Empty nesting can be hot and spicy

People always want to know how things are going on the farm. They ask about how calves are doing, how the weather is affecting crops and of, course, about the family.

I think most of the time they use those topics as conversation starters.

Lately everyone wants to know how it’s feeling to be an empty nester.

Empty what?

Well, I am learning a lot about not having children running around the house. Let me rephrase that: I am learning a lot about how to live when children are not slothing around the house or zombieing on the sofa.

I’m not saying I don’t miss my boys. I do. I think of them several times a day. I wonder what they are up to. Are they still sleeping? Are they getting into trouble? Is Joey eating more than Ramen noodles and Mountain Dew?

Another time when miss our kids is when I am working in the kitchen. Joey and Russell used to “supervise” me in the kitchen when they were at home.

I was told that nuts “do not have to be added to everything to improve the texture.” Because said offspring are not at home, I can add nuts to morning eggs if I want to.

Due to a spicy-hot pepper malfunction several weeks ago, I would be reminded to wear gloves when working with jalape?o, tobasco, serrano, poblano and habanero peppers.

It was all quite funny at the time. I thought latex gloves were for wussies that work with peppers. Joe, Russell, and Steve thought it quit sidesplitting when I cleaned a few peppers and then rubbed my eye and then tried to run water over it, which spread the capsaicin all over my face. I could hardly see the food on my plate my eyes burned and watered too much.

Had the boys been here, they could have saved me from my next hot-pepper incident. As with any consequent pepper work, Joey could have reminded me to protect myself with gloves.

“Don’t forget to use gloves, Mother,” he would chortle. “Remember the first time you cut up peppers this fall.”

Oh how I wish he would have been here Saturday afternoon. Tarah was still living with us, she was here, but missed out on the previous pepper predicaments. Had she seen the drama, she may have also reminded me to use gloves.

I have harvested a boat-load of various peppers from my garden and decided to dry them for future use. I was so excited; my first crop of orange habanero peppers were on the list to be dried.

I started chopping, cleaning and layering on the dehydrator.

Once I finished, I looked at my wonderfully colored display of peppers and rubbed my eye.

I strongly, strongly suggest not rubbing your eyes, or anyone else’s eye, after cleaning a habanero pepper. I thought getting serrano pepper in my eye was the end of my life. Getting habanero pepper in my eye made me think the world was coming to an end.

I dunked my face into a large bowl of milk, which Tarah prepared for me. When the pain was less, and I could tolerate opening my eyes, all she did was laugh at me. I must have looked a bit horrifying at first with red, puffy eyes and a nose that wouldn’t stop running.

My lips burned.

The left side of my face felt like it was on fire.

I could have held my face in that milk for hours.

If Joe or Russ had been here during my traumatic experience they would have reminded me to “wear milking gloves when working with peppers.”

So anyway, as I said before, I have learned many things as an empty nester.

Mostly that I have to have supervision when I am in the kitchen working with peppers.

There are plus-sides to not having children at home. I do find it quite easy to live without two very large and in charge children.

I don’t have to run the dishwasher after every meal. Heck, I don’t even use the dishwasher in the absence of Joe and Russ.

I do miss having a cadre to let the dogs out of the house at three in the morning. Steve says he never hears the bells I have hanging on the door when Lilly wants to go outside.

I don’t buy it.

I can make three hamburgers for supper and not have any left overs.

Life is good. I highly recommend looking at empty-nest syndrome as a positive event. It’s a heck of a lot more fun.

As long as you stay away from habanero peppers.

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