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

Friday, September 29, 2023

Thunder. Lightning. Burton.

We had a humdinger of a thunderstorm overnight. Thunder shook the house and caused Frieda to fly through the air. Lots of rain fell and a little hail. We are probably now just in drought and not severe drought. I'd had plans to mow the lawn today, that plan won't happen now. The place is looking scruffy and will need to do so until it's dry.

My son sent me a text asking if we were free on Saturday. He has bad timing, he often asks to visit when we aren't free! Mark is on a tight deadline, and as all accountants seem to do, he procrastinated and now must put the proverbial nose to the grindstone. The son isn't available until October 23rd, which is actually perfect, as Mark has another deadline October 15th. So, we will see him then. Maybe he will take some frozen produce and some pickles home with him.

I don't know why, but this soup seemed particularly good. Maybe it's the changing of the season and how much I like this time of year. Whatever the reason, a soup no different from any other like it was so very good! We have enough for a repeat today. 

Oh, last evening during cocktail hour, yes we do that, we were listening to the Guess Who. It made me think of seeing Burton Cummings at a small venue concert. What is memorable about this, other than Burton Cummings, is the concert was interrupted by a voice over the PA system announcing Nixon was pulling us out of Vietnam. The place erupted. The rest of the evening had such a vibrant energy.  

Thursday, September 28, 2023


Can we say late 1970s? Oh, ya.

I have very straight hair and wanted curly hair. I was told by a stylist in the 80's to stop having my hair permed. She told me thick, fine textured hair does not perm well. Boy, was she right. This is what a Afghan puppy looks like. Fallon was maybe five-six months old. The absolute most trying dog ever. I loved her and I never wanted another. I have worn those bib aprons a long time, I am my grandmothers clone!

Mark commented a couple of days ago that the days are flying by. Yes, yes they are. I know many of us are at the stage of life where we stop, look around and say "what happened"? Time. Time happened while we weren't looking. Which leads me to how I have been attempting to live the rest of my life. I don't need to strive. I don't need to compete. I don't even have to work all that hard. I do need to appreciate life and all that comes with it. Not that I can actually appreciate everything that comes with it, but you know what I mean. I have always been a future thinker. I am not one to give much thought to the past, which is overall fine, but not always. Breeding horses was always about what comes next. I am now a for-the-moment thinker. The past is gone, the future is the next second. I had no intention of going in this direction. I guess my brain decided on its own. Anyway, my mantra, which I think I said before; Drink the wine (beer, tea, coffee, water) enjoy the food, pet animals, be kind. I have repeated it enough to myself that it has actually taken root. Self-talk maybe does work.

Enough of that. I've got soup simmering for lunch, to have with that unbelievably simple bread. It's overcast and 60sF outside. It's all good. Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Easy Peasy

I made a second loaf of the simplest bread possible.

The first loaf stuck to the baking dish, even though it was well oiled, so this time I called parchment paper to my rescue. Anyone can make this, even if you have never, ever made bread. The YouTuber who made it said she came upon it because of a mistake she made with liquid in her standard focaccia recipe. I wish my mistakes turned out this well. 

Other than making bread I did no cooking yesterday. Mark had to go to town, so he picked up tacos from the deli for lunch. He had a dental appointment in the afternoon and bought pizza for dinner on his way home. It was a high calorie day. I like to cook but a reprieve is always welcome. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Get a load of these fancy canisters!
Just kidding.
They are coffee cans. I used whole beans for as long as I can remember, until the grinder broke and I didn't get around to replacing it. The coffee I have been buying comes in these really nice cans, the label comes right off and there are these sturdy, nice looking cans. I stopped recycling them and have made them canisters. At some point I will need to let them go, but one of my foibles is saving containers and jars. Pity whoever has to clear out my house when I go toes up.

We seem to be living on tomatoes. 

We had another rainy day Monday. We have had over six inches of rain in three days. The trees needed this, I've been concerned for the pines. It's not supposed to rain today but it sure looks like it will. Boud, this looks like it could be a chili day. The horses have had a couple of soaking showers and they haven't minded a bit. 

Mark got his glasses and they are perfect. He is happy. Now it's my turn. Buying online saved us a boatload of cash. Which makes Mark really happy, now that he has them and they are good. A happy man is a positive thing.

Monday, September 25, 2023


I did follow through with my plan yesterday. I turned the self-clean on in the morning, then when it cooled, I gave it a thorough scrubbing, range and vent hood. Badly needed, believe me. My life over the past couple of years has not been 'me'. It's hard to believe I bought this twenty-three years ago. Today is laundry but I will work on cleaning the open shelves, both the shelving and the items on them. I cook a lot, much of it on the stovetop, which means that greasy film of dust covers everything.

Speaking of cooking on the stovetop....after all that work, guess what I did? Yes, I sautéed chicken and vegetables. The pot you see on the stove was cooking rice. I added fresh tomato pesto to short grain brown rice. Very good. As you can see, I'm not afraid of olive oil!

I have to get moving before I lose my mojo. I'll visit you all later today. Happy Monday! 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Inspector Gatto

The Costco order passed inspection.

After receiving my order from Costco I was able to make the fresh tomato pesto with the cashews and EVOO I bought. I kept about a dozen or so to use as tomatoes. This is it for processing, I don't have any space left.

I felt better yesterday. Then another wonderful thing happened. It rained....starting around 5:00pm and lasting throughout the night. Hooray! And, more is expected over the next two days. Yippee-ki-yay, get along little dogey! It's made me feel so good I turned the oven onto the clean cycle and now I've smoked up the house. Ah, well, it needed doing. Badly. 

Mark went to his class reunion yesterday. About a dozen people were there. He went to a small, rural school, so when I say class I mean from kindergarten through high school. They were all in the same classroom all the years of primary. I went to a huge school, there were lots of people in my class I didn't know at all. He had a good time visiting with people he's known all of his life. We came from totally different planets. I have not attended any of mine and that's ok with me.

Let's see if this burst of interest, not so much energy, lasts and I actually get some work done today. I have medium hopes.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Gatto Meets Sam Adams

Keep walking, Frieda. My beer.

How do I get this open?

He is the package inspector. He spent considerable time trying to get it open. 

It will be mid-eighties today but the humidity isn't tropical, which does make a difference. I haven't been feeling well, my sinuses are bothering me. I suppose it's all the smoke that has been in the air. Ah, well. I saw a video last week of a different way to make focaccia. If I can feel well enough to mix dough I'm going to try it, although I think I wouldn't call it focaccia. It's made with a very wet dough. There really isn't any effort in making it, but when your head is pounding it doesn't take much to deter you. The medication has been upsetting my tummy. I think I'm outside of warranty.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Another Like the Other

We stayed outdoors yesterday until after dark. Making up for lost time.

It was a busy morning yesterday, at least compared to normal. My hay guy came over to unload some of the racks that were in the pole barn. He and Mark got two unloaded and stacked before Bob had to leave to do something else. While Bob was here Bill showed up with more tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Although Bob was on a time schedule, he and Bill had a long talk. Then Bill came inside and had a long talk with me. Cannot say we solved the world problems but Bill did explain to me what basil is and how you use it! I thanked him.

A friend suggested I make tomato jam with some of the tomatoes. I need to get ginger root, otherwise I have what's needed. I'll make a jar and see if I like it. I placed an order with Costco yesterday which included olive oil and cashews for fresh tomato pesto. I have found I really like it. Grazie, Giada De Laurentiis. Cashews are my idea, I think she used almonds.

I did braise the sinewy brisket yesterday and got plenty of usable beef for a pasta meal. It was in the liquid for about four hours. The liquid from the original oven time, used with some cream and cheese made a really good sauce. Yay, me!

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Quiet Evening

An autumn evening on the kitchen deck, me with a glass of red wine, Mark with a beer. We have had very little of this outdoor time this year. Mostly too hot and when not.....bugs. It was pleasant listening to crickets as the evening darkened.

Then we went inside and I put together a twenty minute meal. We are still getting a few zucchini.

I made a brisket Sunday. The absolute worst cut of meat I have EVER had. Nothing but sinew. I get most of my meat from Butcher Box. Organic and pasture raised, it's of good quality. Except for this. I went to the website and did the complaint thing. They are a really good company, no problem at all. They refund the cost to my next box. Being the frugal kitchen person I am, I put that useless thing in the dutch oven with its cooking liquid and some water and braised it for several hours. I got some useable meat I'll put in a cream sauce with pasta. Not the delightful brisket I anticipated, but not a total letdown. Mark likes to tell me this is why they pay me the big bucks. I'd like to know who 'they' are and when I will see the bucks, big or not.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

A Note

I didn't have a thing to say today and still don't. I do have a photo, though, of a small wild plum galette I made after lunch. I took a shortcut, using phyllo dough instead of making a short crust. We will have a slice after dinner, which will be beef brisket. A very simple-to-make meal ahead.

 We have a beautiful day and good food on the horizon. Is this la dolce vita?

Saturday, September 16, 2023


My life has come to this. Slipcovers and cat trees. 

I had to cover the chairs, as well as the sofas, because Gatto goes after upholstery like someones life depends on it. I had looked at a much more expensive chair cover, then remembered why I'm covering them in the first place. What was I thinking, Gatto should just shred my money? I kind of long for the days when we didn't know declawing was so awful for the cat.


I took a couple of days off from the computer. Not with intention, it just happened. I was busy with stuff and time slipped past me. We have entered autumn and it's bliss after the summer of hell. I made a good chicken and rice soup with leftover chicken and brown basmati rice couple of days ago, when we stayed in the mid-sixties as a high. Soup is always good, but soup when there is a sharp chill in the air is even more good! Yesterday we got a little rain and then the sun came out and it was lovely. It would have been more lovely if it had rained all day, but what can you do. I made a pizza for dinner using cherry tomatoes. Mark said it was the best pizza I've ever made. I reminded him that he says every pizza is the best I've ever made.

Otherwise, life trundles on. Mark has a high school reunion at the end of the month and a sixty-fifth birthday lunch for one of his brothers. Mark comes from a family of ten children, all still alive. My big plan is to go to Costco for the first time since February 2020. I have not been inside any grocery store since. I've been getting delivery from Costco and pick-up from Aldi. There are things I want that I cannot get through Costco delivery. The modern world.

May someone make you the best pizza you've ever had every time they make a pizza.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Moving On

There is a story

I had a good friend for many years who kept her horse with me. She stopped by and had this china in her trunk to bring to Goodwill. It had been her grandmother's. I didn't think she should part with it, she said it meant nothing to her. I am a sentimentalist when it comes to these things, so I said I would keep it for her incase she changed her mind. She didn't. She died of lung cancer a few years ago, so I know she won't be changing her mind. She would be eighty if she'd lived and this was her grandmother's so I'm thinking 1920s to 1940s. I did look it up and that's about right. I am giving it away and had a woman contact me. Her 30 year-old son wants it. She said he loves this sort of thing. I packed it up and she will probably pick it up today. It is short four dessert plates and one small fruit bowl, both of which can be replaced on a site I found. I am delighted a young man wants this. I said I wanted a gentle home, as it's been in my care for at least twenty years and I feel responsible for it. She told me it will be cared for. I have three sets of china, one I brought home after my mother died. Sentimentality strikes again.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Jumping and Other Such Things

Mr. Ever Vigilant 

As you can see, the sofas are in slipcovers. The dining room chairs are upholstered parson chairs and this young fellow finds them perfect for claw sharpening. The very reason there are slipcovers on the sofas. I now will be buying covers for the chairs that I purchased in 1982 and have not been bothered until this young rascal showed up. He claws with purpose.

The weather has been fabulous. Cool and mostly sunny. We had a very brief rainfall last night. Big thunder and lightening to the north, nothing much to speak of here. 

A couple of days ago Mark sang the lyrics to the song "Jump" probably because Gatto wouldn't stay off the counter. So, me being me, I jumped. Or rather, I attempted to jump. Do you know that moment when you discover you really don't have it anymore? I do now. My feet never left the ground. I was determined and tried several more times with absolutely no success. Mark was swinging between fear I was going to kill myself to laughter over how ridiculous I looked. I cannot jump. The body is not kind.

Sunday, September 10, 2023


We are finally having September weather and it makes me happy. The horses are frisky and fun to watch as they prance around one another in the cool morning air. My son and his Yorkie are backpacking in Mille Lacs over the weekend, which is in the northern part of the state. He loves the woods and would be a great hiking partner for Val! His little doggo is a real trooper. I do miss having a dog, I will not lie, but not enough to take one on anymore. The cats are social and odd and good company. That's enough.

I made a really good casserole for dinner last evening, even if I do say so myself. Eggplant and zucchini, lasagna style, with roasted tomatoes as the sauce. Delicious. No béchamel, only mozzarella. We have enough for two more meals. I had frozen Brussels sprouts, yuck!, which Mark picked up and said I asked for them. I did not. Then he did it AGAIN and insisted I said I wanted them. This time he still had the list and it said frozen BROCCOLI, not Brussels sprouts, which I do like. Just not frozen. I had to put in the story of why I had frozen Brussels sprouts. I roasted them, which did make them palatable. Just. The sauce helped cover the taste.

I am also enjoying making soup now that we have soup weather. One of my favorites is roasted eggplant soup. Even Mark likes it, he who never met an eggplant before he met me. It's really flavorful and adding a little feta or goat cheese brings it up another notch. Simple joys of life.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Back in Time

We made our annual trek to the drive-in, located in Delano. It's only about a 20 minute drive.

The food is good and it's a bit of nostalgia. Where I grew up these were common, at the time. Drive-in theatres, too. It was a lovely, mild day, perfect for hanging a tray on the window filled with food.

Today, another mild one. I noticed the first sign of color on an Ash tree yesterday. Let us hope the blast furnace is turned off. We have so much to do outside because of the heat and humidity we had all summer. It was just too awful to do yard work and. It will be a busy Fall, let it be a long Fall. I'm caught-up on produce and basil processing. I have not got one spare inch in any freezer. I have the ingredients for eggplant soup roasted and plan that for our lunch today. Soup weather has arrived. I know it's been hot in the Northeast, I wish you better weather. Maybe you have it now.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

A Weather Reprieve

 We are out of the tropics. It's cool, actually a little chilly.

I made a roasted tomato and basil soup yesterday, seeing as it was cool enough to keep the doors closed. It's been so terribly hot. I enjoyed making and eating soup.

I'm reading a book set during the pandemic, Lucy by the Sea. Written by Elizabeth Strout. I've been surprised at how quickly I have forgotten what that was like. The nervous fear anytime we had to interact with others, the constant hand washing and glove wearing and hand sanitizer. Then realizing how it made being isolated feel so normal. It's a strange feeling, not distant past but feels surreal, like...did that happen? Odd what the brain does.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Monday, September 4, 2023

Bring on Autumn

Labor Day. 
The unofficial end of summer.

There will be no labor today on my part, even with the air conditioner on. The miserable summer is having a few days of a last hurrah. Oh, god, I hope it's a last hurrah. I labored lightly yesterday, cutting the basil back and making a full ice cube tray of goodness with the leaves for the up-coming winter. Otherwise I sat in front of a fan, listening to a long but engaging book. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. If raw, crude language bothers you, you wouldn't like this tale, but I don't care about that. It's a narrative, with the main character telling the story of his life. I have stayed interested. I did take a break and watched a movie. I cannot say how long it's been since I did that. I was scrolling through Prime and decided to try a documentary, Nelly&Nadine. A Swedish production, it was poignant in that Scandi way they do so well.

As I sit here I realize I am doing a small labor today. Monday is laundry day, no holiday gets in the way of my laundry day! I told Mark yesterday that I feel I may have finally grown up. He said he still has a way to go. I won't argue the point. I say this with a smile. My insides have calmed. I have always been driven and on the demanding side. That is mostly gone. Not all of it, I wouldn't like that, but overall....I'm easier to live with. Meaning not only for others buy also for myself. As I observe our mentally ill country I find it somewhat strange I have become better. Irony?

Tomatoes. I think Bill may not have more for me. Whew. My Roma is producing heavily, I don't need extras. I refuse to can, so I don't know what to do with them. Hopefully, the son will take some off my hands. It seems they really like tropical weather.

I wish you all a pleasant day, free of any labor other than that which you enjoy.


Friday, September 1, 2023

Breakfast and More

Pizza for breakfast.
Why not?

I spent the better part of yesterday ordering glasses for Mark. He got a new prescription earlier in the week and I set about trying to order online, which is how I get my glasses. He felt more comfortable about it when his Primary told him that's how she gets hers. Mark is legally blind. His prescription is very costly, so if I can keep the price down, I will. Where I buy mine doesn't do prescriptions that strong. I went to another well advertised site and was told they needed to approve the prescription, which was a red flag that they don't do that strength. I then went to a local online that also has a brick and mortar in Minneapolis. They do that strength of prescription, so ordering done. And not a couple of thousand dollars spent. If he needs some form of adjustment or they just aren't right we can go into Mpls for that. I'm next on the eye exam list.

Bill brought me another huge box of tomatoes. I'm overwhelmed by tomatoes. Mark will be going to a client next week that's near where the son lives. I'm going to ask him if he wants tomatoes, fresh or processed and Mark can drop them off. I told Bill I'd take what he didn't use, never thinking it would turn into tomatogeddon.

Let's end on a hot note. It will be blazing hot all next week. I don't know where I live.