Gratitude #4

Today I’ve decided I am thankful for wine.

Yes, the tasty grape.

Evidently, we have the Chinese to thank.

Scientific American tells us:

The oldest fermented beverage known is a 9,000-year-old rice and honey wine identified on pottery shards from the village of Jiahu in central China. According to biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, the wine likely got most of its sugars from the Chinese hawthorn fruit and wild grapes, the seeds of which have also been found at the site. Like the Andean communities today that make chicha from maize, Chinese beverage-makers probably chewed up rice kernels and spit the mash into a communal pot to brew with fruit. It would take another 5,000 years before the Chinese developed their complex amylolysis fermentation system: growing molds on steamed cakes of cereals and herbs and adding them to rice brew.

Doesn’t the ‘chewed up rice kernels and spit the mash into a communal pot‘ part sound yummy?

Almost as good as people squashing the wine grapes with their bare feet!

I guess I don’t really care how it’s made. I just like how it tastes. And that it is a fine treat to come home to at the end of a long day.
And sometimes I like to peruse the aisles of wine just to read the labels.

creative wine labels I like this one because it shows the creativity of whoever made the sweet little cork creatures.

fat bastard wine That one always makes me laugh!

shit creek wine That one made me laugh even harder, but I don’t think I’d actually buy the wine.

unleashed wine This one is kind of fun! I’d by a bottle just because of the label. I have been known to do that :)

word search wine I love this one! I am a word game enthusiast, so I think I would enjoy this wine immensely!

If you want to get more serious about understanding wine labels you could follow this link – it’s quite informative.

Being the 4th of July and all, I wondered what would be a good wine for the occasion. So, of course, I googled it and you would be amazed at how many sites popped up with exactly that – suggestions for wine on the 4th. One proposed Madeira as supposedly that is what our founding fathers were drinking when they signed the Declaration of Independence (in case you were wondering).

Another suggestion was that the wine you drink on the 4th MUST be American made – which makes sense to me. So I am going to go with this one:

It’s a reisling – one of my favorite wines – and has an interesting label that looks kind of celebratory. That’s enough reason for me!

So, here’s to wine and here’s to the 4th of July! Drink up!

Random Stuff

Today I was pretending to clean off my desk. It’s a chore because I never really know what to do with all the stuff that collects there. I tend to be a saver of things, though I can’t explain why I am saving certain things.

That’s what I’m going to talk about today – random stuff.

First of all, I came across two sticky notes taped together. (Isn’t that a funny image? Sticky notes taped together. With tape.)

Anyhow (Is that even a real word? Sometimes it just doesn’t seem right. What does it mean, literally?)

Anyhow, on the first sticky was written this: (or maybe it should be This was written on the first sticky.)

Anyhow, the words on the paper were:

The sun is poking its head out of the clouds like a nervous performer peering through the curtains.

I think I wrote this, but I’m not sure why, or when. And I definitely have no idea whatsoever why I saved it.

On the other sticky it said (Well, actually the sticky didn’t say anything – it was more the words on the page. Well, actually the words on the page didn’t speak either, they had been written on the paper.)

And those words were:

Kelly’s story – Burned hands of a 5 year old – it took 12 beers to cool the burn and kill the pain.

Again, I know I wrote the words on the paper because I recognize my own handwriting, but I have no recollection of who Kelly might be and who the five year old with burned hands is.

Then I turned that sticky over and written on the back (actually it was on the top because the sticky had been folded in half and the Kelly story was written on the bottom half):

Scary ghoul
what a tool.

Flashlight tag.

Again, I haven’t a clue.

I had a cup of tea with me when I was pretending to clean my desk and on the teabag tag (is that an example of homoioteleuton or consonance?) were the words:

“Life is a flow of love; your participation is requested.”

Isn’t that sweet? I will definitely participate.

And I will save that teabag tag and put it in my old, old, old square ink bottle where I have several other teabag tags. I don’t know what they say because I can’t get them out of the ink bottle that looks like the one on the left in this picture:

ink bottle

I also have an ink bottle like this one:

brown ink bottle

I like that one a lot, but I don’t know where it is.

Speaking of tea – I know there are some tees somewhere around here too. You would think I could manage to clean those off my desk. Wouldn’t they be far more useful if they were in my golf bag?

Once I get started ‘cleaning‘ it is incredibly easy for me to find some truly random stuff around my desk, like:
-a paper clip with a heart on it
-a page of punography, including “I tried to catch some fog. I mist.”
-The question – Evidence of my worth as a poet?
-a 30 day squat challenge
and OMG

-a note to self that reads (no, the note doesn’t actually read!) Pay it Forward – Beth, Mary, Marsha, Stu, Ann

Which is a HUGE reminder that there’s a project I am supposed to be doing before 2015 ends so I better quit cleaning my desk and get on that!

See ya’!

Gratitude #3

Today I am thankful for my observant husband who noticed a bee swarm on a pine tree about 20 feet from the hives.

He notices things like that.

I don’t. I had gone out and checked on the bees abut 5:00 pm, so the swarm was probably there at that time, but he’s the one that spotted it about an hour later when he went out.

Wouldn’t it have been amazing to be right there when they swarm came through and landed on the tree? Actually that’s what happened to Dave two years ago and that’s how we got into bee keeping in the first place.

To know what to do when a swarm comes into your space follow this link

To show my gratitude to my husband and to bees in general I will share the pictures I took.

The Swarm

The Swarm

Ready - the ladder, the white sheet, the bee box

Ready – the ladder, the white sheet, the bee box

Are you sure about this?

Are you sure about this?

Then the branch fell unexpectedly - Oh no!

Then the branch fell unexpectedly – Oh no!

The poor bees were dazed and confused

The poor bees were dazed and confused

When I looked up I saw a bee frenzy!

When I looked up I saw a bee frenzy!

Some of the bees were regrouping on another branch. Where is the queen?

Some of the bees were regrouping on another branch. Where is the queen?

In the dark.

In the dark.

On the ground the bees were doing triage.

On the ground the bees were doing triage.

They were so focused on survival there was little chance of being stung.

They were so focused on survival there was little chance of being stung.

Finally, most of the bees were inside the safety of the box!

Finally, most of the bees were inside the safety of the box!

The bees and I are ever greatful to our hero, Dave!


A number of people have been complaining about the rain we have had here in the northeast this spring and early summer.

Fortunately, I am not feeling much sense of discontent with the weather. Truthfully, I am sitting in my home office as I write this, windows open, a cool breeze gently blowing through, listening to the soft, relaxing sounds of the rain falling. It’s very soothing.

Click the play button below to listen, and see if you agree.

In the past few weeks, I have found myself relishing the sights and sounds of nature in so many ways. This soft and gentle rain has occurred many times recently and has played a large part in the success of my garden.

There has been a similar soft and gentle wind many days as well, and the sound of it shushing through the trees has comforted me. Not to mention that that sweet breeze keeps the no see ums and mosquitoes away.

Perhaps I am not opposed to the rain we’ve had because it seems short lived. I mean we have had several days where the rain came in the morning and skies cleared by afternoon, or vice versa. It seems to me a perfect balance.

Today’s rain is appreciated as it allows me the opportunity to do several indoor projects without feeling guilty for not being outside. I feel that way a lot on the sunny days – that I can’t do any inside chores because it is just too darn beautiful to NOT be outside.

There are some things that might not be enjoyed, if not for rain:

close snow in summer

june 23 rainbow - Copy


Nature's Jewels

Nature’s Jewels

The Rainy Day – Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

June 28, 1969

We celebrated a wonderful life event last evening – 46 years of marriage for my amazing parents!

I was 13 when Mom married Jack and a lot of wonderful things have occurred over the last 46 years. These two people, who have always put family above all else, made a life for themselves and their seven children that was rich with understanding, experience, lessons, and adventure. Together they showed us how to raise animals, be self sufficient, enjoy learning, try new things, respect yourself, respect others even when you don’t agree with them, do for others, appreciate what you have, work hard, and be kind.

I often think about how challenging it must have been for Jack to suddenly be the male role model for five children. He was nearly done raising his two children when he married my mom and then one day had five more kids, ranging in age from 8 to 17. We tried his patience many times, but he never gave up on any of us and was always there to lend a hand or good advice when needed.

One of the many joys over the past 46 years has been the family celebrations at the Old Cutter Inn in East Burke, with beloved friend and chef Fritz Walther. The Cutter Inn closed several years ago, though it left us with many cherished memories and longings for the delicious Swiss-German meals we came to love. Think Bratwurst, Schnitzels, Mushroom Toast, Spätzle, Rösti Potato. . .

So, when we invited the anniversary couple out we tried to think of a place we hadn’t been to before and I thought of the Derby Line Village Inn & Restaurant. It was the perfect choice because it was such a fine reminder of all those celebrations over the years at The Old Cutter Inn. Austrian, Fritz Halbedl (yes, another Fritz!) and his wife Paula are the owners and came out to visit with us early in the evening. We had a nice chat about the other Fritz (Walther) and Fritz (Halbedl) mentioned they the two of them have been talking about a joint effort at the restaurant sometime this fall – three of Fritz W’s favorites and three of Fritz H’s favorites. That is something to look forward to!

Last night’s meal was perfect.

Mom and Dave enjoyed the Sauerbraten:



This hearty meal claims to have been cooked with 18 spices and was served with red cabbage sauerkraut and a dumpling. They both raved about it and I’ll admit the taste I had was mouthwateringly delicious.

Jack had the Schweine Schnitzel:

Schweine Schnitzel

Schweine Schnitzel

This was served with spätzle, cranberry chutney and vegetables of the day (including fiddleheads!)

I had the Jäger Schnitzel:

Jäger Schnitzel

Jäger Schnitzel

My meal was also served with spätzle, red cabbage sauerkraut, and vegetables of the day (including fiddleheads!)

All meals came with a family style bowl of garden salad and bread. I have to say, the thing that struck us all as unusual and tasty was the red cabbage sauerkraut. It had a tangy sweet flavor that was a perfect accompaniment to all our entrees. I am going to try to find a recipe to duplicate this dish!

Of course, though we were full enough, we couldn’t resist desserts. Mom and Jack shared Apple Strudel a la mode:

Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel

and Dave and I shared the Sachar Torte:

Sachar Torte

Sachar Torte

It was a lovely evening and such a pleasure to celebrate in much the way we had over many of the last 46 years!

Happy 46th anniversary - Copy

Happy Anniversary Mom and Jack!

We love you!