October 17, 2018

On An Autumn Wednesday

I made the top photo into a header. A Haiku by  Matsuo Basho fits it very well. The street is deserted and it was taken in autumn.
While you are here, take a look at the post below as well.    You might like to consider the works of Washington Irving as good autumn reading.  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle and other stories are perfect.

  No one travels
Along this way but I,
This autumn evening.
by Matsuo Basho

The shallows-
a crane’s thighs splashed
in cool waves.
Matsuo Basho

The summer grasses
All that remains
Of brave soldiers dreams
Matsuo Basho 

Autumn  begins...
 Water doesn't care
if moss changes colors!

Thought for the day:
Notice how universities and news sites push diversity in everything except thought?

October 15, 2018

Literary Pearls: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

New York state has a rich Dutch history. And the Hudson River Valley is especially rich in that
tradition. These stories were made famous by Washington Irving. Many of these legends and stories take place in the Catskill Mountains, a place of endless beauty and glorious waterfalls.
Toward the end of the Revolutionary War, the Hudson River Valley was an untamed area where lawlessness sometimes prevailed. During the war Hessian Germans called "Jager" came to fight for the British, but changed sides and stayed to form a solid foundation for America in the area.
Jagers were sharp shooters and great horseman. It was these Jagers who formed the background for the headless horseman, a Hessian soldier looking for his lost head.

Here is are a few paragraphs from Washington Irving's wonderful story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,  based on the legends of the area. It isn't a novel per se, just a story and takes very little time to read the entire thing which can be found HERE for free.

" From his half-itinerant life, also, he was a kind of travelling gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house to house, so that his appearance was always greeted with satisfaction. He was, moreover, esteemed by the women as a man of great erudition, for he had read several books quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather’s “History of New England Witchcraft,” in which, by the way, he most firmly and potently believed.

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and simple credulity. His appetite for the marvellous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence in this spell-bound region. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow. It was often his delight, after his school was dismissed in the afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed of clover bordering the little brook that whimpered by his schoolhouse, and there con over old Mather’s direful tales, until the gathering dusk of evening made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes. Then, as he wended his way by swamp and stream and awful woodland, to the farmhouse where he happened to be quartered, every sound of nature, at that witching hour, fluttered his excited imagination,—the moan of the whip-poor-will from the hillside, the boding cry of the tree toad, that harbinger of storm, the dreary hooting of the screech owl, or the sudden rustling in the thicket of birds frightened from their roost. The fireflies, too, which sparkled most vividly in the darkest places, now and then startled him, as one of uncommon brightness would stream across his path; and if, by chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging his blundering flight against him, the poor varlet was ready to give up the ghost, with the idea that he was struck with a witch’s token. His only resource on such occasions, either to drown thought or drive away evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes and the good people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their doors of an evening, were often filled with awe at hearing his nasal melody, “in linked sweetness long drawn out,” floating from the distant hill, or along the dusky road.

Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the hearth, and listen to their marvellous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman, or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him. He would delight them equally by his anecdotes of witchcraft, and of the direful omens and portentous sights and sounds in the air, which prevailed in the earlier times of Connecticut; and would frighten them woefully with speculations upon comets and shooting stars; and with the alarming fact that the world did absolutely turn round, and that they were half the time topsy-turvy!

But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cuddling in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of a ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of course, no spectre dared to show its face, it was dearly purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk homewards. What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which, like a sheeted spectre, beset his very path! How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! And how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings!

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many spectres in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was—a woman."

October 14, 2018

Sunday Pancakes

Welcome friends. Autumn is underway it seems with cooler temperatures and leaves beginning
to change slowly but surely. Fall will soon be here.
I learned there is a difference in Autumn.. the entire season.. and fall, the time when leaves are actively falling from the trees. 
Now let's participate in Sunday Stealing with Bev Sykes.. you should give it a try as well. Let us know your thoughts and your recipe.

1. Your phone rings. Who is the most likely caller?
Statistically the most calls come from telemarketers and scam artists despite being on a don't call thingy.

2. How long do you chat on the phone each day?
The average would be zero minutes because I rarely get calls and rarely talk on the phone.
I text but only a couple minutes every few days really and usually to the Little when she is outside playing or to the Famous Anonymous at university to say Hi.

3. Who do you speak to the most?
Friends and family.

4. Do you often not answer if a certain person comes up on your caller id?
Yes, I don't answer if I don't know the number.

5. Do you phone friends at work?
6. Do you make personal calls at work?
No I never did and wouldn't unless it was urgent.

7. Who do you always say “I love you” at the end of the call?
To my son, daughter and family.

8. Do you use a landline or cell more often?
I have not had a landline for years. Because of my closeness to the water table and the bay, I am in a position where telephone lines corrode and I had nothing but constant trouble with my underground phone lines.

9. Who in the blogosphere that you haven’t chatted with but would like to?
Anyone. But I do better talking in person than on a phone where I have zero to say usually.

1. Scratch or mix? Buttermilk or plain?
Mix that is jazzed up. Buttermilk is nice .
2. Pure and simple, or with additions cooked in?
Plain is just fine.
3. For breakfast or for dinner?
4. Preferred syrup or other topping? How about the best side dish?'
Real maple syrup from Vermont.

5. Favorite pancake restaurant?
I think that IHop has good pancakes as does Perkins , or so I am told.

Bonus: Any tasty recipes out there, for pancakes or other special breakfast dishes? Bring 'em on!
Use Aunt Jemima, etc but instead of adding water or milk, use club soda. It makes the pancakes far lighter and fluffier.

But here is a great Diner Style recipe for Fluffy Pancakes that works great every time.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cold seltzer water or club soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more
  • Pure maple syrup (for serving)
 Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Use a fork to beat eggs, buttermilk, seltzer, vanilla, and 3 Tbsp. melted butter in a medium bowl to mix in the eggs. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and whisk together...the batter should be slightly lumpy.
 Heat a large griddle on medium heat; brush with butter. Working in batches, scoop 1/2-cupfuls of batter onto griddle; cook until bubbles form on the surface and pop and the underside is golden brown, 2 1/2–3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until golden brown on the bottom, 2–2 1/2 minutes more. Transfer pancakes to plates or a platter and brush tops with butter. Serve with maple syrup alongside.

Until tomorrow, remember: