Monday, August 31, 2015

The World According to Bella

Some thought I 've been on vacation, others wondered if I've been sick and even a few thought I'd stopped the blogging thing all together, but after some 46 days of gone missing 
I want to you to know 
Really it has been all Mrs. S's fault. She seemed too busy to help me and was always on the computer when I wanted to use it. I am happy to report we now have another computer. Mrs. S has promised me things will change. In fact I even heard Mrs. S talk about getting me my own website so I can blog all I want. Now that would be a dream come true!  
Mrs. S and Mr. C have been real happy this summer with my excellent job on guard yard watch. I've scared many an intruder off. In fact maybe I've taken the job too seriously. There have been many middle of the night and early mornings trips outside to check on strange noises and possible intruders in the yard. You should know that Mr. C does not like his sleep interrupted.  But thanks to me Mrs. S's flowers and tomatoes are in the best shape ever.   
I've had a few weather related problems. There were several weeks when we had a lot of rain.  
So much in fact one day my main hole filled up with water and even my back up hole was flooded too. I watched it rain all day wishing it would stop. 
When it finally ended all I could do was lay next to the two holes hoping for some sunshine to dry them out.  
After days of rain came the heat. Let me tell you something wearing a fur coat is not good. I ended up staying inside a lot and laying around. I do need my AC fix. 
I 've had many play dates with Sadie and Mulligan. We had fun swimming in the lake, exploring the woods and going on boat rides. But one thing I don't like is having to share my hole. When they leave I have to repaw the ground to get it back just the way I like it. 
According to Mr. C and Mrs. S my summer has been good but rather uneventful since I haven't eaten or killed anything I shouldn't have, and thankfully have not thrown up on the carpet. But it may be a little too soon to say this since Fall doesn't start until September 23.
Love, Bella  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Visibility:Ten Miles

I was quite taken with this artistic creation that my friend's husband made. It's a book stand piled high with real books that can be easily removed from any one of the 8 shelves. It is sturdy and makes really good use of a small space to display some 50 books. I was sold and ordered one. So creative! 

“Visibility: Ten Miles” is a collaboration of poetry and photography between Sharon Chmielarz, poet, and Ken Smith, photographer. Both of them are well acquainted with the prairie having been raised or are residents of the Dakotas. Most of the photos were taken in North Dakota but there are also scenes from South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska. 

Sharon Chmielarz is the author of nine poetry books and three children’s books. A link to her collection .

The tone for the book was set in the beginning with this quote.
“Trees were so rare in that country, and they had to make such a hard fight to grow, that we used to feel anxious about them and visit them as if they were precious.” 

-Willa Cather, My Antonia

The photos and poems included in this book are not only grasslands but also the unusual only insiders have seen. The images come from two angles, what the eye sees and what the heart responds to. The title suggests the ability on the prairie to see in distances of miles, not of city blocks or minutes. It also suggests something more lies ahead, which is unseen. And that is what this book brings to the reader–what might be unseen or unremembered or not yet imagined to the eye.

A writer friend gifted me with “Visibilty: Ten Miles”. She knew that with my love of poetry and photography I would appreciate a book of this caliber. And indeed I have enjoyed the photographs and poet’s words that echo each other depicting the stark beauty of the American prairie landscape. Both poems and photos complete each other yet focus on different themes.

I was surprised to learn in some of the reviews read that Smith and Chmielarz did not work together on the creation of the individual poems and photographs that “matched.” They did not set out to illustrate each other’s work. Rather, when they met it was to discuss and share their own work from and about the prairie and then chose the pieces that would represent the prairie in its complexity. The lean poems coupled with the stark black and white photographs produce a duet of image and word that is plaintive, pure and true. "The Sun is Square: Farmer's Proverbs" reads next to a waving sunset that winks below a surf of clouds.
In “Watching Two Crows Circle” the poet writes about hunger and the photographer answers with a picture of corn, of sustenance.

The meeting of these two artists have provided the right amount of desire and the right amount of satisfaction in this collection of photography and poetry. It is a book to savor and invites readers to stop, pause and find a part of themselves within the lines of the poems and photographs.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend Round-Up

Some of the Week's Best
Always be a beginner
than you're always learning
always growing
you're trying to do something that 
maybe you think you can't.

Cook's notes: Recipe ideas to use up the last of summer's bounty
Herbed Tomato Tarts
Tiny Tomato Tarts
Cook's notes:Recipe ideas for a late summer lunch or shower.
Blackberry Brie Pizzettas
Bourbon Peach Upside Down Cake
Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie
Cherry Tomatoes
by Anne Higgins

Suddenly it is August again, so hot,
breathless heat.
I sit on the ground
in the garden of Carmel,
picking ripe cherry tomatoes
and eating them.
They are so ripe that the skin is split,
so warm and sweet
from the attentions of the sun,
the juice bursts in my mouth,
an ecstatic taste,
and I feel that I am in the mouth of summer,
sloshing in the saliva of August.
Hummingbirds halo me there,
in the great green silence,
and my own bursting heart
splits me with life.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Sock Fairy Adventures

If only Will had listened more to Melinda he would have heard about the terrible consequences of stepping into their ring.
Legends warn us... that those humans who join the Fairy dance within the circle under the moon are sometimes lost to time and place and may even disappear forever. He or she may be forced to join the Fairies in their wild dancing, which would seem to occur just a few minutes but in fact would last for seven years or more. Attempting to rescue a friend from the Fairy Ring is difficult. A captive can be rescued by following the faerie music while others hold firmly to the rescuer’s clothing, reaching into the ring (keeping one foot firmly outside the circle) and pulling the captive dancer out.

Some believe the only safe way to investigate a fairy ring is to run around it on the outside nine times then add one more lap around to make it safe to step inside. Doing this allows the runner to hear the fairies dancing in the ring. But it must be done under a full moon, and in the direction the sun travels during the day. It is also said that wearing a hat backwards confuses the fairies and stops them from doing the wearer any harm.

What we do know so far in the story is that there is a full moon, Will is not wearing a hat but he does have pixie dust in his pocket and is trapped inside the fairy ring.  

Last week's story ending
Several pixies who were nearby dancing grabbed his hand and led him toward the circle of toadstools or the fairy ring. Will whirled and whirled about joining hands with the dancing fairies, laughing and singing. Suddenly Will disappeared from sight. 
Inside The Fairy Ring
Will was spinning and wildly dancing to the merry tunes. At first he didn't even notice that he was inside the fairy ring and Melinda was nowhere to be seen. Will was surprised all the dancing fairies, pixies and elves didn't seem to notice him. The bright moonlight above the trees shone so bright it lit up the woods. Sweet melodies from the elves and pixies playing their violins, harps and flutes seemed to be casting a spell over Will. He felt tired from all the dancing and merriment. It was hard for him to stay awake. He moved over near a tree stump thinking he'd rest a bit. As Will leaned against the tree he noticed sparkles of pixie dust spilling out of his pocket. 
"Oh, no the top came off my pixie bottle. Why wasn't I more careful." 
He scooped up the few remaining pixie dust sparkles as best he could, trying to fit them back into the bottle and secured the top tight. By now his hands, pant leg and pocket inside were covered with sparkles of pinks, blues, yellows and bits of diamond dust.
As the music kept playing Will was getting sleepier and sleepier. Fragrant smells of food were floating around  his head making his tummy growl from hunger.
Will thought he heard a soft whisper "Psst-Psst-Psst-Will over here." And he felt a tug on his shirt.
Startled Will sat straight up and looked around to see where the whisper was coming from. 
He could hear but couldn't see anything.   
Again another soft whisper  which sounded a bit like Melinda'a voice. "Will, I'm behind the tree but outside the fairy ring. Don't you know you are invisible from all the pixie dust spilled out of your pocket. No one inside the fairy ring knows you are there yet. But if we don't hurry you will be stuck there and could be gone from mortal land for at least 7 years. Listen carefully this is my plan to get you out..."
But Melinda's words were becoming faint. Will looked up to find himself surrounded by several dancing fairies. 

© Copyright 2015 EVER READY All Rights Reserved

Conclusion of Summer Friday Sock Adventures will be in 2 installments. 
Thursday September 3 and September 4

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Catching Up With A Little Of This And A Little Of That

Frozen Sangria
This frozen sangria recipe is quick and easy to make, it can be blended immediately before serving and it's wonderfully refreshing and delicious! A perfect summer drink.

  • 1 lb. (16 oz.) frozen mixed berries
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced
  • 1- 2/3 cups dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup Cointreau (or any orange liqueur, or brandy)
  • 2 TB. freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 TB. sweetener (I used honey)
  •  ice, if needed to thicken
  • Add all ingredients to a blender, and pulse until smooth. 
  • Add a handful or two of ice, if needed, to thicken. 
  • Taste, and add extra sweetener if needed.
  • Serve immediately.
that one pot holder, one button and two kitchen towels can make a handy kitchen towel wipe to hang on the stove handle?
Check out this very cute gift as a jump start on the holiday season. I particularly liked the thickness of two towels for wipes.
Directions: Two towels are sewn together. One half of the potholder is placed over the seam and stitched from end to end. Note the white stitching in the middle of pot holder as a reinforcement. A  button is sewn on one side of the potholder and then looped to secure the towel to stove handle.
 Grilled Peaches and Almonds 
Cook’s notes: Grilled peaches and pecans are a winning combination that can be added to so many dishes from salads to desserts. Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.
  • Fresh peaches 
  • Real maple syrup 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Butter (for grilling) 
  • Toasted pecans or almonds 
  • Optional splash of Amaretto 
  • Halve the peaches, brush with maple syrup and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon. Heat grill gates to 200 (low heat) and brush grates with butter so peaches do not stick. 
  • Place peaches cut side down on grill grates and cook on low for 2 minutes. Rotate peach halves and cook about 2 minutes more. Remove peaches when slightly soft not mushy with grill marks. 
  • Brush peach halves again with syrup, top with toasted almonds or pecans. Splash Amaretto over each peach half. 
  • Serve sliced grilled peaches over ice cream, Greek yogurt, pancakes or French toast. Grilled peaches can also be added to a mixed green salad.
And last but not least 
Last week's Weekend Round-Up featured Fudgy Pudgy Brownies.
This recipe was top of my list to try and I can honestly say its one of the best brownie recipes I have ever had. Be sure to put on your list. Pure chocolate bliss! You don't even need frosting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Welcome Crafters to the Lake

Each summer a group of teacher friends come to the lake for relaxation, good eats, fine conversations and making crafts. We rotate taking turns coming up with a craft and making sure everyone has the right supplies. Thrift stores are one of our most valuable resources. Some of our previous creative endeavors from years past include:
left to right front of picture
cake stand (plate glued on a wine glass for a base) wine glass (decorative wire and beads glued on) spoon (decorative wire and beads glued on) writing original poems (typing on decorative paper and framing the work) and napkin note cards.
Last year additions were paper gift boxes which became highly addictive once we got the hang of making these boxes.  

This year's craft were hostess wine bags made from jeans or khaki pant legs. This is definitively an upcycle item which I am sure by now has caught your interest. 
We brainstormed other uses for these bags besides adding a wine bottle to it. Here were some we came up with... olive oil, balsamic vinegar, glass container with spaghetti noodles, pound of coffee beans, candy, packaged cookies. World Market is an excellent place for shopping for an item to fit in the bag. Michaels, JoAnn Fabric and Dollar Store are good resources to keep the cost down for supplies.
Our Master Craft Leader brought everything we needed and more. 

The following is a tutorial to help you complete the project. 
Supplies needed:
  • completed bags made from pant legs
  • different size doilies used for stenciling

  • brushes
  • glitter paints, gel paints, craft paints e.g. Craftsmart Multisurface Premium Glitter Acrylic Paint
  • artificial flowers 
  • ribbon
  • scrapbooking tag ideas include: HAPPY BIRTHDAY -THANK YOU- CONGRATULATIONS
  • glue
  • imagination
Cut off a pant leg and you will need one 16 inches in length by 6 inches wide. Sew bottom corners at an angle and sew across bottom. Turn fabric inside out. The finished edge of pant leg will be top part of the bag. 

Position doily on pant leg and use brush to dab on paint.  Reposition doily to other spots on the pant leg to dab on paint. 
Let one side dry 20-30 minutes before doing other side. 
Place object into bag. Use ribbon and flowers to decorate, adding a tag.
I really liked this one made from a sweater sleeve perfect for the holidays.  
A fun tine had by all!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


The rutabaga, swede (from Swedish turnip), turnip, yellow turnip, or neep is a root vegetable that may have originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip.

You can bake or roast quartered rutabagas along side your favorite beef, pork, or chicken roast.
- You can blanch julienne rutabagas and serve as part of your vegetable platter.
- Rutabagas can be steamed, microwaved, braised quartered or diced and served as a side dish to your entrée.
- Treat rutabagas like potatoes and serve them mashed, in soups and stews, or baked with your favorite toppings and they are low in calorie.

Now here is where

come together. I recently was gifted with a large box of summer produce from a friend's garden. It was packed with green beans, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and rutabagas. I have to admit I have never eaten nor cooked rutabagas before. But lucky I had 5 ladies visiting at the lake who were experts on rutabaga preparation. They all sprung into action except one who took a nap. Two peeled, two diced and chopped and I searched the Internet for a recipe. 

I tossed the rutabagas cubes with olive oil, a few spices, onions and green pepper. Then spread the mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet mixed and baked for 45 minutes.
Rutabagas taste like a potato and were a tasty side for a grilled meal. I did save two of the four rutabagas so I could try another recipe.

  • 4-5 cups of peeled and cubed rutabagas 
  • 3 TB. olive oil or lemon olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. each dried sage, Rosemary, thyme 
  • 2-3 TB. fresh basil, diced 
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet Vidalia onions 
  • 3/4 cup green or red pepper 


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • In a large bowl mix spices and olive oil, toss and coat well the rutabaga cubes. 
  • Spread cubes out single layer on parchment paper. 
  • Roast until tender about 45 minutes. Stir mixture occasionally to move cubes around on the baking sheet.

Some recommended reads with a rutabaga theme

"Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth" by Mari-Louise Gay is a heartwarming story aimed at 5-8 year old group. It is about a little rabbit names Roslyn Rutabaga. One day Roslyn wakes up with a brilliant idea, she wants to build the biggest hole on earth! So big that she will be able to be on the other side of the earth and meet penguins. Roslyn runs outside and starts her digging. She runs into an angry worm, a grouchy mole, and a barking dog. They won't let her dig the biggest hole on earth. Her dad goes outside to see what Roslyn is up to. He notices the hole and tells her that it is the biggest hole on earth. Her father brings her lunch and they eat in the giant hole.

Rootabaga Stories (1922) is a children's book of short stories by Carl Sandburg. The whimsical, sometimes melancholy stories, which often use nonsense language, were originally created for his own daughters. Sandburg had three daughters, Margaret, Janet and Helga, whom he nicknamed "Spink", "Skabootch" and "Swipes" -those nicknames occur in some of his Rootabaga stories. The "Rootabaga" stories were born of Sandburg's desire for "American fairy tales" to match American childhood. He felt that the European stories involving royalty and knights were inappropriate, and so set his stories in a fictionalized American Midwest called "the Rootabaga country" filled with farms, trains, and corn fairies. A large number of the stories are told by the Potato Face Blind Man, an old minstrel of the Village of Liver-and-Onions who hangs out in front of the local post office. 

Meet Minnesota Author Barbara Saefke

NAC 2020 AUTHOR VIRTUAL TOUR MEET MINNESOTA AUTHOR BARBARA SAEFKE Barbara E. Saefke author Mystery and Romance Barbara...