Now I am back in the high desert…but alone.
January 22, 2011
January 1, 2010
I have sad news for those who haven’t heard or who don’t receive the “Bangor Daily News”
“The Coffee Pot” will close today!
A friend called to tell us early this morning as was fitting when calamity strikes. Richard, especially, will be desolate. I haven’t woken him with such sad news. Let him sleep a little longer in innocence (!?!) of that which he must soon learn and accept.
To read more of this tradegy see http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/133768.html
Since the “WordPress” geeks have changed things again, I haven’t figured out how to insert the above as a link.
September 20, 2009
Had some periodontal surgery last week and have laid low for awhile but awoke this morning feeling better and wanting to BAKE. Ave and family were coming for the afternoon and the weather was sunny and breezy with a definite crisp in the air. I wasn’t up to anything too strenuous yet but the combination of improved health, cool weather and expected guests set me in the baking mood.
Cream puffs and anglefood cake were my choices. I had occasionally made these when the children were all at home and always made them together because the cream puffs use the same number of egg yolks as egg whites are needed in the cake. I hadn’t baked those for at least fifteen years but I didn’t remember it as being particularly difficult.
THe custardy filling for the puffs was perfect and cooling in the fridge. The puff dough, however, wouldn’t incorporate properly and after beating it for ten minutes I gave up and threw it in the trash.
The next batch of puff dough seemed to have a better consistency but was suspiciously dense as I spooned it onto the baking sheet and, twenty minutes later, emerged from the oven as golden hocky pucks…into the trash.
So no puffs but there were plenty of egg whites for the angel food cake so I embarked on that endeavor. It had been years since I had made the recipe so scanned the page and got stuff together, but I hadn’t read it carefully enough. Instead of adding the sugar a teaspoon at a time while beating I dumped it in with the flour and saw my lovely cloud of perfectly beaten egg whites dissolve into a white soup in the bottom of the bowl. I beat the bejeebers out of the mess for five minutes to no avail and then perversely poured the thin liquid into the cake pan and baked it anyway. Thirty-five minutes later I slid a one inch thick, rubber-like disk from the pan, cut a small piece to taste (after all, you never know) and promptly tossed it into the trash.
There is still the cream puff filling, I mused, perhaps I could fill popovers since I am definitely not going to try the puff dough recipe again. Again, I hadn’t made popovers for ages so got out my trusty cookbook and scanned the recipe (lesson; do not “scan” any more recipes) and baked a batch. They were flat and gooey in the middle. I had misread the time and temperatures. They went into the trash.
I reread the popover recipe and realized my mistake. I made another batch and cooked them properly and though they wouldn’t win any baking contest, they were suitable for the custard filling and my family said they were really quite good (I still am relegated to soft foods for a few more days). In fact, the popover dough has a great deal less saturated fat than the puff pastry dough.
I began to put a Shepherd’s Pie together for supper and joked that I was almost afraid to cook any more today after my disasterous results this morning. I arranged the beef, onions and corn in the casserole and proceeded to mash and beat the potatoes when I realized the day’s final affront…the mashed potatoes were lumpy.
July 8, 2009
Just realized I hadn’t changed the title “Now In The High Desert” to “Now In Maine” and since we have had weeks and weeks of rain it seemed a foolish thing to forget.
Everything is soggy or damp. Mold and mildew are everywhere. My garden is sodden. The peppers are dead and slugs have ravaged everything but the peas and tomatoes. I had a great crop of spinach coming in and it has all disppeared but for maybe five plants and it is pouring even as I write.
“Bad Day At Black Rock”
June 25, 2009
I was not born with a natural, or should I say godly, gift of patience. Tolerance, forbearance, long-suffering, equanimity, and even-temperedness are all virtues that I admire greatly and have long aspired to.
It seems to me that modern culture denigrates patience and celebrates a restive, impetuous, edgey kind of attitude that fosters intolerance and polemics. There certainly isn’t much in the media that doesn’t espouse self-indulgence in disputation and wrangling, i.e., politics and pseudo-reality shows.
Recently, I reviewed Elder Christofferson’s April 4th 2009 Conference address in the “Ensign” and was struck by his end-notes to his talk, “The Power of Covenants”. He quoted the JS translation of James 1:2-4.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into many afflictions.
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
James indicates that we need patience in order to become perfect thus the process of “trying” or refining or perfecting our faith needs patience. We are, after all, to seek to become like the Savior who is the epitome of
Our God, in His mercy and great long-suffering with His children has provided a world where, usually through our own choices, we have ample opportunity to endure afflictions and endure them with dignity and grace and so learn the lessons of patience and faith…or not.
May 22, 2009
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the brain of a man in possession of the controls of heavy equipment migrates to his butt and stays there until he leaves the seat of power in said heavy equipment.
However little known the abilities of such a man may be on first entering a home construction site, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of surrounding women, that he is considered to have lost the use of his prefrontal cortex by them as long as he remains in the machine.
There is a beautiful rock a few feet west of our cottage at the lake that I have always enjoyed. It is quite large and covered with a two to four inch mantle of centuries of leaf mould which supports a lovely colony of dainty little woodland plants. Decades ago a cedar tree sprouted in this mini lushness and not finding sufficient nourishment sent it’s roots down the sides of the boulder into the earth. The tree is over twenty feet tall and appears to caress the ancient stone and watch over the diminutive garden.
Last fall we decided to have a foundation put under the camp and I made very clear to the man in charge my feelings about the rock and my desire to preserve this beautiful natural work of art.
Today I went in to the lake to start working on restoring the natural order of things after heavy equipment had ravished the whole area around the cottage. My beautiful rock had been abused and violated. He (may his brain forever STAY in his posterior) had dumped two flat rocks onto it that slid down the sides, tearing off most of the soil and cutting one of the cedar roots from the side. The little plants on the remaining small patch of soil had valiantly come forth and bloomed but they were sickly and truly made my heart ache. I don’t know if the cedar will survive and I am unsure about how to restore the tiny woodland garden.
I was so steamed I worked hard outside all day but even now, though I am so tired I can barely finish this, there is a sense of real wonder at the callousness and idiocy of a supposedly sentient adult.
May 10, 2009
We’ve had a great stay here. The weather has, for the most part, been sunny and beautiful. Apple trees, spring flowers and now lilacs are blooming everywhere and help to make a stroll on the walking paths a lovely experience.
We arrived last Thursday on the 30th just in time to see Marcus perform an Indian dance with his class at a local park.
He is also taking piano lessons and I’m suprised at how well he does for having taken lessons for only several months. Baseball is another activity Marcus is enjoying this spring along with sharpening his skills at “arm farting”…oh, to be
almost nine again!
I was also surprised at the progress Lidia has made with violin since last November. Her hard work (and a new violin) has really paid off and I loved listening to her practice. I also had the chance to sit in on her Irish dance lesson. What a workout! Lydia’s tenacity in working towards a goal will be a great asset to her in life.
Friday night we attended Bernie’s dance recital and I realized again what a natural performer she is. One would think she had been raised in front of a camera…so comfortable and completely at ease in front of that big audience! We
celebrated her seventh birthday on Saturday, the 9th.
Also on Saturday we were treated to the musical “Oliver” performed by Georgie’s middle school. Georgie played bass in
the pit band and I had a great view of her during the performance. They all did a splendid job and I enjoyed it very much. Georgie gives up her room to her grandparents when we visit and sleeps on the floor of the “play” room and we appreciate her sacrifice. I’ve also loved hearing her practice the cello while here.
My big problem has been my camera which isn’t focusing properly. I expect there is a setting that needs adjustment
but haven’t found it yet. What a bummah!
April 29, 2009
I’ve been cleaning and packing forever it seems but am just about ready to go . I just packed the car’s trunk and since we have no food in the house will be eating out. Good thing…I’m pooped!
April 19, 2009
I see by the Sebec Lake webcam sebec-lake that the ice is leaving and a rim of blue is clearly visible! If the link doesn’t work it is because WordPress has now made the heretofore simple task of inserting a link an exercise in futility and irritation. I shall post this and see if the link works.
April 11, 2009
I let Bogey’s hair grow all winter so he’ll be warm enough since we rarely turn the forced hot air furnace on here. R and I just add more layers if we get chilly and Bogey’s hair grows and grows.
At this time of year it’s 40-50 degrees at night and warm to hot during the day so Bogey gets his first summer clipping. It is comfortable for him and gives him a month for his hair to grow enough to keep him comforable in a northern spring.
A ground squirrel or some kind of varmint lives under the concrete walk by our house and Bogey has spent many hours this year trying to catch him.