There is a part of me that will always love pests like pigeons or houseflies or starlings. It’s the part of me that thinks the maligned often have their own value, their own stories to tell when we get to know them.
After all, I once was that person in school. I was teased, as so many kids were teased, as being without value to my peers.
So when I see a maligned animal species that people have assigned as being without value to them (often through very little thought or speculation), I see myself in it.
Besides, there is something respectable, even heroic, in the scrappy survivor.
Here are some photos of this past November’s supermoon. I was sick when I took them & then I forgot about them entirely. But all times are celebrate the moon times as far as I’m concerned. So here they are in February.
My name is Bettie. I enjoy gardening and working on my cookbook of savory aspic recipes.
It’s officially pumpkin season, and that means it’s also officially pumpkin pie season too.
I love homemade pumpkin pie with 100% of my heart, and one of my favorite ways to make a pumpkin pie is to stuff a pumpkin with fruit and spiced, sweetened milk and then bake it whole for several hours. It’s delicious.
Plus, it is actually closest to what colonists and pilgrims ate (as they did not always have ingredients like flour to make crust). This article discusses some of the ways pumpkin pies were made in the 1600s:
What were these “former Pumpkin Pies” like? At the time, pumpkin pie existed in many forms, only a few of which would be familiar to us today. [. . .] [A]n early New England recipe involved filling a hollowed-out pumpkin with spiced, sweetened milk and cooking it directly in a fire (an English version of the same preparation had the pumpkin stuffed with sliced apples).
I started making this version of pumpkin pie a few Thanksgivings ago, when some good friends of mine and I first made this recipe together. It was different, but tasty, and I’ve made it probably half a dozen times since then.
This post contains everything you need to know to make it too.
I hate waste. I hate the idea of something going to a landfill that is perfectly useful.
And this leads me to do some weird stuff in the spirit of not wasting anything useful ever, including painting shoes with acrylic paint to cover up how scuffed they are, or hand-dying a shirt that I spilled chocolate ice cream all over and stained.
I’m the same way about holes in clothing.
I’ve never seen why you should get rid of a shirt with a hole in it, not if it’s a seam that’s come apart or a hem that’s gotten a bit sketchy. That stuff is easy to repair.
But holes on the surface of a shirt, you know, the looks like your dog chewed on it because it had food stuck to it and thought it was a treat kind of holes, those are a challenge.
That was until this weekend when my husband washed a new (new!) shirt of mine, and it got partially eaten by the washer. Then I turned my attention to how the shirt could be salvageable, even with holes in it.
It was a normal day of camp. The first day actually. Half a dozen third and forth graders were bent over a picture of my mother in her serious Twiggy years as a teenager.
Their task was to invent a character portrait for the woman in the photo, and they were doing a typical job of it.
Already they had decided:
- She had one neon green eye and one neon gray eye which both glowed in the dark as she slept in her red velvet bedroom.
- She was a professional murderer who invited people over to tea only to stab them when they were not looking.
- She ate chocolate covered crickets, blood crickets, and human finger cheese.
This is when things got weird. They also decided:
- She lived in a decrepit, old mansion haunted by a friendly ghost named Hari Cari and an evil, haunted doll named Annabelle.
That is when things changed, though we did not know it at first.
Earlier this summer, the kids in one of the creative writing camps I teach through The Cabin Idaho (a Boise-based literary center) came up with an imaginary troll named Evil Knievel that haunts the tiny, hobbit-looking supply closet in one of the classrooms there.
It’s a total hobbit hole, only rectangular.
Naturally, after the kids had invented it, they wanted to feed it.
So they started drawing pictures of food and slipping them under the door for the troll.
I love the arid, mountain landscapes of the west. I love the native wildflower and animal species that live in mountain ecosystems. I love the aridity of the desert. I love its total lack of humidity and 100+ degree heat.
But with the aridity of the western landscape comes fire season with its forest fires and wildfires.
Last summer there were forest fires burning in Idaho and two adjoining states at around the same time. The smoke from all of them was blowing down into Boise. For weeks, the city was ensconced in a hazy layer of burning, lung-clogging smoke.
This is normal.
It’s like that in every state in the west.
The moon is a good time no matter what time of day or night you see it.
It is my favorite spherical object. It is like the little black dress of the landscape.
Here is a moon that is part Yin-yang of the landscape.
John Keats was someone for whom, and around whom, my life revolved for a certain period of time in my early twenties. And because we don’t often acknowledge who we were or have been enough when we think of who we are, I want to tell our story.
By our story, I mean both I and Keats story and I and poetry’s story, for they intersect quite a bit.