Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: cerise

Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: jpm14
(File created on: May 26 2008)
Although it didn’t seem possible, Banner’s girlish figure returned. She comes to cadge food about every other day. She wants walnut pieces and crusts of homemade bread.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 25 2007 at 8:05 pm
Summer Books
Well, besides the perennial re-read of Jack and Stephen’s adventures, the best by far is: Gerda Weissmann Klein’s All But My Life. Written soon after the Second World War, this autobiography covers her life from just before the war to her liberation. She had just turned 16 when the Nazis invaded her native Poland.

On a totally different, lower, level, but still good writing are the Arkady Renko series by Martin Cruz Smith. I might have mentioned these before.

Then on another planet altogether are The Heligan Vegetable Bible by Tim Smit and P.D.A.McMillan Browse and The Kitchen Gardens at Heligan: Lost Gardening Principles Rediscovered by Tom Petherick and Melanie Eclare . The first was a loaner from a friend. The second a gift from same friend. Wonderful descriptions of varieties and techniques used on a large estate garden in the Cotswolds of England which went to wrack and ruin during and after the First World War because all the men died. It was lost and forgotten until about 1993 when a couple people hacked their way through shrubberies and began to put the place in order again. When we next visit England, God willing, this is one place high on the list to visit.

Being read out loud is Over Sea, Under Stone, the first book in The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper. That a movie is coming out based on same is not a co-incident. We fully expect the movie to make hash of the story.

There have been more, but not memorable, and therefore left out of the list.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 16 2007 at 5:38 pm
Before Breakfast
Started the daily bread. Watched a hummingbird sip its morning nectar from the perennial sweet peas not three feet away from me. Made new sugar water and refilled the hummingbird feeder which is hung by the wild clematis. Many ants have given their lives trying to retrieve sugar water for their nest this summer. Their bodies are thick in the empty confines of the feeder. Let Caspian out of his pen in the garage and had to agree with him that his fence needed moving to new pasturage. Moved the fence and while doing so fended him off from eating the roses, Weigelia, broccoli, Winterberry. Then the cat came crying that he needed breakfast. That is Isabelle’s job. It is one thing to look after the needs of your household. In the high summer our household is larger than in winter. Whew.

The hummingbirds have so much food from the flowers and the sugar water they are fighting nearly all the time. Perhaps fighter pilots should take note: the aerobatics and sheer nerve of these little birds as they fly high speed chases sequences through the branches of trees while ‘zzzt’ing their displeasure with one another is astounding. I have never seen one crash into a leaf, much a more substantial twig or branch. Isabelle reports Mrs. R up behind us has as many as eight at one time at her feeder, fending each other off. We seem to have three down here.

Did anyone else enjoy part of the Perseid meteor shower? It was all overcast here when we went to bed about 10PM Sunday night. I woke up about 3AM Monday and went out to look. There was a fair-sized hole in the cloud cover through which I saw two falling stars in about as many minutes so I woke everyone up. Jay saw one before he returned to his warm nest. The kids and I saw about a dozen before we went back to bed; the clouds moved in from the north and covered the sky all up again.

Then, Tuesday morning at about 2.20AM I woke to consecutively larger cracks and a large ‘whump’ indicating something large had fallen from one of our very large trees surrounding the house. Woke Jay–who had heard nothing–and we went out to discover the fifty foot secondary leader of the white pine had come down. No wind at all. By God’s mercy it had fallen in the one direction and place where it did no harm to anything, missing car, garage containing a ram, Isabelle’s playhouse, a climbing stand, our home, even the flower bed. The base where it broke from the tree is 22-24 inches in diameter. It will take awhile to cut up and remove. And it calls into question the integrity of the remaining tree and its primary leader, which is significantly larger and longer, which could much more easily severely damage the house if it fell the wrong way.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 16 2007 at 8:22 am
One comment:
I stood outside our house around 10:00 the night of the meteor shower; only a few stars were visible because the humid air was reflecting too much city light. If we had driven a few miles out, say, by the Salt Lick, it would have improved the view, but we were too sleepy. Getting up at 5:30 for rowing (and puppies) this week has changed our internal clocks. I guess we’re ready for the school year schedule.

Glad to hear the tree fell safely. It would be a little sad to lose the rest of the tree, but it sounds risky to leave it up, considering.

Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 08 / 16 / 2007 at 11:25 am
Last night he seemed to know right where he wanted to go–up in the field and eat the Sweet Red Clover. So we went and spent almost an hour, him chomping all the time. The clover is so strongly scented in the evening.

A few nights ago Mom M. came for supper. She liked the sheared Caspian.

Isabelle showed us all what she had been up to one day. Perhaps this is the result of going to the Farm Day up in King Ferry, where we saw work horses harnessed and pulling two wheat binders (one dated 1890–a Deering, the other 1920) harvesting wheat, pulling the wagons the shocks were loaded onto, and watched an engine and belt driven thrasher and an Ohio Baling Press.

He is ram tough! He weighs 70 pounds as of this morning.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 09 2007 at 10:58 am
These count, don’t they? They are flowering cabbages for the fall. They will get even more beautiful when the cold comes.

Wish you could smell these. And see them closer. It seems the secret to successful Sweet Pea cultivation (at least here) is to treat them as you would any other pea.

If you have any wild Clematis wandering around your property, dig it up and move it to an arch or arbor so you can enjoy its profligacy. It blooms earlier than the Autumn Clematis that is sold–the leaf shape is different, too.

Lilies and Phlox. Notice the tiger lilies peeking in–we have lots more of those.

Just yesterday I wondered if these had peaked. But this morning the Glories over 40 blooms. In this heat they are gone before noon. The hummingbirds visit them early in the day, though.

And last but not certainly not least. These Crocosmia are lovely right now and everyone who sees them wants some corms. No problem. I dug out about a half bushel in the fall and another half bushel this spring of corms. Let me know if you want some. They tend to shove other plants aside here, the bullies.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 09 2007 at 10:47 am
Some Things
* I had forgotten to mention that Zeke the wonder dog and I, together, chased a young woodchuck out of our yard up into the field and caught it. He bit it, it bit him, I grabbed the chuck’s tail. Then we had to repeat that last part because Zeke bit it again. Eventually I held it up high enough he couldn’t get the wood chuck and it got carried down and put in an empty trash barrel until Jay came home. He made it go away permanently.

*We have now eaten three Blueberry Glaze Pies. With guests, of course.

*The Bodacious sweet corn tasted odd the first time we ate it. Starchy and chalky. Jay and I wondered about the seed supplier.

Then, next day picking, I noticed some kernels were slightly bluish. Hmm. That rascally Mexican colored corn with its early tassels had pollinated the sweet corn planted next to it. Sure enough, the further one gets from the Mexican corn, the sweeter and purer the corn gets. One can see on some ears that the bottom two-thirds of the kernels are squarer, harder and bright yellow, while the top kernels are rounder, softer and pale.

*Caspian got a shave. There is a disagreement about how long he will hang around.

*One night it was so hot I brought my comforter and pillow down into the dining room and slept on the floor there. All the windows and doors were open. Didn’t sleep real well, but better than upstairs where it was 15+ degrees hotter.

*Two Fridays ago we had a stunner of a thunderstorm complete with hail an inch in diameter that blanketed the ground, pounded divots into the young pumpkins, shredded leaves, dented and bruised fruits and vegetables, ripped off growing points and generally wreaked havoc the whole three minutes it fell. And the rain kept pounding down, melting the hail and washing so much gravel out of the driveway we have to cart it back up to fill in the troughs left behind. Also broke an 18′ diameter limb off the big old white pine. We had 7 tenths of an inch.

*Found out where Dinosaur Dry Goods had moved when I went to have my hair done at a new place–the sister of a friend. Bought three things–a silk skirt, a Flax dress and a Flax jumper for less than one item at a regular store. The jumper needed altering, which I worked on today.

Entry posted by jpm14 on August 05 2007 at 7:39 pm
One comment:
If the heat gets too much, come on out–it’s just as hot here, but we do have air conditioning!
Comment posted by Abby (ip: on 08 / 08 / 2007 at 10:41 am
Blueberry Glaze Pie
Make and bake and unfilled crust. I used butter for the shortening, and added about 2T. sugar.

Then mix and cook together 3/4cup sugar, 3T. cornstarch, and 1 cup water or juice. You are basically making a cornstarch pudding for the glaze. I added some half and half as part of the liquid, but didn’t really like the milkiness over the berries.

When the glaze has cooked, pour the hot glaze over 3 cups (that is what the recipe called for) to 5 cups (which is what I used) fresh blueberries which have been checked over for stems and bad spots. Mix well. If you wish, add a tablespoon or two of raspberry liqueur at this point.

Pour into the pie shell or tart crust. I had extra crust and made two little tarts of which each child had half for lunch topped with whipped cream. The large pie got a flower of peeled peaches dipped in lemon juice petals and a center of red raspberries.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 31 2007 at 3:26 pm
One comment:
Delicious. I know since I had a piece. Monte declared it the best pie he had ever eaten. Sorry about the sheep. Ellie
Comment posted by Ellie (ip: on 08 / 01 / 2007 at 8:15 am
Dominic’s Demise
The boys last Friday.

Already Dominic was laying down much more than usual, Caspian followed suit.

Yesterday afternoon with Caspian:

Jay and I put Dominic out of his misery last night and then butchered him. He was a good sheep and we were all sad. On the other hand, he was suffering greatly.

When I was away about a week ago, he got himself entangled in the flexible electric fence and no one knows how long he was there before Isaac spotted him and helped him out. He hadn’t been the same since. He eventually stopped ruminating, eating and drinking, was unable to defecate, was grinding his teeth–in pain.

Our best guess, both before putting him down and after opening his carcass last night is some kind of gastric torsion–the rumen was full, so were the omasum and abomasum, but partso the small intestine were devoid of contents. The body cavity contained a significant amount of serous fluid. There were dark patches in the midst of both lungs.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 31 2007 at 3:19 pm
One comment:
Mmm… sheep autopsy.

Glad you didn’t show pictures of that! 😉

Comment posted by Micah (ip: on 08 / 09 / 2007 at 11:50 am

Micah’s website:

Mid-east History
For concise, factual history of the conflict surrounding Israel go here.

(Thanks to Uberimma)

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 30 2007 at 8:18 pm
He did it all for Love
And now that many of us have had almost a week to finish Deathly Hallows, I tell you I could not have asked for S.S. and his character to be more fully vindicated.

Isaac was convinced otherwise. S.S. and his allegiance has been the subject of much friendly conjecture for us. And an earlier chapter in the book made him gloat.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 26 2007 at 2:54 pm
One comment:
Grr. Hiss. I have NOT read it yet, and unfortunately now I have a feeling I know where it’s going, Spoiler Lady! :-p

(I’ve borrowed it from a friend but decided to start over from book 1, because I’ve lost track of so much. In the middle of book 3 at the moment. Hope to be done by the end of the weekend? Guess I won’t be looking at your blog again, until I’m done!)

On a totally different series, I checked out the audio version of Master & Commander from the NY Public Library and am listening to it in the car on my MP3 player. It is so witty that I don’t even mind so much that the reader is Doing The Voices (I’m especially not a fan of his voice for Maturin).

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 27 / 2007 at 9:03 pm
Troy Fair Wool Day
Ellie, Shelley and I took our annual trek down to the Troy Fair to judge the hand spun yarns, knitted and woven things made from hand spun and the sheep-to-shawl competition.

It is a long day. We leave about 7.30AM and don’t get home until about 7PM. Later if there are many teams in the sheep-to-shawl.

Best of Show(s) this year: a lovely original design grey Shetland lace shawl made of hand combed and hand spun Targee. Absolutely gorgeous and very well executed. The yarn was the approximate size as quilting thread.

And a hand spun, handwoven blue and white asymmetrical plaid blanket washed enough for the fibers to ‘marry’.

Both heirloom quality.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 26 2007 at 2:44 pm
Puppy Camp
We are watching Chester, a puppy who is about the same number of months old as the young grandchild of a friend has in years–7– who is visiting us each day this week.

Both come from different backgrounds than we offer. Both are learning lots of new things, trying new foods, and hopefully having home disciplines reinforced.

Both also have an older, more experienced mentor whom they adore. Chester has Zeke. The young girl has my girl.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 26 2007 at 2:36 pm
Early July Garden
The pictures are late. Gardens have grown lush, profuse, productive as they usually do this time of year. The difference from February would be a shock if the change were not so gradual.

Here are two small scenes from a small area of the vegetable garden.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 26 2007 at 2:31 pm
Ram Training
The girl has been busy working with the sheep.

First they learned how to be saddled up.

Then they had to learn to take a rider.

Next, hurdles. “Look, Ma, jumping sheep!”

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 26 2007 at 2:24 pm
Nancy was a what?
The girl and I watched the wonderful Roman Polanski version of Oliver Twist last night.

She was horrified by the degradation of the orphan children and wanted to know if such things still happen. Unfortunately, yes, my dear.

She wants to read Dickens’ novel. The movie adaptation makes Fagan and Nancy more lovable than they are in the book. She was struck not only by Nancy’s selfless actions but also by her period Victorian streetwalker costume.

This morning she was explaining Nancy to Isaac, who had not yet seen the movie, and describing her she said she wore one outrageous dress because she was a protestant. “Perhaps you mean she was a prostitute”, he replied after he could speak again.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 11 2007 at 4:29 pm
One comment:

A Protestant!


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 11 / 2007 at 6:55 pm
Firsts Today
* first tomato–a Sungold

* fist cicada heard

* first time we saw a young squirrel cross the road–it made it unscathed

* first time in many months that Banner wanted to play like she used to as a youngster, although she still looks (and maybe will the rest of her life) so misshapen, thin and bedraggled from her motherhood. We think her willingness to play may indicate the youngsters have moved off. Finally. We have gone out of our way to not feed them for the past few days.

* first new potatoes–for lunch–served as boiled buttered potatoes with dill

* Isaac’s first paycheck came. Though small he is already finding out how the government gets what it thinks is its share.

* first time the lambs have been saddled up and taken a couple dollies for a ride. Photo to follow.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 11 2007 at 4:12 pm
Losing Local Custom
It has been a stiflingly hot two days here. We’ve had a great many different guests over this summer so far.

But tonight, what has me thinking is the lack of service afforded towards me by local businesses and how they are losing my custom by their indifference.

Buying locally is made a big deal of here. I wish the businesses would make as big a deal of serving me, their customer.

There is a small local shop offering, supposedly, bulk goods and things not often offered at the local grocery store. But the owners have ignored my request for a quart bottle of vanilla. Instead they requested I bring back the glass bottle which held the last quart I bought from them. They have never refilled it, and seem unwilling to do so. Not only that, but I am pretty sure the price would be several times what I paid originally. At the same shop, I have repeatedly asked for larger aliquots (say, pounds, rather than a couple ounces) of gluten. Without result. No can do. And at a large chain grocer in town I filled out a request form weeks ago for quart sized bottles of seasoned rice vinegar, checking the little box that asked if I wanted someone to get back to me. Have they? You guessed!

So, the little Asian shop is where I now buy not only the 25 pound bags of Three Elephant Brand Jasmine rice from Thailand, but also noodles, soba sauce and quart bottles of seasoned rice vinegar.

I found a wonderful place online for vanilla and recommend you use them if your local dealers are anything like the ones here. Even with shipping, the liquid vanilla and beans were less expensive. They are absolutely wonderful. And two bars of soap were sent for free.

And today after this last gluten fiasco I have ordered from a place called Honeyville a case of six 3.5 pound cans of gluten at the exact same price per pound I currently pay when I can run up to the Mennonite grocery. It is $.30 per pound less expensive than the local shop. Delivered to my door it is $.30 per pound less.

So much for shopping locally.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 10 2007 at 9:30 pm
One comment:
We have the opposite here. My favorite local grocery store (not the one on the corner, the one next door to the bakery) will get me anything I ask for, as long as they can find it. They deliver for free with a $50 minimum, which they don’t really enforce, and on occasion when there isn’t an extra staff member with a car, the owner himself drops my groceries off on his way home. When I was pregnant and all I wanted was Hungarian pickles, not only did the owner order me the pickles, I also discovered that he’d ordered in every other kind of Hungarian pickled vegetable available. I bought them all. They even got in the nightmarishly expensive kosher Parmesan cheese that I don’t think anybody but me buys. The Russian checkout lady answers my grammatical questions and the Hispanic stock guys play with my kids. And they are nice to us every time we go in there, despite all the trouble we cause.
Comment posted by (ip: on 07 / 18 / 2007 at 9:37 pm
Card Making Circus
A week ago today the girl was at camp, the young man at work training and husband at work. A few hours home– alone! I made the most of them.

The cardmess:

Insects waiting in the(ir) wings:

Completed, but out of focus:

Made four.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 04 2007 at 6:42 pm
Save some for me Ellie
Comment posted by Elie (ip: on 07 / 07 / 2007 at 5:24 PM
And I got to buy some of them! Wahoo!
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 06 / 2007 at 12:05 PM
Brother Jay and his family came Sunday for a visit–they are staying at the farm while here in the East.

Rose caught quite a few bass when Jay took her fishing and cooked the bones and heads up in a Philippine soup dish–Sinigang. Boil the fleshy covered bones in water with some tomato, onion and green onion tops, then sprinkle in Knorr Tamarind soup mix for the sour flavor. Best eaten with rice and fresh greens. Yum! I dipped the fillets in half and half, then in a mixture of cornmeal and seasoned bread crumbs and fried them in peanut oil and butter. Another yummy meal. Also served with greens and rice.

Rose and I also went hunting for a round butter dish for her at local antiques shops. No luck with the dish. But she got a small sterling spoon to use in her salt bowl and a couple pieces of jewelry. Some hand worked linen napkins and a cast pencil sharpener in the shape of a working spinning wheel for me.

We played many games of Uno while Rose crocheted doilies and potholders for me from leftover bits of wool yarn.

Jay helped us up the memory quotient of our computer. We used Crucial to figure it out. He rented a silly Canadian movie. We ate a picnic supper and watched the fireworks from the Ithaca home of friends.

We had a high old time.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 04 2007 at 6:31 pm
Blast From The Past
Saturday I met Angela and Chris at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market and as we were wandering around we came to a booth selling blueberry and black raspberry wine. We tasted a sample–pretty good–and then I finally looked at the vendor’s face. It was John Tamburello, whom I had worked with for five years at my first job out of college! “Johnnie Tamburello!”, I exclaimed.

“Excuse me”, he replied, “do I know you”?

When I replied with my maiden name he looked at me a moment and agreed it must be me.

How depressing! I guess twenty-plus years have taken their toll.

He was reticent about describing what it was we actually did together at work to the other ladies, so I told them privately, later. And I will tell you now. We both worked for Eastern Artificial Insemination Cooperative in one of their laboratories. We spent a lot of time making and washing the artificial vaginas used to collect bull semen.

John planted his acres of blueberries over twenty years ago and they produce enough not only for a U-pick operation, but for his winery. Of course, like many small farm operations, his wife’s full time off-the-farm job helps keep things going.

As we were getting ready to move on after buying some of his wares, John tried to assure me I still “look good”. Yeah, right.

Entry posted by jpm14 on July 04 2007 at 6:06 pm
One comment:
You look great, Deb. He just didn’t remember you. 🙂
Comment posted by Abby (ip: on 07 / 05 / 2007 at 9:33 pm
High Summer
Sweet red cherries from the tree for breakfast. Mom and Jay are only picking them by the pail-full rather than eating, as I am.

We are at the farm again to pick up Isabelle this afternoon from Forrestel Farm Camp where she has been since Sunday afternoon courtesy and generosity of her Great Aunt Janice, whose friends own Forrestel.

From the garden at home we have been eating the last large heads of lettuce, broccoli, swiss chard, herbs. The heat finally broke after two large thunderstorms dropped about .35 of an inch rain. The roses are blooming full bore. The rams weigh about 50 pounds each now. Two of Banner’s youngsters have found the feeder where I was leaving food for her.

Zeke chased a small rabbit out of the roses yesterday. The garlic is already starting to brown on the leaf tips. I picked over 100 potato beetle larvae one day–then Jay sprayed. We have seen two Swallowtail larvae ready to pupate, and I have the pupa of a Baltimore butterfly on its grass stalk in a bud vase.

A Woodcock was sitting in the upper end of the driveway one evening when we came home from a picnic. Pounce comes in from his prowls covered with the sticky seeds of bedstraw.

Isaac has completed his orientation and training at the local Target store. Now we will see how many hours he is assigned to work. We have cared for cats, a dog and fish belonging to neighbors. Minn, the very small painted turtle Isabelle caught, is becoming more aggressive towards insects dropped in the water of his aquarium. He seems to like being put in the water barrel for a ‘free swim’ occasionally. Banner has developed the disconcerting habit of finding you when you least expect her and leaping or climbing onto you unawares. It is amusing for others.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 29 2007 at 9:07 am
Recent Reads
A great summer adventure story for the whole family: Leepike Ridge by Nathan Wilson–son of Doug Wilson. I read it out loud to us. Highly recommended.

Ellie read this for her book group then passed it to me: My Father’s Secret War by Lucinda Franks. She pulls no punches towards herself or her father. Thoughtful, insightful, honest, gutsy. Ellie was impressed by the amount of detailed research Ms. Franks did to figure out more about what her father did in the war. Well, Ms. Franks is an investigative reporter…who won the Pulitzer Prize. Highly recommended.

If you liked Gorky Park and Arkady Renko, then Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith will be another book for you.

I did, and it was.

Fresh from Patrick O’Brian’s high seas British navy series, I was interested in the social and physical setting–a Soviet fish factory ship in the Northern Pacific ocean and Arctic sea as much as in the mystery. And, unfortunately, I tend to identify with Arkady Renko and his less than positive outlook on life.

I like how Smith writes Renko; there are leaps in his thought process rather than a dogged slog in which we see every slow weary step. That tack worked well in Lucinda Franks’ real life rememberances, but it gets old in detective fiction.

I picked this up for next to nothing at the book sale this spring.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 23 2007 at 8:12 am
Garden, Sheep
These were before the 1.8 inches of rain this week. The garden has jumped up and the rams are now Snow Whites.

Eating swiss chard now. Cut the young stems up fine, then the leaves in half lengthwise, then strips crosswise. Fake stir-fry in a saucepan with peanut oil that has had garlic sliced in a browned. The water from washing the leaves help steam it all at the same time. Serve with buttered rice and soy sauce, top with grated parmesan.

The boys have been fully weaned for a week. No noticeable growth check. They weigh about 40 pounds apiece. Much less baa-ing. They do get a small amount of grain morning and evening to facilitate their going into their inside pen at night and coming out to pasture in the morning. Grain is like dessert to them. I know dessert works in a similar fashion with children.

I have often thought, since we adopted our children, that there is not a long distance between animal scientist and mother. There is a tremendous overlap in use of skills.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 23 2007 at 7:47 am
By 7Am Saturday morning three of us were off to the second reservoir. It was the first day of bass season! Jay caught four nice ones and a large cat fish. The girl caught a fifty-cent piece sized painted turtle and dug in the sand looking for turtle nests and eggs. I found a dead hawk and caught a couple teensy fish, which were returned to the water. We all saw a humongous snapping turtle surface for air. It was a good three feet-plus long.

Then home to rush around and get ready for a violin recital.

(The recital was not outside.)

Then I finished making rolls, more smoked trout/dill spread and a rice salad (recipe to follow) for a dinner we were invited to. The gardens at MA and Jn’s were fabulous as usual. And great company and food and views. They live on top of one of the highest local hills.

And Paul brought his telescope! We saw craters on the moon, Venus, Jupiter and four of its moons! And at such distances the movement of the earth is easily, rapidly apparent.

Riffle, a young song sparrow which had been ministered to by the girl for a few days, sickened and died of an intestinal ailment. But Minn, the turtle, has eaten quite a bit and is settling into its new fishbowl home (for now).

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 18 2007 at 8:47 am
What do you think?
I resigned as committee chairman from the board of directors of a volunteer organization I have served on for six years last week. There had been many unkindnesses and irritations aimed at me since assuming the chairmanship of this committee. I had prayed a lot before I took the position, during it, and as I made the decision to leave. There were nights with little sleep.

I wrote a letter to the executive committee explaining my point of view and resigning and met with them to read it. They were stunned, amazed, shocked. They were aware of some of the highjinks and had discounted, I guess, the emotional impact they had.

A new person has been appointed chair. Hurray! And I was made aware that a prime purveyor of unkindness had done so because said person could not abide a religiously observant Christian in that position.

The same old story. Liberality is if you are just like me. What else to expect from an agnostic? I like to think the same would have happened if another of my religiously observant (insert other type of belief system) friends had been in the same position. But I wonder.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 15 2007 at 2:39 pm
I’m sorry you had to go through that. Being singled out and tormented is painful.

However, please do not equate agnosticism with a lack of personal morals…. I imagine this particular person has a suite of issues, quite possibly related to a lack of personal integrity, but not necessarily related to lack of outward religious observance.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 17 / 2007 at 8:24 AM
You may be correct, Angela.
This is a familiar topic with us.
Standards (of any sort–including personal integrity) imply a fixed point outside one’s own point of reference. If a person uses only themselves as the reference point the ‘standard’ shifts with the situation.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 06 / 18 / 2007 at 8:31 AM

Herself’s website:

Recent Recipes
Rhubarb Cake

Got this easy and tasty idea from the New Better Homes and Garden hardback spiral looseleaf cookbook which was a wedding present. So it was new over two decades ago.

Dice 3-4 cups rhubarb and combine with 3T. butter, melted, and 1/2 cup sugar.

Spread this mixture in an 8×8 (I used a 9×9) inch pan. Prepare a one-layer white cake mix using package directions and pour over fruit.

(I used the “Busy Day Cake” recipe from this same cookbook. But today I bought two boxes of Jiffy Yellow Cake mix today for less than $.85 apiece for future use).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes or until done. Run a spatula around edge of pan and invert on serving plate. Scrape off the excess syrup and fruit onto the cake. Cut while warm. Serve with vanilla ice cream–or not.

Raves from the home crowd and guests.

Garlic Scape Red Pepper Spinach Pesto

Many plants are senescing ealy due to the dearth of moisture. So the scapes are coming on strong now.

I cut a large handful of garlic scapes (stems only, not the buds) into inch-long pieces and put them in the Cuisenart along with a handful or so of toasted almonds. Process until ground. Add some olive oil, a couple cups of spinach leaves (the spinach is starting to bolt, too) and at least three canned red peppers (three whole peppers worth). Add some salt. Process until relatively smooth. Wonderful on wagonwheels.

I toast my own almonds–it is more efficient to toast a whole pound or more at a time and just keep them in the refrigerator. What recipe using almonds will not be improved by having them toasted?

Tamarind Trout/Salmon

Sprinkle Knorr Tamarind soup mix on both sides of lake trout fiillets or salmon fillets or steaks befor cooking. Last night I baked the lake trout–a gift. In the past when we had salmon I usually microwaved it. Either way it is scrumptious.

Serve with a big green salad, broccoli and rice.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 15 2007 at 2:16 pm
One comment:
Yum. Will try the Knorr salmon recipe. 🙂
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 17 / 2007 at 8:25 am
International Microfinance Loan Repayment
“The business you have loaned to, B.M Jericho Enterprises, has made a repayment of $192.00. The total amount repaid up to now is $576.00. The payment was collected and deposited by Share an Opportunity Microfinance Ltd.. ”

Check out Kiva to the right—>

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 13 2007 at 3:41 pm
Early Summer Day
It is not within my poor powers of description to share with you all the lovely outdoor things that went on today.

The girl and I left at 7.30AM and didn’t get home until almost 11AM. It was hard to believe we spent three hours fishing. I caught one brown trout, saw two beavers, watched sun stripes made by reflections off the ripples shining on tree trunks over the water. At one point I had a large brown within three feet of me, two small fish just by my legs (I was in the water above my knees) when two large lunkers swam slowly past and out of sight. My spinner was caught in a tree. A crayfish was nibbling on a big toe. Sigh. Got my legs from the knees on down all scratched up going through brush on the other side of the stream.

Came home and finished washing and put in the fridge the three heads of lettuce I picked early, along with large spinach leaves, new small chard and a couple other odd leaves. Made smoked trout spread with cream cheese, milk, the said trout (smoked yesterday) and fresh dill. Cut thin slices of homemade bread, toasted them, cut them in quarters and spread on the trout-dill spread. Isabelle cut and placed little dill sprigs on each. Made iced tea and salad dressing. Jay had invited the folks he works with and an elderly scientist (a son of Aldo Leopold) to come see the gardens and eat their lunches here. Jay reports they all had a fine time.

Then this evening while the lambs and Jay and I were up in the field we watched the darkness and great high curved prow of a giant thunder and lightening storm approach from the east twenty miles out. All was light and warm and peaceful where we were. From the east-southeast came the darkness and terrific numerous long jagged lightening strikes and a veil that proved to be a granular yellowy cloud of pollen from all the trees when it arrived with high winds twenty minutes later. The temperature dropped twenty degrees when the wind hit. Large high spindrifts of pollen were flung from our large spruces ahead of the curtain of pollen and dust. Our eyes became gritty with the particulates. The long field grasses were like a roiled sea. Over a mile after the leading edge of the storm cloud passed over us, it began to rain.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 12 2007 at 10:01 pm
One comment:
How beautiful. I miss the cool wind, woods, and fields of New York in summer, especially early summer.

It’s hot here, but we have places to find refreshment. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Barton Springs. The water there is, well, “bracing.” Just being near it helps. Going in takes some chutzpah. It does cool us to the core, though.

Today, we went down to the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Remember our walk in February, and the swimming hole we saw (with no people and not much water coming over the “Twin Falls” lip of rock)? Now the whole width of the creek bed is full of clear water–lots of it, moving pretty fast. We walked across the shallower parts, stopping to lounge in smooth, rocky tubs with sun-warmed water rushing through them. There were people jumping and diving off the rocks into the plunge pool next to the little waterfall.

We floated around in calm, chest-deep water above the falls, then some of us jumped into the plunge pool. I was the lifeguard below, watching everybody go in and come back up.

Next week we’ll go back and check out another swmming area marked on the trail map, “Sculpture Falls,” about a mile upstream.

So goes the summer in Texas.

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 06 / 12 / 2007 at 10:34 pm
What’s Up Around Here
Lots of different kinds of these:

And lots of these, too:

The lambs are down to one bottle a day–in the morning. And they are not real pleased about it. We see the young squirrels playing in the east trees and beneath the hostas in the morning before the cat goes out, which reminds me that Pounce caught something the same day the girl and I went fishing:

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 10 2007 at 5:11 pm
I am the Mother of Miss Ingenuity
This week we have received not quite an inch of rain. More than we have had for over a month! There are brown, late summer dead grass patches in the lawn. The siphon from the spring a hundred yards away has been in use for two weeks.

Yesterday a sudden downpour suprised us in the early afternoon out of a sky which had been sunny a few minutes before. Glancing at the clock it was probable that my piano students, who walk to class here, were going to arrive soaking wet. (They did.) And Isabelle was out with the lambs and did not come rushing in the house. Wondering where she had holed up, I put on a slicker and ran out in the rain to find her. And this is approximately what I saw:

She hadn’t wanted to leave the lambs.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 06 2007 at 9:41 am
Too funny! I wonder if the lambs appreciated her effort at showing solidarity.

What a gal.

Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 06 / 06 / 2007 at 12:21 PM
Thanks for your pictures and news on your blog.
We had .79″ total–one new tree blew partly to the ground.
Staked al 8 trees this p m .
Comment posted by Mom (ip: on 06 / 06 / 2007 at 6:35 PM
Girls Fishing
Catching up on fun things that happened here,

Jay took three girls fishing one morning. These bass were very tasty.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 04 2007 at 12:03 pm
One comment:
The fish were sure tasty 🙂 mmmh
Comment posted by Kirsty (ip: on 06 / 15 / 2007 at 1:18 pm
Another Lovely Skirt
This one made by K when she was visiting with (and without) her family.

The girl living here can not imagine how she ever overlooked the beauty of these two fabrics together. Though not especially apparent in the photo, the first piece is of heavier pink cotton damask than the bottom three tiers, which are printed cotton.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 04 2007 at 11:49 am
One comment:
I need to take up those skirt-making offers…
Comment posted by Abby (ip: on 06 / 05 / 2007 at 10:57 pm
Squirrel Kittens Update
When last you saw a photo, they were six weeks old.

Here is what they looked like last Tuesday:

Quite large. Quite fluffy. They started peeping from the box. Last Wednesday night we saw four of them momentarily out of the box. Thursday AM Isabelle, Zeke, Caspian, Dominic and I all went to the farm (see below). We returned Saturday PM. By that time Banner had moved her kittens.

Jay tracked her last night after she had ripped off and stuffed in a mouthful of cedar bark. The family now resides in the top of the spruce which had its top blown off several years ago in front of our house. We see the kittens racing around way high up in the branches.

Banner still comes for food and is obviously still allowing them to nurse. She looks a wreck! Jay thinks she will bring her brood to the woodpile, where she has been fed, sometime this week.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 04 2007 at 11:44 am
While Naps are Being Taken
The locust trees are in bloom now and I wish, wish, wish there were a perfume in which their sweet scent was captured.

More hay baled this morning. No rain here for the farm.

Lambs’ flexinet moved and hooked up to the cows’ fence–and charger.

The boys did not like short manicured lawn grass. And they quickly figured how to waltz under the cow pasture fence and around out of their fence so had to reset the flexinet up along the pasture fence line to prevent that mischief again.

There is an article on Charley Harper in the latest Dwell magazine. The design of the cardinals is absolutely wonderful.

That article has led to all sorts of interesting design blogs. Have been looking at lots of ‘new’ designs.

Maybe the time is approaching when I will be motivated to market on line if these sites show what is the best and is selling. Some things are good. Some are very, very good. Much is sophomoric. And all is expensive.

Entry posted by jpm14 on June 01 2007 at 3:07 pm
One comment:
For good graphic design, check out the catalog:
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 01 / 2007 at 5:12 pm
Is is really the last day of May?

Well. We have been busy. Very busy. And having much fun with friends visiting for graduation. There was cooking and cleaning and playing and talking and sleeping–too little of that–and walks and feeding and eating: repeat several times daily. And sewing.

And now several of us are here at the farm and everyone else is very busy baling hay because at long last there may actually be rain. I am forbidden the hay wagons, the tractors, the rakes and mowing. So.

There are many pictures to post but they can not be done from here. Many flowers have bloomed. The sheep are now about 33 pounds each. The kittens came out of the box last night–we saw them climbing about. There is lettuce being harvested. The corn is up. Mark’s Maine garlic looks as if it will march right out of the garden it is so large.

Several perennials have failed to show this year; we think the fall was so spring-like some plants never had the chance to harden off before winter. The oldest plum tree, the largest thalictrums, the bamboo from Oakland. The tree peonies were hit hard, but there were a couple blooms on four plants and the oldest, a red, was covered with blossoms–small, but beautiful.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 31 2007 at 4:48 pm
Dominic and Caspian are also growing. They ruminate quite a bit these days about becoming ruminants. They also still love their milk three times a day.

The new fence charger came Monday and they are in the portable Flexinet we have had for years. Remember, we were shepherds decades ago.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 17 2007 at 11:46 am
Five weeks plus old squirrel kittens

They are so cute! My, what long tails they have.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 17 2007 at 11:27 am
Meal for Fifteen
We are blessed to have friends visiting for a small while. A lot of friends! Last night’s meal for 15:

Wagon wheel pasta with canned Sungold tomatos and homemade pesto.

The pesto had been frozen last year without parsley or parmesan. So we had fresh from the garden parsley, parmesan, and extra half and half added to the thawed pesto. I eventually cooked four pounds of pasta.

I also made four cups (uncooked) of rice that was topped with the same.

Fresh green salad from the garden.

Mint tapioca pudding. I make most all puddings in the microwave–while the milk was heating/seething I added sprigs of fresh mint. Before adding the eggs.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 17 2007 at 11:18 am
That sounds like a delicious meal, and not too labor-intensive. (Except for canning the tomatoes and making the pesto last fall.)

We had steak with chimichurri sauce recently. I’d read about chimichurri in the paper–it’s an Argentine “salsa,” or so the writer said, made with parsley and vinegar and served everywhere on meat in South America.

We bought some pre-made at Central Market, and I was surprised to see that it’s very much like pesto. It seemed to be made of parsley, garlic, ground pecans and olive oil, and I don’t know what else. The taste of it on a bite of rare steak was a real pleasure. I will be doing a recipe search; I’m guessing chimichurri varies as much as “salsa” does.

Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 05 / 17 / 2007 at 11:34 AM
Well, never mind that last post; there’s a reason the chimichurri tasted like pesto. I went back to the store to look at the ingredients list, and found that we’d bought a mislabeled package. It WAS pesto–cilantro/pecan pesto.

I bought a little chimichurri salsa to put on grilled salmon tonight. It’s made of olive oil, parsley, vinegar, white wine vinegar, garlic, onion, “spices,” which I think include quite a bit of black pepper, and salt. It’s not nearly as rich as the pesto. salmon tonight.

Comment posted by jeni (ip: on 05 / 17 / 2007 at 4:38 PM
Another Take on Education
A man by the unfortunate name of Crook has an article in The March Atlantic you should read. It is called The Ten-Cent Solution It is about education. It has implications here at home, too. It may even sound familiar…

“Cheap private schools are educating poor children across the developing world—but without much encouragement from the international aid establishment.”

Oh, I found the article thanks to Richard John Neuhouse at First Things.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 12 2007 at 4:12 pm
First Things
Jeni and Chris bought me a subscription to First Things for my birthday. Mine had been let go in a round of local cost-cutting measures. Also, Jay hates so much paper lying around. I finally got round to requesting the code so I can access it online. It is such a good magazine! News you will not, maybe can not, find elsewhere.

Here is a snippet:

From an article titledIndia’s Baby Girls, about an national Indian orphanage plan: “The article quoted Chowdhury: “What we are saying to the people is have your children, don’t kill them. And if you don’t want a girl child, leave her to us.” When asked if setting up such a system of orphanages might encourage even more abandonment of baby girls, the minister replied: “It doesn’t matter. It is better than killing them.”

Although even pro-abortion academics and politicians in the United States would likely condemn sex-selective abortion as morally impermissible (although it is hard to see on what grounds, if abortion is a fundamental right), skeptics and cynics will still say that the cradle scheme is too ambitious, too optimistic, and too inefficient. Who will pay for all these children? Should a developing country waste its resources on babies who are unwanted anyway? What will be the social impact of hundreds of thousands of girls brought up by the state?

India has its simple answer: We don’t know. We don’t know for how long and how much we will be able to pay for this program (but we are committed to trying); we don’t know the impact of spending resources on unwanted babies (but we know it is not a waste); we don’t know the social implications of girls growing up under the care of Mother India (but it is better than killing them). India’s plan is a model of inefficiency­and simultaneously a valiant stand for the value of human life. As a person of Indian origin, I know full well that we Indians love to joke about our ethnic inefficiencies: how we must bargain for everything, how cows slow down traffic in Mumbai, how taxicabs take you everywhere else first before taking you where you need to go. But the cradle scheme is an inefficiency in which we ­and all humanity­can rejoice. It is an inefficiency for justice, an inefficiency for the sake of another. “

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 12 2007 at 4:04 pm
This morning’s walk
Put out and fed the lambs. Fed Banner from yesterday’s thin dry heel of homemade bread well away from her house so Jay could run up and see the sweeties. The cardinal pair and an English sparrow came to the platform where Banner gets fed on the woodpile after a fresh pile of sunflower seed was put there. One of the bluebirds had its head poking out of the box and flew away as I walked up back. Two great blue herons flew over. A mockingbird was running through his repetoire for his mate high up in the hickory. The bobolink was out in the sunny grassy field singing his splendidly ridiculous song. The hawk was screaming.

The wild strawberries are in bloom! The dog-toothed violets, bloodroot and hepatica have been done ten days or more. The trillium, both white and red, are still in full bloom. The may-apples’ umbrellas are up, but the blossoms are not yet open; the buds are larger each time I see them. The blue-green ferny squirrel corn leaves are stunted and browning; even some of the flowers are shriveled and brown instead of pearly with a yellow sheen. They didn’t at all like the dry spell we had; the plants closer to the stream look better. The huge hawk nest is still visible in the greening ash tree crown. Three kinds of thalictrum are up; two are blooming. Spring Beauties and Tiarellas, those cheerful flowers, are showing off. There are five kinds of violets out: two white, two blue and the upstanding, small flowered yellow.

There is a small white flower out whose name I will look up, and in bud another plant which looks to be a relative of the lily. The one small broad bright green leaf surrounds a thin stalk with alternate small buds–a variation on the theme of lily-of-the-valley. The skink cabbage leaves are huge. The beech are in their early velvet leaves.

Three years ago the small rise which used to be covered by maidenhair ferns was part of the woods which was heavily, injudiciously logged. It is now covered with raspberries and the poisonous red elderberry. But there are a few small pockets of maidenhair to be seen opening delicately on the flats between the rise and the spring-fed stream. All the various ferns are uncurling their dainty fingers. But there is no fiddlehead in this woods. I used to gather their buds for spring meals when I lived on the other side of the lake. It becomes clear that the unending din from the crows is because they are harassing an owl. The poor bird gives a few mournful hoots. The various woodpeckers are knocking themselves about on the trees to impress their females. Squirrels and chipmunks chase each other. I spy a portable tree stand in a different place.

Even the hickories, the conservatives of the woods, have decided it is time to allow the young leaves out–slowly, slowly. The maples already have seeds set. There are those wonderful strawberry blooms again. And the lambs.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 12 2007 at 9:46 am
One comment:
Forgot to mention the mosquitos and the first small lovely spider web which the tiny spider had decorated intentionally right down the midline with the long curved brown covers of maple flowers.
Comment posted by Herself (ip: on 05 / 13 / 2007 at 7:36 am

Herself’s website:

Bulb order
I really like having flowers as early and as late into the year as possible. The hardy cyclamen are wonderful –one showing up earlier than almost anything else and one varity waiting until snow is almost falling before blooming.

So I will be putting is some more bulbs this fall which will help brighten up both ends of the year.

-a collection of various Fritillaria species, including

F. Assyriaca , mixed F. meleagris , F. michailovskyi, Fritillaria pallidiflora, Fritillaria persica, and Fritillaria pudica

Anemone bland, blue

Camassia quamash

Hyacinth Woodstock

Triteleia ‘Queen Fabiola’

colchicum ‘Lilac Wonder’ (I may have some of these–photos on line really vary in coloration)

colchicum ‘Violet Queen’

Crocus sativus speciosus Crocus sativus “Conqueror’

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 11 2007 at 11:07 am
These creatures we have seen for the first time this year this week:



-Crow with pheasant egg in its mouth (at the Game Farm)

-hundreds of 2-3mm weevils seeming showering from one of the spruces on the eat side of the house


-grubs, dug up in the garden

-Red eft

-Diemictylus Viridescens, An adult newt of the same species as the eft

-Red Admiral butterfly (caught by its head on the windshield wiper of the truck)

-Carrion beetles

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 11 2007 at 10:22 am
Fish Story
Jay, the girl and I went fishing in the neighbor’s bass pond today. We threw back more than the five we kept. The largest was about 2.5 pounds and 16 inches long.

Right at the end of our time there–a whole 40 minutes–Jay asked the girl if he could use the very small sunfish she had just caught for use in ink printing as bait for a large bass which would not bite on a pollywog. With the understanding that it would be returned to her as soon as he was done.

Unfortunately, the bass swallowed the small sunfish. Three times. The final time the hook came out of the sunfishes’ mouth. Jay had a high old time playing with that big bass. But someone else repeatedly said “He ate my sunfish?”

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 09 2007 at 2:23 pm
Hitchens and Wilson Debate
Over the course of a month, Christianity Today, of all places, will be hosting a debate between these two.

From the introduction to the debate, for those who are not aware:

“Theologian Douglas Wilson and atheist Christopher Hitchens, authors whose books are already part of a larger debate on whether religion is pernicious, agreed to discuss their views on whether Christianity itself has benefited the world.”

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 08 2007 at 9:49 pm
Nutmeg of Consolation
That, along with the Bey of Fundy and Duke of Earl, is how Leo Kottke introduced himself to his audience Friday evening. Mr. Kottke was quite a raconteur and storyteller, in addition to being an incredible guitarist. He seems to have honed his skills to entertain in both to an fascinatingly high level. Fifty years of practice may have something to do with it. But there has also been, I think, much applied effort to be as charmingly ingenuous as he seemed.

Angela tells more about our nice evening.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 07 2007 at 9:23 am
One comment:
Chris and I saw him last year in Austin, and he worked the same magic in that show. There were some long yarns, and snappy back-and-forth with audience members, between the truly beautiful songs. I still remember a long, weird story about a parking lot in Minnesota –?
Karla Bonoff was the opening act. She also had a wonderfully polished and audience-conscious performance style.
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 05 / 07 / 2007 at 11:21 am
In the News

“In March, for the first time in the nation’s history, a federal appeals court struck down a gun control law on Second Amendment grounds.” Story here.

Boo Hiss:

“We did not find any evidence that either of these companies had broken the law” Read From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 07 2007 at 9:08 am
The Young Shepherdess
Entry posted by jpm14 on May 07 2007 at 8:02 am
Banner’s Four Week Old Kittens
You may notice the grey fur, long tails, eyes beginning to open. Why, they look like squirrels!

What a picture can not show is their quick movements to avoid the intruder, and their voices indicating displeasure–a kind of small growl. Their mother taught them that. We hear it each morning when she is very hungry and has just got hold of some food.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 07 2007 at 7:56 am
Rich Cornmeal Cheese Chive Cake
Recipe augmented from the old Fanny Farmer Cookbook.

Grease a 9×9 pan and start oven heating to 425 degrees F.

Mix together in a bowl:

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup whole wheat flour

scant 4 T. sugar

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup shredded cheese, your choice (I used mixed pizza cheeses which came pre-shredded)

a big handful chives, cut in 1/4 inch pieces

a few raisins

Mix together in another bowl:

1 1/2 cups whole milk yoghurt

2 large eggs, beaten

2 T. oil

Quickly add the wet mix to the dry. Stir to just to mix. Pour into pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Cut in squares to serve.

This went with a meal of marinated venison london broil done on the grill over mesquite twigs and ash wood.

Entry posted by jpm14 on May 03 2007 at 6:38 pm
One comment:
Oh yum. That sounds really tasty. Especially with the venison!
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 04 / 2007 at 7:00 am

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