Thursday, October 30, 2014


Happy Halloween!

This great image of a harmless, little, black kitty is a detail from how to draw cats found at the Graphics Fairy.

It is bad luck to have a black cat cross your path. However, if you are a mouse the opposite is true.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Never Say Never Jelly

So, thirty years ago a woman who was thrilled to see Mountain Ash trees in our yard gave us a recipe for rowan berry jelly. Long after we had moved from the rental house where those trees grew we came upon this lovely fruit and decided it was time to finally make that jelly.

We went looking for the recipe handwritten by our friend who had fond memories of rowan berry jelly from her native Norway.

We could picture the card in the recipe box, but where was it? Oh yes, we remembered, in a mini-fit of clearing-out we decided that we would NEVER make rowan berry jelly and threw it away. Isn't that how it always goes? And isn't that why we seldom can part with a thing?

Well thank goodness for the giant virtual recipe box that is the internet. Most of the recipes were from the UK where they enjoy this jelly with everything from wild game to scones and can only begin to compare it in taste to grapefruit as it is quite unique. 

In the process of making 16 jars of this beautiful jelly we were never going to make we learned:

Rowan berries can make one ill unless they have been frozen first on the tree, or in the freezer. 

An imperial pint is approximately equal to 1 1/4 US liquid pint.

Paint straining bags make great jelly straining bags. (We already knew this, but wanted you to know it too.)

It is possible to make jelly without purchased pectin if you follow the recipe faithfully and have a little faith in the power of natural pectin. 

Jelly is so very good because it is simply fruity sugar!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Meaning of Friends and Flowers

The last blossoms from the last bouquet from the last farmers' market before the big frost.

Dedicated to our first neighborhood friend who is moving, retiring, having a big birthday, and who has always had a big, no, make that huge enough to nurture an entire community, heart.

The meaning of flowers tells us that dahlia brings the meaningful messages and blessings of enduring grace as well as symbolizing inner strength, creativity, and standing strong in sacred values. 

This describes our dear friend perfectly. 

All best wishes to her and congratulations to her new neighbors. Our loss is their gain.

We may just have to go on a road trip to make sure they are suitably appreciative. In any case that is the excuse we will use when we announce we are heading her way. Not that our bags are packed already or anything.

Love, love, love to you and yours until we meet again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Soup Season

The rice arrived. Isn't it beautiful?

First, we will try some cooked plain. Perhaps a bit of butter and salt will be added, but we would like to see what "real" wild rice tastes like.

Second, soup will be made. Extensive research conducted in cooperation with the daughter-in-law found that wild rice soup recipes seldom, if ever, call for any seasoning other than a bit of S and P. The rice gives the soup its flavor. 

And actually, a recipe is hardly needed. Cooked rice and a good chicken or vegetable stock are the basics. Add to that any combination of additional ingredients including, but not limited to onion, celery, carrot, potato, cream, and perhaps a bit of sherry if you are feeling fancy, and you have a wonderful pot of steamy wild rice goodness.

Some recipes call for canned soup as a base. And we are not above that occasional shortcut, but we can assure you that this wonderful hand-harvested delicacy will not be desecrated in that fashion.

The promise of really good soup is almost enough to make us wish for winter weather, but not quite. We are perfectly happy to enjoy it in the many mild autumn days we hope are still ahead before the big freeze.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gratefully Gathering

It was possibly the most beautiful September day ever.

When we received a gracious invitation to go wild rice harvesting. 

Our capable and very patient host acted as outfitter and guide.

He smoothly steered us through the tall plants as we carefully bent them over the canoe and knocked the long, ripe grains into the boat bottom. 

Some fell into the water to become next year's plants.

Many went into the canoe. As well as into our hair, shoes, and decolletage.

Several hours were spent gliding over the water, rhythmically moving heirloom cedar sticks across gunnels,  bounty gently showering down into a pile at our feet. 

We will be pleased if, after cleaning, our day's harvest provides enough rice for a Thanksgiving potluck offering.

And we feel very fortunate to have experienced an important tradition of the Ojibwe people and Northwoods culture

In good company, in good health, under a beautiful blue sky on clear blue water.