Just as politicians demand equal time on television, the grey tree squirrels are complaining that they are not getting their fair share of publicity and that the ground squirrels are hogging the limelight. This was not an intentional oversight. The tree squirrels with the big fluffy tails are simply not here in numbers to rival the ground squirrels. The majority of the greys are up at Dennis's place...he's overrun with them in the pines that surround his house. Perhaps we on the hill go a little nutty with our creatures...he has named a lot of his visitors, feeds them unsalted, in-the-shell peanuts, and has to keep the door closed to stop them from coming in the house. The few I have here come up from the woods to breakfast on the birdseed under the oak. It's a wonder there's anything left for the birds.
A couple of months back, I started thinking about making homemade, fresh pasta. Perhaps I just needed a challenge. In the dark recesses of one of the storage sheds I have a pasta maker similar to a bread machine, but I wanted to make the pasta from scratch. However, rolling the dough by hand seemed like way too much work. The answer was a pasta rolling machine. Like a seed in cracked cement, the idea grew and grew until it was an obsession...I needed to make pasta! It took four phone calls to find a pasta machine, and I should have known I'd find it at the Placerville Hardware Store. This is the oldest, still-operating hardware store in California, and has a wonderful hodge-podge of items. It's where I finally found a real butter churn years ago...there's evidently not a big demand for them these days. Not only did they have exactly what I was looking for, they sold it to me for seventy-five percent off! I'd been trying to calculate how much pasta I'd have to make to justify the cost...a lot!..but worth it to stop obsessing. Clutching my treasure to my bosom and racing home, I couldn't wait to get started...but I had to. A friend called with news about the meat goats he wants to start breeding. By the time he finished telling me all about them, it was pretty late. I hurriedly made the dough and got it rolled out, but it was too late to cook. It will keep in the refrigerator until tonight. The machine works great; I think the recipe (and my technique) needs refining. Ahh, that itch finally got scratched.