Tuesday, October 04, 2011

calling all readers

Any interest in resurrecting Virtual Book Club? I think if we readjust how we do things, it just might work this time.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

creak . . . emerging from silence

the last of the garden tomatoes. I'll wrap each one in newspaper to redden up in a week or so.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

the fruits of my labor!

Recipe above from Canal House:

tomatoes and pickles; the pickles are made from the huge cucumbers that lurk under the leaves and are as big as you calf.

Monday, August 01, 2011


can you see the link between the Tea Party and Hitler Youth? I'm scared witless

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Guest photographer

Helen sent me this photo she took on Avery Brook (hope you don't mind seeing it "in print"!).

L and she share the ladybug as their connecting symbol. The ladybug (or ladybird, or any of the other names you'll encounter) is considered good luck, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


should I change my blog design?

Just thinking that parenthood is sometimes quite like being stuck in the horse latitudes. jotting this down. Sometimes you don't even hear the creak of the lines. other times, you're in a gale force, getting it full force over the deck into your face.

Monday, July 18, 2011


The first of the tomatoes

Making blackberry vinegar using the very odd-looking jelly bag

coding, coding, and more coding today. My hand is about to fall off. Or something. Would much rather be in the garden or the kitchen.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I need to get off Facebook; it's too . . . unsatisfying, ultimately. Plus Scrabble is too addicting.

Monday, July 11, 2011


to blog and write more. There, I've said it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interactive Tuesday

I had a visitor; actually there are two here. There was a territorial dispute (at least, I think that's what it was) and they both ended up on their backs. One righted himself, and then worked very hard to right the other, who remained firmly withdrawn in the shell. I came back 5 minutes later, and both had vanished.

Monday, June 20, 2011


The world in an onion blossom

Friday, June 03, 2011


Thank you, Helen! I'm adding chicken, though; sorry, Vegetarian Times.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


missing out on the finishing of my stint with NaBloPoMo. I'm sorry about that, but glad I'm very busy with work

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I don't have much to say, that I could offer in this format. I do suggest you make the acquaintance of Kate Atkinson, however. I can't put down her newest in the Jackson Brodie series, Started Early, Took My Dog (please don't take a break, Kate). As I felt with Inspector Morse, so do I feel with Jackson Brodie.

Monday, May 23, 2011


found all these in the garage; disappointed in self

Sunday, May 22, 2011

pea pickin'

Hoping to harvest pounds of these expensive snow and sugar snaps

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I'm still here and so is the laundry . . .

Friday, May 20, 2011


Looking good around here.

What will happen tomorrow, if no one is Raptured up? Will there be general disappointment?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


getting there; actually accomplished everything on my to do list and then some. Feeling a lot better, and wondering what it was that struck me down.

Remus is excellent at looking out for her cats; I heard a furious barking, and when I went to look, there was Black Cat, lurking at the perimeter. The police brought by a trap for him, so we'll have to bait it with food, though a cursory look at it reveals it to be pretty flimsy. I can't see it holding Black Cat for long. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


but not 100%. Still, I'm proofing some books for my niece, managing editor here. These are fun little reads for the 8 to 11 set. There seems to be bad guys, pirates, treasure, the ocean, ships. Anyway, check them out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


not so good around here; I don't know whether it's a bug or pollen, but I'll spare you the details. Busy with work, though, so that's a good thing!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Time out

of the four pets living here, two have vomited today. Rather operatically, I may add. Cleaning agents were involved in the tidying. Sorry to burden you with this, but . . .

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Early Spring around these parts

Steps need some tlc; we'll get to it this summer. We fixed our fireplace ourselves last year, so we'll mix up a batch of cement and get conversant with our trowels.

Out back, the chives are doing extremely well, as is most of the rest. Some lemon verbena is poking up under the window, in amongst the weedy lemon balm.
Bear or Frank? I can't tell.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I harvested more snow peas this morning. I think I'll blanch and freeze as they come along. They are $4+ a pound, so my incentive is clear: I should have quite a hoard for the winter.

The cat remains on antibiotics for his wound, which is healing very well. I hate to let them out, but there is no way at this point to contain them.

Miss Mouse and I discovered a SP**MER! Quite an exciting exchange this morning on FB messaging.

Finally, and most important, it was strawberry milkshakes and Southwestern burgers (with bacon) for lunch from Petunia's Airstream trailer. We shared the burger and tried to eat a quesadilla too, but it proved too much. That shake is worth every penny. There are no words, really, to describe this food. It's heaven.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I hope my post from yesterday reappears . . . if not, I will cobble something together. You do want to see the Space House, don't you? There, I've gotten at least some interest.

Soul has been to the vet, and his hideous wound (under his tail) is healing. Time to roust this feral feline from the woods, though I'm sure at some point he was the house pet of some horrible family. A family, I'm sure, who moved away and didn't bother to call him home in time to get in the car.

I happened to see a truly crazy person being interviewed on TV this morning. Ron Paul is certifiable; I think there was spittle flying out of his mouth. No federal government. My head is in my hands (not literally, of course). What must Rand Paul be like? Can you see the two of them in the White House? But, why, if they don't believe in a federation, would they want to head one up? Maybe Donald Trump could be Secretary of State, and that Bachman woman could be . . . I can't even imagine. Geez. Thanks, McCain for unleashing S. Palin and the entire Tea Party movement.

Have a great weekend

Thursday, May 12, 2011


D arrived back from the garden with this handful of snow peas! From the number of plants and blossoms, I may be sending a few in your direction, gentle reader.

D was supposed to have gotten me an anise hyssop plant yesterday at the farmer's market, but he FORGOT, even though he called to make sure (men). Then he was stuck for an hour going up the mountain in a snaking standstill of cars, because a tour bus had gotten itself stuck halfway up, near the Space House. I don't think I've shown a picture of the Space House, have I? I pass by it almost every day, and rarely think about it, but really, how odd, isn't it? just another Southern eccentricity that has become commonplace.

image thanks to Creye-Leike Realtors

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

hot hot hot

Newt is running; the governor of Indiana pulled the plug on Planned Parenthood. Misogyny is not only alive and well, it's more in control than ever. Centrist and left of center representatives from all levels of government and industry, please step up to the podium before all is lost. We need sane voices, speaking out for us.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


it is very hot out today; like summer, really. And I saw my first flea of the season yesterday on Remus. Damn! Now it's time to flea all the animals.

Also, yesterday after dinner, I heard a tremendous caterwauling out front. I rushed out front to see Soul at the mercy of Black Cat, on his back under the crushing, brutish power of this interloper. I yelled, and both cats took off in opposite directions, a goodly bit of Black Cat's fur blowing around the driveway. Soul hurried in, to crouch in the hall, growling, for a while. Then he repaired to the back of the couch. Where he remains almost 24 hours later.

This same Black Cat was responsible (I'm certain) for the puncture wounds on Frank's back that took a lot of time (not to mention money) to heal. I'm hoping Soul is only psychically, not physically, wounded.

Black Cat is too feral to lure inside, and I think the  three cats, not to mention Remus (who has been in to check on Soul several times throughout the day) would come apart at the seams if he were to come into the house.

Soul, in a more relaxed moment

Monday, May 09, 2011

Busy bee . . .

bee hives, Crabtree Farm, Chattanooga

Spent the day at the computer and at the desk, trying to make sense of it all—at least what is on the screen and page. Getting steamy out there; hope we are not in for another summer of extremes.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day

Planted six fledgling fennel plants up at the plot; hoping they swell up into beauties later this summer. The peas are coming along amazingly well; D really did a great job planting them and rigging up a trellis out of string and stakes for them to climb on. Plus there are lots of ladybugs on them! Now the owners of the plot next to us needs to stop with the Miracle Grow and pesticides and it all will be good.

Bought a salad burnett, bay, and horseradish at the Sunday Market. Now I need to find a permanent home for the horseradish so it can spread out. Looking forward to that. In Heath, we didn't realize we had a patch of it in the field next to the house. The first time we ground it up in the food processor, the pungency of it  almost knocked us across the room.

I'll put the bay in a pot, to bring in during cold snaps in winter, but otherwise it'll stay outside. Salad burnett will go in the herb garden.

I am halfway through my history reader (interesting for the most part) and almost done with my lab manual tome (yea!). I haven't really had a raise from that company (lab manual) in about 15 years! What's new, though, really?

Finally, Mike Huckabee hasn't robocalled me all day! I guess he takes his day of rest. Isn't he an ordained minister—or something?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

one thought

Thinking about my mother, but of course my father arrives to assume center stage. Ranting and railing, cursing and name calling. So much belittling. To what end?

Still a potent presence even in dreams.

Friday, May 06, 2011


on my herbal walk

Thursday, May 05, 2011

wild food, part 1

Rachel, our walk leader, pointing out the first wild food she spotted: wild lettuce. Like many of the plants we encountered, this one is know for its sedative/narcotic and anti-anxiety qualities. As a tincture, it is a useful sleep aide. You can also cook up the leaves as you would spinach.

This cropped version, while blurry, shows the dandelion-like leaves. I had what I thought was a volunteer lettuce up at the garden, but now I know it is this. There is a row of spikes on the leaves' underside, and a milky sap that oozed out when the stem is broken.

Wild yarrow, which can be used topically for wounds:

Pick and dry the blossoms, then grind to apply on cuts. Infuse the fresh flowers in olive oil or almond oil and use as a cosmetic.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

comrades at Reflection Riding

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bear With, Bear With

as Miranda's friend would say; I WILL get a post out on herbs. but thanks to Gretel, I am now obsessed with even more British TV:

Monday, May 02, 2011


Hey, I had an entire post to put up of my medicinal herbal walk on Saturday, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Work got in the way. One job is getting to be like the movie Groundhog Day; it just keeps coming back for more insertions. NOT my fault, btw. Not all of it, anyway.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

May, Maybe

Happy May Day, Happy Beltaine.

This day found me with some strawberries I had gotten on sale from Greenlife (now Whole Foods), so after my type coding editing stint this morning, I jammed it up in the kitchen, and produced these:

I haven't made jam in several years, so I'm a bit rusty. However, when strawberry season begins in earnest locally, I think I've got the kinks worked out.

For Betty C.:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Devastation from Wednesday's storms

Devastation all around; those who could least afford it (from all angles) got pounded by tornadoes and tornadic "activity" three times: morning, afternoon, and evening.

Ringgold, Georgia; photo Chattanooga Times Free Press

Friday, April 01, 2011


I didn't hold up my end in NaBloPoMo last month. Had too much going on last weekend through Tuesday: seeing cousins in Cincinnati at front and back of visiting OH, staying at the the Mouse House in Cleveland, L and mono (that was why she was so tired and her throat hurt). L tried to participate, and everyone enjoyed dinner at the Greenhouse Tavern. We had our own version of the Cleveland International Film Festival at Casa Mouse. And D really enjoyed getting to know F, too.

The more familiar I become with Cincinnati and Cleveland, the more I like them. Wish we had met L's boyfriend, but it didn't work out. Now that she is feeling better, she is going to meet his family, though!

 Today's baking, in an effort to use the Cruze Dairy buttermilk (sooo good):

Friday, March 25, 2011


ready to head out early tomorrow. 6+ hour drive in what is predicted to be lousy weather. Will be happy to get to Cincinnati!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


from the Main Street Farmers' Market recently. I wish I'd gone to the potluck last night, but I didn't. Sometimes, running up and down the mountain gets pretty tedious. And costly.

Looking forward to going here soon, though . . .

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

outdoors again

More yard work today before the rains come. I hear it snowed in the Northeast yesterday! I don't miss it, certainly not in March.

However, looking forward to going up to OH and seeing relatives as well as Miss Mouse and L (and maybe L's boyfriend!!). I'm bringing the camera, so watch for photos here . . . rather than boring notes on general daily life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Random early Spring . . .

Hoeing, raking, general clearing up. It felt good to get out and get busy.

Tarragon lives! Last summer, I thought it wouldn't make it through the awful heat, but here it is. I hope it thrives this summer. Tarragon vinegar.

The rosemary still exists! See the green sprig, slightly right of center? Also others, blurry, at upper left . . .

Beginnings of sauerkraut; I hope at the end of two weeks or so I have a batch to stash in the refrigerator. This is 1.5 lb of cabbage sliced up.

AND: editing test sent in.

Monday, March 21, 2011

editing test

I WILL vanquish this test!

(I hope . . .)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

new blog post

I'm glad to see the back of last week. Last night's hyper-full moon signified a turn in the year for me. And so of course I started another batch of sauerkraut, spurred also by last Wednesday's New York Times (Wednesday's being Food Day, I always try to remember to pick up that day's paper). There, Julie Moskin's compendium of recipes, D.I.Y. Cooking, is a real inspiration.

I had a sauerkraut disaster a year or so ago—a sodden grayish gloomy mass instead of pickled cabbage. Then, for some reason last fall, I started anew, using Eugenia Bone's book Well-Preserved and it couldn't have been easier: 1.5 lb thinly sliced/chopped cabbage to 1.5 T pickling salt, weighted down with a resealable bag containing 1 L water w/1.5 T pickling salt dissolved (in case the bag leaks, it contains nothing but brine). Leave on the counter for 2 weeks or so, et voila! She has you further can it in a boiling water bath, but I just jarred it up and stuck it in the refrigerator, where it continued to cure and just get better.

It is from Well-Preserved that I also found the will, after finding cauliflower on sale, to make her recipe for Pickled Cauliflower. Once you put your mind to it, hauling out the canning equipment is not as daunting as it sounds. (But you still have to clean off a fair amount of counter space . . .) Having the jars of white nodes in my cupboard is cheering, at least to me. And tasty too.

"D.I.Y. Cooking" has some very intriguing ideas: testa, a form of bacon that uses nitrites. Eugenia has a recipe that is similar but she has you roast the pork belly at the end. I can't get my mind around that oven aspect, though. Julie Moskin also has a method to make a kind of Lillet or Campari, which I am definitely going to attempt, as my new summertime drink this year is the Americano, taken from Nigella's new book: 1/2 sweet vermouth, 1/2 Campari, topped up with sparkling water and a slice of orange (blood orange, if you can find one).

Onward, to summer and beyond . . . a smoker may be in my future. We'll see.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Trying to make sense of the editing test, which is a very, to me, garbled genealogy. And I'm not sure of the rules governing the format. Tomorrow I'll give it my all, and then we'll see what's what. Sigh

Friday, March 18, 2011

not many words

Just a remembrance: today my mother would have turned 81.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I got more memory and an updated operating system for the computer today! D took the massive unit, which is a G8 (or is that a summit?) way out to the other side of town (thank you, D). I now have 4Gs of memory and Leopard OS, which is the most this processor can handle, since Apple made it obsolete by switching to Intel on subsequent iterations. So, instead of paying about $1200 for a brand-new Mac, I spent about $210 (plus tax) for this upgrade.

Granted, I can't stream Netflix movies on it (because they work only with the Intel processor), but doing actual work and tasks, switching between applications, and so on is a dream. I can't believe I would sometimes wait literally 5 minutes for Word to whir and the computer's guts to groan before I saw a change made.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all who celebrate; since this was my father's favorite holiday, I am not a fan of it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I have to take an editing test for a new client of a client. I hate these tests, I really do. But in a strange way I also love the challenge.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011


lots of words there, but I can't seem to get the hang of tweeting. Maybe it's because I don't know how to text. Or why.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


were you in 1982? Last night I made tahini/garlic/yogurt/lemon/dill dressing from one of the many Moosewood cookbooks there are around. Instantly, I was transported to 1970 something or other and to the gentrifying mill/college town through the woods and across the river from my own snug dorm room.

This dressing is a grassroots hippiedom recipe. I used to make a similar one when I worked for a natural foods restaurant, adding tofu to it, churning it up in a giant industrial mixer so that the tofu became a grainy part of the putty-colored gloppiness. So satisfying poured on salad. What else, really, do you need? Maybe a cornmeal muffin . . .

Then of course I had to dig out my copy of Hilltown Cooking: Recipes from a Rural Food Cooperative, put out by the Shutesbury-Leverett Coop in 1982. A little self-published, spiralbound paperback. Predating the desktop computer for sure. The recipes were typed . . . on a TYPEWRITER.

Lots of gluten, carob, and bulgur in here. Gluten Parmesan, anyone? Where are Judy and Raymond of Shutesbury, whose recipe this is, now?

Perhaps you should follow JGH's lead, as I did, and track down a very entertaining book, Lucy Horton's Country Commune Cooking, which is Lucy's account of her 1971 odyssey around the country in search of communes and their best recipes. A well-written book, with some pretty good recipes too.

Maybe it's time to unleash your inner peripatetic 1970s yurt dwelling soul  .  . . but you may want to pass on the Nutritional Yeast Gravy.

Friday, March 11, 2011

more words

I have lots of words I'd like to say, but I have to wait . . . my father, after years of disastrous decisions, made the operatic grand finale of final decisions.

Thursday, March 10, 2011



Old sprit, in and beyond me,
keep, and extend me. Amid strangers,
friends, great trees and big seas breaking,
let love move me. Let me hear the whole music,
see clear, reach deep. Open me to find due words,
that I may shape them to ploughshares of my own making.
After such luck, however late, give me to give to
the oldest dance. . . . Then to good sleep,
and — if it happens — glad waking.

-Phlip Booth

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Farmers Market

Going to the weekly Wednesday gathering of local organic farmers! I resisted going down to it for quite a while, not being able to justify driving all that way for some greens and eggs, but putting it on the agenda and working errands around it has made it work. What an enlightening group. They have consistently had at least hearty greens for sale ALL WINTER LONG. Granted, this is the South, and it's more temperate, but still.

The further I get from corporations and globalization, the better I feel. I was a staunch supporter of Green Life when it was a local business, but now that Whole Foods has gobbled up it and its sister store in Asheville, I no longer feel compelled to drop in very much. The push to present locally grown and produced food and goods is now pretty much lip service to the long march of the 365 brand. Frankly, you have to read those labels in produce to find the organics amongst the nonorganics.

Yes, yes, of course Whole Foods does organic, but here's a piece on CEO and founder Mackey from the NYorker: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/01/04/100104fa_fact_paumgarten

That's it for today.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


unlike last year, when I was almost busier than I could handle, this year is rather worrisome. Luckily, D is busier than he has been in years.

Don't take my retirement Social Security money away from me, crazy loony right wing. It's all I have.

Monday, March 07, 2011


a trip to the post office these days yields little else besides catalogs and bills. I'd like a real letter, thanks. I remember writing letters from England back to my mother on that thin airletter paper. I wonder where they are now . . .

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sunday, seeds, + Allegra Goodman

This morning I went up to the veg patch. I didn't realize how cold it is outside, until I got halfway across the empty playing field that borders the plots. The wind was (almost) Siberian (for Tennessee). I had planned on planting a few things, but within minutes my hands were too frozen to manipulate anything as tiny as a seed.

I had hoped to see the peas up that D had planted, but instead I saw that some of the seeds had popped up to the surface, from a 2-in. depth! Pushed them back in so they will sprout. I'm willing this year to yield a much better growing season than last year.

A favorite author of mine is Allegra Goodman: here is a link to her giving a speech at the 2010 National Book Festival. I'm listening to the introduction, so let me know if you listen.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Thoughts to words

I've decided that my blog is like my yoga mat. I should focus on what happens here, and not stare enviously at the smooth lines and lovely images elsewhere. Take them in, admire and appreciate them. certainly. Use them as inspiration and incentive. Keep my drishti gaze focused. "During practice, it is not advisable to look around," says thesecretsofyoga.com. I don't, however, want to lock my thoughts, which seems to be a problem for me. I can't get on the page quite what I mean to say.

I'm devoting this month to working on this conundrum.

Friday, March 04, 2011

one word

my response to the word prompt final at one word:

The end. finals at college. at last. what? blue book exams. long tables. girls. anxiety. high windows. spring. late winter. winterim stretching out. filling out one blue book. snatching up another

I rather like this practice; you get a word and 60 seconds to write whatever springs into your head. Like waking up after a long slumber. I might get a bit better by the end of the month.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Theme Thursday: Book

what is it about words that frighten so many people that books are actually banned? As if anyone could clap a lid on the imagination. I cannot imagine not allowing someone to read something. Piles of books abound around here, and some of them seem to have been, at one time or another, on someone's banned book list. Imagine banishing a book from a shelf . . . I really cannot get my mind around that.

The scourge of anti-intellectualism and anti-education seems to prevail throughout our country right now. Not a good time to be a publicly educated young person, for the most part.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


One of my high school English teachers once said her favorite word was crepuscule, twilight. Then recently I read or heard someone say it is the worst word in the English language. Whom to believe? Twilight, l'heure bleue; makes me think of that period just before it is truly dark, when there is still the possibility that a great calm is awaiting us . . .

T. Monk with Crepuscule with Nellie

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Words: this month's daily mediation

It's what I do — fiddle around with the words of others, when what I should be doing is fiddling around with my own. I shy away from it, though. It's easier to fix the work of someone else than try to catch my own thoughts and corral them into meaningful sentences and paragraphs. But I will sit down here and try mightily to come up with something, because I do love words.

I love crosswords, Scrabble. but these are isolating games, aren't they? You don't string the word beads into necklaces of sentences. Well, today is the first day of March, which came in like a lion around here, and the first day of NaBoPoMo (National Blog Posting Month, which seems to be every month of the year).

Watch this space. It might start making sense.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kate Rusby

I dug out my Little Lights CD, and then thought I'd have a look at YouTube for some others:

Friday, January 21, 2011


What's wrong, Blogger? I keep having to sign on, but you keep signing me off.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

random heart . ..

There is a Random Hearts blog, but its link day is THURSDAY, which I've been striving (and failing) to post for Theme Thursday. But, as Theme Thursday's rules have changed somewhat, I'm linking to Random Hearts today. A dear heart if ever there was one.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday, January 17

This is the poem for today in Poem A Day, ed. K. McCosker & N. Albery. It seems very appropriate:

I Am Not I

I am not I.
                     I am this one
Walking beside me whom I do not see,
Whom at times I manage to visit,
And at other times I forget.
The one who remains silent when I talk,
The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
The one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
The one who will remain standing when I die.

Juan Ramón Jiménez, translated by Robert Bly

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday plus: Nicole Krauss

On searching for information on Nicole Krauss, I discovered a lot of jealousy out there, critics praising her while bemoaning her privileged upbringing, her famous writer husband (Jonathan Safran Foer), etc. etc. But I just finished The History of Love, so wonderful it made me weep. Here she is talking about her new book, Great House.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I can hear Sinatra in the background . . .

Soul's got everything arranged, bachelor fashion

Sunday, January 02, 2011

new year

I will try to blog every day here, Helen and Betty. I just find it so very difficult to come up with a compelling narrative, or even a hook for readers to want to stop by and see what is going on. It is difficult with a soon to be post adolescent around. I'm trying to figure out where I belong in the new dynamic of family life. Nine is a different kettle of fish from 19, after all . . .