Tag Archives: Featured

Spring Haiku

I was browsing through my poetry binder last weekend and, of course, came across my favorite haiku:

Fan Piece for Her Imperial Lord

O fan of white silk,
Clear as front on the grass-blade,
You are also laid aside
Ezra Pound

It made me wonder if I could find some fun haiku for spring.  There are actually quite a few but I like these two:

Rise from winter’s nap
Stretch to feel the sun’s warm rays
Spring is among us
Shannon Schofield

The temple bell stops.
But the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.

Any spring poetry that you like?  Written any haiku lately?


Fridge Update

Had my annual check-up yesterday.  Nothing momentous and I was only gone from the house for about an hour and a half.  When I got home, bearing Taco Bell, YA informed me that she had taken the handles off the refrigerator to wash them.  Apparently when she wiped the handles down, she felt there was dirt in crevices that she couldn’t get to without removing them.

I’m torn.  It’s nice to know she’s handy and can figure things out (apparently there was some YouTube assistance) but there’s also bewilderment that she would be driven to this task.  I’ve looked closely at the handles and honestly, they look the same to me as they did this morning.

Refrigerator magnets/artwork – yeah or nay?

Sunday Soup

Usually I’m the one checking out cookbooks but a couple of months ago YA asked me to request two for her.   (Don’t ask me why she didn’t request them herself…. I know she has a library card and an online account.)  Both were “Half Baked” titles by Tieghan Gerard – not vegetarian but more veggie recipes than your usual cookbook.

The first one finally showed up last week; both books had a lengthy waiting list.  After YA went through it and marked a few recipes to copy, I figured I should look through it as well.  One of the recipes that caught my eye was the Cauliflower Pale Ale Soup so on Saturday I shopped for the ingredients and yesterday morning, I headed into the kitchen to prepare it.  I had to change it up a bit to make it vegetarian and also because I didn’t have pale ale and didn’t want to buy six bottles/cans.


5 slices of vegetarian bacon, chopped
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 c. vegetarian broth
1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped (6 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tsp. dried thyme
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
1 12-oz. bottle hard cider
½ c. milk (I used skim)
2 Tbsp. butter
Shredded cheddar cheese

How To

  • Saute the bacon in 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Move bacon to a separate bowl and toss with the rosemary, ½ tsp. paprika and the pinch of cayenne.
  • Add the remaining 3 Tbsp. of oil to the pan. Saute the onion and celery until soft.
  • Add ½ c. broth, cauliflower, garlic, thyme, 1 tsp. paprika, pinch of red pepper flakes, salt & pepper to taste. Stir for a bit then add the rest of the broth and the cider.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.
  • Blend the soup (either in blender or using immersion blender).
  • Serve with the veggie bacon bits and cheddar cheese.

It was yummy; YA and I both enjoyed it for lunch.  Between the two of us, there are about 15 recipes we’ve marked with little post-it notes so I’m thinking this might end up being a cookbook we decide to purchase.  Guess I’d better start looking through my current cookbook stash to see which one will have to go!!

Do you often cook with liquor?

One More Time, Once

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

It has been a busy week. Monday, I hauled some equipment to Plainview for an online auction, made two trips, the first hauling our old rear blade, a fertilizer auger, and some smaller stuff. And a second with the forage chopper, and other stuff that I think, if they market it as ‘vintage,’ it could do well. The auctioneer wasn’t even sure they had ever sold any before, but he finally agreed to put it on a pallet and see what happens. (Details after the auction in April).
Tuesday I had one more clinic appointment: I have now been dismissed by the shoulder doctor, the knee doctor, the toe doctor, and the foot doctor. It’s a pretty good feeling.

I also had a meeting in the Cities on Tuesday.
Plus the week was busy at the college working on a set.

I have the song, ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet in my iTunes, and in the opening, Cannonball says, “You know, sometimes we are not prepared for adversity. When it happens, sometimes, we’re caught short; We don’t know exactly how to handle it when it comes up. Sometimes we don’t know just what to do when adversity takes over. And I have advice for all of us. I got it from my pianist, Joe Zawinul, who wrote this tune, and it sounds like what you’re supposed to say when you have that kinda problem. It’s called, “Mercy Mercy Mercy”.

I think that’s true. We talk a lot about how we don’t know how to deal with conflict and how it is hard to learn that a little conflict can be OK — when you know how to handle it. I started to learn that 40 years ago at one of the theaters, and the founders would get into some pretty big arguments behind the closed- but not soundproof door- And then they would come back out, and we are all shuffling our feet and looking at the floor. ‘Conflict is OK’, they would say, ‘You gotta learn to work things out’.
I also have the Buddy Rich Big Band doing a version of ‘Mercy Mercy Mercy’. They are both good.

I have three versions of the song ‘Jessica’; The original, plus two bluegrass versions. I have two versions of ‘Layla’ (the original and the unplugged), ‘As Time Goes’ by Maynard Ferguson and Tony Bennett, ‘El Paso’ by the Grateful Dead and Marty Robbins. Again, so different and both so good. ‘Eli’s Coming’ by Three Dog Night and Maynard Ferguson, ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’ theme, the original and a version by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. ‘Limehouse Blues’ by Jerry Reed & Chet Atkins and also by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; they are strikingly different versions. ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come’ by Three Dog Night and Randy Newman. Two versions of ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ by Benny Goodman, and James Horner & Orchestra. ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ by Joan Osborne and Bob Dylan (The Joan one is really good. Nothing against the Dylan version either!), a couple versions of  ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin and Rodrigo y Gabriela.
A song called ‘There’ll Be Some Changes Made’ from the movie, ‘All That Jazz’, which I thought was original to the movie, until I heard Gene Krupa doing it on the 40’s station. And then, as I googled it for this blog, realized I have Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins doing a version that is SO different I didn’t even make the connection it was the same song. Prior to this revelation, I didn’t realize there were other versions of that song.

Chickens and ducks are still fine, but the coyotes are back. Kelly chased one away Wednesday morning. We’re keeping our eyes open. Bailey needs back up; she won’t engage when alone. She’s a lover, not a fighter.

I spread two bales of straw out for the chickens. They enjoy scratching in that, and it covers up some of the mud.




Normally I don’t click on things like “Worst Sitcoms of all Times” or “Hollywood Actors with Surprising Kung Fu Skills”.  But for some reason, while waiting for a client call yesterday, I clicked on “Bad Movies We Love Anyway”.  I hardly had the site open two minutes but it was enough time to see “VelociPastor”.  No that is not a typo.

When I logged off work for the day, I couldn’t resist… found it on Peacock and within a few minutes had it going.  It was dreadful.  The basic story is that a pastor goes hiking and manages to hike into China (no discussion of WHY he was doing this), runs into a Chinese woman stabbed through the heart who gives him what she says is a “dragon tooth”.  He cuts himself badly and apparently is infected with dinosaur DNA.  Like Bruce Banner/Hulk, when he gets enraged he turns into a velociraptor.  Initially he doesn’t remember these episodes but eventually learns to control it somewhat and becomes a crime fighter – a scaled crusader!

Very bad acting, some of the characters were dubbed, horrible dialog, every stereotype on the planet, unbelievable scenarios (the scumbag who murdered his parents comes to confession and the pastor kills him in the confessional).   Of course, all the mayhem never leaves a drop of blood on him once he transforms back to human.  Oh and he falls in love with the hooker who witnessed his first transformation and eventually dies in his arms.  Half way through the movie, we also get ninjas bent on global domination and I’ll never forget the scene where the pastor and the hooker beat up all the ninjas in their underwear. When they eventually do show the whole transformation, it’s in a rubber dinosaur suit that doesn’t look anything like a velociraptor.

It was so awful it was kinda funny.  Wouldn’t you have to TRY to make a movie this bad?  Was this a “The Producers” situation, where they wanted to make a bad film so they wouldn’t have to pay investors back.  Hard to imagine any other way this movie could have been made.   Yet another bad movie that curiosity has driver me to that I will most likely never watch again. 

What’s the absolute worst movie you’ve ever seen?  And why?

Scared Silly

Scared the bleep out of myself last week.  Just running a couple of errands including a trip to the library for a drop-off and a pick-up.  At this time of year I usually wear a sweatshirt for errands, leaving the coat at home.  After all, just going from house to car, car to library, etc.  A creature of habit, I normally lock the car then put the keys in the pocket of my sweatshirt. 

When I came out of the library I reached into my pocket and… no keys.  I dug down in the pocket then re-traced my steps, thinking that maybe I set them down on the shelf when I was pulling out my holds.  Nope.  Walked back outside to the drop-off box to see if I dropped them there.  Nope.  Stood next to my car for a few minutes (of course, this was a day it was drizzling/sleeting a bit) trying to visualize if I’d had my keys in my hand when I put the book through the drop-off slot.  I didn’t think so.   I headed back into the library to see if maybe in the short time I’d been inside, someone had found the keys and turned them into a librarian.  At least I had my phone and YA was working at home that day so she could have brought me the spare key, but I was already starting to feel the loss of the keychain which my father gave me decades ago. 

As I was about to open the library door, my hand brushed against my pant leg.  The keys were in the pocket of my sweatpants!  It’s still a little unbelievable to me.  I only have two pairs of sweatpants that even have pockets so I never think about having pockets.  I can’t imagine WHY I put the keys in the pants’ pocket instead of the sweatshirt.  But I was unbelievably relieved to find them, not have to embarrass myself in front of the library staff and especially not in front of YA!

Tell me about a time you’ve scared the bejeepers out of yourself?

Over and Over Again

As you all know, I listen to books on CD in the car (and occasionally I drag them into the house as well), audiobooks on my laptop and old-fashioned regular books!   I “curate” my library account so that I don’t have too many things from the library at once and am always happy to find a book that comes in multiple formats.  The format I am still unwilling to embrace is kindle.

A couple of weeks ago the book She Who Became the Sun sparked my interest, so I looked it up and it came in audiobook format.  Since I was getting close to done with my current audiobook and only had one other “up to bat”, I asked for it.  Loaded it and then yesterday morning, hit “Play”. 

I knew in the first minute that I had read this book before.  I was sure of it.  The title resonated but I had assumed it was because She Who Became the Sun is exactly the kind of title that intrigues me.  I looked it up on my spreadsheet and I did indeed read it in 2017!  I can tell you only the vaguest of plot outlines now that I realize I’ve read it, but it’s VERY vague.  I thought about reading it again but decided if I can hardly remember that I’ve read it, much less remember the plot, I’ll move on.  Not quite as bad as having started Devil in the White City THREE times but at least in that scenario I never read the whole book (I always bale when the maggot scene happens in the first chapter). 

Do you ever go to the fridge repeatedly, hoping to find something new there?

Project Hail Mary

I don’t to think of myself as any author’s shill but…..

Spent pretty much all of three days doing not much besides reading Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.  I’d say I couldn’t put it down but was listening to it on CD so not physically holding it.  I don’t want to give much of a recap because there are about a million spoiler alerts but suffice it to say, here is a list of why you might like it if:

  • You liked The Martian
  • You like science fiction
  • You like stories about space
  • You like science explained in a way you can understand it
  • You like humor mixed in with your science
  • You like a main character who is flawed but still very likeable
  • You like books that draw direct comparisons to current issues without bludgeoning you with them
  • You like stories that draw out a little of your emotion

I sent an email to Andy Weir telling him how much I liked it (and he emailed me back within a couple of hours!).  If there were an Andy Weir Fan Club, I suppose I would now officially be a member.  With today’s social media, are there even fan clubs anymore?

What’s the last book you couldn’t put down?

Waited On Hand And Foot

Daughter is coming home for a visit Friday through next Monday, the weather gods willing, and we are all excited. She hasn’t been home for two years. She is currently working six days a week at her agency job and her private therapy practice, and is exhausted. She begins her full time private practice in mid April.

Her plans are to vegetate on the sofa, crochet an afghan for us, and be pampered. We have the yarn. She doesn’t want to go any where, just be at home and have us cook for her.

We planned menus yesterday. There will be chicken enchiladas Friday, German roast pork braised in apple cider with butternut squash risotto Saturday, and pasta with mom’s red sauce and Calabrian meatballs and bruschetta on Sunday. Monday will be leftovers. Her dad has to make bacon and scrambled eggs for her. The bacon must be Cloverdale brand, thick-sliced, hickory-smoked variety, cooked just the way she likes it, meaning it is crisp in the middle and more chewy on the ends. She also wants homemade French bread. I already have two loaves in the freezer as well as the chicken, pork loin, meatballs, and red sauce. There is one remaining butternut from the garden. I think we are set.

What would you request if you could have someone cook for you for three days. When was the last time you were waited on hand and foot?

Getting There

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

A little more snow came down, some rain too, which means a lotta mud. But a lot of snow has melted, and the Red Wing Blackbirds are back, and I’d expect to hear Killdeer anytime, and it could be spring any day now.

Will you smell it first or see it first?

There’s a road coming up out of Rochester that the old timers call ‘Guysinger Hill’. Must have been Guysingers living there at some point. It’s a 3/4-mile uphill curved road and one of the main routes out of the NE side of town. If you’ve been in Rochester less than 30 years, you probably don’t know it by that name.

Same with ‘Samples Hill’, ‘Signal Hill’, or the other colloquial names.

Back in 1983 or ‘84, I was coming home after a cast party and there had been 5” of wet snow and it was all I could manage to get up Guysinger in grandmas ‘67 Plymouth Valiant.

Rear wheel drive you know.
It was late at night, and I was going as fast as I dared when I hit the bottom of the hill. Lost speed the whole way up, and when I finally reached the top, the car was barely crawling, my white knuckles grasping the wheel. At the time there wasn’t a more direct route to our house. There were other roads several miles out of my way and those roads had their own hills. (Rochester was built in a bowl: that’s why the flooding can be so devastating.)

Now days there are several other routes home, but I still often take Guysinger hill. And on snowy days, usually when following someone in the snow driving slower than me as happen last week, I think about that scary night in 1983.

Last week I posted a photo of the junk drawers in the shed. I was in those drawers trying to find some hydraulic fittings.

I’m making some hoses to plug into the hydraulics from the loader, which are in the middle of the tractor, so that I can have a third hydraulic at the back of the tractor for the tilt function on my rear blade. I figured this would be easy. Couple 8-foot hoses, couple connectors, Budda Bing Budda Boom, Bobs your uncle.

Well first, Fleet Farm didn’t have two, 8-foot,1/2-inch hydraulic hoses. Nor did they have the right  combination of 1/2-inch couplers (The male and female end. There are different kinds of couplers too; pipe thread, and ‘O-ring’ and I think something else I don’t know what it’s called) They did have two, 3/8-inch, 6-foot hydraulic hoses and I decided maybe I could make that work. Found a couple 3/8-inch male and female ends that I needed and got home to discover 6 feet was too short. Back the next day to Fleet Farm, and got two, 2’ foot hydraulic hoses, and a couple unions to attach the two hoses together. Built the first hose and got it in place, the next day built the second hose and realized I put the wrong ends on the one end. A hydraulic hose, like an extension cord, typically has a male and a female end. But because this was special, and I was trying to make it do something unusual, I need two female ends. I was feeling pretty stupid about this point; it should have been obvious to me.

When I start back at the college in the fall, it always takes me a while to get back in the swing of things in the shop. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to cut a board. Measure four times, cut five.

That’s what I felt like here, I forgot how to farm. Plus I just felt dumb that I didn’t realize some of these things in the first place. The next day I was up at John Deere and I bought the 1/2-inch correct ends. Took the hoses back out, swapped the ends, got them back in place, hooked them up to the loader connections, went back to plug-in the blade and, I realize a 1/2-inch male plug on the blade will not plug into a 3/8-inch female connector on the hose.

You would think I’d know that.

You would think I would’ve realized, 3/8 is not the same as 1/2. I know this. I know that 3/8-inch is not 1/2-inch. Why that didn’t dawn on me sooner, I don’t know. I was just so excited that I was creating this. I was being inventive, and problem-solving. And blinded by my creativity.



So. I can buy a 3/8 to 1/2 adapter and use the 3/8-inch inch male ends I bought in the first place and change the half inch ends on the blade the 3/8, or I can buy two more female 1/2-inch ends and the 1/2 to 3/8 adapters and change the ends on the new hoses. Jeepers creepers. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to be a farmer yet.

This reminds me of replacing a window screen last summer. Took me three trips to the hardware store to get that mostly right. A friend kept telling me I could have taken it to the hardware store, and had them do it, and it would have cost less and been done right the first time. Right, but this way I learned something.

What I’m learning about hydraulic hoses on this project is that I really need to think it though more.

What have you overlooked lately? When’s the last time you were on a swing? Board, tire, or rope?