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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I've Got Nothing, Or Why A Person Needs To Know Their Limitations

I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is a touch of yearning at times, but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.
Helen Keller

I have found in my wanderings through  blogland that it is a popular tradition for bloggers to do give-aways. There are many talented and creative people populating cyberspace who reward followers with gifts. 

I have pondered this habit and I find myself coming up short. I don't have any particular talent. I abhor doing crafts, I have no talent for jewelry making or any other artistic endeavour. I don't collect anything other than horses, I don't have an etsy store or any other business except horses. A total wash-out. Except I have done a respectable job as a horse breeder. Somehow, this particular talent does not seem to translate well in the give-away venue. I can't imagine saying to followers, post 'you're in' for this fine five year old Arabian gelding. I'll do a drawing at the end of the week and inform you all on Friday who the lucky winner is. I think it would be a very quiet week!

So my dear readers, I don't seem to be able to come up with anything to give away. All I have is a piece of my mind. But Alicia at boylerpf has a very generous give-away going in celebration of her birthday. Check it out.

I think I'll go back to feeling inadequate and talentless now. 

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Grilled Chicken With Tarragon Wine Sauce

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
Harriet Van Horne

I made this for Friday evening dinner. It is a chicken breast cooked on a charcoal grill. I use charred wood. I concocted this free-hand, so it's a little sketchy on measurements.

Sauce: 6 green onion, chopped top & all
Enough olive oil to generously coat the pan (medium saute pan)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup half & half
1/4 cup white wine
a generous amount of fresh tarragon ( I have lots of it in my garden!)

Saute onions briefly, add mustard and salt, mix. Add half & half and wine. Simmer until thick. Add tarragon at the end.

I served this with fresh greens from my garden with a balsamic vinaigrette and lemon thyme rice. (I have lemon thyme in the garden as well)

It really was quite nice and very simple. I'll do it again!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

First Bounty of the Season

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse

We were able to enjoy a small bit of the fruits of our labor for dinner. I planted a seed packet of mixed greens and they are now ready to eat. Very good, I must say!

I told Mark that this year it is our garden because he worked hard removing sod and tilling soil for me to have this garden. Next year it will be mine, but this year I will think it ours.

Enjoy the weekend. Eat well and play well. Then let me know all about it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

Alicia at boylerpf  has honored me with the Uber Amazing Blog Award. I had to adjust the size of my cap this morning, as I think I may be getting a big head!

I appreciate the award and I really appreciate Alicia for helping me with Bounce. Alicia has an eclectic blog that ranges from vintage jewelry to roller coasters, so take a look.

Now I need to present this to 6 fellow bloggers. 

This is a very diverse group of bloggers, so there will be something for everyone! Thanks again Alicia.

Pork Ribs

Mark's dinner plate. I do call him the meat eater for a reason!

Baked gingered bone-in pork ribs with onions and garlic. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009


It was overcast and looked like a storm was brewing, but it seems to have passed us by. Too bad. We could use the rain. I could use the down time the rain brings. We had a little rain yesterday. Flowers after the rain, they look content after their shower.

I think I will borrow a phrase I read on Ganeida's blog in answer to her seven questions. She called herself an extroverted introvert. I am also an extroverted introvert. I could easily become a recluse, but the image that congers up is enough to push me out into the world. 

I have a cat sprawled on my desk playing with my fingers as I type. This makes typing difficult and occasionally painful. She is a good old cat, so I let her do what she wants. Perhaps because it is very difficult to make a cat do otherwise. I find I like cats more than I used to. I must be mellowing. Do you think we are like a fine wine or stellar cheese; that we become better as we age? Our casing certainly loses its glow, but the insides do mellow with time. I think so anyway.

There are I times I think I have a commonality with these roses. They are antique, they need little care and they bloom once and are then done with it. 

Wall Street is back at it. Trading derivatives and handing out huge bonuses. Business as usual. I think we are a house of cards. 

I wonder when I hear the argument against a national healthcare system, the one about affording it. I wonder why no one says the obvious; we are already paying. A lot. $1200 a month here in this household. 40% comes right off the top for profit. Bill McQuire walked out of United Health a couple of years ago with a parting gift of over a billion dollars. We would rather have the HMO get between us and our doctor, rather have care denied for the purpose of profit. There is something fundamentally wrong with one's life being weighed against profit.

The storm has passed us over, the sun is out and it will be another hot day ahead. Time to take myself out into the humid air so I can work and wilt. I think I am grateful for air conditioning. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Poetry-less Wednesday

I find I'm not feeling much like reading poetry today. It's been mercilessly hot and humid and I am wilted. If I wanted to live in the tropics, that's where I would be. I'm a northern tier sort of individual.

Instead, here's some flowers from the garden. A pretty lavender delphinium.

The climbing hydrangea on the back of my house.

Asiatic lilies just starting to bloom. 

The bloom is definitely off this rose. I'm more like a piece of limp wilted lettuce!

I've Been Awarded!

Judy of Judith B Designs has given the Premio Meme Award to my blog. I am truly honored and thank her very much for thinking of me. 

The rules are that I must tell 7 facts about myself and I am to give this award to 7 people.

So here goes, more about me. : )

1.  I cannot handle hot, humid weather. It literally makes me sick, so the past few days have been a real trial of perseverance. 

2.  I like biscuits and gravy. I always order this at the local cafe on the rare occasions I go out for breakfast. It's a good thing this is not often, since it's really not so healthy!

3.  I have become a person who worries. I never used to worry about things, but now I do. I don't know if this is a sign of maturity or a sign of the times.

4.  Some mornings I would like to be able to sleep as long as I desire. I'm sure I would still get up early, but it would be my choice.

5.  I can be sarcastic, blunt and unrelenting.

6.  I put less than 2000 miles a year on my Jeep. 

7.  I'm considering having my hair cut very short and letting it be gray again. I'm still in the considering stage.

Now, drum roll please............the 7 who I am passing this award onto.

I would have handed it over to Alicia at  Blogger (Blogspot) - boylerpf, but Judy gave it to her already!

Please give these blogs a look, they are all different in style and substance and worthy of spending a little time on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Little House In The City

Home is where one starts from. 
T.S. Eliot

My thirty-five year old son has purchased and just moved into his first home. The down-turn in housing has allowed him to afford his own home, which made him feel a little bad, but it is what it is. This was not a foreclosed property, but values have dropped enough to make home ownership available to him. The Twin Cities metro area was very expensive.

So he bought his little house in the city of Minneapolis. Matthew is a chef with the aptitude you may expect where handyman things come into play, so he needed something turnkey and as maintenance free as possible and he got it in this bungalow. The house is spotless and completely redone throughout. The lawn needs some work and it can use landscaping, but that's it.

We are so happy for him and now I get to bring him some flowering pots and lots of perennials from my yard. He wants ivy to plant along the backyard fence and I can give him all of that he needs. It grows wild in my tree line.

I need to be careful about being the meddling mom, but now I have something to meddle in! 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Forever Elegent

Forever Elegent
(NV Shalako x Elegent)
5/10/92 - 6/21/09

Mama Ellie had a colic she couldn't recover from and was laid to rest early in the morning on Sunday.

She was a wonderful mother to her brood of fillies. Such a good girl, she only had daughters. She was without a doubt the best mother on the farm, she loved babies. Broodmare was her only job and she did it to perfection. She is also the mare that taught the two Arabian stallions how to breed. She had infinite patience with them, making their first experience positive. They loved Mama Ellie.

My tribute to her is that she always settled into foal, carried the babies to term without issue and foaled them out without help or worry. She stood still for them to nurse and she watched them like the mother that she was. Her babies learned to be independent and brave because she let them. But woe to anything that she thought would threaten her young. She would not be intimidated. She basically raised Topper because Diamond Rose didn't have much interest in him and Ellie didn't have a baby that year. So she stood guard over Topper. He used his mother for milk and that was about it. If she had been without a foal when Zing was born, he would have had a mother when DR died. There is no higher honor for a broodmare than to say she did her job. The stallions get all of the credit and the mares do all of the work. When you have a really good one, you know it. I knew it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chicken & Stuff

Quick, easy & flavorful.

We eat a fair amount of chicken, so I'm always concocting something or another. This time it's chicken breast cooked in olive oil with a medium onion chopped, 6 garlic cloves pressed, a bunch of fresh French tarragon, some fresh basil, a little spinach, a yellow pepper, salt & pepper. I also used about a tbs of fennel seed because I like it with pasta. Some pasta and a little grating cheese & it's dinner. If you don't eat meat, it's a good accompaniment with pasta alone.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The sky is falling!
Chicken Little

I'm sure it is, I think I have been picking pieces of it up on my lawn. I'm pretty sure I've been hit in the head by falling pieces. That's got to be the answer. These figures can't be real, so I must be delirious.

9.5 TRILLION have been funneled from the Federal Reserve to Wall Street over the past nine months. The GNP of the US is about 12 TRILLION. No one can or will say where or how it has been used.

The United States has a 3-6 TRILLION trade deficit. China just did a stimulus package that included a buy Chinese first provision. Remember that was in the US stimulus package but was taken out at the staunch urging of so-called conservatives. And a few blue dog Democrats.

The year before Ronald Reagan took office the pay for CEO's was 30 times the average worker. In 2008 it was 500 times the average worker.

1.5 MILLION homes have been foreclosed in the past 1.5 years, with no end in sight.

24.99% the new interest rate on a credit card I have, went from 7.99%. No balance, no late payments, no over credit limit. Go figure. I did see this bank is one that is now considered healthy enough to get out from under TARP. They take federal money to save their sorry asses, then they turn around and change interest to usury rates (except that we don't have usury laws in the US anymore) so they can get out of some limp oversight. 

100% The amount my heath insurance cost has increased by in 4 years.

My disgust, disdain and despair..........priceless.

I'm sure all of this is a result of a piece of the sky conking me on the head, we couldn't really be impotent enough as a nation to allow this to happen to us, could we?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Little Humor on a Wednesday

Manic Muse

My muse is dead, just up and died.
Never left a note, never said goodbye.
I cajole her and beg her and still she sleeps.
My creative flair, a prisoner she keeps.

I bang my head, and bite my nails.
And still no creative tales.
So at long last I give up the fight,
Turn off the PC, and say goodnight.

And just as my body drifts off to sleep,
I hear this annoying little "peep"
I tell her . . . "No, go away . . .
I called and called for you all day! "

But the "peeps" persist and grow louder still
Until from my slumber I am drawn against my will.
So here I sit in the middle of the night,
Gleaning a strange comfort from the monitor's light.

And wait and wait for my muse to speak,
But all I get is that annoying "peep!"
You might find me one early morn , passed on , gone to my Lord,
And all because my muse was bored!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rhubarb Sour Cream Cake

I have two large patches of rhubarb. Mark has always given it away because I didn't use it. I decided I was a vision of domesticity this year, leaving me with a desire to use my own rhubarb. I have made two pies and some sauce so far, so now I wanted to try something new. I did a recipe search for rhubarb cake and decided to use this one. I started before I realized I only had 1/2 cup of sour cream, so I used 1/2 cup of banana yogurt to make 1 cup. It didn't seem to matter, as this is good. The recipe didn't say what to do with the 1/2 cup sugar and the nutmeg. As it was at the end I figured it was to be sprinkled over the top before baking. I believe I was right!

Rhubarb Sour Cream Cake


4 Tablespoons Butter 
1 1/2 Cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar 
1 Egg 
1 Tablespoon Vanilla 
2 1/2 Cups Flour 
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
1 Teaspoon Salt 
1 Cup Sour Cream 
4 Cups Rhubarb cut into 1/2" pieces 
1/2 Cup Sugar 
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg


Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift flour with baking soda and salt. Add to mixture. Fold in sour cream and rhubarb. Spoon into greased 9" X 13" pan. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.


Arabians: A little bit of everything perfect.
  - Amanda Ferber 

       Closeness, friendship, affection - keeping your own horse means all these things.
 - Bertrand Leclair

WF Impressive
(GGS Topper+/ x LF Diamond Rose)

As he exited the birth canal, I caught him in my outstretched arms. Diamond Rose preferred to deliver her foals while standing. Only once did she lay down, with Zing. I should have known something was wrong because of that.

A beautiful, delicate colt. So refined he hardly seemed real. He was the last of three foals that year, the other two big bruisers of Half-Arabian colt flesh. Topper was so much like a china figurine in the middle of a bull pen with those two boys.

He was my sweet boy. I left him whole, he had the pedigree to back up his beauty and his athletic ability. His sire was an old horse at the time I bred Diamond Rose to him and he was dead by the time Topper was born. GGS Topper+/ was known as a broodmare sire and there are no other breeding sons by him. Just my horse.

And now I am faced with a gut-wrenching decision. Castration of my favorite, the manly one. The farm stallion. Topper is a breeding stallion, not just an intact male horse. He is a stallion who is aware of his job. He doesn't have a job anymore, since the last thing anyone with any sense is doing is breeding horses. So Topper is a victim of bad economic policies also.

My beautiful horse is not happy. He is anxious, angry and becoming neurotic. Sounds emanate from him that seem not of this earth. He needs a job and I can't give him one. I don't see a job for him as I look down the road. The horse industry is always the last thing to recover in bad economic times and this is as bad as I have ever seen it. It is likely he will never cover another mare again in his life. He is twelve, so that is a long time to be frustrated and angry.

So I am left to agonize over a decision I don't want to make. The emotion is all my own. The horse doesn't have the consciousness to understand the change. He will settle into being a gelding. He will get what he has always wanted; a mare herd to control and protect. He's been a stallion long enough that he will still have that instinct, but it won't result in foals. I, on the other hand, cannot seem to fathom him as a gelding. It brings tears to my eyes and a sickness to my stomach. It will be the end of a line and the end of an era. I know it's best, but I don't want to do it. And I know I must.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crazy Busy, Or Just Crazy

I am woman!  I am invincible!  I am pooped!  ~Author Unknown

My helper Deb told me that she saw a sign somewhere that said something along the line of When women work, they just do it. When men work, they announce it. Oh well, I'm announcing anyway.

I have been a busy person, keeping me off the computer and away from blogland. I haven't been able to keep up with my list of blogs I enjoy.

I wonder how I managed this place when I had 35 horses to care for. Foals born and mares being bred. And I did not have help. The simple answer is, I was younger! Another component is that I was focused on my work and nothing else. There is a decade and a half that is basically a blur.

Twenty seven horses probably doesn't sound like winding down, but it is. They are easier to care for now, the youngest is three, and I have had help for the past three years. Still, I have been a woman at work.

I have followed through with my wintertime musings and tended my gardens, those miserable vestiges of fading glory. Cleaned up, thinned out and replanted several beds. It's been a satisfying labor and one I am pleased to have followed through on.

Anyway, if I am absent from here and gone missing from my daily blog visits, it's because I am a woman at work, a woman who comes in at night too tired to think, so I leave the computer alone and watch TV instead. Summer in MN is fleeting and must be savored when it presents itself!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Existential Thinks

 The process of questioning reality. Are we really here or are we particles floating in space and we don't know it.

 Are we the result of an omnipotent being's peaceful slumber, a never ending dream that continues to play?

Or are we a product of some mischievous being's practical joke.

 Are we the pawns in the gods game?

 Is this real or is it all an illusion. Or is it Memorex!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Gustav Klimt

A Superscription

LOOK in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell;
Unto thine ear I hold the dead-sea shell
Cast up thy Life's foam-fretted feet between;
Unto thine eyes the glass where that is seen
Which had Life's form and Love's, but by my spell
Is now a shaken shadow intolerable,
Of ultimate things unuttered the frail screen.

Mark me, how still I am! But should there dart
One moment through thy soul the soft surprise
Of that winged Peace which lulls the breath of sighes,-
Then shalt thou see me smile, and turn apart
Thy visage to mine ambush at thy heart
Sleepless with cold commemorative eyes.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Earth Says......Ahhhh

Rain. When you've had too much of it, it is despised. When there's been too little, your heart bursts for the sheer joy of it. My heart is bursting. Everything around us was brown and dying. I was valiantly watering my gardens, but I couldn't do enough to do much good, other than keeping it all from curling up. When you have livestock dependent upon hay, drought brings a sense of terror. We are not out of the drought condition, we were 12" below normal rainfall over a year long period and 5" below normal for the season. Most of the state got at least 1/2", while we were fortunate to have a little over an inch of rain. If nothing else, this gives hope. I'll take it.

It's been awhile since I have seen a puddle.

The turtles overseeing the new rose garden are as hopeful as I that the bushes will finally leaf out.

The potted plants enjoyed their bath of rain water.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pie & Other Things

We had a lovely rainy day Saturday, so I was house bound. I am not a homemaker, I'm a barnkeeper. But there are times when being in for a day can have satisfying results. One of those is pie. I had rhubarb, which I had picked a few days ago, and fresh strawberries which I purchased that morning. The result was very good, if I do say so myself!

I had tidied up a bit, but my house had a long way to go to be presentable to company. The pie had just come out of the oven, I was on the phone with Mark, who had gone to Mpls. to get his tennis racket restrung, and was returning with Vietnamese Spicy Chicken for dinner.

An unfamiliar car pulled up the drive, and I in my clodhopper slippers, stepped outside into the drizzle to investigate the situation. We don't get too many unannounced cars pulling in, this is more of a large delivery vehicles kind of place.

An unfamiliar older man opened the car window and announced he used to live here. It was the man we purchased from 16 years ago. Amazing how much he aged over 16 years, while I have hardly changed a bit. He had his adult son with him and wondered if he could show his son the interior of the house. His son had never seen the place and the dad wanted him to see the great room.

The prior owner was, as I understand it, a brilliant, entrepreneurial man. He had been married four times, the first three to the same woman. The fourth had ended at the time we found this place. He had a serious alcohol problem. When he stopped drinking, he made money, when he started again, he lost it. The son was a result of the first wife, the three times married and divorced wife. He never saw the place because he moved to Washington at seventeen and had not returned to MN until Friday afternoon. He told me he is fifty. Needless to say, there is a lot of water under the bridge between he and his dad.

The dad is a creative man. He purchased this place from the original farming family who had owned it for generations. Why it didn't continue to pass on in the family is another story. One of ornery greed and the breakup of a family. But that isn't today's story. The prior owner to us made this into a house that looks like a New England cottage on the outside and a mountain lodge inside. He wanted his son to see it.

I had no choice. I had to swallow my limited pride (it wasn't too bitter a pill) and let them into my mess. Mess is not quite the right term, although there was a little of that. Dust and dog hair and probably a musty dog/horse odor which permeates my nasal membrane, leaving me impervious to the effect of the smell. The thing about embarrassment, it is usually fleeting.

I rather swiftly directed them to the barn, my real home. This was as it should be, filled with beautiful, well-fed horses and a clean horse smell. They were dutifully impressed! The number of horses I own always leads to talk of the economy. We had a common ground, although the son is a precinct captain of his local Republican caucus and I have been a district delegate for the Democratic Party. With a gulf like this, we had very similar opinions. A bad economy, brought on by unfettered greed, brought two diverse people together with a shared disgust. And a shared fear. The three of us had a civil, interesting conversation.

So a day that started out making a pie, progressed into an unexpected interruption, a small embarrassment, a prideful display of horses and an intellectual discussion of politics. All in the span of an hour. Sometimes I actually do enjoy my life. 

Saturday, June 6, 2009


It's raining!

It isn't apparent in the photo, but we are having a beautiful soft rainfall. It's been a month and a half since we have seen any rain. I hope it rains and rains. The gentle sigh we hear is the earth expressing its gratitude.

Friday, June 5, 2009

On The Other Hand

I couldn't end the week with such a depressing topic, so I will send us into the weekend with a smile. The peonies are blooming.

Buds turn into


Which this industrious little honey bee was making good use of.

Sign of the Times

Rich folks always talk hard times.
Lillian Smith ~ American writer
1897- 1966

This sign is all over where I live. 

This strip mall was built in the small community about 2 miles from my home, Saint Bonifacious.

Built last year, it has no occupants.

This space is in the lake town about 6 miles from my place, Mound. This has been there about four years and is and has always been vacant.

This apartment building has been boarded for two years. It is also in Saint Bonifacious. It looks like there will be an auction. 

We feel it viscerally, the rot that lay beneath the surface. There is a sense of helplessness as the train plows forward. Unless we are in the top one percent, we are all vulnerable and we know it. My relatively affluent community is an example. The rich may talk hard times, but many of the other are feeling the hard times. OK, it's Friday and I'm feeling fretful.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Thursday's child is full of grace

Water Iris
I was born on a Saturday. Saturday's child works hard for a living. I have no idea if it was destined that this would be true, or if it is purely my own short-sighted choice. But I have worked hard. If I had been born on Thursday, would I be full of grace? 

I have noticed that everything is costing a lot more money. I have purchased flowers the past couple of days and the flat price is quite high. It seems counter-productive to continue to raise prices in an economy that is barely breathing as it is. I know my annual population will be less this year than in the past. Way too much to spend, even though I enjoy being surrounded by blooms. I think we are ass-backwards in handling the economic mess we got ourselves into.

If the tomato plants I put in all produce well, we will be living on a diet of tomatoes. I over did the tomato planting. I have planted garlic and shallots. This is a new thing for me to try and I am looking forward to the results. They are flourishing. Seems a little silly to be so excited about garlic.

Queen, the other half of Homer and Queen at Raders Out Loud posed the question, why blog?  I said I would think about an answer. I lead a somewhat solitary life. I see people, in short spurts, here and there, but most of my days are spent on the farm. I go to the farm supply, the grocery store, the liquor store. I go to the nursery in the spring and I sometimes join a friend for lunch. But most of the time I am here. I am not a withdrawn person, I am a talker, I am opinionated and I have a lot to say, probably because I don't get to say it very often! When I consider why I do it, it seems sort of pathetic, but here it is. It is a way for me to express my thoughts, to sometimes display my efforts, whether gardening, cooking, cleaning a mountain of tack or rejoicing that I actually swept the floor. I realized one day last August that I could start a blog if I wanted to, it was right there and easy to do, so a monster was easily created. I notified a few friends and started typing. I like to take photos and this gives me an opportunity to put them on display, my own personal photography studio! And I really enjoy connecting with people I would never otherwise 'meet'. I do a pretty good job of not being obsessed, which is a concern for my personality type. Anyway, there's the sad truth. I'm not a writer, I'm not a photographer, I'm not interesting or exotic. I'm a reformed horse breeder with a computer and a good camera and no obligation in the evening. And I'm not shy.

I realized at one point during Wednesday afternoon that anyone driving by my place at any given time probably thought they were seeing the dark side of the moon. I was transplanting iris, and as it is easy to plant I would simply bend over to put it into the ground. So my ample bum was facing the road throughout the day. No it was not a total eclipse of the sun. It was a moon.  Bending over with the back end facing the road probably should be illegal.

This is a patchwork of thinks, a collage of rambling musings. If you take anything away from this, let it be, don't moon the road.