Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nebraska Corn Bread Recipe

I believe it was the best corn bread i've ever had. Texture-wise it was almost fluffy. It was corny yet sweet and light. Mom made a big pot of delicious, chunky chili and gave me this recipe to make the accompanying corn bread. It's one of mom's tried and trues. It comes from a little booklet called Prize-Winning Tex-Mex Recipes (1986). I made it in a 9" x 9" Pyrex baking dish rather than making muffins, and i used some bacon fat rather than all veg oil. I sure do recommend it when you get a chance. Enjoy!


We are staying with my folks, and i have an Extended Family-sized load of dishes waiting for me to wash them (no dishwasher omg), but i have these pics ready to go, so here are some industrial strength, street view wall murals of Winnipeg. I love the big laundry machine in the sky, the piano keys turning into white water, and the illusion of the old building blending in to the surrounding buildings.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Very icky hot and humid today, so it was a perfect day to visit the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature.
I had my mind on lamp-working, and the wonderful displays held many, many examples of native people's seed bead -worked leather garments and tools. There was a small pile of very plain glass trade beads, but i also found a bit of inspiration in these fossilized fish vertebrae and this pattern in the carapace of a Glyptodon (a prehistoric big armadillo kind of thing). And there was a diorama of an early settler's kitchen where he is carving a wooden duck decoy by gas lantern... That would be "lampworking" by one definition... I learned that Manitoba had a glass manufacturer early last century. They made bottles. I need find out how they got the glass--i know there is lots of silica in sand, and there is lots of sand in areas of this province, but is that where the sand came from? Inquiring minds want to know.
There was a small display dedicated to the Criddles of Aweme, MB. There is a book about this fascinating family and how they came from England to settle in the wilds of Manitoba in the 1880's and how eccentric they were. The climate never seemed to put a damper on old man Criddle's outlook, and he had his children groom various tennis courts and golf courses out of the prairie. They would have the neighbours over for tournaments. The Criddles were very interested in sciences and son Norman became a very accomplished entomologist and also documented the plants around their homestead in lovely illustrations (choke cherry shown). It is difficult to find a copy of this book, but it paints a great picture of some fascinating people and their trials and successes: Criddle-Dee-Diddle-Ensis by Alma Criddle.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Northern Lake Scenes

I'll get it out of my system with this last blog post about the north country and then i'll come up with another topic. :-)
Cacti do live up here! It's like a little bit of the southwest way up north. These ones are cozy amongst the caribou moss (a lichen).
I suppose it is obvious from my photos, but i spent a lot of time canoeing. Bodies of water are few and far between in New Mexico, not to mention just a completely different setting. And my fishermen have been getting in a lot of fishing.
I took some books up to the lake with me. I reread Kimberley Adams's The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking, and realized how well it presents the craft to a student of lampworking. If i do more teaching, i'll try to use some of her explanations. I pored over Glass Beads Masters (Major Works By Leading Artists) and found all sorts of inspiration. I can't wait to get back to my torch!
For bedtime reading i had Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott. I really enjoyed it and will look for her other books. She wrote this one with a very unique voice, kind of original turns of phrases, or something. And i reread Michael Ondaatje's Divisadero. It took me several chapters before i realized that i'd read it before, but it's good and i couldn't remember how it ended, so i had to keep reading anyways.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Favorite Place on Earth

Imagine an old log cabin, tucked away in the boreal forest, on the shore of a beautiful little lake. Rock outcroppings of the granite Canadian Shield provide a fishing platform a mere 50 feet from the door. The fish are biting (as are the mosquitoes and black flies, but we'll ignore that for the sake of the picture i'm trying to paint here). You launch your canoe and are silently tootling around the reed beds and pine-studded islands, spotting sunbathing turtles, diving otters, beaver, pelicans, loons...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Glass

Looky, looky: a post with something glass-related! Old bottles and vases on my folks' window sill. You know i love poppies and this one's delicate petals are still crinkled from being recently unfurled from the bud. Red Admiral butterfly. My brother's cherry tree, all ripe and wet from rain. Considering how this place is in the super deep freeze for 6 months per year, it's amazing how lush and green and vital it is.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sk8 Effectory

Photoshop use or abuse...? There are proper ways to portray skateboarding. Over-the-top seems appropriate to me. I am not telling the subjects of these photos that i have posted them to the internet. For one thing they would be morbidly embarassed to be Photoshopped this amateurly, and for another thing: "OMG, dude, we're on my mom's blog!"

Road Doodles

As mother of two teens and one pre teen, i often find myself thinking: "Is this what i was like when i was that age?" One day they're fun-loving kids, and the next thing you know some switch was thrown and you have sullen, withdrawn, self-concious, brooding semi-adults moping around the house. But i suppose it only lasts a few years.

Meanwhile, we can take a look at their doodles to get a glimpse of their innermost thoughts. Please, for your well-being, take no more than a quick glance and then turn away. We don't want to delve too deeply lest we see more than we can cope with.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Good Times in the 'Peg

Ice cream, watching soccer through a red plastic bottle, skate parks, catching catfish in the river in the back yard and cooking it up, big mosquitoes (kidding--that's a crane fly, and the skeeters aren't bad at all at the moment!). Yes, we're having a good time in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Two Days Through the Heartland

We started in New Mexico, drove in a northerly fashion, and found ourselves in Manitoba, Canada, in time for supper the next day. 1400+ miles of everchanging scenery as we crossed through the heartland of this great continent. I submit several sample landscapes so that you may share a little bit in our experience.

You may notice that the horizon features prominently in the heartland.

Our views of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas are quite relaxing, with the land all tamed into fields of corn and such. By the evening of the first day of driving, we are in Nebraska, which is a very picturesque state. Please note the gently rolling hills and swales that blessedly distort the horizon here. In South Dakota one's eyes are often entertained by water. And in North Dakota they allow a few trees to border their fields and form clumps of almost forestlike density here and there. And then we got to Canada, where the horizon, trees and water is in perfect balance.

[Yes, i did selectively choose my vistas to present an entertaining blog post. Every one of these states, have lots of beautiful scenery, and Canada has boring, flat grain fields. :-)]