Browsing Archives for June 2009


Perched on the eastern banks of the wide Missourah, Atchison, Kansas was once a thriving river port and then the original terminus for the “Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” railroad.  As a result the town experienced more than it’s fair share of boom times and fairly bursts at the seams with gorgeous mansions from a variety of eras.  



These days, one of Atchison’s primary tourist destinations is Nell Hill’s, the much loved home goods store of designer, author and syndicated columnist, Mary Carol Garrity.  

Mary Carol often opens her home for tours during the Holiday season, but this year she opened it for a summer tour.  It is always a pleasure to see how she has her home decorated for the seasons.






Atchison is also the birthplace of Amelia Earhart.





Even though the Country Doctor taught school at Atchison High (physics and chemistry) during the year we were engaged, I have yet to see the inside of Amelia’s home.  I guess when I was visiting him, we were otherwise uh… occupied.






But I do remember taking some walks through Atchison’s beautiful old neighborhoods and marvelling at the lovely old homes.






Dreaming of maybe owning one myself someday…



Many homes are built on the cliff-side of the river.  






But others are tucked into various neighborhoods around town.





The best way to find them is to drive to the historic district…






Get out of your car…






And start walking…






I spent a lovely afternoon finding and taking photos of these homes.





Can you see the dragons?







I bet there’s a great story here….




As I was driving out of town I saw this last house towards the edge of town…








A nice way to end the day.  

Though it would have been nice if the sky wasn’t so DADGUM WASHED OUT!


Still trying to figure out the new camera. 

I think I will be figuring it out for a long time.

My sons helped me to clean out all of the kitchen drawers yesterday. I let them each pick two drawers, and when they were finished, I made them clean out one more.

Hwahhhhh Hwahhhh Hwahhh!

This semi-annual drawer cleaning spasm of mine led me ask myself a few cataclysmic questions…

1. How many twisty ties must one have on hand to truly live a full life?

2. How old does the baby have to be before you can get rid of the baby spoons?

I threw out all the twisty ties. My immediate future may be bleak and dreary as a result, but I am confident that I will amass a new stash of twisty ties in a very short time. There is something so compelling about a twisty tie. Some lost echo of the homesteader in me dictates that I must keep them all… they will come in handy… I might need to fix a leak or pull a mule out of a ditch… I might have to find a lost lamb in a blizzard, or heave my drunken neighbor out of the cistern… A twisty tie is going to make all the difference in these situations and if I don’t have one, someone is going to die. Strangely, as important as they are to modern life, I also can’t seem to find a central location for twisty ties. I find them in every drawer, cupboard, shelf, nook, and every single cranny in the house. I am starting to wonder if my weird habit of scattering twisty ties all over the house is some kind of desperate trail of bread crumbs. Perhaps I am trying to tell myself to follow myself and then to give myself a hug? Are there any other theories? I am very interested in hearing them.

I was completely unable to get rid of the baby spoons.

‘Tis akin to getting rid of the baby!

But I did manage to make a somewhat dramatic decision in regards to the baby spoons.

I placed them towards the back of the silverware drawer along with the critically important stash of Popsicle sticks.

But then I realized that I had placed the wine bottle lid thingys in the WAY BACK of the silverware drawer and I am sorry to tell you this, but I find that I use the wine bottle thingys far more often than I use the baby spoons or the Popsicle sticks.

So I switched them out.

The baby spoons and the popsicle sticks were moved to the VERY BACK of silverware drawer and the wine bottle cork lid thingys were moved closer to the front.

So let’s review then…

Twisty ties gone

Drunk neighbor drowns.

I am filled with guilt and remorse and never step outside my house again.

The curtains become grey and tattered, the porch sags, the shutters squeak in the wind.

Feral show-cats roam the property.

I take to eating jelly straight from the jar with a baby spoon

The wine disappears in fast gulping swallows rendering the wine bottle cork thingys utterly useless.

The garden shrivels up

The orchard is full of worms.

Bloated fish float upon the black and bracken pond.

All is lost

All is forsook


I do laundry and force my children to help me separate the darks from the lights.

…and a swarm of locust covers our state in a black cloud of death.

My spinach has been growing gangbusters.

Fearing that the warmer weather might cause my spinach crop to bolt…

…like my arugula did.

I decided I better go ahead and harvest most of it and see if I could figure out how to ‘put it up’.

I collected enough spinach to fill a tall kitchen trash bag.

I set the bag into the sink and filled it with water, letting the spinach soak for a while to loosen the dried on dirt.

The boys helped me to remove the stems and any unwanted bits and pieces.

I set up an assembly line on the island.

Here we have cleaned spinach, boiling water, and a large container filled with ice and water.

I placed the clean spinach in the boiling water for one minute, which is called ‘blanching’ because that makes you sound smart and gives you an edge on confusing the heck out of people.

I found several recipes for freezing spinach, and they all had different recomendations for how long to ‘blanch’ your spinach. Some said two minutes, some said thirty seconds, some spoke of enzymes and some spoke of nutrient leaching. I finally gave up on finding a cook time that was predominant, and went with an average… one minute. My spinach will probaby have both bad enzymes and nutrient leaching. I just hope it tastes alright.

After one minute I removed the spinach from the boiling water…

…and placed it in an ice bath.

The ice bath stops the spinach from cooking, which also stops the enzymes from ‘enzyming’ and also stops the nutrients from leaching.

I left my spinach in the ice bath until I had processed all the spinach.

I labeled my freezer bags.

I then drained the spinach and loaded up the bags.

Two small freezer bags.

That is all that came from a trash bag full of spinach.

That stuff cooks down… way down!

I can’t wait to try this out in a batch of spanakopita!