Saturday, August 30, 2008

Food Rehab

Hi, my name is Wildblues. I'm a foodaholic.

In the course of our spiritual journey we discovered the spirit-mind-body connection. When one of the links is weak, the whole chain is weak. The health of the body lends to the health of mind and spirit. With over 59 years of habitual do-what-you-want-to attitude as far as what and when to eat, making an improvement is not so easy.

With the help of ChileChews Discretionary Eating Challenge we made a decision to change our eating behavior. Well... That's like sending a soldier into battle without boot camp. So we've put ourselves into Food Rehab. This boot camp for healthy living is a concentrated effort to weed out intemperate habits and learn to just say "no".

No, no, no, no. That's what I said this morning when I lifted the kitchen compost container to look at it more closely (thought I saw something moving inside!) Underneath it were dozens of large black ants from the planning committee trying to agree on how to create an entrance to the colony through my formica countertop.

Panic, run in circles, and scatter. That's what they and I did.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Whys and Hows of Changing Your Diet

Lately between trips, family, and working, much thought was given to asking what motivates and effects an individual's dietary change. While I'm getting my thoughts into cyber words, these two links offer food for thought.

Powering Down
Chile Chews

Thoughtful eating.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mosquito Olympics

In the past month I've had opportunity to judge the Minnesota mosquito and the Maine mosquito in an up close and personal competition. Both Minnesota and Maine mosquitos are strong contenders in the following catagories:

Most Eager Feeder
Fewest Exploratory Landings
Highest Successful Bite Rate

The Minnesota mosquito is by far the Largest of the two mosquitos. In a few more years it will be difficult to tell the difference between the Minnesota mosquito and a black wasp.

Though the Minnesota mosquito is large, with size comes sound. So the catagory of Stealthiest goes to the Maine mosquito. The continual whine of the Minnesota mosquito hovering around a sleeping bag has caused the loss of many hours of sleep. The Maine mosquito is compact and quiet.

Using the whine and scoot method, the Minnesota mosquito can be annoyingly persistant in its pursuit of blood. However, the Maine mosquito takes the Most Eager Feeder catagory with its skill at going up sleeves, under brims, inside glasses, and flying through breaks in fabric.

Inherent in the whine and scoot method of attack is the false assumption that many bite sites were rejected before a satisfactory site was located. Therefore judgment in the catagory of Fewest Exploratory Landings was quite difficult. The Maine mosquito's method of the land-bite-two-step and the Minnesota mosquito's whine-and-scoot tied for top honors.

The Highest Successful Bite Rate catagory required a huge sacrifice on my part. Counting the number of smushed mosquito bodies without a blood smear and comparing that to the number of smushed bodies with a blood smear was most unpleasant. Then of course the number of welts with no smushed bodies with or without blood smears had to be tallied also.

This is when I quit judging and cried for insect repellent!

Thank you Lewey's Eco-Blends Insect Repellent. A few drops on the attack zone and wow what a relief. The biting stopped and the little critters were gone.

LESSON: Decline any invitation to judge a competition that requires my personal participation.

PS. Displayed on a picnic table by the side of the road on our way home from Maine today, we spotted bat houses for sale. We bought one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Corny Weekend

Yesterday we packed up the van and headed out to see grandkids in NH. On the way we stopped at a small farm stand to pick up some corn, tomatoes, whatever. And there they were. The large burlap bags of corn fresh from the field. Dave and I had talked about purchasing several dozen ear of corn to freeze. Today must be the day. We bought two bags, loaded them into the van, and took off for NH. A lovely day indeed. Grace and Violet Elizabeth helped Nana husk the corn for dinner. They love this job because there's no way they can do it wrong. Slow, maybe. But not wrong. They ate their fill of corn. So sweet.

What an end to today! Severe thunderstorms yet again. Right now. Right here. It's hard not to feel guilty with this abundance of fresh water when others are worried or thirsty. Earlier this morning we were working on our tan while we husked eight dozen ear of corn. Processing corn is messy so we set up outside the back porch close to the hose and the kitchen. I blanched the cleaned ears for four minutes in boiling water. My smallest canner easily held a dozen at a time. Then I hauled the blanched ears outside and dumped them into a pail of cold water. Dave would take a cooled ear from the bucket, stand the ear upright on a nail, and cut the corn off the cob. One quart-sized freezer bag held corn from eight ears which gave us a total of twelve quarts of corn. Everything cleaned up well with the hose (and rain, the thunder started just as the last bag snapped shut). Hopefully this should last until next August. If not, we'll adjust the quantity for next year's process.

Time to check on local peaches, pears, and plums for canning.

LESSON: Working together is way more fun than working alone.
(Oh, and, just a little note. Raw corn kernel guts are organically compatible with human eye balls. Totally non-toxic.)


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things I've always wanted to see...

Still thinking of my wonderful vacation in Minnesota, several subjects come to mind. Food for one. If you find yourself driving in Minnesota and go through Cloquet, you must stop to eat at Gordy's. Let me just say fresh red raspberry milkshake...

Of course bald eagles always come to mind. We have a few eagles here in Massachusetts too. One winter while driving to work, I watched an eagle flying low over the Wachusett Reservior next to the road as crowded sticky snow flakes fell to the ground. Several times in my life the sighting of a bald eagle has been a sign of assurance in difficulty to me.

I mustn't forget Sunny, our constant companion. She's a six year old ivory lab who loves to swim and dig rocks up off the lake bottom. Don't ask me...

But there are two things I've never seen in all the years I've been around. Even my kids have been privileged to see moose and the northern lights. But never me.

Check out the mom and baby moose.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Minnesota in summer

The Northern Lakes Raceway (Hwy 35) is the fastest way out of the Twin Cities to peace and quiet. After a side trip over to Spooner, WI, to visit Dad's grave site, we drove to Duluth. As we cruised the highway through Duluth, a deer ran out in front of our truck and bounded across the interstate. From there it was north to Birch Lake...

Birch Lake borders the portion of Minnesota called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The BWCA is said to bring peace to your heart, renewal to your spirit and quietness to your mind. For me it is coming home...back to where I belong.

This is the view from the dock that I looked out on for the past week. If this photo was larger, the bald eagle's nest would be visible. Last year we watched two baby eagles, Puff and Jeff, feel the air currents as they spread their wings in preparation to leave the nest. Mom and Pop were always attentive coming and going with food and encouragement. Sadly, this year, there were no baby eagles to watch. The heavy snow last May fell after eggs had been laid. Mom eagle never left the nest even when she was buried in snow, but the eggs did not mature.

Charlie and Charlotte, the resident loon couple, were not successful either. In fact as we canoed our end of Birch Lake, we only saw one adolescent loon with its parents. However, late one afternoon, while sitting on the dock alone, I watched and heard a loon batchelor party. After much verbal calling and apparent discussion over where and when, five adult loons congregated within the view of my binoculars. After much circle swimming, they began taking turns diving. When one would dive the other four would look under water until the first one surfaced next to the group. What on earth was going on underwater? I suspect some loon show-off moves.

Despite the lack of eagle and loon babies this year there were an abundance of ducklings bobbing around the lake shore. The water was perfect temp for swimming so swim we did. I had been warned about the size of the mosquitos this year but the mammoth dragon flies took care of them. All in all it was another refreshing visit home. God is Good.