Sunday, January 22, 2017

January Cooking -- Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

  • 1 lb. Hot Italian sausage, casings removed 
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, choppedkosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 large russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch curly kale, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, coosausage, breaking up with theback of a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain fat.
  2. Add garlic and onion and let cook until golden, 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and potatoes and enough water to cover the potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in kale and let cook until leaves are tender and bright green, 3 minutes, then stir in heavy cream.
  4. Garnish with Parm and serve.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

January Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows 

Each year we celebrate 3 birthdays in January: JMM and my two sisters-in-law.  It has become a tradition that I bake a German Chocolate birthday cake for them. This year I totaled up their ages and bought numerical candles to put on top. That's what the 217 on the cake is all about.  We met at the Olive Garden for lunch and then had birthday cake for dessert which we shared with our waitress.  The rule was No cake for anyone who mentions politics. The rule was followed and a pleasant time was had by all. 

Rain, rain, and more rain! The back of the property looks like a swamp. But the sun is out and no rain is forecast for the next 4-5 days so it will dry out.  With the exception of a couple of days, we are having the mildest winter I can remember. I hope this doesn't mean that we will have a killer hot summer. Oh well, I'll enjoy the pleasant temperatures while I can. 

I am making steady progress on my plan to use up my fabric stash to make quilts.  I have one being machine quilted now and I have the monster quilt ready to take in for machine quilting.  I estimate it will take about 5 years to whittle it down. No joke, 5 years. 

Somehow in my high school and college education, I managed not to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It was written in 1951 but it is as relevant to today as it could possibly be. Now, instead of interactive walls, we take our interactive phones with us everywhere.  Excellent.  I also finished Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal. Another excellent book.  Quite a difference between current thinking and what I was taught as a psychology minor in college in the 1960s. Currently I am reading Lindberg by A.Scott Berg. The History group on GoodReads will be reading it in March and since it is a lengthy volume, I thought I would get a head start on it.  So many books, so little time. 

That awful man is now the President of the United States.  I just hope his narcissistic impetuousness doesn't start a war with a nuclear power. How we ended up with such a lying liar is just beyond me. 

We are planning a trip to visit our daughter in Washington, DC in March. I want to go to the Newseum and the National Gallery for sure. Not sure what else we will have time and energy to see.  But before that is the trip to London and Paris next month; I don't remember whose idea it was to go in February but I'm sure it will all work out fine in spite of cold and rain.....

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats shed all over everything and the people have learned to live with it..

January Meditation

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find outthat going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity." John Muir

Goals for the Week of January 22-28, 2017

     Daily Bible Reading
     The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis 

     Exercise DVD
     Healthy Breakfast 

Quilting -- Repair Bear's Claw Quilt

    Lindberg by A. Scott Berg
     America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray
     Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

     Scrambled Eggs, Ham, Toast
     Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup 
     Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
     Spaghetti and Meatballs 
     Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

     Take in Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste

     Friday would be my mother's birthday 

Winter Trees by William Carlos Williams

All the complicating details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

South Texas Butterflies Part II

More butterflies from our post Thanksgiving visit to South Texas. 

Phaon Crescent 

Julia Heliconium 

Gulf Fritillary 

Great Southern White

Crimson Patch

Monday, January 16, 2017

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

Traditionally, humans have been thought to be uniquely intelligent, able to plan, coordinate, and adapt our behavior, environment, and society.  De Waal stresses commonalities between human and animal cognitive capabilities.

The point is not which species is smarter than another. De Waal presents evidence that intelligence, or cognition, is diverse.

Instead of a scale of intelligence with species placed upon it, de Waal urges us to think in terms of a bush — with branches sprouting in all different directions, diversity and variety rather than more and less or higher and lower. Ecologically, animals are as smart as they need to be. Each has developed the capacities it needs to meet the challenges of its ecological niche.

 The main point is that there is more continuity than discontinuity between human cognition and animal cognition. If we realize that we are not the only intelligent species, we may find ourselves changing both our regard for ourselves and our regard for other species.