Archive

Archive for the ‘hiking’ Category

Gepetto, I want to be a real boy

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Good morning faithful reader. Here in Missouri we had a beautiful weekend of weather and I unexpectedly had a little time on my hands. Yesterday I got some serious time in the garden and completed the cold frame. It was sunny in the 60s and it was too windy to finish raking the backyard. I also futzed around with the big compost bin and remembered to leave it open before the big rain last night. I finished shoveling the cold frame bed and pulled out the grass clumps because the biggest chunk of it was yard prior to the Fall.

I planted lettuce and leaf lettuce. I was out of seed, the seed catalog sitting on my counter unread, so I added some broccoli, cabbage, and peas figuring I would eat the little plantlings in salads. I didn’t have much luck with keeping the deer out of them to growing to adulthood. That sort of thing is supposed to be really nutritious and I would like to eat more salads.

Its been strange living by myself. Its hard to cook for one. I’ve been making a big meal and then eating it for days until it is gone. I made this bowl of dressing that has been two meals thus far with many to come. It was really quite delicious. I took my stale bread crusts, mostly whole wheat store bread, some whole grain white, some wheat/rye made slow to stretch the yeast (14 lbs of flour with the yeast pack) made in a clay oven in the woods in a 19th century camp out by my friend Jeff, and some holiday bread from my sister Betty that got stale on me.

I had sliced and all that dry, I keep a dish of it going through the winter and make dressing when I get a bowl full. I had frozen some Thanksgiving turkey and the drippings and I added that. I also added a bunch of celery, 1/2 red onion, yellow onion, 6 cloves garlic, maybe a tsp of thyme, 1/4 tsp mace, and the rest of my dried white sage from the garden I had dried last year (maybe 2 tbsp).

I baked it in my biggest glass mixing bowl with foil for an hour and without file for 1/2 hour at 400 degrees. Let it cool and yum. The mace really sets it off. Its a powerful spice. I added lots of fresh ground pepper as I didn’t put any in to cook. For left overs I sliced out a piece and baked it in the toaster oven with some smoked gouda and served it with a couple of farm eggs over easy. Will likely do the same for lunch. Better think about dinner, maybe salmon patties and a salad.

Saturday I took Fido for a hike. We were at the dog park but it was such a nice day everyone was there and there were to many big dogs for Fido to relax and run. So we walked down to the trails by Cosmo. Actually that was Sunday, yesterday felt like Sunday but it was Monday being MLK day yesterday. Saturday I did campaign stuff all day. I have two plans to go forward with and am awaiting someone else’s decision which created this space. I also closed down my Facebook account. Hadn’t realized how much I relied on it for pseudosocialization. Maybe I will go out and be a real person instead.

Holiday Letter 2011

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Well its been a tough year on Leslie Lane but Fido and I are resilient if nothing else and still found some joy worth sharing this holiday season as we recount the events of the year for our family and friends. I use the “we” pretty loosely as Fido is sacked out on the love seat with his head on a pillow as his cousin Shadow, “a little human in a dog suit” taught him to do. He rarely much to these narratives so I will plunge ahead without his active input.

Currently I am sick; scratchy throat, sore, chills and tired. Came on last evening, I couldn’t sleep for the congestion, got up and took some Nyquil and almost slept through the time to call in. As I alluded to in my last post and if your a new reader you may not know but we had our share of tragedy this year, Fido’s man died in April and if being sick brings a little solemnity to the narrative, its entirely appropriate; snot riddled and a little tearful looking back on the year that was.

Dad and I celebrated the holidays at home last year. Usually we travel and the year before in a hotel in Monroe Michigan it struck me that I have a perfectly good house with a lovely Christmas tree at home why am I spending Christmas in hotels and campgrounds year after year. I worked Christmas Day and came home to celebrate with Fido and the Popster with the exchange of gifts and holiday cheer. We celebrated the New Year with Dad making a pork roast in the slow cooker, you have to eat pork on New Years to” root ahead” as Grandma Trapp would say. If you eat chicken you’ll scratch all year and beef leaves you standing still chewing your cud.

We had a bad Winter with lots of snow and cold. Since I live only a block from work I was one of only three that made it in and one of two that stayed. We had fun doing all the groups and accommodating ourselves to the weather. I walked Fido a lot. He would have a good time even when the snow was deeper then he was tall. He kind of jumps and swims like his moves to get through tall grass. We owned the Bear Creek Trail that winter.

I made my first road trip of the year in early Spring when Dave Smith won some free tickets to see The Pogues at the Royal Oak Music Theater. It was nice to reconnect with Dave and see his new place and visit family and friends who I’d missed on the holidays. The green  truck did not survive the trip however with the timing chain rubbing its way through the engine case. I landed on my feet and Betty and Bill were kind enough to loan me there car for my stay and rented one for the drive back.

I brought back Johnny Watson for a working vacation here in CoMo. He put in a new floor and tile in my kitchen to replace the crappy linoleum that was cracking even though it was new when I bought the house. The disruption and dust was hard on Dad and it was only a little before that that I saw Dad was struggling to get through his routine and that I was going to have to step up my game and start helping him with laundry and making his bed and real basic shit like that. I cried when Sarah asked me how I was doing the morning I realized Dad couldn’t make his bed anymore. I wondered how I would manage the house on my own and caregive for Dad and work all on my own.

In early April Dad couldn’t catch his breath and I took him to the ER. They gave him a breathing treatment, which eased him up and they almost sent him home, but decided to admit him. I went to work and came back after and he was struggling to breathe. I got on the nursing staff to get him some breathing treatments ordered and went home since he couldn’t visit. I missed a call in the middle of the night and awoke to a voice mail they had Dad on a ventilator.

I called family and pretty much moved to the hospital. Bob was on the road within hours and bedside that night. What a blessing family is. They took Dad off the ventilator to see if he could breathe on his own and we were instructed to get his final wishes. As he was coming out of anesthesia I said “Dad, Dad its Mickey [my childhood nickname]”. Dad licked his lips and said “Mickeys in the wide mouth green bottle, Rolling Rock…” and I could tell he was thinking of beers in green bottles and after a pause he said “I’m not an alcoholic”.

Well he couldn’t breathe without mechanical assistance and that’s a shitty life my friends so we stopped the machines and started the best friend of the dying, good old Morphine. Morphine relaxed him and got him some lung action so he could push out carbon dioxide again and gave him a few good days, to visit and say goodbye and give more family time to come and make peace.

My friends went into action, hosting my family, cleaning my house, walking my dog so that I could be at the hospital full time. They visited and offered support and got us the things we needed. Boone Hospital Palliative Care were beautiful. We drank rum and cokes, Dad had lost the taste for beer with his gluten free diet, but enjoyed a good drink with family and friends and was his charming and engaging self. We snuck Fido in one night and he lay at Dad’s feet while he slept. Dad woke and said “I’ll be damned”.

It was good for Fido who had never been apart from Dad for more then a few hours in his whole life and he seemed to figure out what was going on. Dad hung on for a few days, the price of doing business when your tough as nails. One of the last things he enjoyed was listening to the first two chapters of “Last Stand at Papagos Well” by his favorite author, Mr. Louis L’amour, read by yours truly.

Dad passed and family returned home and Fido and I were alone in our grief. I decided to do the funeral service myself out of respect I didn’t want to hand the chore over to a stranger. I had a small memorial service in the backyard that weekend and sprinkled a little of his ashes on Fido’s predecessor Myrtle’s grave. I wanted to make sure I could get through the thing without breaking down before I did it for the full funeral the following weekend. It went well though my progressive friends wondered how it would go over in the heartland.

It went over really well, people liked hearing his story and having a theologically unique approach was validating to many and offended few (at least they were quiet about it). It gave me a chance to connect with a lot of family as I am normally quiet at such affairs and no one knew I could write and deliver a speech. I submitted the service to the New Yorker but ultimately just posted it on my blog.

I thought I would be alone in the house but this guy Kevin who used to live in Columbia contacted me about renting a room and John came back to stay with me for close to six months which was great having him around. John got some projects done putting in a dog waste compost system in the back corner and building a raised bed frame and a cold frame out of some of the old windows.

The garden was largely a bust this year, tough weather with lots of rain early and then a month long hot and dry spell. Ultimately it got nice but green tomatoes were about the only thing I had in abundance. I fried some, made and canned chutney, and ripened a bunch for homemade tomato sauce several times. Put the last of them in my turkey soup yesterday.

It was a good year for floating, though not on The Big Muddy which was closed for much of the year because of flooding. Michael, Trevor and I floated both the Lemine and Locust Creek. The Lamine was slow and Locust Creek involved a lot of portages due to debris which was new to me. I floated the flooded Overton Bottoms twice. Nothing like canoeing through the woods. My best float though, John put together a full moon night float on the Gasconade on my birthday. That was incredible.

John and I also vacationed in the Appalachians. We stayed in Sieverville for a couple days and daytripped into Great Smokey National Park. The hike to Laurel Falls was probably my favorite but we also watched a mama bear and her cup snacking and lazing about in a gum tree. It was very cool. We dropped south of the park and did some guerrilla and dispersed camping in the Nantahala National Forest. We hiked in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Grove and saw some great old growth trees and hiked to some more waterfalls including another Lauurel Falls. On the way out we camped in the Pisquah, pretty much skippable. It was a great trip though and I got another mile of the Appalachian Trail and my total stands at 157. I pledged to go back and start north just north of the park, but not this year.

Ultimately John moved back to California and my housemate Kevin bought a house and moved out yesterday, so as of today its just me and Fido. We’re content with that, though the house seems big for me and a little dog. In the Spring if a housemate hasn’t turned up on their own I’ll start looking. I expect someone will just show up, its worked so far.

Lets see, entertained less, but some. Had a nice blow out for Thanksgiving, with a local pasture raised heirloom turkey and Kevin made some excellent sides. We had a collection of strays from my neighbor Henry, my buddy Harry originally out of Toledo, Kevin, his new girlfriend, and a couple of professors from the university from way out of town (Italy and Estonia). We had lively conversation and drank some good wine and enjoyed our lovely meal snug and grateful.

Work continues to go well. I was demoted to counselor after a minor screw up. Best thing that ever happened to me. I got a more responsive boss and a more reasonable work load. I continue to do staff trainings, education groups (added self control and dreams to my repertoire), therapy groups, and am getting to be a better counselor. I am a more confident public speaker and am even more motivational. I came to realize people need more preaching then teaching.

I continue to eat more local food and now that I’m buying all the groceries my local content should do nothing but climb. Lets see, I also joined the Odd Fellows and I’m glad to be a part of something both storied and ready to play a more important role as our government slides further into dysfunction.

In October I got into the post a day challenge a little late but upped my blogging game considerably. It challenged me to have something meaningful to say daily and I started picking up more subscribers and “Likes” from strangers. I cancelled my Directv and will likely drop Netflix as I blog more and watch TV less. I hope to get into an exercise routine in the coming year. Still single but feel closer to changing that but am still not feeling rushed. Have a couple folks that I think are interested but haven’t followed up on it. I may, or I may not when it comes right down to it.

All in all some good things happened in a tough year. I am not sorry to see 2011 go but it was a time of growth and change and I am not ungrateful for the experiences I have had. 2012 promises to have more joy and less pain and I look forward to building on the gains I have made, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

feeling a bit chill

December 18, 2011 3 comments

I was watching this pretty intense Australian movie called The Tracker when the VCR just went dead. Got it going again but now I’m blogging. Its got a grooving sound track and its a little heavy handed but good. shit. video out again. I think my DVD player is on the fritz. I guess I am more likely to cancel netflix then buy another one. It’ll be nice to stop them from dipping into my bank account. I haven’t missed directv and haven’t tried to connect the antenna I got from Harry yet. I kind of like peace and quiet.

What a great day, it was so beautiful, especially for December. The sun was out some and I hung a load of laundry out. I made soup. I used chicken stock I’d made and the turkey neck left over from Thanksgiving. There’s a lot of meat on a neck and Fido enjoyed a little integument and such. I added some water a piece and a half of celery and maybe 1/2 a cup of celeriac leaves. I chunked the celery up big. I also added herbs from the garden mostly parsley but also oregano, marjoram and wild onions. I also threw in almost a cup of lentils and cooked that until the lentils were done and turned it off.

I went shopping with Sarah and had a pleasant time at the mall and such and drove carefully through the maelstrom of pushy people on cell phones wheeling around in big SUVs. Didn’t end up getting anyone but me stuff but I got some neat stuff. I had a $15 Target card for being a good worker bee and got a metal colander (I’ve been looking at thrift stores for years and hadn’t found one) and a glass loaf pan.

I had no luck at the Shoe Department looking for a goretex or goretexlike hiking shoe. Did find one at “the locally owned shoe store that happens to be at the mall” as Sarah was an excellent mall navigator having grown up at the mall in her mom’s bookstore,  and got a new pair of Merrels for around a hundred bucks. I walk enough to justify it and I ripped the seams out of the goretex in my current two year pair when I was sinking knee deep in the mud floating the Lemine.

At the kitchen gadget store got my dough mixer I was missing from the pumpkin pies. Even a few pies will justify the expense. No luck on getting a sieve though, I’ll have to try flea markets and antique malls or else start shopping in a time machine. Stopped at Westlakes as Sarah wasn’t finding her present but I got some bathroom caulk and a cute little shot glass that also has teaspoon and tablespoon markers. Should come in handy. I did finish my soup before Michael came with some mushrooms from Harry, a few carrots, a handful of little taters, some kale, some rue Kevin made on Thanksgiving to thicken it, and garlic. Also threw in 3 or 4 semi dried thai chile peppers.

Maybe I’ll make some tea with Baileys and have a piece of my pumpkin pie. No way am I going to make one for Christmas. I’ve been eating it every day for better then half a week. Should have offered Michael a slice when he came to pick me and Fido up to go to the off leash dog trails by Cosmo park. They’re extensive with a couple good little climbs and some nice views. Goes down to the boardwalk and we hiked the extra loop by the golf course. Fido stayed pretty close and had fun playing with Olive. My face feels windblown from the brisk day and my new shoes have some inaugural mud but performed well on the muddy hills.

I could’ve gotten more done on the Christmas front but it was a fun day, the dog had a good time, and I got a lot of other stuff done. I planted the rest of the 50 pack tulips I got at a discount earlier this month. I continued to fold them into the strawberry patch and pull grass. Need to get in and clip up the white sage gone amok and plant another six pack and I’m done with that project. Probably after Christmas though, I’ve really gotta get wrapping and follow through on an idea.

Expect to hear more from me and of course the annual tradition of the holiday letter. Probably would have done it already but it was a somber year here at Leslie Lane. And with all the magic and the growth and getting better at standing on our own two feet, or four feet really for some, it is still worth celebrating a new year coming on. Hope you can make it for some lucky new years dinner, mimosas perhaps, Baileys and home roasted coffee, and weather permitting a fire. Any time after 3 would be lovely and if you get no more invitation then this, consider yourself invited.

 

Categories: cooking, dogs, gardening, hiking

selenelion

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

A selenelion is when the rising sun and setting eclipse moon are both visible in the sky at the same time. Its not supposed to be possible because one rises as the other sets but the view is refracted by our atmosphere so you can the moon even after its set. As I write this the nearly full moon is very big and bright and beautiful out my picture window. It was even more impressive this morning.

I don’t use an alarm as a rule, don’t own one and don’t have a cell phone. I just tell myself what time I want to get up before I go to bed and if I really need to be up I drink two glasses of water as recommended by O’ Henry in the ‘Ransom of Red Chief’. I was up late, restless last night but still up way early, 5ish. That meant I had all the time in the world which meant I was late and didn’t get to witness the gradual reddening. I started with coffee, the first of Honduran as a dark roast. Surprisingly good, my favorite one thus far out of the four coffees I’m currently roasting.

Fido was not excited about getting up early but he’s game for anything especially a walk. We walked to Bear Creek Trail park and no one was out to see it except a couple of joggers who didn’t look up. Had a nice view and there was a reddening of the sky on both the moon set side and the sun rise side. Very cool effect, my second favorite lunar eclipse ever.

Ended up walking Fido down the trail almost to Cosmo park and found the side trails where you can have dogs off leash. They’re really cool trails and we walked 1 1/4 mile before we got separated and I had to go back and find him. Used my Louis L’amour knowledge to know lost folks go down hill and found him. He was happy to see me but still kept taking off so I put him back on the leash. We stopped at the off leash park and he played with this standard poodle. I was proud of him for initiating play because the dog had tried to hump him so bad the last time he was there we had to leave.

Got home and went to The Winter Market. It was more then twice as big as last year in its new location at The Parqaid Center and its also in my neighborhood. There was a large festive crowd and a nice selection for winter. I got bell peppers, candy onions, purple cabbage, my first celeriac, and some goats milk lye soap. That was my only irritant, shelling out $11 for 2 bath sized bars and the guy trying to go for the add on sale of hand lotion. That irks me paying a premium and then trying to hit me for more. My irritation must have shown because the guy got very defensive and I told him I knew the add on sale was a common part of commerce. He gave me a stamped loyalty card which also irked me because if I would have bought my two bars on separate weeks I would have gotten two stamps. Last time I buy more then one I can tell you that.

Then I finished decorating the tree, decked out the ficus and put out the santas. Fido was pretty funny when he saw the one on the table in front of the window and started barking at it. Not going to get on the nice list that way Fido. Actually I have his presents bought. I got him a velvet scrunchie with bells to wear on Christmas, a stuffed donkey, and some duck treats. When I called John and told him Fido was full of burrs from his walk in the woods, he told me I  should tell him when Fido doesn’t have burrs. He is a bit of a burr magnet.

Also gathered some milk weed seed. Going to sow those by the fence row tomorrow. Today I raked some leaves out front. I want to finish that tomorrow plus plant the rest of my bought late at discount tulip bulbs. Other then that been fighting with atheists on another blog. In Santa Monica they traditionally had a series of nativity scenes. After adding a menorah and Kwanza display to the dozen or so nativities they added an atheist display and then put the spots up on auction when there was more demand for inclusion. Atheists won almost all of them and are leaving them empty and only 3 nativities got to go up. It just seemed like a bully action and subversion of the process and I commented to that effect on an atheist blog crowing about their victory. No one dealt with my points and they just made  attacks that had nothing to do with my critique. Fundamentalists are all the same, whether they’re Christian or Atheist. Can’t listen and respond but just launch talking points with no nuance or subtlety.

Made a boiled dinner. Brats out of Hermann (the town, not a name of a pig) turnips, potatoes, carrots, purple cabbage, green beans, garlic, onions, and green pepper (all local) with some fresh ground pepper and caraway seed. Pretty yummy. Going to make vegetable soup out of the leftovers.

All in all a most excellent day. Tired though so probably an early night. Going to try and watch Clockwork Orange. Will see if I can get past the rape scene that it opens up with.

Categories: books, dogs, gardening, hiking, religeon

The Salamander Dance

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Fido is restless wanting to go in and out. He’s been by himself most of the day. He is not a fan of being home all day when I work, even though I come home for lunch but he deals. Tonight I went out immediately after work just stopping by to let him out and pick up the car. I had hoped to leave work early because my lunch got mangled but the day was too difficult to disengage from gracefully except a mere 5 minutes early.

I was rushing because I decided to squeeze a little Occupy Como before my beer and a movie I had planned. Elise was in town and saw her there but I didn’t see the “You Are Awesome” sign which is my favorite. I settled with “There’s Nothing Wrong With You” after passing over a lot of other signs. Even the “We Are the 99%” didn’t resonate today. I am part of the 100%.

I didn’t stay long and headed over to RagTag and had a Cuban and a Schlafley APA, which were both familiar favorites that performed as expected. I also picked up a loaf of Ancient Grains bread and caught a flick with Trevor. We saw Urbanized which was pretty good but dragged a bit and felt like school. Would’ve been a nice break from a boring professor in a class on urban development. But it was visually interesting and showed stuff I did not know. Copenhagen and Stuttgart are smaller then I thought. A human’s visual field is 100 meters by 100 meters and classic cities make their central square that big probably the most interesting thing. I’d never thought of that seems obvious in retrospect. I love stuff that’s like that.

So after unsuccessfully trying to extort a piece of desiccated liver Fido is settling into some tug-o-frog interspersed with some fetch so my post drags out in spits and spurts. its good though he needs the attention and the fun. He’s my buddy.

I was walking him the other day at the Bear Creek Park out past the little lakes and met an old vet walking with a cane. Fido was a little skittish but we struck a conversation and he said “dogs are pretty good partners” and they are. After having been married, lived with folks, siblings, political cooperatives, unintentional communities, roommates, and road trip buddies Fido is enthused, low maintenance, and can make me smile just thinking about him. Its supposed to be nice tomorrow and we’ll go on a long walk. Even if I never get my shit shoveled. Actually should finish that Saturday weather permitting or Sunday for sure. Seems to take all my energy to do much more then tread water.

So once again I am mostly posting to get more poetry up. My hits have been up and I’ve been picking up subscribers as I put out more stuff. I guess at some point I’ll have to start writing some new stuff. I keep singing “Black Iron Prison” hoping to get more but I haven’t added anything I want to keep. But I bet I got at least another 100 floating around in my head and 50 more on scraps of paper and old books and notebooks and probably another 50 floating in the world. So maybe I can keep up the production.

I might share a poem in my ed group tomorrow. I was covering Feelings Management and somehow our ultimate nature came up. I had stated I am not my feelings, I am not my thoughts, and when asked what I was I thought my truest self was my will. That was called my actions but that doesn’t sit right but I couldn’t really explain how the will was different any better then Epictetus’s “moving towards a thing” or a sense of purpose. I also suggested a narrative or a story. There’s a couple of really smart dudes in treatment so it makes me want to take it up a notch and I may share my: i-believe-i-am-a-pattern I posted a couple posts back.

Well tonight’s offering goes back to the ill fated Appalachian Trail hike of 2000. I found it pretty challenging physically and it was an emotional low point but it was also filled with a sense of accomplishment intrinsic in climbing mountains every day and there was poignancy that makes that era very memorable. I had a tangible sense of intense nostalgia when I visited in September. I want to go back and hike more this Spring if I can get motivated on a few projects to make it happen. But anyway the biggest thing I remember was being cold and wet all time. It rained a lot, there was frequent heavy dew, and seemed times we lived in clouds, and sometimes above.

One night we (I hiked it with my wife at the time Amee) got a trail side shelter on the side of a mountain. The clouds came up below us and the other mountain peaks poked up and it was like being on an island in the clouds. But it was hard sometimes to keep spirits up in the rain and wet. But I noticed that that was when the salamanders and such would leave the little springs and streams and you could spot a lot of them out on the trail if your eyes open. I sparked this one and sang it as I wrote it hoping to cheer Amee up (and truthfully myself as well) when it started to rain for the umpteenth day in a row. I called all four of the pieces on the trip Appalachian Spring and a number. This one is number 4 so likely the last, but I can’t be sure of that without looking at a map. I went through a fairly intense non-linear period that I am still not completely over. Have to warn you its more then a bit silly, nonetheless “Appalachian Spring #4 (The Salamander Dance)”:

If it starts to rain by chance

The salamanders do their dance

They do their dance

The salamander dance

And if it starts to rain some more

Then the frogs begin to soar

There’s flying frogs all over the place

There’s flying frogs flying into your face

And if it starts to rain in pails

Then out will come the snails

With their slimy trails

Of snail entrails

And when the rain is finally done

Then out will come the sun

and the hikers will smile

For another mile

But if it starts to rain by chance

Then the salamanders do their dance

They do their dance

The salamander dance

used to read full time

November 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been getting a lot more “likes” on my posts from other poets and that has been flattering. Its also inspiring me to blog more. I was talking to a co-worker about a clinical issue and mentioned I had recently read of a study in Europe more definitively linking marijuana use with psychoses and she looked at me funny and said “how much do you read in a week?” I thought for a second and said “not counting Facebook and stuff, probably twenty, twenty-five hours a week. That’s down a lot from what it used to be when I was knocking out two or three books a week. (I certainly didn’t tell her about Summers as a teenager when I was knocking out a book and a half a day. Anyway, she said “twenty five hours? That’s like a part time job”. The funny thing is up until I bought the house I used to read full time. I also didn’t mention a fair chunk of it lately has been Fantastic Four comics (I’m coming up on the mid 80s, Sue Richards has this spiky mullet, a new low and the time I was coming of age, how sad).

Today it was beautiful out. A gorgeous day for any season but with the coming of winter a precious thing. My COD group talked me into taking the show on the road and took the group on a walk. It was nice to get out on the trail and there was a universal uptick in mood and a couple of total shifts. Mine was improved and I was feeling none to shabby to begin with. Walks are such a no brainer on a beautiful day with a stir crazy bunch who really need to learn the benefits of walking and being in nature. The downside is you get less direct teaching and there’s a lot of stuff I know that could be helpful so I usually keep ’em in the classroom or at most take the conversation outside. Today we walked and it was good.

After work I shoveled the last of the horse manure on the cold frame and started the surplus pile. Might finish it tomorrow if i get an early start and Fido doesn’t want to hang out at the park too long. I’ve been steady on every other day walks most to the dog park. Olive is coming on Sunday so I’ll get a freebie. I’m going to make a chicken. I was going to roast it but with thanksgiving coming up I think I will cut it up and barbecue it.

Today I planned on cooking for myself. I had thawed cube steaks I needed to cook and tomatoes have been ripening on the counter so I put two and two together. I scalded all the tomatoes that were ripe or mostly ripe. While the water was getting hot I fried 2 pieces of bacon. I poured off half the grease and let the bacon soak out some grease in a newspaper (you can’t do that with the internet). I fried up a diced red onion, 1/2 green pepper, 3 thai chile peppers drying on my window sill in the bacon pan. I added tomatoes when the onions started to carmelize about 3/4 of the cast iron skillet and boiled that down, adding some Mrs Dash & Agave nectar to bring down the bitterness of the fresh tomatoes.

I browned the cube steaks 4 pieces, maybe a little more then a pound and patted them in whole wheat flour. I took rest of the bacon grease and sauteed another red onion, this time chunkier, green pepper 1/2 slices and a few baby portobellos I think and browned the steaks. Added all that to the now pretty yummy cooked for an hour tomato sauce and let that simmer for 40 minutes or so (another hour wouldn’t hurt, could have gotten by maybe ten minutes less, it was gooood).

I made a salad with red lettuce, thin sliced yellow squash and shredded carrots. Probably grand total the meal was literally 97% local topped off with Kevin bringing Uprise sour dough whole wheat and cookies for desert. I also had a Boulevard Wheat when cooking. Sweet.

Well in the never ending quest to get more poetry on the web here is a poem I wrote in Creative Writing back before I could write poetry but I was a little clever and got by. This one is about fungi and is in the 5-7-5 syllable format but doesn’t have a seasonal nature so its not quite haiku:

Ascomycetes

What in the world does it mean?

I know I don’t know

pretty fall day

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Continuing to blog every day as an act of discipline and to gear up for write a novel in november month. I have my protagonist and most of a story arc. It came to me today at the market and we’ll see if i can pull it off. Its only 1,637 words a day or something. I have been doing that some days and a third of that every day but yesterday. Blogged twice today, I don’t want to be a zealot about it but i like producing and it’s nice to get caught up after giving myself permission not to push it.

Watching Tiger baseball again. Cabrera got a solo shot in the first and we have the early lead. Scherzer’s pitching. We need two more to go to the World Series, win or go home. Texas is a good team, can move runners around so if the Tiges don’t end up pulling it out its not like they lost to the Yankees or anything. I have dinner on the stove so if you notice a shift in tone, i took a dinner break.

Had coffee early with Harry and John before going to the market. Harry and I decided to get pumpkins so I took two trips and got a ton of stuff. Got two big regular pumkins and a grey green one as well. I put them on the porch but i’m going to get another big one and some pie pumpkins next week and take them all to St Louis for campfire pumpkin carving for Mark’s birthday. It should be a fun trip as Jillian will be in town and we’re also going to a haunted house. Better check my boiled dinner.

Almost, but I want the potatoes to be done. I did turnips, sweet corn (it was planted in July so its like early spring tender), string beans & purple peas out of trevor’s garden, red pepper, yukon gold potatoes, baby portobellos, fresh oregano, red onions, & smoked sausage. Its looking pretty good.

The market was a nice one and it was a little crisp in the morning especially but another beautiful day. We remarked its been perfect for as long as either of us could remember. I could get used to this and I was filled with a keen appreciation for the beautiful Fall day all day. I walked down to the end a little out of sorts as I had a lot of stuff from last week. Got red onions & green zebra tomatoes from Muddy Boots. There’s a dearth of onions this year, spring ones coming in pricey and not a lot put back but these reds were good. Got the sweet corn i mentioned and across the way got a nice head of broccoli and a couple of red peppers from a guy with dusty boots. Got an 8 # bag of fuji apples, got seconds for $5 there  only crime being little. I told the apple lady i’d had good luck with seconds this year and the little golden crisps were some of the best apples i’d ever had. I told her I was making caramel apples and the little ones would boost my caramel ratio. I heard her telling the next shopper what I was doing when I was buying stuff at the next stall.

Grabbed a pumpkin and got charged $5 for pumpkin with the sign “pumpkins 3-4$”. The silver haired gent said it was a $5 pumpkin and I couldn’t argue with that. I spotted the grey green one but with hands full we went back to the car. Came back and got the eye balled and another one marked 800. I said” I’ll that seven and that eight which is fifteen, unless that says b00, how much is the boo pumpkin?” I got a smile from the farmer’s daughter which made me feel better about getting old. Also grabbed a bag of lettuce and listened to the old farmer tell someone he likes his greens raw, except for spinach. me too.

After the market i puttered with laundry and poop scooping washed up and made some egg sandwiches. Put Trevor’s cherry tomatoes, lettuce & the red onion on wheat bread with mayonnaise.  Fried my market eggs in a little bacon grease, it was pretty yummy and john and i reminisced about mom and dad who both enjoyed that sandwich and reveled in it when the tomatoes were in season.

Harry came back and after another round of coffee in the back yard we went for a hike at Rockbridge. We did the trail over on 163 that’s named after  a wildflower, whose name escapes me. A lot of the oaks had dropped their leaves and though the maples haven’t really gotten started we’re already post-peak. Its been so dry not a good year for color but pretty nonetheless. Smelled like Fall with some leaves on the ground. Oh, my Tigers are collapsing. 7-2 in the third.

I had Harry drop me off at Walt’s bike shop and picked up my bike from its broken spoke repair. A group of boy scouts were coming in on a tour, working on their bicycling merit badge. My clerk got summoned for tour duty and he wasn’t looking forward to it. “That’s how kids learn” was my comment and then understood his peevishness when the scout dude apologized for setting it up only 3 hours in advance. “its for the children”.

Did some more errands, shoveled over the big bed in hopes of getting a truck load of compost on Thursday. Want to be ready. Wouldn’t mind getting the cold frame turned over as well tomorrow. Cooked dinner and watched my Tiges collapse to end their season or set up the greatest comeback in the history of baseball. Oh well, some days you win, some days you lose, some days it rains. true dat.

Categories: baseball, cooking, gardening, hiking