob)

Comments welcome … do you have tools the loss of which you couldn’t just “brush off”?

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– styrofoam peanuts in the treehouse

Casa de WIST came with a treehouse out back, which was really cool.


Except the 3/4”-plywood floor had rotted before we took posession, which was a sore trial to my inner child’s spirit. Making the treehouse safe will require demolishing the superstructure and building back something more resilient and useful. My superego keeps saying, “Other projects have higher priorities.”

(Inner child heaves long-suffering sigh.)

You’d think at least that I would have, after all these years, removed the styrofoam peanuts that, inexplicably, covered the still-semi-solid parts of the treehouse’s floor to a depth of about two inches. I recently made a list of “ten itches to scratch,” and peanut extraction was at the top. But that was going to require hauling the shop-vac out there, lifting it into the treehouse, snaking an extension cord out to it, and sucking up styrofoam while balancing precariously on the joists. One of my earliest childhood memories is of the two holes in the ceiling my father’s legs made when he fell through while working in the attic. I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps.

But a couple days ago I finally said, “Okay, I’ll at least start by grubbing out a bag to put the peanuts into.” And the rest followed, step by step.


Ah, (skritch skrich), that feels good.

shedding style: remove and throw away
destination: landfill (unfortunately)

Comments welcome … have you a list of itches to scratch? What might go on it?

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