The Helpers Have Gone Home

Over 75 pounds off to be properly disposed of at the community shed on Friday. It was very exciting as I had never seen a shredder like this before. And the bank sponsoring this free of charge service served an assortment of sodas and water with bagged popcorn. Super relief to get this much out of the office and hauled away. Thanks Amy.

Ben pulled everything from top shelves so I could decide if it stayed or went away with them. Surprises like you would not believe shoved to the back! Lots of it went back with them this morning and the rest is waiting to go to someone else or stay with me.

Ben cooked his delicious squirrel and a Mallard duck that was not to my taste…chewy and a bit wild for me. But he did have time to hunt in Tennessee and is taking more squirrel home.

Friday morning I had a bit of time to spend by myself watching the funeral service for Margaret Perkins. It was so nice of the family to film the farewell and stories of those who knew her well. Hearing my words spoken aloud and being thanked from afar was particularly moving. Margaret, such a grand old girl and missed so much already.

We thought of going to the Women’s March in Sylva, NC on Saturday but time constraints and even more packing of boxes needed finishing. Three trips to the dump and one to the shredder!

We continued with the walks.

Found these strange little fellows on the riverwalk.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Phallus rubicundus is a species of fungus in the stinkhorn family. First described in 1811, it has a wide distribution in tropical regions. It has the typical stinkhorn structure consisting of a spongy stalk up to 15 cm (5.9 in) tall arising from a gelatinous “egg” up to 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter. Atop the stalk is a pitted, conical cap that has a foul-smelling, gelatinous, green spore mass spread over it.
We did get some time to go to the local winery.
And now with rain coming down I am going to go watch some of that new big television.
Til later….

Remembering Margaret Perkins

Sadness this morning to wake to the news of Margaret’s passing. Her enthusiasm and knowledge of the bush of Australia was always fixed in place with her needles, thread and materials. When she would enroll in my workshops down under, I looked forward to all that she had to share with us.

A very long time ago she gave me this set of coasters that she dyed with various Eucalyptus leaves and bark. One is permanently attached in my visually biographical book titled, My Decennia Book.

As Margaret unpacked her materials for class, it was the first place I headed. So many of the colors I love about Australia were in her satchel.

Her botanical drawings were excellent. In one of my earlier classes with Margaret she was stitching into a large paper map of the Flinders Ranges. She knew so much about the natural world of her country and every piece I saw of hers work reflected such a deep caring for the land.

This was our last workshop in 2019 at Hall’s Gap, Victoria.

She told me then that she would not be attending more workshops. Said the travel was getting too hard. As a goodbye gift she gave me a bottle of single malt scotch.

How very thoughtful and kind. But that was Margaret.

I shared it with a fellow scotch drinker in the company of a cockatoo. It was lovely.

For those who knew Margaret and enjoyed her company, I believe she will always be there in every crack and crevice of the Flinders Ranges. And a mark of her pen in every botanical drawing. Her presence can be felt as we pass our hands over thread and cloth put together to illustrate our love of her country.

Several years ago I wrote a story about how we can open “The Spirits Bar” when someone we care about is no longer with us. We can have another drink with them through fond memories and a few sips from the glass.

Tonight at five o’clock I am pouring a single malt, setting the glass on one of Margaret’s coasters as I go open the door for her.

Til later…..





Few Days Later and Few Loose Ends

We are keeping our walks up at the river…

And even watched a Polyphemus moth delicately fall to the ground for his last bit of life.

Ben fixed another drink called a Sazerac

Freeze the cocktail glass and coat inside with absinthe…..discard leftover.

Put in one shot of rosemary simple syrup (recipe in previous blog)

Two shots bourbon

Three dashes of Paychard bitters (this has a different flavor than angostura bitters)

If served over ice it seems to taste different from when kept neat. Personally I thought that without ice it tasted a bit like contemplative sadness, with ice it seemed more joyful. Try it and see. Quite good either way.

Here is Ben’s meat pie to help me use up pie crusts that get forgotten in the freezer.

The ingredients were pretty much, one and a half pounds of cooked up ground beef, instant mashed potatoes, onions and a bit of frozen corn and some chopped rosemary. Fill bottom crust with mixture and put on top crust (hopefully after it has thawed completely). It was filling! It was good! It was dinner and lunch the next day.

And some more drawings in the journal.

I have stitched up several more pages of scraps that have been put into the book and now just need to find the time to draw.  Tomorrow!

Til later…..


Some Family Time

As soon as Amy and Ben arrive they start the sangria.

Make 24 hours before using.

They cut up:

Apricots, plums, peaches, apple, pitted black cherries, mango, ginger, small stem of bruised mint. Then poured in 2 cups Southern Comfort in lieu of brandy and 1 gallon dry red wine.

It is a nice mix for hot summer days. When all is consumed dispose of fruit responsibly. Garbage disposal is better than compost pile where wildlife can become quite ill. Ben may have caused a squirrel to die happy.

Next just before dinner we moved onto a Cucumber Aquavit Gimlet:

2 shots Aquavit mixed with muddled two mint leaves, the juice of 1/4 lime, 1 tsp sugar and one slice of cucumber. Strain and pour over ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

Next a rosemary simple syrup was made by heating 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water and 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary. Bring to boil and strain into a bottle.

Now you can make a Rosemary Old Fashioned

2 shots bourbon, 1 shot rosemary syrup, 2 dashes bitters. Mine had angostura bitters, Ben chose celery bitters. Garnish with rosemary sprig. They looked and tasted quite different but both very good.




The celery bitters is a less sweet, more dry and savory. version. Nice.

A note from Ben: The word “utepils” is Norwegian for sitting outside and enjoying a beer. It is looked on as a holiday and with a capital “U” designates the holiday of the first day Norwegians can do this.

The following day we watched a you tube video of Tasting History with Max Miller. A fascinating series of early, early recipes. This is where Ben learned how to make the Epityrum we were eating with crackers and cheese at the cocktail hour. It is very much like a tapenade.


2 cups pitted assorted brined olives chopped and set aside in bowl.  In separate bowl mix 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 T red wine vinegar, 1 T chopped coriander leaves, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 T chopped fennel, 2 tsp chopped rue or rosemary leaves and 1 T mint. Pour herb mixture over olives to marinate. This is delicious and we can thank Cato the Elder in early Greek times for it.     Watching Tasting History You Tube episodes is fun.

We decided to forego dinner after eating so much at the cocktail hour and finished the evening with this drink we called Rhubarb Sunset Cocktail made using Ben’s Rhubarb Ginger Cordial.

First you need the bottled cordial made three weeks ahead of time.

In 2 quart jar put 1 lb of cut up rhubarb, a fifth (750ml) gin, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 large strips of orange zest, a one inch knob of fresh ginger. Store in dark place turning occasionally to mix ingredients and dissolve sugar. Strain and bottle in three weeks.

Rhubarb Sunset Cocktail

Over ice pour 2 shots rhubarb cordial, a healthy splash of tonic water and the juice of a good size lime wedge. Toss in lime remains as garnish. Absolutely delicious!

We had two very nice bird watching walks along the river and I would put some of the pictures here but I will save them for next time.

Ben also had time to make several prints of his first white line wood carving. He is now carving another block.

I don’t know what we are drinking tonight besides Sangria which appears to be an “anytime” refresher.

Til later….