Rice, Earth and Days

March – already into the third month. Days of Autumn – in the words of a well known poem by Keats – the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. The time for the Earth to bliss out after the heat of Summer and before the cold of Winter. In my humble opinion – one of the best times of the year. Lazy days of relaxation and meditation.

I also use the time to garden. Getting my vegetable beds ready for my winter crops – cauliflower, cabbage, silver beet and broccoli. I love experimenting with my vegetables, and last year tried clumping onions and leeks. This year I’ll try red onions and English Spinach. Living on a farm I will plant out some wheat in the paddock, too. Although this last summer has been very wet, I don’t think I’ll bother creating a paddy field of rice though. I saw the work that went into that when I lived, for a short time, in Asia.

The rice paddies show a flooded paddock, and boy! have we had some flooding this last month! Hope everyone is coping, and those people that have lost so much, my heart goes out to you. I live on the eastern seaboard of Australia, so I, too have watched and dreaded the rise of the water. I also must put in an apology as I omitted 1 cup of sugar in the last month’s recipe of Diane’s biscuits. Asking you to cream the butter and sugar, when there was no sugar included in the recipe was just a tad confusing. Again – Sorry.

This time – here is a recipe that is tasty, and includes rice.

Griffin’s Rice Slice.

½ cup brown rice

1 carrot, grated

1 zucchini, grated

1 small can corn kernels, drain, wash

¼ cup chopped chives

1 cup cheese, grated

extra grated cheese for top

¾ cup SR flour

4 eggs

½ cup milk.

¼ cup sweet chilli sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 180-200°. Grease and prepare a slice tin
  2. Cook rice to instructions on packet. Allow to cool.
  3. Combine rice, carrot, zucchini, corn, chives, cheese and flour in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs, chilli sauce and milk together in a jug.
  5. Add to rice mixture and mix well.
  6. Spread in tin, sprinkle with extra cheese, then bake for approx 35mins, until cooked through and lightly browned.
  7. Stand in pan for 20mins then slice and serve hot or cold. Serves 8.

***

Noises.

Gary always loved living on his farm … until tonight. He had an urgent call to make in town, and his car had decided not to start.

After calling a friend, he wandered down to the gate near the road and proceeded to wait.

The sky was ablaze with stars – so bright in the blackness. No moon yet – it hadn’t risen, and the trees were silent as well. No breeze to sway the leaves, or rustle the long grass in the long paddock*. It couldn’t have been a nicer evening.

slowly, Gary became fidgety. Stephen was taking his time. Where was he?

That’s when the noises started. A scrabbling sound in the grass near his feet. A croak from a frog that felt like it was near his ear. A slither on the gravel that might be a snake. A clicking of a beetle. A whirring of wings across the sky.

Then it got worse.

Was that a footstep behind him?

He twirled around, but couldn’t see.

He fumbled around in his pocket for his mobile phone and flipped it open. The light of the screen dazzled him for a fraction of a second. He looked around again. Were the footsteps still coming towards him?

He stood quite still and listen. Everything was silent. Suddenly there was not a sound at all.

That made Gary even more nervous.

He turned on the phone torch and swung the light in an arc.

He saw nothing. He took a breath and told himself to settle down. Stephen would be here shortly. would he turn off the torch? Yes – he was fine. It was just his imagination.

Just as he saw the lights of a car come around the bend in the distance, he felt a wind pass his ear, and he shuddered.

Immediately, he flicked on the torch. On the gate post in front of him sat an owl, eyes large and unblinking.

Damn! Those birds flew so silently, he wondered if that was the reason all the other night noises had stopped. Had they sensed the presence of the owl and gone to ground – out of the way of the predator’s talons? He turned back to the road as the car slowed down.

Stephen came to a halt in front of Gary.

“Sorry, mate,” he ducked his head to look through the passenger side window. “Hop in.”

Gary turned and looked at the post. The owl was gone.

“No worries, Mate,” he said as he opened the car door and folded himself into the seat. “You weren’t long. I didn’t mind waiting at all.”

(* In Australia, the long paddock is the area by the side of the road that belongs to the council/government before your own property starts at the fence line. Often, in a drought, farm animals are tethered along this area.)

***

I hope you enjoyed the previous little bit of flash fiction. As my blog is called Read, Eat and Dream, each month I will include a short story, a recipe and a dream. One of the dreams of many of us is travel – to places exotic and exciting. Of course, over the last two years this has been an impossibility. So, perhaps we can only travel these days through the Images on T.V. or on the Internet. For many of us, it has become a fantasy – as the risk of travel seems to outweigh the actually enjoyment. Staying at home, as also meant we have hopefully had the time to kick back and relax and do some reading. Maybe the parents have also had time to read with their youngsters, or given their primary age children books to improve their reading.

Here are a couple of my books that might fit your children’s likes. They are AU$18 each. If you add postage for your particular destination, and send me an email ( maureenlarter@gmail.com ) with your address, I can organize to send you whatever you like the look of.

My facebook pages are:

https://www.facebook.com/BooksByMaureenLarter

https://www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia

https://www.facebook.com/Sweetfields-Publisher

Linkedin : MLarter

Instagram : lartermaureen

Twitter : @MaureenLarter

One comment

  1. lizseverest · March 29, 2022

    Loved the Flash Fiction piece and recipe. Thanks for being an inspiration. Next time I cook with eggs I’ll add chilli to make it taste more interesting. Keep the stories, recipes and dreams coming. And give Mini a hug from me as well. 💟

    Like

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