Only Ripe Vegetables, Fresh Fruit, and Whole Wheat

There have been a few times in my life when I’ve weighed more than I liked. Once, I tried my aunt’s collagen drink, which was touted as an extremely healthy way to shed weight. I don’t know if it was or wasn’t but I can tell you that the product I tried was vile and I knew, if that’s what it was going to take to lose a little weight, I’d rather work out. So that’s what I did; I cut my calories and increased my exercise. There are a lot of “secrets” to dieting but burning more calories than you intake seems to be a no-brainer strategy and it’s always worked for me.

Brian and I have been trying to get back into the shape we were in a few years ago. With all the moving and stress (from Louisiana to Iowa to Connecticut to homeless in Wyoming to Montana in four years), we’ve let things fall by the wayside a bit. We’ve always tried to use fresh, healthy ingredients when cooking so there hasn’t been much of a change in what we’re using but rather a re-balancing of ratios.

We’ve also started to include smoothies. Last night we made a modified version of this kale smoothie. The flavor was amazing and for the first 1/3 of the glass the texture was tolerable. I even enjoyed the bits of kale that cut the sweetness of the berries. But! As I got closer to the bottom of the drink, the settling of the raspberry and blackberry seeds, along with the tiny bits of kale, made it rather unpleasant and I honestly worried that if I didn’t stop to chew it, I’d choke. I don’t want to chew my drinks.

Until I can find a way to mince the kale a little finer, I think I’ll stick with fruit smoothies (sans seedy berries) like the one pictured here. This was made with bananas, pineapples, strawberries, pomegranate juice, and water. Because Brian likes his smoothies a little thicker than I do, I’ve blended a large serving of the fruit and pomegranate juice mixture with a tiny bit of water, stored it in a large mason jar, and mix most of the water into individual pint servings so both of us can have the consistency we prefer.

It’s a great way to start the day and it saves me having to go through all the work of getting a bowl, pouring cereal, pouring milk, and grabbing a spoon. Obviously the increasing my exercise portion of this healthy kick is a little delayed.

Title From:
Be Healthy
by Dead Prez

When I Win You Over

The other day, when I was writing the About page, I mentioned “a friendly little orange cat who runs around the fields nearby.” This is that cat. I don’t think he’s accustomed to being touched but I think he likes it? I’m getting mixed signals. He’ll rub on my legs, purr, swat me with his insanely sharp claws, and then resume purring and rubbing.

I am what I am. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, for you have been kind to me. But I am a cat, and no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.
– Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Title From:
When I Win You Over
by Miner

Very Superstitious

On Friday, I turned 35.

When I was a kid my mom would throw surprise birthday parties. Every year. The day of the party I would be required to go somewhere. Inevitably, someone would need something from the store, even if we already had the item or never had the item. “Come on Ralph, we gotta get some chocolate licorice and a tube of epoxy!” When I’d get back, the house would be crammed with every family member within eighty miles. The same was done for my brother and sisters. For the first couple years, it was a surprise, after that … maybe a bit less of a surprise.

However, one year it worked. My grandmother (Nanny) and I went for a drive to see my uncle Mark, who lives quite a distance from my mom. I assumed it was the expected trip away from the house. When we got to Mark’s place, my mom and everyone else was there. Apparently he had expressed an interest in having the party for me. It’s a gesture that I’ve never forgotten and it probably meant a lot more to me than he knew.

My last surprise party was for my thirteenth birthday, in 1993. That was the day the Storm of the Century buried our little street, wrapping everything in a thick padding of white like a tremendous fluffy present from Nature. I’m sure my step-dad still has the VHS tape he recorded on his massive camcorder, which he protected from the blizzard with a big black garbage bag. Watching the video later was like watching a silent movie while someone smashed grocery bags into your ears.

While we didn’t have a party this year, we did celebrate. We are now the proud new owners of a self-propelled lawn mower and a weed eater that weighs as much as a horse.

Title From:
by Stevie Wonder

Falling in Love in the Setting Sun

There is a group of mule deer here whose numbers are between 17-20. They’ll often wander through our back pasture in small clumps. Yesterday six or seven of them decided to rest by a shed that will eventually become our goat barn. I’ve taken dozens of photographs through the windows, trying not to disturb them, but yesterday I decided I’d had enough of the distorted images and I opened the back door.

Slowly and quietly over a period of ten minutes, I worked my way outside without startling them. Sitting on the step with a warm breeze blowing in the early evening sun, while the mangy deer lounged nearby, was beyond exciting. I have probably repeated “I sat with wild deer!” to Brian no less than twenty times. Incredibly, in the half hour I spent with them, I didn’t get a single good picture.

Title From:
Tell the World
by Eric Hutchinson

It’s Just the Way It Goes

We are being overrun by mice. Poop is everywhere!

They began their assault by entering through plumbing holes beneath the kitchen sink. We plugged the holes with steel wool, which they then pushed out of the way to continue peeing all over the dish rack. So we hot glued the steel wool in place and stopped their invasion. Then the assault came from behind the stove. We moved the stove and the refrigerator and glued steel wool into any opening big enough for a ball bearing to fit through. Following that, the mice started pouring from the furnace closet. We can’t remove the furnace to reseal the room so we blocked access to the bottom of the door by installing a threshold.

Finally, the onslaught of mice abated…for about three hours.

Mice started showing up beside the refrigerator again. We could hear them clanking around in the oven. They’d shoot across the floor to a dog bowl and back into their safe haven. Occasionally they’d make their way into the living room and hide behind the couch as Levee, our heeler/shepherd/mystery mix stalked the area, waiting for them to emerge. Our bedroom is off the living room and yesterday I watched as a shadow flew across the floor and disappeared around the corner. “Mouse!” is Levee’s new favorite command and when I saw it bolt into our room I shouted “Mouse! Mouse! Mouse!” and pointed to where it went. I followed her in and checked the only place I felt they would have the nerve to hide: the closet.

Poop. Was. Everywhere.

We use a large metal shelf in our closet to hold all the sheets, towels, blankets, and a couple baskets of socks. Everything was covered in little black pellets. I found two holes, no larger than marbles, against one of the walls.


We pulled everything out again in the kitchen and the bedroom closet, found they had made a sizable entrance next to the gas pipe, resealed everything with steel wool, glued in place of course. This time we also nailed or screwed 1×2″ strips of wood above the steel wool.

Next we need to check every other closet and seal the bathroom as well, where they’ve started coming in behind the toilet. If they get through these barriers, our last attempt at finding a way to stop them without murdering them, will be to staple screen or flashing over the steel wool and wood. If they still persist, they’ll leave us with no choice.

We’ll have to move.

Title From:
What It Is
by Kodaline