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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nature's Way

Howard is not impressed
 Rain yesterday, followed by about 6 inches of heavy, wet snow
 Trees are weighed down
 Nature's tree trimming service
 Bucolic scene
 Large limbs everywhere
 Large part of a tree
It has been a snowless winter. This is the first time I plowed this season. This snow made a huge mess. Trees and limbs are down everywhere. The power was out this AM, but I got my coffee due to a gas stove and a pestle & mortar to grind my beans. I knew that thing would come in handy!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Keeping With a Theme

Peach Clafouti
Just 'cause it's pretty.

I had time on my hands yesterday. Not so much today, but I do have something good to eat.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Of Soup & Such

A dreary, blustery Sunday in late February and some fresh produce in the refrigerator ready to go south on me soon becomes Sunday lunch.

Anyone who has read this thing I do knows I love to make soup. This little beauty is composed of butternut squash, carrots, celery, red kale, onion and garlic, chicken stock I made in January and froze; fresh dill, salt, pepper, barley and some lovely smoked bacon. A little Grana Padano on top and it's good enough to eat.

As a nod to my good internet friend and trained chef, Allegra, I did all my prep in advance and I cleaned as I went. I will forever remain a home kitchen cook, but with a little nudging I can be a tidy one. All right, it also takes some effort and discipline on my part and therein lies the rub!

Bon Appetito.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

If it's Saturday......

....it means spending the day in here.
It's not all fun and games. These dear beasts lead to a lot of
Crap happens and on the farm it happens in spades, or at least by the manure fork full.

Yes, I really do live on a farm.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Like a Rolling Stone

Nobody says it quite like Matt Taibbi. This is probably the best analysis I have read about how we got this rabid rightwing in America. Matt is so good at putting it in simple terms. If you have a couple of minutes, read it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And Then There Were Four

Do me a favor. Please. Sit back, take a breath, close your eyes and consider. Consider what life will look like in the world envisioned by the Republican candidates for President of the United States.

Forget about ideology and just see it.

Yes, I watched what seems like my millionth debate.


 starting someplace, going no place.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not Longfellow

Howard wakes, a scratch, a yawn. Pitty-pat of toes to greet the dawn. Gracie rolls, she leaps, she frolics, all her moves are hyperbolic!

The horses call to greet the day, what they really say is, give us hay. The barn is warm, the smell is earth, whilst on I go adding to their girth.

Morning on the farm, life knows no harm, beats poetic cadence by an arm!

The End

Monday, February 20, 2012

Around the Corner, Down the Road

It hasn't been all fog and garbled words flowing from fingertips. Life moves forward and drags you along, despite your grumbling and protestations.

I have become acutely aware of our food. Where it comes from, what has been done to it, and how it is raised. This is not such a positive thing if one actually wants to continue to eat. Factory farms and the Monsanto-ization of America have made eating a hazardous business indeed.

Yet another Monsanto official heads a government agency as head of the FDA, no less. Another cog in the wheel of demolishing the efficacy of regulation. Such a simple idea: stack the deck of agencies designed to watch the hawks looking to eat the chickens, with the very hawks we chickens are scurrying from for our very lives. Beautiful in its simplicity, effective in its operation, destructive to our well-being.

As I not only want to continue eating, but as a matter of biology, must, I have turned to small sustainable farmers in my area for much of my food. I don't know why it took me so long to consider my options, but there you have it, I am sometimes slow. The important thing is, I finally got to where I needed to go. Elmbrink Farm has become a source for pasture raised heritage breed pork and the best eggs I have ever had. Ever. In late spring I will add free ranging chicken to the list of clean food coming from this nearby farm which abides by sustainable farming methods. People like the Brinkmans may be our only hope for survival in this chemical infused food marketplace. Perhaps this is hyperbole, but I don't think so.
To my amazement, there is an organic family owned dairy, Cedar Summit , with its own creamery a mere forty-five minutes from home. What is even better is, they sell their milk at a grocery store fifteen minutes from my doorstep, eliminating the weekly drive down to New Prague. I have not seen glass bottles of milk since I was a child and we had a milkman. The cream is incredible.
There is a meat locker in town which masquerades as a deli, but those of us who have been around here for a while know what it is behind the upscale facade it now wears. Grass fed beef from local famers is sold there, making it very close and simple to buy. I use limited amounts of beef, making this option a lucky chance for me.

To be frank, I cannot be entirely local, I live in Minnesota after all and I do like salad. Somehow, a constant of root vegetables and gourds does not appeal all that much! I use what I was able to freeze from my own garden and buy the rest.

This is my journey from Costco to local. It took a bit of effort, but the result has been beyond worth the energy to figure things out. One person does not make a dent in the food monolith that envelopes our ecology and our grocery shelves, but many persons making considered choices can nibble away at the destruction. And, oh my, the food is so good!

Wishing a good day to all, it is time to go to work for me.

Friday, February 17, 2012

We Are Champions

WF Last Of Roses
My Zinger, my orphan baby, born to the beloved LF Diamond Rose on a beautiful June afternoon, shortly afterward to be left in my inadequate sole care. I have never felt so ill equipped for a task in my life; a newborn foal relying upon my ability to keep him alive and to raise him to function as a horse.
Somehow, I managed to do both, although we hit a really bad patch one week into it, he inhaled milk into his lungs and a miserable case of pneumonia developed. Which I was told he would not survive. I was his champion and I would not allow it. It was my moment to step up. I have a sense of awe that through sheer will and determination I kept the boy alive. 

I became Zing's dam. He reacted to me as a foal does to his mother, a strange and graceful relationship between the two-legger and a much more noble beast. He spent the summer mostly in the barn, to protect him in his weakened condition from the heat of the day. But, as he improved we would go out to the babies pasture in the early morning so he could intermingle with his own kind. I had to be a good mare, allowing him to venture forth into the little herd of mamas and babies, touching noses and quickly darting back to my protection. Running joyfully around me, as foals do, showing off his magnificence for all to see. This became our morning routine, our communing among the quiet of a herd of mothers mindfully tending their charges. No one seemed to find it odd that I was inserting myself as one of them. When I came to the pasture with my colt they graciously accepted me into their tightly knit band, as good mares will do.
He grew big and he grew strong. I was his champion, I protected and corrected and cared for my colt. He learned to be a horse. My old, gentle man Tanzar cared for Zing when he was finally well enough to spend the day outside. Bounce taught him to roll in the mud like you mean it. He became a show horse before he reached one year old. Tall and gangly, he showed himself like he meant it. He became my champion.

He gave me something I never expected to have; a Nationally titled stallion. A multiple Champion in a cutthroat industry, but always my colt Zing, the goofy, slightly skewed Zing.
He has taught Kristina to be brave, to be bold and to ride like she means it. He has taught us both to be patient, to realize somethings don't really matter. It is the journey that counts. I have journeyed with him for eleven years now, eleven years. I can hardly believe that so much time has passed since he ran circles around me, showing off for all the world he had in that pasture.
This is what got me thinking about my colt. The eleven year old Zinger snoozing in the sun this morning, just another horse in winter garb taking a nap in the warm sunshine. Not looking anything like a champion, yet I know; we are champions, he and I. He knows it too. It is our shared history.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Out of the Fog, Perhaps

Well, it seems I have fallen off the face of the Earth. The truth to be told is, a year ago I had a head injury which has affected me more than I was usually aware of. To add insult to the injury I heard today that people with head injuries are more likely to fall victim to alzheimer disease. But how would I know, I cannot remember what I did from one minute to the next as it is! I am starting to feel more like myself now, I can type without creating gibberish and I am not under the grey cloud of depression that has shrouded me for nearly a year.

I found the simple format of Facebook to be much better suited to my limited abilities, so whatever exposure I had, I had there. I read once that Facebook is for people too lazy to blog. I found it is also for people too feeble in the mind with fingers that won't type what the brain thinks they should be typing. Not much thought goes into daily updates, which was right up my alley.

What prompted my return today? I received an email from someone wanting to interview me and feature the interview on their blog. I thought, seriously? I haven't had a thing to say for five months. Actually, I haven't had much to say for a year, but who's counting. I decided to see if this thing called This & That is still here and it is. Then I thought, maybe I should say something, anything; testing, 1 -2 -3.
With toe tentatively touching the water, I am hopeful that I can regenerate my interest and start visiting the old haunts I once enjoyed and reconnect with friends abandoned, but not forgotten. The depression does seem to be gone, but the sun is shining and the day is beautiful so perhaps it is just the loveliness of the day. I shall see. In the meantime I just wanted to say, I am upright and sniffing the air.