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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Pancakes: Problems and solutions

There is no way to make pancakes into a truly healthy breakfast. But, sooner or later, we’re all going to give in to the temptation of eating them. I’m always looking for ways to make eating comfort foods more of a misdemeanor rather than a felony. To be sure, it has been decades since I’ve […]

Farms and farmland: What are the trends?

This is the farm of my great uncle Barney Dalton in Laurel Fork, Virginia. Barney was born in 1876 and died in 1972, but his farm is still owned by his heirs, who work hard to keep it looking like it looked 75 years ago. A story in this morning’s Winston-Salem Journal (by my friend […]

Someone wants a water bowl

But if I put out a water bowl for the squirrels, then the possums would be wanting one, too.

Nipped in the bud, or nearly so

Unseasonably warm weather teased my spring-blooming camellia into unwisely blooming too early. Some buds survived the weekend freeze, and this partly opened flower survived, but the other blooms turned brown. It was the same story with the Carolina jasmine. The late roses are all gone. For several years, I’ve been observing the work of the […]

A new iMac at the abbey — and three Mac reviews

iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015) My old iMac was dying. It was eight years old and had served me well — no glitches, no grief, no fuss, no drama. But hard disks can’t last forever, and its hard disk was dying. The old Mac had started to limp — freezing and making racheting noises […]

Sesame sauce — a vegan option for noodles

A common supper at the abbey is pasta and vegetables. The default pasta sauce probably (I’m ashamed to say) is parmesan and cream. But variety is nice, and parmesan and cream make a pretty heavy sauce. I’m still working on refining this recipe, but here’s a working version with some ideas for improvement. Toasted sesame […]

A White House Christmas card

It would appear that being a county chair for the President’s party gets you a White House Christmas card. It will make a nice trophy. It’s funny, but some people are selling them on eBay. There’s no way I’d do that.

Juniper berries

Here in the South, where they are a common wild tree, we call them cedar trees. They actually are a juniper — Juniperus virginiana. This time of year, many of the trees are heavily loaded with berries. I think that not all birds like juniper berries, but some birds certainly do. I had a large […]

More abelia

I posted a while back about abelia, an old-fashioned flowering shrub that the bees and butterflies love. I asked my local plants and landscaping shop to find me some more, and this week six new abelia plants went in at the edge of the yard, up against the woods. No place could possibly have too […]

Celestial divination

Ancient Astronomy and Celestial Divination, edited by N.M. Swerdlow. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999. An Analysis of Celestial Omina in the Light of Mesopotamian Cosmology and Mythos (master’s thesis), by Robert Jonathan Taylor, 2006. How did the ancients predict the future using the stars? Why do I care? I care because, in Oratorio in Ursa […]