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

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Is it a Tiger?

It's a tough life, but somebody has to live it.

We had rain most of yesterday, now cloudy but mild. Perennials are popping up, as well as weeds. They like the cool, wet weather. We had a nice visit with Neighbor Bill yesterday morning, then a little of my planned cleaning for the day. It's working to take it in blocks. Of course it will be never-ending, by the time I get an entire room done, I'll need to start over again and never advance to another space! Oh, the problems of my life! I think I may have convinced Bill to try some vitamins. I'm surprised he was unaware of the need for D3 in the far northern states where we get less sun. About a decade ago through blood testing I found I had almost none, so it's been a daily dose ever since. I also talked to him about B12 being helpful with anxiety and mood in general. I am hoping he listened, it won't hurt to take vitamins and it could certainly help. You know, I had a doctor in 2019 think I was anti-vax because I take D, E and B12, along with a probiotic. She called me a supplement person, saying they usually are anti-vaxers. She later commented on how good my D level was, especially for March in Minnesota. I said because I take vitamin D. Duh. I'm thinking maybe we need a reboot, like a computer, in doctors thinking.

Oh, well. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Cat Comfort

They got a new piece of furniture.

It seems to have their approval.

Gatto finds it cozy.

I decided on soup for lunch.
At the beginning....

....then the finished product. Very quick and pretty good.

I have been working my way through cleaning. It's a real project for me. It's sounds ridiculous, but it's true. I become fatigued and sweat profusely after about ten minutes. I then need thirty minutes to recover and it's an endless cycle. I am persevering, none-the-less. The desiccated thyroid I'm taking has improved my emotional outlook but not my physical condition. It is allowing me to continue my piecemeal approach to tasks, which is a great help. Mark has spent three days on trees, lopping saplings, cutting dead branches and hauling it all the the wood pile. Climate change has done something to these softwoods. We have lived here thirty years and always had to manage them, but they are now growing and reseeding at a level we haven't seen before the last four years. It's becoming unmanageable. He keeps trying.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Dog Tales

Howard B. Hound

Grace Greyhound


Fun Night

I got Grace in 2003 as a puppy. She came into a household of another black grey, Nellie Jelly Belly, a giant Afghan Hound/German Shepherd, Atlas, and the Best Dog in the World, Bill. A yellow lab. Grace was a CHARACTER. I later got a basset, Harvey, added into the mix. Harvey had an emergency vet visit which ended with his not coming home. I was devastated. The wife of my horse dentist raised bassets, Mark was at a client in SW Minnesota, where they lived. She had a litter, I picked out Howard by photo and Mark picked him up on his way home. Uptight, demanding, grumpy, huge, slobbery Howard became the light of my life. By the time he was eight he had glaucoma, common in bassets, and then congestive heart disease. He had a pharmacy of meds and creams and was a good boy about having his eyes treated. Grace had died just before Howie's health problems started. I adopted an eleven year old basset, Murphy, whose owner had died. He loved Howard, which Howard loved. Murphy out-lived Howard by just under a year. Howie died in May 2017 from congestive heart failure. I don't think I've ever cried that hard. When Murphy died at the ripe old age of 15 I decided I couldn't handle the death anymore, so no more dogs. I will say I knew it was likely I'd end up with at least on of my mother's dogs, which I did. Both actually. Emma was 16 at the time, but she lived a happy eight months with us. Keetah, we still have. I have a long, rich history with doggos. I do not intend to have another after Keetah. One never knows what may happen, but I will not have another dog by intention. 

I made a really good pasta salad for lunch yesterday. There is enough to have again today. We have another sunny, cool day. The inherited dog is currently barking loudly at the world. She is the only dog I've had that doesn't listen to me. It has not been easy for She Who Must Be Obeyed to accept that Keetah never will. Another thing added to my list of wisdoms in the latter years; attempt calmness in the midst of that which I cannot control. I cannot control her barking nor her shedding. Which isn't all that much to be disturbed about, but it does get on my nerves, never-the-less!

Being Monday, I have laundry to do. I will attempt a few more tasks, maybe. I did get slipcovers on the sofas yesterday. Gatto decided the sofa arms make a great scratching post. I also ordered another scratching post with two scratching pillars and a soft bed atop the pillars. My living room has become a cat house. Another group which has let me know my opinion matters not a whit! It's a good thing I still have horses that listen. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Another Day, Another Loaf

I finally tried the one hour bread recipe with buckwheat.

Buckwheat makes a dense loaf, no matter what. This loaf is really about the same as any other I have made, just quicker. It is two-thirds all purpose and one-third buckwheat. Another good soup bread. I think I've now made loaves with all the different flour I wanted to try.

The sun is shining! It's been undercover for a long time. I'm feeling better today, so far I'm not wobbly on my feet. Bill stopped in yesterday, we don't see him all that often anymore. He spent about forty minutes and it was very pleasant to see and talk to him. He is allowing the state of the nation and the world eat at him. Bill will do what he will do, no matter how much I try to cajole him into disengaging from what there is no control over. I've got to figure out how I can get him to visit more often. I'm a different personality compared to the locals and I am able to make Bill laugh. I'll never be a local, no matter how long I live here.

I guess that's it. Time to hoist myself out of the chair and start the day. I think I'll make a pasta salad with salmon, fennel and tarragon for lunch and have some of that bread with it. Hoist away, my friends.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Earth Day

The first Earth Day, 1970
We knew then what we were doing, yet, well...here we are.

Earth shoes. I and all my friends had them. We were more geared up about the shoes than the meaning of the day. But we were eighteen, probably excusable at that time.

My corner of the earth thinks it's March. That actually is not unusual for Minnesota. Where I see climate change is in the summer. Also, winter doesn't get as brutally cold as it used to, but the summer humidity has become unbearable. New varieties of weeds and insects have shown up, also the softwood scrub trees are becoming impossible to control. A forest is attempting to grow and it may win. 

I had terrible vertigo yesterday, no idea why. I spent most of the day in my chair, I seemed to want to topple over anytime I stood. So far that isn't a problem today. I made chicken noodle and white bean soup yesterday, I was able to do that, barely. There is plenty for lunch today, too. I used the oregano flower buds as seasoning, as well as a fennel frond cube. Very good, even if I do say so myself! If the cook doesn't like the food she makes, why would anyone else?

Wherever you are on our beleaguered plant, give it a moment of thought today.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Happiness in a Jar

Yesterday was rain all day. Today is overcast and dreary.

I did get something done. I picked and dried oregano last autumn, then somehow left it in a plastic bag on the screened porch. Yesterday I decided to pull the oregano and its flowers off the stems. It took much longer that I anticipated but this is what I got. I do use the flowers as well, so I have a medium size jar of those and 3.5 jars of oregano. It was worth the time spent.

I also did this.

A large stockpot full of chicken bones and vegetable scraps. This simmered for hours, yielding a gallon and a half of stock. It's soup for lunch! There is something magical for me in making food out of what most throw away. I have never stopped feeling that sense of wonder every time. I guess I can still feel child-like happiness over an accomplishment as simple as this.

I realized in the early evening I had nothing planned for dinner, only after Mark asked what we were having. A couple of pantry ingredients later, we had dinner. I have something planned today; steelhead trout, a favorite of mine.

The tale of a day in the life. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

A Dog and Her Cat

Gatto attached to Keetah the first day he was in the house. He curls up with her all the time. When he's being more obnoxious than can be tolerated we will put him next to Keetah and he often settles down. They are a team.

We are on our second day of rain. It's in the upper-thirties. Mark is relaxing after the tax season, although he has quite a few extensions to finish and file. I'm going to make chicken stock and maybe bread. Rainy days leave me more unmotivated than usual, which isn't very motivated. I think it is a common effect on people to turn inward on rainy days. I would like to come to a compromise between my old self and the self I am now. It would be a good mix. The old self was rather demanding, didn't go for things being out of place and didn't put up with much. This current self is almost, but not quite, the opposite. I am an easier person, not only on others but also on myself. I would like some of the motivation and determination to visit occasionally, if it could. We get what we get, something I'm much better about accepting. I don't know if it's wisdom acquired through a brain injury or age. Whichever, I'm grateful it found me. 

Find your wisdom. Leave out the brain injury.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


 I started and finished this book yesterday.

Somehow he managed to make his personal tragedy into something ethereal. He was a beautiful writer.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Up and Down



I have wondered what appealed to the early European settlers who ventured into this place and decided to stay. They were mostly Norwegian in the early years, I suppose it looked like home.

Monday, April 17, 2023

It Does Fly

This little munchkin turns forty-nine today. My towhead now has black hair, how did that happen? I guess my genetics were stronger than the bio-dad. He was a joyful little twerp.

This was yesterday's weather. Snowy and blowy all day, just like it was on the day he was born. The sun is out today and it's melting away. 

Mark is presently in hyperdrive. Tomorrow is tax day. His work would drive me nuts, but then what I did for decades makes no sense to most people. So there you have it. 

We went from mid 80s F to mid 20s F Friday night. It's one of the things that comes with this place called Minnesota. Today will reach around 50. I had some good soup to get us through Saturday lunch. We both appreciated it as the wind roared and the snow blew. 

How did my little boy become a forty-nine year old man with a deep love for a Yorkie? The Yorkie part I get, but if he's forty-nine, well I don't want to consider my own age!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Hello Snow

It was in the mid 80s F all last week. Yesterday there was rain and overnight, snow. My weather app says we got thirteen inches but it obviously melted as it hit the ground. This won't last long.

My son's wife was without a vehicle for a couple of days. Something stopped working on her car that was going to cost too much to fix. He wanted something they could pay cash for that was in the best shape they could get for the money. He came home with a truck. He has a Ford Expedition, she now has a Chevy Sierra. Matthew told me she wasn't delighted that he chose a truck, he said he couldn't pass it up. I got a text yesterday that she loves her truck and is dissing him for having a Ford! He asked me what is wrong with truck people! When he bought it I told him she would come to like it. GMC and Chevy trucks are lower to the ground, which doesn't mean as much to 5'10" her as it does to me. I also told him she's going to appreciate the ride. The suspension isn't as rigid as Ford or Dodge. My brilliant son said to me, oh that's right, you've had trucks. Um, ya. I did a lot of distance hauling with a horse trailer and appreciate the more car-like suspension of a Chevy. We are now a truck family.

Keep on truckin'.......

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Not Folgers

🎶The best part of waking up is coffee in your cup🎶


It's a best part of today....dreary and rainy. It's a good spring rain, steady but light. I put on a pot of soup for lunch. Another good part of the day. I'm nearly finished with the book I've been reading. I think I'll spend the afternoon watching a movie. I rarely do that anymore and the day is perfect for it. Perhaps I'll start a fire. I thought I'd try to do some more cleaning, but maybe not. Choices Choices.

May your choices be the ones that make you happy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


I had messaged my primary to correct a couple of items she had in notes regarding me. She responded saying she would correct the errors. Then felt it necessary to include the statement that, as she had told me, my blood work is all normal so there is nothing more they can do for me. Why? It's a good thing I have a fairly strong sense of self because the attitude which has been presented to me could be damaging if I actually were what they seem to think I am. I only messaged her because I didn't want those errors in my record. Physician, heal thyself. Patient is certainly trying.

It's a bright, sunny day and it's going to reach 80 F! Crazy. I baked an einkorn loaf yesterday. It is very dense so it may become croutons and bread crumbs. It would also probably be a good soup bread. It's in the freezer for now. I'm testing this easy recipe with various types of flour as an experiment. So far all but one worked well. The one that didn't can still have a use.

We had pork roast with sautéed fennel, sweet potato, broccoli, garlic, seasoned with tarragon. Mark thought he had died and gone to heaven! He ended up eating half of my plate as well as his own. I'm going to try my hand at something I have not made before, tuna casserole. That may undo all the gastric joy he experienced last evening. 

Experience your own joy, whether it be gastric or otherwise. Ciao

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Our Transition Month

Out my window.
A high of 77 F today and a couple of days in the 80s. Then back to low 40s. Last week we were covered in snow.

It seems odd to have the door to the porch open when there is snow on the ground. Gatto is amazed it can be open and he can come and go without pestering someone. Kind of takes all the pleasure out of it.

I made a loaf of caraway rye with the simple recipe today. Tomorrow I'm going to try buckwheat and then next einkorn. I put the extra loaves in the freezer. I'm fascinated at the moment, so I may as well get as many loaves made as I can before the newness wears off.

That's all there is. Spring will come next month and then there will be new items of conversation. Oh, boy!

Monday, April 10, 2023

One More Time

I am so impressed with the simplicity of this recipe and the quality of the bread that I had to post the second loaf. Indulge me.

I made this loaf yesterday morning. It got a longer rise time as my son called and I forgot about it. This time it's 50/50 whole wheat and all purpose flour. As would be expected, it's more dense than the white loaf but still has plenty of air in the crumb. Next will be a try with rye and then spelt.

We had a quiet day yesterday, like most days. I made bread, tidied up and listened to a book. There was a pleasant chat with my son before he went to brunch with a lifetime friend. He has kept his friends from the neighborhood all these years. On the seventeenth of this month my only child turns forty-nine. It's a bit daunting. I still see those boys on their Big Wheels furiously peddling down the street after one-another. I'm thinking of getting an adult trike for some exercise and I'm surprised at how costly they are.

We are in for a warm-up this week, one day could reach 80 F. Nothing I can do about that but I still enjoy the complaint. Otherwise, life carries on one step at a time.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Special Delivery

No Returns


Saturday, April 8, 2023

Hmm, Hmm Good

I was going through bread recipes I'd saved and came upon this. I had not made it and thought, hmmm, that fast? If bread making is daunting to you, give this a try. It's simple and the bread is good. I made it per recipe, next time I'll mix white whole wheat and all purpose flour. I didn't have honey so I used sugar. I did not put the salt in with the sugar and yeast, instead mixed it into the flour. This is a recipe I found on Pinterest. Try it, you'll like it!


We are heading into a too fast warm-up. We will actually have an 80 F day next week, yikes! We still have heavy snow cover. I don't think there is a normal anymore. Mark has unplugged all the water tank heaters but left them in the tanks, just incase. 80 degrees one day, 20 the next. Who knows?

I started listening to Women Talking, by Miriam Toews yesterday afternoon. I think it's been made into a movie. Patriarchy supported by religion. 

Try this bread, really. It is going to be a success. 

Friday, April 7, 2023

Food. Cat. K'vetch

We have bright sunshine and a high of 45 F in our future today. Next week it's supposed to be in the 70s, which is too warm too fast, but who asked me.

I made a large pot of chicken and wild rice soup yesterday. It was excellent, even if I do say so myself. I haven't used the pretty cookware yet, I just have been looking at it admiringly. I was forced into some kitchen cleanup/reorganizing to find a place to put it. I'm feeling pretty good this morning so hopefully it will carry through for the day. 

This fine fellow (ha ha) is never still. You can see, I think, his intensity in this photo. He doesn't know when enough is enough. Thank the builder, Dick, for our screened in porch, where Gatto spends much time. I have a cat who needs a time out.

Yesterday afternoon I decided I would make pizza for dinner. My pizza always looks messy. This one had a thin crust and a base of ricotta mixed with pesto rosso, fennel, spinach, prosciutto and kalamatas. It looks messy but was good! I plan, which means I hope, to make Eggplant Involtini tonight. Roasted eggplant rolled around ricotta then baked in tomato sauce. Eggplant rolls. I have a lonesome eggplant waiting to become something.

Soon it will be spring in Minnesota. Mud season, then a few nice days before we become the tropics. I don't complain about winter. Much. I thoroughly dislike what our summer has become. I'd like to get the neglect cleaned up around the yard before the sauna hits us. Grump Grump. Mark sometimes calls me Debbie Downer. I wear it proudly. 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

The Green-Eyed Monster

New cookware arrived yesterday. It's too pretty to use.

Does this look like the face of a demon?


He has developed into a constant terror. He spends a lot of time-out in the screened porch. He has also influenced the other two, making triple trouble. No good deed goes unpunished? He is cute, I can give him that.

It's a nice day, sunshine and 20 F. I made vegetable stock yesterday and plan to make chicken & wild rice soup today. Mark is busy with taxes and my horses. I'm busy with a crazed cat. You don't know what you are missing!