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

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Bye Bye Miss American Pie

If you didn't watch the January 6 hearing today, do yourself a favor and do. Cassidy Hutchinson took the Chevy to the Levy. It was not dry. As much as we knew, thought we knew and what we've learned, it's worse. 

I'll leave it there.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Frieda Knows

I was angry and short-tempered all day yesterday. It's still there. I could be very confrontational if poked. 


 I decided I'll attempt to be like Frieda, lay back, stay alert.

Vote

Friday, June 24, 2022


We are in gut-wrenching times. 

Yesterday I was in a place of despair. The not-so-supreme-court overturned a one hundred year old law regarding conceal and carry. The 1/6 Committee hearing was particularly unnerving. What didn't succeed the first time will succeed the next time, there is now a blueprint for action. It's quite likely there will be a next time, unless the public as a whole votes. This morning Roe v Wade bit the dust. We knew it was coming, but it's still a gut-punch. Nancy Pelosi vows to enshrine Roe into law, but once again, that depends on the majority in this country, who don't agree with authoritarian rule, voting. The US has an abysmal voter turnout. I've know a lot of people who have proudly stated they don't do politics. My response has been, you may not do politics but politics will most certainly do you. And here we are. On our way to a plutocratic theocracy, unless we stop it. We will only do that if we sit up and take notice, understand a Constitution is a piece of paper which cannot defend itself. The people it is protecting need to protect it. 



So, my obligatory food photo, curtesy of a bad day. I had nothing to cook and no desire to cook it if I had, so an easy pasta. We would go hungry a few nights a week if I didn't have a well-stocked pasta cupboard. I know people who don't have any on hand at all. How DO they survive?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Good Morning

When you got nuthin but a comic and coffee....


 use what you got!

Happy Day After Summer Solstice




Monday, June 20, 2022

The Long View Back

The Four Mares of the Apocalypse 
All in foal circa 1996


Sunspot with her colt, WF Airs Above Ground, half Lippizaner. Nellie Jelly Belly, my goof ball greyhound had to join in, just because she could. She was a born criminal! Sunspot's breeder named her after a Bob Seger song, Sunspot Baby.


When you've had a lot of horses and dogs over decades you have a lot of wonderful memories and a lot of sad memories, too. All of these animals are deceased now. The pinto mare was the last to go, she died December 2021 at 29 years old. The colt, Ari, died prematurely from colic in 2014. I consider 17 years old premature.


Ari with his trainer, Kristina, in 2008. He was a great and talented horse. Sometimes I need to go through the old photos, it can be easy to forget all the work, the joy and, of course, the grief. All worth it.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Reality, Mine

My father's high school graduation photo, 1941.


This is not going to be a soft, melancholy look back in life, remembering my wonderful childhood, idealizing my father. For most of my life this man got a pass from me. Not from my brother, who felt as much outrage toward him as he did our mother. I don't use that word for Kate, other than to introduce her. I call her Kate. My father was often fun, he could be highly creative and was talented in mechanics, building, figuring things out. He loved opera, he read and did crosswords. He did mostly what he wanted to do. He met Kate on her eighteenth birthday. He was twenty-eight. They married eight months later. Kate was an Oscar worthy manipulator and I'm sure she convinced this quite selfish man of her submissive innocence. I often wonder how long it took him before something in the pit of his stomach told him he was in trouble? Since the time when I have solid memory of Kate, she couldn't hold the illusion too long. Kate had a personality disorder. 

By the time I was ten every member of both sides of the family were out of our lives. My brother and I grew up without family, other than our maternal grandmother, the person my father brought in to keep Kate off his back. The person who eased my brother and my abuse somewhat. I haven't seen nor heard from that brother in nearly thirty years. I hope he has been able to shed the anger and hurt, the emasculation doled out to him and the contempt his father held for him because of it.

Happy Fathers Day




Saturday, June 18, 2022

Gales and Tales

I've made an appointment with a new doctor for the end of the month. A big move for me and I'm pleased with myself for doing something. We all have our burdens, I am my own.

We have the last nice day for a what looks like the rest of the month. It's a windy day, which with horses in the summer is always welcome. It helps with the bugs. 


Last evenings dinner is representative of how far my husband, Mark, has come in his food journey. Mark grew up on a dairy farm in southwestern Minnesota. He grew up in a family of ten children, seven boys and three girls. He learned hard work and how to stick with something monotonous because it had to be done. His family always had food but meat was sparse. I think this had a lot to do with his mother's deep frugality. She grew up on the elder side of fourteen children and perhaps had a more difficult life. Mark as an adult did not think he ate if meat was not involved. He always felt he hadn't eaten. Through time he has evolved and is perfectly content, and full, with a dinner like this one. He loves eggplant and thinks eggplant 'meatballs' are better than meatballs. He didn't like fish and can still be touchy about it, but in general, he likes it. Over the years all of the food he claimed to not like he does like. Part of this is preparation and exposure. Part of it is Mark will eat what I make, even if he believes he won't like it, which allows him to experience and change his mind. His family, staunch conservative Catholics, did not like me and made no attempt to hide it. I was a city girl, divorced and the mother of a son. I was raised without religion, a small family and a way different food tradition. I am not kidding when I say my ability to cook had a role in his bucking the family! Pappardelle with zucchini and fennel made the former meat fanatic happy. He went on about how good it is and how he doesn't know how I do it. I'll never let on it's not rocket science.

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Fog Lifts

Yesterday I reached my enough point. I made a decision to become proactive in my declining heath and mobility. One might ask, what took me so long? And this is a reasonable question. With some complicated answers. Looming over everything is grinding depression. I have realized I have always been depressed, even in childhood. It would be unreasonable to think a child in the control of a sociopathic mother enabled by a father who really only wanted to protect himself would not be depressed. The feeling was so common to me I had no idea. Then I had a traumatic brain injury in 2011 and the lurking blackness came out in full force. The depression was bad enough, not recognizing myself was another. Brain injuries do that, they can change your personality. I lost large parts of my memory and I don't remember 2011 at all. It's like we skipped a year. I did go on Prozac, which started me on some level of recovery.

I won't go through the long story, short version, I went off my med. There were a conflation of events leading to that choice, but I did it. I had said in the past it's not the best situation that a depressed person makes choices.

I've made another choice, a more reasonable choice. I tried to find out what is wrong with my body a year ago. The doctor was engaged and started with what seemed obvious. After tests and procedures, the obvious was not the problem. The physical therapy was not a solution. I dropped the ball, mostly because the doctor, who I had some confidence in, left the clinic. An easy excuse for me. Consequently, I have spent the last 18 months house bond due to an inability to walk more than a few feet. Sounds insane, I know.

Yesterday I went through the clinic drs, narrowing by location and gender. I don't want anymore male docs if possible. I also looked at age, which is unfair, but an aged woman's problems are only academic if you haven't experienced them yourself. I narrowed down to two. I'll make the decision today and set an appointment. One of the things which has changed in my personality is passivity. That is something I never would have been accused of! I plan to speak bluntly, as in one area in particular. I used to be on thyroid medication. I lost 65 pounds in a year without changing a thing. That doctor retired and ever since I'm told I don't need it. They do not do the complete panel and I'm going to say I want it done. I'll go back to Prozac, it gave me no side effects and was overall effective. Then we can discuss my pain and mobility issues. It's something more than stretching and exercise.

Sometimes the fog clears a bit and rational thinking has a chance to occur. This happened for me yesterday.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

C'est la Vie

It's a beautiful morning, sunshine and quite windy, perfect for the horses and me. I'm going to put the upcoming extreme heat and humidity right out of my mind and enjoy the day. Maybe a little mowing before lunch.

I will spend the afternoon watching the 1/6 commission. I don't hold much hope for my country, I fear we are too far down the path of oligarchy for the fall not to be complete. I want to be surprised, I want to be wrong. I want, oh how I want to see Donald Trump and his co-conspirators indicted for sedition. It would be a hopeful step back from the brink.

I'll leave with a smile for the day. 



Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Weather, Westerns and Food

After a very hot and humid day yesterday it is 66 F, overcast and less humid. A welcome change which is only for one day. I am moving slow, which is not really different, but it just feels like one of those days. I watched an old western with Gregory Peck, Charleston Heston and Chuck Connors this morning, which is out of the norm for me. I got interested and just watched it till the end. Normally I like to at least create an illusion of busyness! I like westerns that don't include native genocide. 

I plan to plant some Diva cucumber seeds a friend sent me. I forgot about them and when I remembered I thought it was too late. Looking them up they take 58 days, so I'm okay. He says they are very good, so it's worth doing. I'm going to plant them along the silo so they can climb the ladder.


I made a quick dinner last evening of grilled pork loin chops and fennel salad. It looks rare in the photo but was just a shade pink. I get meat through Butcher Box and also from the local meat market that over the years has gone from being a meat locker to a deli/meat market. I've lived here long enough to see the transition, which has been a wise move on the part of the longtime owner. It's an appreciated resource for this community. 

That's about it. Enjoy the day.

 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Eggs Hay Pizza

When you've got nothing else, you've always got food. You being me.


 
I made an egg bake for dinner. I had planned it for the evening before, but my hay guy brought 3 loads of hay, which took Mark's time and therefore delayed dinner. We had frozen pizza, which I keep on hand for just such occasions. 

We are under a heat advisory today. The humidity in Minnesota is feeling like what I experienced living in Georgia. An unpleasant reminder of climate change here. It will be a lay-low day for me. I'm going to see if we can live with just the fans blowing today. I'm feeling nervous about the ancient central air unit. 1985, folks! I've had two appliances give out on me this year, so I'm feeling a little superstitious. We used the a/c once or twice a year for a couple of decades, then we started getting a little warmer and a lot more humid. Air conditioning has become about as necessary as heating. I lived in a turn-of-the-last-century house, in a city, for thirteen years and didn't have a/c and never felt we needed it. Over the last dozen years unfamiliar bugs and weeds have made an appearance, telling me we are a different place than I always knew. 

That's all there is, there is no more.......










Monday, June 13, 2022

Wine Shepard and Man

I and my partner in idling sat on the small deck at the kitchen door yesterday afternoon. It was a lovely day. 


This is what we were watching while idling the time away. Mark getting the saplings out of the rambling rose. I said I was going to do it, he said he would. So I got a glass of wine, Keetah got a comfortable spot and we watched the guy work. The cats came to the screen door and tried to convince me they are dogs. I didn't buy their story.


I got my Misfits order today. After spending $19 on two medium sized fennel bulbs last week, I tried Misfits again. I'd been getting good fennel there but the last time I got three bulbs the size of a golf ball. Which is to say I got fronds. I am not disappointed this time, five good sized fennel for $3 apiece. Hurrah!



I'll turn those fronds into pesto this afternoon. I'll use the stems in tonight's dinner of an egg bake.

We had a storm this morning and it's been overcast. Also humid. The weather is taking an unpleasant turn the next couple of weeks, very hot and humid. I simply cannot function in that weather. I guess we'll see if the ancient AC unit will once again start up and work. I think it still works because for about 20 years it didn't have to, we didn't get so humid and rarely used it.

I watched the 1/6 committee hearing this morning. I don't know how the Trump squad is spinning this, any way they can think of I suppose, but it certainly is laying this at his feet. Will anything come of it, I wonder? For the sake of us all, I hope so.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Sunday Morning

Friends


Keetah and Frieda. Keetah was my mother, Kate's, dog. She came to live with us in May 2020. Frieda was a tiny recently weaned kitten who found her way to my barn and then to my house and my heart in November 2019. Frieda didn't like Keetah for quite awhile, now they are good friends. Too bad people cannot be like Keetah and Frieda.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Lovely, Lovely Day...It's a Lovely Day

I left the house today feeling like this. After lunch I decided to go to the nursery for some herbs. 



I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but let me explain. I haven't driven a car since March, 2021. The year before I was making a two hour thirty minute round trip six days a week, going to work on my deceased mother's house. By January of 2021 I was nearly unable to walk. Practically speaking, I couldn't walk more than a few feet at a time.  My last time driving was to the chiropractor. Then I needed Mark to drive me because I needed curbside and all those trips were medical in nature. The mind and body do work in concert and mine decided to write an opera.

I am slowly, emphasis slowly, getting better. I cannot accept this will be my life. So.....I get to the nursery, am surprised that it is nearly cleaned out. Second week in June in Minnesota. I was able to buy two sweet basil and two large leaf basil. I also bought a squash, why not? And a French lavender, it will become a house plant over winter, lavender doesn't survive winter in Minnesota.

Ok, success, I managed fine, although I have not mastered the art of managing a cane when trying to hold other things. But, it was alright. I get home, attempt tp get out of the car with the damn cane, it slips and hits something on the dashboard that sets off a shrieking siren type sound. I don't know how to stop it. This was my mother's car and although I drove it everyday to her house for eight months I'd not bothered to actually know anything about it. I pull the pouch with the manual in it from the glove compartment and everything spills onto the floor. Mind you, it's still shrieking. I find security in the manual but it doesn't tell me how to turn it off. I start pushing buttons, I hit one on the fob which starts the horn blaring. Pushed it again and it stopped. One down. I finally pushed the right button, no more shrieking. Pull myself out of the car, struggle a bit with a cane, a purse and keys, start walking to the house and the horn starts blaring again. I'd held the fob in my hand and of course managed to press the horn noise maker. Inside, I walk to Mark's office, he and The Great Guard Dog are in there, I asked if he heard the blaring and shrieking. No. I could have been fending off bad guys out there and the man and the German Shepard just lounged in the office listening to baseball. Not even my cat was looking out the screen door.

By the time I got into the house, I was like this. Bedraggled and feeling like a wet Basset.

Friday, June 10, 2022

We had this Friday Face today!


Our son came to visit, bringing lunch. I fired up the charcoal grill and he cooked steaks. He also brought potato salad, Caesar salad and mac & cheese. Also, a nice bottle of Cab. Oh....and ice cream sandwiches! I haven't had one of those in decades. 

It was such a pleasure having someone else cook and serve me food. I'm surprised how much I enjoyed it. Over the years we lost interest in going out to eat. Last month when I went for blood work Mark asked if I wanted to stop at the Original Pancake house for breakfast. We had been there the year before after PT and I remembered it was $50 after tip. It's likely more now. I said no, I'd rather spend $25 at the deli for the philly. My life for so long was hard work in the barn all day. When I came in and showered I really didn't want to get dressed again to go out. So we got in a habit. All of this to say, I sure did like being waited on.



 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Joy

The daughter of the first person I met when I started this blog got married. She was about eight years old and the sweetest little girl possible to exist.  Friend's mother perhaps saved my life when she encouraged me to go to the doctor after having horrible pain for hours during the early morning hours. Then the pain stopped. Dianne told me she thought it was my appendix and encouraged me to see the doctor, she was right. By the time I was on the operating table it was about to burst, the surgeon told me he had never seen a worse looking appendix.

Time went on, blogging waned and everyone went to Facebook, including me. Three years ago I just left. Yesterday I arbitrarily looked at it and there was beautiful Sienna in a wedding gown with her new husband. I felt so happy! I am so glad I made that decision to look at FB. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Snit Fit

This is a story of an expensive herb that produces an edible bulb and, seeds, which are a spice.


A couple of days ago Mark went to a neighboring town to meet his brother for a rhubarb delivery, to his brother from us. He went to the local grocery store to pick up a few items, one of which was fennel. The store calls it Anise Florence. Let me say, for some reason this annoys me to no end. I'll get to that, but this is about my shock when I saw the receipt: $9.49 per bulb, $18.98 for the two medium sized fennel bulbs. I guess the bonus is they did have the fronds. Fennel has never been inexpensive, I think this is why they call it anise, as in AH-niece not ANN-is, it sounds fancy and therefore justifies the cost.

My little rant:  Fennel is not anise. Pronounce anise anyway you want, it's still not fennel. Both plants are herbs which produce seeds which are a spice. The herb, fennel, also produces an edible bulb. Anise does not. Whew!

As I'm typing this I have the hearing on gun violence/control on. I realize my longstanding peevishness over this ridiculous annoyance is, indeed, ridiculous. But there you are, an example of living ones life in the midst of great pain and despair. Somehow I guess I need the distraction of something that ultimately means nothing. There's so much that means everything.

That was an expensive pizza.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Flowers

Pilfered from the www.


Pilfered from my photos








 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Freedom to Die

Ten mass shootings over the weekend. At least a dozen dead and sixty wounded. That well regulated militia needs a new regulator.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Me-O-My-O

Keetah would like me to make it winter, please.



Not much happening on the farmstead. I planted five tomato plants and a zucchini yesterday. We transplanted a Stella D'Oro daylily and a few iris that were where the vegetable garden used to be. Mark got some weeding done. Today I've been doing house duties, as best I can. Kind of in the doldrums the past few days, that comes and goes. Fortunately it's been going as consistently as it comes.

Tomorrow I'll attempt to finish my planting, eggplant, summer squash and another zucchini. Yay, me!

Anyway.....maybe I'll have a glass of wine.
 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Summit Avenue

I watched Season 5 of Rehab Addict last night, Nicole Curtis was working on a 9000 square foot house on Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. That's in Minnesota for those who may not know. This is my old neighborhood. I lived on the next block north, Portland Avenue, for thirteen years. I knew this house the minute I saw it. This is a Historic District and Summit Avenue has some enormous homes, it's where the robber barons and other tycoons built the tributes to their wealth. Starting at the beginning of Summit on the Mississippi River bluffs overlooking downtown are the oldest homes. James J. Hill built a giant house there. F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in a row house on Summit. Sinclair Lewis had a grand but not huge house know as The Lemon Meringue House. This house is in my part of the Hill District, Summit Hill. I enjoyed watching this show mainly because it was a walk down memory lane. Thirteen years of taking walks along the avenue, watching the area change. The governor's mansion is a couple of houses west of this house and is diagonal from my former house one block up. My son went trick or treating  at the governors residence.








Lest you think I lived in that grandeur, this is a photo of my former house I pulled from Zillow. It is a nice house but not even close to the other. It's not really visible, it's a three story brick house, built in 1906. It was a wonderful place to live but the call of the horses pulled me away. I didn't want to visit them at the stable, I wanted to have them with me. So we packed up dogs, cats and horses and moved to the end of the world.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Sky Pilots

Yesterday as I was mowing the lawn I had a continual escort of dragon flies.


A swarm. I haven't experienced this before. I've had barn swallows swooping and diving as I mow, going after whatever insects I may be serving up, but this was an entirely different thing.


They have an amazing navigational system. They were in very large numbers and yet I was not once touched by one. They didn't fly into or onto the mower. They floated around effortlessly, swooping, darting and just suspended. It was quite an experience.

Today will be more of the same; mowing. I'll attempt to get tomatoes planted, but it depends on my back. Mark got quite a bit of weeding done yesterday but he's now back to his office. By the time we get done it will be snowing. But, for now it is a beautiful day.


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Duck Duck, Wood Duck

We had a visitor in the fireplace flue this morning. A female wood duck attempting to nest in the chimney



It's not the first time, it used to happen fairly often but hasn't for several years. We'd asked a chimney sweep to put a cover over the chimney but he didn't do it.



We do know what to do. Lock the cats up. Hold onto the dog. Open the French doors and open the flue. These are not birds to be confused about where the exit is.


The duck comes out of the chimney and makes a quick exit out the doors, before Keetah even knew what happened.


This is why we don't put a cap on ourselves. It was too steep when we were young to try. It sure isn't going to happen now. It's not snow covered now, 😉, this is the only photo I could find with the roof line. The bonus is a photo of a young Zinger.


It's a beautiful day. Mark is going to take some time to pull weeds. I'm going to mow, again. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

And So On.......

Just stuff.
 This is my barn, the photo was taken a few years ago. Dairy barn becomes horse barn.
 

Baby Zing (WF Last of Roses), my orphan foal, born June 2, 2001. I think back to the seeming insurmountable task of keeping him alive and then getting him to understand he is a horse. He turned into more than I could ever have imagined or hoped for.


Zing and Kristina, his last trainer,  2012.


I had an eggplant to use.

We had a tornado alert last night, crazy wind and then rain. No tornado, but the weather was intense. I see this becoming our new normal. A small town in southern Minnesota got wiped out, a town I hadn't heard of. Tornados in May...not the old normal. We are adjusting what's normal.

It's a dreary, windy day. The horses love it, the no-see-ems have  hatched and are bothersome to them. Next will come gnats. Windy days are welcome in their world. It's also cool, another welcome as far as they are concerned. They may be desert horses, but they are from Minnesota. 




Monday, May 30, 2022

Monday


A bizarre sensation pervades a relationship of pretense. No truth. A simple morning's greeting and response appear loaded with innuendo and fraught with implications. Each nicety becomes more sterile and each withdrawal more permanent.

-Maya Angelo


Perfectly captures the times in which we live. 


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Be Like Frieda

Frieda believes one should stop and smell the lilacs.




 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Sunshine, No Lolipops

I got three side dish meals from an eggplant gratin I made a few days ago. It's now gone.


 It took me years to learn to eat beef any other way than well-done. 


It's a bright sunshiny day. I'm not feeling as low as I did yesterday. Sunshine helps. I read an article a couple of days ago on protein. It seems seniors (I don't think of myself as one, but I guess I am) need more of it. And those carrying weight like me need even more. I'm incorporating cannellini beans in our lunch today with the remainder of the roasted peppers from a couple of days ago. I'll come up with something. 

Anyway....it's a beautiful day, I'm not in the depths of despair and one of the barn cats who went missing is home and just fine. He's not talking. Be happy, eat well.......

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Civic Responsibility

Many of us are feeling a deep sadness and a sense of futility. I know I am. I've chosen to not write about it, I find I cannot. What I would say I've said so many times over so many years....and yet again, here we are.
So, I go to my place of some comfort.


Find your place of comfort. Come November, vote. Like someone's life depends on it.
 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Try to Find the Good

I was outside for part of the afternoon yesterday supervising Mark. I had lots of plans in my mind. My back cancelled them. I did take some photos, it's more difficult in sunshine to see what you are doing with a phone camera.

I planted these trees in 2008 along the indoor area, now hay and machine shed. They were small.



Keetah's out of here


We have compost that has turned to soil. Mark is adding fresh soil to the old water tanks I plant zucchini in. 

This was the outdoor arena. It hasn't been a riding arena since 2012, I used it as a large vegetable garden for four years, ending in 2017. The fence line became overgrown with wild grapevine, Mark pulled it off last month. So many of the posts had rotted and just toppled over without the support of the vines.  

Mark is too busy to get the fencing taken down right now. Realistically, it could be July before it's gone. 




These junipers grew so large. They and some of the other conifers are showing stress from the drought we had last year.




Madame Apple Tree. She is old and heirloom, she produces when she wants to. When she does the apples are small and sweet. Bill says he can't remember the tree not being there and Bill is 72. We need to cut the suckers out, they aren't helping the old tree.


So much horridness is happening in this world and this country I thought I'd take a little photo stroll through the good, the bad and the ugly at my home.