This is a blog about everyday life. Food, gardening, photography, and nature. What you won't find are pictures of lots of people.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Loved You Alison

When I first met you, Alison, it was love at first sight.  It started with Henry and I followed you through his wives and children as you made your way devouring their lives with your voracious appetite.  My love for you was pure.  It lasted for 20 years.  It culminated in the Tower of London when you unraveled the mystery of that dark history for me.  I loved you even more and couldn't wait for our next encounter.

Then you held me hostage with the Captive Queen.  No!  This couldn't be!!  This was not a creation of my beloved Alison.  It couldn't be!  She would never disrespect Eleanor and spread viscious rumors of her infidelity in such lurid detail.

I watched in horror as each page unfolded reducing the great Eleanor to a greedy lustful manipulative whore.  How dare you betray my trust! 

I love you no more Alison.  You have fallen from being one of the greatest Tudor historians of all time to a mere writer of historical fiction.  Worse yet, you have stooped to using sex to entertain your readers.  You have used your stature as a historian to ensure that the great Eleanor of Aquitane, the matriarch of the Plantagenets, remains known as a nympomaniac rather than one of the greatest female rulers in British history.

Shame on  you Alison.  You could have turned your attention to any number of historical figures and brought their lives to the masses in rich detail.  What about the Capetians?  Or perhaps venture further south to Italy?  Or you could cross the Atlantic and write about some of America's heroes!  Instead, you chose to sully your name by dragging the great Eleanor of Aquitane into the gutter equating her instiable desires of the flesh to her husband, Henry II's, notorious philandering.  The only difference?  You did not imply her children were bastards.  How gracious of you Alison, considering the other baseless informative lies you told on Eleanor.

I have no room in my life you anymore Alison.  This is goodbye unless you come to your senses and forego this sexfest you indulge in called "historical fiction". 

I expected better from you.

For my readers unfamiliar with Alison Weir's work:

click here

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

iPhone iDiot

I am sure everyone is familiar with the iPhone and all the incredible tricks it can do.  I mean no disrespect to such an incredible piece of technology, however, I do have issues with some of the users.  Rather than make a sweeping generalization I will just say some iPhoners cannot be without their little iBuddy in their hand.  You know who you are.

These people cannot carry on normal everyday functions.  They cannot converse, work, or drive without responding to some clever little iRing on their iPhone which they have programmed so they know exactly what iTask or iPerson is summoning them.  The iPhoner knows by the sound what awaits them but they still cannot resist.  They have to stop their real world conversation, dinner, work task or driving to respond to the this irresistable link to the cyber world.  While, I might add, the  world waits in real time while they tap tap tap on the devilish iPhone, distracted from the tangible events right in front of them in real life.

No doubt the next generation will have a new set of rules for etiquette that they will understand.  I accept that.  I also accept that cell phone interruptions are a fact of life. We tolerate these interruptions in nearly all social situations except for those requiring all participants' attention and focus at an event.  This is our everchanging world.  Some things, however, do not change.  The name may change but the phenomenon is the same.  For that reason I would like to introduce the iPhone iDiot I encountered the other day. 

While I was out enjoying a beer with a friend our table was approached by a middle aged man with an iPhone that struck up a conversation about his new device.  After showing it off as if we had never seen one he felt compelled to tell us he was retired and without working at ALL he made $40,000 per year.  That's nice I said.  Oh, he went on, I work.  I make an additional $50,000 on top of that.  Umhmmm I nod, hoping this conversation will end soon.  This is more information than I want to know from a stranger.  Then he drops the bomb.

For my readers overseas, just in case you do not know, we have two viable political parties Republicans and Democrats.  Conservatism vs. Liberalism.  Rich vs Poor.  Whichever party is in the White House the other becomes angry and accusatory.  Its politics after all.  Since I do not discuss politics with strangers in a bar I assumed this man must be joking when he says:

I have watched the Republicans save just to see the Democrats give it all away!  I know how we can save the tax payers a lot of money.  When a single woman comes in to get welfare we tie her tubes before she gets a check!  That will save millions.  I laugh at this inane statement because he can't possibly be serious.  In fact, I join in poking fun at politics.  Yes!  I say, and we can save even more if we make every male convict with a felony conviction get a vasectomy before leaving prison!  I mean, really, it makes as much sense as what he said.  The iPhone iDiot looks at me and says he doesn't understand how that will help anything.  Well, I explain, a woman can only have one child per year but a man can spawn dozens per year so that would cut down on the dead beat dads if they were infertile.  The iPhone iDiot frowns.  I don't get it he says.  Do the math I say.   Well, he argues, those women want those babies and they are too fat and lazy to work!  (Actually, he said it in a more blunt direct manner but I will spare you those details.)

Unable to make the connection between our ludicrous comments he continues in another direction.  Well, he says, my mother lives on $600 a month Social Security (government reitrement for those of you abroad).  I took her down to the food stamp office and signed her up and guess what!?  He looks at me.  Then he blurts.  They DENIED HER!  Without batting an eye I looked at him and said you oughtta be ashamed of yourself.  You make $90,000 a year.  My friend audibly gasped.

 Dear readers, do the math on that please.  His mother gets $7,200 per year and the iPhone iDiot is pulling down $90,000.  I hate to be rude, but it just came out of my mouth before I knew it.    The iPhone iDiot glared at me and hissed.  I take care of my mother.  I smiled sweetly and said I never said you didn't.

At this point the iPhone disappeared into his pocket, of no obvious use to him in this predicament.  He turns on his heel and starts out the door and says in a very nasty voice.  You LADIES have a very nice night! We, the ladies, look at each other and giggle.  As he storms out the door we hear him yell  FUCK YOU!!!

Hysterical laughter and high fives ensue!  I have come to the conclusion that idiots shouldn't own iPhones.  They have access to too much erroneous iNformation at their fingertips.  For that reason I have created the generic term for such diabolical creatures.  The iPhone iDiot. 

Do you know one?  Has your life been rudely interrupted by one?

*this post's genesis lies over at Hickery Holler Farm with the Canned Quilter.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Frday Fences

Linking with Tricia at Bluff Area Daily :

Osage Oranges on Pisgah Pike
Woodford County, Kentucky

This is a take on a James Archambeault photo, so please do not copy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Frosty Kentucky Morning!

We had our first serious hard frost here, a harbinger of winter.

As the sun peeped over the horizon, my friend Bobbi came by for breakfast.

She is showing off her fluffy tail now that it has healed.

I decided to walk around the building and see what picturesque treasures I could find.  Be sure to view the pictures full size or  you will miss the delicate frost.  It barely crunched under my footsteps, just at the melting point.



The sun is starting to melt my winter wonderland!

Magnolia Tree

Back inside I go.  Gotta make some dollars.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Barn Charm

Linking with Tricia over at Bluff Area Daily .

I gathered some photos on my trip home for Thanksgiving.

Tobacco in Barn Meade County, Kentucky
 Since it is that time of year when people start stripping tobacco I thought I would feature a couple of barns with tobacco.  Years ago everyone who had land had a tobacco patch.  Many a family had their Christmas  off of the money when the tobacco (or toobacker as they say) sold in late November and December.  Now its hard to even find a barn with tobacco and even then it isn't much.

The last two photos were of a different barn.  These aren't the traditional barns and the tobacco is really small, but you get the idea. 

I love the musky aroma of tobacco curing in the open air.  Hand rolled cigs from tobacco like this doesn't stink either.  Imagine that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Friday Fences

Linking up with Friday's Fences today.

Working Farm at Sunrise
Breckinridge County, Kentucky

 We have a toofer today!  Two for one photo for all you barn lovers and fence lovers out there.  And for TexWis girl ~ this shot was taken while "vehicular fencing".

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Green Tomato Ketchup

The leaves are mostly gone now, but the very early morning outside my window looks like this when the sun rises.

Its not always cold but the cooler temperatures and shorter days cause the tomatoes to stop producing and as a kid we gathered them all to make green tomato ketchup.  I haven't made this since my mother died 30 years ago.  My uncle shared the recipe and I made a batch.

First you grind up a mess of tomatoes.  Doesn't matter how many because its all done by eyeballing and taste.  Put on a kettle of water to boil.

 Add salt.  How much?  Well since this is my grandmother's recipe I'll use her words.  Add a "right smart" of salt and stir it up good.  Then you grind up the same amount (total) of apples, onion, pepper and cabbage.

Add salt to this and mix.  By now the water should be boiling and you scald the salted tomatoes rinsing them well.  Put them in a big pot then scald the apple, pepper, onion and cabbage mixture.  Mix everything well.

To this  mixture add pickling spices.  Make sure you bind them with cloth.  Otherwise the suble taste of the vegetables will be overwhelmed and you'll have pickle relish.

 Then add vinegar, maybe a cup per gallon of relish.  I add sugar to taste.

Cook this mixture until done.  In this case you want to cook it past the blanched stage.  Taste it.  The relish will sweeten and sour with age so err on the side of not too much.  It will be a bit bland but with time the spices and vinegar and sugar will pickle the tomatoes.

I wash jars and  put them in a hot (200 degree) oven and boil the lids.  Then I pack the jars and wait for them to seal.  If they seal I'm done, and if they don't I can give them a hot water bath or stick them in the fridge to eat first.  These all sealed.

In my family we ate this green tomato ketchup on beans and we used it instead of pickles in deviled eggs.  I will be very popular this Thanksgiving sharing this with my brothers!

I have many lovely memories working with my family.  I can still remember how we scalded the vegetables then hung them in an old pillowcase on the  clothes line to drain before we added the pickling ingredients.  I used a colander this time.

What was the last thing you put up from your garden?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Fences

Linking to Friday Fences

Gourd Bird House in Fence
 Meade County, Kentucky


Which do you prefer?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On my mind

Joining Rhonda at Down To Earth

I am enjoying the last days of fall before winter.

Maple trees make the best compost!

The lemon balm had a growth spurt so I'm making some wine from the leaves and white grape juice.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


A couple of weeks ago Rose over at Greening The Rose shared her process of making sourdough starter.  As I had never done this, and I'm currently in love with All Things Fermented I joined in the challenge.

As it turned out my hard conversion from metric to english units were wrong, but it didn't matter.  I put a half cup of rye flour and water (boiled and cooled) in a quart jar and whisked it together.  I was delighted to find some fermentation beginning the very NEXT day!

Those little black dots are tiny bubbles! 

I had started a few days later than Rose so I could compare to her experience.  Hers was thicker.  As it turns out the dough gets thinner as it ferments, but it doesn't seem to matter if it is slushy.  Each day I "fed" the starter, or tried to feed in 24 hour intervals.  My starter didn't seem to mind if I waited too long, and it even survived a drowning once (water was standing on top one morning).  Along about the 3rd day I switched to unbleached white flour.

At this point I had an enthusiastic starter so the first chance I got I made a loaf of bread.  It turned out so well I kept feeding the starter which kept smelling more and more sour until yesterday when I made another loaf.  It turned out even better.

Most of the sourdough recipes I found online were metric and the conversions weren't handy amounts so I decided to go with a Betty Crocker recipe.  I figured I couldn't go wrong there.

Into the pan goes 1 cup of starter (mine is pourable like gravy), 1/2 c water (boiled and cooled), 3 cups unbleached white flour, 2 Tbs sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt and a heaping tsp of yeast.

Set the machine to basic white bread with light crust setting and punched start.  Since the starter's water content varies I have to add some water so I watch as it begins to knead.

A peep a couple hours later shows me the bread is rising beautifully.

That isn't dirt in case you are wondering.  Its flour on the inside that got blown up before I added more water.

3 hours later.

The bread has a nice crust, not too brown.

It is nice and chewy, the perfect accompaniment for soup.

I sliced it up and put it in the freezer.  I don't think I will ever buy another loaf of bread.  This may not be true sourdough since I cheated and added yeast and used the bread machine, but lets face it, I would never have made it otherwise.  Unlike plain white or wheat bread this bread has a slightly sour taste and a nice elasticity.  It will make awesome sandwiches.

Thanks to Rose for getting me started.  Come to think of it, Rose gave me the bread machine jam recipe too!  I can see some buttered toast and blackberry jam in my future......