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

Sunday, July 30, 2023

No Title

We are having slightly cooler weather for a couple of days. Appreciated. I may go out to mow weeds. We listened to the album Nebraska last evening, Bruce Springsteen. I saw him in concert in the mid-eighties when I lived in Atlanta. I've always found it ironic that I also saw Prince in Atlanta, the guy from Minnesota. Where I am from.  Prince lived at his studio, which is about a fifteen minute drive from where I live. Little tidbits of useless information.

I started listening to Matthew Perry's book, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. So far, I like it. He is reading his own story, which makes a difference. Blogging is, when you think about it, our story. Little glimpses into lives of people we most likely will never meet. Strung together, there is a story. One of cats, dogs and soup in my case.

I gave my basil plants a haircut yesterday and made an ice cube tray of basil cubes and two small jars of pesto. Bill brought me some pickling cucumbers, so that will be on the schedule soon. I've been out of sorts the past few days, just kind of off-kilter. I'm pretty sure it is both our political climate and our actual climate. Let's just say I am not hopeful. Which is not where I want to go. So I won't.

I believe I will spend an hour before lunch mowing my weeds.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Can't Keep the Cat Out of the Bag

I can always count on Gatto to give me something when the well is dry.

The boy loves his boxes and bags. He is definitely still a kitten.

It seems Minnesota is now tropical. It's only 85F at the moment but the dew point is 78 degrees. We will be in the high 90sF today, with that dew point. The cats love to be in the screened porch, but not today. Nope. No thanks. Nah. They aren't dumb.

Most everywhere is experiencing this. A climate scientist on the radio today said it is wrong to describe this as the new normal. It's not, it will continue to get worse. With that bit of sunshine, I will say... stay cool.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Top Fellow

Per  Request:
WF Impressive (Topper)
GGS Topper x LF Diamond Rose

He's been a gelding since 2009. I cut both he and the Pinto  Saddlebred, Solo. Neither were happy as stallions, so I made them geldings. Both got happy after that. No one did the aisle strut better than Topper as a stallion! Topper is a maternal brother to the remaining stallion, Zing. His older maternal sister, Babe, is still with us and doing well for an old lady. 

He's better but is still having another day in the barn. He's very good about this, he quietly munches his hay. He listens to the radio, probably would like a tv.

We had lots of thunder and lightning last night, some rain. It looks a little brighter out there. We will be in the mid 90sF and humid. Yuck. The museum piece, aka, air conditioner will be turned on for today and tomorrow. Hopefully it carries on. 

Bill called and is bringing us more produce. There are many thing I quit growing because I didn't need to....we've got Bill! I'm going to stuff zucchini with leftover pork roast and whatever else for dinner. A couple of them hid under the leaves and got large. I'll use the grill as an oven. What would we do without Bill.....I don't even want to consider it. He is our caretaker, not of the property, but of us. Some of the property too, if he thinks he can get away with it!

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Animal House

Frieda wants to change the channel.

Homer showing off his new rain gear. Very stylish, little man. 

He came. He saw. He conquered.

No box gets out of here un-clawed.

We are having a week of extreme heat. Still no rain. Parts of the state have been getting rain but not us. I think I'll need to turn the ancient air conditioner on by tomorrow, as we are expected to be close to 100F and that gets to be a bit much, even when I'm not exerting myself. Otherwise, not a thing is happening here. Well, yesterday Topper was painful in a hind leg, it looks like he got caught up in something. He got wrapped, given bute and put on stall rest. He is better today, but still on stall rest. He is such a good boy. I whispered to him yesterday not to tell, but he is my favorite. I'm sure I saw him wink.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Cleaning, etc

More progress.

I still have the curio and the two glass fronted cabinets to clean on the inside. As you can see, the dining table has become a cat platform. I bought that chandelier in an antique shop in 1977. My dad wired it and it has travelled from house to house with me since. I also bought the old curio cabinet from an antique shop the same year. All of the other furniture, except the high-back leather chairs, are from the early 1980s. The chairs were inherited from a longtime client of Mark. I have no idea when she got them, but she died a couple of decades ago. I have slipcovers on the sofas because of Gatto. He thinks his name means Got Toes. This room took me awhile. My back was strained and uncooperative and my sinuses kicked in, probably due to the poor air quality. Also the dust and dog hair. I know dog hair will plague me for sometime to come, it's in and around everything. Next stop.....kitchen.

Other than my stumbling through house cleaning not much is happening. We are in serious drought. I have mowed three times this season and only the first time was it grass, otherwise it was weeds. We are coming under the heat dome next week. I may be forced to use air conditioning.

Anyway.....chugging along. I finished a book I'd been waiting several months for: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It felt a little too close to where we, as a nation, are teetering on the brink of. It won the Pulitzer.

I guess that's it from my piece of the earth. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Shawn Phillips - Second Contribution (1970)

I discovered Shawn Phillips as a teenager.
I promptly fell madly teenager in love.

I still love his music. I listened to the first three albums, all of which I own but was not playing, a couple of evenings ago. Streaming happens now. I took Mark to see him in 1978 at the Gutherie Theatre. He'd never heard of him. Not his thing. We went again to the new Guthrie, in I think 2010. Hair was short, face was older and the voice range wasn't as wide. He remained a niche artist. I told Mark if he had walked up to me and said let's go see the world, I would have gone! I think that may be part of why the guy doesn't like his music. That teenage infatuation evaporated long ago, but I always feel nostalgic when I listen to the music. The same with the Moody Blues, I was lucky to see them in concert, too. This is the whole album, Second Contribution. Listen if you want, at least to the first song. He does do scat, which Mark really doesn't like. 

Monday, July 17, 2023

Three Days Work


To a normal person it looks like a room, the way a room should look. To me, it is an accomplishment which took me three days to achieve. Mark told me I'm going to have a stiff neck from constantly turning my head around to view my work! I got every nook and cranny dusted, washed, vacuumed and polished. I'm going to rejoice in this, as it was not easy. If we are to stay here, I need to adapt. 

I nearly got the living room finished. I had burning pain in the upper back from working the days before. The PT told me to stop when that happens. Carrying on only makes it worse. So I took even more breaks. Even with breaks, I am amazed I am accomplishing what I set out to do. Hurrah!

Enough of that. It's 62F at the moment. My kind of weather. There's a breeze, which makes it perfect weather for the equines. The cats have begun to settle down after the loss of Keetah, they are not as needy. We both still forget she isn't here. Almost every evening at 5:00 I think about feeding her. It takes time.

BTW, be prepared for progress photos. I must show my fulfillment of a plan!

Sunday, July 16, 2023



 I have a plan.

I have been spending the past few days executing said plan. I have barely been able to keep our house livable. I've never wanted to admit this, but there it is. Pain is one thing, but the worst is the debilitating exhaustion and profuse sweating. Slight effort is all it takes. My brilliant plan? Concentrate on one area, do as much as possible before the extreme exhaustion sets in, rest as long as it takes and repeat until I can't anymore. I am working east to west. The sunroom was first, it took me three days to do but it is deep cleaned. Yesterday was the living room. I got about a third of the room done and should be able to do the same amount today. As long as I have the energy and no spasms I will continue until I am done with the last room, Mark's office.

I'm sure I have mentioned this before. I am anal. I like order. Symmetry. I was the stoner with the pressed patched jeans. No joke. I've learned the need for order is about control, which makes sense. My need for a full larder, freezer and refrigerator has also been explained as a need for control. So....what does this have to do with anything? Since I completed one room I have been happy! Happy is not someplace I have been spending time in. Each polished surface makes my heart a little lighter. I know, my life is narrow! It's the life I have, so I'm going to be happy with it.

Bounty. The plants are in overdrive at the moment. There are lots of tomatoes on my two plants waiting to ripen. It won't be long until the preservation process starts. That's a satisfying bit of useful work. 

I've put my plan in print. That, and the pleasure it's given me, should be enough for me to see it through. I miss our dog, but it must be said. She was a shedding machine I could not keep up with. Not in my condition. Or lack thereof. 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

One Foot in Front of Another

Baby Girl


She wanted attention all day.

My son sent me this photo of what he called a four-legger walking with a two-stepper. They were camping somewhere, he didn't say where. It's been a difficult time in their lives. His mother-in-law has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is in hospice care. I can talk about it now as it's been shared on social media. They needed a break for a couple of days. I don't know the family, but I do know they spend a lot of time together. This is devastating for all of them. Matthew said it's been rough. 

Anyway.....we carry on. 

Monday, July 10, 2023

Sunday Sunshine

I actually got about an hour on the small deck yesterday afternoon.

It was a beautiful day. Mild and not humid with a good breeze. The flies were around but the breeze was a nice stiff one, so they mostly left me alone. The filtered light on the plants looked soft and welcoming. I enjoyed it till the breeze went away. I then also went away.

I didn't do anything I had planned doing yesterday. Mark had tennis on all afternoon, so I went in another room and finished my book. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. One of the most banned authors Toni Morrison. There was a protest at a small book store in one of the western suburbs of Minneapolis. The reason? A drag queen was reading during story time. I read the reasons why certain people are finding this so upsetting on the Nextdoor app. It makes me want to cry. When my boy was little we lived in the Wedge, an area in Minneapolis that was artsy. There was a restaurant we would go to, he was maybe six, that the queens liked to hangout in. He had a fun time, they were so friendly.....and guess what? He didn't have any damage from frequent exposure to people who caused no harm. There is a need to keep as many people as possible frothing at the mouth about something. Sad thing is, it works.

Today I will be lying low. 92F and humid, no oven on today. Then it becomes more reasonable for the rest of the week. At least the weather will be more reasonable.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

You Know...Stuff and Such

I had a productive day yesterday. I made soup in the morning, then after lunch I gave my basil plants a haircut and made pesto. The dark one is the result of someone's over-zealous use of walnuts.

I then fried ground beef and Italian sausage with peppers and onion to make stuffed zucchini for dinner. Put it all together, into the refrigerator until dinnertime. It was good. I attempted to sit on the kitchen deck later in the afternoon, it was such a nice day, too nice to stay inside. A fly or two did a couple of turns around my head and then my feet. They must have found me suitable. Invitations were sent and accepted. My stay at that party was short.

I found a ciabatta recipe that is supposedly ready in three hours. I'm going to give it a try, it's not too hot for the oven to be on. I like ciabatta rolls for sandwiches. If it works I'll post the recipe. 

Birds are singing, such a welcome sound.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Souper Douper

The weather has been mild, I made chicken stock yesterday, resulting in.....you guessed it. Soup!

Soup is going to be on the lunch menu often for awhile. I have so much stock in the freezer I'm running out of room. This is not the worst problem one could have, I know. But I need to get a handle on the madness. Bill brought a couple of large zucchini a couple of days ago. I'm going to make stuffed zucchini for dinner, I said I will and someone in this house is holding me to it. A two-legger. Said two-legger has found Wimbledon on ABC, so I left the kitchen. I used to like watching tennis, but I seem to have lost the interest. Mark is a tennis player. I am not. Instead I post photos of soup and ramble on about zucchini. I read an article about procrastination written by a psychologist. There are supposedly several different types of procrastination, I don't fit into any of them. So maybe there's one they haven't thought of. I could be a lab test. Probably not, I'm not sure I don't wanna is a psychological reason. Anyway.....

I have a feeling I'll be stuck with Wimbledon while I prep this evenings dinner. Unless I can get him to move to the snug. Which he won't do because then he would feel like a slacker, sitting in a nice chair when he could be standing and pacing the kitchen. 

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Duck Soup

We had a low in the fifties overnight. It's a mild day, both temperature and humidity. Seemed like soup weather to me. This was made with duck stock. If you haven't had it, duck stock is rich with a depth of flavor. Perfect for simplicity.

It was also mild yesterday so I mowed. The first time since mid-May. All there was to mow, other than in some shaded spots, were weeds. The grass is dormant. This is unnerving.

Lighter note.....zucchini and summer squash are producing. I got one eggplant yesterday, which along with zucchini, became a tomato sauce using my last batch of roasted tomatoes from the freezer. We will be eating a lot of zucchini for awhile. Bill brought us four larger zucchini yesterday which I will stuff and bake. I stopped growing peppers years ago, as well as cucumbers, because Bill supplies me with plenty. He also brought me a few of those yesterday. Soon the preserving season will be upon us, a time of year I greatly enjoy.

Mark saw the urologist this week and I am happy to report he is still cancer free. He is seeing the dermatologist today and I hope he is clear of any skin cancer. I know anyone can get it, but the fair completion people seem to be more susceptible. I am what my son, who is fair complected, calls "swarthy". I don't sunburn much, either.

I think I've covered a few topics. Soup, climate change, produce, preserving and then cancer. Not to omit "swarthy". Has a ring to it.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

July 4th


Only about an hour, but......rain. The cats were watching through the screen door as if they'd never seen it before. We have a high probability for more rain this evening, but we all know how that can go.

My setup yesterday. It was 90F with a dew point of 72 degrees. Tropical. By late afternoon I'd had enough of my stoic ways and turned on the air conditioner. I still sat with the two fans blasting away in front of me.

We have a quiet day, like most days. Quiet is good. 
Happy 4th of July my American friends.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Too Hot

How we handle excessive heat on the farm.

I've given up trying to keep cats off the dining room table. They see it as a never used flat surface perfect for lounging. I can't really argue with this logic, as it is a never used flat surface perfect for lounging. Since it's mirrored I assume they also enjoy gazing upon themselves.

It's been very hot. We have hovered close to 90F for what seems forever. Today will be in the 90s and once again very humid. It's so dry I have mown the lawn only once and it's July. I saw video of flooding in Chicago. One place gets too much and another gets none.

I plan to grill ribs, sweet corn and make tarragon potato salad tomorrow. Our two person July 4th shindig. It's so dry I hope there aren't fire works. Even if it weren't dry, I wish that tradition would cease. I'm just a bundle of joy this morning! I think I need some toast.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

More Dogs

Jessie and Chloe


Nelly is the black greyhound. Chloe was a Dalmatian/Lab cross. These fuzzy photos were about 1991 in our house in Saint Paul. Jessie and Nelly were from the racetrack in Hudson, WI. Chloe briefly belonged to a neighbor who did not know what they got themselves into with a high-strung puppy so she soon became mine.

Chloe loved the foals. She would lay in the stall with them, the mares weren't bothered by her. This is with the newborn Ari, a Lipizzaner/Arabian in 1997. Nelly is in the paddock doing what Nelly did, also Ari and his Dam, Sun Spot. Nelly was a complete clown. She was also a thief. She would packrat her finds at the east end of the house, both inside and out. She would wear the battery down for her invisible collar. She figured out the beep and would spend a lot of time at the boundary until she didn't hear the beep and then have a jolly time running the neighborhood. We had to take the warning away for her.

Greyhounds are wonderful dogs, big time couch potatoes. Dalmatians are more of a handful. Chloe became less so when she got older. She was a very protective dog. 

It feels like the dog days of summer, so why not make it so here.