Summary: Conversation over snacks in the kitchen.
Date: PH130 (26 Aug 2009)
Related Logs: Grifter Falls logs, Scorpia

Scorpia, Grifter Farmhouse, Kitchen
IC Time: Post Holocaust Day #130
OOC Time: Wed Aug 26 18:40:03 2009

Clearly refurbished since the house's original design, the enlarged kitchen boasts plenty of cabinet and counter space and a recessed eating nook as well. There's warm ochre and white tile throughout the room and white walls, giving the kitchen a cleaner, warmer look than was originally intended. Windows had been widened, their bays deepened so that now they serve to hold a recipe book collection. There are minimal appliances here, only a range, a toaster and a refrigerator, but plenty of homey touches including canisters with dried pasta, a ceramic cookie jar and copper pots hanging from a rack in the center of the kitchen. The table in the nook is picnic style, with benches, and seats only six, or eight if people are feeling very close. Red gingham curtains cover the windows, even the one on the door leading to the yard and the one leading to the garage. There are also doorways to the library, the mud room and the dining room.

Ollie wanders in through the dining room, a pair of ripe red tomatoes in hand, picked fresh from the greenhouse. She has a little dirt on her hands, and under her nails, which is the usual state of things when she first comes indoors. A pair of old, fitted jeans cover her legs, stained with dirt at the knee and thigh. Cowboy boots were left on the porch before she entered. Bare feet carry her silently up to the sink to rinse the fruit. Her tee is a plain white, also dirty from the garden.

Andrew enters from the library, a frequent haunt for him, his notebook in one hand. He nods a hello to Ollie, shuffling over to the pantry to see if there's anything edible, uncanned and small left to eat. He glances over his shoulder at the woman, then returns to inspecting the shelves as he asks, "Do you need help in the greenhouse today?"

Ollie glances up from rinsing the red fruits of loose dirt, and takes a quick rinse of her hands as well before she shuts off the faucet. "I could use some larger plants moved from the South wall. I'd like to set up a small hydro tray there to try some cuttings. Would you like some tomato slices?" A finger hooks the handle on a nearby drawer, and she tugs it open to slide out a large cutting knife. She glances up through the curtains briefly, taking a look at the yard before her gaze returns to the young man.

It wasn't what Andrew wanted to hear, from the pull of his shoulders. But he nods. "All right." It's an answer to description of the day's work, and her offer of tomatoes. He continues to rummage in the pantry, finally securing an old box of crackers. "Do you want any of these?" he asks, shaking the box and setting the contents rattling.

Isn't it one of the unwritten rules in life that if you offer to do chores, chores will arise. Particularly on a farm. Her eyes switch over to the crackers, and she shakes her head slightly, "No, thank you, Andrew." Ollie smiles a little and points out, "I prefer to avoid preservatives." She cleanly slices the tomato, spilling red juice and seeds all across the cutting board. The slices fall, almost perfectly the same width, thick and juicy. "Try some. They're still warm from the sun." She takes a slice and raises it to her lips. A little tomato juice runs down her palm, and she bites into the fruit. Goodbye, little tomato. We barely knew you.

"I don't think that matters very much anymore. Food is food." Especially when you're seventeen and still growing. He sets down both box and notebook on the counter, moving towards the cutting board to take a slice for himself. After a bite, he wipes his mouth with his forearm. "Good," he admits.

The smile that curves her lips is amused. Ollie nods, and brushes her fingers across her brow. "It always matters. Quality… well." She nods to the teen, and tells him, in that way adults often do, "One day. It might matter to you more. But not when you're still the bottomless pit that is a growing young man." She slides a ceramic plate from one of the cabinets, and arranges the slides on it before carrying it over to the table to sit. She slides it out a little from herself in clear invitation to share. "What are you reading today?"

Andrew folds himself onto one of the benches, opening the box of crackers. "A mystery, but it's a true one, or based on a true one. It's well-written," he opinions before stuffing his face with two crackers. Then it's time to reach for another tomato slice. "How long will the work take today, do you think?"

"No more than twenty minutes." Ollie reaches for another slice of tomato after finishing the first one. She glances over, eyes dropping on the box of crackers for a moment. "There are only a few heavy pots I can't move myself, so it shouldn't be a problem between the two of us." She takes a bite of the tomato, and asks after a moment, "If you find any good thrillers, could you set them aside for me?"

Andrew nods at the good news that the chore won't take long, and meanwhile stuffs a couple more crackers and another slice in his mouth. He spends some time chewing, swallowing hastily, to ask, "Why do you like thrillers?"

"I always know how they're going to end," the blonde woman replies, with a bit of a wry smile. She notes the nod to the good news, and comments, "I'll leave you most of the day on your own. We can move these at night as well. No rush. I have a lot of prep to do." Ollie nods to the box of crackers, "Maybe I'll try one."

Andrew crams another cracker into his mouth before handing the box over, chewing while he seems to consider something. Finally, he offers, "I can help with the prep work too, if you like."

Ollie reaches over to slide her hand into the box, taking it with the other. She drags out a cracker, and eyes it for a moment as if she's unsure of whether it's safe. She smiles a bit, and nibbles off a corner. "Finish your book. I'll teach you about making hybrids sometime next week, if you're not too far tangled in the library." She slides the crackers back across the table. "You know, there's some scrap metal and wood out behind the barn." She nibbles the cracker again. Must not have tasted too bad.

"So?" Andrew doesn't quite see her point. He reaches for another tomato slice, idly wondering, "Did you get the eggs today from the chickens?"

"No, I didn't. Jo may have. I was engrossed in …" Ollie shakes her head slightly, "A little mishap with a bag of top soil." She smiles again and says, "Well, there are some pieces too heavy for me to use in the hydro setup. I thought we might try to build a little pyramid court next to the garden. If you can draw one for me, I'm sure we can piece it together between the group of us."

"You need more than one player to play pyramid," Andrew replies, a seeming refusal of her offer. "I feel like some eggs," he continues, getting to his feet. "Did you want some?"

"Yes, I'd love some eggs." Ollie responds to his question first, and then she takes up another of the slices of tomato from the plate, and muses, "Ah, I suppose you're right. Doesn't your aunt play?" She doesn't press the matter further than that, but picks up a little towel from the table to wipe her hands.

"Yeah." There's a 'but' somewhere in there, but Andrew doesn't elaborate. He wipes off what little crumbs he's not devoured on his shorts and retrieves the egg basket from the countertop. "Be back soon," he tells Ollie unnecessarily as he heads through the door.

Ollie finishes the cracker she was nibbling, and reaches over to tuck the box closed, leaving it where it was left in the middle of the table. She picks up another tomato slice, and takes a bit, watching the young man go. She sits at the table in the kitchen in jeans and a tee, barefoot, clothing liberally dusted with potting soil at knee, thigh, and along her white tshirt. Her boots are a bit muddy, and left outside on the porch.

Joanna comes in by way of the library, tucking her reading glasses into the collar of her t-shirt. "Hi there," she greets Ollie, eyes drifting to the door Andrew just left through. "Been gardening?"

Ollie smiles as Jo exits the library. "You and your nephew are so much alike sometimes." She taps the edge of the tomato plate with a fingernail. "Help yourself. These are fresh off the vine." She glances down at herself then, and chuckles softly. "How could you tell?" She nods toward the door after a moment. "Young Andrew is out fetching the eggs." She pauses, clearly thinking something over as she looks toward the doorway the younger Archer just exited though.

Joanna smiles and cocks one shoulder in a half-shrug. "Penchant for stating the obvious?" Never one to turn down fresh veggies, she nods and takes a slice of tomato. "Thanks. What's on your mind?" she asks, noticing the thoughtful expression.

Ollie finishes off her tomato slice, and wipes her hand on the little towel again, staining it pinkish with the juice from the sun warmed fruit. "Your love of the library, phrases, and thoughtfulness…" She glances up, warm brown eyes switching to regard Joanna. "I asked him what he might think about constructing a little pyramid court from some scrap wood and metal out behind the barn." She tucks her chin against the curve of her palm, elbow propped on the edge of the table. "He seemed less than enthusiastic."

"I suppose it runs in the family," Jo says with a smile. "His mother's a teacher as well." Jo never refers to them in the past tense, even though they're most likely dead. Of course, she rarely speaks of them at all, especially when Andrew's around. The smile fades to a more perplexed expression at the latter. "Really? I would have thought he'd be all for that." Jo eats on her tomato thoughtfully. Mmm.

"Maybe it reminds him too much of lost things." It's a quiet observation, though by no means a definitive one. Ollie shakes her head a little, and her eyes turn to the door again. Should Andrew return through the same portal though which he exited, it's going to be painfully obvious he was the topic of discussion. "In any case, there will be a good run of tomatoes for the next couple of weeks as they ripen. I hope everyone enjoys them." She's not much of a cook, herself, but she can certainly provide ingredients.

Said topic comes through the door about then, basket now filled with all of five eggs. He gives a cautious glance between the two women, something he seems to do whenever he walks into a room in which only women seem to be in. "Weren't too many today," he announces, giving his aunt a small smile as he puts the basket on the counter.

Joanna nods to Ollie. "Could be," she admits, though she doesn't say anything more on the subject now that Andrew has returned. She returns his smile and peers at the eggs. "Well, that's something anyway. I'm sure Amelia will stretch them pretty far."

Ollie can't help the little smile that answers Andew's look. They learn so young. She tips her head forward and raises her hand to brush a lock of hair from her forehead, to try to spare the young man the smile. "We have plenty of fresh veggies to supplement."

"I was kinda hoping to eat them now," Andrew replies, looking somewhat disappointed. Always best to stick to the topics he knows. Books. Sports. Food. "Think I should go find Amelia and everyone else?" Five eggs between the whole crew would really be stretching it.

Joanna was predisposed to share, but is swayed readily enough by Andrew's disappointment. "I suppose we can cook them up ourselves." She's no great cook, but eggs at least she can handle.

"I won't tell if you won't," Ollie grins, laying very little claim to the eggs, since there are so few. She is … mostly a vegetarian, though she does have the occasional egg or fresh meat when it's organic. Landing on a farm was the best possible outcome for her. Processed and pre-packaged foodstuff makes her crazy.

Whereas Andrew'll eat just about anything. The smile he gives his aunt is genuine, not tempered by anything at all. But he does give in to Ollie's hippie ways and picks out some of the vegetables as yet unused in the basket on the table. "You know what's really good? Scrambled eggs, with a bit of butter, on some fresh toast and a tomato slice on top." Clearly, a happy food memory.

Joanna flashes a quick grin at them both. "It's not our fault if they're not around at breakfast time." Though as much as she says that, she feels a pang of guilt as she goes to cook up the eggs. "Well, we've got everything except the toast at least. I miss toast."

"There you go," Ollie agrees with a chuckle, clearly pleased as the teen shows appreciation for the available veggies. Like a proud auntie, but without the special forces skills. "We could have toast… if we're sure to pick up some packaged yeast and flour. If we can find an intact grocery. Yeast lasts for a good long time." Bread. One of life's simpler pleasures. Ollie almost sounds like she'd be willing to mount an expedition for yeast alone.

"Are you going to bring that up in the next discussion?" Andrew wonders, unsuccessfully holding back a hint of laughter in his voice. Going back to the same cutting board, he begins to chop up the onion and pepper he took from the bowl.

"Really?" Jo says in response to Ollie's yeast knowledge, surprised. Foraging for bread was not really covered in commando school. "We'll have to check next time we make it out west. I've been wanting to make a trip over to Tinos anyway." The town to the west they haven't scouted that far yet.

Ollie nods, "It's dry stored in little packets. It's also very cheap. One thing I have seen made on many occasions is homemade bread. I understand it in theory, but mine always comes out a little… wrong." Luckily, there are directions, and much more capable hands about.

"There's enough recipe books here that I think you'll find some decent instructions," Andrew points out, motioning to the collection on the windowsill with the knife. And since he knows just how far his aunt's cooking skills go, he adds, "You have to cook the vegetables a bit before you add the egg."

"I know how to cook eggs, young man," Jo replies, though her amused grin shows that she takes Andrew's lack of faith in stride. It's not unwarranted. "What do you guys think about heading out day after tomorrow?" Though often the de facto leader of the group, Jo usually goes for consensus, whenever practical.

Ollie glances over to Jo, amusement sobering a bit at that question about moving out so soon. She nods. There's a little thrill of apprehension, but they've lived this long. She blows out a breath. "That sounds good. Get us moving." Bread vs Fear, fiiiight. Bread wins.

"I'm game." It's the expected answer from Andrew, who hasn't yet gone against any of his aunt's decisions. With a final two knife-strokes, he finishes the chopping and presents the board with its diced veggies for his aunt to dump in a pan.

Joanna picks up on Ollie's apprehension, though perhaps doesn't realize quite the sway that bread has. "I'll talk to the others and see if anyone else wants to come." Three is generally a quorum, but it wouldn't hurt to have another hand along. "We need to get a handle on the state of the town." She takes Andrew's veggies with a quiet thanks and dumps them in.

"It wouldn't hurt to know what we're looking at," the blonde agrees, with a sweep of her hand through her hair. She touches it more when she's a little nervous about something. In this case it would be the potential of coming across bodies and… worse.

Andrew watches Ollie's display, a frown coming his face. "You don't have to go. Some of the others might want to instead," he tells her, not unkindly. "It's not like you don't contribute other things." Like gardening know-how.

Joanna looks up from her cooking to offer a nod in support of Andrew's words. "Andrew's right. We can use your help but someone else could go just as easily."

And the seventeen year old is giving her an out. Truth be told, Ollie almost takes it. There's a little hesitation, and then she shakes her head. "I can go." She clears her throat. "I'll go." It's a little more assured that time.

Andrew doesn't question her decision again, but his mouth quirks. It's not quite hidden by his head dropping just so, either. "How are the eggs coming?" he asks, a bit plaintive. It's been twenty minutes since he ate something.

Joanna smiles over at Ollie. "Good. It'll be good to have you along." She sounds genuinely pleased. Andrew gets an exaggerated-for-amusement finger-waggle. "Patience!" In truth the eggs are about done. She takes them off the burner. "I don't suppose the 'eating out of house and home' phenomenon ends at eighteen?"

"We should be so lucky," Ollie replies, with a chuckle. She watches the two, practically able to see the giant thought bubble with a turkey in it over Andrew's head. "I'll be in the greenhouse. If you get hungry later, there are some fresh peas. They're good just off the vine." She rises from the table, leaving at least an entire sliced tomato on the plate for whomever cares to eat it.

"I don't know. I'm not eighteen yet," Andrew answers matter-of-factly. "But I don't think so." He did know some eighteen year-olds. He pulls some plates from the cabinet and gathers up some utensils while he's at it. "Gonna go for a run after this," he announces, glancing at his aunt. Always gives her the heads-up.

Joanna chuckles lightly. "Well, I suppose it's good we're on a farm then." Actually she doesn't like the thought of what life might be like without the farm, so that tought trails off into a half-frown. She shakes it off, forcing a smile back on as she doles out the eggs onto a plate. "You eat what you like, I'll have whatever's left." She trusts him to at least leave her a smidge.

A smidge more less describes what's left, though Andrew cleared tried to leave more. But instinct over at many levels. Settling down to inhale the food, he goes over his other plans for the day. "Probably help Ollie move some heavy things after that, wash up and read the rest of the day." A nap is likely too, a habit he's picked up somewhere between warday and today.

Joanna fortunately doesn't need much more than a smidge, not having a teenager's voracious appetite. She finishes off what's left and then starts cleaning up. "Sounds good. I'm going to do some planning for the scouting trip and then get some rest before night watch. Enjoy your run." She does a pretty good job of keeping the worry out of her voice by now, but it's still there, a little.

"I will," Andrew promises, scrapping the last of the meal off his plate and into his mouth. Then the dish is deposited in the sink and he's headed for the gun cabinet to get the rifle.

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