Friday, June 24, 2022

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry


Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Around OakMeadows


We are enjoying watching the antics of a Mama Raccoon and her 7 babies. Yes, 7. I had thought that raccoon litters were of 4 but this Mama has 7. Anyway, JMM puts a small pile of dog chow on the back porch and we watch as Mama and the babies cautiously come out of the bushes and feed and play. But the most darling thing was when he put out a shallow tub of water. Mama wasted no time in scurrying over and climbing in followed by all 7 littles. Soon Mama climbed out followed by 7 very wet and much cooler littles. 

Can’t have a post in summertime Texas without mentioning the HEAT! Temperatures are around the 95-100 degree mark daily and we very much need rain. No tropical developments so far but the water in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean are well above normal which doesn’t bode well for August and September. We shall see. 

I’ve been helping one of my nieces and it is teaching me so much about living in poverty and how incredibly difficult even little things are.  We live in Texas where public transportation is virtually nonexistent if you don’t live in a major metropolitan area. Add on to that the fact that she has a significant physical disability and a young child and you can see that having a reliable vehicle is not a luxury but a necessity. She has an old car for which she has not had the money to do the routine maintenance. Texas requires a safety inspection each year to get your license plate renewed. No safety inspection, no insurance—>no yearly license sticker—>big fine for driving such a vehicle. So I am helping her get the car in shape to pass the inspection which is due next month. Fortunately, we know a reliable mechanic.  Not being of a mechanical bent myself, I won’t even try to list what all needs to be done—>but it comes to over $700. We did the first part of the work yesterday and will space it out so that all the work will be finished before the end of July and she can get the safety inspection and the license sticker if she has insurance which I won’t even deal with.  Next time, I’ll tell you about her phone problems. Enough for now. Poverty is not for the faint of heart.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Creamy Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Spinach


One of my goals this year is to make one new dish each month. We made this dish this evening and it was delicious. It is one I will definitely make again. 

Creamy Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Spinach


4 boneless pork chops (thick cut)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
8 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
3 cups packed baby spinach

  1. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add pork chops and cook until golden and cooked through. (About 6 minutes per side) Remove from skillet and place on a plate to keep warm. 
  2. Add mushrooms to skillet and cook until softened, 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. 
  3. Add heavy cream, Parmesan, oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, 2 minutes more. 
  4. Return pork chops to skillet and cook until warmed through, 5 minutes. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Poetry for the Day


I Worried by Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not, how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it, and I am well
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism, 
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And I gave it up. And I took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang. 

Around OakMeadows


My Dolly Madison Lilies are blooming.

We have been going out under the trees soon after breakfast each morning before the heat sets in. This morning we took the LadyBuggy for a ride around the property so that I could see how much all the trees had grown in the last 3 years. It was lovely to see them up close. Many of the trees have a base diameter of 12-18 inches. The big water oak is just magnificent. Then JMM did some more watering while I read. By 9 am, it was getting warm and time to go inside. 

The summer heat is setting in. We are supposed to go over 100 degrees this weekend. There are two unknowns always in the back of my mind in summer: 1.) Will the power grid hold and 2.) hurricanes. The Generac helps with the first and we are as prepared as possible for the second. 

The war in Ukraine goes on. While you can’t help but admire the Ukrainian resistance, the fact remains that Russia can strike anywhere in Ukraine at any time but the Ukrainians can’t strike back outside their own territory.  Which means that Russia can pound them into dust for as long as it wants to. I don’t see any way Ukraine can “win.” If I were a Ukrainian, I would be heading to Sweden to ask for asylum. 

I got some quilting books from the library to spur my creativity with what to do with my French General fabric that I bought last week. I had gone to Quilter’s Emporium to get a couple more blues to go into my blue and brown quilt top that I am about to start. I found and bought the blues but on my way out the door, I saw a collection of gorgeous French General fabric that stopped me cold in my tracks. So JMM sat back down while I gathered up 7 bolts of fabric and had them cut one yard of each. We paid for it and JMM threatened me with a blindfold and got out the door. Now I have to figure out what to do with the FG while I get going on the blue/brown. 

If you have Netflix, be sure to watch The Lincoln Lawyer. Interesting characters, good story. Not overly violent. Warning: Once you start, it is binge worthy.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

March Menu


March Menu

1. Chicken-Sausage Casserole, Squash
2. Pork Roast
3. Leftovers 
4. Out
5. Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
6. SC Farmhouse Chicken and Corn Soup
7. Shrimp Jambalaya 
8. Chicken Cacciatore 
9. HB Patties, Sweet Potato 
10. Leftovers 
11. Out
12. CB Hash
13. Burgers
14. Baked Fish, Fire Roasted Vegetables
15. SC Chicken Stew with White Beans and Sausage
16. Pizza
17. Corned Beef and Cabbage
18. Out
19. Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Toast
20. Burgers
21. Cod Chowder 
22. Chicken and Snow Peas
23. Pot Roast
24. Leftovers 
25. Out
26. Macaroni and Cheese, Corn, Salad
27. Chipotle 
28. Baked Fish, Fire Roasted Vegetables
29  Chicken and Spaghetti Casserole
30. Schwan’s 
31. Leftovers 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Slow Cooker Chicken, Tortellini, and Tomato Soup


This is my new recipe for the month of February.  It is adapted from a NYT Cooking recipe. It is delicious.

Slow Cooker Chicken, Tortellini, and Tomato Soup

4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Canned crushed tomatoes, 28 oz. 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
5 oz. spinach
8 oz. cheese tortellini 
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. In a 6-8 quart slow cooker, whisk together broth, tomato paste, and white wine until tomato paste is dissolved. Add tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, oregano, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and chicken thighs. Cook on low 6 hours until chicken is very tender. 

2. Shred the chicken. Add spinach and tortellini. Continue cooking on low for another 30 minutes. 
3. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.