Monday, December 28, 2009

A Christmas Poem


We're greeted at first
By dads outdoor lights
Then moms stockings and tree
Such a beautiful sight!

Raw eggs in our nog
We drink without fear
The eggnog won't kill us
It brings Christmas cheer!

Then there's Mom and Dad's gifts
What's left to bring?
They've been spoiled for years
They have everything!

They have grandkids, good health
They have a beautiful home
We walk this earth knowing
We're never alone.

Remembering loved ones
Those who've passed on
Hearts full of memories
Remembrances fond.

If I could pray for more still
Dear God if you please
Good health and good tidings
And more days like these

A Christmas prayer and a poem
All this talk's getting old
Now let's enjoy our meal
Our food's getting cold!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bird's Tenth

This poem was a struggle
the words would not come
our efforts were doubled
then words came by ones

"chocolate" and "gifts" and "cake"
came to mind
"frosting", "candles", "keepsakes"
came behind

now seven more words
to give you a lift
Happy Birthday, Dear Bird

enjoy your gift!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Poem for James

you fly jets, you fly props, and even a broom
and you certainly know how to light up a room

some think you're crazy, but that's not what we say
you just love life, hard at work, hard at play

we'll miss you this christmas, and in the new year
and we'll be sure to toast you, with holiday cheer

what's most desired, for what do we yearn?
our family's good health, and for your safe return.

Tios Franke & Colleen 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Birthday Poem for Peggy

hello, my dear sis
we woke up renewed
a great day is this
for reasons not few

falls colors bring thrill
thanksgiving's near 
weathers seasonal chill
soon, holiday cheer

but what makes this day best
more than the season
it's not holiday fest
your birthday's the reason

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dad's Birthday Poem

Twenty third of October
My dear Dad was born
In New Mexico state

Siete hijos are yours
And our wonderful mother
A house filled with love
Unmatched by another

All these years, all these memories
And I've only to say
Two words, no more
Happy Birthday!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Wooden storm windows got a fresh coat of paint today and were rehung after resting in the cool basement for a period for a break from the elements during the warm months.

The heater kicked in last Thursday, the 30th of September.  We were determined to wait until 1 Oct to turn the heater on, but the thermostat setting (60F) foiled our plans.

The tree across the street is putting on it's fall show.  Our maple is showing red on a branch facing south.

The rosebushes got their last pruning.

The tomatoes are done.  C- picked a bunch of green ones for a nice meal of fried green tomatoes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My First Yelp Review

I had to do this based on a well reviewed Japanese izakaya style restaurant that...sucked.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Holstein, the "grapefruit apple"

The nickname is apt.  Tangy, sweet, amazing.  Unlike any apple I've had before.  Must remember the name.  Discovered at Seattle Tilth.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Busy Weekend

Wash and wax the car on Saturday.  Bake some bread.  Sunday, a 30 mile bike ride on the Green River Trail.  But that's not all..., it's still light out so why not mow the lawn?  First time in weeks that the lawn's been mowed, but it has been a dry summer so the yard looked no worse than that of most of my neighbors.

Chocolate chip cookies for dessert this Monday night.  Made sure that I placed the plate so that the two smaller cookies ended up on C-'s side.  But it backfired, her cookies had more chips than mine, and maybe a touch more of  dough in the center of the cookie that's in that perfect spot between just cooked and raw.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Gavin's Birthday Poem, His 7th

There are many ways to fly a kite
But when flying a kite you must do it right
Most important is wind for your kite to take flight
If everything's right your kite will fly out of sight!

Of course rule number one
Is to avoid lightning
When you fly in the sun
It's much less frightening!

Another rule is
To stay far from trees
The reason for this?
To avoid branches and leaves.

But this poem is not about
The dangers of kites
It's not about lightning
And wind when when it's right

It's about Gavin
And eating a big piece of cake
And now that your seven
How much can you take?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day en la Cocina

Baked two loaves of bread today, cooked about four cups of beans, and made chile verde with 1.5 lbs of pork shoulder, a bag of Hatch green chile, and a small bag of Tio Jerry's blender mix. No time for homemade tort's, maybe next time.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My XP Laptop

it is my enemy
i want to toss it out the window
and then stomp on it with my feet
and then hit it with a hammer
and then throw it in the trash
and then set fire to it
and then dance on the ashes from the laptop
and then bury the ashes
and then plant flowers on the dirt over the laptop ashes
and then sprinkle cow manure on the flowers

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Made 3/4 liter Mock Aquavit using an Andreas Viestad recipe. Variations:
  • Used 360 grain vodka instead of potato.
  • Added 2 juniper berries.
  • Toasted all of the spices beforehand.
Used 3/4 of all of the ingredients called for, but didn't sweat using a whole clove. (Where would one cut off 1/4 of a clove, from the top or bottom? I'm not being serious.)

Hop Harvest

Harvested 2.5 oz of beautiful Cascade hops. Need to schedule a brew date.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blackerry Canning

Blackberry season is ending. C- and I picked several pounds of blackberries from the Francis St patch. Canned some and froze some. This is my first attempt at canning, and here what I learned: acid and sugar are needed for gel formation, and sugar preserves. (I wonder about the shelf life of a Twinkie..) Pectin contains organic acids. But I was wary about using pectin, and worried that I'd have something resembling warm jello if I didn't. So I made two different recipes:
  • 1 lb of blackberries, 1 lb of sugar, juice of 1 lemon. Combined for 1.5 hours, then cooked for about 45 min's--enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set beautifully. Yielded 3 1/2 pint jars.
  • Ball Original Fruit Pectin recipe - Crushed 5 cups crushed berries, added 1 package of pectin, brought to a hard boil. Added 7 cups of sugar and returned to hard boil for a couple of minutes. Yielded 9 1/2 pint jars.
Was easier than I thought. Sort of like brewing beer: keep everything clean and stir, stir, stir.

Both recipes made a preserve that set beautifully. Next, rhubarb!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Long Beach

Enjoyed a long weekend on Long Beach peninsula in WA state. Stayed at the Shelburne Inn in Seaview where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the restaurant, and Fish Tale Organic Ale in the pub! Visited Cape Disappointment and North Head Lighthouses. Note to self: North Head Lighthouse keepers homes can be rented to large groups, and they are cool! Supped at Jimella's in Klipsan Beach. Strolled through (and actually enjoyed) the World Kite Museum in Long Beach. Hiked the Bay Loop, Bearberry, Weather Beach trails at Leadbetter Point. Weather Beach to Dune Forest trails sucked because of the very high population of ravenous mosquitos! The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center near Cape Disappointment lighthouse was 'vale la pena'. Imagining leading the Corps of Discovery at the age of 29 (Meriwether L) boggles the mind--these were special men. I wonder what they would have done in this life had they lived in our time?

Garden Update

The dahlias are in full bloom, roses are back after their buzzcuts from a month ago, the tomatoes are producing loads of fruit and the blackberries are coming into season. Rasberries are long ago finished. Hops have loads of flowers, but it's not going to be a particularly bountiful harvest. Hydrangea flowers are starting to fade.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Four Hours of Rose Pruning

Roses all got very aggressive haircuts last week. Hoping that we get a second flush soon, but not seeing a lot of new growth. How can mine look so bare, and those at Woodlawn Park look like this? (That's my beautiful mother.)

From 2009-06 Ma and Pa Visit

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fresh Sockeye Salmon

On the menu this evening:
  • Fresh sockeye salmon, cooked outside over charcoal
  • Fresh WA asparagus, on the grill
  • A couple of fresh turnips, cooked on the grill
  • Sour cream & yogurt dressing
  • Fresh sugar snap peas
  • A nice glass of wine (beer over the grill)

Jupiter's Beard Gets a Shave

Trimmed back the first bloom from the Jupiter's Beard, and cleaned up the rhubarb--lots of detritus under the larger leaves. Trimmed the roses.

Still have free time? Why not clean out the fountain? Our little bird friends are cute, but they're also pigs.

K- put in some kale, basil and chard on Sunday.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Free time? Why not clean some windows?

Cleaned 11+ casement and double hung windows upstairs. Because that's what you do when you're a homeowner with free time!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Because there's always something to do...

So what was there to do today in this old house? Cleaned the grout in the downstairs bathroom, removing some old stuff at the intersection of tub and the walls and replacing it with caulk. Because there is always something to do around here....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sunflowers, Chili and that Beautiful Small Rose

The sunflowers in back are at about a foot, 6"-8" in front. The hop outgrew me a couple of weeks ago and the fastest growing vine is at about 10'. Transplanted the chili and the beautiful, small neglected rose which was cooking in a smallish, black plastic pot.

Mowed the lawn and weeded the yard, and I have it here to convince my non-homeowning friends that there is nearly always some maintenance to do around this old house.

Another Loaf

I baked another free form loaf of 'sour' white/wheat bran bread tonight. Cranberry beans with kale and a nice salad with a few slices of grilled beef were on the menu for dinner, along with some bread baked a couple of days ago.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cleared the Gutters

Risked my life on the roof today clearing the gutters. Man, I am not comfortable on the roof.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Finally, Roses Blooming

Late this year. Our first blooms appeared over the weekend. Lovely.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Vista Lament

windows vista sucks
despite the eye candy
one crash a day is luck
it's usually two or three

today as if on queue
the screen went blue or black
when it's time for something new
i think ii'll buy a mac

RIP Phyllis the Amaryllis

Phyllis the Amaryllis is done.  She'll be back again next year.

Hops, Lovage & Rhubarb

Spring has once again prevailed in the great battle of the seasons. The hops peeked out of the ground last week, and not seeing their own shadow they continue to work their way skyward.  The lovage is at 6", and the rhubarb looks like a boiling cauldron of blood!

Birthday Poem for Mis Hermanas

your birthday has passed
i missed the date.

and you usually know better
then to sit and wait 

for a gift that won't come
at any rate

but this time it's different
i've stepped up to the plate!

i've sent you a gift
i think it's first rate!

and i send it with love
even if late.

Birthday Poem for Antonio Rat-onio

Feliz Cumpleano
Dear brother Antonio
Enjoy this bottled gift

It's Tequila Tezon
Cabroncito Fregon
and a sip will give you a lift

It can make you see double
It can get you in trouble
It makes you less smart than you think

It makes dumbness profound
And bad jokes abound
But no worries, enjoy a drink!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


The snowdrops are in bloom.  It's a good thing.

Phyllis the Amaryllis

World, meet  Phyllis the Amaryllis.  Phyllis, meet the world.  This is a picture of Phyllis the year we were lucky enough to take her into our home.  At this moment, she's about two feet tall.  Not yet flowering, but we're looking forward to another spectactular show.