Friday, December 02, 2016



These pics were taken on November 16.

This morning (December 2), I tried a science experiment with grits.  Alton Brown has made roux in the oven (to avoid a long period of stirring on the stove top).  The oven provides a constant all-over heat that a stove top cannot duplicate........

I wondered what would happen if you got grits started, and then put them in the oven, rather than cooking them on the stove top.

I used Anson Mills' recipe, but used cheaper grits (organic ones I bought at Plum Market).  I didn't want to experiment with the good stuff.....  I measured out the corn and water into two pots, and let it soak overnight.  I put both pans on the stove, and, stirring constantly, simmered until the starch changed.  (They go from "ground corn in water" to something that is on its way to being more sort of porridgey.)

Then I put more water in one pot, and put it in the oven.

The the other pot stayed on the stove top, with intermittent stirring, and more and more (boiling) water added as it got stiff.

The grits I used were probably not heirloom corn, as Anson Mills grits would be, and I suspect the grind was finer, too. They cooked WAY faster than Anson Mills grits.  So my experiment may be meaningless for Anson Mills grits.

But I think it worked.  I think I should have left the oven ones in, just a few minutes more.  But they cooked just fine with no fussing, and we liked them as well as the ones cooked on the stove top.

I didn't think to take pics (not that pics of grits are all that interesting......).  The grits above are Anson Mills grits.  The ones I cooked today were yellow.  And they were just fine, on a chilly December morning.

This fall has been very weirdly warm.  Scary -- climate change is real.................  By "chilly" above, I mean around 40.  Not cold at all for December.....................

Forsythia, blooming when its leaves are autumn purple.


your gut microbes mind if you mess up their schedule.....


From The Conversation:  "Circadian rhythms and the microbiome: Disrupting daily routine of gut microbes can be bad news for whole body."


Thursday, December 01, 2016



Yesterday the Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, filed for a recount of the presidential vote in Michigan.

Volunteer observers of this process are needed!  More info about the Green Party effort is here.

The actual recount begins tomorrow in at least one county, and will begin over the weekend in other counties.  Volunteers are needed from 9 am to (perhaps) 9 pm every day from the beginning of the recount until it is finished.  If you are interested in making sure that all the ballots have been properly counted, I encourage you to look at the link above and find out more about this effort.

I've been wondering what we could DO -- here is something we can do.

It seems unlikely to us that Michigan's paper-ballot voting has been hornswoggled.  We are eager to help verify that at least some parts of the system are working properly and every countable vote has been counted.............


Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Rage is simply one of the masks that heartbreak wears. When we share the sources of our pain with each other instead of hurling our convictions like rocks at “enemies,” we heave a chance to open our hearts and connect across some of our greatest divides. -- Parker Palmer

("Heave" (above) looks to me like a typo for "have," but every instance of the quote I found using Google search had "heave"...............)

Maple leaf prints on the sidewalk.

Sometimes the maple leaves gang up, and the prints look like this.



Ginkgo and burning bush.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Compassion is not weakness and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism. -- Hubert Humphrey, US Vice President

A bright frosty morning.  Redbud leaves (and their shadows!).

The ice crystals on this leaf were more visible to my eye than to the phone's camera, alas.

Closer crop of the above, still without the appropriate sparkle.

Horse chestnut leaf.  Big.  2' long, including the "stem".........

The curves, the curls.........


Looking down into a cup of Iron Goddess.


Tulip tree leaves.


Monday, November 28, 2016


"I have noticed that when chickens quit quarreling over their food they often find that there is enough for all of them I wonder if it might not be the same with the human race." -- Don Marquis, humorist and poet

Especially if a few especially greedy ones don't take most of what there is!

We thought we'd picked the last of the tomatoes about a month before we picked these on November 10.  It's been a very odd fall.  

Blowing leaves, and ocean-floor ripples in the clouds.

Japanese maple underneath ginkgos.

Same as before, from a different angle.


Big leaves and small ones.  The tulip tree and oak were quite big.  The biggest maple -- pretty big.  The other maples were their usual size.  The ginkgo was small.  That very smallest item is a rose petal.


Sunday, November 27, 2016


"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." -- Voltaire


Mostly Japanese maple.

Zelkova and maple.


Hundreds of goldfish in the pond in West Park.

Virginia creeper.

Closer crop of the above.  That tendril, and the various red stems, and the blue berries.....

Virginia creeper.


Thursday, November 24, 2016



Finding it hard to be happy these days.  The future looks dark.

The small daily good things are still there.  Flowers in the grocery, blue sky, a warm bed, a comforting hug.

Grappling with "why shouldn't we feel awful, given what is likely to happen soon," while realizing that all the darkness is bad for our health, and bad for the health of those around us........................

Very grateful that we do not have to travel today, and that we will not sit down to dinner with anyone from the dark side.

Last night, right after today's dessert (and breakfast) went into the oven.

I wish for you that you can spend the day with congenial souls.

May all of us, from California to pumpkin pie land, remember those who have less than we do, and do something about it.

Every animal shelter, every women's shelter, every food bank can help more if they get a few more dollars or a few more volunteer hours.....


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

theremin nesting dolls


I have no idea how this works, but here you go.  My review -- odd, but nice music.

Theremin matryoshka dolls..............


hospital piano man


What a thoughtful, kind, and generous thing to do.  Thank you, Errick Thomas.

Here's the article from the U about Errick.  There is a link to a free download of him playing one of his compositions.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

November 7


Still feeling conflicted.  An old friend opined that living a good and kind life, and making nice pictures was good.

Well, yes, but.........................

Fiddling is good.  Making music can help people feel better.

But fiddling while Rome burns?  No honor there.  Music, schmusic -- get the water buckets going!

I am feeling like the world has turned upside down.  Or -- my understanding of it has been thrown off its moorings.  So many people, behaving so totally incomprehensibly. 

I have no sense of what I think might help our troubled country in a significant way.

I do NOT want to be one of those people standing in a corner (or hiding under the bed) with eyes screwed shut and fingers-in-the-ears singing "la la la la I can't hear you".................................  (Well, I *want* to, but I think it Would Be Wrong.............................  When good people stay silent, evil is more likely to triumph.  And/or triumph "bigger" than they would if we were standing up and protesting.  I believe it.)

I'm starting to come to consider the possibility of imagining that wallowing in horror, with eyes wide open, is no less ... unproductive ... than hiding under the bed.

I'm trying to consider where I want my resources to go -- I have supported environmental causes forever, and education for girls.  Animal welfare.  Local businesses.  Public tv.

We went to a concert by Jake Shimabukuro (the ukulele wizard) on Wednesday.  He thanked us profusely for coming out to support the arts in our community.

Well, yes, I guess we were................  So that's something else we can do.

And we can support institutions of other sorts that deserve support.  The New York Times, say.  I'm thinking we'll be subscribing.  To an electronic version, so we're not causing more trees to die or putting more paper into the waste stream.

I'm still taking pics.  I'm still playing with them.  Not sure how I feel about posting them.

But maybe, just maybe, they may raise someone else's mood enough that they drop a few bucks on The Nature Conservancy, or their local humane society, or their women's shelter?

One of my very favorite apples.  Russett.  Not the most photogenic.  Peel dull rather than shiny, not very big, not always very regular in shape.

But my, my, are they good to eat.  Incredibly crisp, when newly picked.  And the flavor.......  Deep, layered, sometimes almost floral......  Mmmmmmmm.

I picked up this leaf on November 7.

I thought it went nicely with the apple.

Walking.  Dandelion.

Tulip tree.  This is a young tree.  Its leaves are huge compared to those of the mature tree in our yard.

Tulip tree on a bright blue day when one could fantasize an optimistic future..........................


Oak leaves.

Maple leaves.