November 26, 2015


Turkey and Mincemeat Pies, Oh My

I came upon this wonderful painting by a painter named Doris Lee, done in 1935. It is identical to my great~grandmother’s kitchen in Small Town Northern California. As a very young child, this is the same memory that lives in my mind to this day.

thanksgiving-doris lee painting  

It was a trip we made only on Thanksgiving. Perhaps my father detested the ritual or, more likely, his uncles in attendance. No matter, it was an exciting day for a little girl of 6 like myself.

Entering her old Victorian house on Main Street,  the wonderful smell of baked pies, the fat turkey roasting along with everything else she had been cooking for days, came steaming out the front door on an olfactory wave. I would run through the creaking screen door, through the front parlor toward the back of the house and her kitchen.

I have little memory of her house except the floorboards that creaked, but her kitchen was the heart of the place and where I wanted to be. Amazingly it looked exactly like this Doris Lee painting, complete with the pie~rolling table, the strange green wallpapered walls AND ceiling, the single light fixture, the checkered floor and the big black wood stove.

The few large women donned in their full aprons in cotton calicoes and lace trim, with straps that crossed in back. There were never any babies in wicker high chairs nor women who were thin!

One year, perhaps the last meal I enjoyed there, we arrived a day early, staying with my grandmother who lived down the road. (Practically my entire extended family lived in this small town.) I walked over to visit my great~grandmother, catching her “in the act”.

Can you guess what it was she was doing?
She was chasing turkeys and chickens she kept out in her chicken yard. I noticed her axe had been sharpened and laid next to the chopping block, a large old tree stump.

She lived alone.
The story went my drunken great-grandfather wandered off years ago never to be heard from again. As they had lived in Gualala, a small logging village high above the sea, it was rumored he fell off a cliff.
Apparently nobody went searching…

She did everything herself.
She cussed about “damned Yankees” and loved to  smoke her “Southern” mother’s small pipe laced with cherry tobacco, rocking in her chair on her front porch, watching the world go by. In looking back, I think she did exactly as she pleased!

turkey man

Including this fascinatingly sinister deed.

Children tend to be drawn to this kind of thing if given half a chance. She turned to me, her face red and sweating. She tended to be very Scotch and of a no-nonsense demeanor. She simply announced this was to be our dinner tomorrow, in lieu of explanations.
She may have had a flair for the dramatic as well. She asked me to corner “that damned turkey.”

What I remember is blood, her many cats and the strangeness of the headless fowl stumbling in circles. I don’t recall feeling much of anything  else since the mean turkey didn’t seem to suffer at her hands.

Afterward the turkey was set to steam in a huge pot on the “canning” stove she kept on her back porch. Boiling made it easier to pluck the feathers clean.

It was time for us to undertake a sweeter chore and we headed to her berry patch, picking bowls of sweet berries for the Thanksgiving pies. Simple as that.

Shall I tell you about her mincemeat? 


 ~reposted almost every Thanksgiving holiday since about 2009~

Screech Owl

November 17, 2015


OK, Just Checking New-New Post Editor

chicken peeking

chicken peeking

Methinks this NEW editor is even more wonkie on my IPad than the previous version, that I also disliked! 35 minutes is rather a long time for a short post, no?!

speckled chicken

Back to drawing board-Not me!
Illustrious WordPress….

But I did get to share these wonderful chicken pictures!
Alas not mine but nevertheless and not to be deterred, they’re sure cute…

silkie chicken


peace rose in fall

November 11, 2015


Fall Color in the Garden

Japanese Maple & barn

Japanese Maple + Tin Barn


Since taking these garden photos ~ that actually happened over a couple of seasons ~ we’ve had some blustery days and one night of drizzling rain. For November 10, that means we’re still in drought conditions but we are all hoping that the storm door is, at least, opening a bit.
So nothing is as bright and cheerful as they look here, especially the grapes and the purple grasses.

Ah well, another growing season comes to an end.
I wanted to share my garden with you before it got so far into winter, the images made no sense at all!

So take a deep breath and wander around for awhile.


I wish I could join you!


pergola grapevines

Pergola Grapevines


garden flowers-sages



sages & yarrow


fountains of purple grass



garden grasses

Garden Grasses

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied.  The more one gardens, the more one learns; And the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows.
~Vita Sackville-West

garden geraniums


Screech Owl

November 4, 2015


I Have an Excuse. And Nutella.

falling down
While I doubt many are paying attention to my comings and goings here, I’m compelled to explain my truancy from the blogoverse. It’s rather obvious given this lovely photo, don’t you think?

In the middle of the night, I was off to the kitchen for a SMALL cup of pudding with Nutella [it doesn’t help me sleep but tastes oh-so-good!} To keep stinky, big Bella from visiting me at night ~ her new trick ~ I had gotten the idea to put the doggie gate up so she’d not wake me if I did happen to evade my insomnia.

Mind you, it’s the middle of the night so my Nutella-pudding is a walk down the dark hall to the kitchen. I am not in the habit of gating myself into the bedroom, so forgot and fell over the damned gate. Given the floor is tiled, that I have since cursed religiously, I landed hard on my right elbow, arm, hip, ribcage, wrist, head, hand… you get the idea.

Continue Reading

barn painting

October 21, 2015


A Journey

Meadow Deer in Fog

Meadow Deer in Fog


Dear readers…

I have been absent for too long here. Life has taken some unusual twists and turns since our fateful grape harvest.
Continue Reading


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