Friday, July 12, 2013

Rhubarb Pasta Sauce

I have a hard time digesting tomatoes, so I have been trying for a couple of years to come up with a pasta sauce made from rhubarb.

It turned out to be simpler than I had imagined and it is so good (I wanted to grossly overeat on this stuff) that if you don’t have a rhubarb patch yet, this alone is good enough reason to start one. It’s just tangy enough to be a little addictive.

I don’t have an exact recipe, since I was just experimenting and didn’t write down the amounts of what I used, but here’s how I did it:

Brown hamburger with onions.

When the burger gets dry enough to start sticking just a little to the pan, pour in some water and diced rhubarb. There should be at least three or four times more rhubarb than meat at this point. Add Italian spices and some salt and pepper. Add a few cloves of garlic. I also added extra oregano and rosemary.

At this point I also added some cumin, because I love cumin; and some turmeric because it is so good for many things, but especially for the brain and memory (and since my mother has Alzheimer’s . . .).

Then I simmered it for a long time, nearly two hours. I had to add more water a couple of times. I doubt it actually needs that long to simmer, but Ben was late getting home from work (I didn’t go because my back is still misbehaving).

Nope, no sugar. It honestly doesn’t need it.

I think it could be stretched out a little with a bunch of mushrooms. I’ll try that next time; the two of us ate a whole batch with a pound and a half of burger in just two meals: last night for dinner and today for lunch.

New Car

Ugh! The transmission went out on the old Subaru Legacy so we had to buy a new car (another Subaru, of course, but an Outback this time) and we spent more than we had hoped we would have to. It’s not new, it’s a 2007 and it has 122,000 miles on it.

I’ve never really had much pride in the cars I drive, but I really like this new car. It’s certainly the nicest care I’ve ever had. It has better clearance than the Legacy, which is good for our road.

But because we spent so much on it, we probably won’t be going to Canada this fall.

And I do see a problem with it. We never hesitated to use the old Subaru like a pickup. I’m going to find it rather difficult to do some of what we did with the old one (like piling sand in the back end) in this new one.

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The dealership washed it just before we drove it home, but one trip up our gravel road and it’s so covered with road dust that it looks like we’ve been driving it for weeks without a wash. Poor thing, it isn’t used to that kind of treatment, but it seems to be taking it all in stride.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Quests of Everyday Life

Most of us think our lives are pretty dull. We read or listen to stories  and watch the news about others; some of us gawp at accidents; we watch movies and television; all as a way to vicariously experience the excitement of another’s life.

In truth, however, most of us are on an almost constant quest, journeying to seek what it is we want. Sometimes the quests are as simple as putting food on the table or earning the money to buy something we want. Almost all of us, though, are on another quest that we hardly acknowledge for various reasons – excuses – that we choose individually. This quest is to improve our lives and the lives of those people most important to us.

There is no more noble cause.

This quest is the foundation of the most fascinating stories ever told. When we want something better than what we have, we struggle first to motivate ourselves to step beyond our comfort zone, because we cannot obtain it from within that zone. But there are impediments. Most often they come from those people we love. They laugh at our dreams; they ridicule us for trying to be better than they are; they tell us we’re not good enough, though usually in different terms.

But they’re simply telling us the lies they want us to believe, because they don’t want us to succeed and make them feel uncomfortable enough to have to begin the process of leaving their comfort zone to embark on their own quest.

Another impediment, an even greater one to overcome, is the lies we tell ourselves. “Oh, that would be nice, but I’m fine, really, just the way I am and I am content staying right here.”

Perhaps we are fine, but couldn’t we be so much better?



The last few days have cooled off, but more heat is coming. For awhile the summer temperatures were getting unbearable and the reprieve was wonderful. One of the saving graces of summer for me is the beautiful landscape we’ve created around us.

Here are some yellow roses Ben and I brought to Montana from the Stockwell family farm in Wyoming. It’s been growing here for eighteen or nineteen years and is one of our sources of pride. Ben took this photo just a few days ago and already half of the roses have shed their petals, so we have to enjoy them quick.

The rose below, from a bush still tiny because it’s only two years old, Ben grew from seed we took from a rose bush growing in the flower beds of the Food Coop parking lot. To you it may be just another simple red rose, but red perennial flowers are difficult to cultivate around here, so we’re quite delighted.




We have a break now, which may even last until September, from landscaping. We’ve been building fence, but I over-extended my back and have been out of commission for a few days. And now we’re getting back to a little studio work and I’ve decided to use this time to work on writing up that pottery article we took photos for last winter, but never had time to work on then.

We’re also sampling some more new glazes, too. We’re still working on developing some new glazes and glaze patterns; we’re a bit more desperate now, since one of our favorites, the turquoise-green glaze, has gone to hell. It’s pitting terribly, which I think I could overcome, but since one of our glaze ingredients has changed, the color and visual texture has changed as well, giving us a completely different look. Unfortunately, several experimental re-trials of that glaze have not rendered improved results.