Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembrance

My dad in the Pacific during World War Two.


He died February twenty-third. He made it through the war and he managed to beat the odds for many years more. So many of the jaunty young men never came home, never had the opportunity to marry and raise a family, as a result of war. I rather doubt I will see a time when war is obsolete, so we will continue to add young men and women to the ranks of those who are sacrificed in the name of country.

This day is set aside in the US to remember them and the sacrifice made. May they rest in peace.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Beautiful


I have been absent. I have been busy. I will be back. It's summer in Minnesota, which lasts for about thirty minutes. In the first ten minutes, we get peonies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Growing Bearded

Iris, that is.



They have been blooming for over a week. This was last week when they first began. 

It's already been a busy day and in a few minutes the farrier will be here. I feel sympathy for him, bending under horses in this weather. I have much to do, but I believe I lack the steam to do it. So I'll hold the horses while I talk to my farriers derriere.

Monday, May 24, 2010

View From A Veranda

An evening spent in the shade of the veranda, welcome relief from the life-sucking heat and humidity we are enduring. I may as well be living a scene written by Tennessee Williams. How is it fair that we survive the frozen land only to find ourselves sweat-drenched and miserable in May? After two months of weather so delectable I could taste it, as if rolling it around my tongue like a very good wine. How can I be so conflicted; to love the early spring, the fantasy it played upon us, only to find myself melting away as I sit on the veranda, gathering the shade of the trees around me like a cool embrace.


And the real irony, the part that makes me mad; I can't grow lemons, or wisteria. Bougainvillea or peaches. I can swelter in the the humidity laden air, my northern-bred lungs barely able to expand and contract as I try to simply walk, but I can't grow these things, because sometime in December and January and February it will be -30 and maybe -40. I think I shall become as mad as Blanche Dubois.  



Southern authors wrote of madness. Was it the unrelenting heat that drove these people out of their heads, or was it a repressive/excessive life that did it? I do rather enjoy reading of the festering rot beneath the surface, no matter the reason. Or maybe very much because of the reason. But that is for another time, my fascination for southern literature.

I am not fascinated by their weather and I want to give it back. Now, please. If I can't grow the plants you can because of this unholy heat, I don't want any part of it, none. My flowers are wilting, I am a befuddled mess and I give this back to the places that say y'all whilst they bless your heart.

I expect my own climate to return, posthaste. I thank you in advance.

Friday, May 21, 2010

And All Was Good

And they were content.

We have been busy readying pastures for the horses. As I have mentioned before, the mares were very destructive this past winter, chewing fence posts down to the ground. It took awhile to get that area of fencing back up, but now all is done.

Horses need to be eased onto grass in an attempt to keep them from founder and colic. Spring grass is lush and holds a lot of starch which many horses are not able to metabolize. They are almost ready to go out for the whole day, making all of us happy.


Beautiful Sophie


Babe, Iris & Sun Spot


Paternal sisters. Isabella & Queen


Topper & Ari


The rumps of Ben, Scamper & Laddy. Bounce and Bright.


Ari needs a little drink.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gone Gardening

May has been an unpredictable month, leaving us cold and wet for the first two weeks. Hurrah for us, it is now warm with glorious sunshine. So I have gone gardening with a vengeance. The iris are two weeks ahead of themselves, the peonies are going to open in another week and one of my antique roses has buds. Peonies are a June bloomer, my friends.


This is what I have awaiting me now. Wild blackberries have established themselves in my flower bed, completely obscuring the perennials. I am not looking forward to this as they are nasty thorny and the mosquitos like to dwell in all that bramble. Mark has suggested I just let it go and he may have a point. Sometimes nature is more determined than I.


This is an old bed which I replanted last year. It had died out from neglect and time. The old rose bushes are all that remain of its former self. I am an iris grower, so I have a constant source of transplants. The yellow iris and the daylily came with me from Saint Paul. Both were at the house when we bought it, so the plants have been around awhile and travelled with us to the country.


It's amazing how quickly a new flower bed can establish. Next year this will be full. Anyway, I am in the garden for an undetermined amount of time. The days have been long and I am not what I used to be. I wear out. As spry as I may appear to be, I still get tired and sore. Wonder Woman is becoming slightly tarnished. 

So my absence from your blogs has everything to do with my tired old self not having the energy in the evening nor the time throughout the day. The sapping of energy is the worst thing aging does to us. If only I could put those needy horses on hold for a little while I might have some time, but twenty-four beasties will not be ignored!

We'll see if I woman up and tackle all of that thorny bramble or if I allow nature to have her way. I would say the odds are fifty/fifty. See you when I emerge.

Friday, May 14, 2010

So It Shines

And there is light! Finally the rain has stopped and the sun has made an appearance.


I saw the light on these trees and couldn't resist. I suppose it drew me in because there hasn't been anything but rain and then more rain for four long, cold, dreary days. 


The potted hibiscus are blooming in their sheltered, secure position on the veranda. They have been the sole bright spot over these wet, overcast days. A touch of the tropics in Minnesota.


Margaret the Cat keeps a close eye on what I am doing. She has escape plans and looks for the opportunity every time it arises. She is clever and determined, but she doesn't leave home on the occasions when she has escape success. She comes like a dog when called. Well, not like my dogs, they don't come when called. So Margaret is better trained than the dogs!


How about a little food talk. Baked crab and asparagus. 


Things have been dull on the farm. I am not creative enough to pull things out of my hat. I need stimulation. Without activity and events, I find myself becoming dim.

Off I go. The day will be busy. Hopefully the sun has come out wherever you are.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Soggy

How quickly it turns. Something you want, you hope for and are delighted about when you get it. And then like a much anticipated guest who doesn't leave, your favor turns to disdain. May has been wet and cold. The rain which made me so happy has turned me into a world class grump. I'm cold and my arthritis hurts. That is a sentence I would never have imagined writing even a few years ago. Time has marched on and I do believe it has marched right over my knuckles. *sigh*

I am going to pick myself up out of this chair and do something today. I don't know what yet, but something. I have been doing a lot of chopping these past few days. There really is nothing like fresh produce, the only thing better is when it comes from your own garden. We are months away from that, so what I buy has to do.


I wish I had something to say. I don't though. The mind, like the body, needs to be fed and my mind has been on a hunger strike for some time now. Did I hear somewhere that broccoli is brain food? I think so, I hope so. I have another nice bunch of it to feed my gray cells with. I think I should leave now, as all I have to contribute is mindless ramblings from a dieting mind. I'll be back when the sun makes its' return. *sigh*

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Finely, Fennel

I made something a little different for dinner last night. I have a rather good collection of cookbooks, which collect dust on the shelves. I don't usually make anything that can't be prepared in a few minutes and I don't generally work from recipes. I like to try new flavors sometimes and this was one of those times. Finely sliced fennel.


I use fennel seed in tomato based sauces, but I have never used fennel (anise) in cooking. When I was in the produce department of the grocery store the woman working there told me I should try it. So I did.

The result was this fine mess. Chicken with garlic, leek and fennel. Very quick prep time, then braised for a few hours. It was very good and if I can remember what I did, I will do it again!

Boneless chicken breast, cut into pieces
Leek, sliced
Fennel bulb, sliced
Fresh grated ginger
Several garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

Brown chicken in peanut oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for a few minutes. Salt to taste. Add enough stock to almost cover. Tightly cover the pan and simmer on low heat for 3 - 4 hours.

I think I will dust off some of those cookbooks and see what I have forgotten about over the years of quick and easy. I remember some lovely food coming out of those pages. But for the everyday, busy life, this type of food is made fresh and is good to the taste. In minutes.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hum de Dum

The view out the window is wet. Wet, windy and grey. May is playing at becoming April and I think doing a job of it.

I haven't had anything to say; like the weather, I am dreary. Two cups of strong coffee and I still have no kick to me. What am I to do. I think I'll make pancakes for breakfast and not worry about it.


I don't know about you, but a stack of hot off the griddle pancakes is a treat to be enjoyed on a damp cold day in my kitchen. 

So that's all the news from here. I know there is something of interest happening somewhere in the world, but on my little patch of turf it is dreary and wet and grey and I am going to take solace in a stack of golden brown goodness. 

The End

Friday, May 7, 2010

All Things Green

We are having a beautiful soft, soaking rain. It has put me in a pleasant mood and I feel as grateful as the things green on the farm. Usually I show the bursts of color that I have worked diligently to have and enjoy. Today I went out in the life-giving rain and captured some moments in time of the green.









There is a thing green in the background, but I could not resist showing how disrespectful the birds have been to the cherub. I know he is there for their pleasure, but I mean, really.






I love my wild violets, even though they can be invasive. They can invade here all they wish to do.



Mark will be home today. I have had a week of quiet solitude; me and the dogs. And Margaret the Cat. I have enjoyed my time alone, as I will enjoy the company he brings when he returns. I wouldn't want to make a life of it, but some time alone is a welcome thing.

I am going to try very hard to leave the ignore button alone today. I really need to concentrate on returning order to my living space. I do not need to start a fire which will crackle invitingly, tempting me to sit with a book in my comfortable chair while it rains and the day slips away. No, I won't do this. I won't.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flowers & Food

What I meant to photograph when I got distracted by my baby, Howard. The lighting wasn't good, but I was going for the reflection in the table. I had to use the flash and it washed the lilacs out. They are the color in the reflection.



As I was pushing the ignore button yesterday, I was wondering what I would have for dinner. I was dining alone and don't like to put forth much effort for one. I had some frozen shrimp, so I made this. Saute garlic, red onion in cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Add dried basil (fresh would be good if you have it), tomato and mixed Mediterranean olives, pitted. Add shrimp, salt to taste and heat through. Serve over pasta, I used linguine. Top with chunks of goat cheese. I am the queen of easy, fast and flavorful.


I'm going to attempt something not so quick, hopefully next week. I got a top secret recipe from Allegra for ceviche. I will report on my attempt at this new venture for me in the kitchen. But the recipe is under lock & key.

We survived the gale force winds from yesterday. It's overcast and chilly, with rain on the way later. The beginning of May has not been promising. After a day in the barn, the horses will be excited to get out. Until they realize that once again it's just a patch of dirt. It won't be long before the pastures are ready for them. Poor things are bored stiff.

That's all the news fit to print.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Musings on Howard, Grace & Deeds Not Done

Home is where the doggie bed is.
Howard B. Hound
We are having a housebound afternoon; the wind is howling like a banshee. Howard makes himself comfortable in the bed he inherited from my wonderful old dog Bill. I braved the wind to pick lilac blooms, as I will be lucky if anything survives after being blown about with such force. My intention was to take a photo of the flowers, but I couldn't leave Howard out of the picture. Howard's only care in life is that food should arrive in his dish on time. This, I think would be a fine life.

It feels as if we will be swept up and taken to Oz. I wonder what I would ask the wizard for? I have a heart, courage and a brain. Perhaps I would ask for wisdom. Could I ask for worldwide wisdom? If so, I think that would be my request. I believe I could complete whatever quest I was set upon if I felt this would be the end result.

I do live in a house. I know I spend my time in a barn, in gardens and on a lawn tractor; I do indeed have walls around me that also need my infrequent attention. They need frequent attention, but it is doled out infrequently. I am not much interested in keeping a house. I think of it as a large dog house, as they make themselves at home wherever they find comfort. Gracie Greyhound, blurring the edges of acceptability. She knows she's not supposed to be there, but the consequences are not sharp enough to discourage a determined dog. 
Today I have tried to set my mind to the household tasks I so dutifully ignore, but find the ignore button is so easily reached and then pushed that I get nowhere, fast. The wind howls, the house shakes and I scratch a dogs ears, stare at the swaying spruce and wonder what I will do for dinner. The piles of dog hair that swirl at my feet simply disappears from my myopic line of vision. 

The house is quiet. The wind is pounding at the windows, seeking a way into the stillness of the room. Howard has moved from his bed to the stuffed chair in my office, his other bed. He is my constant companion, my good boy. It is becoming apparent to me that I will once again waste my time scratching Howie's belly, watching the wind pound the trees and telling Grace to get off the sofa. Dust will not be dusted, floors will not be swept. And I, if the truth is told, will not care.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blink

You cannot stare into the face of horror without blinking. To do so will surely drive you mad. So today I blinked. I looked at what is blooming and unfurling and felt glad. It won't make the horror disappear, but it may keep me from the brink. Sometimes it truly is the small things.

Pink Honeysuckle




White Honeysuckle

Old Fashion Lilac

Dianthus 

Fiddle Head Fern


So I hunker down on my little piece of turf and put the things that make me want to drop to my knees, sobbing and cursing, away, into the little box inside my head that allows for the appearance of calm well-being. After you do what you can do, there is no alternative to going about the day-to-day as best as one can. Flowering bushes and lacy fern make it a little bit easier, at least for me. I hope it does for you as well.

Monday, May 3, 2010

America's Chernobyl

Hope is toxic if you hold onto to it too long without action.
Bill Moyers

Gerald Herbert

William Colgin

Patrick Semansky

Gerald Herbert

Mark Ralston

The Supreme Court recently gave corporations full rights as human beings. That should mean full responsibility as well. Eleven people are dead. An environmental disaster of epic proportion has occurred which will ultimately result in more death of humankind, as well as the probable destruction of countless species of wildlife. It is possible for this oil to go all the way up the eastern seaboard. I think a corporate death penalty is in order. Break them up. Give Haliburton and BP the death penalty.