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

Thursday, March 31, 2022

First World Problem

Anyone who sees her sees a German Shepherd. She's good at fooling people. She and I know she is a giant vessel of shedding. Never ending releasing of German Shepherd hair into every nook and cranny. Every flat surface, vertical and horizontal. Keetah, my sweet hairball. Yes, I was just attempting to vacuum. Odin help me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Stealer of Hearts

I never thought I'd be a cat lady. Don't get me wrong. I always had and liked cats but dogs were my game. Frieda showed up when she was no more than a just weaned kitten. She was in a pole barn attached to the main barn. She wouldn't come near us, but we made sure she had food and water and hoped she'd make her way into the main barn with the other cats, They are unusual cats, they are accepting of the strays that show up from time-to-time, so we knew she'd be ok with them.

 After about a week I saw her by the silo, little kitty mews coming from her, but when I started to approach she took off. This was November 2, 2019. That evening while I'm in the kitchen, there she was, on her hind legs hitting the glass of the door with a front paw and meowing. She was knocking. I opened the door and this kitten we couldn't approach waltzed in like she owned the place. The house cat, who is from the family of accepting cats, lay on a kitchen chair and watched her. I followed as she walked into the laundry room, spotted the litter box and used it. The rest is history. She took ownership of me, lock, stock and barrel. I'd been told torties aren't "normal" and with her it sure is true. My Brat Cat.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


Fermented pizza dough seems to be popular. I've tried it one other time and really couldn't tell what all the fuss is about. Perhaps it's meant strictly for Neapolitan pizzas? I made a dough again on Sunday to use on Monday. This one, from the King Arthur 00 flour bag turned out better. I am not that much of a planner so I'm not sure how often I will do this, but it was pretty good.


Anyway, pizza night was a success and we had the rest of it for lunch today. Tonight, one of my favorite things.....roasted chicken. You cannot go wrong with a good roasted chicken. It's a cold blustery day, so a little comfort from food seems in order.

Monday, March 28, 2022


Another month before we can hope to see this.

The answer to how does your garden grow is not well. The weeds were flourishing the last two years. I hate to admit it's getting to be too much. My medical condition has thrown a curve ball at our lives. Blood work is scheduled for next month and I need to get back to my physical therapy. It sort of feels like my mother is sticking pins in an effigy of me from whatever demon place she hovers. We don't know what is waiting around the bend, I never, ever thought I would become infirm, I was active and strong. Now, a bent over person too old for my age. If anyone reads this, I just needed to feel sorry for myself and it's better to do it here than to my husband. God knows he has enough to worry about. So, I've got things to do, a fire to start and I can look forward to making pizza this evening. Life can always be worse. So I hear. Later, my patient blog.


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Frieda, Private Eye

I dared not call her personal assistant. She'd have slapped me upside the head.

Surreptitiously going through the files looking for dirt on the horses. Her client remains anonymous. Frieda has her ethics.


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Eat the Bread, Drink the Wine

I read that most people don't cook much and I saw on a local morning news program that few sit down to table for meals. I know I'm old, but I wasn't always. Yes, I've had my food sitting on the sofa in front of the tv, but generally we sat at the table. Even when it was just the boy and I. We still do. It is a time to come together, even if it's just for half an hour. I wonder, if life is too busy for that, perhaps a rethink is in order? I often think about setting the dining table with china and crystal at least once a week. We never use it anymore. My son has gone off on his own way, so holidays have been Mark and I the past couple of years. I think about the dining room  table but never seem to get beyond the thinking. The kitchen table is so convenient.

I had a sausage to use and an acorn squash. With pappardelle it made a good dinner for two. I love making bread, it is an uplifting experience for me. This was yesterday's loaf. Fifty-fifty King Arthur bread flour and white whole wheat.

It's another cold and windy day. Winter is hanging on, which is normal. March is a teaser, we get a day or two in the 60s and then we go back to winter. I have plenty of wood for the fireplace, we live where a softwood forest wants to grow, so I get to enjoy my fires, eat my food and drink my wine. Not bad. 


Friday, March 25, 2022

Lasagna, Philosophy and Imperfection

The young trainer I had working Zing, a philosophy major, once said to me as I was realizing Barack Obama wasn't who I wanted him to be "It's hard to be a thinker, Sandra". I couldn't have found a better match for spending countless hours with than Kristina. This old barn philosopher had many an interesting hour with her. She is right, it is hard being a thinker. Which is a round about way of getting to my unimpressive lasagna. I misjudged the amount of filling I had, therefore using a too large casserole dish. Result: skimpy lasagna. 

 How does this align with Kristina and philosophical thinking you might reasonably ask? Well, first of all I thought I'd let posting go today, not much to say. Then for some reason I began to think about imperfection. I may have been looking in the mirror. I have admired imperfection. I've tended to buy the worst house in the neighborhood. I drive old vehicles. I used to rescue dogs. I never found them to be imperfect, but someone did. Back to lasagna. I have an internet friend of several years. He lives in Iowa, has Arabian horses, is a preservationist breeder and a collector of old things. Hmmm, I may be one of those old things.... He also enjoys cooking, so we exchange recipes and photos of what we make. I took this photo last night and then decided not to send it because it isn't perfect. The thing is, this vegetable lasagna was excellent in flavor, just lacking in layers. My friend wouldn't have cared it was skinny. He would have asked me about ingredients. 

There's some philosophical underpinnings in this, but I think I'll leave it with lasagna. I have bread to put in the oven.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Horses, of Courses

Horses have been in my family always. This is my Uncle Jim, married to my maternal aunt, Kathrine. He was calvary during WWI when they still used horses. I didn't know them well, but I heard the stories. My maternal grandfather (great-grandfather) was a teamster, starting at a time when the word meant driving a team. I have only vague memories of him since he died when I was four. 

 I don't know who this is, I'm going to assume from my father's side, he came from a family more likely to own Saddlebreds. It's difficult to tell the decade, my guess would be 1930s. The mare's name is on the back of the photo but no date nor name of the man. I will guess he was a Hurd, my paternal grandmother's name.

 My dad loved horses and owned a Saddlebred when he was in high school. They lived in the house that had belonged to my grandmother's parents and it had a small stable on the property. It's because of my father that I was able to have my first horse as a kid. He intervened and I got one. I'm inclined to believe it is genetic, I am more my father than my mother, for which I am very thankful. He had plenty of faults, he pacified and covered for and enabled a sociopathic personality until he died. He had a deep self-centeredness which simply could not allow disruption in his life. So, his son walked out on him as well as her and he never really overcame it. I got the horse gene, his son did not. Which means he probably has a large retirement account! 

My only child has no interest in horses. He wasn't raised with them, my childhood horse died right after he was born and I boarded the horse I got when he was a teenager. So he didn't have exposure. I'm inclined toward the belief he wouldn't have interest in them if he'd had exposure. Ah, well. I more than make up for it. I still have fifteen of the hay gobbling beasts. They are getting old, but doing it better than I am. The thirty year old mare died in December, leaving two twenty-seven year olds the title of oldest. The youngster of the group is a sixteen year old mare. Most are in the twenties. Some people have large families. I have horses. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022


 I had a brain injury eleven years ago last month. I've learned not to talk about it, they really are not at all understood. Unless one shows some physical sign of damage, people tend to dismiss the brain injured who can walk and talk. Even doctors don't seem to get it. 

I have realized in the last few years I've always been depressed, but it was so normal, the way I felt, I didn't know it was depression. My brain injury ramped it up, in the couple of years afterward I wasn't functioning well at all. I finally understood I needed help and went on Prozac. The deeply depressed should not be in charge of their depression treatment, but no one can tell them (me) that. The drug stopped working about four years later. I tried a couple of others, I couldn't tolerate the side effects, so I fumbled along for another couple of years. Through a book a friend recommended, written by a local psychiatrist, I found an over-the-counter medication which is a prescription in Europe. It has helped me, I am still often low, but not always. And my lows don't take me to the darkness.

What is a common theme with TBI, from what I experience and read on a brain injury group, is depression and a loss of who you were. There's the loss of balance and memory along with various other symptoms, but the one that seems to cause such a feeling of loss is the loss of self. For those who haven't lived it it's impossible, or so it seems, to understand living in your body, seeing yourself in the mirror, interacting with people...and not feeling like yourself. I'm not me, not the me I was. I work at accepting this, I understand grieving the loss of something which will never return becomes a fools errand. And yet, I and all the many others I know, do it anyway. I don't know how not to. Yes, I know it's not time well spent, but there it is. 

The pandemic has not helped, as it hasn't for so many. Isolation is the last thing someone like me needs, it's too easy to slip into the cocoon of solitude. I have never had many friends and that is more the case now than ever. Two I knew for decades I let go over the past two years. One, a much younger woman, without meaning to was sucking the life out of me and I broke. The other, also younger, went through some life changing events in her life which either changed her or made her more confident in showing something I didn't understand was there. I had to move away from that, as well. Living rural is an easy path to isolation.

Coming back to this abandoned blog strangely gives me some comfort. I have good memories here. It also allows me to say whatever I want, no like button or emojis. Putting my food photos, my animals, my history, it feels better here than on Instagram. For a few minutes I forget about the noise in my head and make something someone may look at and smile. That's pretty good.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Brat Cat

Go away

She blends in, she wants to believe I can't see her. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022


Yesterday I made bread, a crusty boule.

Today I made soup, paired with the bread. Quite good, I say. A fine way to use a pork roast bone and the leftover meat.


I have one more winter under my belt. This being Minnesota winter may have another swing at us, but it will be fleeting. I overall enjoy winter, I like the dark, the coziness it holds, the fires blazing, the baking and cooking soups, braises and casseroles. The white landscape, the horses in the paddocks, contentedly chomping down the round bales of hay. It's a reset period. Unfortunately the last days of this winter have had a jolt of horror, an unsettling of how we view reality. An unexpected reset. Reality has become an insecure state of being, a shock that what happened 84 years ago is possible again. I, we have a sense of foreboding not shaken. So, as I told a friend....I make my bread, my soup. I live the life I have the best I know how. It's all I have control of. Yet, the grey cloud hovers and probably will, maybe always. In the meantime, bake some bread. Make some soup.

Friday, March 18, 2022


Where's Breakfast?

 I'm so happy she knocked at the door.

Thursday, March 17, 2022


I gave up pretending. No one was buying it

 Happy Friday Junior

Wednesday, March 16, 2022


Because They Are Pretty

 We are entering spring in Minnesota. At least for the moment, one can never tell here. I've spent some time the last week or so thinking about the state of the world, about how one day in Ukraine life was as it had been the day before and the day before and before. Then it collapsed. Just like that. There is no anticipation of spring for them. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Who's a Good Dog?

Keetah is!

 She's been with us almost two years and is a very good dog. She was a year old rescue when someone decided adopting her to my old mother was a good idea. It is a testament to her very good nature that she remained a good dog. She loves people, which is appreciated as she is about 110 pounds of large German Shepherd that had no training or socializing. After my Bassets died I didn't want anymore dogs, the pain of losing my dogs finally caught up to me. I knew I'd likely end up with my mother's dogs and did. Emma lived for eight months, dying just short of 17 years old. German Shepherd shedding is on a whole other level, one I could do without but it comes with Keetah so I guess that's that. After all.....she's a good dog.

Monday, March 14, 2022


LF Diamond Rose

 She started what became a decades long obsession for me. Breeding and raising horses. Before she entered my life I was happy owning a riding gelding, that I boarded, living my city life. Before I knew it, I was in a rural area, on a farm, sort of wondering what I had done. She changed me, probably for the better, although I would have a whole lot more money if I hadn't taken that fork in the road. She died in 2001, while delivering her fifth foal, WF Last of Roses. It took me a year to recover from her death. I have three of her five, they are old now, 27, 25, 21. It's hard to believe Mama Rose died 21 years ago, but then I look at Zing in his paddock and know it's true. My hand raised baby, so even tempered and silly, very much her son. Life throws curves at us. Sometimes those curves show us who we are. My horses showed me I was more than I had thought. 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Bathing Beauties

When I cleared my mother's house out, eight months of work, I found a lot of photos. These lovelies, from left to right are: Susan, Judy, and Sandra (me). We lived on the same block, we grew up together. Judy had a hard life, a drunken wife beating father, the oldest child in a family of seven children. Her Catholic mother finally decided to divorce him, I don't know if she got dispensation from the church or if she'd had one too many black eyes. The year she kicked him out I watched the kids over summer break. Judy was two years younger than I. I was 13. They ended up poor in a housing project. Judy stopped talking to me, I understand now, but I didn't then. Not all childhoods are idyllic. Not all memories are rosy. 

 I connected with Susan several years ago. She commented that her family and mine were the only normal people on the block. She didn't know what went on behind the walls of my house, we looked so normal. Susan ended up with a good life after a rocky start. I ended up with a good life, also after a rocky start. I hope Judy did, too. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022


1978? We were skiing with my friend, Wally. He was a real smart ass, right up my alley. He must have made a comment, which I reacted to and he snapped the photo. I not only kept it, I had it enlarged and framed!
I don't seem to mind looking like an idiot.

 Wally died in 1994. He was my best friend. He was also Mark's friend, but mine first. I belonged to a ski club, there were weekly gatherings at a hotel in the winter and volley ball in the summer. Wally approached me at the hotel gathering and handed me a pick up line. I asked him if that had ever worked for him? We became great friends. Both Wally and I had been married and divorced, we both had a child. He a daughter, I a son. Both of us were cocksure and wise guys. A perfect pair for friendship.

Friday, March 11, 2022


From the corner of my mind


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Minnesota can be counted on for soup weather into May. I'm known as The Soup Goddess in my house, a name I shamelessly gave to myself.
It's cold for one more day, then we begin to warm. We often get at least one heavy snowfall in March and often snow in April, so it's not over yet. I've been trapped in my house for so long it's difficult to believe I'll get out and about again. I have underlying health issues, so I have stayed home. I also have developed a back problem that presents as spinal stenosis, but isn't. PT didn't help me, which means I did get out last year for appointments. It all blurs together into what feels like forever. It's been a strange time indeed. I actually am enjoying writing these little notes to myself, it gives me a bit of purpose every day. I guess I'll continue until I don't. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022


I am fortunate to have items from the past. My great-grandfather's cello. His chair. My maternal great-grandmother's (known to me as my grandma) side table. The relics of the past are not always valued anymore. Perhaps because the younger ones live differently, or perhaps have no connection to those these things belonged.

I have a friend whose parents grew up poor so there are no family heirlooms. He has collected beautiful pieces over the years, his preferred is Craftsman. He has become an expert restorer so he has a bit of himself invested in his echos of someone's past. They will become his legacy to the future for someone, as I hope mine will as well.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

First World Problems

I became upset today when I received my order from Misfits Market. What is in the photo are some of what I should've received, But I got someone else's much smaller and completely different order. I've contacted them about this and hope it will be resolved without giving me a headache. The local food shelf will be getting what I got since I doubt they will want it returned. Most of that order are things I don't like.

 My aggravated response brought me to thinking about the cloak of privilege, that I have the comfort in my life to feel angry about a mislabeled order for vegetables and sea food. Yes, I paid for it and should get it, but should I feel so mistreated? No, I shouldn't. I know it's partly due to being isolated on my farm for two years. It's also the tension everyone is feeling over a mad man storming into a sovereign country, destroying and murdering in his quest for dominance. It's also my privileged life. My White American life. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Another Day, Another Soup

The sauce that soothes the soul.

 I started writing here again, I guess, because having done it once, I found I felt better. It doesn't matter that I am writing to myself, I sit down for a few moments at my rather neglected computer and have a brief flashback to days when blogging was a way of communicating with more than a few lines and a"like" button. Over time I've moved away from social media. The name is misleading, it really isn't social at all. So, I pull up a photo, write a little something, publish and move on with my day. It feels good. I will do it as long as I am enjoying the doing. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Marching On

March is a winter month in Minnesota. We are lucky if we see spring in April, although this has been changing over the last dozen years or so. Yesterday we had rain, then snow overnight, giving us a welcome 5" of heavy snow over the ice. This is a tough time of year to have horses. 
 We have taken advantage of the fireplaces we are graced with in this, our home of nearly thirty years. We live in a place which wants to be a softwood forest and softwood being what it is, it propagates freely. It also comes down seemingly easily, so we have a lot of wood to burn. Mark is happy to replenish the woodbox daily, as he has spent countless hours cutting and stacking the wood. He wants it used. So, I use it.

So much is happening in the US and around the world which is out of our control. So much unprovoked misery in Ukraine, so much concern for what the mad man across the water will do next in his deranged need to be a big man. I light my fires, bake my bread, hold my cat and pet my dog. 

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Loaves of February

I am a maker of bread. I have been for a long time. There is something in taking a thing as simple as flour, water, salt and a leavener, or not, that satisfies my being. Every week or so I mix dough, let it rise, bake and happily eat fresh, nourishing bread. I'm not being dramatic when I say bread has helped keep me sane during the two years of almost total isolation I have experienced. Bread and soup have fed my soul as well as my body. 


Friday, March 4, 2022

And Then There Was Frieda

My demon cat, Frieda.

 She pushed her way into my life 2+ years ago and we've never looked back. I was told torties are different. They are that. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

And Then There Was Soup

 I make soup. Often. Today is dreary and chilly, not anywhere close to the cold we've had all winter, but instead that feel it in your bones damp chill. A bowl of warming soup seemed in order and filled the bill. A slice of homemade baguette didn't hurt.