Category Archives: Uncategorized

Paprikash of Slow-Cooked Lambs Hearts

Source: Paprikash of Slow-Cooked Lambs Hearts

Oh my gosh!  This looks yummy…. but since I have pork hearts, they will have to do. 😉

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For those that might think this is gross, [I mean it’s hearts folks] this can be a really tasty food source and it usually MUCH cheaper than other cuts.  I have seen recipes that call for flash frying like you can do with livers, but I seriously recommend low and slow cooking to get the most out of heart meat… it is a giant, well used muscle and can get super tough if you don’t cook it right.

Any animal heart can be used for cooking, the squeamish will not be able to handle them I would imagine, but for those willing to brave meat that looks like an organ, these can be used for long cooking soups, stews, braised dishes, or my favourite is simmered in a spiced brine and then eaten warm at dinner or cold in a lunch the next day.

Cut them up or leave them whole, hearts on the menu can be less daunting than you imagine… Are you brave enough to try?

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Up, up and away…

As I am typing this, I am experiencing my first ever plane flight.  

I’m not going far, a 2 hour flight farther north.  To transport a puppy to his new home and visit with friends I have known about 17 years, yet have never had a chance to meet in person until now.  It’s very much like meeting a blogger friend, but we met on a mom’s group online and over the years we had watched each other’s children grow, supported each other through tough times, celebrated the happy moments together… All virtually via the internet.

Flying in this wee little plane it like traveling in a cramped bus with tiny windows, that is until you look out that wee window and see clouds down below.  I have taken meds for motion sickness to be on the safe side and can sit back and enjoy my coffee and some knitting and just stare out at the world literally flying by. The clouds look like sheets of batting laid out as far as I can see from my window, but I did get a few good shots to share as we were starting out.

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And the next one has a rainbow ring…

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I can’t post this until I land, but this is definitely as fun and easy as everyone kept telling me it would be…

Almost before I know, we are descending into the little airport that is my destination…

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So after the big hugs had been passed around and the puppy I was delivering was lovingly admired, it was time for what turned out to be a longer drive to their house due to the flurries on the highway.  Several stops along the way allowed for stretching and an adorable shot of puppy with one of his new pack members…

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Now I have been here a day and it’s been a great time so far. I am booked to head back home on the 12th and plan on making the most of my time here!

Catch you later all….

Sweet Dreams of Sweet Sounds

I have always wanted to learn a musical instrument, just something that I could play for my own pleasure. There were no plans to play in a group, band or professionally, I just wanted to be able enjoy the sound of my soul made into sound the ear could hear. The journey started in my youth with attempts at guitar and then whatever kinds of instruments were available through the public school system I attended. Attempts were made to learn to play the recorder, the french horn, a saxophone, the clarinet, the flute and finally the electronic keyboard over the years of schooling, but nothing seemed to stick except the flute. The problem with this was that they were seriously expensive and I just couldn’t swing that kind of money.

I finally settled on hand drumming around 20 years ago and managed to acquire a small clay belly drum from the fair trade store to start with, then I got a wonderful sounding Djembe for my birthday around 10 years ago that I enjoyed playing immensely.

Unfortunately I was diagnosed a few years after finally finding the drum of my dreams with a skin condition on my left hand that left the skin thin, easily damaged and therefore prone to severe pain at the slightest pressure. As the years passed it got worse and the last time I tried to drum, my hands swelled up and the skin started to split from the pressure of the swelling. My hand drumming days were done and it was hard to accept, but it was not something I could just ignore anymore, so now it was time to decide what to do as far as finding something to replace it. Due to health issues, I decided to screen instruments for my tolerances to the activity required to play them and see if could find a fit. Strummed strings were out due my hands [the skin can no longer develop and hold the calluses needed to play them therefore making it painful to do so], bowed string were out due to the strain on the neck, shoulders and back to hold them as well as the hand issue, drumming was drummed out, piano didn’t tinkle my tune, none of the brass tooted my horn, a few of the woodwinds whistled a maybe tune, but nothing really sparked the song in my soul.

Then just as 2014 was coming to a close, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was selling her hammered dulcimer. It was a beautiful instrument; the sound is part harp, part harpsichord and all wonderful. It only requires little wooden hammers to play it and they are held lightly, so no stress on the thin skin of my hands and no suspended arms in awkward positions to strain the muscles either. My only concern was if I could afford to buy it, there was some money saved, but would I have enough? When I contacted her, she had two other interested parties ahead of me in the list of inquiry, but after a few messages back and forth she agreed that if the other folks stepped down, then she would accept my offer. Within hours there was a message back from her, the dulcimer was mine. She could deliver it to me in a week and a half if I was ok waiting to get it, which worked out for me as it gave me the needed time to arrange to free up the savings to pay her.

Huzzah! My new year has started with the acquisition of my sweet new instrument. Sadly it had been sitting unused at its old house for so long it was a pale greyish white with dust and dirt and badly out of tune. This poor thing needed cleaning and care before I could even consider retuning it and beginning the process of learning to play.

So the first round was the dusting and then gently scrubbing the wood clean of the remaining dirt. This process required 4-5 concentrated hours of cotton swabs and cotton pads held with a long nosed clamp, lightly dampened and carefully inserted between the strings to get the worst of the dust and dirt off.

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*Here it is partway through the dusting, I forgot to take a before picture, but you can still make out the layer of dust on the bottom right corner.*

hen out came an old tooth brush, a clean cloth and plain water to scrub it a little bit more thoroughly. It was its natural medium brown wood colour again and looked so much cleaner now, but it needed to dry completely as I had one more thing to do before the cosmetic clean up was finished.

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*Here it is after the full clean up was completed*

Day two was the lemon oil treatment, the wood was treated with a varnish on some parts, but the sound box panels were untreated and a bit on the dry side, so a double coat of oil there and a thin coat everywhere else that wasn’t varnished was applied. The dulcimer was left out for the rest of the day to let the oil soak in before carefully wrapping her back up and tucking her safely away for the time being

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*Doesn’t she look all shiny now?*

Now that the dulcimer has had its clean up, next comes the turning and tuning to get her singing properly. There is a book and DVD that came with it to help me figure out how to go about that, I’ll just need to take the time to do a thorough read of the book and watch the disc. I have thought that I should name her [the dulcimer], perhaps something like Lucy, Dulcie, Eloise, Calliope or Winnie. The naming of an instrument is not uncommon as many famous personalities name their instruments, so I am in good company if I do as well, it would only be a matter of deciding what it will be.

Oh yes, I will have to take a refresher course in the reading of music too. It seem after all these years of not needing to read sheet music I seem to have pretty much forgotten everything [or so it feels]. Yet another stage in my journey, but I shall manage one way or another…

Flash Fiction #14

PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright - Jan Wayne Fields

Sam was the best thing to happen to Ethan in his life. A few months ago Ethan had gotten very sick, Sam had stuck by him through it all, even when they thought his illness would render him permanently disabled. Strong, caring, fun and unconditionally loving, how had he ever found such a gift in this person he loved so dearly?

Sam’s parents were coming to visit, to celebrate Ethan’s recovery and spend some time with them. Ethan had a special dinner planned, a ring and an important question to ask Sam tonight. Ethan was hoping he would say yes…

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #13

FF-13

“What on earth it that?”

“Oh that’s the grave digger’s car. He is really rather proud of it, well thought out don’t you think?”

“The grave digger’s car? Are you serious?”

“What? You suppose he should drive around in something black with a pile of picks and shovels in his trunk?”

“I get the shovel on the back for digging the hole, but what’s up with the scoop in the front?”

“For shoving the dirt back in afterwards silly”

“Ah, I should have guessed”

“He’s getting on you know, man his age can’t be tossing dirt by hand.”

“Smart man”

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

 

Flash Fiction #12

FF-12

He saw her sitting by herself, that stunning beauty and thought it couldn’t hurt to at least introduce himself. If he was lucky, he might get a date out of it.

“Hi, I’m Jake and I was wondering if you minded sharing your table?”

In a soft, husky whisper she spoke “The price to share my table is a kiss.”

Jake leaned down and kissed her upturned lips. The heady feeling that was filling him was amazing and he never wanted it to stop.

He never felt the collar slip around his throat.

“A fine catch this year my dear”

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

 

Flash Fiction #11

FF-11

 

He had signed up for the two day weekend retreat ‘Modes of Sound-Making’

A tour of the various studios were meant to encourage and inspire, to give one a look at the multitude of options for creating sound, music, connecting to an inner muse and expressing oneself

What would inspire his inner muse? Keyboards, piano, drums or some other form of percussion, wind instruments or strings, perhaps one of the various odd cultural instruments? His choices were endless, but as he looked about him, he could hear the eerie drift of sound coming from the far side of the room…

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

 

Flash Fiction #10

FF-10

She stood watching this child the social worker had brought to her door earlier this evening. He had the biggest eyes, with large dark pupils that explained the poor tyke’s sensitivity to light. The strange tufts of hair and the fuzziness of his skin gave him an air of cute in a weird way. His odd fingernails kept trimmed as he could hurt himself or others unintentionally

 

The worker had insisted that he ate a very limited diet, had even provided a box of foods for him. She handed him the furry sucker and watched as he ate it whole.

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #9

FF-9

It was the key to life in this strange, new world, without it they would grow sick and die. There was something crucial in the mineral content of the salts they harvested that helped their bodies deal with the differences in their new home.

After many trials they had found the old, manual means of extracting them was better than using the sophisticated machines they had been expected to use. It was lucky for them that one of the retired specialists in the colony had practical knowledge of how it was done.

The old ways were proving more successful here…

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #8

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She couldn’t understand why people made faces at her. She was clean and well dressed, she did her job with honesty and integrity, never minded the hours she was expected to work.

No matter who required her services, she was always at the ready to do her job with the precision and clarity, not a word of complaint ever and she was proud to say she never judged a single person in all her years of service.

Like the changing of the guard, her old employers were moving out and the new ones had decided she would suit quite well…

 

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.