Zen and the art of lawnmower maintenance; Black Quinoa

When we lived in the Vendée we had over 100 rose bushes – only 1 planted by me and that because it was a gift.

Here we have 5 rose bushes.  I appreciate them so much more.

Each one is unique, pretty and has a scent that makes me want to bury my nose every time I walk by.

With 5 rose bushes I can pay attention.


You know the lawnmower adverts one sees, of an attractive, well-dressed person, riding smoothly around a perfectly cut green lawn, cutting it in record time with barely a crook of the finger?

It almost makes one feel guilty for mowing the lawn; it’s such an easy, pleasurable task.

Not here.

The three acres I’ve been mowing are so full of mole hills, rabbit holes and everything in between it’s like a Midwest road right after the spring thaw and before the road crews are out (full of potholes).

I hang on with all my strength and still almost get bounced right off the damn tractor.

Fortunately, I get ample breaks from the jouncing…. to do the repairing.


I wanted to make mon mari feel properly needed so I broke the tractor three times on Friday.

First, the chute thing that sprays out the cut grass gets clogged up from the brambles and thick weeds.

It always happens when I make a fresh cut in a new section.  (I divide the property up in, um, creative sections to keep my mind from permanently going dormant.)

So I have to stop, take my trusty pole and clean it out.

It doesn’t always want to start back up again.

The mower part; I haven’t broken the actual tractor….yet….

Friday I learned how to take the plastic covers off and play with the belts; how to take the back deflector thing off and look at things I’m clueless about to report their status to mon mari (who was supervising – you didn’t think I did any of this on my own, did you?)

I’d tell you about the other, technical stuff, I learned but it would be meaningless – it is to me, anyway.


The most important thing I learned is that if it takes 12 hours to mow the lawn (it did), only 7 of them actually involved cutting green stuff, the rest of the time is fixing the mower.

The second most important thing I learned is that if I would listen to mon mari, and not try to cut the  thick brambles, I could cut that 5 hours of tinkering down to, maybe, 30 minutes.

I just have this devil in me that, when I start a task, I want to do it all, even if doing it all is neither expected or possible.

Mon mari says we’re going to Round-Up the brambles.

He also says I have to quit breaking his toys.

On a different topic: I found black quinoa at the store the other day.

Naturally I had to try it.

Black Quinoa

For those of you have aren’t familiar with it it comes in tan and red varieties, as well; all similar in taste and preparation.


Red Quinoa

Quinoa is very high in protein and “contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete food” according to Wikipedia. It’s also easy to cook and tasty – what more could we want?

1/2 cup quinoa (100gr, 3.5oz)
1 cup chicken stock (or the amount of liquid your package recommends)

Combine quinoa and stock in small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until done, about 15 minutes (or whatever your package says). Serve.

This serves 2 generously – per each serving it has app.

Calories (kcal): 170
Carbohydrages (glucides) 35gr
Fiber: 5gr

I think I like the red best – prettiest.

To the basic recipe you can add sautéed  mushrooms and/or shallots and/or fresh herbs or use it in a pilaf or stir-fry…. Use it any way you would use rice (Except risotto)

10 thoughts on “Zen and the art of lawnmower maintenance; Black Quinoa”

  1. Mowing was my least favorite chore when I lived in western NY state. I’d do circles, figure eights, checkerboards, random patterns – anything to keep from deadly boredom – it drove First Husband crazy. He liked orderly rows.

  2. Pretty flowers!
    The dark colored quinoa is so much prettier and more interesting to look at than the plain tan stuff. I agree about the red, although I wonder what it would be like to throw all three together and make a sort of pilaf with it.

  3. Don’t know which I enjoy more: your roses, red quinoa or your stories.
    Roses are beauty.
    Stories here totally entertaining.
    Red quinoa wonderfully tasty whole grain healthy and goes with all veggie goodness.

  4. Those are some awesome Antique Garden Roses you have there! It would be really, really hard to say what they are without seeing the whole bush, the leaves in direct and indirect light, the flowers in bud and from underneath, and just knowing how they behave (bloom once a season? Repeat but at long intervals? Fall blooms instead of spring? Young leaves reddish edges or green? Bluish leaves?).
    The one in the middle and on the bottom could possibly be Louise Odier. I grow it, and it looks very similar. It’s from the mid-1850s. Not sure if it’s considered a Gallica, Centifolia or Bourbon. It is just finishing up with blooming.

  5. Just had a fabulous quinoa salad on Saturday….loads of tomatoes and feta cheese in it.
    I am in the middle of making rose petal jelly and lemon balm jelly….you can’t believe how wonderful the kitchen smells!!!

  6. I just made red quinoa for the first time too and what totally got me was how pretty it was! Much more interesting then rice.

  7. Zoomie, mon mari doesn’t watch… Figure 8’s – that’s next!
    Simona, and they have such wonderful fragrance!
    Baking Soda, I’m clueless about flowers… If I can’t eat it I don’t plant it.
    Emiglia, okay, mixed quinoa coming up!
    Tanna, now I’m going to have to have a quinoa party… I don’t need to keep buying the stuff!
    Tracy, as I said, I know nothing…. But these are all still blooming. The ones we had in the ‘rose garden’ in the Vendee, had no scent and bloomed once. I like these better!
    Cindy, lemon balm – I had so much in the Vendee I attacked it with hedge clippers…. None here – yet!
    Greg, ah, the romance of the language….Sigh….
    Katerina, I DO like pretty food!

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