Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: cerise

Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: jpm14
(File created on: May 26 2008)
The Relative Merits of Different Forms of Fishing
A week ago Monday Jay and Brian went smelting. Smelting involves standing in a rather deep running stream in the cold darkness, holding a lantern with one hand and dipping a metal mesh net into the stream with the other. They left at 9.30PM and returned about 12.30AM. They were done cleaning the fish by 2.30AM. Brian fell down twice, so he was soaked. Jay’s Chinese-made chest waders, new last year, leaked, so he was very wet.

Jay’s portion of the catch was 16 smelt. Smelt now are smaller than they were 20 years ago, too.

And they were absolutely delicious fried in butter and oil after being shaken in a flour, conmeal, salt mixture.

Last Wednesday, Jay and I went fishing for bass in a private pond. It did start raining while we were there so we got damp. We were gone from home 45 minutes. It took another 15 minutes or so for Jay to fillet them using his Christmas present: a handy-dandy new electric fillet knife. We caught five. The average length was 13 inches. Then we ate two, breaded and fried as above. They were also very delicious. The fish had not been out of the water more than 25 minutes.

Taste wise, a toss up. Time and gas wise, there is a clear winner.

We don’t measure life quite that way, though.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 01 2007 at 11:01 am
One comment:
Wow, those smelt are so small, I didn’t even notice them in the picture, at first!

The others are Bass-tastic!


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 01 / 2007 at 7:36 pm
Banner’s Three Week Old Kittens
There are four of them. No, Isabelle has not been allowed to name them.

They will be wild. We hope.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 01 2007 at 10:28 am
Fun picture! Was Banner on the other side of the field again?
Comment posted by Hannah (ip: on 05 / 01 / 2007 at 11:05 AM

Well, since Isabelle isn’t allowed to name them, I will!

They can hereby be known as:

Eeny, (the snuggly one on the left with the cute face)

Meeny, (the one on the upper left with his/her posterior in the air)

Miney, (the one on the right with his/her posterior in the air)

and, of course,

Moe! (Who is the one on the bottom of the pile and looks like some assorted legs and squirrel parts)

Good luck telling them apart when they’re more active…

heh, heh.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 01 / 2007 at 7:42 PM
Jim’s Obit in the NY Times today
With a photo, go here

“James Richards, Veterinarian and Expert on Cat Care, Dies at 58


Published: April 26, 2007

Dr. James R. Richards, a prominent veterinarian who was a recognized authority on cat care, died on Tuesday in Johnson City, N.Y. He was 58 and lived in Dryden, N.Y.

Dr. Richards died of injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident on Sunday. According to Sgt. Kelly Daley of the New York State Police, he was thrown from his motorcycle after he tried without success to avoid hitting a cat that had run into the road.

At his death, Dr. Richards was the director of the Feline Health Center of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, a leading center for feline medical research and treatment.

A past president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, Dr. Richards lectured to cat owners’ clubs around the country and was often consulted by the news media. He appeared frequently on television, where he might be seen soothing his charges as they squirmed in his arms.

He was known in particular for educating veterinarians and the public after cancerous growths called sarcomas began to be observed in the 1990s on the skin of some newly vaccinated cats. Under Dr. Richards, the feline center embarked on a study of vaccine-related sarcomas, their causes and possible remedies.

Dr. Richards was the author of the “ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats” (Chronicle Books, 1999); an editor of “The Well-Behaved Cat: How to Change Your Cat’s Bad Habits” (Englander Communications, 2001); and the consulting editor for the second edition of “The Cornell Book of Cats,” published by Villard in 1997.

He was also the editor in chief of CatWatch, a monthly newsletter published by the Cornell veterinary school, for which he wrote a column, “Ask Dr. Richards.”

James Robert Richards was born on July 19, 1948, in Richmond, Ind. He grew up on a farm in Preble County, Ohio, in an area so rural there were no children his age nearby. Cats, he often said, were his first friends. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Berea College in 1970, followed by a veterinary degree from Ohio State University in 1979.

After practicing in small-animal clinics in Ohio, Dr. Richards joined Cornell’s veterinary college in 1991. He became the director of the feline center in 1997. During his tenure, the center’s other projects included research into feline cardiac disease and coronary thrombosis, work on improving methods of diagnosing hyperthyroidism in cats and efforts to conserve endangered members of the cat family around the world.

Dr. Richards is survived by his wife, Anita Fox Richards; his mother, Marion Todd Richards of Ithaca, N.Y.; and two sons, Jesse and Seth.

He had one cat, the number some experts consider ideal for this most self-contained of creatures. “

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 26 2007 at 7:59 pm
Dr. James Richards and the cat
What to say? Another friend gone home before us. Jim was a veterinarian who specialized in cats. He ran the Feline Health Center at the Cornell Vet school. He was raised on a farm in the midwest. We were two of the handful of people who have farm blood in them at our church. He was a worship leader and I sang with him over the years. He was a godly, funny man.

Sunday afternoon was gorgeous and he was out driving his new 2007 Ducati sport bike. A dream come true, having a Ducati. He always wore full suit and helmet, no matter how hot it was. In a scenario that wouldn’t fly in a novel, it seems a barn cat was in the road and he swerved to miss it, losing control of the bike. The cat died, too. Life is stranger than fiction

He leaves wife Anita who always knew he would cream himself one day– but not this bad, sons Jesse and Seth, one in med school and the other finishing up college next month, his elderly mother, poor woman. And lots of friends.

We all knew that if he died this way, he died a happy man, doing something he loved to do. We all wish it had been a few decades down the road later.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 24 2007 at 8:12 pm
One comment:
I am so sorrry. Motor cycles scare me anytime I am near them on the road. I had terrible experiences as a nurse in an emergengy room I spent the better part of one night getting road gravel out of the skin of a young man who had on shorts and skidded down the road on his side. He cried and I cried. Other experiences were more serious. I pray your family and mine stay off motorcycles. Regina’s husband ( a physician assistant) calls them Donorcycles.
Comment posted by Ellie (ip: on 04 / 25 / 2007 at 6:59 am
24, MOREL version: April 20-21
After supper tonight Dominic and Caspian were following me into the yellow receding sunlight splashed across the lush wet west field towards the pond listening to the regular, but not rhythmic, glug the spring water makes as it exits the drainpipe when I spied north of us over the treetops heading our way a hot air balloon. The balloon was the very one seen Thursday evening returning with Jay from dosing Suzanne’s rhododendron and introducing the rams. That evening the balloon had been much further away west and south. Now its red-orange, dark blue and cerulean stripes were clearer, and wondering if it would come directly over us, I turned and walked northeast into the old cornfield, crossing the fallow field with its prickly berry wands. The rams followed. But after a few minutes it was apparent the wind up high had a much stronger westerly force; the balloon made virtually no southward motion. It was probabpy 1000-1500 feet up. I waved a few times and we walked to the crest of the hill from where I watched the balloon glide away across the valley.

Last night at this time I was driving into the sun to Angela’s house, counting the number of turkeys and deer seen along the way. We met two of her friends and went to a performance of the Scandinavian folk band Frigg. (Note: there are three different links there). What a treat! Six young people playing three violins, a guitar, an electric string bass, a mandolin and sometimes a viola and hardanger violin. And what playing! Very wonderful. Then to her friends’ home for a sherbet-like dessert of frozen grape juice and frozen strawberries whirled together in the blender and a delightful time examining her collections and impressive decorating skills.

After a few hours sleep–home-made waffles, bird talk, cat greetings, and a trek. We saw a white-tailed deer in the old Seneca Army depot on the way. Met my Mom and Isabelle at Sauders Mennonite grocery store, retrieved my daughter, did some shopping and drove home, stopping to buy a couple rosemary plants at one place and a Lewisia and a fancy Euphorbia–myrsinites– at another. Then unloading, greeting, planting, talking, watering, weeding, romping, eating, shepherding, feeding, resting, dishes, cooking, listening, reading, wandering, tending, writing.

What a marvelous, blessed 24 hours!

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 21 2007 at 8:09 pm
One comment:
I had fun too, thanks for coming!

On the way to Sauders I saw several white-tailed deer; two of them were white. 🙂

Thanks for the poppyseed cake – it’s wonderful! All those nice, crunchy seeds – they’re like the caviar of the seed world.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 22 / 2007 at 9:09 am
Snow Days
Total snow accumulation for the storm was at least a foot. We lost two branches off the old white pine.

Banner has at least two kittens. Sunday she snatched a black walnut from my hand and ran away to bury it. Taking advantage of the opportunity I quickly climbed the ladder, opened her house and, not wanting to tear into her nest ball which reminded me of a large mouse nest, pushed my hand down the upper left corner between the box and the nest. I felt at least two little bodies. I didn’t push all the way under the nest though, as I was very nervous Banner might reappear at any moment and dreaded what she would do to me if I was found in such a compromising position. She is decidedly thinner, worn looking and her nipples are showing. All signs of good mothering, I guess.

She came out Monday to eat a cracker.

These guys, on the other hand, pretty much ate, slept and ran around inside. They both seem to grow as I watch:

They ran around outside with me yesterday. They and Zeke spent half an hour in their outside fence, too. And will today.

Spent last night in their box in their pen in the garage. But are currently in a box in the house, napping.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 19 2007 at 9:29 am
First Fishes
Last Friday evening Jay and the kids went fishing for the first trout. Jay caught these two beauties:

He cleaned them. I salted and then sugared them the next morning and let them sit for two days. Monday morning I let them warm up a bit, rinsed them off and cold smoked them with mesquite twigs from my Brother’s tree in Arizona. My parents hauled all the trimmings from the tree back home just for us! Thank you!

And they tasted very, very good.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 19 2007 at 9:07 am
This makes my family miss Jay!
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 04 / 19 / 2007 at 10:39 PM
Rose wants some. :0
Comment posted by The Other Jay (ip: on 04 / 21 / 2007 at 12:40 AM
Spring in the Fingerlakes
(insert comment about global warming here)

The Nor’easter hyped on the radio stations for days finally arrived early this morning. It brought a heavy wet snow about 6 to 7 inches deep, Juncos fighting at the feeder, and these:

Not your average track to be seen on a mid-April morning. Are they from some of Santa’s eight tiny reindeer? Almost. They are from two tiny rams,

who plunged with abandon into the snow to follow me early this morning.

After warm breakfast milk, of course.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 16 2007 at 8:27 am
They are EXTREMELY cute!

Liv wants to know if you are considering a goat. She held some newborn goats here a couple of springs ago and fell in love.

Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 04 / 18 / 2007 at 11:14 AM
No goats. They are browsers. And not as meaty. 🙂
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 19 / 2007 at 9:12 AM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

By browsers, do you mean that they would devour your landscaping? Don’t sheep do the same thing, or do they just stick to trimming the lawn? And what about feta cheese and chevre?
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 04 / 19 / 2007 at 12:00 PM
Yeah, goats eat shrubbery in addition to everything else. And they will climb and push and do things sheep would never dream of to get to the shrubberies.

The sheep will, if trained right, stay in their fence and eat lawn. Right now they wander at will unless I am tired of them trampling plants.

Hmm. To have milk, we would have to have mothers. And true feta is made from sheep cheese, I think. The goat I have had is more bone than meat.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 25 / 2007 at 7:16 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Tail Docking: A Primer
Why dock? Primarily to prevent manure buildup under the tail which can easily lead to flystrike (wool maggots). Jay and I have also seen sheep which though they looked healthy, when sheared were skeletal due to parasitic infections helped by the pounds of manure hanging in dags from their long tails.

Why do we not use Elastrator bands? We have seen and used the heavy rubber bands to both dock and neuter lambs. Cortisol (stress hormone) levels in lambs remain high for days when bands are used. Lamb body language correlates to these findings: lambs remain hunched, eat less and are generally less lively. Imagine having a very tight heavy band around a finger for days until it dies enough to fall off… Also, tetanus shots are recommended and currently lidocaine is sometime given to lambs to reduce pain and stress levels with this method.

1. Start with lambs about seven days old. Fat-tailed, Hair and certain other short-tailed breeds are not docked. The Biblical injunction of sacrificing unblemished lambs would mean undocked tails. Those sheep would have been Fat-tailed sheep. The lambs here are Horned Dorsets.

2. Clean your tail docking tool, also called an emasculator. In our case, we sanded, boiled and then covered the edges nearest the lamb with plastic wrap to keep the cut surfaces as clean as possible.

3. Grasp a lamb by all four legs and hold close to the body, back down, tail out. Place the tail in the emasculator and close. Leave about 1-1.5 inches of tail intact. The purpose of the tool is two-fold: to cut the tail and crush the blood vessels which retards bleeding. Keep the tail docker in place for a minute or two after removing the tail.

4. Spray the stub with an antiseptic wound dressing like the Red Kote we used.

5. Tails may be composted.

6. A nursemaid can give extra comfort.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 14 2007 at 2:52 pm
Your new lawnmowers are adorable. With or without tails.

I love the picture of Pounce snuggling with them. I bet the’re very nice and warm and snuggly (and conveniently cat-sized at the moment).

I still think I like the MOREL name best.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 14 / 2007 at 11:59 PM
I have been thinking about it, too. MOREL is more generic and more grammatically acceptable. RuFFL is just the opposite. I like the Fingerlakes part–the part that is least generic. But MOREL is neater, I suppose.

Pounce is so odd. He only jumped in there a couple times.

Those lambs actually ganged up on Zeke and hogged his whole bed for themselves this afternoon!

They like being taken outside. They run behind me. We circle the garden a couple times and run up to the hedgerow and back. Maybe this week we will visit the neighbors.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 15 / 2007 at 6:00 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Moss Garden, Three in a Box, RuFLL
First, before Easter is too far away, a snap of our augmented moss garden that Isabelle and I made, complete with carrot top trees:

Next, it seems Pounce has got over his shyness:

Dominic and Caspian gained a pound a day each the first two days here. Today Caspian gained more than a pound and now weighs about 9.75 lbs. Dominic is about 9 lbs. They were on (organic) cow colostrum from our friends Tom and Sally of Shiphrah Farms until this morning, when the last of it was mixed with lamb milk replacer. Think of high quality powdered milk. It costs almost as much as milk for your family.

And lastly, I think Rural Fingerlakes Living, or RuFLL is a better magazine name. A couple more articles for April:

-Global Warming and Flannel Sheets: What Al Doesn’t Know About Sleeping in Syracuse

-Shear Your Dog and Your Cleaning Time in Half

Maybe there could be a sister publication called FLURISHES: Fingerlakes Urban Interiors, Shopping, Escapes. Then we would honor everyone in this region.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 12 2007 at 10:20 pm
Rufull–you mean, pronounced “rueful?”
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 04 / 13 / 2007 at 3:56 PM
No, like ruffle.
As in Ruffles and Flourishes–the percussive and horn honors given for heads of state, etc.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 14 / 2007 at 1:51 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Children of Men
P. D. James has made no secret of her Christian and conservative views which have grown stronger with the years and which, some critics claim, put her out of touch with the contemporary society she is so eager to portray.”

Clearly these critics are wrong.

Jay and I watched the movie Children of Men recently

All the issues addressed in the movie are relevant right now, today.

This movie is based on a novel of the same name by James first published in 1992 when she was 72 years old. It shows what the world might be like if the Malthusian Zero Population Growth crowd have their way. Surprise! There would gradually be no crowd. No hope. Illegal immigration, increasing government control, militant Isalm, politicization, terrorism and political propaganda are all here too. A dystopia. Sort of like real life.

In this movie there are more cats than I have seen in any other movie. There are lots of dogs, sheep, cows, and a couple horses. A commentary on how we are replacing our offspring with pets perhaps?

There are many biblical symbols/metaphors/words. There is a great monologue by Michael Caine on faith versus chance.

False hysteria about overpopulation is still promulgated;our son reports its continued use in public school classes. We have friends whose mother was publicly berated by strangers for being pregnant and having toddlers in tow.

May those individuals see this movie. If fiction is too, well, fictional, then read America Alone. Hey, maybe even check out the blessings and curses of the Covenant of the God of the Bible.

There are things more terrifying than a 2 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 12 2007 at 9:02 pm
And now, Squirrel Kittens
Banner kitted yesterday, April ninth. We don’t know how many. She won’t let me see them yet, covering them with her body when I opened her house. But she didn’t attack me either as she did Isabelle. And Isabelle just went to the base of the tree. Banner comes out once a day, towards dusk, to eat.

According to this site they will not look much like squirrels for a few weeks.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 10 2007 at 7:27 pm
Dominic and Crispin Caspian
Pounce really liked it when Jay brought home and put together the big box.

But he seemed to feel differently yesterday when the new boys who will live in the box came home.

Really, sometimes he is so silly. Dominic and Crispin are rams. And they are Horned Dorsets. But at only five days old, they really aren’t all that scary.

Are they?

Or is he just jealous that others are now using the box?

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 10 2007 at 10:24 am
Even though the run is very small, even though it is on the back of your heel, and even though you are running late and must leave right now to be anywhere near on-time for last minute Easter Sunday rehearsal, it is a better idea to simply remove the stockings and put on another pair. Really. Because though it may seem a good idea in your haste, a black Sharpie marker really does not match those dark blue stockings, and Sharpies really are permanent. Even on the back of your ankle.
Entry posted by jpm14 on April 09 2007 at 9:46 pm
Clearly, you need a dark blue Sharpie. They come in all kinds of colors, now, you know…

And the marks will eventually wear off. Let them be reminders to buy more nylons, or to just eschew wearing them in the first place! 🙂

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 9:54 PM
By the way, Sharpie lists this use on their website. Maybe you can complain to them… 😉
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 10:01 PM
What, you didn’t have any navy blue duct tape?
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 11:10 PM
A New Blog Magazine?
<a href=”http://www.upsaid.com/origamifreak/index.php?action=addcom&id=234&#8243;

>Angela was bemoaning the loss of Sunset magazine as she remembered it as a child, when she longed for the cookies which were shown on its pages. Specifically, lemon bars. She made lime bars, though. Which is so typical of her. No wonder she is my friend.

She also sighed, thinking that we in the NE have to live with (formerly) Martha’s magazine as our representative sample. A magazine, I must add parenthetically, to which I have not renewed my subscription. Which has me thinking that maybe there needs to be a different sort of magazine to represent those of us who do not fit the mold. Those of us who make lime bars from lemon bar recipes.

I have plenty of ideas for the first issue:

Squirrel pizza in as a late winter specialty dish.

Recipes for carrots dug fresh from the garden in April and early spring onions, both of which really overwintered.

I made a great cold carrot and pea salad from the first and used the second to make another delectable cream cheese spread, both dishes used for Easter meals.

For the “things to do this month section” we could list:

-get haircut

-cut off beard

-get ready for bottle lambs

-call Agway to see if 50 lb. bags of ammonium sulfate are in yet

-keep watch on the gravid squirrel

-plant lettuce, spinach, mache, etc. in cold frame

-cover up the hellebores when it dips below freezing (in my case the poor plants–in near full bloom–have been under heavy coats and tarps for nearly a week now)

-take down the deer fence

-trim fruit trees and perennial beds

Articles might include:

“Tune up your .22 by Taking Out the Starlings Seeking to nest in the garage”

“Secrets to Running a Trap Line Around Your Home to Keep it Rodent Free”

“Everything You Need To Know About Successfully Starting Bottle Lambs”

“Why Springtime is The Time to Cut Wood”

“Tips on Harvesting Early Spring Earthworms”


“Crafts Using Feathers From Bird the Cat Brought Home”

“How to Make a Halter for the Stuffed Horse From Leftover Leather Strips”

“An Easter Chick Card Pattern from an Ancient Jack and Jill Magazine”


“How to Keep the Cat off the Furniture”

“Washing Soda: An Important Chemical in House Cleaning”


But we need a catchy title.


Entry posted by jpm14 on April 09 2007 at 11:41 am
Um, I think we already have something like that. It’s called “Abstractions.” 🙂

But if you want a different name, how about “Sunrise – Magazine of Eastern Living”? No, that sounds like it would be about tatami mats, sushi recipes and futon patterns…

How about “Martha Stewart Living Off The Grid”?
Or “Martha Stewart Living Off the Land”?
Or “Nor’easter”? Oh wait, that’s taken.
Or “Keeping up with the Millerses”?
Or “Retrogrouch Lifestyles”?

Wow, it *is* hard to come up with catchy names. No wonder there are companies whose whole product is that sort of thing…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 8:16 PM

anja’s website: http://www.upsaid.com/origamifreak/index.php?action=viewcom&id=234

Ha Ha Ha.

Well, I was thinking of something we could make into a catchy acronymn–on the order of the former folder’s club:

FLIRT: Fingerlakes Living In Rural Tableau

The Sunrise idea is good.

What is a Retrogrouch? Perhaps you can offer a definition? Or are you the definition? 🙂

Oh! How about MOREL: Magazine of Rural Eastern Living? Then we are all set when it is mushroom season.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 9:16 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

You know, I like MOREL. Works for me!

Hey, speaking of regional cusine, I just discovered that you come from very near the place JELL-O was invented. Did you have school field trips there? 🙂

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 9:44 PM
The museum is a new addition to the tourist traps of LeRoy, of which there are virtually none. I have not yet visited it, though my folks have. It is housed in a very small house, I believe. My mother was unimpressed. Many assorted old Jello molds, if I recall.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 9:49 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

The term actually comes from the bicycling world, where there are people who like the traditional steel-frame 10-speed road bike, and like to wear wool shorts and jerseys, etc.

I like this term because it conveys an attitude of, “why bother doing things a fancy new way, when the old technologies work just fine?”

Comment posted by retrogrouch (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 9:50 PM
The term actually comes from the bicycling world, where there are people who like the traditional steel-frame 10-speed road bike, and like to wear wool shorts and jerseys, etc.

I like this term because it conveys an attitude of, “why bother doing things a fancy new way, when the old technologies work just fine?”

Comment posted by retrogrouch (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 9:51 PM
Chris is going to be on Martha Stewart Living Radio tomorrow (on the Sirius Radio network, one of the subscription satellite networks, which we don’t get). He will be the home audio expert on their 7-9 p.m. “Technology Today” show, fielding listeners’ call-in questions. There is a host, who is not Martha Stewart.

What we need is to get you on one of the radio segments as a guest expert.

Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2007 at 11:17 PM
I’ll subscribe only if it has a knitting column. May the first column could be “knitting cosies for your early flowers. “Ellie
Comment posted by Ellie (ip: on 04 / 10 / 2007 at 7:38 AM
I will subscribe only if you add a knitting column. Perhaps the first pattern could be “knitting cosies for your early spring flowers.”
Comment posted by Ellie (ip: on 04 / 10 / 2007 at 7:40 AM
Night of the Sodden Salamander Seekers
A house on Main Street burned down Monday afternoon. On a walk down to the village after supper that evening we met lots of neighbors who were out seeing the sight, gawking just as we were. First indications were that it was electrical in nature, beginning in the basement. No one was hurt.

That same Monday night Jay went out and harvested the first earthworms of the year for future fishing expeditions. It was almost 50 degrees F. There was a thunderstorm. And that meant that the salamanders would be waking up and out seeking their mates. So I woke up Isabelle and we left at about 9:30 PM for a trek up to the woods armed with two small flashlights.

At about eleven o’clock we returned home soaking wet. There was still quite a bit of snow along the stream. We got turned around and disoriented in the dark once, but since we know which way the stream flows, it was only a couple minutes before we were back in familiar ground.

We saw four large yellow spotted salamanders. They looked similar to this one.

Two were out and about crawling around near the stream’s edge. One was swimming in a forest pool. The other was hanging out right on the bank, with his front legs almost in the water. We saw that one three times.

The wild blackberries have invaded the woods wince it was logged a few years back, making for rather treacherous walking at night. My nose looks like it was attacked by a bear rather than a large berry bush.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 30 2007 at 1:42 pm
Corporal Jason Dunham Remembered
A local hero was <a href=”http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770

3240341″>honored Friday at Scio Central School where my brother is resident State Trooper.

The jet bringing the Secretary of the Navy and Director of Operations for the Marines had to get special permission to land at the little local airport–it was too heavy for the runway. There were about 15 in the entourage. 10 extra State Troopers were stationed outside the school in case, as my brother put itit, “the crazies showed up.”

They didn’t. Probably it is too far out in the country to find. Scio K-12 has about 470 children.

There is a video link for the whole ceremony.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 25 2007 at 8:11 am
Life Cycle of a Parasite
This article on flukes is especially well written. I bet someone got a PhD doing this research.

How can you know if a snail coughs?

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 24 2007 at 11:13 am
25 years ago
or so, I befriended an Iranian girl through Cornell’s foreign student services. No one else would take her–this was during the Carter administration and the hostage crisis. I helped her with her English, she told me about her family–wealthy and afraid back in Persia. Her family considered themselves Persian, spoke Persian.

She came home with me to the farm at least once. This morning after my mother had listened to the morning news she remarked to me about her, that long-ago student I helped for a year or so. Whose name I can not even recall.

“When that Iranian girl was here, I remember her seeing our tractors working in the fields and saying something along the lines of ‘You will be dependent upon Iran for your oil; you are making yourselves hostage to Iran.’ ”

A few years later I helped this same family’s son. His family paid a large sum of money to have him smuggled out over the mountains so he would not become cannon fodder in the Iran-Iraq war.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 24 2007 at 11:07 am
Was she a freshman with us in Balch?
I remember a girl in Balch who was from Tehran, but I can’t remember her name. I didn’t see her after freshman year, and thought she had left school.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 24 / 2007 at 1:26 PM
sorry to clutter up your comments, but you have to look at this:
See the explanation of why Persia changed its name to Iran. Check out what “Iran” is a cognate of. The list of Farsi/Persian words and phrases is fun–I’m going to try a few out on my Persian Jewish book club friend when she gets back from Europe. She refers to the nation as Iran, the language as Farsi, but the food and culture as Persian.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 24 / 2007 at 1:34 PM
No, I didn’t know her. This was after we had graduated.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 25 / 2007 at 6:24 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Yesterday morning I went for a walk up back through eight-inch deep snow. It was inthe 50’s. The Red-Tailed hawk has returned. A pair of Bluebirds were flitting along the edge of the woods accompanied by a Red-bellied woodpecker. You know, the kind that actually has a red head. A murder of crows was flying back and forth screaming. On the way back, on a southern slope under a white pine, were five deer resting in the shade as if the full sun were too much to take. They ambled ahead of me downhill, then doubled back just across the fenceline into the woods to the west. A logey fat Muskrat was eating watercress near the springs’ outlet into the pond.

By the afternoon much of the snow had disappeared. I pulled weeds, worked up the soil a bit, and planted spinach, lettuces, mache and dianthus in the cold frame. The lettuces, poppies and parsley were all looking very nice in it. It started to rain so I left the frame open so it would get watered naturally on my husbands’ advice.

I should have closed it before we went to bed.

This morning I went up to shut the cold frame. Deer prints all around the front. Deep prints in it. The lettuces eaten off to stubs! The wretches!


On a happier note, with the snow melt the Winter Aconite and Snowdrops are in full bloom. Hellebores are close to bursting open. And these lovely little beautie greeted me early this morning! There was only snow yesterday where now are cyclamen in bloom today.

That is the nose of an early peony poking up in the background

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 23 2007 at 10:08 am
Did the deer leave the parsley and poppies alone?

I love those little cyclamen flowers. Where do they come from, originally? I always thought of cyclamen as tropical, but they look perfectly at home in a northern woodland.

We’ve had rain and warm breezes here, so although spring started late, it’s “bustin’ out all over” at this point. The redbud is finishing, other fruit trees are at various stages, all the trees are leafing out, and the fields are bright green with the tender plants that will die back in the heat of June. Unlike last year, when the winter and spring were too dry, this year we have a good crop of bluebonnets and other wildflowers. There is a wide variety of native bulb flowers coming up in the fields, and a wild rose that’s tiny and vines along the ground on the edge of the woods. As up north, all you have to do is go on a slow walk and look down–there’s so much to see.

Andrew is making dinner tonight: sauteed gulf shrimp, mango salsa, couscous, and salad. Your Cornell bbq marinade recipe is still posted on the backsplash. Once my back feels better we’ll make a big batch (a mess o’) of chicken up.

I got The Wind in the Willows for Galen to listen to.

Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 23 / 2007 at 2:51 PM
Quoting from a BBC gardening site: “In the wild, cyclamen inhabit rocky outcrops in semi-arid regions of Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean.”

Dinner sounds great!

I didn’t notice if those deer ate the parsley–no footprints over on that side of the cold frame, though.

Comment posted by Herself at the farm (ip: on 03 / 23 / 2007 at 5:08 PM

Herself at the farm’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

I bought Liv and Galen each a little 4″ potted herb at the HEB this afternoon: Greek oregano and peppermint, 89 cents each. They planted their prizes in the front flower bed, between dianthus. They cut small stalks of their front-walk broccoli to add to our dinner (very small–can’t wait, because they’re threatening to bloom, like the ones in the back yard did yesterday).

I’m glad the cyclamen doesn’t mind a place that’s a little chillier than the eastern Mediterranean. I wonder if it’s a high-altitude plant there?

Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 23 / 2007 at 8:24 PM
The Racer
I saw the racer coming to the jump,

Staring with fiery eyeballs as he rusht,

I heard the blood within his body thump,

I saw him launch, I heard the toppings crusht.

And as he landed I beheld his soul

Kindle, because, in front, he saw the Straight

With all its thousands roaring at the goal,

He laughed, he took the moment for his mate.

Would that the passionate moods on which we ride

Might kindle thus to oneness with the will;

Would that we might see the end to which we stride,

And feel, not strain in the struggle, only thrill,

And laught like him and know in all our nerves

Beauty, the spirit, scattering dust and turves.

–John Masefield

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 22 2007 at 7:05 am
One comment:
This is my poem and prayer for Lent–and for the foreseeable future.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 22 / 2007 at 7:06 am

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Another Kind of Ride
Since the disappearance of the snow horse there has not been much happening on the riding front. There has been quite a bit of new snow–almost a foot–but it is not the right variety for snow horses to make their re-appearance. So it has been pretty quite.

Until last night, when Elizabeth appeared around the house riding a most unusual horse.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 19 2007 at 7:37 pm
Sci-Fi Western Space Pirates
On the recommendation of JaC, I borrowed the first season of Firefly from the library.

We (the two adults) really liked it. Really liked it.

Think of the Civil War–500 years from now. The Alliance won, Independence lost. You were on the losing side. A whole new galaxy is being colonized by ‘terra-forming’. Life on the ‘raggedy edges’ has more than a hint of cowboy and indian westerns. Your ship and crew turn to a life of crime to needle the Alliance.

Some very good thinking went into the details of fleshing out society in this alternate world/time. Many idioms and outbursts are in Chinese and there are lots of Asian influences–one of the two dominant economic forces of the time? Everyone eats with chopsticks, walls in personal living spaces are sliding bamboo-like screens, clothing, etc.

So the whole series was requested, along with the movie, Serenity. Serenity came first, so we watched it last night. It seems the movie wraps up many of the loose ends. That’s OK.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 15 2007 at 1:47 pm
Yeah, I got those from the library, too. They were fun, if a bit hokey at times.


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 15 / 2007 at 6:14 PM
Yeah, well, hokum is what most entertainment is about, these days.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 17 / 2007 at 11:31 AM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Besides, intentionally hokey is different than unintentionally hokey. And I think that series is so smartly written it’s got to be intentional. It looked like the writers were having a lot of fun.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 17 / 2007 at 9:08 PM
Yeah, I think they did have fun. They might even have admitted it on the “bonus features” section of the DVDs…

Back when Joss created Buffy, it seemed to take itself more seriously. (I say “more” because it still included self-conscious humor.)

Apparently he dropped his Wonder Woman movie project. He says on the Serenity DVD how painful the experience was dealing with TV and movie suits.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 18 / 2007 at 12:22 PM
Home Sweet Home

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 15 2007 at 1:25 pm
Evolution or Intelligent Design?
As I write, it is -2 degrees F. That means it was significantly colder a few hours ago. It was zero degrees F at about 9:30PM last night.

I don’t think the cold has had any influence on the snow horse, other than prolonging its life, but it did undergo rather sudden selection and adaptation yesterday. Or maybe its Intelligent Designer got some new ideas.

The snow horse became a Snow Unicorn! It sprouted a tail and one crystal horn.

Even its eye color changed.


Entry posted by jpm14 on March 09 2007 at 7:49 am
The snow unicorn’s owner says currently its legs are buried in the snow. It was sitting at one point, but its rear end was too big and “modifications” were made. The snow certainly is deep enough to accomodate them. It makes moving about rather difficult. But this beast seems to like remaining motionless and soaking up what sun there is.

Jay thought the saddle was a small pair of wings for a bit, until he was informed of the appendage’s true nature.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 09 / 2007 at 7:55 AM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

It has a mane, now, too.

Can we have a close-up of the head & neck, thereby to better admire its unicorn-ness?

Nice job, Isabelle!


P.S. There’s a house on Castle St. in Geneva that sometimes has one of these, outside: http://home.cfl.rr.com/omniluxe/topisrpnt.jpg

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 09 / 2007 at 11:55 AM
Here’s that link again – maybe it’ll work this time. http://home.cfl.rr.com/omniluxe/topisrpnt.jpg

The one in Geneva is made of snow.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 09 / 2007 at 11:56 AM
That unicorn is so nice, perhaps Isabelle has a future in international snow sculpture competition?

You could apply to the NY team for training… Perhaps they have a Juniors division?



Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 09 / 2007 at 12:04 PM
Maybe we could try and visit Cooperstown next February to see the New York State Snow Sculpting Competition?

TENTATIVE Sculpting Dates:
Saturday, February 16, 2008 – 9:00 AM until
Monday, February 18, 2008 – 12:00 Noon.

Judging Date: Monday, 12:00 Noon.

Alternate Weather Dates February 22 – 24, 2008

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 09 / 2007 at 12:19 PM
Snow Horse
The horse’s owner requested a better public photo of the beast. “You can’t see his head At All, Mom”.

An exemplary specimen of this rare and fast dying breed which only appear in deep winter. I believe the snow horse breed is never found further south than zone 5.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 07 2007 at 11:50 am
I was also requested to that you make note of its magnificent saddle and bridle.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 07 / 2007 at 11:51 AM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

A lovely snow horse! Too bad for him it’s March 7 instead of January 7. And I see on the NOAA website that your deep-freeze will end on Monday, with temps near 50! So enjoy the horsie while you can.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 07 / 2007 at 12:16 PM
Nice dressage saddle.

But doesn’t the horsie need a nice pine-needle tail? It looks a bit bald in back… 🙂

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 08 / 2007 at 1:33 AM
Heck, why not go all the way and make a unicorn? It’s already the right color. You could stick an icicle on the forehead…


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 08 / 2007 at 1:44 AM
I’m amazed at how deep your snow is in that picture — the poor horse’s legs are completely buried! I is fortunate to be light enough to stand on top of the crust, or is she wearing snow shoes which are hidden behind the snow horse’s body? The mud in front of our cow shed is almost that bad, Talis got stuck in it yesterday when she sunk to the tops of her rubber boots.
Comment posted by Sora (ip: on 03 / 08 / 2007 at 10:27 AM
Quoth the horse owner:
“Hey, that’s a pretty good idea. I will! That Angela is pretty good at thinking of ideas!”
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 08 / 2007 at 10:29 AM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Well, I want a photo of the Snow Unicorn, if it does become one!

Hehe. Yep, thinking of ideas. That’s me. Always thinking…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 08 / 2007 at 6:33 PM
And Just so We are Clear
that cold in Austin is no match for Cold in the Fingerlakes:

Here is a picture from one of the coldest mornings there. My, a record low of 29 degrees! Notice the live oak tree with green leaves? The sun?

And here is one today, here–the nicest day this week. Temp: 11 degrees F. But– there is sun, no 35mph wind, no snow squalls producing white-out conditions. Did I mention all the schools were closed yesterday?

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 07 2007 at 11:35 am
Texas Time
Below are a picture of the mud-faced girls while they were having their “spa day”

and the two guys who visited the State Capital with us.

A, one of the two specks in the photo, wished me to put his saying (which he made up all by himself) up:

“Misjudge, miss out”

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 07 2007 at 11:07 am
Man of Aran
Filmed on one of the Aran isles in the early 1930’s, this Robert Flaherty documentary makes one glad to live almost anywhere else. The wife carries huge basketfuls of kelp up from the sea’s edge to the beds where they grow potatoes. Rocks are beaten to dust to help make soil. Some soil is found by digging in the the deep cracks of crevices. A young boy fishes off a 300 foot cliff. The men go hunting for basking shark. Great footage of basking sharks.

Flaherty also filmed Nanook of the North, one of our favorite films.

The Man of Aran DVD has extra features. The best are a ’60s PBS TV interview with Flaherty’s widow about his films and a later film documentary following her around in her 87th year of life in Vermont.

Both Recommended.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 03 2007 at 2:43 pm
An Incredible Nexus
Of writers I love to read and a paper from a place I love to visit


it is:

James Lileks on global warming and the Academy Awards in the Austin Statesman, referenced by Doug Wilson.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 02 2007 at 2:05 pm
It looks like this came out before the Gores’ yearly household energy bill was disclosed–something like $30,000 per year, to heat their house in Nashville (and the pool house/pool). The Gore spokesperson did not deny the figures, just said that the family was making positive changes and hoped to set an example for others to make positive changes, or something like that.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 02 / 2007 at 3:20 PM
Is this the same guy from http://www.lileks.com?

I have always loved the Gallery of Regrettable Foods.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 02 / 2007 at 6:41 PM
Yes! Same guy.

I am sure some of those old cookbooks were used in my family when I was young.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 03 / 2007 at 1:56 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

In my home ec class (circa 1973 or 1974) we learned to make a “salad” that had cottage cheese, jello, and 7-up in it. I KID YOU NOT.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 03 / 2007 at 11:32 PM
What color jello? My guess is green.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 04 / 2007 at 4:05 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

yes! Green. I wish I could remember the name of the salad.
Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 03 / 04 / 2007 at 7:20 PM
oh dear. ick.

On the other hand, my mom’s tomato aspic made with lemon jello, condensed tomato soup and chopped veggies was pretty good – at least to a child with a sweet tooth, to whom even catsup was a treat… 😉

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 08 / 2007 at 1:38 AM
Are you willing to eat one-third fewer bites?
One third of the food you eat is directly due to the pollination of honeybees, according to this <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/27/business/27bees.html?ei=5087&em=&amp;


And honeybees are vanishing.

We have noticed fewer the past seven years or so–wild bees and bumble bees are picking up the pollination work that was done by honeybees.

We had a hive Jay captured for a few years. It died off one winter. We think waxworms played a part. Varroa mites were accidently imported to the USA back in the early 1980’s. They have greatly negatively impacted the bee population here in the NE.

Now a new mystery disease: “Fall Dwindle Disease’, renamed “Colony Collapse Disorder”has appeared. Bees leave the hive and never return. And no one knows why.


Entry posted by jpm14 on March 01 2007 at 11:06 am
One comment:

It would be good for me.

(even if it is bad for the poor bees!)

Although it would really just translate into more expensive food, not necessarily less of it, for the consuming part of the world; it would mean considerably less of it for the producing part of the world. 😦

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 02 / 2007 at 8:02 pm
International Microfinanciers
That’s us!

Kiva lets you lend to a specific entrepreneur in a developing country — empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.

Our (first) loan is to a Kenyan woman who runs a store while taking care of her own children and several orphans. Our loan was pooled others. She is borrowing US$1150 to buy more and different household and stationery items for her store.

Kiva entrepreneurs have a very good track record of repaying loans.

You could help someone too.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 27 2007 at 1:04 pm
Last Days and Marie Antoinette
We watched The Last Days Sunday. Netflix describes it as ” The winner of the 1998 Academy Award for Best Documentary, this powerful film traces the compelling experiences of five Hungarian Holocaust survivors who fell victim to Hitler’s brutal war against the Jews.”

Even the daughter, who groaned when we said she had to watch it, admitted she was glad we made her do so. This documentary was good for a child who has only a vague notion that her grandfather fought in WWII.

We recommend it.

On the other hand, feel free to use your time more productively than watch M. A. Unless you must do so to see the fabrics and costumes, many of which, if one reads the credits, were borrowed from opera companies.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 27 2007 at 12:51 pm
Squirrel Season
S and H came and fed Pounce and Banner while we were gone and shoveled out the driveway since we missed the large snow storm. 🙂

Now we think Banner may be a girl squirrel.

Banner came to see us in the late afternoon our first day back–a Wednesday. At that time I noticed a change in part of her anatomy. Hmm.

Didn’t see Banner again until Friday–in the company of two other squirrels. The three of them raced around the cedar and locust trees. They were not fighting. Or eating. Two seemed interested in one of the others. Hmm.

When I went out, two ran away and Banner went to the feeder, but was very vocal, “tetchy”, skittish. Did eventually jump on my shoulder briefly. Then back into the locust, and followed the trail of one of the other squirrels into the white pine, where I saw them racing around together. Hmm.

Palmers Field Book of Natural History says this is the right window for gray squirrel breeding season.

No visits all weekend. Then this morning, Banner returned, hungry and affectionate as usual.

Well, 40-45 days from now we will know one way or another. Banner is spending nights close by in the artificial tree nest Jay made. Jay wants to move the box into the white pine–higher up and in an even more protected area.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 26 2007 at 7:21 pm
One comment:
Ooh. You might end up with a bunch of friendly little Banners, if they take a cue from their mommy…

Just imagine the general hilarity of a litter of them chasing all around trees and you…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 27 / 2007 at 4:11 pm
Y-H Part Three
I’ve neglected to mention all the special things Chris did for and with us while we were there. On Valentine’s Day everyone woke up to a breakfast of huge, succulent chocolate dipped strawberries!

Jay got to visit Chris’ work place and we both listened to music and soundtracks on some of the most up-to-date, beautiful, reasonably priced high end audio equipment available today. Check out The Absolute Sound and The Perfect Vision for more info.

Jay and the boys rode around the block on Chris’ Buell.

I’ve mentioned the great BBQs, Cabella’s, road trips, gun show.

The big guys even went shopping for a long handled saw (made by Fiskars!) and got up on the roof to trim live oak branches which were threatening the roof. Jay was very happy.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 26 2007 at 7:07 pm
Yee-haw Part Two
Jeni took me to my first “Twinkleantlers” (come on, you can do it) experience for coffee. It was remarkably, laughably like the skits on Prairie Home Companion. And the drink was very nice. Not recognizable as coffee in its true state.

Forgot to mention that early on, the kids and 3 parents had gone to Taco Cabana for lunch. We really like it.

Jay saw two deer on a walk. I saw only roadkill skunks and raccoon–all small by NY standards.

We visited Whole Foods once, HEB numerous times, and HEB’s upscale Central Market–their Whole Foods counterpart. Never have seen so many kinds of imported butters. Nor had I ever seen wild boar steaks. Dark, fine grained and thick. And chocolates never before heard of. Well, lots of things I had never imagined, with prices to match. “Whole Paycheck” is one of WF’s nicknames.


A college buddy of ours came up from Houston with her family for the weekend. While the guys went exploring and to a gun show, the rest of us went to the Austin Zoo. It is a similar to a rescue mission/sanctuary. Most animals are in pens that are too small. They exhibit repetitive behaviors commonly seen in stressful close quarters situations. But–the large cats are no longer in religious circuses (what in the world are those, we wondered?) or used as guard animals for drug dealers or junkyard owners. (I have seen lots of junkyards, but never one which needed guarding, much less by lions) The cats got the largest best living quarters.

The colorful birds are being cared for and not neglected. But none of them have room to spread their wings.

Personally, I think the monkeys should be shot and put out of their misery. They were the most pitiful to behold. Turtles, smaller mammals, barnyard beasts–they all looked reasonably content.

One could get significantly closer to the animals than at a regular zoo.

Jeni reported that a male lion had sprayed on the young female kindergarten teacher when her son’s class had come for a visit, squirting urine several feet onto the back side of her skirt and blouse. That would ruin your day.

Heavy gauge gridded wire and four inches were all that separated me from one very large, lovely blue and yellow macaw. It had a pleading eye whose pupil widened and contracted as it looked me in the eye. It had a voice that dripped with sincerity. It had a beak that could have taken a finger off at the knuckle. It had the most lovely yellow breast feathers and blue side feathers. I successfully resisted the temptation to pluck a couple. When I walked away it began squawking. The male lemurs in turn began screaming and howling with astonishing intensity.


We went to Maudie’s for authentic Tex-Mex. Very tasty. B, who grew up in Mexico, said she could tell how good the restaurant’s food was by its chicken soup. Maudie’s passed. I had chipotle shrimp and avocado salad. Jeni had tortillas stuffed with portobello mushrooms topped with poblano cream sauce.

Oh, we did so much! Church, and movies and eating and talking, talking, talking!

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 24 2007 at 2:17 pm
One comment:
Regarding food: Yesterday I stopped at Central Market and met a lady who was giving samples of a Spanish chorizo. It was fully cooked, smoked, and dry (no refrigeration needed), and was served in paper-thin slices with a small piece of cheese. I fell for it, and bought the stick of chorizo and took home her recipes, which she says are everyday Spanish dishes.

Let me know if you can buy it locally; if you can’t, I’ll mail a stick to you. The smoked, dried meat shouldn’t just be going one direction (we like that goose jerky, etc.)!

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 02 / 25 / 2007 at 12:46 pm
Well, a very nice time is being had by all here in the south where there is lots of sun and blue skies. It is a little chilly, but at leat 30 degrees warmer than home.

So far some or all of us have visited the Texas State Capitol Building , the The Story of Texas Museum, Blanton Museum of Art, Boggy Creek Farm, Fonda San Miguel (for a birthday), Zilker Park with Barton Springs and the Barton Springs greenbelt. We have gone on lots of other interesting little side trips and walks.

And BBQ! We all went to The Salt Lick .Jay and Chris went to another, more evocative place, Smitty’s in Lockhart, for lunch one day after a visit to (probably) the worlds’ largest Cabellas store.

Jeni and I have been to Stuffmart (for Madame Blueberry fans) twice now.

I had the lovliest time with Jeni at her book club. Rich Dad, Poor Dad was the book. Very different from my usual read. We spent little time discussing it.

At Fonda San Miguel Jeni and I had chicken with mole poblano. My version is very close to theirs, so I guess I am making it correctly. We had a scrumptious salad of spinach dressed very lightly with a sweetened vinegar similar to rice vinegar and mixed with slivered, browned almonds, small pieces of dry crunchy tortillas, sesame seeds, and very fin particles of charred poblano chiles. The mix of flavors was fantastic. For dessert we had crepes with creme de cajete (reminded me of dulce de leche) and the same flavor of ice cream. Yum!

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 16 2007 at 6:03 pm
It sure was great to have Deb & Jay and the kids here. I’ve started to post a note about four times, listing our activities, exotic and mundane. It gets too long, then I trim it down, then I just delete it. But let it be known that we appreciated their visit so much, and were left with lots of warm and hilarious memories.
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 02 / 23 / 2007 at 11:29 AM
By the way… on the topic (from a conversation two weeks ago?) of way-out-there body decoration:

I saw a guy in Whole Foods (where I was browsing around while waiting for Jacob to finish a rowing practice) last night who had his face tattooed with dark blue ink vertical stripes and horizontal curved lines. It was like permanent war paint. For added impact, he had a hole in his right cheek with a short, pointed piece of bone or tusk sticking out. It looked REALLY PAINFUL. I had to force myself to look away and act interested in a shelf of “raw and living foods.”

Has anybody else seen a face done up that way?

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 02 / 23 / 2007 at 3:32 PM
Not up here, yet. I think the bone would get so cold one’s cheek would freeze. Or get all tangled up in scarf or cowl and get yanked around when putting it on or off…

Does not sound like a cold weather type of artifice. Can’t imagine putting on turtlenecks, either.

As for looking away, I have come to the conclusion people who do such things wish to be stared at. So I do. And I encourage the girl to go right ahead and ask the person “why” if she wishes to know (since I do not know).

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 02 / 24 / 2007 at 12:58 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Dog Day Spa Week
Don’t know about your dog, but our Zeke, as he is getting older, needs a touch up every once in a while. And he doesn’t like too much of a good thing all at once.

So this week, on different days, he has had his face trimmed up (especially those droopy hairs around the mouth that accumulate stains and food smells), his nails cut, his lower legs trimmed and his underside trimmed.

And then today, the highlight (or lowlight) of his beauty regimen: the bath!

Two lovely ladies ushered him into the bathroom tub where they lathered him up after pouring copious amounts of warm water over him. He got a good scrubbing/massage. Then a nice warm water rinse, a hand wringing out and was escorted from the tub into a series of towels. He tried to shake these off.

Then a little more trimming and a comb and set. Oops, no set, thanks. Just some minutes with the hair dryer. He looked like a new dog!

The cover of his bed was taken and washed, too.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 08 2007 at 4:41 pm
Snow Fort
After piano lessons yesterday, three children decided the snow

was just right for building. There is at least a hard three inch crust of snow over

soft powder.

Significant planning, time, and effort was expended.

The result is very nice indeed.

The creature’s head made of snow in the fork of the tree is a unicorn. Jay thought it looked more like one of the dreaded pterodactyls from The Lost World.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 07 2007 at 3:28 pm
How Romantic
Jay and I both got up late.

It must have been all the love talk very early this morning.

The Great Horned Owls have returned!

We heard them once in January,

then, nothing.

Jay had wondered if, since

there is no longer a yearly large field of corn or

wheat left unharvested through the winter up back,

that had led to a decline in rodent

ppopulation and consequently, the owls might not

return. Happily, apparently not.

They were hooting loudly back and forth

for well over an hour. And we were listening.

We were also hoping that neighbors who habitually hold

parties where vehicles and people are noisy very late

into the night and early morning might hear them, too.

Here you can listen to a very short recorded version of owl talk.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 07 2007 at 9:30 am
Mongolian Movies
One of the nice things about being near a college town is the range of foreign films available to watch.

Sunday afternoon, three of us went to see The Cave of the Yellow Dog.

From a reviewer on Amazon: “Far away from Hollywood both thematically and geographically, this heartwarming tale of a young girl’s love of a dog she has found, is an outstanding film. Many close-ups of modern nomadic family life in Mongolia, the struggles to keep live stock alive and healthy, the natural play and interaction of children in a rural setting with few modern accoutrements, but most of all the endless sky and landscape make this well worth viewing.”

The same Mongolian director filmed The Story of the Weeping Camel, which we also liked a lot.

Cave of the Yellow Dog has more spectacular scenery and shows much more of the daily routine in a wealthy Mongolian herder family.

Very Highly Recommended.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 06 2007 at 3:24 pm
Shh, It’s a Secret!
Soon the family will embark upon a (for us) long journey. The journey will entail unperiodic long waits. Unbeknownst to the children, I yesterday purchased a 1G mp3 player on sale for 5/8 its usual price.

I also purchased a headphone splitter and another set of stereophones.

It was the last one the local Walmart had for a sale advertised as not starting until tomorrow! The young male clerk said they had sold over the weekend like hotcakes. It is bright pink. 🙂

Last night I went to Librivox and perused their catalog. You might want to, too. You might even decide to read a chapter or two of a book in the public domain you like to post on their site.

(An aside: I just finished reading Doyles’ The Lost World out loud to the family and have been encouraged by visitors to read it for Librivox. When not quite so busy with children I may eventually do so.)

I made a short list of books and essays to which both kids would enjoy to listening.

Then this noon I visited Jay’s office where the computer is several orders of magnitude faser than ours at home, downloaded MacDonald’s The Light Princess, Wyss’ Smith Family Robinson and Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines. I transferred the first book and part of the second onto the player before having to come home to tach piano lessons.

Hopefully Jay will transfer the rest of the books onto a disc and I can move it all onto the player tonight.

And then, O how exciting! We can present the present to the children.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 06 2007 at 3:13 pm
One comment:
I love those Librivox books.

The Light Princess is very nice. I really enjoyed it. Also, Dr. Dolittle, although well-known, is also a treat.


And don’t forget about all the nice NPR podcasts…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 06 / 2007 at 9:20 pm
Even though it went back into the teens the day is sunny. So Isabelle and I went snowshoeing this morning using snowshoes handmade by Jay and Isaac.

Hard to believe, but these beauties are made from PVC pipe that was heated, bent in molds and painted with car body paint. Pieces of lacing, leather, old inner tube tires and plastic nuts and bolts round out the materials list.

Quite impressive, no?

And they work well, especially the red ones.

Entry posted by jpm14 on February 03 2007 at 12:36 pm
Wow, that is impressive. I bet they’re really nice and light. Were they made especially for you and the girl? Was it a Boy Scout project?
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 03 / 2007 at 1:17 PM
How astute of you, Angela. The red ones are Isaac’s. Jay made the green ones for Isabelle.

The tails on the red ones pull the toes up nicely so there is no snow build-up as you walk. Not so for the green ones, but Jay thinks that can be fixed by moving the ‘boot’.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 02 / 03 / 2007 at 9:44 PM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Banner is a little squirrel

He loves to run, jump and quarrel

When we call he comes a-running

When he’s slow I yell “He’s coming”

Banner loves it when we go play

It seems to make his little day

When he’s playing he makes cute sounds

He jumps and hops and plays around

He slithers greatly to the ground

He runs and nibbles, does great bounds

He goes on his back plyfully

In my hand he gracefully

Jumps off me and lands on the ground

Where he runs around and around

He is a cutie, gray and white

He is so good and smart and bright, right!


Entry posted by jpm14 on February 01 2007 at 9:38 am
Isabelle, Olivia wishes you could bring him to Texas. She thinks he’d like the oak trees and the other squirrels in our yard!
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 02 / 01 / 2007 at 9:58 PM
Isabelle, what a delightful poem. I had no idea you were so talented. He will be lonesome when you are in Texas. Miss Ellie
Comment posted by Ellie (ip: on 02 / 02 / 2007 at 8:01 PM
Purple Meal Eaters

Should you wish to serve your family this wonderfully colorful and pretty good tasting dish:

A large red onion, chopped fine and sauteed in oil. Add a package of ground venison and some salt. Cook. Finely grate in about one-half a small head of red cabbage and a bit more salt. Add a tad water and cover, cook. Add the remains of a rice cooked with lots of garlic. Mix well and heat through.

Even Jay said it tasted suprisingly good, given the color. He remarked that his brother, however, even if very hungry and this was the only dish served for supper would probably “circle it warily before tasting”.

Entry posted by jpm14 on January 30 2007 at 9:25 am
Yum, yum… This could morph into a nice borscht variation. Borscht, chewy bread (but not purple bread, I guess), and some fruit. Maybe we can try that when you visit. I don’t have the venison, though. Sorry!
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 01 / 30 / 2007 at 11:01 AM
Wow… I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food, but, wow, that is well, just, really very purple! It looks from the photo kinda like crushed violets, or something. I think I almost warily circled the photo! 🙂
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 01 / 30 / 2007 at 9:48 PM
Spinning and Dyeing
The dyed, carded fleece is all spun. Mine is worsted weight.

H’s is sport weight. She has the wheel up in her room at school. She learned to use a spinning wheel on my Schacht wheel.

(Yowza. I must mention my wheel is almost 19 years old, was bought for my birthday because I used the line “I am worth a dollar a day, aren’t I?” That indicates something about the relative value of the dollar then and now.)

H was an easy student since she spins on a

thigh spindle learned not in the southwestern US, but in Asia.

We also did a little hand carding and blending (and spinning) of some gray angora, dyed wool, kid mohair, and silk I have just hanging around from the years when I had time to do lots of these textile arts.

I hope to teach her how I dye wool and yarn. I also hope to work out a best-for-me method for dyeing roving as I have quite a bit of lovely wool/silk top.

Entry posted by jpm14 on January 28 2007 at 7:24 pm
Oh, wow. Wow. The colors! Where is the fleece from?



Comment posted by (ip: on 01 / 31 / 2007 at 1:33 PM
Lisa Merion dyed and carded it–Spinner’s Hill Shop. She does a great job.

She and her mom raise the sheep–(they are just now done with lambing), shear, wash, dye and card all the wool by themselves and have for years.
She adds mohair and silk to some batches. One of these has some mohair.
I think Lisa still does all her own shearing.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 02 / 01 / 2007 at 9:26 AM

Herself’s website: http://upsaid.com/jpm14

Hawk swooping to snow surface

Then rising rapid wings beat

slow ascent to winter tree.

Light on feathered glory gleams.

Closed claws constrain a darkly-

furred small sun-seeker surprised

(it was such a sudden snatch)

at the rapid translation

from earth to heavenly realms:

Startled by the messenger,

the final pain-filled message.

Entry posted by jpm14 on January 27 2007 at 12:00 pm
January Leeks
The weekend before the real winter weather hit i dug the rest of the largest leeks. There are still quite a few out in the garden under a few inches of snow. In the single digit night temperatures I think their condition will deteriorate rather rapidly. But here are the ones I harvested, cleaned. Some have gone into soup, some into lamb stew, the rest are bagged and in the fridge.

Entry posted by jpm14 on January 25 2007 at 7:22 pm
Recently completed: a second pair of mittens.

Mitered mittens made with handspun wool. The first pair were all of the gray tweedy yarn and had red cuffs.

Entry posted by jpm14 on January 25 2007 at 7:13 pm
January Squirrel Update
He’s chunky. He’s talky about food. He comes each morning for breakfast regardless of the temperature. Later if it is single digit cold, earlier if only in the 20’s or above.

Friends visited yesterday. A family of four girls and a young son. I brought Banner onto the porch and inside the back door to meet them. I had a metal cup with a few pieces of pecan inside as enticement. He grabbed the largest piece and leaped onto the mother, who was inside the kitchen and taller than me. Her attention had been on the 3 yo and she was startled into shrieks by Banner’s sudden arrival on her shoulders. He then made the rounds of the girls, and they all greeted him with squeals, but not of joy.

Entry posted by jpm14 on January 25 2007 at 7:04 pm
One comment:
E is getting a lot of mileage from the story of her squirrel scratches. K said, “Oh, so you were at the M’s. That explains everything!”

You’re my favorite country mouse! Thanks for hosting us city slickers.

Comment posted by JulieJ (ip: on 01 / 27 / 2007 at 10:05 pm

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