QUICK UPDATE: rabbits, fire, and coffee

A quick summary of the evening.

I finally spotted the bunny living in our backyard flowerbed.  He's just a yearling, but he's leaving pellets all over the yard and I'm worried that Angus will get him, if not my mother's Dante.

But enough of that!  On to the fun!
The September Equinox was this week.  We planned to do a small bonfire that night but it rained.  So, why not tonight?  
We were worried Hershey would react poorly considering his history (mother and siblings perished in a fire when his original owners tried to heat the dog box with a bare light bulb). 
He took a healthy interest when Better Half lit the kindling. I suppose he felt safe knowing he wasn't confined with the flames. It also helped that his new daddy soothed him and gave him love while they worked.

 It was time to break out the goods. A new campfire kettle.

Bowls of beans.

And a hot dog.

I'm very proud of how well Hershey did.  He did retreat to the back porch as darkness fell, sporadicall…

UPDATE: Revamping the blog

It's been a while since this blog's theme has seen any love.  Tweaked some fonts, changed up some colors, and revamped the tired logo. 

This will be a work in progress.  I'm still on restrictions after surgery, so I can't work the garden beds.  I can't pack up boxes in my parents office to convert it into our bedroom. Might as well be productive while I'm sitting on my ass all day.

HOME DELIGHTS: Ham & Lentil Bean Soup

Nothing helps usher in Autumn's arrival like a hearty ham and lentil bean soup. Full-bodied flavor and delightful textures make this recipe a family favorite.

This tasty recipe takes a bit of time to prepare, and you will need to let it cook about two hours on the stove.  I make a large pot of it to last a few days. You can cut this recipe in half if you'd like.

Gruff's Tips
I use a large, meaty ham shank in this recipe.  I remove most of the meat and cut it into bite-sized pieces before adding the shank to the pot. Otherwise you'll find yourself struggling to remove meat from a hot bone.

I also add raw, deboned pork blade steak. It's not a lean recipe; the fat adds to the flavor.

These beautiful legumes come in a variety of colors.  I prefer a visually vibrant soup, and so I go with dried pale greens and yellows.  Just remember to prep your beans by rinsing them to remove any debris and get them moist. Salt will toughen these little guys.  If you pr…

FORESTS AND TECHNOLOGY: the impact of transition

Nathan Rott's article for NPR, "A Fire Lookout On What's Lost In A Transition To Technology", captures encroaching technology's impact on the U.S. Forest Service jobs.

The article shook an old memory loose this morning. Coffee in hand and with a desire to write rather than tweet, I decided to take another trip back in time.

It was a crisp Autumn afternoon along the California coastline. The trees had not yet donned their brilliant hats.  Regina and I had grown weary of playing with the surf, thus we took to wandering in pursuit of adventure.

I was very young, perhaps no more than six, and our neighbor down the way had invited me to their Baptist youth activity for the Thanksgiving break week. Though we were Catholics, my weary mother was eager to be shut of me.

And I, a painfully shy girl that seldom spoke to strangers, found myself thrust into a massive collection of children. It was overwhelming. I slinked off early Saturday morning, unnoticed by adults, for …

THE GREAT RECOVERY: Goodbye, lady parts

Apologies to my readers.  I haven't been able to post in a while.  My activity has been limited to Tweet-grumbling about politics.

I had surgery.

Considering the current war on opioids, I felt it was better to tear everything out than to deal with seven days of horrific pain every month.

This agony has been part of my life since I was nine years old; I've bitched about it over the years.  Though I've had prescription narcotics since I was twelve, I have never abused them for fear that any addiction would lead to having nothing at all each month.  The thought scared me, to be frank, and so I only used the medication when I had reached my pain level maximum.  And, when medication failed, I went to the ER and they'd hit me up with Dilaudid.

When you are a chronic pain sufferer, you build up an endurance over time.  I learned to live with any and all pain provided it didn't reach the level of my "cramps".

And so it was that I walked around with a necrotic …

ROAD TRIP: (Pre-op appointment) navigation

One of the bad things about living where I do is the lack of health care professionals to meet specific needs. We have plenty of good surgeons in the area.  We just don't have an OB-GYN or an operatory capable of handling a total laparoscopic hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo oophorectomy. For that, I need Canton OH.

My insurance will pay for transportation on the day of surgery, thank goodness. As the only driver for the household, I won't be anyone's taxi for two weeks after surgery, possibly four if there are complications.

I'm not looking forward to it.

My pre-op testing is tomorrow.  It's a good hour and a half drive for us.  Better Half and I will make it into something fun. We always do.

That said, I learned from my Baltimore trip that my smart phone is a pain in the ass when it comes to displaying driving directions.  I'm going to drop the route here, in nice big letters, so the husfiend can navigate for us.

1. Get on the 7

2. Continue on OH-7 N. Take …


I haven't blogged since arriving home. It's partly because I didn't reach my town until the wee hours of the morning, then proceeded to nap much of the weekend away.

A few final shots:

Yeah, I could have stayed one more night, but it wasn't financially feasible. So, after an 8 hour class, I got on the road for home and then drove over 5 hours.  I'm no spring chicken these days, but it wasn't that difficult a drive for me, either.

Thursday morning was another story.  I was 45 minutes late to class thanks to an obnoxious tourist.

Baltimore's rush hour traffic isn't anything to sneeze at.  You have to be a bit aggressive but also keep your head on a swivel. Quick reaction times makes this doable. That wasn't the case for the tourist. He decided to run a red through the intersection just as my driver launched forward.

It wasn't a heinous crash though I was still wincing from it on Sunday, and my neck is killing me tonight.

The other man was fully …