Friday, April 29, 2011

Family Time

Easter weekend was family time. On Saturday, Carol and Bill came with the children for lunch. While Carol and I made chicken and pork enchiladas, Zander enjoyed some milk from his cowboy cup.

Later, he had a man-to-man talk with Poppy.

After lunch, everyone went home except Pippi, who stayed for a sleep-over. Perfect weather lured us outdoors, where Pippi gathered the eggs and then created a little house for a tiny dinosaur. Here, he relaxes on his porch.

Back inside, we made new star-shaped colors from a collection of old Crayola stubbs.

Pippi left early the next morning to attend church.  Dennis and I drove to Centralia to visit his mother, Rose Evelyn. Brother Gary was there when we arrived, providing a photo op. Rose Evelyn will be 93 in May.

Life seems quite long when we consider that these family members span nine decades and four generations. Together the generations form a rich texture that gives life meaning. Sadly, we will have to wait a long time for the fifth generation to appear. How I would love to meet them when they arrive!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Love The Lowly Dandelion

A yard full of yellow dandelion and purple violet blossoms gleaming in the green grass is a feast for my eyes.

The dandelion's blossom is exquisite when regarded up close. Such fancy pistils, shaped like double fishhooks!

No less lovely is its starburst seed head.

The dandelion progresses quickly, going from bud to seed head in about a week. Maybe it speeds the process because it knows many people hate it and will kill it if they can. I don't know exactly why it is so despised; I love its ephemeral beauty.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Who would guess that this woman has wanderlust?

Well, she does. She had lived in many places – Grandview, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Lawrence, Kansas; Baldwin, Kansas; Boston, Mass.; Boulder, Colorado; Denver, Colorado; Flagstaff, Arizona; Portland, Maine; and Burlington, Vermont. (Have I left out any residence?) Some of these places she has lived in more than one time.

After five peaceful years back in Lawrence, she is excited about moving to Maine! How we will miss her if she goes!

Is there a wanderlust gene? Looking back at Carol's ancestors, I find only Uncle Earl, my mother's brother. He was a homesteader in Alaska in the 1940's.

Pippi, Carol's eight-year-old,  has declared that she will live in an orphanage rather than move. I'm going to invite Pippi to stay here with me. She will go with her parents, of course, given the choice, but I would have loved seeing her grow up from up close.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Soup

 The day is chilly and rainy – miserable in some ways  – but saved by the glory of  red and yellow tulips and narcissus, surrounded by green grass thick with violet and dandelion blooms.

I want to warm up with a bowl of soup, not a hearty winter soup, but with bright, creamy broccoli soup. I'll celebrate spring using last summer's broccoli from the freezer with fresh chives from the garden for garnish.

Broccoli Soup

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
½ cup diced onion
3 cups chicken broth or 3 cups water and 3 teaspoons chicken base
1 medium or two small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 bay leaf or 1/3 Spice Islands bay leaf
1 quart-sized bag home frozen broccoli or 4 cups fresh broccoli
½ cup half and half or milk

Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in chopped onion and cook over low heat until the onion is translucent. Increase heat to medium-high. Add the diced potato, broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover, and cook until potato is fork-tender.

Increase heat, add the broccoli, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until broccoli is fork-tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Puree the soup in the pan using an immersion blender.* Stir in the half and half or milk and heat to desired temperature. Do not allow the soup to boil.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and chopped fresh chives.

*If you don't own a stick blender, go get one. You could puree the soup in a regular blender, but it's a mess. If you must, blend one-third of the soup at a time and don't burn yourself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mystery Plant

Who can tell me what plant produces this seed pod?

It was on a dry vine on a fence in Galveston. Its form fascinated me so I collected seeds. Will it grow in Kansas?

Let Us Rejoice

Today's harvest from the cold frame.

Monday, April 11, 2011

She Could Be The One

Just half an hour ago Annie started barking at another dog in our yard, a pretty, fluffy dog. Dennis said this dog, possibly a stray, has been hanging around the neighborhood for a few weeks.

He lured her in with whistles and gentle calls. Slowly, cautiously she came. She sniffed Annie. Dennis checked for a collar; there was none. I brought two bowls of food. Both dogs ate -- Annie eating with more gusto than she has since we lost Kazak.

Here's the visitor cleaning her bowl.

All done. Is there more?


I've been waiting so long for our new dog to come to us. My hopes are high. Does she look like a Chloe?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Last Car

Because of my car problems in Galveston, Dennis suggested a spur-of-the-moment CRV shopping expedition. I needed one of the older models with a side-opening rear door because I can't reach high enough to close the newer models' rear doors, which open upward.

After decades of marriage I know I can trust Dennis' intuition in these matters and I was not disappointed. The Honda salesman had just two previously-owned CRVs, but the first one he showed us was perfect. The 2005 CRV was the last with a side-opening rear door, and this one has just 42,000 miles on the odometer. Before I knew it I was writing a check.

This left me with an extra car, the 1999 CRV I've driven for the past ten years. Because grandson Logan was the person who introduced me to the idea of buying a CRV and because he is too tall to fit comfortably in the car he drives, it seemed fitting to pass the '99 along to him.

Here I am presenting Logan with the title.

Ten years from now, if my newest car performs like the last one, I'll be presenting another grandchild with a car title, at which time I plan to retire from driving.