Friday, December 18, 2009

A Song for Mother's Night

The Mothers´ Night of Yule

Stanza 1
The mother´s night of Yule has come,
Another wheel is turning,
To Asgard´s hall we strike a call:
Come join us and share in your learning.

Hail, hail to the Ase and Van,
Your might and main known to every man.
Come, come to our hallowed hall
And join us for drink and boasting.

Stanza 2
The wall between our fallen kin
and us is ever thinning,
We feel their might course through the night
The web of wyrd we are spinning.

Stanza 3
Together stand we, lov├ęd kin,
Our hearts and strength are we bringing.
As Yule draws nigh, our spirits high
Will fly on the love of our singing.

© Karl Donaldsson
Tune: Greensleeves

Monday, December 14, 2009

Six Days til Mother's Night

I'm looking forward to Mother's Night on the 20th, just my personal, quiet celebration--like I do most things--a Mother's song (to the tune of Greensleeves) I found and a pine candle I bought. For a display, I thought I'd bring in a few sprigs (I'm not big on denuding my trees) of evergreen and add some apples and nuts from the grocery store. Frigg, Freya, Idun and Sunna will be the honored goddesses, and I will ask blessings on all the grandmothers, mothers, daughters and sisters I know. If that's not good mojo, I don't know what is.

About Idun (Idunn, Iduna, Idhuna): Ramblings

Idun ("She Who Renews") is the Norse goddess of youth, who grows the magic apples of immortality that keep the gods young. Her husband Bragi was god of poetry.

Remember Pagan immortality doesn't mean "forever pacing in heaven." It's about the never-ending cycles of renewal and death that we observe and in which we participate. Despite all the fearmongering, ancient and modern, there's no uncertainty in spring and winter; ya gotta love that. And when the sun and earth runs out, there are other stars, and when the stars all run out, there is still the universe, and when the universe runs out, there is rest and another universe. Do your worst, you dirty, carbon dioxide polluters, you can't outdo the gods!

But about Idun...

Loki, the god of mischief and fire, was once responsible for arranging Her abduction by the giant Thajazi. Without Her apples, the gods soon began to age, and threatened Loki until He agreed to rescue Her, which He accomplished by borrowing Freyja's falcon robe and fleeing with Idun who He had changed to a nut. (This story must be a season-cycle tale; there are lots of them like this, apple to nut, etc.)

Some say that Gerd the Giantess is another aspect of Idun. Freyr brought her eleven golden apples and Draupnir. Sunna may also appear as the aspect Gerd, whose beautiful white arms, raised aloft, illuminated sea and sky. Freyr could see her from a great distance and fell in love.

As we are in love when the morning sun rises or when She returns from southern climes as She will begin to do on Mother's Night, gracing us with her light and warmth a little more each day. Even in the coldest winter, the longest night (literally), she holds the promise of renewal. I'd say that's a miracle or...humankind's propensity for hope. In either case, it's worth celebrating.

End of Ramble.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cream of Chicken

1. Onions sauteed in butter.

2. 2 T whole wheat flour; mixed to a paste with the buttery onions.

3. Added milk slowly, heating and stirring constantly.

5. Salt.

5. Added half a can of Swanson's chicken broth.

6. Can of cubed chicken, including the juice.

7. Pureed a can of potatoes and juice; added to the becoming-soup.

8. Pepper.

9. Stirred; heated.

Soup's on!

Dreaming in Color

Last night I dreamed in bright colors! I dreamed horses of roan and palomino, bay, white and black, buckskin. There were five white horses and a girl with long, blonde hair was riding one. I remember viewing her from the sky and wanting one of the white horses to ride for myself. So beautiful.

Then I dreamed chickens, so many chickens! They kept breeding, producing more chickens, itty bittys and regular chickens, all stuffed together, and I was scrambling to clean out more pens with more feeders and more waterers to make room for all the chickens. They were colored, too; gold and speckled with black, russet and white and yellow and dove gray. Most beautiful were a number of true blue chickens with black collars and black-tipped tails. Although the birds bred freely throughout the flock, I always had ten to a dozen of these chickens, blue as forget-me-nots. I remember simply looking and looking, enjoying their intense color in my dream.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Plans for Soup

Inspired by the turning leaves and colder weather, I'm planning soup for supper. I've had a butternut squash in the crisper for a couple weeks now, waiting for this particular idea to pop into my head. Originally, I planned to bake and mash the squash like potatoes, which is great, too, but today soup seems even better!

Recipe for--um, what shall I call this?--Butternut Cheese Soup!

I already cut the butternut into fourths and deseeded it, turned the open sides down in a glass, baking dish and added about a 1/2 in. of salted water. It's baking right now at 375F. Takes about an hour to be soft enough to mash, which is what I want.

With that done, I have to make the cheese sauce, a simple roux to which I will add shredded cheese, sharp cheddar, because that's what I like.

Here's how I make the sauce (this is mostly for Kami):

1. Begin with a melted fat/oil like margarine, butter, bacon drippings, depending on what flavor and how many heavy calories you want.

2. In equal amount to the hot/warm oil, add a helping of flour. So if you used a tablespoon of margarine, use a tablespoon of flour. This stirs up into a paste.

3. Now add a liquid; water (if you don't want flavor) milk, cream, beef, chicken or vegetable broth. You add only a few tablespoons at this time. Let it sit in the pan to warm before you try stirring it in. I don't know why, but I like to use a wooden spoon. The first "stir-in" is the most important. If you can make it creamy at this point, then you don't have to worry so much about how fast or how much liquid you add after that. Continue to add the liquid until you've gotten to the volume you want as your sauce or gravy.

4. Important: Taste and salt and season. I like pepper in gravy, for example. For stroganoff, I add paprika, etc.

5. You want to let this heat for a while so the flour cooks (uncooked flour tastes pasty) and the sauce thickens. O, and you can't stop stirring at this point. It's stir and serve.

If you use only butter, flour, salt and milk/cream, then you have what my mom called white sauce. She made it for nearly every meal. Now if I add shredded cheese to melt, then I've got cheese sauce.

AND, if I puree butternut squash and incorporate that, I'll have soup!

Heart for Quail

Every year Al purchases quail from a farm for dog training. This year I threw a fit and wouldn't take care of them for him, so he's doing the feeding/watering/cleaning himself. However much I've removed myself from their care, the quail are still sitting there next to the pen for my banties. Every morning and often during the day, I can hear the quail cooing--more of a tiny "pi-pii"--wooing me. They know my weakness, that I would save them from their inevitable and senseless death, make plans to house and husband them, breed and raise their generations!--if only they could win my heart with their charming calls.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Dad has forgotten how to make oatmeal, and Al never learned. I wonder, sometimes, how they would survive without me here to feed them both like baby birds.

When I discover two, large, failed attempts at bowls of oatmeal, Al says to me, pointing at the oatmeal box, "That's how you make it, 2 to 1, right?" How do I tell him that you have to follow the spirit of the instructions, not the letter? He wouldn't understand. "Yes, dear, that's the recipe."

I scrape the glop from one bowl into the glob in the other bowl and path out to feed it to the chickens. When I return to the kitchen, I add oatmeal to the grocery list. *sigh*

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Chickens and Tomatoes

Our tomato stand on the front porch. Dad can sit in the shade with his radio and watch for customers (our neighbors). It's nice to chat with them, and they love the yard.
Here are the Buffs! Don't they look fine?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Miss Oddball

I put my chickens out into their yard/coop arrangement on Monday, although it was cloudy and cool, and I had my doubts. I was prompted to move them because they were beginning to fly up and perch on the wire of their enclosure in the barn. I didn't want them getting lost in our piles of junk where I couldn't reach them, but a snake most certainly could.

The very day I moved them, one, the oddball, bonus chick Murray McMurray Hatchery sends with an order, came up with a bad leg. The limb was splayed out horizontally from the hip in the wrong direction while she sat, and she couldn't stand on it. We inspected it for a break, but could find nothing wrong. She was also eating and keeping up with the baby flock, though it was a pathetic sight to watch her flapping and hobbling after them. Al thought we should kill her, and I would have if she was sick or suffering. She was neither--just had a bad leg. I've seen animals get along with a missing limb before and do alright, so I gave her a chance.

You can probably guess where this is going. This morning, Thursday, Miss Oddball is standing on her good leg and holding her injured leg in the correct position, even if tentatively. She is placing some weight, tentatively again, on the bad leg when she walks. The great thing is that she is upright, not sprawled on her belly. Where it will go from here, I can't say, but for the moment, it looks good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Complete, Utter, most Enjoyable Waste of Time

I've been very busy. *cough, cough* That is, I've been very busy doing what I want to do--write little stories that have absolutely no worth whatsoever. Worthless and yet I think about them night and day, especially at night when I wake up with a phrase or a thought and grope blindly for pad and pen. In the morning, I decipher these blind scratchings and try to find time to develop the idea or use the dreamed-up phrases. Between tomatoes, dogs, chickens and Dad, mowing the lawn and the other jillion housechores, there's not much writing going on, but that doesn't keep me from thinking about it.

Below is the latest endeavor, a taste of where my head has been. Be warned that this story and the race and creatures involved is out of its usual, rich and complex context. Nevertheless, I felt it had more general appeal than many of my others, which only make sense if the reader is steeped in the lore of Azeroth.

And share: How the Raptor Got Her Stripes

Though not shy, Moyja is reserved. She’ll laugh and smoke and tell tales with a body all night round the fire, but she’ll tell little about herself. She won’t say how her Da died or how the grief of it and her loneliness and fright afterward, though she was young and adaptable, nearly ruined her. She won’t tell what she and that boi, Deishi, did up in the red canyon alone. She won’t explain how an island girl, refugee in Sen’jin, ended up managing the wares and finances of a guild in Silvermoon. If she does talk about herself or kin, it’s always to another troll, Mai Mai for one, although she’s been known to waggle her tongue after too much rum.

When the troops at Stonebreaker Hold gather for stories, Moyja’s glad to share from the vast collection of tales in her head--just not those few she keeps to herself. Tonight she tells several, each in her turn. Only the single Tauren at the Hold, slow and dignified, rises to speak in his turns. The rest, orcs and trolls, sit relaxed and tell their stories more casually. This is the frontier, a forward base, so their storyfire is rough, just the smoker in the inn. Leaving the orcs to their rotgut, Moyja smokes instead. The Tauren, an elderly druid, shares the bowl and the mild pleasure of the herb with her.

Moyja’s last tale is old, one of the earliest tales she learned from her Da, one of those make-believe stories told to whelps. When it’s her turn, she passes the bowl to the Tauren to free her hands for the story-telling and pays careful attention to her orcish so all will understand her.

Way back when trolls live only undah da trees, some in da cool nort’, some in da warm sout’, b’fo’ Muddah Sun ‘dopted us, b’fo’ we build temples n cities, dere be a troll, Daki, who tame da first raptah n teach she ta carry ‘im. Dis raptah be da same coloh all ovah, ‘ead ta toe, capapie; pearly-silvah like moonlight.

When Muddah Sun lit da world n reveal da rainbow, Daki discover ‘e blue skin n ‘e golden ‘air like Muddah, n ‘e joyful wit’ da oddah trolls, who laugh ta be bright. Only t’ing make Daki sad be ‘e raptah, ‘lone o all da beasts, still pearly-silvah like moonlight. Daki’s clan, ridin’ on orange tigahs n pink n purple chocobos (‘member dis be long time ago), tease ‘e, ‘cause only ‘e mount pearly-silvah like moonlight.

“Daki,” say one, “Chu raptah so pale. Be she ill?” Anoddah jus point, slap ‘e knee n laugh. One, a pretty, girl troll, roll she eyes n toss she ‘air n look to a shmexy troll warriah ridin’ an orange-n-black stripe tigah. It be all more den Daki can bear (‘specially da girl).

Next night, aftah Muddah Sun paint da sky She second time, Daki mount up ‘e raptah, pearly-silvah like moonlight, n head fo’a secret place ‘e know, spot ‘e used t’go swimmin’ in da warm springs. Fact, da lost land where ‘e first find da raptah n tame she, Un’goro Cratah. ‘Course, lands different in dose days b’fo’ da Sundering n places close today, once distant. Places distant, sometimes toss side-by-side. I don’ know ‘ow fa’ o ‘ow long Daki travel, but ‘ventually ‘e arrive at da Cratah where watahs steam n black pools ooze. Parrots live ‘ere, b’loved by Muddah Sun, who paint dem ‘specially colohful.

Daki, b’sides bein’ a sensitive troll, be a great ‘untah, n ‘e got a plan to make ‘e raptah bright. Daki ‘unts parrots, lots n lots o parrots, red ones, blue ones, green parrots. When ‘e kill n pluck ‘undreds o parrots, ‘e coax ‘e raptah, pearly-silvah like moonlight, right into one o da black, oozin’ pools of ta’. ‘Ow ‘e get she t’do it, we never know, ‘cause she a girl raptah, fastidious ‘bout she looks. When she emerge, she not pearly-silvah like moonlight; she black n sticky, jus’ as Daki plan. One by one, ‘e apply da colohed, parrot feat’ahs to ‘e raptah’s sticky ‘ide, but ‘e not got enough o all one coloh. Lot of green ‘e got, so ‘e start wit it, but den ‘e add a row o blue, den green again, til ‘e raptah mos’ly green all ovah wit’ blue stripes, n a few pink n a few red, quite bright!

To set da feat’ahs, Daki ride ’e raptah t’Fireplume Ridge in da center o da crater, where ‘eat o da lava bake da black ta’ n feat’ahs firm to ‘e raptah’s ‘ide. No longah she pale, pearly-silvah like moonlight, n Daki start ‘e journey back ta da clan, eagah ta show dem (‘specially da girl) ‘e brightly-colohed n striped raptah.

In triumph, Daki ride inta ‘e village. She-raptah prance proud in she feat’ah coat o many colohs n waggle she tail jaunty as dey parade pas’ da troll girl, who look n look wit’ eyes gleamin’ like fiyah n fresh blood. When Daki offah da girl ‘e ‘and, she leap up on da raptah’s back n share ’e ride. Not long aftah, she share ‘e life, n dey make toget’ah a bambino, a li’l whelp.

Da raptah, turns out, come from Un’goro Cratah wit mo’e den feat’ahs. Inside she stable, she build a nest o straw n lay a purple egg ovah which she fuss wit’ great concern, ‘llowing no one close ‘xcept Daki. Aftah much anticipation by all, da egg finally ‘atch n out spring a tiny, male raptah, not pearly-silvah like moonlight at all, but emerald green wit’ an undah-belly o delicate pink n stripes o sunny yellow!

Evah since, raptahs born wit’ bright stripes on rainbow-colohed ‘ides, n trolls still ride dese mounts, who still waggle dere tails jaunty wit’ pride in dere looks.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bountiful July

How many times did Dad complain that his zinnias weren't as bright and bountiful as he'd like? And how many times did I say...just wait, Dad, they'll come on...

Marigolds that self-sow each year. Not much now, but like the zinnias, they'll come on in their own time. In my gardener's eye, I see them bold and gold. Soon, very soon...

Fuzzy picture of the 4 o'clocks, which we do not enjoy as we should, because they bloom in the evening. But sometimes, when the night is mild, I step out on the porch to find them glowing in the dark.

Every year, I strive to do picture-justice to the crepe myrtle, which are the royalty of my yard. I fail miserably in these two pictures, above and below, but use your imagination with me...

Dry, hot weather always causes the leaves of the paper birch to yellow and drop, as now. They're pretty and a harbinger of autumn to come, scattered over the plumbago.

This butterfly and his kin are all over the purple coneflower, but here is a stray I chased in order to put his pic on the internet. He's famous now!

Perfect, and it's not the only one. Loads of large, rounded, smooth-skinned, delicious fruit this year. We're eating them sauteed (green and red), fresh on salads, sliced on sandwiches, grilled on fish, chopped up in pasta. It is truly a bounty, and we are appreciating our marvelous, tomato fortune as we indulge in the grandest of the summer fruits. See below!
Not as bountiful, but nearly as satisfying is a wagonload of onions, fresh dug from their bed (below).
When I let it go, propping up here and there, weeding out what threatens to mar it, then I end up with this carpet of impatiens each year. Below, the cilantro happily co-exists with the flowers. Above, a sunflower from the birdseed I offered this winter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June Update

The first of our zinnia blooms. Sweet in pink and orange, one of my favorite color combinations.

The completion of the pour. Needs a bit of cleaning up and shaping up, but the hardest part is done. No more rough or muddy track behind the deck, and we have a lovely surface to run the lawn mower to the back yard.

Monday, June 15, 2009

He Reads Me Like a Book

My little dog, Otis, knows me too well. This morning I put his food in the dish and sat down at my computer, but he continued to watch me with an expression I know. "Will there be anything else you desire from me, O light of my world?" he asks. Love before food is his motto. Me, I slip on the wrist protectors I wear when I write, and Otis turned to begin his breakfast.

Friday, June 12, 2009

June Rain

Squalls shake the Basho
tree -- all
night my basin echoes rain.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Well Said

Saw this signature on the forums I visit:

Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk, Martin Luther King walked so Barack Obama could run, Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"We don't waste people..."

From The Pew Forum (via my watchful uncle's email)

May 26, 2009

Indian gay marriage law takes effect in Oregon

by Bill Graves
Religion News Service

A Coquille Indian Tribe law allowing same-sex marriage took effect this week, and two women married Sunday (May 24) on the tribe's reservation in Coos Bay, Ore.

Kitzen Branting, 26, and her partner, Jeni Branting, 28, who now live in Edmonds, Wash., became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Oregon, though their marriage will be recognized only by the tribe.

Kitzen Branting is a member of the Coquille tribe.

Neither Washington nor Oregon has legalized same-sex marriage, but as a federally recognized sovereign nation, the tribe is not bound by the Oregon Constitution.

"My tribe recognizes the marriage, so that is really important to me," said Kitzen Branting. "Anytime we come to a tribal function, I know my marriage is just as valid as anyone else's marriage."

The tribe adopted a law more than a year ago that recognizes same-sex marriage and extends to gay and lesbian partners -- at least one of whom must be Coquille -- all tribal benefits of marriage. The tribe wanted to work out laws governing child support issues before activating the law. It took effect Wednesday (May 20), said Melissa Cribbins, assistant tribal attorney.

Kitzen and Jeni Branting married in the tribe's Coos Bay plankhouse, a 3-year-old meeting hall built in traditional Coquille style with cedar plank walls. No other couples have inquired about marrying yet, Cribbins said, "but I wouldn't anticipate this will be the only marriage."

Last year, Brian Gilley, a University of Vermont anthropologist, said the Coquille Tribe (which tribal leaders prefer to pronounce KO-Kwell) is probably the first tribe in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

When it was posted at OCICBW, Tracie the Red provided this wonderful quote,

"A Crow elder once said: 'We don't waste people the way white society does.'"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Perfect Poppy Poem

It doesn't exist, the perfect poppy poem, that is. This is the second year I searched without success for it. Poets avoid such drivel; flowers are out of fashion (goddess forbid), and there you have it. Maybe it isn't possible, the perfect poppy poem, that is.

As long as we're alliterating, have you ever seen a more pregnant plant? This is a leek, icon of the warrior, and hasn't our hero gone all feminine on us? This bud has been plump like this a week or more. I've never seen one bloom, so I'm anticipating it with delight. O, sure, I know all about onion buds and flowers. (I'm supposed to snip them off for reason of keeping the bulb fat.)

In fact, here's the ordinary kind in the picture below. Humble to say the least.

What's this then? Another of my leeks, this one who stunningly failed to represent the standing, stalwart hero of the Viking Age, the literature of which had a love affair with leeks.

Sheesh, I can't do onions without a picture of my Egyptian Walking Onions (EWO; see my clearinghouse of EWO links on my right-hand sidebar.)

Every Year the Miracle

Honeysuckle and roses. How can it be that they bloom together every year?

Dad and I are simply in awe each time we step outside the door. My pictures are sad shades of the glowing colors of the roses, and there is no pictorial facsimile at all for the heavy, drowsy, drifting fragrance of honeysuckle.

"But what of the elegant, the exquisite, poppies you posted last year, Angel? And how go the zinnias?"

"Never fear. I'm getting to that, gentle reader. Post pending."

edit: exchanged cloudy morning pic for a new photo taken once the sun (Bless Her golden heart.) sizzled away the clouds; added a sunny photo of the red roses

*Hugs Tim Jones Tight*

Tim Jones shreds me up with his impossible wisdom. No man should be that sane.

He's the man, gentle readers, who Caught a glimpse of Jesus down by the railroad tracks... Read him share how Heaven and Earth are Full...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Making Progress-Lots Still to Do


It began to rain just as we were dumping the last wheelbarrow-full of concrete. It rained hard enough to alter the surface as fast as I could smooth it. Then a drip off the roof developed that persisted in washing out a small pit right in the center of the slab. All in all, we managed, and it was an adventure to add to our stories.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Somehow Marie Osmond Found Her Way Onto My Blog must have been love. Being Mormon (or Catholic or Heathen or Jewish) does not wholly define each or any of us! It's the reason I don't care for the word "religion," because it tends to categorize people into slots. We are so much more, and our individual, personal beliefs so much more subtle and complex than these religion packages. Marie Osmond shows what a classy lady and a good mom she is. Read here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bird Stuff

This set-up of oranges halved and poked onto branches attracts the Baltimore orioles, male and female. They splash the juice and seem to be making a mess, but when they're done, the orange flesh is perfectly excised from the half, leaving the septums of the sections intact.

We're having so much success with the birdbath in the front yard that I added this one outside Dad's window.

Mother and Father Robin made a ruckus when I almost stepped on their baby. I quickly took this picture and moved away, after which the worried parents calmed down.

I know of at least three families of robins nesting on the property. This nest is in the apricot tree.

Pink: Three Roses and a Peony

The "Nearly Wild" bush variety centered in the grassy island in the driveway. My uncle will remember the layout. Morning sun adds the magic.

And here is the reason for the expense and work of building the rose pergola, which now shades a Rosalina bench beneath it. The rose is "American Beauty-Pink"

Even the ditch is blooming...rough-and-ready roses that were on the property when we moved here ten years ago. All we've done is keep the trees away and let them be.

Peony! Mine are hidden away, but I cut them and bring them into the kitchen in bountiful bunches.