Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Near and Far and In-Between



Tuesday, October 3, 2023

In Praise of Popovers

It had been years since I'd made popovers. but when I was pondering what to have to go with some leftover vegetable soup, I remembered these yummy little puffs.

I'd forgotten just how quick and easy to make they are. Here's the recipe.


Preheat oven to 450. 

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Set popover/muffin tin in oven to heat.

Sift together the flour and salt. Beat the eggs slightly and add the milk. Blend the liquid thoroughly into the flour.

Remove tin from oven and butter each cup well. Pour in batter to half full. (Probably this will half fill 8 or 9 cups.)

Bake 20 minutes at 450 then lower heat to 375 degrees and bake 25 minutes longer or until popovers are nicely browned.
(In my oven, the popovers were pretty much done after the first 25 minutes. I gave them maybe another 5 or 10 minutes at 375.)

Serve hot with lavish helpings of butter. (My favorite part of the recipe. If any are left over, they're not bad cold the next day.)

For a cheese variation, stir 1/4 cup of grated cheddar into the flour and salt and proceed as above.


Sunday, October 1, 2023

Rabbit, Rabbit



"You're doing the seasons with the rabbits!" squealed Josie when she saw what I was working on.

Could be.


Saturday, September 30, 2023

Doggy Daycare


Justin and Claui's dogs often show around lunch time--which is when we feed our three their main meal of the day. Otter and Domino are on a different schedule. . . but the begging is so intense that John fixes 'snack' bowls for then--half a handful of kibble- and removes them to the porch to avoid comparisons.

It makes for a crowd in the kitchen. But there was a time when we had two (large) Old English mastiffs plus assorted other sizable canines. My sister-in-law was visiting and as she negotiated her way through the dog jam in the kitchen in search of morning coffee, she said, "Vicki, you don't have too many dogs; you have too much dogs."

These two think it's still true.

Friday, September 29, 2023

A Must Read


Neil Gaiman or Patrick Tull (narrator of the Aubrey/Maturin series) read me to sleep most nights; Heather Cox Richardson kickstarts my mornings with her Letters from an American. 

Her calm rational prose generally makes sense of today's chaotic-verging-on-surreal political situation. With her intimate knowledge of our nation's history, Heather (as we readers of her daily newsletter call her) brings her deep understanding of our nation's past and the ongoing struggle to live up to the ideals of democracy to bear on the events of today--when that same democracy is under threat from authoritarianism.

Her latest book is here--I pre-ordered--and I look forward the understanding it will bring. And I urge all of you to read it. 

Heather is a national treasure--and you can find her on FB and at 

Now, I have a book to read . . . I'm pretty sure it won't disappoint.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Day the Weaponized Castle Ladies Staged a Coup and Knocked Down the King

The day dawned peacefully. But in the corner cupboard, rebellion was afoot.

Emboldened by their new weapons, the Ladies determined it was time to smash the patriarchy. Even the Queen joined in.

Chaos ensued! But the Sorceress lured the King away . . .

And he was down!  
What will the Ladies do with their new-found power?
The mind boggles.


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Josie the Cow Wrangler


I had a busy afternoon yesterday. Meema picked me up and we went to the library and returned books and I picked out six new ones. There was a girl there who goes to my school--she is in kindergarten--and we played outside. I am in the pink crocs.

She had on boots. They aren't so good for running up the slide like I do.

Then we went in and did puppet shows. I did Little Red Riding Hood for her.

We entertained her little sister.

She is pretty cute for a baby.

Then there was another baby! We had our hands full!

When we got back to the farm, the cows were in the wrong pasture and they could get out and go anywhere!  Oh dear, said Meema, I'd better call Grumpy.

Don't worry! I can get them, I said, and jumped out of the car while she was calling Grumpy. I have done this before and know how to make them go where they should.

You just have to get behind them and kind of shoo them to where they should be. There were about eight of them and most went back in the right pasture but two were off in a corner. I ran fast and got behind them. 

I did it all myself except I needed help getting the gate pulled shut. Meema did that. Josephine, you are amazing, she said. You are like a little Border Collie, you run so fast.

I told her not to worry. If it happened again, she could call me and I would take care of it.

 Finally back at the house, I had a snack and then made some weapons for my Castle Ladies.

Here are some more that are waiting for the glue to dry. They are very fancy.


Monday, September 25, 2023

Killers of the Flower Moon


Now a major motion picture, this book examines the 1920's reign of terror and violence perpetrated by leading (White) citizens against the oil-rich members of the Osage Nation. Yet another shameful example of the exploitation of a minority in the Land of the Free--probably Moms for Liberty will want to ban book and movie, lest any White children feel bad about their ancestors.

I had known that some Native American groups, who'd been forced from their homelands because White settlers wanted the land, had been removed to barren, unpromising territory which later proved to be oil-rich. It seemed like a fine, ironic turn of events.

What I didn't know is that The Government, in its so-called wisdom, had deemed the Native Americans incapable of administering the fortunes that accrued to them through their headrights. And so (White) guardians were appointed for these individuals. 

Many of the guardians took advantage of their positions to skim off vast amounts of money. Some went even further.

Some of these guardians had multiple possessors of headrights in their care. But that wasn't enough. And so began the mysterious spate of deaths among the wealthy Osage.

Due to the unwillingness/inability of local law enforcement to act, eventually the fledgling FBI became involved. And that's another interesting story.

Killers of the Flower Moon is a fascinating tale of venality and corruption, the extent of which will probably never be fully known. A necessary read.

(An aside: isn't that a great title! As it turns out though, it has only the most tenuous link to the events. Ah, well.)


Saturday, September 23, 2023

Autumnal Equinox

The sun is in the middle of our horizon, beginning its long slide south. 

Poised between summer heat and winter cold, we enjoy the glory and the poignant, fleeting beauties of autumn. 

Just now, our windows are still open, but I'm wearing a hoodie and sleeping under blankets at night. 

It's all about balance.


Friday, September 22, 2023

Fuchsias and Coming to the Mountains

The first fuchsia I ever saw was hanging on my friend Vicky Owen's front porch, a little ballerina of a flower. It seemed magical to me like everything in this part of the world--the muted roar of the branch that ran in front of their old cabin, the dance of the hummingbirds feeding in the fluffy pink flowers of the mimosa tree just below the porch, the lilt of the fiddle and dulcimer--back in Chapel Hill, Vicky and Malcom had been members of the Fuzzy Mountain String Band.

My Mothers' Day fuchsias are going strong, thanks to frequent watering. And I've actually rooted some -- a first for me.  Besides being beautiful, fuchsias hold a special lovely memory for me.

In 1973, John and I and not-quite-one Ethan were on a quest to find a new place to live--more nature and fewer people. Florida had become too hot and way too crowded. We were headed north to look at some land in New York state, maybe even in Canada.

But, first, we stopped to visit my old college friend Vicky and her husband on the farm they'd bought only a year ago. After navigating the winding river road from Asheville and finding our way to the Barnard bridge, our hand-drawn map assured us we were almost there--only eight miles! In Florida, that's about eight minutes.

The road up Big Pine is winding and narrow with steep drop offs here and there. That eight miles seemed to take an hour and a half, and we were at the point of turning around, sure we were in the wrong place, when we spotted a landmark the map had shown.

We turned off, at last, onto the road up to the cabin. It was full of large rocks that our Scout could just barely crawl over. But at last we found our friends, ensconced in the old house they were slowly renovating. And I drank in the beauty of the land and felt the appeal of the simple mountain life our friends were living.

What was going to be a brief visit turned into a search for land and an introduction to a community.

 And here we are, with fuchsias on our own front porch and grateful memories of departed friends.