Kale, Apple and Cheddar Salad

Peach tree

It was the middle of the night when I seemed to hear the dogs barking in the midst of a dream, gradually drawing me back from an immaterial world and into the loft under the dark rafters. I lay listening for a moment, wanting to roll over and drift back to sleep, but the voices of the dogs rang out with a strange sound, a ringing like alarm bells, which being alone with my children half a mile from any neighbor made me fully awake and listening.  

Dogs 1

I heard them growling and chasing something, crashing through the brushy woodland close by, and tired as I was I  thought I might see what it was about in case it was a ferocious raccoon like the one we had trapped inside the chicken coop

The flashlight that is supposed to live by the door was of course missing, probably spirited away again by some unseen person called “Someone Else” who doesn’t actually exist but always gets the blame.

Dogs 2

So I went into the kitchen, and fumbled around at the charging cord for my cell phone, and was blinded in the dark by the screen flashing on, turned fully up to the dangerous red zone by the teenager who had used it last. 

Kale with frost

Now armed with light, I went out in to the chilly air, wrapping my flannel nightgown around me.  It was the dark part of the night, no moon and low clouds covered the sky. Fog was oozing from the edges of the pastures and between the trees, recalling all the scary stories I’ve ever heard.  Tailypo and Grendel lived and moved in such a zombie-spawning mist. 

The dogs had stopped barking by now, and were running along the driveway towards me with glowing green eyes. They looked disgusting and excited, mud flecked all over their white fur and huge grins on their faces. 

Kale salad 1
From left: Ethiopian kale, Siberfrill, and Dazzling Blue kale

They pounced around me in a circle, a dog dance, leaping and nuzzling. I put a hand on their foreheads, told them, “Good dog!” At the sound of my voice the roosters from all around flapped and crowed, some close and high up, and others with their voices echoing from far off in the trees, the darkness ringing with the sound that in old stories warns evil of the coming of the sun. 

Kale salad 2
From left: Red Russian kale, Scarlet, and Simon Broadleaf

Back inside the girls were awake, wondering why the light was on. 

“The dogs were chasing something,” I told them.

“What was it?” asked Clo, barely awake. 

“I don’t know,” I said, “but they chased it off.”

Something was bothering me, something smelled bad, really bad, like BO, farts, and smelly feet mixed together. I wondered if i should open the windows, how had I been breathing that smell all this time while I was asleep, and what was it?  Surely one teenage boy couldn’t manage to smell so bad!  I had half crawled into bed when i realized what it was… skunk, and it was coming from me.  

Kale salad 3

“I guess we know what it was!” I told the girls as I peeled off the nightgown and smelled myself all over to make sure I didn’t smell anymore. On second thoughts, I took the nightgown outside completely before going back to bed. 
In the morning a cloud of skunk smell greeted us outside with Cloudy, looking slightly depressed that no one wanted to pet her.  As the morning wore on and Cloudy bounced around as usual, the other dog started to smell like skunk too, and the cats, and the goats, and Clo’s mane of hair.

Kale salad 4

 By the afternoon, everything out here smelled like skunk. 

 This recipe clearly has some “boughten” ingredients, since i had to run to the store for tomato juice. I’m still not sure what to use it on first though. 

Kale Salad

15-20 kale leaves

1/2 cup  chopped pecans

1 tablespoon butter

2 medium apples

2 ounces grated raw cheddar cheese


1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

A pinch of salt

A pinch of pepper

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 tablespoon honey 

1. Whisk together dressing ingredients. 

2. Melt butter in a sauce pan and add the chopped pecans. Toast gently and remove from heat. 

3. Finely chop kale and dice apples and combine them in a salad bowl.  Add the pecans and any extra butter from the pan. 

4.  Toss ingredients with the dressing and scatter the grated cheddar on top to serve. 

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