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

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I have a minute to give to this. My eighty-six year-old father passed away early Tuesday morning. It has been a very difficult time for my mother. I am occupied with all of the items associated with a death in the family and a very emotionally fragile surviving spouse.

The thirty-two year-old horse on the farm decided it was a good time to go as well. We said our goodbyes to him on Thursday.

It was my father's time. Hopefully my mother will learn to live her life without him. I will continue to be absent for awhile.

Friday, February 19, 2010

An Observation

It is five degrees F in the frozen bit of land I call home.

My home is heated by propane. Propane has become very expensive over the past few years, causing a rather large hole in the bank account. We live in a cold house because of this. But, and here is my observation, the large room is mostly glass and it is warm. When the sun is out, that very large space that I don't heat at all is warm and toasty due to the solar effect.

As stated, it is cold outside. My glass room is warm. Why isn't solar energy a priority? Why did President Obama make a large financial commitment to build two nuclear power plants in Georgia? This seems to be a backward step; dangerous and expensive. Actually I know the answer. There isn't any powerful lobbying money coming from alternative energy industries.

It really is a shame that the people and the planet are abused and used to further the goals of a powerful few. I don't think anyone who thought about it a little could truly come to the conclusion that alternative sources would not be realistic and viable if the proper resources were put into their development. Like the multi-billion going toward building those plants.

Instead we burn fossil fuel and create nuclear waste which we don't know what to do with. And I think we always will, at least during the rest of my time on this abused orb we call home.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shallow Thoughts

I half expected to have a repeat of yesterday's surprise this morning. I literally stood at the window peering intently for a glimpse of the magic. No such luck.

Minnesota girl Lindsey Vonn got her gold. She had the magic yesterday. From Buck Hill ski slopes to gold in Vancouver. That has to be magic.

It's another lovely day in the frozen land. I cross my fingers that winter's brutal edge is past and we can get a break...........please. My waistline really cannot handle much more of this long winter. Yesterday I made Dawn's oatmeal cookies. I also ate my weight in Dawn's oatmeal cookies. This has been a winter not only of my discontent, but of eating my way through the internet! Flour has strewn across my baking table the whole winter long.

It's been a long time since I have sat down to write my Thursday's rambling thoughts. I think it's because my mind isn't rambling about much of late. It is winter, I'm not active in much of anything that can stimulate the brain. Mostly I have been active in what stimulates the appetite. See how I come right back to that. Oh, my.

Today I believe I shall actually attempt to accomplish something. I have had two weeks of wanton laziness and it is beginning to feel very comfortable to me. Leisure sure does feel good, when you can get it. With that said, I will get my ever increasing duff out of the chair and get to work. I'll leave you with another image of better days ahead.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Moment

Internet stock photo

In the early morning light I caught movement out of my left eye, the side toward the window. In the distance, a herd of white tail loping along the road. Large deer, their fluffy white tails standing at attention, were filling the road.

A moment that caught my breath before I could exhale. Beautiful, seen through the spruce against a backdrop of winter. They stopped for a moment, regrouping and planning the next move. Off they went into the field, heading for the woods.

One of those moments in time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We're All Mad Here ~ The Cat

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see? 
The Persistence of Memory ~ Salvador Dali

The cousin speaks to me in muffled mumbles. I cannot hear her, so I watch her face. When she smiles I laugh softly and when she frowns I shake my head and murmur, oh dear. The original low talker. This cousin I have known always. Her husband, another eternal in my life, says you need to watch your pets, with all the Asians around. I look at him as he sagely nods his head. All around agree that Canadians need to come to the US to get medical care. They sit with their hands clasped in their laps, heads bobbing in agreement. Canadian health care doesn't work. They all say so. And the mother knows plenty of Canadians who need to come here to be treated. I comment that the mortuary business must be booming in Canada, since they can't get any treatment there. Four sets of eyes fall upon me, wondering where I came from, secretly wishing I would return to wherever that place is. I wonder as well. I wonder if this is real or if I am in the middle of a Salvador Dali painting. Perhaps I walked through the looking glass.

Absurdity in a hospital room. Awkwardness, discomfort, a continuance of a lifelong en guard. As I stepped into the hall to check my reality, I gazed about for any lingering pet eating Asians and was pretty sure I heard an errant 'eh' escaping one of the patient's rooms. Must be a lucky Canadian, thinks me. One less for the mortician.

In every family there is that one, the one that doesn't fit. The one that makes the rest look at their feet as they shuffle them around, moving some invisible object to and fro. That one would be me. Usually this person in a family has some prison stories, a bunch of piercings and a friend named Spike, the prison tattoo artist. I have the ability to think critically. They would prefer Spike.

How do you like your tea; in a cup or in a bag dangling from your hat?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Echos. Whispers. Whips.

Photo Sarah Martin

Time. It erodes what it touches. Vitality, will. Memory, skin. Bones.

My father had a birthday yesterday. In the hospital. Always, it seems, he is in the hospital; but then somehow manages to rally just enough to go home. To a wife who can't care for him, but struggles under the obligation of her time to do so. Who is slowly killing herself whilst she performs her Herculean duty.

Where did he go? The strong, dominating personage that was my father. He is replaced by a shriveled, angry countenance of humanity which is recognizable only in a whisper. A faint echo of a life gone by.

A cousin met for the first time in forty years. She loves Uncle Bob. I don't know who she is. She recognized me. How? Time has worked its way on me as well. She recognized me, called me by name. And I don't remember her.

This time there is cancer. He doesn't know, he can't know. The mother expects to bring him home, she expects he will live forever. I have lost tenderness, so I tell her he won't. But I don't actually believe it. He has defied his inevitable destiny too many times. He is old. He is shrunken. But he is.

I want him in a care facility. He wants to go home. She does what he wants. The stranger who is my cousin says there is such a sweet devotion between them. Why don't I see this? Why do I see the flash of the lash and the bending of the body to obey.

The people talk. Where is the daughter, why doesn't she do something about this. Why are they in this home they can't care for and why is the wife left to struggle so hard to manage the invalid old man. They have their faculties, if not their reason, and can't be convinced. Refuse to hear. They have not changed, they just got old.

They want something from me. Now. In the winter of their life, they want my affection. I can give them my logic. I can give them compassion. Parents who were emotionally absent during a child's life, busy fighting their demons and each other now want tender mercies. I have information, which they don't want. I have my presence, which they finally do want. Or perhaps simply need.

He will go home. She will wear herself into the dirt. People will talk. I will give information and solutions. He will be home. She will wear herself into the dirt. People will talk.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cupid and Psyche

Happy Valentine's Day

Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet entranced,
After her wandering labours long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal bride;
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.

John Milton

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Grey & White

I guess this is why I live here. 

There is something amazing about living somewhere that changes it's landscape seemingly overnight. In a couple of months there will be apple blossoms on my craggy old tree. For now we have hoar frost and snow. It has its own beauty.

Forty-nine states have snow on the ground this morning. Hawaii is the exception. We in the upper northern tier are prepared for this and know what to do with it. It's a mess for most of these states and a big expense. More on the way. But they will still see the apple blossoms before we do!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let The Invasion Begin

45,000 people die in the US every year due to the lack of healthcare. That is one person every 12 minutes.

Thanks to Allegra Smith of Beading Stars

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Simply Sweet

Wednesday was a baking day. I modified a recipe I once again found on MAY ALL SEASONS BE SWEET TO THEE

I had apples I froze last fall that needed to be used so I decided to make this lovely pastry instead of a pie. I let the apples steep in the sugar and spices as I would for a pie, but I followed the pastry recipe, save using shortening. I used coconut oil instead, which Dawn introduced me to as well.

My waistline is not benefiting, but this sweet treat is wonderful with a cup of camomile tea. If you have some apples or pears that need using go check out the recipe. Fruit filled pastry delights!

Still Crazy

Grace wants everyone to know she's no stinkin' wimpy Greyhound!

Just try to put a coat on me.........

I'm fast.......

He's not, but he can use his ears to fly.

I'm sneaky........


And tough!

Leave him in the dust, every time.

I am Grace.

And he is not.

I am Grace Greyhound and I ROCK.

The End.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Stark Landscape

Cold. Beautiful. Harsh

The land I have lived my life in. Your environment shapes who you become. Those of us who survive and thrive in this cold landscape are fashioned by it. We are an outwardly friendly, inwardly wary people. Tending to expect the worst and rarely disappointed.

There is something perverse in settling in such a hostile place when all you have is a wagon, a cow and a will to survive. I don't know how they did it. I don't know why they did it. Because they did, it seems we the reflections of our fore-bearers, stay. We complain, but we remain.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The dog variety.

I know those of you in the eastern section of the US & Canada don't want to see snow, but just look past it to the dogs! My dogs love snow. Grace is ready to pounce on Howard, another favorite thing.

Howard is a Snow Hound. He runs his sniffer along in the snow as he walks along. I guess the snow must bring up some wonderful smells.

We are in the path of a three day snow event, which will leave us somewhere around one foot of light fluffy stuff. Nothing like the heavy wet snow the east got.

It's a long day in the barn today. It's been temperate in MN lately, so being out for the day is not a bad thing. I'll leave the cuteness of the pups and get to work. Yes I will.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Of Syrup & Societies

Horticultural Society today. This session is a collaboration with the Historical Society and will be about maple syrup production in Mound. Who knew Mound was the epicenter of syrup production at one time.

Off the farm twice in the span of a week. I do believe this is a record! Perhaps I will be lifted from my glum mood. I should not watch Bill Moyer before going to bed.

Have a good day. Stay warm.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Muffled Silence

Man could not live if he were entirely impervious to sadness. Many sorrows can be endured only by being embraced, and the pleasure taken in them naturally has a somewhat melancholy character. So, melancholy is morbid only when it occupies too much place in life; but it is equally morbid for it to be wholly excluded from life. 
Emile Durkheim

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Give Me Comfort

I have been spending more time inside this winter. My body had started to feel the toll of the unrelenting work associated with my farm and my horses. Something had to give and I decided it was in my best interest that it be some of the barn work rather than my ability to walk and use my arms. So standards have slipped over the long winter, but an amazing thing is happening. I can feel my body heal. I will never be forty again, or even fifty. But I am slowly feeling better.

The wear repetitive motion places on joints is startling. Couple that with tugging, pulling and jarring and I had one sore body. The extra time has had me in the kitchen, trying some new things.

Today I decided to try these mushrooms ala Beading Stars She is a very accomplished cook, so I pay attention to her advice. I don't eat mushrooms but Mark does, so I made one jar for him to try. I'm sure he will love them. 

I think a little time devoted to wool gathering is not a bad thing. I am a tightly wound individual who obviously needed a little unwinding; mentally and physically. Our bodies tell us when enough is enough. If we don't listen, we are eventually forced to do so. I didn't listen. I am now.

The moral of the story is, stop along the way to sit down and eat a cookie. Or pickle some mushrooms.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another Good Reason For Elastic

Tuesday began as a gray day with light snow. I boiled a couple of soup bones Monday, so before I turned out the horses I started a pot of vegetable beef barley soup for lunch. The sun came out in the meantime, but the soup was still a wonderful warming meal on a winter day.

After lunch I made a batch of cookies. The savory smell of soup gave way to the delightfully sweet smell of sugar and chocolate.

An afternoon nosh of cookies accompanying a nice cup of tea. I feel absolutely spoiled!

I have to give credit where it is due. The recipe for these fantastic cookies came from MAY ALL SEASONS BE SWEET TO THEE   

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snow, Pears & Granny

Can't wish it away!

At least a fresh dusting cleans it up.

The girls aren't impressed with me.

Although it's another gray morning it is warmer, 12 Fahrenheit. Life on the farm is uneventful, thankfully.

I had a strange experience yesterday. I was in the grocery store, putting pears into the bag provided for produce and fruit. The bottom of the bag split and the pears tumbled to the ground. As I was about to pick them up, a forty-ish woman rushed to help me. She was very solicitous toward me, picking up the fruit, getting a new bag and placing the fruit into the bag for me. I was surprised, but pleased that someone could be so kind. But something seemed vaguely familiar in how she was responding to me. Then it clicked.....she was treating me the way that is common to treat an elderly person who needs help!

Now this is a conundrum. I know I don't look that old. I must have appeared befuddled, which would not surprise me. I am often. Regardless of the initial surprise, I was left with a lovely feeling. This is an age group that tends to be rude and careless toward others. It's been my experience at least. She was a shining beacon of hope for the future, as they will be the people caring for us when we are actually old. I have shuddered at the thought, but this kind woman tells me I needn't fear.

Now, I need to work on my 'outside face'. I can't stumble-bumble around in public like a lost soul, I need to concentrate! If I listen really hard I can hear my horses laughing out loud.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Finally. We see the last of January for another year. Why is January so long?

As I look out my window this morning it is gray, but a lovely light snow is falling. We could use a fresh cover on the blanket. Like a new duvet. Hello February. I like you more, you are short and you speak softly of spring. We in the dark, frozen land know it is a promise that will not be kept, not for awhile. But we believe it anyway. Soon, the warm breeze will touch our cheeks and bring the green. And lest I get too carried away, the mud. But I'll set that aside for now and listen to the wily February telling me soon, soon it will be spring.