Saturday, July 21, 2007

coyotes bagged my groceries

I'm back from beyond, and just happy to be home. The timing of my research trip was seriously suboptimal, but since I applied for the grant back in October, long before I knew that we'd be moving at the end of June, there was no way around it.

K. seems to subsist on nothing but orange juice, yogurt, and beer, at least judging by our refrigerator. When I got home, the first thing on my to-do list was grocery shopping. At Sprouts!

I probably had overinflated hopes, because I was somewhat disappointed. Packaged and prepared foods seemed well represented, although the deli stuff was more on the mayonnaise end of the spectrum than the balsamic vinegar end, if you know what I mean.

Produce was inexpensive, but the selection wasn't great -- I was looking for some dark greens (having brought some wonderful hickory bacon back from up in the holler), and all I could find was one bunch of so-so kale and two bunches of very sad collards.

Meat I wasn't shopping for, so I can't pass judgment. Bulk goods were pretty decent (and thank god for that). Cheeses were a half-step worse than Von's (ditto the selection of hummus et al.).

But bread! Mein Gott im Himmel, was it grim. I had read GoP's review, but still. Lots of pre-bagged loaves of sliced sandwich bread in hippy-dippy brands, but next to nothing in the way of quality bread -- a few baguettes, some loaded-with-goopy-ingredients foccaccia, enough sticky buns to feed a small nation.

On my research trip, I met a couple of people who teach in the rural midwest (Missouri and Minnesota). Both of them had coped with the bread question by starting to bake their own. If GoP's Campaign for Real Bread doesn't succeed, it may come to that. Because no way am I paying $8/loaf at Wolfe's when I don't feel like braving TJ's.

Oh yeah: Suckiest. Bagger. Ever. Tomatoes at the bottom, under the hummus and milk. Heaviest items all in one (flimsy) bag and lightest items in another. Milk packed upside down. Next time I'll bag my own, thanks. And definitely bring your canvas, because their paper bags aren't strong enough to re-use (and they don't have handles).

In other news: My study faces onto the street, so I can sit at my desk and watch the world go by while I'm having Deep Thoughts. Actually, the birds are more interesting than the world; there's a mockingbird that likes hopping around in the magnolia outside my window.

It would be great to put up a bird feeder, as well as to fill the birdbath out back (came with the house). But I'm hesitant... the nabe is full of cats, and I wouldn't want to be leading the avians to slaughter. Nothing's more dangerous than an unfenced pool, right? Feel free to weigh in with your opinions.

I did see a portent yesterday that the cats may soon have a predator of their own: As I was turning onto the 10 eastbound at about 4pm -- in the midst of heavy traffic -- I saw a coyote snuffling around in the triangle of dirt between the interstate and the onramp. Gave me a dirty look too. I was under the impression that the coyotes hadn't crossed the 10, but apparently that's not the case. I have nothing against coyotes -- esp. where we've moved into their territory (I'm talkin' to you, Padua Hills!) -- but we ought to be able to let our cats out in a hundred-year-old neighborhood, dagnabbit.


Oo said...

I bought a bird feeder this summer, and found that it empties every single day. The squirrels jump on it from a tree branch way above, swing for a while dumping food on the ground, trapeeze back up to the tree, make their way down, and feast. No wonder my next door neighbour (a squirrel lover) goes through 20 economy-sized bags of birdseed every summer. I've taken to leaving it empty instead.

So I recommend a free standing pole, with a large upside-down cone half-way up to guard against the squirrels, and a flatish top way up high for the seed and the birds. Would this solve the cat problem too? It would if you could really stop the seed from dropping to the ground.

Reg Oignon said...

We tried the whole-wheat French bread at Sprouts, you know, the "fresh-baked" style in the white paper bag? Yuck. Heating it up didn't make it crusty & good, it just dried it out. Overall there's very little that I'll buy at Sprouts rather than TJ's -- and for us Sprouts isn't much closer.