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

Saturday, April 30, 2022

We had a Minnesota hurricane in the early morning hours. I can't recall anything like it, the wind was howling and pounding, the rain didn't know where to go. It was awesome and frightening at the same time. It rained all day today, anticlimactic after the show put on a few hours early.

We had a fine dinner of steelhead trout and Minnesota wild rice. Steelhead and walleye are my favorite fish. One is more affordable than the other.

It's relatively early but I feel exhausted. I think I will call it a night.

Friday, April 29, 2022

One Thing or Another

You know the saying, "when it rains, it pours". It's pouring. Last month my dishwasher stopped draining. It could be something as "simple" as a clog. That simple will be expensive and then may not be the problem. I decided not to roll the dice on a 12 year old appliance. So, I've been doing dishes by hand because appliances are  now even more expensive than they have been and I can wait. It makes a great dish drainer! This is rain.

What makes it pour? 

The freezer part of my side-by-side refrigerator isn't working properly and the gaskets and side wall got hot. I cleaned the coils, which didn't help. This appliance looks new but is 20 years old. I'm not going to have a service call on a 20 year old refrigerator. I have a chest freezer in the basement, thankfully. I made reference awhile ago to my tendency to food hoard. My freezers are both full, so it was quite the task to squeeze it all in one freezer. 

I am finding the positive. I don't need to hoard food in a freezer. I have multiples of meat, lots of it. Frozen vegetables by the bushel. There are four loaves of purchased bread, which we rarely use. I put a thermometer in the defunct freezer, if it is cold enough to refrigerate I'll use it as a refrigerator. I can go without the freezer part until autumn when I start freezing produce. Perhaps by that time appliance cost may come down. More to the point, I will be forced to use what I have instead of constantly adding more. I don't know where this came from, one thing I did not have in my life is hunger. 

As far as literally pouring, tonight and through the day tomorrow it is going to rain. Again.

I'll leave it with that.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Ho Hum

I follow a small handful of blogs. Of those, I am unable to reply on a couple. I'm prompted to sign in, when I click the prompt it goes right back to sign in. I'm sorry I can give no reply, I do keep trying. The other couple I have no issue with, so I really don't know what is wrong.

I braised a beef roast in creamy dark lager a few days ago and used it in a different way for last evening's dinner. Leftovers usually become a pasta dish, a casserole or gratin. It was better than it looks!

Mark was going to have dinner with his brother and sister-in-law tonight but his brother has a bad cold. It's something that has made an appearance again, the cold. There was a positive effect from masking and avoiding crowds, colds and flu barely happened. I think we may be longterm maskers, just to avoid that. Instead of dining in a nice restaurant he will be having leftover pizza. One of life's hardships.

We are going to have an all day rain tomorrow, like that is something new. I do have day lilies coming up, that's it. 

Well, that's about all there is. There's some task awaiting my attention....

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The sun has made an appearance and it's 38 degrees F. Yippee!!! We are edging closer toward spring, by golly. The ice is still on the lakes in Northern Minnesota according to the morning news guy. At least we are ahead of that. This is an old photo, but it's what spring has looked like this year. To be fair, what it often looks like.

Onto my continuing saga of health woes and news; I have an appointment with a massage therapist next week. I'm looking forward to it and not. If you've not had deep tissue massage, the first day or two are a misery. It releases a lot of toxins and the body rebels. The first time I had it I was cursing her name. By day two I was singing the hallelujah chorus! I do know what to expect, which is good and not so good.

I'll leave you with another flower from my rose garden, which is no more. Smell the roses while they last.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Thoughts and Wanders

Miss Naughty Pants

My unusual little twerp decided to help me with laundry yesterday. I don't know for sure if it's a look of defiance or just Frieda. Which would make it one and the same!

Another daily weather report, it is 30 degrees at the outskirts of the Twin Cities, this 26th day of April. The weather guy said this morning all indications are we will have an above average hot summer. Again. It's becoming average for Minnesota to have heat and humidity not befitting a far northern state. What will happen is one day we will go to bed below freezing and the next we will wake up to 90 and tropical humidity. This has been the biggest reason why my outside space has started to deteriorate, I cannot take that kind of weather. I lived in Atlanta for a couple of years, it wasn't for me. But now it has become our norm.

I have stated a few times that I have become barely mobile over the last eighteen months or so. I've been through the medical loops and physical therapy. I've done the exercises, I use my pedal machine and treadmill. I'm not better. I am going to try deep tissue massage, I'm so tight. I have come to a conclusion that it is stress related. There is no medical problem with my hips or back, yet I cannot stand straight nor walk more than a few feet at a time. A friend who is a psychiatric nurse suggested I consider therapy but I don't really want to delve too deeply into that can of worms. He did himself and thinks I should. I'll try massage therapy first. I bought and then did not read the book "The Body Keeps Score" by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. Another friend had a pile of books she'd purchased on her Instagram yesterday and that was one of them, which reminded me I have it. I should probably read it.

I hope we have some weather were I can tend and enjoy my flower beds. It is cathartic. In the meantime, I am using a lot of the wood Mark spent hours chopping and stacking, so there is that to enjoy. A nice evening fire with music and a glass of red wine.

Domani Amiche

Monday, April 25, 2022


....As in January in April. I wasn't the clever one to come up with this, that pat-on-the-back belongs to a local news guy. It was 30 degrees this morning, we will reach the balmy heights of 36 degrees today. Alleluia, pass the parkas!

Mark got the vines off the arena fence yesterday. The entire south end collapsed when he took the vines off. The posts had rotted and the only thing holding them up were the vines. It looked like dominoes, coming down one after the other. This confirmed it truly is time to say goodbye to the outdoor arena. 

I bought purple sweet potatoes from Misfits last week. I had no idea they existed. I made fries for lunch in the air fryer and they were good. These are drier and slightly sweeter than the sweet potatoes I would call normal. I guess I'm not too old to learn something new. I got an order today and I have to say I get the best fennel I've ever bought from them. I love fennel. Can I say something about the air fryer? In 2020 I was about two thirds of the way through getting Kate's house ready to sell. I went there, toward the end, 6 days a week. It was a two hour forty minute round trip drive. I was in my kitchen, feeling worn out and had the tv on, Emeril Lagasse came on hawking his product. I picked up my phone, ordered it. Without any thought. Exhaustion impulse buying. I used to be impulsive but got over it years ago. Not this time. It is one of the most used items in my kitchen! Sometimes just doing it works. Well, at least this time it did.

Tonight I will makes linguine with fennel, asparagus, lots of garlic and shrimp for dinner. I have had two days of braising, a brisket and a shoulder roast. Time for something other than beef. I'll get into my freezer hoarding another time. It's real.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Tripod and Treadmill

 Jiggs knows the true and proper use of a treadmill: cat perch.

We had a kitten move into the barn during the winter of 2015, a pretty pastel tortie. Time slipped by and she became pregnant before we got her spayed, resulting in four kittens. Two male, two female. Jiggs is one of those cats. She formed a habit of disappearing for weeks at a time during the summer. The last time was 2018 and she was gone for a couple of months. I had decided she wouldn't be returning, and then she did. She came home thin, dragging her left front leg. There was no feeling below the knee joint. She was brought in as a full-time house cat and I wrapped her leg so it wouldn't be rubbed raw. I knew it would need amputation but she was in bad shape and needed to improve before I put her through that. In the mean time the leg contracted under her chest, which took away the dragging. She has use of her shoulder and gets around as if nothing is wrong. She's able to jump and run and tussle with Frieda. She has never looked back, once made to stay inside, as if she knew it's for her best interest. 

On another note, it's once again blowing gale force wind. The horses don't like it. I don't like it. This month has been one for the record books where wind is concerned. We may end up in Oz.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

And So On

I finished watching "Anatomy of a Scandal" this morning. I liked it, it did all the things that keep me interested. I am someone who loses interest easily and this one kept me going. It had a very satisfying conclusion, for me.

I won't say anything about the premise so as to not ruin it, but it definitely shows privilege, who has it and how it's used.

We had a strong storm blow through about an hour ago. The day is expected to be dry, as in no rain, not the ground, until late afternoon, when it starts all over again. Mark hopes to get the grape vines off the arena fence over the weekend, I'm not so sure he will. 

Spring will come, it may be June, but it will come.

I have two beef briskets, one thawed for tonight's dinner. I looked online at the price of a brisket and was shocked. It's always been a costly cut, god knows why. It's very good if done right but I don't know how often it is done right. Perhaps only people who know what to do with it continue buying them? I get my meat through Butcher Box, so I don't know the individual price of each cut I order. It was $249/box but went to $259 this year. I have been buying from them for years, perhaps since they began. That is why I was so surprised by the price of a brisket. I also buy produce from Misfits Market. Not all of it, but when they have things I want it's at a very good price. They are not a subscription service so you can purchase or not.

The excitement in my life today will be re-scraping the veranda floor. I started that process two years ago this month, then Kate, my mother, died and eight months of my life were spent clearing out her house. Last year I think the weight of life crashed in on me, leaving me unable to do much of anything. I know longterm childhood abuse causes health and emotional issues in adulthood. If you don't walk away, as my brother did, from the abuser it never stops. So, I can scrape paint and hope to finish what I started. 

I'm done with my last cup of coffee, have my thoughts on virtual paper and think it's time to pick myself up and start the day.

Ciao Blog World

Friday, April 22, 2022


Earth Day

I was in high school in 1970, when the first Earth Day happened. I had a teenage girl crush on Cat Stevens, Shawn Phillips and Justin Hayward. I had wire rim glasses, I skipped study hall to stand outside with the rebels, smoking, like the cool kids we thought we were. I was suspended that year for this, my choir teacher complained. Apparently he had some pull. We had several walkouts protesting Vietnam. High school was my petrie dish.

There was a presentation in the school auditorium that day. Many of us bought Earth Shoes in anticipation of the event. We were full of righteous indignation about many things and now there was another. Somehow wearing a particular shoe to show how committed we were seemed right to the teenage mind. 

Fifty-two years have passed since this first Earth Day. We listened to lectures on the fragility of the earth's atmosphere. Did we listen then? Maybe. I think it was more about shoes for us. Are we listening now?
Yes, many are. Listening and doing are not the same thing though, are they.

Biden is talking about ramping up nuclear power to provide clean energy. Nuclear power isn't clean. We never have been able to figure out how to handle the toxic, never becomes non-toxic, waste. Is it such a stretch to put those billions into solar? Why is the human brain seemingly so limited it cannot see what is in front of it? 

We talk about history and how it will remember what has happened in the US, like everything is normal, other than that other stuff, like you know, people going mad. The earth isn't hitting the pause button. It's heating up. Climate is changing. What history are we talking about? People don't want to look it squarely in the, what, tornadoes in southern Minnesota while we have snow on the ground? 

Mark used to call me Debbie Downer. Now he says I'm still Debby Downer, but I'm right. I'm not right. The people I've paid close attention to the past couple of decades are right. If I could hear them, why couldn't/wouldn't those with the power to do something hear them? I think that answer is clear. Too bad the earth doesn't care about money.

Fifty-two years. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

And So It Goes

Things change. Time goes by. This fellow died five years ago today. 

To say I was attached to Howard and he to me is an understatement. I got him as a puppy after my basset, Harvey, died. Howard came with 'tude and then some! He was my Howard B. Hound, my stubborn, yeasty, hunk of folded flesh and his death broke me. I still had a basset I adopted as a senior, but Murphy died a year later. Basset Hounds are interesting, no doubt about it. We were dog-less until my mother's two came to live with us a couple years later. Now it's one dog. I don't plan on any more, but we all know about plans.

A change comes in taking this fencing down, the outdoor riding arena. It hasn't been used in years and the proliferation of wild grape vine has taken it over. The fence is drooped from the weight. A tree fell on a portion of it last year, breaking that section. Mark is outside lopping the vines off at the ground to make it easier to dismantle the fence. Many, many hours were spent in this space. My three dressage horses practically lived there. You wouldn't know it was sand, nature takes over in a flash, it's completely filled in with grass. Another era has a visible passing. 

This is the project I told Mark I was going to do when the weather improved. I can sit on a step stool and lop. He obviously doesn't want me to do that because he got sudden motivation to do it himself. After telling me he wouldn't be able to do it this year. I didn't intend for him to, but my speaking about doing it sure got him interested!

It's a passing with some memories but not with sadness. It's past its' prime and looks a royal mess. Time to go. It will take some getting used to looking out my office window and not see the fence.

Tomorrow is more rain. When it does warm up we will green like crazy. There isn't a leaf bud on a tree or bush and absolutely nothing is coming up in the perennial beds. We just need warm weather. My propane bill would also appreciate some warm weather. 

Well. that's all the news fit to print. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

After the stress of the past week, yesterday was a day for Mark to decompress. We had a quick dinner of asparagus, garlic and goat cheese with a little red pepper flakes over linguine. And we ate before 9:30!

Today we got our second booster shot. The young man administering it said a lot of people have been coming in. This was at Walgreens. I feel hopeful that this will be a further shield against the virus that will allow me to feel more comfortable seeking medical care. We are still wearing the N95s.

It is yet again a rainy day. We have made up for any moisture deficit we came into winter with. Saturday is supposed to be nice, I hope to get out and do something. I'm very limited but I need to do something. I've got Mother Hen Mark hovering over me, I tell him I can judge my own tolerance, he doesn't need to tell me what I shouldn't do, but he does. I don't listen, but sometimes he is right.

The Mother Hen needs to go into town and will pick up fried chicken for dinner, no cooking for me tonight! Sometimes I need a break and today is one of those times. I feel totally unmotivated, the dreariness sure doesn't help. I'm going to start a fire and finish a Netflix series;  Anatomy of a Scandal. I'll find out who is lying.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

And How We Do It

Lots of families gathered today and sat at tables laden with Easter bounty.

We had risotto. No complaints from either of us. Tomorrow is the last day to file income taxes and the old guy is tired and stressed. We had dinner at 9:30 so he could work late. I rescheduled an appointment I had for blood draw tomorrow because he has to drive me and he's too busy. I have trouble walking and need to be dropped off at the door, otherwise I could take myself. The lab must be short staffed, I couldn't get a new appointment until the middle of next month. There's nothing to be done about it, Mark didn't need the added stress.

It was cold and snowed this afternoon. It's going to be well below average most of this week and then we are going to warm up. Spring hasn't shown itself here yet.

Two posts in one day. Eating late and not wanting to watch TV, I sat at my desk and ended up here. I guess I gave myself a bonus round.

I Say It's His Birthday

Today my son, my only child. turns forty-eight.

He was a brand new being in this long ago grainy photo. A wonderful kid, fun, inquisitive and precocious. I divorced his biological father when he was two, he has no memory of living in the family made up of the three of us. He knows his bio-dad, that's what he used to call him, mostly after he was eight or nine. The bio was an addict, untrustworthy and unreliable, as one would expect. I married Mark when the boy was seven and he has been considered his dad. I did that right.

He married seven years ago. We were delighted for him, as it seemed that wasn't going to happen. They are the same age and an only marriage for both of them.

The girl in this photo had no idea where life would take her and that bundle, but she tried to be what he needed. It was often a struggle, being a single mother was not easy. In between bio and Mark there was an engagement I broke off, I listened to my wiser-than-my-years gut. One of my smart moments. The boy got a great dad in Mark. 

Forty-eight years...yikes.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

I know, not technically a parasite, it doesn't live off a host, but it does invade and take over territory.

So beautiful. So prolific. I have not been managing my gardens for a few years, a variety of reasons account for the neglect. Phlox took over. Grass has also taken hold and killed off most of the iris. My task, when winter eventually leaves us, is to pull the newly sprouting phlox before it kills the surrounding plants in the beds where it has flourished. My back will simply have to take it because I am at my last nerve over my deteriorating flower beds. It's been a long winter, as is apparent from my odd and often rambling thoughts!

Age is making me upset. I always maintained my flower beds, even when I was at the height of my horse business. I kept my exterior space neat and proper, the barn was clean, the horses groomed. Somehow, I lost my mojo. I now have an understanding of my long deceased father. He was a strong and vital person. And then he wasn't. He spent those years of his life angry. I get it. I also know it did him not a whit of good. I need to find a balance between submission and a clenched fist aimed at the universe. I am too much my father's daughter, even down to the uncooperative body. I am going in for some further labs in the never-ending quest for answers. Also like him, never give up.

The sun came out in the last few minutes, an almost unrecognizable sight. I have bread to make, tidying to do and a book to listen to. I plan to make shrimp risotto for dinner. Maybe I will regale the internet with a food photo tomorrow. Oh, boy! Stay tuned....

Ciao bella mia blog world 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Books, Wind and a Clay Pot

I have an app, audiobooks now, which has lots of books priced at $3.99. This was one, published in 2011. I don't know anything about James Garfield, other than he was assassinated within his first year as President. I've just started the book and I think it will be interesting. It is nonfiction. 

I should get a library card and get audio books that way. I have so many on various apps it seems like a waste of space. I like to be read to. I can sit in my chair and listen or I can be busy and still listen. I do not like ebooks. If I'm going to read I hold a real book. Something else a library card would be good for, I don't want anymore books, I am loaded down with them and I'm trying to have less of everything in my waning years.

It's cold and windy today. We had overnight snow and I understand the roads were nearly impassable. The horses are in the barn for a second day, the wind is blowing hard and they get quite agitated and can be a danger to themselves and also to the person handling them. My horses all go in and out of the barn on a lead rope. There are times when prudence is called for. 

I have a large pork roast thawed. I use a clay pot for most roasts and especially pork. It is easy to make a pork roast too dry. Clay pot roasting is a wonder! A soaked pot, moderately high heat and some form of liquid in the pot and it's so tender. I use white wine. I used to love white wine to drink but somewhere along the way it became too acidic for me, but I always have it on hand for cooking. A good white  wine, if it's not worth drinking it's not worth having in the house. That's my motto.

This is Easter weekend for many people. Not for us, we don't Easter, but lots of people do. Whether for religious reasons, family gathering or baskets of candy for the children from that over-worked bunny. Nine times out of ten Easter in Minnesota is snowy, so all those nice spring outfits sort of get lost under warm coats.

I'm having a stream of consciousness. It's rather soothing to write what comes to mind as my fingers tap the keyboard in my unusual hunt & peck style. My coffee cup is empty, it's after 11:00 am and I do have life to attend to. It is a pleasure to write for a bit. I don't know why I enjoy it but I do. And that's enough.


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Frieda, Vegan and Eggplant

Make the world go away, take it off my shoulders. Say the things you used to say, and make the world go away.

I think many of us share Frieda's sentiments. I know I do, on several levels. I would like the weather to stop acting like Minnesota. Wind, rain, snow, more rain. I know where I live, but sometimes I feel it's enough already. Frieda loves the spot on the ottoman, with the fire warming the room. If I sit in the living room she bothers me until I move to her comfy place. She has turned me into a mushy hearted cat lady, no doubt about that.

I watched a documentary series on Netflix, "Bad Vegan". You cannot make this stuff up. A very successful restaurateur loses everything in a con that has her buying into a lot of bizarre nonsense. The documenter comments a few times about vegan-ism. I won't go into that. My son became chef at a vegan restaurant a few years ago. A longtime friend went into partnership with another person on the restaurant and was having trouble keeping a chef. The son didn't know vegan cooking but had been a fine dining chef for a long time. He had been Sous Chef for several years to a two time James Beard Award nominee. He knew he could figure it out. I understand why people do this. I have known quite a few vegans, it's their business, but I don't care to be preached at. After a few months he tells me he is now vegan. Not surprised. His wife was a vegetarian and also went vegan. They didn't proselytize to us, so it was their business. The pandemic shutdown came along and the restaurant closed. It didn't take too long for the son to eat meat again, he helped me the last couple of months at my mother's house and picked up food for our lunch every day. His wife is still a staunch vegan and I assume will stay so. It still doesn't affect me, they haven't been here for a holiday or anything else since 2018. I did buy some nutritional yeast and a vegan "cheese" for meatless balls when they planned to be here New Years' Day, but they couldn't come.  I have no I idea how I came to this topic! Other than "Bad Vegan". It is a bizarre tale and vegan plays a role in it. 

I am rambling. I have things to do and seem to be actively avoiding the doing. I have an eggplant gratin I need to prep for tonight's dinner, I'm making it as a side dish. Anything I can do in advance is in my favor. I start to fade as the day goes on. The multiple days in a row of overcast skies isn't helping me, no doubt of that. Tax season ends on Monday, at least the filing does. Then it's finishing the extensions. Mark has later hours right now as the pressure of a timeline looming always does. 

I guess I'll shut the faucet of my mind off and go bake some eggplant slices.
 Ciao Amiche

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


I am, or was, a political nerd. I studied European History and Political Science at university. I grew up in a family that I later quipped held the DFL as our religion and the union our god. I volunteered on George McGovern's presidential campaign. My first political action of protest was several walkouts in high school protesting the Vietnam war. I dutifully attended our caucuses and was a district delegate for the DFL several times. This is to give a little background into my deeply held convictions and action. I say this because I have come to a point in my worldview where I have stopped paying attention, or as much as I can. I would like to say it started with Donald Trump. No, it did not. The downfall really got rolling with Ronald Reagan, then Bill Clinton, moved onto Bush II and came to a crescendo with Barack Obama. Trump was a natural conclusion. If natural can in anyway be used in anything Trump. As I see Europe taking a step into authoritarianism and the US teetering on the brink, perhaps a little more than teetering, I think back to history and realize all things seem to come around again. There is something in human beings which has a self-destructive bent. It's like a moth drawn to a flame. We cannot help ourselves. The planet is heating at an accelerated rate and we scream for more oil production. A pandemic happens, a deluded moron talks about drinking bleach and it's treated as another day in the life. We have an insurrection and the Party of Patriots applauds. These same stellar beings have fallen head over heels for Vladimir Putin, the very people of the party of Joseph McCarthy. The same people who decried Sharia Law when a national healthcare system was proposed but cheer the so-called morality laws being enacted across the country. The True Patriots who cannot see democracy eroding right under their noses, who pipe up with "we're not a Democracy, we are a Republic". These people who call me a sheep as they gather gape-jawed in worship of a grifter. Billionaires go into space while their American brethren cannot afford insulin. I have realized I have no control over any of this. It's a steamroller on the history loop. Unfortunately, we are running out of time. If nuclear weapons don't end our future, climate change will. It's the elephant in the room, it may be ignored but it's larger than we are and eventually will walk over us all. 

My coping mechanism is to live my life the best I am able. I tell Mark we drink the wine, eat the food. Plant the garden, pet the animals. Be kind. I have no control over what Vladimir Putin will do. I have control over what I do. My world has narrowed down to this.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Yesterday's visit with the son went ok. We do not have a close relationship, we are probably both to blame for that. Sometimes things just are as they are and this I have come to accept is one of those things. His life in general seems stable and I think content. That is good for a mother to know. 

I did not make soup as planned. I just didn't feel like it. Instead I made hot ham and havarti cheese on kaiser rolls with a green salad. That was a good choice, no real effort in that. I hadn't an idea for dinner so I took half of the sausage I planned to use for the soup and made a red sauce with it. I have begun to greatly appreciate made-in-advance meals. 
I don't think the younger generation eat much of this kind of food, the food I grew up with. I know Thai has been popular. I made a Thai curry a couple of years ago and it isn't too strong to say I hated it. I found I cannot stand coconut milk! We basically eat Americana and Italian American. I did learn technique in the French style by cooking my way, sort of, through Le Cordon Bleu at Home thirty-five years ago, but French cuisine has become too fussy for me now.

I made the soup I planned for yesterday as today's lunch. Much better to do when I wasn't feeling anxious. It's a nice sunny day, too bad it won't last long. The next four days are expected to be rain and then snow. Monday is my laundry day, but other than that I'm taking it easy. I suppose I should get back to it. If you read this, be well. Be content. Eat what makes you happy.

Saturday, April 9, 2022


I'm having company tomorrow over the lunch hour. It's been a long time since we've had anyone to our house and actually inside. We see a couple of neighbors now and then and Mark's cousin dropped off tax documents a few days ago, not the same as someone sitting down to your table. This is coming inside and having lunch! My son is bringing his tax information to his dad and will stay for lunch. We don't see him often and I'm not sure I remember how to behave around people anymore. I've always been a loner, but the last couple of years I've been downright reclusive. Son and his wife spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family and planned to come here on New Years Day. They both got Covid after the Christmas gathering so we didn't see them. This is a big event in an increasingly small world for me! It will be good for me to have some social interaction, I have become too much like the basset, when there are no demands on you, you don't make many demands on yourself. Of course anyone who knows them knows you'd better not demand anything of them! AAAROOO

I need to move some German Shepherd hair, make lunch and consider tomorrow's lunch. It will be soup because it's easy and he likes soup. Let us hope I haven't completely forgotten how to people.


Friday, April 8, 2022


 Actually I can do my Friday dance on Tuesday if I want. 
It is Friday, though. Boogie on.


I adore basset hounds. Stubborn, yeasty fleshy creatures they are. Beloved Howard died in 2017 then Old Man Murphy, aka Fast Footies, died in 2018. I didn't want anymore dogs, I came to a place where death of my animals became overwhelming. Horses, cats and my constant companions, the dogs who followed me everywhere. My work was at home so my dogs were with me all day every day. I also knew my mother would probably die before the younger of her two dogs and that would be my responsibility. She did die two years after Murphy and I brought Emma and Keetah home. Sweet old Emma  was with us for eight months and Keetah is still with us, making me deal with German Shepherd hair on a daily basis. Mark is happy to have a dog again and she is definitely his girl. See the straight line of muddy paw prints along the floor plank? Keetah never varies her step into the living room. She has a pattern for every move she makes. Just like Mark. The pine flooring shows the history of the many large dogs whose big feet crossed the planking. It's a history I have no intention of erasing.

Onto what makes me a cliche. Not an idiom, but a cliche. I used the fennel bulb for pizza the night before. I don't like to discard bits that are usable, so I used the stems of the fronds in a simple Farfelle with garlic, walnuts and Mascarpone. The fennel fronds make an excellent pesto. I typically use walnuts for fennel pesto. If you haven't done, try it.

I guess it's time for me to feign productivity. Mark still has his practice, although he has a reduced client load. Because of my physical condition he had to take on the task of the horses full time. No moss grows under his feet. Too much moss is growing under my butt, which is growing in its' own right. Time to move some German Shepherd hair around.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Bread and Flower

Pizza Bread

Sometimes I do things just because. Last night was one of those times. I made enough dough for a large medium crust pizza, saw the cast iron skillet I had cleaned but not put away and thought it was a good idea to bake a pizza with this much dough in that pan instead of the steel. Pizza bread. Mark thought it was great, but he thinks everything is great. He is my cheerleader. Gotta love him.

What did come from it is I really liked the bread, so I've mixed another batch of the dough and will bake it as bread, a slightly thicker version of focaccia.

It's 36* F, windy and raining. This is the third day. Tomorrow won't be warm but the sun is supposed to shine. It will be welcome. I look forward to seeing these, perhaps my favorite flower in the gardens. I was asked recently if I hoard anything. Perhaps peonies. I have an abundance of them. And that's okay.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Life in my Lane

April in Minnesota is Winter Junior.

We moved from the cozy snug to the living room for a couple of nights, thinking it would be warm enough to open the huge hole in the roof, otherwise known as a flue. The bat cave, which goes by the name Fireplace requires a giant hole in the roof so as to not smoke us out. I like to use this one when I can because the living room is open to the kitchen so I can see the fire while I work. The thing is, Minnesota hasn't given up on winter yet so it's just a bad idea to light this thing. So, back to the snug where it's much more efficient. We are guaranteed cool evenings for awhile which will be perfect for using the bat cave, just not yet. Until then.....

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Tuesday Afternoon, What Can I Say

 A Moment

Aging. Everything and one does it. We have aged wine, cheese. Aged beef, wood. These are things which become more valuable when aged. I am human. I am aged. There hovers a hint of irrelevance around the aged. An old horse hasn't any value. An old woman, unnoticed. Mindful of the time passed and the future smaller. Carrying the dutch oven became a weight lifting moment, it seems to have happened when I wasn't looking. I think we often go about our days not looking, they feel as if they will stretch on to infinity. Then one day, your back doesn't want to straighten. There's crepe paper skin on your hands. When did that happen? Then, then I think about the people who will never have to wonder where the crepe skin came from. Getting old is irreversible, so perhaps it's best not to look in the review mirror, whilst trying to shift into reverse. 

Put on the sunglasses, pull your cap down on your head and hit the gas. It's already been a bumpy ride, there's nothing to lose but time. 

Monday, April 4, 2022

It doesn't last long, but it occurs regularly. 
Spring in Minnesota

 The horses don't care, they have hay and one another. This-taken-from-a-distance-with-a-phone-camera blur of a photo is the geldings. There are seven of the old boys left. They are still very much geldings, meaning perpetual ten year old boys with four legs. If a horse is going to get into mischief it's more than likely to be a gelding. Big goofy fellas. We have a long history together, all but one was born here. The one not born on the farm came here 17 years ago. The economic crash of 2008 destroyed the horse market for years, so what was here ended up staying here. The youngest is 19, the oldest 27. Did you know long in the tooth started as a saying about aging based on horses? People would look in their mouths to determine age. Long toothed meant old. They and I are long of tooth. 

Totally not interesting but part of my life, which is what this is all about, Monday is laundry day. It's also a perfect day to make soup for lunch. I'm wanting chicken and dumplings, so that's what it will be. I hear the grandfather clock chiming 10:00, so I guess it's time to get the day started. Mark has been at it since 7:00, I'm a slacker. He doesn't mind that I am a slacker. 

Sunday, April 3, 2022

And say Frieda what are you doin' here?

Sing us a song, you're the piano cat, sing us a song tonight. Well, we're all in the mood for a melody and you've got us feeling alright.


Saturday, April 2, 2022

This blurry photo is me seven years ago, two years before I started the Great Health Decline. I realized anyone who may be reading this is likely someone new, as I abandoned this blog years ago. I wasn't writing here when I took this photo. I had a serious case of flu in 2017, then I had pneumonia and spent half of that year being sick. The end result is I haven't been well since. Covid has kept me housebound for the past year because of my tenuous health, although I spent most of 2020 at the house where I grew up, clearing it out after my mother died. Eight months of work, most of it by myself, until the last couple of months. I thought I'd give a little background as to why this has become a food blog. I've had little else for a year but cooking. I don't think I'm desperate enough to show dust on the furniture, at least not yet! I do have an appointment on the 18th for more tests trying to determine what is wrong with me. My husband likes to tell me it's my mother sticking pins in me. Sometimes I wonder, although it's along the line of longtime, ongoing trauma causing illness that I believe may be the pins. Minnesota will enter spring eventually and I'll get out and hopefully be able to garden. I have kept hope alive somehow, that I will get better. Perhaps I can have something other than food to write about.

So as to keep a theme going, I roasted a chicken a few nights ago, I had a breast left and used it with fennel, garlic, asparagus and tarragon with a little linguine. I couldn't eat it all so we had it and the rest of the Involtini for lunch. What Mark calls a potpurie. No, not a misspelling, that's what he calls it. 

The sun is shining and it's 48 degrees. Spring is trying. 

Friday, April 1, 2022

Molto Bene

Eggplant Involtini

 If someone sees this, do yourself a favor and make it. It's simple and can be made in advance. Something important to me as by evening my back has had it. It's as simple as baking thin eggplant strips brushed with a little oil, a parmesan and ricotta filling wrapped in those strips and baked in tomato sauce. I put a little pesto on the eggplant before wrapping the cheese. Delicious.

It's a chilly but sunny day, I've got chicken bones and aromatic & vegetable scraps simmering for stock, and a plan to use leftover chicken with fennel, asparagus and linguine for dinner. With the cost of groceries, save your bones and scraps in the freezer. It's extremely satisfying to make great food with things that are typically thrown out. I've turned into my grandma, bib apron and all.