The tigers at the Minnesota Zoo live in an outdoor habitat with tall grasses and lots of trees, which makes it difficult for the humans to get a good glimpse. Today, this guy was soaking it up in plain view. Lately, our humidity has been around 72%, so water in all forms is required. Love those big paws. Swat.
I wish my Gram was a princess in a castle with a spell cast over her instead of lying in a hospital bed sleeping. How can I tell her how much I love her when I literally cannot get to her? She is connected to this world by little right now. A shred of consciousness exists. Thankfully the internet gives me access to the latest information which is from my Aunt, her daughter and caregiver of the last three years.
Gram, 94-years, is nearly blind and deaf nowadays. I wondered if I could make her a collage and get it to her some how. Could she feel the letters of "LOVE YOU" rising off the paper? When I spelled this out many ways yesterday, I had been thinking of her all morning and touching things that she had given me. I was with her. So, Gram, if you are out there - can you read my message in a bottle? Can you see the seashells that spell out your name across the beach? Can you see the clouds that are in a heart formation outside your window? Good night and Sweet Dreams (as she used to say to me). You are my Sleeping Beauty. Je t'aime toujours. ~Bun
... left us this week as a wonderful dog and friend to my Aunt (and others) for 17 years (94 dog years). She was simply worn out. I know my Aunt and her household full of friends will miss Miss Poppy dearly and I am sorry their hearts will ache. I do know there are a lot of memories that will bring many smiles and warmth to them all.
My son and I have loved getting to know Poppy through photos, cards, and stories. And when I did get to actually be with her, sweetness shined. Because of Poppy, I have grown to love any whippet that walks by on our busy dog-walking street. None has been dressed as well as Poppyseed though. I only wish I too could have played with her on the beach. Poppy, please drop me a bone from heaven next time you see me at the beach. I promise to toss it back to you. Thanks for all the happiness you brought to this world.
Here I go again, walking out my front door for some basil from one of three verdant beauties. Basil is good in almost anything! Here I've made a simple pesto whose recipe originated from my CSA newsletter. Another easy way to use basil is in cole slaw or as a marinade ingredient. Slice yellow squash and zucchini lengthwise into 1/4"-pieces. Place them in a large bowl and add heaps of chopped basil and enough olive oil to coat each piece of squash. Toss. Let it soak for a bit and then grill.
This year's raspberries are in! Love them. Cannot wait to pick 'em from my back yard bushes during a quiet summer evening. More so, eating them. Is there any better way to nosh raspberries than by tumbling a handful into your mouth? And how about drinking them?
I adore these rubies in an ice-cream drink that I concocted last summer for my husband. He'd endured an all too hot day mowing the lawn. Also, this recipe at Smitten Kitchen looks entirely possible and delicious too -- with raspberries (not that the nectarines don't sound great).
6 full scoops vanilla ice-cream
(I like Breyer's All Natural Vanilla Bean)
1/4 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 cup fresh organic raspberries
2 TBS Amaretto di Sarano
1 1/2 teaspoon Kahlua
Blend ice-cream and raspberries with hand blender (I love my Cuisinart) or in the blender while slowly adding the 1/2 & 1/2 (milk is option too) ... do so until the ice--cream is close to the final consistency that you wish. Keep it thicker because the Amaretto Di Sarano & Kahlua will thin this mixture out. Quickly blend in Amaretto di Sarano and Kahula at end. Makes two 8 oz drinks ice-cream drinks.
After our long on-foot journey around the trails at the Minnesota Zoo we stopped at one last place -- the butterfly gardens. Few things have given me the inspiration to pull out my watercolors and paint again. But the butterflies did it! What's so perfect is that I have photos like these to look at! I haven't been excited about painting for so long. Did someone finally slip the magic "now you have a subject - no more excuses" potion into my protein drink? I do feel a bit floaty.
There I stood only last week at a small-town county history museum. I couldn't miss the group that was milling about the gift shop and among the exhibits. Most were decked out in safari outfits - fully rigged with binoculars, nets, compases and ye ole' butterfly field guide. My specific thought was, "Butterflyers are too geeky and wierd for me!" I'm pretty sure I must have been staring and crossing my arms at the same time.
And so it goes, with equal marvel I'm ready to capture my first butterfly with brushstrokes.
Luke is a great young person and he celebrated his 7th birthday today! He loves sports like no kid I know. And he happens to be good at all of them. He can wear out any adult with baseball, biking or any physical endeavor you can imagine. He is my special Godchild and I have watched him grow up. I met him at the hospital soon after he was born. What a puff of blonde-white hair that stood up straight and long. He has conquered some challenges at a young age but I don't think he knows that. He is curious and clever, loving gum and climbing. He continues to surprise everyone with the good things he does and the funny things he says. He is kind and laid back. Luke has an ever-present smile and joy of life about him. He reminds us all that if we're not having fun - we should try it. Happy Birthday Lukey!
Such ceaseless bucolic pleasures this summer. I'm a baby in the cradle each time I encounter the countryside. My physiological rhythms eventually slow to the fastest thing around me. The leaves respond to the wind and each with a different call. Cattail leaves, oak leaves, tall grasses with rattling tops. In concert, these movements create a wash of calm that blankets and hums me to daily sanity.
Normally I don't post an entry without a photo, but I never did get a really good one of our Froggy. He lived behind the plastic of his happy 10-gallon bowl and it was challenging to capture his true popsicle green hue. He was so fragile a species, our tree frog, that human touch was to be avoided.
Today he returned to the earth by the cradle of a wooden spoon where the microorganisms will break him down into useful nutrients. Nature wastes nothing.
My 5-year old son had cascades of tears on-and-off for about an hour. "Mom, can you lay on the bed and hold me?" I love how he was so willing to ask for what he needed. I am curious to see if the feelings of loss will come back. I bet they will ... and I honestly want to observe how he handles the death of his second pet. When we buried froggy in our garden we offered God a prayer of thanks for this little green energy ball of life.
Later, my son had some thoughts that I left as his. "Froggy was in charge of his own life. Right Mom? .....We were not in charge of Froggy." A few hours passed and then a visit to Grandpa and Grandma's. Grandpa Ed said, "Well, Froggy is in froggy heaven now ..." E said, "Well, he has to return to the earth first."
On the drive back home, I also posed this question, "What can you put in a box? A happy feeling? Giggles? Hunger? I tried to explain the idea of something you can hold or touch versus the intangible. And these happy feelings and giggles are the things that Froggy showed us, even if we don't have him in his little box tonight.
Froggy was my nocturnal blogging friend. To have shared my space (home heart child) with him was a very special exchange with life indeed. I didn't have to hold him in my hand to love him either.
I don't want to romanticize life without an electric dishwasher too much, but it does have its moments. Often my husband and I wash dishes together the old-fashioned way. I am the washer. He is the dryer. We talk about our day, giggle, bump into each other or can enjoy silence. Sometimes, we'll even dance. For a while he was trying to teach me to Polka and it often transpired while doing dishes to Johnny Cash.
"Doing dishes", as we say, is not only good for your relationship, it gives your dishes a longer life, uses less water and allows you to opt for an environmentally friendly dish soap. Mrs. Meyer's (from Minnesota!) Lavender Dish Soap is my favorite. No gloves needed. Kids also stay away while washing dishes. They don't want any part of it!
I use really hot water. In fact I don't fill up the sink with water, I let it run hot on each dish while washing, rinse, then put in the other sink for drying. I don't like the idea of dishes soaking in dirty water.
Next time you're a little lonely, bored or just need the help, hand over the dish towel, put on some music and have a good time. (I also had a good time washing dishes with my Mom last week - so feel free to experiment wish guest dish-washers.)
For the moment, I'm turning away from the bucolic pauses of this blog and turning my creative lens to something new - retail. My neighbors may have wondered what I was doing with salads, buttons and other such things on a white board in my front yard, and I suppose the staff of Target was talking on their 2-way radios too. What is that woman with the camera and kid doing?
Just as Target has planned, they bring visual delight into my life by way of stuff that I didn't know I wanted. I am just trying to go grocery shopping after all, and suddenly I'm meandering down the housewares aisle with a cart of melting Breyers ice-cream and warm Tropicana juice.
Today, the Smith and Hawken outdoor thermometer among many items charmed me. I carted it about for a bit but later stashed it back on the shelf. The week before, I ogled brightly colored linen throw pillows for quite a while. In the cart. Out of the cart. In the cart. Out of the cart.
Target merchandises to women and hey, don't they really do a spectacular job? I have been "putting it back" for a long time, but it's never easy. By the way, I have no regrets about what I didn't buy, but I am still thinking about the thermometer and pillows. I hope they go on sale. (see more of what I didn't buy)
This week I have been doing my Morning Pages at Gale Woods Farm with a cup of coffee. After, I go walking. I do love hanging out with the cows. Can you hear the sound of ripping grass and the chew chew chew? Almost as soothing as the ocean to me.
Very exciting around here. Here's my second harvest from our garden - and it is some of the best tasting lettuce I have ever eaten. Four heads picked yesterday. The very small organic starters originally came from Gale Woods Farm. It's fun to wash this lettuce and it's also a good excuse to try out some new salad dressing recipes. Here is one I really enjoyed.
When the real hot summer hits here in Minneapolis, I want ice-cream. I need it. I eat it. It cools. Ah! I only carry regret when the summer shorts that were becoming so loose, become oh so snug. To make it worse, I have to eat the ice-cream alone. My husband, a long time ice-cream eater gave it up! Yes, he went cold turkey and continues to lose weight. Good for him - and good for me. Less exposure to one source of my belt tightening troubles.
My alternatives to date are homemade mango sorbet and frozen chocolate covered bananas. I made the sorbet last night and I will wait until later tonight to taste it. Thankfully, we were able to properly test the bananas last night, our hottest night yet. Mmm. Perfectly satisfying ... and in my mind, much better for me than ice-cream.
I sip my warm coffee and cream while gracefully boarding the 16' Lund fishing boat - my French press in tow. I zoom across Lake Osakis with splashes of cold water hitting my back. The clouds open for the hot sun. My face is sheltered by a trusty floppy brimmed hat strapped under my chin. Looking around the lake as if I have never seen it before, I breathe in blue, green and shimmering light. My sips are silent against the churning waves. Drinking coffee and eating homemade ginger molasses cookies is better than catching fish. Peace. Coffee. Cookies. Waves. Fish. Outside. Sun. Boating. Morning. Fresh.
Check out my favorite coffee from Vashon, WA, order over the internet. (Guatemalan Reserve mmm!)