snows & then some chili

yesterday all it did was snow. even when the sky would clear for a moment, the snow would keep falling from the trees. it coated everything in a soft layer. and the day seemed in a quiet hush.

but today it was sunny, and the world outside seemed all back to normal.

most of the time i do the cooking. this is mostly just because I like to.
but every so often he decides to take it over.
this afternoon I could hear sounds of pots & pans clanking together, vegetable chopping, and some various sizzling noises. the kitchen was full of preparation. 

two pots of chili, one with lots of meat & one with lots of vegetables.
and it was tasty. and so much was made, we'll be eating it for awhile.


kansas day



Flat Waters of the West in Kansas
by Carl Sandburg

After the sunset in the mountains
there are shadows and shoulders
standing to the stars.
After the sunset on the prairie
there are only stars,
the stars standing alone.

ad astra per aspera. happy kansas day.



a few beautiful WPA posters from the 1930s.
the collection of the Library of Congress can be found here...


january cherry-blueberry pie

at some point this past summer, I'd bought so many delicious cherries that they went overripe before we could eat them all. so I suggested we pit & freeze them. for the winter. & today they came out of the freezer. (so did some blueberries, for the pie & muffins)

my boyfriend loves pie. it makes him so very happy. so I made a batch of basic butter pie crust (using a recipe from here), with some very cold butter & ice water, and let it chill in the fridge while the fruit softened.
after the berries defrosted, I squeezed in fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 cup of sugar and a teaspoon of strong, sweet cinnamon. and then I let it all sit for awhile.

in my cold, winter kitchen, I didn't worry too much about the crust becoming too warm as I rolled it out. (cold crust = flaky crust).

the mixture became deep red & dark purple.

it baked for about 50 minutes. and even after an hour out of the oven, the juices had not set. spilling into the space left by a piece of pie. (some more cornstarch next time.) but the crust is divinely flaky. it crumbles & then melts in your mouth.  so thank goodness I'd baked the scraps of crust too (with a little egg wash & sprinkles of cinnamon & sugar.

fruit pies are not my favorite, they are his. but I love the smell as they bake. and I popped a few of the sweet buttery baked cherries in my mouth, and they reminded me of summertime. and as the kitchen grew darker in the late afternoon, I fixed myself a cup of black tea to enjoy as he ate his pie. a pie dark like winter, but tasting like a summer day.

sunday note

landscape, an adobe, an overturned car

not really kansas

grandma on a car, in the zinnias & with family

I learned recently that not only did my great-grandmother enjoy being a photographer, but that she & I share a birthday.

I know that her parents came from Tennessee. And I know that she never knew her own mother. She was said to be sad, and often anxious, she only had one child survive, so she adopted others. And she may have been happier in her second marriage than in her first.

She died when I was still a baby. I like to think she must have held me once or twice. I like to think that she wondered who I was going to be, or thought I looked a little like her own daughter as a baby.

But I don't know. I know that she liked taking pictures of her daughter. I know that she took a trip outside of Kansas once, and she put pictures of her trip into a little black-paged scrapbook. And visited a place with an adobe building. And from these pictures I can feel like I have a few moments of who she was.



illustrious owl

winter owls

observant owl

a canadian inuit artist, kenojuak ashevak, just died at the age of 85.
born in an igloo, named after her grandfather, and known for her humility.

her work was described as the "visual interpretations of the world she knew"
her birds are beautiful. though I find myself drawn to her owls. 

more of her prints here


january warm light

"the real and proper question is: why is it beautiful?"
-annie dillard

a little january sunshine in the kitchen window.
we had faspa on sunday. and it was a nice reminder of the friends & community we have here. and I'll think we'll have another.

we're still snacking on the peppernuts. and the zwiebach lasted until yesterday. 

my sweet little niece called to invite me to her birthday party. which may be at the zoo. and I told her of course, while thinking to myself of how much more difficult it will be than last year. and a reality of, I may not be able too. and I'm trying to balance out what my life here is compared to what my life is there. 

i keep thinking that i'll have a moment of inspiration. that my desire to create things will find its key.  as if all of my interests will finally have a combined a-ha moment, and i'll have my quest in mind.

thank goodness for sunny days in wintertime.


snowy views

from a snowy drive & a snowy walk.

as we look for a new place to live we learn what is most important to us and what we call home. for him, privacy & trees and for me, sunshine-y windows.

the peppernuts have been baked, and await our sunday afternoon gathering. the high altitude adjustment was some extra butter & extra molasses. (apparently in the way-back-when, women would bake these, store them in ceramic crocks and put them in the fruit cellar until needed. so I feel like being stored in a tupperware for a few days is okay, while also not nearly as interesting).

the next day, the kitchen still smelled of the aniseclovescinnamonginger&molasses.


sunday note

a view after dinner friday night.
our week ended with a few nights with d's folks, warm times in the bitter cold.

this morning a drive out to the trees & foothills, so see a maybe-place-to-rent. a cute place in the quiet country, but we have some questions yet before our hopes get too high & our rent goes up.

rolling out some peppernut/pfeffernusse dough, and it crumbled all to pieces. casualty of the dry high air. so now to try and make another batch.

this winter has given me a true appreciation of long underwear and wooly socks & sweaters.

in a week we'll be hosting a Faspa for friends.



view of a valley pasture down the road. what you can't see are the small black figures of the cows, who were mooing in the whiteout of snow.

vacas en la nieve


snowy eve

the view of our street on a very snowy new year's eve. 

we put on our snow clothes, me in his snow pants which were stylishly baggy.  and took an early afternoon walk. 

and then later, after warming up at home, decided to make our eve a walking one. and headed first, through the happy christmas plaza to some dinner.

a dinner of burgers & fries, with beer. in a cozy little brewery. and then a walk to a bar for a cocktail or two.

and our night ended early, nicely at home. with a movie that made us laugh. and then I fell asleep before the neighborhood fireworks at midnight, which d. said was quite noisy & impressive.

and now it is our new year. I hope that is more of a year of continuing transition & growth, and less of last year's big changes.