Saturday, August 30, 2014


it's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine ... it's summertime!”
― Kenny Chesney

Saturday Poetry

Antichromatic by Pamela Alexander

A few people had gone out to see if the trees
were still there, and they were, which made us feel safe
for a moment. Then they said (panting, because the had hurried)
that the trees were no longer lit by sunlight
on their tops and sides, nor were they green any more. 
We knew that the animals has left long ago, quietly,
species by species, the way they board the Ark
in the ancient story. What we didn't know, hadn't seen
with our color vision and convolutions
of our blue-grey brains, was when the birds left---
the toucans and yellow parrots, the cockatoos
and scissor-tailed fly-catchers--they took all the colors. 
Of course we should have known, we told each other,
it's reasonable, they had the most to lose.  Then
we didn't know what to do. 


1. Spiritual
     Daily Reading

2. Physical
     Healthy Lunch and afternoon snack
     Exercise 14 minutes 6 times

3. Quilting - Make lattice corner blocks

4. Reading
    The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson
     The Catalan Family Saga by Lewis Weinstein
     Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee

5. Cooking
     Farmhouse Chicken and Corn Chowder
     Spaghetti and Meatballs
     Baked fish, Carrots/thyme, Cabbage
     Banana and Coconut muffins

6. Home/Garden

7. Personal


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Around OakMeadows

The barn swallows are gone, left yesterday.  it is kind of lonely out on the back porch with no swallows zooming in and out burbling their chatter to each other. We had 18 baby swallows that survived and fledged from 3 nests this year. The last nest produced only 2 fledglings. But on the whole a pretty successful year. I wish them a safe trip to their winter home.

The departure of the barn swallows means about 10 days before the migrating hummingbirds start arriving.  I have only 1 feeder up right now but can put up 3 more if needed.  Sometimes they arrive in crowds and sometimes in small groups.  We have had stragglers until mid-October. 

No camera until this Friday so an old photo.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cooking August 4


Texas Chicken Tortilla Soup 
3 Tablespoons butter
½ cup oil, divided
1 onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped
6 ribs celery, chopped
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite size pieces
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, chili powder, salt, & pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper sauce
½ cup flour
1 can Rotel tomatoes
3 cans chicken broth
8 corn tortillas, cut into slices
Grates cheddar cheese 
Heat butter and ¼ cup oil in large kettle over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and chicken.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, pepper sauce, & flour. Add tomatoes and chicken broth.  Simmer 1 ½ hours. 
Just before serving, brown tortilla strips in ¼ cup hot oil until crisp; drain on a paper towel.
To serve, place tortilla strips in the bottom of bowls, cover with soup, top with grated cheese.
Makes about 8 servings.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Meditation August 4

“Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.” 

Yoko Ono

Friday, August 22, 2014

Saturday Poetry August 4

First Relations by Pamela Alexander

Part of the darkness lived. Furred or scaled
according to its mood, it crawled or bounded, snorted
or drooled, it swam or ripped bark from the trees,
and it was powerful because it could do all these things at once
and because it could show itself or transmogrify 
into boulder, log, hummock of grass. We gave it our fear 
freely and bountifully so it would not take more of us;
we made words and gave it a name w never spoke. 
Still it pressed so close we tasted its breath, felt our bones
seized.  And so we slept with fire, which we also feared. 
Children rose up, blood-hot, hungry. We were many. 
Some of us predicted its shapes from the clouds, some
studied its scents, some imitated its calls and silences;
and we followed it everywhere, darkness in our hands. 

Goals for Next Week

1.  Survive taking care of
          2 cats
          2 kittens
          1 elderly dog

2. Physical
     Healthy Lunch and afternoon snack

3. Quilting --  Buy fabric for lattice.

4. Reading
     The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson
     The Catalan Family Saga by Lewis Weinstein
     Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee

5. Cooking
     Shrimp Jambalaya
     Steak, GMP, GB
     Walnut-Raspberry Muffins

6. Home/Garden
     Keep up with the fur, feeding, p&p, and walk the dog 4 times a day. 

7. Personal
     Make appointment for manicure
     Make appointment for housecleaners
     Waste time with kittens


Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium by James Lacey

If you are looking for an in-depth history of England in the year 1000 with an emphasis on kings and battles, this is not your book. But if you are looking for an interesting read on everyday life in England around the year 1000, you might enjoy this book.  The book follows a calendar year.  (Determining just what would be the beginning of a calendar year was an interesting tale in itself.) It follows ordinary people, monks and shepherds and plowmen, through the year as they perform their tasks and have their feasts and lean times. The role  of the lords and the place of women, slavery, the treatment of disease, and the very real prospect of famine all are discussed in a very readable manner.  Good book. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Around OakMeadows

Hot! Hot! Hot!  You would think it was the middle of August (which,of course, it is!)
I really shouldn't complain because we have had only one day so far over 100 degrees.  I know that I grew up without air conditioning but I wonder if I could acclimatize myself to be without it now?? I sure hope I never have to try!

We have had raccoon babies going to the feeding tray on the live oak branch with mama raccoon.  They are cute as cute as can be. I don't have any pictures because I left my camera at Paul's house when we went to this 66th birthday party. I will get it back from them when we meet for lunch on the 28th. 

The sweet kittens are growing every day. We let them play in the back flower beds each evening. They chase dragonflies and bees and never catch anything. Then they stalk and pounce on each other and generally wear themselves out.  My goodness how they eat! Kitten chow and the big cats Fancy Feast.  Henry especially loves his food. They went to the vet this morning for the last shots, worming, and Henry got a refill for his ringworm medication (which is clearing up quite nicely.)

Autumn is coming because all the beauty berry bushes are loaded. I wish I had my camera to show photos.  The mockingbirds love the berries and pig out on them getting tipsy on them as they get overripe and the sugars get turned into alcohol. 
They will also get tipsy on the pyracantha berries. I wonder if they feel bad the next morning??

I have never been much of a Robin Williams fan but it is sad that he was in so much mental pain that he took his own life.  I have had a bout with Depression and I do know that my brain just wasn't working right. I responded to making a change in my life and taking medication for six months. 

Reading about Ebola and wondering how it will play out??  I do know that the very poor African countries where this outbreak originated have no way to implement the isolation and quarantine measures necessary to contain it. Actually, I doubt if any of the African countries have the means to contain it.  Interesting times.

I am about halfway through Rick Atkinson's The Guns at Last Light which is about the European theater from D-Day to VE Day.  I have always thought of how awful the Japanese fight to the last man mindset was but as it turns out Hitler was determined to do the same thing.  It was just one bloody fight after another--from Normandy to Aachen to the Hurtgen Forest to the Battle of the Bulge (where I am now.)  I am taking my time and reading it slowly. Atkinson does a masterful job of drawing the personalities and the difficulties of trying to get everyone working together and the tribulations of just getting things done.  Excellent book. 

I should be able to finish all 56 blocks on my quilt this week and get started cutting the pieces for the lattice.  I plan to use it on the guest bed. I also plan to make some new pillow shams.  It is a nice room with good furniture but very drab so this quilt and the pillows should brighten it up. 

Lots of good cooking last week. It was hot so I made fruited chicken salad one day and tuna salad another. And ice cream...

That's all the news from OakMeadows.  I'm planning a birding trip to Louisiana for this fall when it is cooler and all the birds are down from the north to winter on the Gulf. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Never Enough Roses

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup


2 onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoonful fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 carrots, peeled & sliced ¼ inch thick
2 celery ribs, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 bay leaves
2 bone-in turkey thighs, skin removed (about 2 pounds)
1 cup long grain & wild rice blend
2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley
   Salt and pepper


  1.  Microwave onions, garlic, tomato paste, and thyme in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Stir broth, carrots, celery, and bay leaves into slow cooker.  Season turkey with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker.  Cover and cook until turkey is tender 6 to 8 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.
  3. Transfer turkey to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces, discarding the bones.  Let soup settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using a large spoon.  Discard bay leaves.  Stir in rice, cover, and cook on high until rice is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Stir in shredded turkey and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes.  Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste.




Sunday, August 17, 2014


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
― John SteinbeckTravels with Charley: In Search of America

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday Poetry

Golden-Mantles Ground Squirrel by Sandra Alcosser

Obsequious squeaker
with jerk-beef tail
you come begging
outside my screen. Sidelong
you stare all morning.  
I know that greeting. It's the same as mine. 
You can't make up your flimsy mind. 
Do you like the world better--distant
or direct?  Little Beckett
shifting chicles from one nervous cheek
to the other, will you never seek more
than safe passage?
If I so much as breathe, you convulse
like water on hot grease. Relax,
no one cares about you. If you left
the territory next Friday for good,
there'd be no party. That's the privilege 
of being discreet. You know the warm dens,
The sound of your solitary beat
against the walls, and those strawberries
ripening under my porch,
the ones no hand can reach?
They're yours---
deep maroon, reclusive,
they smell so sweet. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Goals for Next Week

1. Spiritual
     Daily reading

2. Physical
     Healthy Lunch and afternoon snack
     Exercise 14 minutes 6 times

3. Quilting
     Finish 56 blocks for quilt
     Begin cutting out lattice pieces

4. Reading
     The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson
       The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
     Diary of a Provincial Lady by EM Delafield
     The Year 1000 by James Lacey

5. Cooking
     Apple-Pecan Muffins
     Baked Cod, Carrots/thyme, Corn on the Cob
     Steak, GMP, GB
     Slow Cooker Homey Chicken Stew

6. Home/Garden
     Finish trimming and cleaning walkway
     Nag JMM about photo prints

7. Personal
     Make reservations for November birding trip
     Waste lots of time playing with kittens


Monday, August 11, 2014

Gonna be a great day!


I woke up this morning well rested and feeling great and it was only 5am.  So I decided to get up and sort cats.  Little ones out of the bathroom and fed them. Big cats inside and gave them some half-and-half for a treat. Washed clothes and got them in the drier. Now since the sun is coming up, I'll go give my birdies some fresh food and water. The last nest of baby swallow are out of the nest and will probably fly today and that is always such a thrill to watch. Then I have my next 10 quilt patches ready to put together. And 4 good books and an audiobook.  Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry sometime today. So many good things that I don't know how I will cram them all in! And I haven't even mentioned all the time that will be spent watching the kittens. Well, busy day filled with good stuff. I must be up and about!

Cooking August 2

Muffins-Sour Cream Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream (regular, low fat, or nonfat)
2/3 cup milk (whole, low fat, or nonfat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Position rack in center of the oven and Preheat to 400 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray. 
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside. 
In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sour cream until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon until incorporated. 
Can add 1 cup total of any of the following: chopped dried banana, dried blueberries, dried cherries, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, sweetened coconut flakes, or nuts. Any combination as long as total is 1 cup.  
Bake 18 minutes and a smooth light brown.  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cool another 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Henry James
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

Saturday Poetry August 2


Approaching August by Sandra Alcosser

Night takes on its own elegance. 
The catenary curve of snakes,
the breathing, pentagonal-shapes
flowers, the shadblow pliant
and black with berries. Orion
rises in the east, over
fat green gardens, and all the meanness
is forgiven. 

We canoe the river
in the amethyst hour before dark. 
Twenty-five billion beats to each heart. 
Two passengers fish, two paddle
past the chalk caves, the banks
of aster, the flood plains dense
with white tail and beaver. 

We are lost near midnight, a moonless
Summer evening, midseason in our senses,
midlife. The sky overhead like glitter ice. 
The water round swollen cottonwoods
pulls like tresses and torn paper. 

Today I had a letter from France. 
"What a truly civilized nation," my friend wrote
as she drank her morning coffee with thick cream
in a country cafe near Avignon. "To my right
a man in a black tuxedo sips raspberry liqueur 
and soda."

And here on the same latitude we lie back at dawn
on the caving bank of the Bitterroot. 
A shadow slips through the silver grasses 
And then a moth. 
And then the moon. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows

The house is painted and looks very nice. Clean. The next project is the well. JMM has contacted the well drilling company and it will be drilled about the end of August. The shed will follow and finally the irrigation system. JMM is working 2 days a week to pay for all of it.  The rest of the time he is mowing and watering. He had let the back 2 acres grow up to please me--I love the deep grass for the rabbits and other creatures that hide in it and to keep the soil beneath it cool and moist. But he felt that the time had come to mow it.  It is quite a chore to mow 2 acres of thigh high grass. I told him he was getting a riding mower for his 70th birthday. 

I am dreading going to the doctor for my annual physical because I know he is going to tell me to lose weight.  It is difficult when you can't even walk to burn off calories.  I suppose it means going back to Weight Watchers. And no more evening trips to Baskin Robbins. OTOH, if all that is wrong with me is that I can't walk and need to lose weight, that is not such a bad place to be. 

The sweet kittens are growing every day. We had them out in the grass the other evening. The grass was a bit taller than they were and what a time they had stalking and pouncing on each other.  Even dear Bandit watched them play.  We had to bring them inside though when the raccoon family came tromping through the grass--a mama and 4 babies. Their next visit to the vet is on August 15 for worming and another treatment for ringworm for Henry.  They will be neutered in September. There are very few things as sweet as a kitten curled up sleeping on your lap. 

The sun is coming up later each morning. Soon the days will be cooling down. I love  autumn because by the time it gets here, I am fed up with the heat and humidity.  We don't get much really cold weather here just a month or two of nighttime freezing temperatures. Enough to make me appreciate the warmth of spring. 

I'm so sick of listening to the mess in the Middle East.  I can't think of any way to solve it so they may as well get on with murdering each other.  I hope the U.S. will stay out of it and stop selling weapons to any and all of them.  When news about the Middle East comes on, I plan to turn it off and either turn on music or enjoy the silence while I read, cook, quilt, clean, or play with the kittens. 

Goals for Next Week

Goals for the week ending August 15, 2014

1. Finish 10 more blocks for my quilt top. 

2. Reading
     An Army at Last Light by Rick Atkinson
     Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M.Delafield
     Village School by Miss Read

3.  Cooking
     Raspberry Pecan Muffins
     Fruited Chicken Salad
     Tuna Salad
     Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry

4.  Check on NABA fall meeting

5. Nag JMM about photo prints

6. Waste lots of time with the kittens

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wild Hogs

We live out in the country and one of the joys of living here is that we get to see the beautiful creatures who live around us.  However, there are some that are not so lovely, such as the wild hogs. They grow to be 350 pounds of bad tempered destructiveness as they root around looking for food.  On the good side though, they make absolutely delicious sausage.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August Menu

1.  Olive Garden
2.  Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries, Veggie tray
3.  Schlotzsky's 
4.  Baked fish, Carrots, Corn/Cabbage 
5.  Slow Cooker Cassoulet SCR p. 106. 
6.  Beef and Bok Choy
7.  Leftovers
8.  Texas Roadhouse
9.  Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries, Veggie Tray
10. Schlotzsky's 
11. Tuna Salad Sandwiches
12. Chicken-Rice Bake
13. Slow Cooker Beef & Noodle Soup
14. Leftovers
15.  Papasito's 
16. Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries, Veggie tray
17. Schlotzsky's 
18. Shrimp Jambalaya
19. Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Sausage & White beans. SCR p.55. 
20. Stuffed Wieners, Corn
21. Leftovers
22. Luby's
23. Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries, Veggie tray
24. Schlotzsky's 
25. Baked fish, carrots, cabbage
26. Slow Cooker Homey Chicken Stew. SCR p.44. 
27. Spaghetti & Meatballs
28. Leftovers
29. Gringo's
30. Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries, Veggie tray
31. Schlotzsky's 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Meditation. August 1

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby

Saturday Poetry August 1


Woodpecker  by Sandra Alcosser

On the day the poppies
burst their tight green fists
and the geum and the geranium
bloomed all bloody red
and ruby, so the pileated woodpecker

He ricocheted off the pine trunk,
and picking among the yellow bugs
sped quickly to the pea vines. 
Fat-breasted, he drilled his name,
then let it drip and trill
round the Forest, down his throat,
landlord of the mountain, mafioso
in a tweed vest, red-crested whale
of the sky, he announced
the summer solstice. 

And we ran to the window
knowing at last snow would melt
on the Bitterroots to flood our fields,
knowing it was time for the aurora borealis,
heaven's breast, her tentacles
flicking like jellyfish in the shortest 
night of the year. 

And we did the dance of the woodpecker,
the fat flicker, the pagan priest,
When the clover bloomed, the salsify
and wild roses, and we knew
that winter was over, we did the dance
of the smart, hard-headed, flashy
creatures of the world. 

After all, in summer when blood is thick
and dark as the flicker's crest, when we might
all fatten on berries and weeds alone,
isn't there room for each of us,
even the greedy ones?  After all,
have you never wanted to drive at top speed,
to slam into a tree or dive from a ledge
or catch fire or slit your wrists
and let the fluids geyser?
Not suicide, but its burning,
not rage directed at humankind--
no, the heart remains
a sweet berry and ripe. 

But red drives the stickleback wild,
red small spots among the green, amongst
the brown rocks. And so on the long day
of the summer solstice when the world
spins silly with light, we do the dance
of the woodpecker, twirling our skirts
and mustaches, tapping our resonant
Branches, our underwear
flashing white as we shake
the irregular flags of our body
into undulant, raw flight. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Goals for Next Week


Goals for the week ending August 8, 2014

1. Spiritual
     Daily Bible Reading
2. Physical 
     Exercise 5 days 12 minutes
     Healthy Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack

3. Quilting
     Cut and piece blocks for guest room quilt

4. Reading
     The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson. 
     The Year 1000 by James Lacey
     Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield
5. Home
     Print Rome Door photos
     Begin water well installation

6. Cooking
     Cranberry-Pecan Muffins
     Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry

6. Personal
    Make appointment for annual physical
    Waste lots of time with kittens