Fog – A Favorite Poem

FYI. I couldn’t find information to credit this photo. I think it’s beautiful and the photographer (not me) did a great job capturing the mood. And it was perfect for illustrating one of my favorite poems.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
– Carl Sandburg

Europe – A Glimpse

Here’s just a quick peek at the Wachau Valley in Austria.  We took a cruise up the Danube to Melk.  It was rainy and cold, but still very beautiful. I can’t find much in the way of history on Hinterhaus except that it dates back to the Celts.  This is one part of Austria that I would visit again.  I would take time to stay in the small villages.  Bike to the wineries.  And explore the many ruins in the valley.

Wachau Valley, Austria

Hinderhaus Castle in the Wachau Valley in Austria.  It overlooks a small village called Spitz.

Drive Time

 Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

As my husband and I are getting ready to take off on a cross country drive it got me to thinking about how much I love a good road trip!  If you are one of those people who hates a long drive, you might ask what’s to love?  I’m sure everyone has their own list of likes and dislikes, these are things that I love:

  • The anticipation and excitement that you feel as you hit the road – especially when it’s to a new place or parts unknown – is a great feeling!
  • The scenery.  Beauty is everywhere if you just open your eyes – and that means letting go of the everyday stuff that weighs you down and just look.  And ponder.
  • Road food.  Local dives and diners can be hidden gems – especially if the regional fare offered is different from home. (I use Yelp to help me ferret them out!)  To save time, you can pack your own snacks or check out this list of the best in all 50 states.
  • Time together.   I have fond memories (and a few not so fond) of many road trips over the years.  Kansas in the summer with out air conditioning?  Okay, that’s not a great one.  Lost in the fog somewhere in Illinois?  Yeah, another not so good one.  Sitting behind my dad pretending to drive to Colorado complete with sound effects? Dad might have called in painful, but I called it fun.   Listening to audiobooks and playing roadside BINGO with my son and husband. The best!  Riding shotgun holding my husband’s hand?  Priceless!  The most beautiful view is the one shared with the people you love.
  • Naps.  A long trip is the perfect opportunity for a nap – unless you are the one driving.  And if it’s raining?  Even better.
  • Knitting time: a  long stretch of time that I can spend knitting and not feel guilty about putting other things off.
  • Reading time: ditto for books.  Are you seeing that the best road trips are long enough for me to get all my favorite things in?
  • Music. Long trips are the perfect time to load up your favorite playlist (or maybe a new one) and, in this case, close your eyes and see the beauty.  If you need help, try this ultimate road trip playlist. Music helps pass the time, keeps you awake, and can even drown out a complainer.
  • The Destination.  Hopefully it’s everything you hope it will be.  But even if it’s not, the journey to get there was memorable, and lets not forget the trip back home.

And always keep in mind:  there are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going!

 

Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!

Urban Chickens.  They seem a little trendy these days, but I’ve wanted chickens for quite some time.  There’s nothing like a farm fresh egg.  Right now though our city ordinance is preventing my dear, stubborn tenacious, law-abiding husband from jumping on board.  (I and optimistic though and have the place and the coop all picked out for when I finally get the go-ahead.)  Our lot is very long but narrow and it just isn’t possible locate a coop 200 feet away from other houses.  In fact, I would guess that most lots in our town would have the same problem.  The solution?  Change the ordinance!

I know that there are people out there that would support the change, including some of our aldermen.  So I’ve been gathering information about the benefits of urban chickens.

1.  Fresh eggs that are free of pesticides and antibiotics when fed organic feed.  Eggs are a more efficient source of protein than the other four top sources, higher in value than cow’s milk, fish, beef, or soybeans.  Raising a handful of your own backyard chickens, gives you complete control over the quality of your eggs.

The nutritional comparison showing eggs raised commerically in chicken farms versus those raised in backyards or as free-range chickens.

The nutritional comparison showing eggs raised commercially in chicken farms versus those raised in backyards or as free-range chickens.

2.  Chickens produce poop high-nitrogen, rich fertilizer that can be used for gardening.

3.  They eat table scraps – reducing waste.  This directly impacts landfills but also, reduces the “carbon footprint” of eggs.  Recycled nutrients at it’s simplest.

4.   Chickens eat insects that are pests such as crickets and grasshoppers.  Ticks beware!!!  Nature’s exterminator is on the job.

5.  Heritage-breed city chickens can act as an extinction-prevention task force by allowing those breeds to thrive.

Barred Plymouth Rock

Barred Plymouth Rock

And besides, how cute is this coop??????

Chicken Coop

Bites!

No-Bake Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

B is for bites.   Since choosing a gluten-free lifestyle over a year ago I really miss cookies.  A lot.  I love cookies.  Every now and then I buy some Glutino sandwich cookies for a treat.  But I feel a little guilty about those sometimes.  A search for something easy turned up the recipe for No-Bake Energy Bites.

These little jewels are a nice substitute. They have just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy my cookie craving.  And they are fully customizable to suit your tastes/needs.  Use whatever nut butter or sweetener you like.  I used peanut butter and honey with some added dried cranberries.  The hardest part is waiting for it to chill to roll them into the balls.

I think next time I will use almond butter and some chopped dates.  Or maybe some dried apple bit?  Decisions.  Decisions.

A is for ABSENT

Allow me to introduce Yukon (aka Dogface).

Yep.  I’ve been AWOL for a few months now.  No particular reason other than I just haven’t spent that much time on my computer – and I have a huge queue of unread email to show for it.  And it’s not that I don’t think about writing blog posts because I do.  Often even.  It seems as if  there’s a disconnect when it comes to taking those ideas and putting them down for all to read.  But a few weeks ago (in a forum on Ravelry – the “Facebook” for knitters like myself) I noticed a challenge.  26 blog posts ranging from A-Z.  So here goes.  I vow not to be absent any longer.  So sit back and relax and prepare for what will undoubtedly be an eclectic mix of topics.

Absence of occupation is not rest; A mind quite vacant is a mind distressed.  William Cowper