Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: cerise

Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: jpm14
(File created on: May 26 2008)
A Farm Walk
While eating a peach, Zeke and I meandered up back on the lane and saw

-a Monarch larva on a milkweed,

-the four cows on pasture who would love to get closer to Zeke,

-were whistled at by a woodchuck,

-the metal hulk of a John Deere forage harvester with a 900 Rotary platform (we call it a haybine in the vernacular around here) in the alfalfa field of the neighbor across from my Dad’s landing strip. This machine burst into flames three weeks ago as the last cutting was being done. A nice essay on the value of preventive maintenance could be made from this incident. It was worth about one hundred thousand dollars. The current scrap metal value may be worth four hundred dollars.

There were many active woodchuck holes in the hedgerow.

There were several clumps of elderberries, ripe, and I ate one full stem’s worth. I also ate the nectar from several heads of clover and one stem of wild grapes. Wild grapes are not sweet until after the first frost, though, so my lips and mouth got all puckery.

Then Jay came up to join us and we wandered over to the cabbage field and surveyed that. Those myriad whorls of mammoth blue green deep veined leaves are beautiful. Too bad so many chemicals are used to keep the cabbage loopers off.

Then we walked home to supper.

Entry posted by jpm14 on September 01 2006 at 6:36 pm
Teenagers and Cell Phones: The New Pacifier
It has come to my attention as friends of our teenage son visit that cell phone use among this age bracket is not found solely in the unchurched population.

A few weeks ago two of his friends came. They had a camp fire, set the tent up back on the wood’s edge, slept out, ate breakfast, rode bikes, played games and hung out talking. Neither of the other boys was without his cell phone for a minute. One, it was reported to me in the morning, had stayed up til after midnight, watching the stars and talking on the phone to a girl he calls repeatedly but whom he had never met. She is a friend of a friend who goes to a different church than his. The phones were used so frequently during that 18 hour period that one had the minutes used up and the battery on the other went dead.

Then, a couple weeks ago a small group (including the same boys) came to watch the Spitfire Grill one evening. Four children showed up with phones. Two played with them constantly throughout the movie.

Cell phones are to these teens what pacifiers were to them when they were babies. They are held, fondled, played with, dandled and talked to. All but put in their mouths and sucked on. They croon to them, stroke the keys, and act like infants. What in the world are their parents thinking? I find it by turns amusing, repulsive and disgraceful behavior. Not to mention immature–the nature of a pacifier implies that, right?

Last year Isaac came to us and requested we ‘get’ him a cell phone to have in school. We laughed. He returned hotly that “all his friends in school had them”. We noted that the children of the families we admire were not on the list of his “friends who had them”. That made him pause.

This summer after the camp out and movie nights, Isaac wanted to know if he, with his own money, could acquire a cell phone. Absolutely not. If he wants a pacifier, those little plastic nucs are much cheaper and less distracting to the world at large.

Entry posted by jpm14 on September 01 2006 at 8:24 am
Managing Tomatoes and Growing them on Black Plastic
There are five kinds of tomatoes in the garden this year. Sorry for lack of specific names–Jay and his Mom do tomato seed choosing and planting. I get the picking and processing end of the work.

1)The small round yellow Sungold–or rather the successor to Sungold–which is almost orange when truly ripe and is the closest thing to a sugar ball in the garden. I have canned these hot-pack, and used the Mehu-maija to make yellow brotha and golden paste. Yum! Sunshine in winter.

2)The large dull red ox heart shaped heritage tomato the seed of which came from Jay’s Aunt Betty. They have a heavy skin and flesh that gets mushy rather quickly; taste is good. Do not keep well at all.

3)Then there is the small round tomato with a size range from golf to tennis ball. It sets fruit on a stem of five or six and ripens slowly. When quite bright red, I can pick them and the fruit will come off with the feel of a ‘snick’–but no sound. If not yet ripe the fruits are less than bright red–have an orang tinge. Even when picked ripe this tomato is firm–too firm for me. It reminds me of a store tomato. A half bushel of them kept firm for over a week while I was waiting for them to soften up and ripen more before I canned.

When I asked my mom-in-law about them, she said “Those are the best keepers! And they have such good flavor if you just cut them up and cook them just a little with onion and garlic for a fresh sauce.” I have since canned these and made fresh sauce and can attast to their wonderfulness even though they remain disconcertingly firm.

4)Our old favorite–Better Boy–which is a larger tomato that gets soft, but not mushy- when dead ripe and is THE BEST for fresh open-faced tomato cheese sandwiches.

5) A lone Roma plant which is bearing heavily and whic I use in fresh sauces and put with other varieties to can for winter. Wonderful, as usual.

A note on our method of tomato cultivation;

We grow our tomatoes on black plastic. The soil is tilled twice a couple weeks apart, the plastic is put down, the fence put up around three sides of the perimeter and when time, the plants are put in holes dug into the plastic.

With this method we almost never water. Last year when there was a drought we waterd the tomatoes once. Tomatoes last year were extra sweet because they had less water. We also do not get plant diseases associated with plants coming in contact with the soil–fungal and viral. The plastic absorbs the sun and heats the soil which encourages early plant growth–the plastic also captures heat on top and radiates it to the plants.

We plant the peppers and summer squash in the unused middle section and open end of the plastic since these plants relish heat also. I have an abundance of red peppers already. The kids will cut and freeze some today for us. We need plant only one or two summer squash plants since they grow so huge any more would be wasteful.

The plastc remains in place at least two year, sometimes three. New holes are dug in slightly different places each successive year around the perimeter and middle. By then the plastic has degraded. It is removed in the fall. The next spring we choose another area of the garden and repeat the process of tilling and laying new plastic. This prevents soil borne disease– rotation in general is a good policy for disease prevention in any vegetable garden. But that is another topic.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 31 2006 at 9:06 am
Eyes closed in the dim light, covered by sheet, blanket, coverlet, comforter up to your chin listening to the lullabye of a steady rain. Imagining the silk end of corn in the husk which is being chewed upon by a ravenous racoon.
Entry posted by jpm14 on August 27 2006 at 5:16 pm
On Babka, kids, and Papa
Tuesday I went to one of Uberimma’s Barak’s honorary grandparents’ home and came away with not only a nice note and a chocolate babka but also a floppy grey elephant my daughter slept with the whole time we visited them. (and a book, a bouncy ball she wanted but I would not buy- but UberImma did, and a check for some curtains–pretty curtains).

He, excuse me, SHE has no permanent name yet, but has resumed sleeping with the girl and is carried around most of the day when said girl is not bouncing on the giant exercise ball her uncle gave her or doing chores. She can actually ride the ball, bouncing, around the lawn. Jay has seen her go uphill and has the batteries for the video camera charging to enable him to put the event on film.

Chocolate babka, if you have lived so sheltered a life, like me until recently, is a marvelous concoction of yeast bread wrapped in a spiral around a thick layer of chocolate. Uberimma, the girl and I ate quite a bit after I discovered it in the Kosher bakery near her home on our visit there. Then I carried one home on the train. Now one has shown up–hand carried by car. So wonderful! Thank you Uberimma!

Early Friday I jumped in the car and drove to the farm after a 5.30AM short call from my mom indicating my father was in an ambulance en route to hospital after bleeding and vomiting for a couple hours–oh, and severe pain. He has had diarrhea now for nearly three months and doctors are unable to determine a cause. The diagnosis was tangential to the diarrhea–kidney stones. He came home today after a night being observed. I came home today also.

We had S and H all week since their sublet ended and the dorms had not yet opened. I had a grand time with two extra kids. They had to work less since they were transported to and from work with Jay. They had to eat because I cook. And they got to sleep since they were not working til all hours and had their own separate rooms in a house that is cooler than where they lived all summer. The two younger kids slept in a tent outside until Isaac went to visit the farm–then the girl slept with Zeke the dog in the tent. S and H were gone to the dorm by the time I got home from the emergency trip. Boo-hoo. Didn’t get to say good-bye.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 19 2006 at 9:29 pm
One comment:
Oops. I forgot to tell you that the elephant’s name is Hannibal. If she is now a girl, I suppose it could be Hannibelle…
Comment posted by uberimma (ip: on 08 / 21 / 2006 at 9:20 am
Let’s Say Thanks
Send a free postcard to a soldier serving overseas. Here
Entry posted by jpm14 on August 15 2006 at 9:10 am
Carrot Salad
My favorite salad right now. Make this ahead of the meal and let sit in the fridge a couple hours before serving.

Cut very small at least three cups of fresh carrots. Then cut up fine one fresh large onion. Stir in a small handful of golden raisins, about 1/2 cup mayo, some salt and pepper. Rub through a fine sieve about 1 teaspoon of freshly dried spearmint and stir in.


To cut carrots I now use the fine shred blade on the mandoline cutting carrots through the diameter into 1/10″ shreds. Grinding them coarsely in the food processor is what I used to do.

Use the same blade to cut the onion, turning the onion 90 degrees each slice so the onion pieces come out as small squares.

The spearmint grows over near the pond. I had let some dry and put it in on the spur of the moment the first time. It adds just the right hint of sweet, intriguing smell.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 05 2006 at 8:24 pm
One comment:
Very tasty!

…and that review is from recent personal experience. 🙂

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 07 / 2006 at 4:12 pm
Recently on the Plate:
-breast of wild Canada goose and fawn haunch marinated in home-made (by neighbor, Bacchus)apricot wine turned to vinegar, soysauce, oil and fresh garlic for three days and then grilled. I added a couple teaspoons of brown sugar to the marinade to offset the vinegar’s acidity. Fabulous.

-home made garlic mayo (2 egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, fresh garlic, oil in the food processor) Heavy on the lemon juice, salt, and garlic

-freshly picked and steamed or blanched secondary broccoli trees, sugar snap peas, green beans Eat with the garlic mayo.

-cafe au lait rice pudding with fresh blueberries, peaches and black raspberries and a dose of heavy cream

-a summer noodle salad of cooked elbow noodles with the remnant of the forsaid mayo, fresh pulled finely diced Walla Walla onion (using the Geman made $20 mouline I got last Christmas), just dug carrots cut into very fine matchsticks by same tool, extra lemon, salt, pepper, dill and fresh green coriander seed

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 26 2006 at 1:31 pm
Sounds like offerings off the menu of an upscale restaurant here in Austin. Your family eats exceedingly well.
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 07 / 26 / 2006 at 6:19 PM
Well, who wants to hear about ramen noodles with swiss chard for lunch?
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 07 / 28 / 2006 at 2:10 PM

Herself’s website:

I just saw Andrew (11) scooping baked beans out of a can. I don’t even think he warmed the dish.

Livin’ it up!

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 07 / 29 / 2006 at 2:04 PM
I’m rooting for
The Neighborhood Bully by Bob Dylan, Infidels

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man,

His enemies say he’s on their land.

They got him outnumbered about a million to one,

He got no place to escape to, no place to run.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,

He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.

He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin,

He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,

He’s wandered the earth an exiled man.

Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,

He’s always on trial for just being born.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,

Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.

Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.

The bombs were meant for him.

He was supposed to feel bad.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim

That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him,

‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back

And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.

What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love.

He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied

But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,

They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.

Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly.

To hurt one they would weep.

They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone,

Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.

He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,

In bed with nobody, under no one’s command.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,

No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.

He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,

Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

What’s anybody indebted to him for?

Nothin’, they say.

He just likes to cause war.

Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,

They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.

He’s the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?

Does he change the course of rivers?

Does he pollute the moon and stars?

Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,

Running out the clock, time standing still,

Neighborhood bully.

Copyright © 1983 Special Rider Music

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 22 2006 at 3:30 pm
Mendel likes this song… but it’s so depressing that it’s 23 years old and nothing has changed, even a little bit.
Comment posted by Abby (ip: on 07 / 24 / 2006 at 12:14 PM
Yeah, it is sad that I could pull this album out and tell my children to listen to it and try to figure out which country is being described by Dylan–” the lyrics are as applicable today as when the song came out”, “events current then still are, now”. Isaac got it right away.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 07 / 26 / 2006 at 1:12 PM

Herself’s website:

Summer Vacation
In between the garden work, house work, piano lessons, Friends of the Library and other service work, I have read quite a few books.

My niece came to visit for a week. Then her parents came to visit. Then we went to the farm to visit them there.

The grandchildren of a friend who come for the summer to the country from a city in California came for a visit and piano lessons. That will be a weekly visit.

Then, the week Jay and Isaac went to Boy Scout Camp, Isabelle and I went by train to Chicago to visit friends. What an adventure! A city, public transport, an apartment, museums, ethnic neighborhoods, a different lifestyle, lots of wonderful catching up and time together! We had a wonderful time.

And were very glad to get back to the rural life. The cat and dog were very glad to have us back, too. The peas needed picking. The poppies had popped and needed pulling, the blueberries have started and need picking.

There was the BTI picnic. And a worship team rehearsal, a son who wants to do every social event that comes along, relatives who are not well, out-of-town friends in town, a new bunny who got out of its pen, birds in the blueberries, a frantic call for help from a neighbor about a snake in her basement, a call from a vet about a convulsing raccoon in her yard.

Life is very full, and busy. So the blog reading and writing has taken a back burner.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 19 2006 at 9:05 am
More British Museum
– a Roman mosaic of vibrantly colored sea fishes whose individual pieces were no more than 1/8th inch across.

-the cameo glass Portland vase

-the turquoise mosaic snake from the Aztecs, and the mosaic masks also referenced on the same museum page.

– a rain parka fashioned by NW American indians of the split skins of sea mammal intestines “better than anything the Royal Navy possesses”- Captain Cook Ah, here

-the Sutton Hoo Hoard–600AD–a Christian Celtic king. The coins had crosses. There was incredibly detailed money through the ages and lots of it was on exhibit in the museum. (Search room 86 on the museum map)

-a beautiful 20thC Art Deco decoration of bone and opal meant to be on a choker. A rectangle of carved pale translucent bone about 2 inches high by 3 long fashioned as a frame containing the flying seed pods of a maple, each which has a “seed” of oval opal.

-in the “Enlightenment Room” a metal communion wine holder in the shape of a drinking horn which had fashioned metal chicken feet and a flower rosette ‘tail’. It was beautiflly quirky. I want communion from a ‘cup’ like that.

It was from Castle Acre, about 1376. That is after Acre fell, isn’t it? How did it get to the BM?

-a gold ring with a feline head

– intricate, delicate Chumash and Pomo baskets made of willow shoots, rush, split sedge roots, dyed bracken and ornamented with male (Western) quail head feathers

As you can tell if you have clicked on any of the links–there is lots to see. We didn’t see it all. But the website is brilliant.

At the BM, unlike any American museum, photography and/or videography was allowed. And there were docents in many key areas with actual old things visitors could touch and examine. I held and examined a plate side of a Thomas Becket reliquay and saw a complete one later on, a substantial scrap of 3000BC Egyptian flax 2-ply weft and warp grave cloth from the mummy of an ordinary person. It was at least 20 dent. Significant variations in spinning and plying–maybe that is why it was for an ordinary person? Also examined in person a cuneiform seal from the King of Ur, Sumeria, Mesopotamia.

Oh, and of course, the Rosetta Stone , encased in a large glass case, surrounded by tourists taking snaps. It is highly polished black granite and with the lights the way they are it is very difficult to see the hieroglyphs. The writing is quite small and exact. I imagine working on it in the hot Egyptian sun might have made one go blind. What an incredible find.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 09 2006 at 8:53 pm
The British Museum
Would you like my letter home verbatum? Me neither.

Oh. what a magnificent place! The inner courtyard has been totally covered with a glass ceiling having a geometric skeleton so light and shadow play on the white marble floor and stone walls of the buildings.

Stamped on a black granite pillar from Ancient Egypt standing in one corner of this huge courtyard are the words: “Captured in Egypt by the British Army Presented by King Geoge” That sums up quite a few of the objects in this marvelous place.

There is a lion from 200BC who used to lay on a cliff overlooking the sea using his glass eyes. His now sightless sockets look towards the museum entrance. Sort of. He was impressive still.

Of the famous Elgin marbles the Metope carvings of Lapinths and Centaurs fighting were the best, I thought. Also the two (of four,originally) horse heads of Helios’ chariot which would emerge out of the sea each dawn–these emerged out of marble. At least the horses had their heads. Nearly none of the Lapinths, Centaurs, Gods or anyone else from the Greek Parthenon did. Guess marble heads were more collectible than marble legs, elbows, calves, thighs.

The carvings from Ancient Assyria rank as one of my favorite series. They were intricate, detailed, more complete. All the statues, stellae, walls, from that time seemed more complete than the greek marbles. Very large and impressive. An anthropomorphic mixture of men and beasts–which I liked, too. Massive bull or horse bodies with heads of curly-bearded kings and gigantic wings. Huge winged lions with man-heads.

On this page also are examples of some of the huge variety of carved seals–which I like almost to distraction. So beautiful, thoughtful, useful, small.

A short list of entrancing sights:

-a crocodile suit of armour from Ancient Rome.

– a gold necklace with real Hummingbird Heads . They had gold beaks. This picture does them no justice at all. It was incredibly, stupendously bizarre, beautiful, well-made.

-the Lewis Chessmen –carved walrus ivory from the mid-1100’s. If anything, I wish we had bought an obscenely priced reproduction Lewis chess set. We did not, however.

– carved boxwood rosary beads that opened to depict incredibly detailed miniature scenes and words from Jesus’ life. Even the outside was intricately carved with a lattice similar to that used as a frame for the museum’s glass court yeard ceiling. The beads were about 2 1/4-1/2 inches in diameter. Almost unbelievable that such work was ever done. I know of no comparable scale or intricate art done today. The soldier’s spears are smaller than sewing neeles.

OK. That’s a taste. More later.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 09 2006 at 12:16 pm
Kensington Park
Looks like the first letter detailing our chronicles is never going to arrive home. Some impressions from the first day:

I recall Kensington Park–fabulously large trees–oaks, lindens, others we don’t see much here. Blooming hawthorns–white, dark and light pink. Sections where the grass was left long on purpose so the park was more like meadow.

Vast clouds of pollen and tree flowers pelting one’s face, hair and clothes unmercifully in the steadily increasing wind. Stretches of planted flowers along paths in the front. A set of grebe parents and their one chick.

An over exuberant Irish setter, totally ignoring signs posted against such behavior, which flung itself into a canal after the ducks. The swans paddled over to beat the dog up, but he turned back as his master approached telling him to remove himself from the water. It seemed a routine kind of occurance.

The lovely little statue of Peter Pan.

The silly little art museum in the park where hung a silly little show by “one of Britain’s leading living artists”. It featured large geometrically shaped canvases covered with a single color of paint. Sometimes two or three canvases of different colors overlapped or were hung side by side. Other than size and pretentiousness, nothing a normal three-year-old could not do. Or does do. A group of bewildered school children sitting on the floor, their teacher asking them “Is this what you thought you would see when you were told we were going to see art?” And them looking around shaking their heads no. “Me neither!”, I wanted to call out. But it was only my first few hours as a visitor in their country, so I abstained.

The Royal Albert Memorial. A large towering Victorian shrine of gilt, marble and curliques. Remarkable. We have no such gaudy, beautiful, over-the-top memorials to husband of a queen from herself and her people.

So, onto the British Museum, for which I have notes

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 09 2006 at 11:35 am
The 20th Anniversary Journey
is over.

Jay and I went to London for eight days to celebrate! We had a wonderful time, mostly.

Too bad it took us two days to get home. We finally made it home this afternoon, Saturday afternoon. We left the hotel Friday morning at 7.45AM London time–2.45AM EST.

I am pooped. More later.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 27 2006 at 7:05 pm
We want pictures!!! We want pictures!!!!!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 05 / 28 / 2006 at 3:51 PM

Suz’s website:

Are you up for another trip? I’m still shopping for guests in July while Mendel’s away. I hear it’s a nice train ride…

Thank you for the bath goodies! They are waiting for me to have time to take a bath, but oh, I will enjoy them when I do.

Comment posted by uberimma (ip: on 06 / 06 / 2006 at 10:35 PM
Welcome back! I’m looking forward to a full report!
Comment posted by Kiny (ip: on 05 / 28 / 2006 at 3:07 AM
NY Spring
I admit we have nothing like a Texas spring. But yes, Galen, there is Spring in New York.

Some recent Spring moments:

– looking out the window while on the phone with said Texan’s mother, heavy yellow clouds of pollen waft from the spruce branches.

The sidewalk, car windshields, water in the water barrel, all the flower leaves and petals, Jay’s head when he walks under a branch–all are covered with a yellow pollen film. My eyes are gritty at the end of the day after working outside from the stuff. I wake up and swipe yellow pollen grit from the corners of my eyes in the mornings. No more hanging out laundry for awhile.

– Jay went fishing one morning early with a friend, and when he opened his bait container he saw: cottage cheese! The worms and cottage cheese containers are both kept in the fridge. Hmmm.

Jay came in night before last with a handful of 32 worms he had picked up, saying, “I’ve got to go back out and get more! They are easy to get tonight!”

-It rained between 80-85 hundredths of an inch. Which explains why the worms were out.

-Isabelle wants to be called “Swallow Girl” because she spends most of her free time out in the field above the house throwing downy feathers in the air for the tree swallows to catch for their nests. I think they do know her at this point. They have taken so many feathers from her they must have their nest almost done.

-We found three large, naked baby nestlings dead in the driveway the day of and day after the rainstorm. We fervantly hope they were grackles, not blue jays.

-Transplanting gourd, pumpkin and sunflower seedlings into their permanent (so to speak) places from the cold frame.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 14 2006 at 7:57 am
We have been watering every day for over a week now, thanks in part to the spring one hundred yards away from us and the neighbors who let us run a gravity feed line from it.

The last rain Jay recorded at work was .88mm. It was too little to measure in our rain guage.

For the first time in the twenty years we have lived here there were no weeds coming up between planted rows in the vegetable garden until we began watering. The soil was like dust. It still is where it has not been planted.

The field to the east of us was drilled with corn last Friday. Early? Yes, but there is no danger of the seed rotting in the soil, nor will it germinate until we receive some rain. The date of last late frost is the end of the month. Even if we do get rain in the next few days, the growing point of the corn won’t be above ground if a hard frost hits May 31st.

We began praying for rain this weekend.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 10 2006 at 8:33 am
I hope you get your rain, and soon!
We had a drought through the fall, winter, and spring, down here in Central Texas. The wildflower display in March and April, which is usually eye-poppingly lavish, just wasn’t there at all. A more modest display of flowers did eventually bloom, but late–brought on, finally, by a series of big thunderstorms in April and May. It seems that the drought is over.
After a hot and muggy week, a cool front blew in this afternoon, bringing low humidity and refreshing breezes. I was out on the sidewalk downtown with my little guy, who moved to Texas when he was 4. I stretched out my arms in the breeze and said, “Galen, this is what a summer day in New York feels like.” He replied in an exasperated tone, “Mom, they don’t HAVE summer in New York!”
I guess I have a little Texan on my hands. But it’s nice that he is still eager to go out to ride his bike when it’s 95.
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 05 / 10 / 2006 at 10:12 PM
Well, it’s been raining in Romulus and Syracuse tonight…
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 12 / 2006 at 12:03 AM
Turkey Hunting and Tree Top
Predawn Monday morning found me out in the woods with my husband and a gun, trying to get in a position at the base of a tree both comfortable and able to aim and fire a shotgun without moving too much. It was opening day of Spring Turkey season.

Someone shot before daylight off to the southwest of us and two hens flew in and settled in high up in trees about thirty feet away from me. They stayed there almost an hour–well into sunrise–before flying down and slowly moving away. Those hens never gave the time of day to Jay’s hen calls or the hen decoy. A gobbler far off did answer Jay twice. Then someone else gave a hen call, closer to the tom, and he shut up.

I was very cold, even with four layers on top.

Speaking of tops, last night Jay climbed 80 feet or so up to the top of the spruce in front of the house with an electric chainsaw. This electric chainsaw souned like a large electric bread knife. But it did the trick on the bare top twenty-five feet of tree the high wind snapped off earlier this year.

He threw down chunks of wood and branches. I stayed far back unless something needed removal from the road. When he and the equipment were safely down, the kids helped move the wood and limbs to their respective piles.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 03 2006 at 4:11 pm
Sunday: Family
My parents came down from the farm. We picked Jay’s mom up on the way. Then the five of us spent all the afternoon driving around the lake visiting sixteen different Cayuga Lake wineries. It was a special ‘Herb and Wine’ tour day. At each place we got taste of an herb-inspiered food, wine tastings and a small plant of the herb that particular vineyard had used in the food.

It was a gloriously sunny, very warm spring day. The woods at the northern end of the lake were much further along in their blossoms than where we live.

My father commented that he had never known having so much fun was so tiring. He even wondered once if picking rock (out of the fields) wouldn’t be easier than getting out of the car, eating, sipping, and getting back in the car and onto the next place.

Our favorite stop was the Montezuma Winery, which produces meads and fruit wines in addition to the usual grape wines. My favorite is their rhubarb wine. Dad and Mom got their Cranberry Bog and Just Peachy wines. The cranberry is made with 100% cranberries and the peach with 100% peaches.

The best food was a garlic and thyme soup. I drove, so I didn’t taste much wine. We arrived home exhausted from our circumferential taste tour.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 03 2006 at 4:00 pm
Saturday: Friends
Matt, Sora and their family came for a special visit. It may be their last trip east in quite a while. We had a wonderful time together. It underscored how much we all miss them.

The (older) girls had fun comparing heights, finger lengths, and where they were in violin and Latin books. The also posed with flowers in their hair, pretending to be Medieval maidens.

The (older) boys romped and played chess, threw a frisbee, got it up in a tree, retrieved it. The younger boy liked the snadbox and cars there. So did the younger girl, until Sora had her leave because putting sand in her brother’s hair was more interesting than any other use for it.

Sora and Isaiah sat with me under the Juneberry tree. She is knitting a sweater from Wensleydale yarn. You know, the kind of sheep which produces the milk for the cheese Wallis and Gromit like best.

It was a Grand Day Out with friends.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 03 2006 at 3:49 pm
Woods Blossoms
When walking in the woods this time in the spring there is a constant decision to be made about where to walk in order to minimize flowering plant destruction.

The spring beauties are all out now. A few white trillium and a whole school of red trillium–wake robins, we call them. A few trout lilies in bloom and their leaves coming up everywhere. Quite a few plants of one species of early rue is in bloom. Lots of leaves for the squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis) on the north facing slope by the stream, but no blooms.

Years ago there were large drifts of hepatica just inside the southern woods edge. When the contract farmer tilled the fields he sprayed herbicides that drifted into the woods and killed those large drifts. Today, years later, there are only a few plants where there used to be hundreds. Throughout the woods there are a few areas with small colonies of hepatica.

And back when Jay was a shepherd there was a dell off one of the far pastures where a whole hillside was just covered with hepatica.

The may apple umbrellas are mostly unopen, but up. Tiny yellow violets are out. Bud panicles on the (non-edible) red elderberries are swelling.

The red hawk nest is empty. We have not seen the hawks lately. Heard nor saw any turkeys. Lots of woodpeckers. And a circle of about 100 large downy turkey feathers on a field’s edge makes me wonder if a coyote got a bird.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 27 2006 at 5:09 pm
Cold Hard Frost
When we went to bed last night it was in the thirties. Jay covered the hellebores and my sweet peas, which had been transplanted Saturday. At 3AM we woke up and he went out and watered the plum trees, both of which were and are in full bloom hoping to forstall the death of all the blossoms.

We won’t know for weeks if the water helped the bloom survive, until fruit set, when the young plums either will or will not begin shrivelling up and falling off.

The temperature was about 25 degrees at 6.30AM.

The hellebores were frozen solid under their pails. The thin stems of rhubarb, which I picked early this morning, were frozen solid. The lawn has black trails of dead grass where we walked while it was still frozen.

The sweet peas are fine. All the peonies and most of the narcissus and daffodils, many of which were drooped over in submission early this morning, recovered and were mostly normal by mid-morning.

I made a rhubarb custard pie for supper.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 26 2006 at 7:43 pm
Squirrel Milk
It’s like this. There has been this bold as brass gray squirrel cleaning out the bird feeders daily for a while now. I don’t put much sunflower seed in anymore; we are weaning the birds off feed. Jay hates when all the birds stick around for the consecutive small fruit seasons and expect to have the large share of the crops.

Yesterday the kids figured they had chased the squirrel away from the feeder at least fifteen times. So this week I said it would meet an untimely end if it continued hogging the feed and chasing away the birds. And late this morning it came and would not leave even though Isabelle and I waved our arms and jumped up and down at the window inside. Gee whiz! What does it take to get rid of a squirrel these days?

One .22 bullet is the answer. It stood right there on the roof and let me shoot it. That was an hour an a half ago.

Isabelle retrieved it off the roof. It was a she. A very heavy, large female gray squirrel. A she squirrel with seven big nipples. Just now I was able to express some milk–the nipples had engorged after death. So, it was nursing young. And now I wonder how old they are, and where.

And I realize no one could ever make money milking squirrels. Sheep are about as small an animal as you ever want to milk. Squirrel milk cheese would be one of those fantastic things kings ask for in fairy tales when they really want the suitor to fail and lose his head.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 25 2006 at 1:47 pm
One comment:
I had a humorous encounter with a red squirrel at our feeder yesterday. The grays are too big to get in our glass feeders. Our red squirrel visitor, however, is usually well behaved and stays on the ground to eat. Yesterday, he actually climbed INTO the feeder and sat there to gorge. I told Petra to watch out the window while I sneaked around the corner of the house and got within 6 inches of the feeder before he realized I was there. He finally saw me and tried to climb up the inside of the slippery glass, finally found his footing and launched himself out of the top of the feeder ( he was airborne for about 6 feet!) before rumming off. He did come back today, but stayed on the ground 🙂
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2006 at 1:39 pm

Suz’s website:

No More Purity
Ice Cream in the grocery stores, that is.
is the local store that makes Mocha Chip ice cream, my favorite.
Recently they have pulled their half gallon ice creams from all the grocery stores. Even at their store downtown they now only sell hand-packed quarts and pints, and cones at much dearer prices, of course. Donna and I found that out when we tried to buy a couple half gallons there for supper last Thursday. And when I tried again at the P+C on the way to Donna’s home later on.

This is not a family-friendly move on Purity’s part. Purity is transforming itself into a money-making college kid and parent tourist trap. The store now sells clothing and other food that is not at all related to ice cream. Ah well.

So yesterday when I dropped off a small smoked trout for Jay and buddies at work Isabelle and I hiked over to the Cornell Dairy Store and bought their version– Expresso Chocolate Chunk, and R.P’s Chocolate Hash, which is a chocolate marshmallow. Both are very good, less expensive and still local.

Take that, Purity.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 25 2006 at 1:15 pm
One comment:
I too lament Purity products leaving the grocery stores. However, the bright side is, no tempting half gallons left in the freezer. If we really want it, we need to make an outing of it. That way we are all less tempted to eat more than we should.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2006 at 1:31 pm

Suz’s website:

Spring Supper
Smoke one large brown trout and four small ones after brining them in slat and brown sugar solution for a day. Use soaked mesquite chips for the smoke.

Pick fresh garlic and dandelion greens. wash and chop.

Cook some rice. Pour the remainder of a container of Good Seasons salad dressing made with olive oil and rice vinegar over the hot rice along with the greens.

Serve with the smoked trout.

Ice cream for dessert.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 25 2006 at 12:58 pm
Salad Nicoise–4 main servings
We have this for supper on a regular basis.

Mix these together, then whisk in oil. I use a food processor.
1 large shallot (I use a small onion, and now in early spring am using instead a few fresh green onions and garlic greens)
1 T. capers
2 T. dijon mustard (My favorite kind: Maille)
1 T. wine vinegar (I use red)
1 tsp. coarse salt (This tends to be a tad much; I put in about 3/4 tsp kosher salt)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

6 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound green beans–1/2 cup per person. (I freeze nice smallish ones in season just for this. I use a quart for the four of us so there will be few left over.)

1 pound small potatoes–1/2-1 cup per person. Or larger potatoes, peeled and cut up in 1 inch cubes.

1 egg/person

black nicoise (or other) olives

1 6 oz. can tuna–in oil and than add that oil to the dressing.

1 small head Romaine lettuce, cut in bite-sized pieces. (The greens, of course, are changed with great frequency depending on what is available and in season. They range from small leaves of lettuce and greens mixes from farmer’s market to heads of various lettuces and greens from the garden, to mixes of garden and field greens later in the fall, to plain baby spinach from Aldi’s in the winter)

Boil the eggs and potatoes. Peel the eggs. Cook, steam or thaw beans. Put 1/4 cup plus dressing on the potatoes and/or beans. (I put it on both–individually)

Compose salad on plates and drizzle with dressing.

Extras that are on the recipe card that I rarely, if ever, include:
1 stalk celery, cut in 1/4 inch slices
2 tomatoes cut in wedges (I do use little sweet tomatoes in the summer)
4 radishes, thinly sliced

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 24 2006 at 4:26 pm
Evening Mulches
This past week’s evenings were spent spreading lovely dark brown
steaming mulch from one of the free piles Cornell put out for all
takers on Game Farm Road. The other piles there were raw horse stable
forkings and light brown, not nearly so ‘cooked’ mulch.

Jay brought home a pickup truck load each night Monday through Friday.
I chose not to spread Friday’s load until yesterday afternoon, after
Saturday’s rain.

Friday eve I transplanted sweet peas, spinach and a very few lettuces
into the garden. Planted chard, parsley and carrots yesterday
afternoon. The parsley in the cold frame didn’t come up at all.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 24 2006 at 4:08 pm
A Long Week
Monday I took the kids for lunch. Isaac had this week off from school.
For Christmas they each get some coupons. One of them said: “Out to
Lunch with Mom. You choose the place” That last bit was a mistake.
Isaac chose a chain restaurant whose food not only was not good, but
also very pricey. Ugh. Then we went to the new Salvation Army store
since we had never been. All the women’s clothes are sorted by color.
I bought two blouses, two skirts and a silk dress for less than lunch
cost. Next year the ‘out to lunch coupon will have a price point on it.

Tuesday: correspondence and kids working on the front lawn in the morning, piano lessons in the afternoon.

There once was a nice blog entry about Wednesday, but it disappeared and I only had time to type it once.

Short version: Suzanne, Audrey, their teen daughters and I went via
expensive,fancy bus to NYC for the day to visit the Metropolitan Museum
of Art. Saw wonderful things that induce lots of ideas, wore the wrong
shoes so my feet still have bruises and blisters, had a great, tiring

Thursday afternoon we (kids and I) went with Donna and her kids to work
on the gardens and yard of an elderly couple who live right on Seneca
Lake. It was beautiful. It was hot. Then Donna talked me into
letting her take my kids home and I got Jay and we went there for
supper. Nice time had by all.

Friday: home, garden, library, errands

Saturday: The Spring Booksale
started. I counted books for customers the first two hours. The first
guy in line arrived 4.30AM Friday. There were about 350 people in line
by Saturday morning. It had rained all night and continued off and on
all Saturday.
Then I went to the Farmer’s Market and bought a bag of mixed greens and a chunk of local sheep cheese. Karl and Jane North
make it, and if the links button works, I will send you <s>to
their farm</s> to info about their cheese. My kids love it. It
is pricey, but most really good things are.
Made Salad Nicoise for supper.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 23 2006 at 8:08 pm
Salad Nicoise recipe, please?

I’ll trade you a Pizza Nicoise recipe…

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 04 / 24 / 2006 at 2:50 PM
Nice blog. Why don’t you make the price limit nice and big. Then we could go out again-ha! Life rocks when you make Salad Nicoise……
Comment posted by Ike (ip: on 04 / 25 / 2006 at 10:33 AM
Crossing the Bar as Easter Came

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crost the bar.
–Alfred Lord Tennyson

Another father ‘crossed the bar’ the night into Easter. Three of his four children live and have families locally and are friends of ours. The parents had moved here when the mother had a stroke a couple years ago and it seemed unlikely she would live long. She survives her husband. All the children and grandchildren got to say their farewells. It was not an unexpected passing, but a fulfillment of a godly life. On his deathbed he said he would soon be crossing the bar. He had been a sailor. His children found the Tennyson poem he was referring to.

Another friend whose father (also) recently died wrote us that “Easter was my father’s favorite season of the church year. Through Lent we have been singing the hymn “What wonderous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul. What wonderous love is this.” I am mindful, as Dad was, that Easter is the definitive yes of God’s extravagant love and grace.”

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 18 2006 at 12:28 pm
Easter Breakfast
So: two smoked trouts. Some of the flesh will be eaten as is, some will go into a smoked fish spread.

Kumquat marmelade. Kumquats were half the price per pound this year they were last. And, boy, am I glad.

Three kinds of truffles: raspeberry, raspberry with a miniature marshmallow in the middle, and hazelnut.

Dark chocolate covered rum-soaked raisins. The tiny raisin clusters ate topped with a small bright yellow sugar chick. As if it is sitting on (rather large) eggs.

Sunny side Up Apricot pastries from Baking with Julia: “dishes” containing pastry dream “whites” and two apricot half “yolks”. I will make the pastry cream this morning and get up early to finish and cook them. This is my favorite baking book in twenty years of married baking. Highly recommended by me.

Potato rolls I am making today.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 15 2006 at 10:40 am
One comment:
I hate to say what breakfast was at our house. yours sounds fantastic
Comment posted by Ellie (ip: on 04 / 16 / 2006 at 7:16 am
Of Bodies and beasties
Thursday evening, as I went to sing Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus with the small group at a church downtown, the rest of the family went fishing. This is the second time I have missed out on fishing trips this year. As I contemplated readings from Exodus, Leviticus and Hebrews on the efficacy of blood sacrifice, each child caught their own nice fat trout and Jay caught two. These were big stocked browns.

Yesterday two were cooked for supper on a bed of Italian crumbs and salt in the microwave. The other two had their skins and flesh slashed early in the morning. One then had kosher salt rubbed into the gashes and was laid on a bed of salt on a board left at an angle so the liquid would drain. The last went into a heavy salt and brown sugar brine. The salted fish went into the brine late last night. A few ounces of fish liquid had come out of it during the day.

This morning the two are being smoked using water soaked mesquite chips. The trout will be eaten Easter Morning.
Marsha has been faithfully and lovingly tending a soft grey and white angora rabbit of her daughter’s for many months. The poor gentle beastie had gotten flystrike in the wet, hot early summer last year and survived due to her efforts on its behalf. Then later in the year he developed the painful condition some male rabbits get of accretion of calcium crystals in the bladder and urethra. His urine burned his skin where it was still tender and healing from flystrike. Marsha bathed him and changed his diet and worked with a vet for months to alleviate the condition and the pain the bunny suffered. To no avail. The creature kept eating, but gradually lost half its weight and was obviously in pain. Marsha was bathing the bunny several times a week. She was in tears every time she spoke of him.

This past week she decided the time had come for her to let the rabbit go and tearfully asked if I could help her put it down. Of course. So yesterday she came with the bunny and returned later with dry ice. The bunzer went on a towel in a cooler and Marsha said her good-byes. We thanked God for its life. The dry ice went in the bottom of a gallon milk jug. A cup of warm water was poured over the dry ice and the lid of the cooler shut. Marsha and I walked around the garden admiring flowers for a few minutes.

She had brought a small towel with bunnies on it. I had the right sized box. We wrapped it up and put him in the box. Soon after I left to perform Ave Verum Corpus at our church, sing hymns and listen to a dramatic reading of Christ’s last night through his death on the cross.
This morning I ran in the hoae to get Jay. There are loud, persistent gobbles from more than one tom turkey coming from the far field above us.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 15 2006 at 7:43 am
Squidoo is a newish website which the Times had an article about recently. You can sign as a specialist on a topic (a lens) and Squidoo will link all sorts of (hopefully) pertinent websites to your blog’s special topic.

It is being touted as a way to make money both for the blogger and the web company.

I noticed there were no lenses on trapping as of April 10th, 2006. Squidoo wanted me to sign up right away.
Lenses that showed up when I searched for trapping included many about oriental martial arts. Why is that?

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 12 2006 at 3:04 pm
Mourning Cloaks
Fromthis website: The mourningcloak is one of a number of butterfly species that overwinter, or spend the winter, as adults. During cold winter weather they spend the time frozen in “cryo-preservation” in tree cavities, beneath loose tree bark or in unheated buildings. They survive almost anywhere they can fit into, to protect them from winter winds and keep them out of the view of birds and squirrels. These places are called hibernaculums (an overwintering den).

Which accounts for me seeing four of these butterflies Monday on a walk up back in the woods. There were six small clumps of Spring Beauty flowers out, also.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 12 2006 at 2:27 pm
I am…..Libertarian
My father sent me a link to a very short quiz which will indicate where you stand politically. Some quotes that came with it:

The Washington Post said it has “gained respect as a valid measure of a person’s political leanings.” The Fraser Institute said it’s “a fast, fun, and accurate assessment of a person’s overall political views.” Suite University said it is the “most concise and accurate political quiz out there.”

The World’s Smallest Political Quiz

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 12 2006 at 2:12 pm
One comment:
I posted (and took) that quiz back in 2003. Here’s what it said then:

According to your answers, your political philosophy is centrist.

Centrists favor selective government intervention and emphasize practical solutions to current problems. They tend to keep an open mind on new issues. Many centrists feel that government serves as a check on excessive liberty.

Your Personal Self-Government Score is 60%.
Your Economic Self-Government Score is 40%.

Here’s where I am, now:

The political description that fits you best is….LIBERAL

LIBERALS usually embrace freedom of choice in personal
matters, but tend to support significant government control of the economy. They generally support a government-funded “safety net” to help the disadvantaged, and advocate strict regulation
of business. Liberals tend to favor environmental regulations, defend civil liberties and free expression, support government action to promote equality, and tolerate diverse lifestyles.

Your PERSONAL issues Score is 90%.
Your ECONOMIC issues Score is 40%.

I guess I’ve moved left.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 12 / 2006 at 8:25 pm
50th Wedding Anniversary
In 1954, my grandfather Lovejoy died and his youngest daughter, Jean, came home from travelling the states on an expense account provided by Proctor and Gamble while doing market research for them. It had been a very posh job travelling to cities via train, staying in hotels, going door-to-door in residential neighborhoods handing out new products for housewives to test (Tide was one) and then returning a week or two later to write their evaluations of the product. Two and a half decades later I would wear the fine clothes she bought then when I went to college.

She returned home to live with her mother and worked for the Monroe County Department of Social Services. Some time late that year she was invited to a dinner given by Margaret and Al B____, a cousin. Also invited were a newly married couple and a young farmer, John S________.

Now neither of my parents can recall just how soon after this dinner John began courting Jean. My mother only remembers one ‘real’ date: a night out to a county fair. Most of the time, John would come down to Victor from Mumford for dinner with Jean and her mother, they would talk until he eventually fell asleep on the couch before returning home. Shades of decades to come….

Sometime in December 1955 John asked Jean to marry him. She did so on April 28th, 1956 in a small ceremony at the church in South Perinton. She forced forsythia blooms for the church, sewed her wedding gown and travelling outfit, and carried a bouquet of daisies. The color of the matron-of-honor’s dress was purple and the two maids-of-honor wore lavender. The men wore their best suits. Everyone in that wedding party except the bride, groom, the youngest bridesmaid and one usher are no longer alive.

Mr. and Mrs. S_____ had less than a week’s worth of honeymoon before returning to his parents’ home farm. They bought their first home on Stevens Road in Mumford for $5,000. They were living there when I was born to them, in 1958.

Dad then was a manager of a farm on the Oatka Creek Trail before buying what has become our home farm in Western NY. The original 140 acres has been augmented by several land purchases through the years so the total acreage is now about twice the original amount.

This past weekend we celebrated their grand achievement at my Aunt Janice’s home. What a blessing. What an honor to have parents who have lived faithful lives.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 12 2006 at 2:03 pm
The Abbreviated Walk
Isabelle and I were going to go for a walk in the woods, but we got a few hundred yards away from the house and there, a hundred feet away in the fallow field to our left, were three big tom turkeys in full strut showing off for 17 hens.

They immediately ‘deflated’ and with the hens turned and started quickly strolling away. We turned and ran home to tell Jay, who was rototilling the garden before the rain came.

Instead of a walk I planted three kinds of annual poppies: Flemish Antique, white breadseed and black flowered, and a mix of exotic nigellas.

Up in the cold frame: lettuce and spinach.

Soon to bloom: the pasque flowers

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 07 2006 at 10:28 am
Oh, and Potatoes
How could I forget potatoes as a Lenten food?

Boiled, as a salad, as a soup or chowder, and the favorite way: scalloped!

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 07 2006 at 10:23 am
One comment:
Um, isn’t Lent supposed to be a time of food deprivation? Your menu sounds suspiciously tasty… Scalloped potatoes, indeed! 🙂
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 07 / 2006 at 10:55 am
Lenten Meals
Besides the fresh fish, which was a unique meal–our first freshly caught fish this year–I have been serving more fish than usual.

Jay really likes little salmon cakes. Made with canned salmon, onion, some bread crumbs, lemon juice and fried in butter, I served them with buttered noodles and a green salad.

Last night I sorted out the skin and bones from a can of salmon and mixed the fish with some fresh pecorino romano and half-and-half in hot small shell noodles. Add a salad. Isaac really liked that.

Have made lots of Lenten soups using dry beans. Fresh black and kidney beans from farms around home cooked up fast. Home canned tomato broth made using a Mehu-Maija.

(Hmm. The ability to easily add a link has disappeared in this new Upsaid configuration.)

Add lots of vegetables and greens: onion, garlic, potato, pumpkin, winter squash, spinach, carrot, parsley. I make rolls and serve them hot with butter when I serve soup.

Other dishes:

Rice with various vegetable topppings

Tuna noodle casserole

Mexican layered casserole of corn tortillas, home-made spicy tomato sauce, corn, roasted red (and green) peppers, cheeses. I sometimes add spinach to this.

Breakfasts have been lots of cereal grains cooked slowly in the rice cooker either with water or milk with added sweetener(brown sugar, raisins, maple syrup). Grains used so far: oats, seven-grain mix, amaranth, bulgur, brown rice, white rice, barley, cracked wheat, millet.

I have made a considerable amount of home-made hot cocoa.

Bagels and cream cheese and home-made bread toasted with butter, honey or jams and jellies I have made are also staples.

Desserts: Fruit, puddings, and a chocolate cake mix Jay made without eggs. It was like flat brownies. The rest of the family liked it.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 06 2006 at 8:00 am
This Firefox extension can help you paste HTML links into your blog:

Here are instructions for how to use it:

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 07 / 2006 at 7:20 PM
Thanks a bunch Sora!
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 07 / 2006 at 7:54 AM

Herself’s website:


To code the link without Upsaid’s help, type (A HREF=”;)the text you want linked(/A) — but use triangular brackets instead of regular parenthesis (I couldn’t do that it this example or it wouldn’t show up on the message.)

Comment posted by Sora (ip: on 04 / 06 / 2006 at 9:16 PM

Sora’s website:

Jay and the children went fishing Monday night while I stayed home, feeling miserable, stuffy and coughing up stuff.

They returned cool and happy with five little brown trouts and one big one.

For last night’s supper, I dipped the cleaned, headless carcasses in half-and-half, then in a mixture of cornmeal, flour, salt and tamarind soup powder last night, then repeated the process a few minutes later before frying in a butter and olive oil mixture.

All the fishies turned out very nice and tasty, with a great crunchy brown crust over their formerly lovely multi-colored spotted skins. The flesh was slightly pink.

Zeke got the cooked, crunchy tails.

A perfect supper for Lent. Fresh brown trouts with rice and succotash.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 05 2006 at 11:42 am
One comment:
Sounds tasty! My throat-friendly soup and herb tea diet is getting OLD.

I did not mention that one of the stops to get from one conference site to another in NZ was to a place called Rainbow Springs. They featured Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brook Trout, and, yes, Brown Trout. They also had California Redwoods. It seemed an awfully long way to go to see trout and Sequoias…

Maybe your family will be amused with their description of brown trout:
“Brown trout can often be seen lying motionless on the bottom and totally disinterested in food. They are extremely wary, dour and cautious and often give the impression of “sulking”.”

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 05 / 2006 at 5:44 pm
Another Death in our Church
We were notified early last evening that Mark A., the husband of Gail (who was one of the directors of the children’s play that was performed this past weekend), had a sudden heart attack and died this past afternoon.

They have four children at home.

Mark and Gail were leaders on the Mexico mission trip several times, including this past summer when Jay and Isaac went.

They are very active in the life of the church.

There was much crying here last night, and prayer for Gail and the children.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 05 2006 at 6:36 am
Week in review
This being the third time I have tried to post these particular happenings:

1-Suzanne, Marsha and I drove to Syracuse for part of a day together. We stopped first at Samir’s Mideast Deli. Think of a very small grocery store that would fit on the set of “Little House on the Prairie” or Mayberry, add all the accumulation of decades and the twist of carrying food only from countries in the middle east: Croatia to Turkey to Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Greece. We had a great time finding our way through the overstuffed shop.

I bought cookies from Croatia, green brined olives preserved with bitter lemon and hot pepper and black oil-cured olives from open barrels, three different spice mixes, bulgur from Libya, and a piece of Turkish Delight. At the mall, a green silicone spatula from Williams-sonoma and on-sale sterling oval hoop earrings joined me. Our late lunch was at a different Middle Eastern deli where was obtained a large jar of capers and a wedge of Greek Kasseri cheese from sheep milk.

2-The cold frame Jay made for my birthday was planted with lettuces, spinach, parsley and flowers. Yesterday the first seedlings were up. They are hollyhocks that were not planted, but arrived there beforehand from the hollyhock bed to the west of the cold frame.

3-The wretched nasty cold the children had finally caught up wtih me and wrassled me into submission for a few days even though life had to keep going.

4-We were called after seven years to again live-trap pregnant female woodchucks. In five days we trapped 10. Daren got 17. Bait to use if you have a woodchuck problem at your house: apples and romaine.

5-Isabelle had dress rehearsal and three performances of “The Rock Slinger and His Greatest Hit” to be part of Saturday and Sunday. I helped feed and cleanup after the dress rehearsal.

Entry posted by jpm14 on April 05 2006 at 6:28 am
Bolivians in Town
We don’t have the frequent opportunity of meeting persons direct from Bolivia here where we live. There is one other family in the county who has a daughter adopted out of Bolivia. We get together with them about once a year.

So it is notable for us that in the last week we had to supper a postdoc from BTI who is Bolivian–from Santa Cruz. Isabelle came from an orphanage there. And then Monday night the children and I went downtown to the “Living Wage Center” to hear a talk sponsored by CUSLAR (Cornell University’s Committee on US/Latin American Relations) by Felix Muruchi Poma of El Alto, Bolivia. He grew up in the Department of Oruro. Isaac came from an orphanage there.

Sr. Muruchi gave, via an interpreter (who left out interesting details–some of which I got myself) his own history as it was tied to the political history of Bolivia since the late 1940’s. Here is a man who has suffered much and who is living to help his people in the best way he knows.

Born in 1948 to a Quechua mother and Aymara father who worked in the Siglo Veinte Mine in Potosi owned by Sr. Patino, who at one time was third wealthiest man in the world due to the tin his mines produced through the suffering of those digging in them.

Sr. Muruchi lived through the 1952 revolution, a stint in the army, several massacres, time in prison in Chile, escape and refuge in Holland, the cheat of communism in Bolivia, and is now active in bringing democracy to his country.

He had a very interesting statement to a question about whether enough women were given roles in the the new government of Evo Morales: “I don’t believe in just handing rights over to those who request them from those in authority. Those who wish for more must work for it, must struggle for their own rights.”

In answer to my question about whether Evo Morales would be able to combat the corruption endemic in the governmental beaurocracy of Bolivia, Sr. Murutu pointed out that Morales has only been in power three months but in that time has taken a personal pay cut of 50% which has forced everyone else in government to do likewise. He is also pursuing collection of taxes due to Bolivia from the multinational companies taking minerals and natural gas out of the country. Taxes which have never been paid.

Unfortunately, pay cuts historically mean the beaurocrats will make up their salaries through bribes.

Meanwhile we continue to pray for Morales and Bolivia, that God’s grace extend to this historically most miserable of countries.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 29 2006 at 8:28 am
The powers that be at Upsaid fixed it for me. It was my first attempt at trying to categorize.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 04 / 05 / 2006 at 9:27 PM

Herself’s website:

Sr. Muruchi was surrounded by young questioners after his talk. I managed to get his attention tell him Gracias. He immediately responded with how thankful he was we came and that it was a pleaure. I wish I could have waited a bit more and introduced the children to him. But the too-hot room, the crowds of unusual strangers, the late time had my kids chomping the bit to leave.

I think they did like the post-doc. Very non-committal politically and the chosen career path will not be of much use in Bolivia for some time so will remain in the States.

Isaac still would like to visit when he is a tad older. Isabelle is not so sure, but I think time will change her desire. I am looking forward to returning! Not so safe as it was now, though.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 31 / 2006 at 12:44 PM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

What the heck happened to my post?

It just says !!category!!

–which is not what I wrote, by the way!

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 04 / 05 / 2006 at 1:13 AM

Did you get to meet the speaker at the CUSLAR talk, aside from asking a question from the audience?

Did the children enjoy the dinner visitor? What do they think of their Bolivian connection at this point in their lives?

I haven’t seen your blog for a week, so I’ve been playing catch-up. I see in a comment in your “slow foods” post that you saw the Anna Ginsberg million-dollar recipe article in the Austin paper. I just cut a follow-up article out of the paper for you (but maybe you’ve read it in today’s paper).

Dr. Richards is here tonight–not staying at our house, but he stopped in with Chris to say hello to me and the kids. He’s speaking at a meeting in Austin tomorrow morning, then flying out.

Galen has been home all week with a little-kid virus, hand-mouth disease (?). He has a low fever, persisting for four days now, and, just since last night, blisters around his mouth and nose and a light rash all over his arms and legs.

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 03 / 29 / 2006 at 10:29 PM

Jeni’s E-mail:

Cyclamen in Bloom–Outside!
Lynn came today bringing some large dark blue crocus for my garden and taking away some winter Aconite, a lovely single (spreading) deep pink rose, European Ginger and a large leaved varigated Myrtle. While I was effusing about hellebores, she said “But what’s that in bloom”? It is the Hardy Coum cyclamen–round leaved and sporting six lovely small blooms.

There is a link to a photo at the Cyclamen Society page at right.


Entry posted by jpm14 on March 27 2006 at 4:41 pm
OK, I counted one too many. there are only five blooms. Jay was _very_ impressed they have bloomed since nights have been in the teens and twenties. They truly are hardy.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 27 / 2006 at 9:49 PM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

Oh, and the link works now. One too many http’s.


Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 27 / 2006 at 9:50 PM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

Which are top tools in your history?
Forbes has a nifty list of tools which have had the most important impact on human civilization.

Here it is:

No. 1 The Knife

No. 2 The Abacus

No. 3 The Compass

No. 4: The Pencil

No. 5: The Harness

No. 6: The Scythe

No. 7: The Rifle

No. 8: The Sword

No. 9: Eyeglasses

No. 10: The Saw

No. 11: The Watch

No. 12: The Lathe

No. 13: The Needle

No. 14: The Candle

No. 15: The Scale

No. 16: The Pot

No. 17: The Telescope

No. 18: The Level

No. 19: The Fish Hook

No. 20: The Chisel

There is a slide show for those who don’t know what some of them are. (Can there be such people?)

In daily use around here: knives, pencils, eyeglasses, watches (clocks), pots. Binoculars are in daily use–are they a modern equivalent of older telescopes? Right now the abacus is in daily use, too, as the girl and her mother are learning how to use it.

In weekly use: saw, needle, scale, chisel. I don’t think bridle and saddle count as harness but they fall in this region. The air rifle is in weekly use now, also.

In seasonal or occasional use: compass, scythe, rifle, candle, level, fish hooks.

We don’t own a lathe or a sword.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 24 2006 at 11:28 am
Re-Imagine Style
An aquaintance and one of her friends has a website, Re-Imagine Style which is interesting.

There is also a contest to utilize their themes to make or re-make an outfit,

What is most interesting is that people should find reusing/recycling textiles a new concept.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 24 2006 at 9:39 am
Galluping and Ditch Wood
A few nights ago Jay was contacted by the Gallup organization to answer questions about his household’s credit and debt. He was happy to oblige. We are pretty sure, having read and heard widely circulated financial reports, that we fall outside, maybe way outside, the curve for homeowners in the USA. That’s us, deviants from the standard–no credit report, no debt. Someone has to be on the far end of this bell curve.

He reported that the question lady was a bit surprised to hear we have no debt: “None, at all?” In the course of questioning the fact we are a one income, lower income bracket family was revealed, and the response satisfied Jay that we are, indeed, rare birds. Leastwise rare, polled, birds.


One of the ways to be a rare bird is to choose to gather firewood from that which is left behind by the county in ditches as they prune. Jay figures he has picked up in excess of 500 pounds of wood, about a face cord, of ash in the past couple weeks on the way home from work.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 24 2006 at 9:33 am
Blue Jay Body
Didn’t mention that two Sundays ago as I drove to pick up the girl from play practice I saw the body of a Blue Jay in a bush on the road side. So I stopped, turned around, parked and picked it out of the thorn bush. Broken neck, wet, but intact, not fresh but in fine shape for a bird dead for awhile. Must have flown into a car and been flung back into the bush.

Every time I step out onto the porch it is there in all its sad blue, white and black glory lying on the old cracked and worn Easter bunny plastic tablecloth that covers the ancient table painted dark green that came from the basement of our first elderly neighbor, Randall. We got that table at the auction of all his worldly goods after he died in a nursing home, where we visited him exactly once. It was so depressing we never went back. How much more depressing to live there it must have been, especially when your friends won’t come visit because they are selfish and young. Randall was the quintessential batchelor farmer. He gradually sold off farm land when he was too old to farm. Historically land is the farmer’s second retirement policy. That’s another blog entry.

Anyway, I offered the use of this bird body to a friend of mine who is a scientific/natural illustrator. I want it back for feathers and bones. She can’t use it right now–too busy with other things. So eventually it will go in the freezer. Not that temperature is a problem at the moment, even if the calendar does say spring.

Jay covers the blue body with a bike helmet if people are expected to visit the house. He is not an enthusiastic supporter of my natural history acquisitions. Does he think the sight of a dead bird will put the piano students off their stride? Or that friends won’t want to eat supper here, wondering if there are blue jay parts in the soup?

Zeke the dog sniffed it, Pounce the cat wanted it for his own and I had to shoo him away a few times. After I take the feathers, I will contemplate burying it in plastic netting so I can dig up the bones in a few months time. Or maybe not. The children already think I am gruesome to harvest the feathers and not just bury the bird in peace. A dead blue jay is too close to Chip.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 22 2006 at 5:36 pm
Gourmet Food
As I was having breakfast of home-made potato corn soup and (home) canned Sun Gold tomatoes, it occurred to me that the current craze of “gourmet” foods is closely associated with reference to foods that used to be associated with farm kitchens.

There are a whole slew of “Slow Food” organizations now: SlowfoodUSA , Slow Food Foundation, forums, and at least one cookbook . Well, looks like more than one. These groups and books “promote dining as a source of pleasure”, are “devoted to preserving traditional foodways and educating people about food as a center of community”, “Promoting and funding projects to preserve “heritage” crops and livestock strains as elements of traditional foodways”.

Hmm. Sounds like the home I grew up in, and the one I run now.

Without high paying jobs we are able to eat foods that would set a family back a significant amount if they were boughten: jellies made from the juice of wine grapes, stone-ground wheat flour breads, sweet carrots fresh from the garden–in March, venison and lamb, mueslis and mixed berry compotes and home canned peaches, tomato broth, sweet tomato paste, chili sauce, pickles. And the unobtainable–unless you do-it-yourself: vibrant yellow-orange SunGold tomatoes the size of thumb-tips or smaller, canned with quillquina, sweet as a summer day.

The money we don’t spend on the great food we make goes for special cheeses and olives. And, this past Christmas, Port.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 21 2006 at 9:44 am
But our slow food doesn’t win competitions.

Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 22 / 2006 at 5:06 PM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

You mentioned a couple days ago that you might want to put a site meter on your site so you know who’s visiting. Here are a couple links for site meters that I’ve found useful:

After you’re registered with them, all you need to do is follow the directions they give.

Comment posted by Coyote (ip: on 03 / 21 / 2006 at 5:20 PM

Coyote’s E-mail:

Coyote’s website:

What, No Outcry?
From today’s NYTimes: “The F.D.A. has now received reports that six women in the United States died after taking RU-486, or Mifeprex. A seventh died in Canada. The two most recent deaths and two of the previous four underwent their procedures at Planned Parenthood clinics, a spokeswoman said.”
Entry posted by jpm14 on March 18 2006 at 8:23 am
I thought you were concerned for the mothers.
Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 03 / 22 / 2006 at 9:59 PM
But then, there is this article:
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 03 / 22 / 2006 at 5:37 PM

Herself’s E-mail:

Herself’s website:

A range of commonly prescribed drugs including antibiotics may be responsible for around 15,000 sudden deaths each year in Europe and the United States. The drugs interfere with electrical activity controlling heartbeat.

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Spring Sign
Red-winged blackbirds, robins, morning doves, juncos, starlings, even killdeer have returned. Jay found a large (7-8 inches long) spotted salamander on the driveway one morning in the rain. Since then it has been cold and snowy but we have both seen woodchucks and I have seen two turkeys at the neighbors bird feeder across the way, and two large flocks in fields miles away from home. Rabbits, skunks and opossums are being killed in the road.
Entry posted by jpm14 on March 18 2006 at 8:18 am
Books and Movies: War, Chemicals and Afghanistan
Recently read: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. This was followed closely by the movie: Sense and Sensibility (1985) that won Emma Thompson a Golden Globe for her screenplay.

Best quote from the book: “.. for when people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of anything better for them.” Ch 36, Sense and Sensibility

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. An interesting look into a very foreign culture. Descriptions are marvelous. Will see the movie soon. Can’t wait to see the textiles!

But the most interesting and challenging book I am still finishing:Uncle Tungsten : Memories of a Chemical Boyhood, by Oliver Sacks. I wish this had been around to be required reading in my first college chemistry class. It would have done a better job giving history and vivid descriptions of the finding of the elements and their differences via Sacks’ childhood explorations and experimentations, which themselves mirrored the chemical histories he read than the dry text we read. An excellent book.

For movies:


the first movie made in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Based on true acounts of life under the Taliban, it follows a young girl who must pose as a boy to work if her mother, grandmother and herself are going to survive. Very good. Very sad. Those who have read anything about what went on there under those evil religious poseurs will not be as stunned and shocked as my husband was, who had read nothing. I recommend Osama.

And last but not by any means least: Band of Brothers, a made-for-TV series of hour-long movies following Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division through their training and WWII wartime experiences. Each hour opens with short clips of elderly Easy Company men who survived the war commenting on the chapter. It is so often I forget the sacrifices these men gave. I cried a lot. Jay’s father served in the war and spent two years in a POW camp. More about that another time.

See this series. Not for children.

Entry posted by jpm14 on March 10 2006 at 4:59 pm

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