Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GK Chesterton wrote of his father: "...His den or study was piled high with the stratified layers of about ten or twelve creative amusements; water-colour painting and modelling and photography and stained glass and fretwork and magic lanterns and mediaeval illumination...He never dreamed of turning any of these plastic talents to any mercenary account , or of using them for anything but his own private pleasure and ours.  To us he appeared to be indeed the Man with the Golden Key, a magician opening the gates of goblin castles or the sepulchres of dead heroes; and there was no incongruity in calling his lantern a magic-lantern...In everything that matters, the inside is much larger than the outside..."

I think, for me at least, and perhaps I am merely insecure, the last hope of being something better than a very average and un-notable mother was that my children would remember with some fondness, if not a small thrill, the many varied projects that so frequently interrupted our lives...I did try not to interrupt rudely, and I did try to embrace things that would enchant them...their reaction was, as I remember it, very polite...I suppose I thought it would someday be remembered a bit more warmly...Now I find that there is simply a great deal of "stuff" which is unwanted and in the way, and apparently the object of not a little derision  and aggravation. No fond memories, apparently were generated...

I think some people are really not intended to be liked and ought to be satisfied to see satisfactory results from their primary endeavor, which, for me, was raising children.  It isn't really important for them to remember me at all as long as they pray for my soul...I wish I were a better person.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blogging. Uh! What is it good for?

Well, it's probably spectacular if you've got a thought or an event to record and I fear I rarely do anymore. I'm here today because I overexerted Sunday and am laid low after about a week of pretty good days...hopefully this too will pass, right? We're putting up fences---well HIRING them put up---and there are nice young fellows out there doing all those things they do, cementing in the brace posts and clearing some of the brush so they can get where they need to be. I need to feed, and I need to take the big puppy in to Suellen.
Okay, back from town and now to the point…Nigerians claim to be the happiest people in the world…living on ten dollars a day…Why the hell are WE unhappy when we have all this money? Well, could it be because Nigeria ALLOWS these people to actually live on ten dollars a day? You can’t do that here. If I decided to retire from the world and go back into the middle of the impenetrable woods behind my house, which woods I do own, by the way, and build a little structure and live there and eat rabbits and squirrels and fish from my stock tank, I would not be allowed by the government to do so. I would have to have all kinds of permits and inspections and…stuff…for my little shelter. It would have to come up to “code”. Instead of a free home made from scrap wood, I would be forced to meet a standard that I really don’t care about. I would be forced to have all kinds of licenses for hunting and fishing. I would have social workers running around all over the place evaluating me and my lifestyle. I would still have to pay property taxes and probably dozens of other things I haven’t even thought of.
A man’s home is not longer his castle. He no longer calls the shots. We are only allowed to live the “simple life” with the government’s blessing. No wonder the Nigerians are happy…
And that’s my thing for today…
Oh, yeah…puppy is a bit sick…we’ve got him on med’cine, so hopefully he’ll be fine…He sure hates to get in the car. Not only does he weigh 100 pounds, but he also has legs about three feet long which he uses, all four of ‘em, to brace against the sides of the door…

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Told you so. You don't have to be sorry for your mistakes or suffer the consequences. All you have to do is display sufficient outrage at being questioned about them...I believe in forgiveness. I believe in redemption. But there must be accountability and humility, and, at some level, consequences.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

That thing in South Carolina

No, Newt did not "knock the ball out of the park" when he answered the question about his divorces. He just acted outraged. And it IS pertinent. First he marries his high school math teacher, 6 or 7 years his senior, when he is 19! And it suddenly occurs, Oh wow! he was a player in high school! Yes, it WAS her bad since she was his teacher, but that die was cast early. Then after 19 years and two children she's suddenly not pretty enough to be a president's wife and he is by the way already messing around with Marianna who, after 17 years as his second "wife" is indignant that he's now messing around with Callista who will probably be upset when he finds someone younger. And talk about a blackeye for Catholicism---"I've converted to my wife's religion (which she was obviously taking seriously while she was doing a married man) and all is forgiven." This is why Prots whisper, "Yeah, all they have to do is go to confession---like those mafia dons who murder people all week and go to Mass on Sunday." I've been a prot---I know what they think. The problem is simple: He can't keep a sacred vow to God Almighty and the wom(e)n he's supposed to love more than himself to stick around so what makes you think he's going to keep his campaign promise to you?
BUT...I'll bet he wins...Somehow "How dare you question my personal integrity? I am outraged!" demanded by a proven philanderer has been translated into "ballsy". It's a pity. Gallant South Carolina. Where have you gone?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I MUST have some respite from these damned flies! They are such belligerant, brassy little bastards, and I keep thinking the cold will kill them off, but it doesn’t. I don’t ever remember having this much trouble with them in January. I keep trying not to mount any swatting sorties because I know I look like a mad woman when I’m swatting flies, so I hadn’t done so for four or five days until just now, but when I walk into my otherwise clean kitchen and the fat little buggers are lined up on the counter having a social I just hate them. They learn, dam’ em…the thing with waiting a few days is that virgin flies haven’t got a clue about whence their doom is coming…they don’t even react to the bangs and slaps and celebratory whoops…two of them can be having a conversation maybe six inches from each other, and you get one and the survivor just sits there like “Steady on---what happened to Bill?”

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Just another Tuesday...

My goodness! Feeding the horses and cows goes much faster when they sort themselves out before I get there...I suppose it would be easier with people, too. Have I said how intelligent my daughters in law are? Well, they are...
Hadrian has taken up residence on the porch, rather than under it, since I moved the old blue dog bed out there for him. Of course, he'll retreat in the summer, but for now I think he likes it. Provides a better view of his kingdom, you know.
Benny has an appointment with a dermatologist tomorrow, and I still have hope that it is something more manageable than discoid lupus because it is just all over him, poor little guy...Have been rubbing it with coconut oil, and he seems to enjoy it, if nothing else...perhaps it's my imagination that it helps a bit. Dottie is truly concerned about him, bless her heart. He's really the only puppyhood friend she has left.
So concerned for Dennis. I pray that his new dialysis schedule will help dry him out a bit. He has so much fluid in his lungs.
Seguin has gone to SMU for her first day of work. Guess they will be showing her the ropes. She was not scheduled to start until Thursday, but they called last night.
It's positively hot today. Not sure how that's possible. Thought it would be colder since there was a really sharp drop in temperature while I was feeding, but it is Way Too Warm.
I am better today although my BP is still higher than normal. Better than before and I think it will just continue to come down now I'm off the Savella.
I'm having a hard time keeping Dennis and Seguin (mainly Seguin) supplied with Salsa since I got my molcajete going. It IS good salsa...and even when it's empty, the vessel gives off such a wonderful fragrance that I just want to start grinding again, but Seguin makes short work of it---I think she skips the chips and just eats it with a spoon.
Looking forward to making Country Captain for General Lee's Birthday, not to mention the wonderful cake. Thinking of fixing the chicken in advance, except for the rice and almonds---such things are always better the next day---which will leave me more time for the biscuits. Of course, the next big Feast will be St. Patrick's day---I really do enjoy cooking for the ones that have a month or so between. Feasts are just nasty without the fasts that go with them...Of course, February will be broken up with Seguin's birthday, as well as Chisum's, Crockett's and Nolan's if they come around, but birthdays are simpler and less planned. Listen to me---I could go into goofball ecstasies about the cooking, and what I need to do is vacuum. I did put up rather a lot of Christmas decorations this morning, but there are still PLENTY to finish out the Season. Sixteen more days...
Well I have fulfilled my pledge to blog today, no matter how inadequately, so the floors await. Tomorrow I'll try to be profound.
Bother...I wonder how you spell "ecstasy"...

Monday, January 16, 2012

New leaves

This is my first act in an attempt to turn my life around by sheer act of will...my prayers and everyone else's are in full force...I have to get past this sickness and depression. Quit the Savella which makes my muscle pain go away, but at the price of constant nausea and elevated BP---not an option. Have an appointment for my eyes next week to assuage the plaquenil fears. Just have to push on. There is so much I want to do. General Lee's birthday feast this week, kitchen improvements, Augustine's baptism dress to finish, and just general catching up. So much to be thankful for. Stu is on track with her life, Seguin is working and has graduated despite her lupus flares. My sons all have wonderful wives and children and are supporting them, loving them and teaching the babies to pray...
I am most concerned for Dennis. Praying for his strength and for all the children to realize the enormous responsibility they have toward him...
Well, today I have to do general housework. And feed those blasted horses and cows. Hope Sigs can go to the store for me. All will be well.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A timely re-post

I want everyone to have time to plan for this, so I'm reposting the recipes for General Lee's Birthday Feast a week early. Happy cooking, or, if you're in the vicinity, drop in. ;)

A Birthday Feast for General Robert E. Lee
January 19, Wednesday, is General Robert E. Lee’s birthday. I’m giving y’all these recipes today so that you’ll have time to go to the store, and otherwise get your act together.

I got this cake recipe from someone on the internet years ago, and I have shamefully forgotten who she was, but I did manage to save almost all of her text and have included as much as possible. Dear Lady, if you come across this offering, please take credit for it:

Robert E. Lee Cake
FOR THE LEMON SPONGE CAKE: 8 egg yolks -- beaten 8 egg whites -- stiffly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest -- grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups White Lily Flour
salt to taste
4 egg yolks -- beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest -- grated
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 pinch salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated coconut
2 tablespoons sugar
1 oz softened cream cheese

Make separately and then combine a lemon sponge cake, lemon curd, and coconut cream. First let's talk about making Lemon sponge cake for the first ingredient. You want to beat eight egg yolks until they are as light as a Virginia dawn. Add 2 cups of sugar in slow Southern style whilst beating the yolks into a thick mess. You then beat in 2 tsp.of grated lemon zest and 2 tbs. of lemon juice. Sift 2 cups of flour and salt together per taste. Afterwards, you sprinkle the flour over the egg yolks and fold lightly until smooth as a Georgia accent. You then beat the egg whites until stiff as Southern resistance to Yankee aggression and fold in nicely. Divide the lovely (tasty--I know) batter between 2 buttered and floured cake pans. Bake in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F. for 25 minutes. Check to see that the layers are golden brown and lightly pull away from the sides. Remove to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before turning out.

Now we're ready to make the lemon curd. Beat 4 egg yolks with 3/4 c. of sugar, 1 Ttb. grated lemon zest 1/3 cup lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Using a double boiler for that purpose, place the ingredients over simmering water and stir frequently until thickened. Remove from heat and then add 6 tb. butter a bit at a time. You are then ready to split the sponge cake into layers and stack the curd in between the layers. You then spread the top with coconut cream, letting it drip deliciously down the sides. Here's how to make some coconut cream.

Having refrigerated the lemon-orange curd and the cake, you can wash your double boiler to make use of it again. Stir in 1 c. heavy cream, 1/4 c. grated coconut, 1 tb. plus 2 tsp. sugar, and salt together in the double boiler's top and heat over simmering water for 20 minutes. Cool cream over ice water---you want it really cold. Try infusing the cream the day before, and refrigerating overnight. Whip the cream, and when it begins to thicken, add the cream cheese. This will stabilize the cream. Continue to beat until you have soft peaks You can then drip the coconut cream over the cake. This recipe will feed 12 polite eaters at a Marse Robert dinner party.

General Lee’s favorite meal was smothered chicken. We like the recipe for Country Captain found in the lovely old cookbook, “Charleston Receipts”. . We have this wonderful dish with fresh hot biscuits, rice, turnip greens, black-eyed peas, and fig preserves. After readings of Father Ryan's "Sword of Lee", and Donald Davidson's "Lee in the Mountains", and a short narrative of his career, accompanied by stirring music of the time, serve the General's favourite dessert with good coffee. [unless we buy unroasted beans, we always use Community Coffee, every day. They’re Southern.] Then toast the Sword of Virginia with good Bourbon and end the evening with Southron songs, and toasts.

Country Captain (from “Charleston Receipts)
This will feed a dozen: I usually fix half:

1 bunch parsely (chopped)
4 green peppers (chopped)
2 large onions (chopped)
1 (No. 2 ½ ) can tomatoes
1 teaspoon mace
2 teaspoons curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 fryers cut up
Paprika and flour
1 cup currants
Cooked white rice
½ pound blanched almonds

Fry parsley, peppers and onions in oil slowly for 15 minutes. Put mixture in roaster and add tomatoes, spices, salt and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes, then add garlic. Dredge Chicken in flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Fry till brown and lay in the sauce and cook at 275 F in covered roaster for 1.5 to 2 hours. Add currants ½ hour before serving. Arrange rice on platter, pour sauce over and the place chicken on top. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.