Three Fat Robins

Three Fat Robins

I am sitting in my rocking chair looking out the living room windows. In the ash tree there are three fat robins, very fat robins. Then two more fat robins join them, then more and more and more fat robins congregate on the tree. The robins look content. They fly to and from the crabapple tree in our front yard, where small red fruit offer “ice wine” for birds. I continue to be amazed at seeing robins in February, and to see so many of them together in the same place at the same time.

We are expecting freezing rain this morning. The roads were clear when Attila left for work pre-dawn, so his journey would have been relatively safe. I hope that the freezing rain comes and goes long before his journey home.

I am not getting out for my daily walk very often now, February is like that. I imagine that within a few weeks that will change, and the roads and sidewalks will be clear of ice and snow. In the meantime, I have taken to spending periods of time standing to work on my laptop, standing is not as good as walking, but it is better than sitting. I am going for variety.

For several decades I have created a web presence, and administrated the web site, for a organic farm. The owners are wonderful people, and we made an arrangement that in return for my services we would receive organic food. This has worked out very well for us, and for them. When we lived in the little city, the farm was nearby and we could drive out to pick up the organic products, or they would drop them off when they were visiting the city. When we moved to the country house, the distance was too far for pickup or delivery. The solution we came up with was dried organic basil, lots and lots of dried organic basil. Every year they send me a package in the post containing the basil. The divine aroma would permeate the air at the Post Office near the country house, the clerks would always comment on it.

The dried basil we received would always include the stems, some of which were too woody to use. My solution was to use my marble mortar and pestle to grind the dried basil into a powder.

When we moved here over a year and a half ago, there were boxes everywhere, and two of a lot of things, so that items were stored all over the place, with little logic. Attila and I knew the mortar and pestle were here someplace, but we could not find the set. Months and months passed, still, no matter how hard we searched, we could not find it. I have been using my hands to process the basil, and that is not a happy solution, although it works. I have been missing my mortar and pestle.

Yesterday I found it! It was in a box at the back of the lower kitchen cupboards, which are dark and deep. I was looking for the hand mixer, hauling out every item in the cupboard, when I came upon a box that held not only the hand mixer, but the mortar and pestle as well. Thank goodness!

After being washed and dried, the mortar and pestle were put to work. A 1.5 litre mason jar full of dried organic basil was reduced to a .5 litre mason jar of ground basil. It took hours to accomplish this, but it is worthwhile, and the end result is organic ground basil that has excellent flavour. Basil is my favourite herb.

I had been looking for the hand mixer because I wanted to make a cream soup for my lunch. The soup was made from pre-cooked frozen sweet potatoes that were prepared and placed in the freezer last year, onion flakes, garlic granules, and some 1% milk. It was very good soup.

Yesterday’s snack was a few rice crackers, eaten with the homemade hummus that Attila prepared over the weekend.

Food preparation is a major part of our daily life, since almost all of what we consume has to be prepared at home. Since Terra was an infant, when I acquired my allergy, I have had to watch every single thing I put in my mouth, and anything the medical professional want to inject into my body. The allergy came as a shock, as allergies were not something that plagued the members of my family. Now, not only do I have to avoid my allergen, which is a common preservative and widely used, I need to avoid sodium and sugar. There is a contrast here of course. The allergy is a sudden death, life threatening rare condition. The sodium and sugar are a long term hazard, a hazard to all of us, and if I slip and consume more than I should of either, I just feel crappy and further compromise my heart. Anaphylaxis is a very serious condition, while heart healthy eating is a long game, something humans need to adopt as a matter of lifestyle.

The effect of buying a new used computer was more intrusive than we had anticipated. We are now back on track, and enjoying the new used iMac a great deal. I am using it to work on my book, as it has a large high resolution screen that is easy on my eyes, and lets me work more easily with the three or four programs window simultaneously. I am making a little progress, but it is still slow going. It doesn’t help that I continue to do research as I go along, that is the only fun part!

The new computer also serves as our entertainment centre. Attached to it is an optical drive, which we use to watch the DVDs we have purchased over the years.

At present we are watching our copies of Northern Exposure. I think this is our fourth time through the series, which began airing in 1990. There seems to be nothing comparable being produced today. Northern Exposure is entertainment focused on characters and relationships, rather than betrayals and violence. The array of personalities, challenges, and value systems portrayed in the program is truly impressive. I have participated in two communities consisting of a similar array of difference, and they were vibrant and bright lights in the universe; easily the very best of what humans can achieve, in my view.

I find it interesting that there were many episode writers, mostly men, but some women, and each episode that followed in the series was written by a different writer, and directed by a different director. There were also many directors. I wonder if that is what made it so great, no rutted thinking. The consistency in quality of writing, directing, and acting didn’t changed.
[I find it amusing that Donald Trump has been mentioned in passing twice, as the icon of decadent, unthinking wealth. We are beginning to watch Season Three now, which aired in 1991/92.]

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EST Tuesday 7 February 2017
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -6.5°C
Dew point: -9.1°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: NE 24 gust 34 km/h
Wind Chill: -14
Visibility: 24 km


“Believe nothing against another but on good authority; and never report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to some other to conceal it.”
William Penn
1644 – 1718


  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    I honestly haven’t seen any robins in our area. A few grackles, yes, but no robins. Strange that they would be in your area further north but not around here.

    We were originally expecting the freezing rain this morning but it actually didn’t arrive until just about noon. Fortunately, DH was able to come home and work from home. We have a good bit of ice on the trees and road now, though the temp is supposed to start going up in the next hour or so.

    Wow! That’s a lot of basil. You really must like it!

    I’m expecting the delivery of a new laptop tomorrow. My current laptop has frightened me enough times with unexpectantly shutting down that I finally talked myself into getting a new computer, before all my work suddenly vaporizes. This new computer is an older model that’s just about sold out but it has a dedicated graphics card and a solid state drive, which should make life much easier for me.

  2. The freezing rain started here about an hour before Attila left his place of work, he said it was a harrowing drive home. He arrived safely though. Right now there are warnings to stay off the roads, and the sander went down the street about an hour ago. Hopefully by tomorrow morning it will just be a fading memory.

    I use a lot of basil. I make my own salad dressing, adding basil to that, and most of my sauces and stews are flavoured with basil as well. We use fresh basil to make pesto, one of our staple “fast foods”. Other herbs I use in moderation, but I have yet to use too much basil in any recipe.

    It is nice to have technology that is up to the job! Goodness, when I remember writing on my old Apple IIC, having to load the operating system from a floppy disk every time I turned it on, well things are a lot different now. Speaking of vaporize, you remind me I should back up my data again soon.

  3. I love the heady smell of basil, not to mention the rich taste. I can believe that you would spend hours grinding it—something I would have done in my gardening and canning years! You often write about the efforts you devote to cooking from scratch, but I didn’t understand the reason, anaphylaxis. Such a serious condition! So glad that you have it under control.

  4. Thanks Diane. Luckily by the time I acquired my allergy I was already a Home Economist by training, majoring in nutrtion and food science. I ended up teaching in the public school system, but maintained an active interest in current nutritional information. When the allergy appeared I was in good form for cooking everything from scratch… however unwilling I was at first, it was a tearful first few years. One of the things Attila and I share is an interest in food preparation, we are well matched in that way. We eat a healthier diet for all the care we must take, and we eat ecnomically as well, satifying on so many levels. I do miss eating out, and eating with other people, so much of social interaction is based on sharing a meal, and I don’t think I will ever stop missing that avenue to belonging. But I don’t stop to think about it much, I just carry on doing what I can do!

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