Thursday, October 31, 2013



Best wishes for a great day,
 may many treats come you way!

From all of us in the Canyon

P. S. After a good night's rest I was able to figure out the train photo in my previous post. Seeing the camera in the rear view mirror turned the entire picture around. ~ Also, I'm putting all you guys into Bloglovin', which should make me able to read posts and post comments much more efficiently than I do now. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Inspired by Madsnapper Sandra

I once again try to capture a train through my rear view mirror while the front of it goes across the railroad crossing in front of me.

And this time, I succeed and manage to confuse myself. I intended to capture exactly this, but seeing my camera facing backwards in the mirror, I don't get it how the front end of the train shows up in front of me, up there in the right hand corner, as it goes over the railroad crossing. I guess I'm having a senior moment. I'm sure I'll figure it out later, so no need to explain it to me.

A cool picture though, right?

Click here to check out Mad Snapper's blog.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Morning Reflections

I have,as it were, my own sun and moon and stars,and a little world all to myself. 

Henry David Thoreau

and that is how I often feel, living here in the canyon.......

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chopping, Thinking, Cooking

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, then forgot about it. It's about how my mind drifted as I spent a whole day cooking.

Saturday, I pick carrots, beets, and green onions. Night temperatures are often in the 20s now, but the ground here doesn't freeze this early. My back gets tired, so I pick about half the carrots and onions.

And all the beets. What to do with the beets, I have no idea, but I have the Joy of Cooking, so I feel safe. 

I notice baby spinach is still coming up, so I pick a lot Sunday morning with a few baby beet leaves. Looking around, I see that the collards still look good. I know if I pick them, I must cook them. My husband is in the Los Angeles burbs helping a friend, so, yes, if I pick them I must cook them and what do I know about southern cooking. You would think I would have learned some by now, but not really. Not wanting them to go to waste, I pick. Ouch, my back gets very tired, but I pick.

I pick, I clean, I rinse, I prep the other ingredients, fill the big pot with water, put it on the stove and start chopping. Boring, so I think. I think about my husband and how blessed I am that he loves to cook; I wonder what he thinks about when he chops, when he stands here cooking every day; how the gumbo he cooks for us and our friends for Christmas takes forever; how meticulous he is, how patient. Soon the first colander is done and I bring up the second from the sink.

Ouch, lots of greens in this one. My back hurts, this is taking forever. I think about the women, generations of them in the American South, who have stood as I stand now, chopping greens for their families. I see them, as I chop, in their kerchiefs and aprons, chopping collards, mustard, and other greens. We don't have greens in Sweden, but I think of one of their relatives, the cabbage. I see my mother making this Swedish dish called kaldolmar, I will not go into what that is, but I remember it as not being very good. My mom didn't like to cook either. 

Then I think of how my mom had to cook, whether she liked it or not, because she had kids and a husband to cook for and that's how it was back then. Then I think that I never had children and how my stepson was only part of my life for a few brief years before he died at 24. Then I get morose again, and think how sad that is. Then I think of Summer, blogger friend Bobbi's granddaughter, Summer of the most interesting face on the blogs, an adorable child. So while not missing the actual children I never had, I now miss not having a grandchild. 

While all this thinking goes on, the pot begins to boil almost at the same time my chopping is done. I take this as a good sign and put the greens in the pot, turn the heat down (hubby's instructions: "you must turn the heat down, you know, like when you cook rice") yes, I do know what simmer is, that I do know. I turn the heat down, set the alarm on my phone, without it these greens may cook all night. So I think about getting/being old and how this little timer on my phone is saving my butt over and over again. And then I still forget to post all this that I just wrote ~~ until now.


D. G. Hudson: My husband cooks greens with ham hocks and bacon, but he also cooks vegetarian greens and they come out heavenly, as does everything he cooks. Your suggestion to use Creole Seasonings really hit home. That's exactly what was missing. I put in plenty of seasonings, but not the Creole kind. Thanks so much for taking the time in your comment to suggest this. If there's ever a next time.......

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The High Desert in a Drought Year

The dry bed of Cache creek meanders down from the mountains, through the canyon, where it passes 

under the public portion of our road through two large culverts, one of them now blocked by this gigantic tumble weed. Should we check with the neighbors and move it before the rains come, I wonder; it's on their land.

Yesterday morning, some clouds appeared, a good thing both for walking Samson, since his eyes are not supposed to be facing the sun, and also for taking some pictures. 

Working in my field.

As far as I'm concerned, this year's eternal sunshine is only good for taking pictures of my own shadow.

Cache creek continues on the other side of the road, where it looks pretty clogged up as well. I went to a lecture about the geology of the canyon the other evening and learned that although we are surrounded by three earthquake faults, including the San Andreas, and one of the largest earthquakes in California, a 7.2, hit Tehachapi in 1952 and pretty much wiped out the town; the greatest risk we face here in the canyon is from flooding. Now that I know, I will discuss the creek with my husband when he gets back home. 

The gray stuff you see here is grass. 

This is what grass looks like in our field right now.

Our front yard, cleared every spring to meet fire safety standard laws, looks like this. Usually, some grass would have popped up again by now. This year, nothing.

The same in our backyard. This may well be the reason I haven't felt like posting pictures from the canyon lately.

Sugar Pea flowers from our garden.

Other than suffering with blue skies and forever sunshine, we are doing better. While I'm still sad over losing Soldier, he truly was a great love of mine, I get to sleep through the night now that I no longer have to care for him. That makes a huge difference in how I feel. Hubby is away, helping a sick friend with an investment property. While he's away, I'm getting rid of stuff, purging, donating, putting in the trash, and loving it. 

Being alone here, but not being a cook, I simply HAD to pick, clean, chop, and cook the last of the vegetables from our garden. I couldn't let them go to waste, so one day, I just did it. And now, for the first time in my life, I have cooked a huge pot of collard greens! Of this I am proud, even though they tasted nothing like my husband's greens. But after sitting for a few days, they were OK. I baked the beets from a recipe in The Joy of Cooking, and they came out so good that I was sorry to be the only one eating them. Carrots, being carrots, got steamed and tasted OK, after some doctoring with various herbs and spices. And I now have a greater appreciation for all the work involved in his cooking ~ I was totally exhausted at the end of the day. 

As you can perhaps see, I'm a bit annoyed with mommy for not letting me blog.

Samson says: WOOF, WOOF, at the rate mommy is going (slow) I probably never will get to blog again. Love you my Gracie, miss you and all my blogger friends.

Me: Don't worry Samson, you'll be back, promise!

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Quick Update

to document the first real, puddle-making, rainfall here in the canyon for at least two years. 

I'm still on my blogger break, but when the rain came with such force on Wednesday, I had to come back and note it here. With the exception of one rainy night sometime in mid-summer, it has not rained here since May. On Wednesday, we even got a dusting of snow higher up in the mountains.

What a difference a good rain makes: the air is fresh, the junipers look green again, and the earth smells so good. 

Our first frost arrived September 27 and killed about half of our garden. Because we planted late, we knew some of the veggies, like corn and tomatoes, would not mature, but almost everything else came through for us and we got a great harvest, far more than we ever expected. We have several gallons of cooked and frozen veggies: spinach, cabbage, collard and mustard greens. Hubby cooked it all and also made some zucchini casseroles, juiced a lot and froze, and baked zucchini bread. We still have carrots, beets, and onions to pick. And, what did I do? Well, I dried a lot of herbs. Yes, I know I got the easy part to do here, but I also picked and cleaned a lot of veggies. Which was hard work, but so much fun.

I'm working and bonding with Samson now that he's the only dog. Samoyeds are supposed to be hard-headed and difficult to train, from what I've read, but he is very good and such an easy dog to be with.  

I have developed a slight computer aversion lately, forgetting to get back to friends in emails, and not opening my desktop (which is all I have) for days on end. Maybe it got too intense when I tried to keep my blog going every day. I also don't feel like writing anything. 

That's on the one hand ~ on the other, I find myself getting a bit into my old Swedish moroseness and I've come to understand that it is very important for me to keep in touch, first of all; but also to be out there taking pictures, writing stories, and posting to my blog. Blogging is so great, both for the friends one makes, keeping in touch with other people's lives, and for being more creative and observant in one's own life.

Hope you are all well my dear blogger friends. Take good care.

Later ~~


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