Gardening + Nature

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Hi there, and happy Tuesday. It’s a jolly morning in my little office. Linda Ronstadt – Mas Canciones – is on the hi-fi, uplifting and beautiful, if ever there was. Si! Si!

How cute is my sun catcher of a pooch, all sleepy eyed on another day?

fern bush
pasque flower
silver buffalo berry

The garden awakens, bud to leaf to flower, and it never ceases to amaze, so much that disappears every fall comes alive again!

Unicorn left alone. Greg, Juniper, and I, on our morning walk, spied it from a distance. Me thinking, from an entirely different angle, mind you, that it was a human (it was a rather large unicorn), engaged in yoga stretches. When it became obvious a body couldn’t maintain such stillness, and we got a little closer, the truth was revealed.

Given the choice, I am a waffle over pancake person, every single time. There’s no replicating that crispness, perfect pockets screaming for butter and syrup. I’d make pancakes, however, out of sheer necessity. Waffles take time, one by one by one. UNTIL! Until I, searching online for a second waffle maker, stumbled upon this one that makes TWO at a time. Fancy! It looks a bit like what Darth Vader and the Empire would use to get a jump on feeding all those darn Storm Troopers. Black and red, and all. The waffles themselves are mighty fine, too.

This morning, on our a.m. stroll, we saw one of our favorite dog runners take a selfie, utterly seamless in efficiency. Sit down on rock, adorable pooch jumps up, snap photo, with, bonus, Pike’s Peak in background! Insert seriously cool guy sound effect.

Hey Buddy, let’s do what that guy did! We can selfie, right?? Well, my friends, this is what happened before Juniper jumped down and refused to return. I thought I’d share it in the let’s keep-it-real vibe. Keep on keeping on. And much laughter to you, too.

Lord lift my weary spirit, so I can find rest and eternal peace within You. May I stand on mountains and walk on the stormy seas. Give me that unspeakable joy to dance in the rain (or snow)!


When I was little, my mom made the best peach cobbler, the perfect balance of sweet, tender batter and canned peachy delight. I tried a lot of different recipes on my own without much satisfaction until I realized I should just ask her for the recipe (duh!). It’s pretty spectacular with peaches, of course, but I had some pie cherries in need of eating and tried it with them. So very good! How silly, too, that the simplest solution is often the most overlooked. I need more reminders of that. Just ask!

I made sesame crackers with the leftover almond milk meal. They are fantastic!!

The eggs are a Yvette Van Boven recipe that I riffed on, but are basically baked in cream, with the addition of curry (which looked so cool) and ham. They reminded me of the breakfast bowls Greg and I so love, minus the English muffins. To continue on the breakfast theme, have you ever baked oatmeal, then sprinkled the sugar over the top before broiling it? It’s a bit like creme brulee and a winner, especially the crispy bits topped with butter.

The cake is Delta Caramel, and it looks lousy, truth be told, but WOW, does it taste great. If you are a newby, like me, to the recipe, it calls for the icing to be drizzled over while warm, but there’s no way you’re going to fill that gap with something warm and oozy. Next time I’m waiting for it to cool a bit. Yessir. And in the Huh? category, Delta Caramel Cakes are in the top ten for a funeral. How about that?

More snow! We are finally getting our winter on here. Boy howdy, yes!!

Hello almost February! How that is upon us, as I often feel time is crawling around baby sloth-like, I don’t know. We are still largely sequestered and not really minding. The most exciting event in our personal lives has got to be the re-opening of the library. I filled my biggest basket and caught up with my favorite librarian, a delightful return to normalcy, despite the mask wearing and distance.

Another January, another cleanse – we’ve been 99% gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar-free. The sugar being the most difficult part. I’ve made a ton of almond milk and used the leftover meal to make the blue corn bread, which was quite tasty, especially with a little butter and honey.

Juniper waits patiently for lunch.

I wish the image properly displayed the intensity of light at the moment – a brilliant beam from on high!

It is prime puzzle season, and this one of Mont Saint Michel, is one of the most difficult we’ve ever tackled, so much sky and similar textures!

We had two wonderful snow storms earlier in the week, bringing about five inches to our area, though hardly making a dent in the wretched drought figures, so I keep my prayers aloft for yet more.

Juniper, peppercorn, and bay leaf brine for chicken, which made for a marvelous lunch. I made a fabulous Bavarian coleslaw (up yonder with the sausage and mashed potatoes), which won high praise from yours truly and though he thought it was good, did not taste like childhood for my dearest man, so I rectified it with one he loved. We do our best.

Our cute little woodsman incense burner, which we bought at a magical holiday market in Pittsburgh, continues to delight!

Not nearly often enough, we empty, scour, and refill the refrigerator. I, in my maniacal delight at soldierly, short to tall rows of jars finds it oddly comforting, opening the doors, even when I need not a thing, just to gaze upon it and marvel.

We had a few meals out in the world before COVID numbers began to creep up, and up, and up, but have since relegated ourselves to 100% home cooking. Ribs with salad and sweet potatoes; Asian glazed drumsticks, fluffy rice, and a mess o’ spinach and roasted pepper; herb drumsticks and roasted broccoli some of the prettiest lately.

A walk or two a day keeps our spirits soaring. So, too, does playlist making, reading – books and magazines alike, Star Trek Discovery gotten from the library, The 2017 iteration of Twin Peaks (so YOU, David Lynch, and I must add how beautiful his silvery locks are!), sipping the hottest of coffee with creamy homemade almond milk come the weekend, bedtime cuddles, and chats with those I love.

Such lovely soup weather we are having. This is lemon chicken & rice.

Hearty beef chili with pinto beans and plenty of New Mexico and pasilla chiles.

Topped with an egg for breakfast the following day. Um, yeah…

I am still making soap, and I daresay these are my prettiest bars! After initially going gonzo with various butters and oils, scents and add-ins, I have whittled down my favorites. The top is a rather luscious goat milk, of which I made two varieties this time: plain and lemon-bay leaf, which smells like summer all year long. The speckled variety in the center photo is orange-rosemary-mint, our dreamy shampoo and body bar. Truly. The white bar is unscented 100% coconut oil and slated to be our new laundry soap. I’ll tell you how it goes. In the mean time, it’s so pretty to look at. They all are, really.

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