Sunday, June 21, 2020

Book Sounding or Book Dowsing

Apparently some people have not heard of this.  It's called 'book sounding', or 'book dowsing', depending on which one you like better.  You can practice it in libraries, on your shelves or on a friend's book shelves.  You run your fingers (or eyes, depending on rules) along the books almost randomly, until one just FEELS right or stands out in some way that is impossible to deny.  You take that book down, go to a comfortable chair and give it a very good try to read, not just one page like you might at the shelf, but a few chapters.

You might 'accidentally' pick up a book about rope, or growing herbs, or a love story that takes place at the turn of the century, or a zombie child that goes through time.  It really could be anything.  Maybe not accounting or rocketry tables.. put that back, maybe.  It could be your thing.

The point of book sounding is to open your mind and have an adventure.  I also love to do it in 'friends of the library bookstores' and thrift shops.  You NEVER know what you'll find - or does it find you?  For a quarter you may be reading a selection of short stories edited by Isaac Asimov that is no longer in print, or suddenly realize a favorite author wrote something you missed, somehow, and now it is right here in your hand.  It has happened to me.

I wrote this article because a Google search for 'book sounding' showed nothing, and 'book dowsing', still nada, no description of the activity!  But I've seen people do it in real life, in movies - what do they call it?  It is so obviously a vibration thing when they are doing it with their fingers - something calls to the fingertips.

So, go try it.  See what the Universe tosses your way. 

Father's Day and birthday in our sub tropical rainforest (actually Tennessee)

planted some more things outside between the rainstorms

planted (in the last five days)
sunflowers, basil, kale, zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, some more zucchini and cucumbers, pepe de rola beans, painted pony and Big Kahuna beans

Happy Father's Day to Mark, father to this little girl, who isn't all that little anymore!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Took Esme out to the lake today with a friend from work and her two children.  The beach was not crowded.  We tossed a soccer ball around in the water.  It was a great time, and Esme smiled and laughed more than she has in a while.  Mark and I did some work in the garden tonight.  I found a snail, and he took a picture of it.  I planted Big Kahuna beans and marigolds and a few Painted Pony beans.  Esme and I planted sunflower seeds a few days ago.  The garden is beginning to produce peppers, summer squash and zucchinis, and the tomatoes are hanging green and round.  I picked a bunch of mustard greens flowers (yellow things on top, kind of like broccoli rabe) and some accidentally picked kale and mustard (where the snail came from) and chopped it all up to go with rice and curry sauce for dinner.  Mark and Esme had something else, and I had a little of that, but definitely wanted to eat my greens :)

Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice.  My clock is set.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


The purslane and basil are starting to come up in the garden.  The butterfly weed and onion bloomed even more today, as well as the orange gladiolus.  Mark hung the hammock, and Esme and I dismantled the old chicken tractor pen and repurposed the materials as a bed for climbing plants by the side of the house.

 This is an example of what is coming out of the garden at the moment

I had a Zoom meeting, did some knitting, watched Young Einstein that Mark had rec'd (recommended) and he is watching Dark City, which is one I really 'like', not for the first 95% of it but for the last 5. where it affirms the 'life is what you make of it' and what you do with the power and abilities you are given.  At the end the man could have crushed the world with a thought, had anything he ever dreamed he wanted in the world - but he really wanted the same thing, the place that was beautiful - that wasn't real but had such -gripping- elements that everyone wanted to remember it and see it and couldn't... and he wanted a little bit of real human contact, deeper than memory, deeper than society or names or jobs.. something they had felt that was still there - because she asks him to come along without knowing him at all anymore, there is still something there, and there is a punch in that.  The only guy I feel bad for is the one who did the hard work and digging along with them, questioned everything and then ended up out in Space - his last vision that of the messed-up world from the Outside, but never getting to see what could be once the Dreamer takes control of the Dream.

wax poetic.. but that is what I do sometimes.

Esme and I have played with her new soccer ball.  She is signed up for a virtual 4H camp.  I would like to enlist her to help me clean up the yard a bit more tomorrow and maybe put the dirt in the bed we made, and decide what to do.  She is doing some virtual animation stuff with her Minecraft friends - it's pretty cool, music video stuff with digitally-drawn animations frame by frame.  I really like the expressions the animals are drawn with, the 'facepalms' and annoyed eyes etc.. and they are attempting to move the mouths along with the words to the music, too.

Friday, June 12, 2020

a perennial that we added to the pole garden
 Mexican butterfly weed.  I thought this did not take at all when I planted it two or three years ago.  Today, I find it about to bloom, in the exact spot I planted it - but now I had let the mint and lemon balm sort of edge over there because 'nothing would grow there'... I'm glad I was wrong!

 The raised bed is growing mustard, arugula, kohlrabi, strawberries, peppers, purslane and lemon basil.  The lemon basil has kind of escaped, like the lemon balm, all over the garden.  I let it be in some places, snap it up and use it in my food in other places.  In the raised bed the lemon basil and the purslane have reseeded themselves two years in a row now... it's great!

The row of black pots was not growing much - only two had things in them that were productive, and they were both tideovers from last year.  So, I made yet ANOTHER raised bed.  I haven't filled it up yet with the proper dirt, need to decide what to plant in it, too.  This is the section of the garden that was accidentally salted years ago when we scooped dirt up from underneath our porch - which had icemelter salt in it... and nothing has really grown well there ever since.  The new bed there in front has bush beans planted in it.. and I can see they have expanded some with moisture just under the surface, but they have not begun to root yet.

 with the pots full of clay dirt that never held enough water to grow things

the flower on an onion that had overwintered in the shade graden is starting to pop bit by tiny bit

Thursday, June 11, 2020

I was out in the garden today, harvested a little greens, and made lunch

 I should have used half that amount of lemon and half of onion, and twice or more of the greens - balanced against the egg and the bread it was still quite good.  I combined it with the barbeque sauce from the other day, too - to counteract the lemon.

 I use a plate like this for steaming, and steamed the egg right on top of the other food in the pan

Black hollyhocks, took this bud apart and took some pictures

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

the gardens on June 10

the root of the mystery plant
it smells like carrot

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Ginger Garlic Guajillo Zante barbeque sauce

ZANTE currant 'vindaloo' barbeque sauce

1 large guajillo chile, dried - this is a fruity chile that smells almost like raisins - or zante currants, which I also ended up putting in this recipe.  I keep the Zantes for my welsh biscuits (bara brith or welsh cakes).

So this recipe asked to keep the seeds from the chile, but cut off the top, and take out the spine/veins and tear the chile into one inch pieces.  Place in the microwave in enough water to cover and steam for a minute, then time it for 3 to 5 minutes to soften.

spice mix from the vindaloo last night - cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom pods, pepper, salt, paprika, ground cloves.  I put all the rest of what I had from those in the mix, probably about a tablespoon plus a bit of the entire mixture.

1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of cider vinegar, some salt, about a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut up, about 4 to 5 small partitions of garlic, peeled and cut up.  Combine all that with the chile and the water from it and bring it to a boil - the more 'syrup' you want the sauce the less water from the chile to add.

I brought that all to a boil and then reduced it to about '2', enough to bubble but not enough to roil.  Mostly covered, cooked at '2' for about thirty minutes stirring often.  Then I put in two handfuls of Zante currants and cooked it again for about ten minutes.  Poured it all up in a glass jar and let it cool down for several hours.

Then I put it through a food processor and spooned out the really large chile and cardamom pods that didn't process.  Next time I will take the cardamom through a coffee grinder before I add it to the spices - I just mashed it for a while with the mortar and pestle this time but it wasn't enough even with cooking, a couple of them still were there at the end.

This was a sweet, fruity, hardly any heat 'bbq' sauce taste.  I drizzled it over some rice and pork I had set aside and it was wonderful.  Definitely will use the rest of it on my remaining rice, and will be making more like it in the future.

Vindaloo dry spices :

1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tabelspoon paprika
1/2 tsp salt
6 cardamom pods, pulverized (better ground)
1 tsp ground cloves

I think I used about half of this in the vindaloo last night (with wet ginger and wet garlic, and two chiles, prepared as above steamed in a little water but with the seeds thrown out) and then a splash of cider vinegar, no sugar, a little peanut oil in the pan with some onion until clear, add precooked meat, cook for a minute, add the sauce, reduce heat and let it steam until the water is absorbed enough.. that was pretty good over rice.. but this sauce was even BETTER