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

Friday, December 29, 2023


It's finally freezing overnight, which is helping with the mud. It's still too warm during the day but that ends this Sunday. If the weather took requests, I would ask it to stay in the twenties, please. No minus signs would be very nice. Thank you. Alas, it doesn't work this way.

I started listening to The Book Woman's Daughter, by Kim Michele Richardson yesterday. I listened to the first one, Book Woman, sometime this year. I liked it and so far I am liking this one. There are so many good books out there. Mark has been busy with end of the year tax projections for clients. Then he has an audit he has to get to, so no rest for him for awhile. I don't know what he would do if he didn't have his work and the physical labor of the farm, other than drive me out of my mind. He is not a relaxed person! There was a time I was always busy. I got over it.

My sciatic nerve has been angry for about a week. It is truly a pain. I am not in much of a mood, so it's good I have the digital library to keep me occupied. Dinner has been anything simple. I had leftover pork roast in the freezer that I cubed, put in gravy with broccoli and served with egg noodles. This was about as simple as it gets, other than food delivery, which we don't have access to. I have enough for two more meals. Hurrah!

 Happy Friday my friends. Two more days of 2023.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

It Was A Restful Day

Well, I made it though a very wet, dreary Christmas Day. It was peaceful and felt good to feel zero stress or pressure. I have an up-tightness that I have never been able to shake, so the simplest of things becomes a deal. Not yesterday. No big meal, just an easy shrimp scampi for dinner, soup for lunch. I watched a movie on Prime, listened to a book and overall chilled. It rained all day. Between Sunday and Monday, had it been snow, we'd have about 4 feet. Western Minnesota is being hammered by an ice storm. That is the absolute worst. We stay about freezing until Sunday. Hopefully all the standing water will go away before then. I did make an adjustment to my schedule in acknowledgment of the holiday by putting off Monday laundry till today. I am flexible.

This is about what it looks like for the week. We are edging toward winter.

Monday, December 25, 2023



Sunday, December 24, 2023

Cats and Other Things

I had a couple of days away from electronics, not with any thought to it, but because my brain was fogged up. I started to wonder about myself. I'm feeling cognitive at the moment. My brain was mimicking our weather....heavy fog.

So today is Christmas Eve but you wouldn't know it here. Not one thing Christmas. I just wasn't feeling it and with the plans cancelled I didn't need to think about it. The son did send me a text a couple of days ago telling me I was right, she's not ready. I'm sorry for her but glad I made the right decision.

So....more interesting topic; meet Blackie McCool. He is one of the four kitties born in the barn in 2015 to a stray kitten I didn't get spayed soon enough. There had been a handsome tuxedo fellow hanging out here for awhile and then, along came kittens. Mr. McCool took after pops. He's moved back in and stays inside much longer than Tabs Hunter, aka Crabby Tabby. He's a big, sweet boy. It's good to have him back in the house.

This finally happened on Thursday. The auger quit working at the end of last winter. Bill said he would look at it and finally did on Thursday. After much deliberation he accidentally pulled the auger out and then he put it back in. We think it had somehow slipped out of the arm that turns from the motor. It's working like a charm now. It makes a difference in that very hard to heat room.

I ordered a pair of glasses Friday and I should have them in seven to ten days. Maybe. Otherwise, nothing much happening. Our weather is not right. It will be in the upper 50s F today and tomorrow with rain. Really strange. 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Blurry-Eyed Lady

I had an eye exam yesterday and it was about time. My glasses had broke so I was wearing a very old pair. Let's say I wasn't eagle-eyed in them. My distance vision has improved slightly and my eyes are in good health. Hurrah! I spent the rest of yesterday blurry-eyed from the drops. I was so dilated I could see only the iris. I had black eyes. Now I need to buy glasses. 

Otherwise, I'm still suffering the consequences of my over-zealous exercising. The PT told me not to exert myself too much and I didn't think I was. What I thought and what my body knew were very different things. Lesson learned, I'm in worse shape than I thought.

We are having strange weather. My app shows us in the 40s F into January. What? It's bizarre. It's more like October. I made chicken stock, I know..shocking, and will turn it into soup, I think with dumplings. They sound good to me. That's about it from here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023


Hey, all. Nothing new here except I have changed our Christmas plans after giving it a lot of thought. My DIL's mother died in August. Her children absolutely adored her. They are still raw and grieving. I don't see the point of coming here to spend a couple of hours with us when it's probably the last thing she wants to do. There is no need for it. Matthew actually agreed with me. I said the middle of next month, far enough away from the holidays to let it just be brunch, celebrating my birthday a little late. There's enough stress, I don't need to add to it. And, it doesn't matter to me whether we see them at Christmas time or later. So...I took care of that yesterday. I don't know that I have ever uninvited anyone before. I could feel his relief. 

Otherwise, same old, same old. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Boy Kitties

Mirroring one another.

 Tabby left. Gatto right. As it should be. Gatto is always right.

Another mild day in December. I'm on recovery duty at the moment. I got carried away with an exercise to un-pinch the piriformis muscle. When that tiny little muscle gets pinched it makes life miserable. Now, not only is it bothering me, but my thigh muscles are on high alert. I just never learn. Moderation? Huh.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Got Some Gatto

This young rascal has been a member of the household for a year.

Last year it was about -20 F and the poor boy was freezing. Today is supposed to reach 49 F. It's really strange to be so warm in December. If it had been like this last year he wouldn't have asked to come in. He is, finally, settling down. He still has the crazies, but he is not so aggressive. I would put him between 1.5 and 2 years old. I cannot believe I am actually calling him a good boy!

Last evenings quick and flavorful dinner.

Sunday, December 10, 2023


The sum total of my day.

Saturday was a day of watching an old western, reading (listening) a book and baking a loaf of bread. Other than focaccia it's been since last spring that I made bread. It felt good to get my hands in dough. Now to get my hands on some dough......

Saturday, December 9, 2023

No Snow. Lots of Cats

Good Saturday Morning.

December is certainly speeding along. I'm not able to keep up! The two barn cats, who used to be part-time house cats until Keetah came to live here, are now both coming inside. They tend to eat and run. The Hills Diet food seems to be gourmet. There are now times I have five cats in the house. I'd have never believed it. See, you can teach an old dog lady new tricks.

We are having an abnormal December, no snow and mild weather. Very strange. It isn't typical Christmas weather in this neck of the woods. We are either going to Matthew's or they are coming here on the 23rd. I hope they decide to host. I am not decorating....not very holiday-ish around here. Also, his wife is vegan. I can handle dinner with a tomato sauce and eggless pasta, but I haven't a clue about a dessert. I guess I can use margarine to make a galette crust. See, writing about it made me think. Some of those brain cells are still working.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023


The last time I ordered groceries the shopper substituted a large block of chocolate for something I wanted that was out of stock. I didn't know what to do with it, so I made walnut bark. It's sweeter than I'm used to, but it will pass.

It's quiet around here. No sign of Christmas. Gatto being the main reason, I also don't have any interest. Bah, humbug. As with so many, Christmas has never been a joyful time, but one I had to pretend to be happy about. I know I'm not alone in this.

Change of tone....I made stock, I know, hard to believe, from a pork roast bone a couple of days ago. It will become potato, beans and pork soup today. It's a cold and dreary day and soup sounds like just the thing. December without snow is depressing. For me.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Take Comfort Where You Find It

Frieda enjoys our late afternoon book time.

So do I.

I plan to make an arrabiata sauce for dinner today. I haven't been using the tomatoes I processed and froze. I think it's time for some sauces. Maybe that ultra-simple focaccia as well. The medication I started a couple of months ago, an add-on to the fluoxetine, has helped my mood and motivation. I am still struggling with pain and fatigue, but I am also finding ways to live and work around it. Wellbutrin comes with a strong warning about alcohol, it can cause seizures, so I have given up my couple of glasses of evening wine. I survived. Feeling engaged in life means more to me than wine. Which is saying a lot.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

It's in the Details

I think this is the best turkey stock I have ever made.

I ordered and received, yesterday afternoon, a new pepper grinder. The pepper was not grinding. That's some large bits of pepper in there. I did get some things done and sorted yesterday as I hoped. Yay, me!

This also arrived yesterday, part of my Costco order.

Why paying attention to the details matters. 4 lb 4 oz! I've always purchased Kalamatas from Costco and they came in a large jar, a reasonable large jar. I haven't been able to get them, nor my favorite, Castelvetrano, from Costco for a couple of years. When I saw this, I just clicked it, not looking any further. I do think olives are going to be on the menu often. 


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Hopeful Thinking

A brief how-do-you-do today. I'm planning to make this a semi-productive day. Dishwasher is running and soup for lunch is simmering. My office badly needs my attention, it has been, for all the years I've lived here, a repository for, I guess, junk. So, that's on the radar. I'm going to make a turkey pot pie, minus the bottom crust, because I'm using puff pastry, for tonight's dinner. I can use the leftover gravy. I should be done with turkey after this.

You know how it's often said people look like their dogs? Me greeting the day ahead with hope of productivity.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Stock and Other Things

Minnesota has decided to stop toying with us. It's 8 F at the moment. We had a high of 12 F yesterday. Back to reality for a few days. I made turkey stock yesterday, resulting in three 64 oz containers. Two for the freezer, one to use now. 

A photo I received a couple of days ago of Matthew and his Homer. He does love his doggo. This little stray won the lottery. 

Speaking of lottery winners....this orange dervish loves loves loves boxes. There is always a fresh supply.

That's all the news. Life limps along. Go with it or be left behind. My sage advice.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

All Quiet on my Front

Gatto enjoys his life as a model.

Frieda enjoys her life as a comfort seeker.

I enjoy my life as a fire gazer.

Yesterday was cold with a light snow later in the day. I spent the afternoon in front of the fire listening to a book. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon. Today is Mark's birthday. He wanted lasagna but I said not this time. My body is pooped, so it will be something simple but flavorful. That's the hope, anyway.


Friday, November 24, 2023

Alive and Well

I am back!

We got through turkey day just fine. It was a good day, everyone, even me, was relaxed. I haven't turned my computer on in days. I had the energy and the physical ability (sort of) to get what I wanted done....done. I couldn't allow myself distraction because I distract easily and that would have broken the spell. Accomplishment is an elixir.

I have turkey noodle soup simmering for lunch and I have most of yesterday's mess cleared away, so life is moving along well enough.

I will visit everyone later in the day and catch up on what has been happening. It feels like forever since I was here.

Leaving you with a photo of Gatto. Because no one can have too much Gatto.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Job Well Done

Baby Zing

 He was orphaned at birth. He's quite the character.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent trimming the hedge, a couple of bushes in front of the veranda and cutting the old rambling roses back. I used to grow roses, mostly antique roses. All that is left are those enormous red beauties. Thursday I enlisted Mark's help as I was sore from the day before. He is so much faster than I am. It is a very good feeling to have this done. I spent the late afternoon in happy soreness from a job well done. Now I start preparing for Thanksgiving. I haven't had company on a holiday since 2018. I'm out of practice.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Fretting Over Frieda

Yesterday was busy. It started with a vet visit for Frieda. I noticed she was constantly in her litter box squatting but nothing was happening. She has a urinary tract infection, perhaps kidney stones and another perhaps...kidney problems. We decided to wait on the expensive blood work until she finishes the antibiotic for her infection. No sense in looking further until then. As of yet, she won't eat the prescribed food. The other two think it's grand. There is nothing like a wallet emptying vet visit to start the day.

Mid afternoon I decided to mow. The mower had gone back to Bill a couple of months ago, something wrong with the mower deck. Then Bill was told he needed surgery on his eyes to release pressure from glaucoma, so he didn't work on it. To my surprise he brought it back a few days ago. So, although windy and overcast, I decided to mow. The place was really shaggy, it's so much better now. Today I plan to trim the bushes forming a hedge along the east end of the house. They are also a mess. My property may not look abandoned anymore! This extended fall weather is a real bonus.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Cat Tales (Tails?)

Crabby Tabby spent some afternoon time in the house. Gatto did his best impression of Yoda.

Tabs reemerged in the evening.

Gatto was on duty.

It won't be long before Tabby spends much of his day in the house again He hisses and growls at Gatto, but it's not too serious. That family of cats is pretty laid back. Gatto is a stalker.

It's sunny and more mild today. Mark has outside plans. I have inside plans. His will be accomplished, mine is yet undetermined. 

Saturday, November 11, 2023

In Memory of All

As it is Veterans Day

 My young, rakish Father

Friday, November 10, 2023

Not Much

Good Morning

We have another chilly, dreary day. I got my flu shot and Covid booster yesterday. My arm is a little sore, but that's it. There wasn't a second appointment available so Mark is scheduled for the 15th.

I received a text from my son saying he is coming here for Thanksgiving. I was surprised. We placed an order for a local free range turkey we buy for Thanksgiving, when we used to host it. We were planning on a day alone and Cornish hens. Perhaps he needs a break from the grief of his in-laws. I have not hosted a holiday since 2018, I'm not sure I remember how. I must remember to send home pickles and vegetable stock (his wife is vegan) with him. She likes the fermented pickles.

So, now I have something happening, I may actually find some motivation and gets things done. It's easy to slide when not a thing is happening. How odd that I was was so busy I couldn't see straight and now I have no claims on my time. The unpredictability of life.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Pleasantly Quiet

I have no boundaries regarding Gatto's privacy.

A few days ago I made a pork sirloin roast. It was not good. Dry and then raw in the middle. Last evening I salvaged it by simmering the sliced roast in chicken stock for a couple of hours, then turning the stock into gravy. Nice and tender. I have no idea what was going on while it roasted, but it was an odd combination of dry and raw! That this was the most interesting part of the day says I'm either boring or lucky. I may say both. Eggplant Involtini  is on the menu tonight. The last of them from the garden.

I had a nice messaging chat with a man I have known from MyFitnessPal for years. He lives in North Norfolk, England. Out of the blue he just sent me a message asking how I am doing. He is a pleasant person around sixty with a wife and grown children. He is very well liked on MFP. He got a geography lesson pertaining to Minnesota. He said, so up and to the left of New York? That's one way of putting it! I have been an on-and-off user of MFP for about twelve years. 

So, other than the usual Monday laundry, that was my day. It's been overcast but mild. Mark has finished the office work he needed to do and is concentrating on necessary tasks outside. I will be finishing the little bit of winterizing I have left inside. And, of course, I will be herding cats.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Lovely Frieda

My Frieda Kitty

We were meant for one another. The look she generally carries on her little face is the same look I had on mine most of the time, when I had to deal with people who annoyed me. She can give Gatto what-for, let me tell you. I kinda love this little monster.

Life is stumbling along. The weather is temperate, allowing Mark to get things badly needing doing outside done. He's learning, albeit late in life, to not fuss over what cannot be finished. If it can't, it can't. I know, deep.

I have catch-up myself after a few days of doing nothing. When that happens I do get a glimpse of my continued value in our life. Chief cook and bottle washer does have its' place. That's my story, anyway. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

My Models

Study of Cats Sleeping on Unmade Bed

This is where I spent a couple of days.

I had a horrible headache and nausea. I was better yesterday, but not well. At least I was able to stay out of bed. Today I feel almost normal, whatever that is. So... I'm back.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023


And then this happened......

a couple of inches of snow overnight. It won't last, but it sure is cold and blowy. Last night the trees were dressed in snow. This morning it's blown off. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Some Chores Accomplished

I took a day off from devices yesterday and concentrated on getting ready for winter. All the pots are in the shed, the porch furniture is inside the screened porch, bird baths emptied and the bowl turned upside down. I did weather stripping on the three doors. I have a few windows that leak air so I will take care of those today. All-in-all, it was productive. It's currently 25F, so it is time. In most states November is Autumn. In Minnesota it's winter. There's been snow in Northern Minnesota, it was forecast for us yesterday, but it didn't happen.

Thursday I made stock from my bag of frozen vegetable and aromatic bits. With this I then made lentil and smoked ham soup, which we will have the last of for lunch today. It is most certainly soup weather in my part of the world.

I'll leave you with G & J rockin to The Zombies.


Thursday, October 26, 2023

Shipping is Free

Incase you have not seen a Gatto in a box.


I made the extremely easy focaccia again yesterday. Should it be this easy? We've had several rainy days and it's raining now, but supposed to end this morning. I can't complain, we need it. Otherwise, life is rolling along. I'm slowly puttering my way through the organizing and cleanup that remains. Emphasis on slowly. I'm once again trying to sprout avocado trees. I have not had luck with this, mostly due to neglect. They make a pretty house plant and I like the idea of  something created out of a throw-away. My friend, julochka, is a champ when it comes to growing them.

Today I will cut back the herb plants and freeze the herbs.  Starting tomorrow we are looking at highs in the 30sF and lows in the 20s. The party is over for the plants. I'm feeling a little better. I was prescribed Welbutrin months ago and have been getting the prescription but not using it. It's an add-on to the Fluoxitine I take. I wasn't using it because I didn't like the side effects listed. I decided a couple of weeks ago the potential side effects didn't matter as much as depression. It has helped. I feel more engaged and I'm taking interest in things I didn't notice nor care if I noticed or not. The side effect I was hesitant about, seizures, I have decided not to worry about. It's a crap game.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Thirty Years

Several months ago I had posted some before and after photos of this sorry place from the outside. I had said I would post the inside sometime. I spent quite awhile yesterday going through hundreds of photos, only to find I didn't take before photos inside. All I have is this poor quality photo when we were looking to buy the house. Neighbors came with and you can tell just by looking at her what Caroline, on the left, thought! She told me I was out of my mind. She may have been right. There was NO cabinetry in the kitchen, only the island. There was a free standing electric stove sitting on a pallet. Of course, the lovely plaid wallpaper showed so well! This place was a disaster. I couldn't wait!

I took these photos Saturday. We replaced the floor, added cabinets and had the stove the house came with put in properly. It was replaced 20 years ago. The doorway wasn't there, that leads to a screened porch we had put on. Mark and I did the work in the kitchen.

This was just the tip of the iceberg. The addition the seller put on was mostly finished, but the rest of the house was horrible. I do have the ability to see beyond what is there and to know what I can do to fix it. As it was, everyone thought I was nuts. Mark went along with me because I told him I could make it nice. And he believed me. After the kitchen I had two wonderful men who worked on the place, at different times. Without them, I just had a plan, with them I had a home.

Time has flown by. Looking through all of those photos showed me how much time has passed. The house is too large for us, really. There are no holiday dinners anymore. No more large gatherings of horse friends. No more boarders who became friends to come in and chat. Two people rattling around. If I didn't have the horses, would I move? I don't know. The place is known as the house Dick, Patrick and Sandra built. I haven't just lived here, I created a home out of a disaster. A neighbor snidely told me they looked at it before they bought the land down the hill from us and that her husband said the only thing it was good for was a bulldozer. I told her it's too bad he hasn't any imagination. Minnesota nice.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

I Won. For Now

Wishing and Waiting and Hoping.
I have finally got the palm just out of Gatto's reach.

The son visited yesterday for a couple of hours. He brought lunch. Fried chicken, coleslaw and cornbread. It was really good to see him. It's been six months. His wife is not doing well after her mother's death two months ago. So, life is tricky right now. He is taking his Yorkie camping again next weekend. Those trips are good for him. We enjoyed the company and the food. He got to see Gatto as Gatto is. After a couple of hours he told me we have to outlive that cat. No one (meaning him) would want to live with him. He loves cats! To say Gatto is a handful is to minimize Gatto. I think of him as the large wild cats people think they can tame. They are all cuddly and soft until they kill you, just because. Even those they raised in captivity. There is feral in the orange boy.

It's a nice day, sunny and will be lower 60s. About mid-week the temps drop. The grass is nearly done in the pastures, meaning the horses will be getting round bales by the end of the month. And so it starts. 

Chicken and dumplings for dinner. Now that's something to look forward to.

Thursday, October 19, 2023


Does not every well appointed house have a palm perched on a paint can?

It didn't work.

Gatto is obsessed. Stretched as far as he could and grabbed a frond. I moved the plant. He spent time scouting the situation and then just made a leap from the floor, nearly toppling everything. Onto plan C. He had a taste of palm frond and he wants more.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Crime and No Punishment

I'm innocent. Innocent, I say. It's a frame-up.

It's her word against mine. I wasn't chewing and pulling the fronds of this intruder she brought inside the house. Tell me, how could you believe a two-legger over me? Impossible.

I brought some of the plants inside yesterday.  

Cat Paradise

She is contemplating a continuation of her offense.

I see you, Gatto.

The palm had to be put outside again until I figure out what to do. Gatto is obsessed and Frieda isn't too far behind him. If I'd left it there, I would not have a palm plant in the morning. The rest don't interest them. I have an avocado pit I rooted and put into dirt. I had to move it because Gatto pulled  it out of the pot. 

Big troubles, right? I have no plans for the day. Maybe that means I'll do something. I have never liked being told what to do, it seems even by me.