Reception song for Dash

Written by Nora Purcell – 2019 for the arrival of Dashiel John Purcell 5/30/19, Sydney Australia  (may be the 29th-there was an international dateline involved)
Sung by Van, Canberra, Nancy, Fred, Martin, Nora, Bennington and Lisa at Luke and Clair Purcell’s wedding on November 16th, 2019.
Grandchester QLD, Australia. -27.717307, 152.466939

When your dad and I were little
In the green mountain state
We knew the names of stars
From nights we stayed up late

Well I don’t know the constellations in your southern skies
But I recognize the twinkle of your grandma in your eyes
So come back north to see us, we’ll point up and we’ll say
There’s a swan up there, flying through the Milky Way

Our dad would find Orion
Hunting in the night
Arrows always flying
Belt was polished bright


Then there was that queen
Ever sitting upside down
Always made us wonder
Why she didn’t drop her crown


The dipper points you towards us
By showing the North Star
The great bear helps you find home
No matter where you are


Venus is the morning star
That brightest point of light
I hope that she reminds you
Day always follows night


Last there are the seven sisters
Huddled high above
A shining lasting symbol
Of families and love

From dad’s YouTube:


A squatter moved an Airstream in next to the East Creek

To John
Yeah, I’ve thought about this guy a lot. Not a bad plan if my retirement goes south, hum.

When my brother and I camped in my VW bus in Florida when he was 15 and we spent everyday fishing he looked at me over the campfire one night and said “what if we get some blocks and take off the tires and just stay?”. I laughed till I surrendered my Boones Farm. Quite wise, my brother.

That haunts me to this day-and makes me smile.

Sorry about the beaver dam – hope everything is OK.


Ponders Prometheus

OK, it isn’t good but it is my book. It kept me company last winter. Maybe there isn’t enough cheap syfi in the world and we need to add to it; I have 12 pages and I need more. I need you to write a chapter. “my pops is so crazy that when I got his email I . . .” Write from any perspective you choose. How could this go wrong? Go right? What form of government would you devise to protect a new discovery from being diverted to a base cause? Just for fun.

Thanks you Lovies!

Drowned but not dead


Nothing,  why not.   Where?   So cold so cold, I’m shaking. Can’t stop.   So cold. Scream – someone help me.

Calm down, stop shaking. I taste blood. Head hurts. God my head hurts so bad. My ears are screaming so loud. I was just on a boat.   What happened? “Relax!”   ‘You’re dying, OK breath, relax’     Shit, I haven’t breathed in years.

Blood, in water? My ear is cut – shit I can feel it – – – they cut my ear off!

Open your eyes.  Open your eyes.  Green. Dark green.

Where’s the light?  Look up. My neck hurts.

OK, I’m under water. There is an up.

Swim up   swim up . . .   I’m not breathing . . that’s OK; I’m oxygenated, that’s right, that’s right. The Center – they’re watching my blood level.   HOW DID I GET HEAR?  (I laugh to myself; how many times I’ve asked that) OK OK I’m not dead. I’m under water, deep under water. Why aren’t the docs talking to me?

HOW doesn’t matter. Why can’t I float up, swim.  My feet, I can’t move my feet.  Bend over check them. CHAINS, what the fuck, I’ve been murdered. Calm down fool. You just need to get them off.      Take your time – is there an end? It is so dark, OK just feel them.  THERE IS NO RUSH – take your time.  I’m floating off the bottom.  Pull yourself down – get some slack – it’s just looped over and over. Good, just work on it. I’m shaking, but my blood is warmed back in Camden, no problem. Wait, that noise – – I know it 0 – – it’s a motor, a boat, OK OK OK.

I trained for this but I never got the hang of it ‘well you’re getting it now asshole’.

There it sits

I slept poorly, to say the least. It was the first day of high school and I never thought I’d experience that again – I’m 61. At 2 am I got up and started to write; lying in bed was just leading my racing mind to really bad outcomes – all of them feasible. Still there are some really cool possibilities. I knew that writing down a list was supposed to keep stress at bay – FAIL big time, my typing stinks. I doodle charts.

  • I’ll be the richest man in the world – EASY
  • I could STOP global warming
  • I’d be like a rock star – didn’t even know that was interesting to me, wow, it will change me. Hell, it’ll change everything.
  • I’ll be powerful ? ? ? I’m a 61 year old white guy from Indianapolis living my retirement dream in Vermont, what the fuck does POWER even mean.
  • I could save the world – whoa there big guy, but really, we’ll transport to Mares. It is science fiction come true. (Excerpt from Arthur C Clark)

Will I be responsible? I can’t even write ‘responcible’ correctly without spell check.  That doesn’t make any difference – I am a smart, kind, generally gentle human. What could go wrong? What’s the worst that could happen?

There it sits. A quarter of a mile from home on my neighbor’s property. It’s OK, he’s sick and never comes up anyway. Still, there are always people in those woods; still – it’s not hunting season. Well, the Shannons were out looking for antler sheds two days ago. Tomorrow I’ll just drag it back here . . . I’ll hide it in the garage for now. Yeah, that works, I’ll figure it out in the woodshop.  Clearly it is alien, is it dangerous; radioactive? OK OK I won’t keep it here. I’ll rent a storage unit.  There’s one in Pittsfield. I’ve never seen anyone there, should be safe to keep it there. Can the government find it in with a satellite; if they can it won’t be there tomorrow anyway; it’ll disappear and no one will ever have heard of it – I’ve watched Warehouse 13 and Indiana Jones.

“are you OK”  “yeah, just slept poorly, you drive safely, see you tonight around __ ?” Liz tells me she’ll be home at 6. That’s plenty of time. I’ll have this cracked by then and be on my way to saving the earth.

Why don’t I tell her, I tell her everything? EVERYTHING. Always have. That is only partly because I am a terrible liar, I cherish her opinion – she is twice as smart, in all sorts of ways, than me. It’s because she’d be REASONABLE and smart. She’d make me give it away. Damnit to hell, I’m still a child at 61. She’d want me to call the FBI and this is too terrible to give to a government. ‘Oh, but it’s OK to give it to a child?’

I and walk Carya, have a smoke and calm down. ‘ok, you can research it first’. Getting back I gear up. Boots, sled I use for ice fishing, some rope. The bolder it cut through is too clean, finding it someone would get curious; I threw in a 2 pound hammer and goggles. I’ll rough it up bring home the piece it cut off. One end stuck into the ground; I’ll bring a shovel too. It is friggin cold again today; bring the big mittens.

Reason, ‘where you headed to Purcell?’. On a walk I make 700 times a year I’ve seen a neighbor maybe 6 times a year, what a freak I am, already paranoid. ‘Oh, I saw a stump I want to make into a table’. I’ve seen a lot, so I won’t have to lie and they’ll believe me anyway it is a really an outside chance.

It came down while I walked the dog yesterday; scared the shit out-a both of us. It was loud, struck the ground hard, it cut a big chunk off a bolder. When I first looked up the air it’d passed through shimmered in an unearthly way I’d never seen. Not a heat shimmer, more like a LSD hallucination – wow that takes me back 40 years.

Like an idiot, I tied up Carya and inspected. There it sat; no sound, no electric feel, just a 40 pound corner of a bolder sliced off and sort of shimmering. Being creative (like a cave man) I got a stick and slapped at it. Each slap cut the stick clean. It had two ends each about the size of a chainsaw motor; nothing between them but still in between the parts the stick just cut clean through. No sparks, no sound, but there was a little sweet smell which, given how wicked cold it was, seemed odd. There are few smells in the cold of February. Between the parts was about 3’. When it cut, there was absolutely no resistance. This is a gift from outer-space that cuts through anything.  The ends of the stick are perfectly smooth, like I’d sanded for hours. Not hot or burned, just smooth as a baby’s butt. WOW, I’ll be a master woodworker – how cool is that? I could build a stone wall with it.


Hi Jim,

  • 1 * find a partner and give them the means of production. If I start to make bits that no human has ever seen it will attract attention and I DO NOT WANT THAT!

Hey Jim,

                How you been? I know I haven’t written for years but I have just as many letters from you on my desk so – no guilt. Something really weird has happened to me; an opportunity / adventure. I’m getting older and I am, every year, getting more frightened of our government. Trump really really scares me; to death. So, my adventure involves a discovery that could do really incredible things for mankind; stop global warming, bring drought relief, take man to distant planets, etc. If used it will also create  super wealth-like 10x Bill Gates wealth. It is also a possible seed of absolute world dictatorship.  I love America but there is no way in the world I’d trust us today to be the good guys. Governments rot and too much power has always sped that process along.

I would like to be wealthy but not sick wealthy, just rich enough to make my family wealthy. I don’t want to be powerful, just powerful enough to have a positive influence on the world; make it safe and happy for generations. As soon as it’s discovered what I have the wicked and greedy will seek its source. No matter how I use it, even if I never use it to make money, they’ll come after me. The gov would claim natl security, every government, all the greed of corporations would come to bear. After I started picturing it I wondered how wpuld Bill Gates’ handled it. I am just smart enough to recognize that I’m not smart enough for this.

If you want to be in this I’ll push as much cash to you as you and your loved ones can manage. Your guitar business could be doing really really good next year.

As long as you don’t go too crazy we could set your family up to live like royalty even after you and I are gone. It’s not much physical work, I know that we aren’t young. It shouldn’t be dangerous – if you don’t get greedy. Could you pass it along to your daughter? Is she smart enough to recognize the risk of ‘taking it for herself’? Is there someone else you could trust; a niece?

If you couldn’t find a partner or you don’t want to mess with it yourself I totally understand; just write or call or email. You’ll still be the first person I gift to. I’m not sure how I’ll gift but if you don’t want in we can communicate. Maybe I’ll put you on pay role as my ethnomusicologist; you always were that and so much more. 

If you do want in, write me and mail it by post from a box. Delete my contact from you computers, destroy you address book and redo it with no mention of me. I will mail you a way to communicate that doesn’t involve wires (yeah THAT is cool science fiction stuff).

Even though we haven’t spoken for like 5 years, know that I love you man.


What will this do to a man who I’ve known since I was 16? He has always been just a bit ? OFF?  That is a laugh, the man is a fuckin wacko. Cute as a button but wacked in the head. Last time I saw him he showed me the nuts in his scalp where bolts hold it together after his last car accident. He was upside down for 24+ hours and they told him he should be dead just for that. He has been close to death at least 6 times. I was with him on the first two attempts earth took at him. The first time we tried to paddle the stolen paddleboat backwards and flooded the floatation compartment till we were sinking.  “oh shit Nav, I can’t swim!!!!”. I feel overboard first and stood up; it was about 4’ deep. I grabbed him and he was too scarred [and way too stoned] to even try to stand. By the time he figured out I was standing I’d fallen into the water giggling my ass off. The next time we were in Tennessee, in a rest area, camping in his VW van on our way to Florida. The catalytic stove we were using spilled its contents on his legs and blew up. When I finally got out the front door of the van I saw him running and glowing like the Human Torch. I tackled him in my best freshman football form and rolled him in the snow. The fuel just kept reigniting over and over. We laid there giggling and giggling.  Later someone let us into their RV and they sent someone down the road to call for help. Odd, there weren’t cell phones then.

We stayed two weeks in a tiny Tennessee ‘hospital, nursing home and psych ward’. It took me 24 hours to learn that seconal [they were the little red pills] really worked with morphine to make for a great dream state/sleep. While not the first time, it was the last time I used any opiate stronger than codeine. My heart goes out to all the poor bastard junkies; I think I get it and it sucks. It like telling a child ‘YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME’ ‘EVER’.

He spent the next year being weaned off morphine and getting skin to regrow from his back to his legs. He caught christianity and decided to buy a Kenworthy. I went to college and lost track of him. I saw him again 3 years ago and totally connected as if we were laying in our Tennessee beds again. We love each other in an odd way. He hasn’t left his home town in years and probably never will, even though the federal arms conviction has probably worn off. He is scared. He has tempted fate way too many times and wants to be safe. I think he’d enjoy the money but there is no way he really wants the adventure – he is done. Why would I think of enlisting him? He’s earned his rest. When I’m rich I’ll but all my guitars from him.

It makes me a bit sad that none of my other friends would work. I’d trust several of them with my child but they are all a little too distant to use in this way. I have family but not really close friends. My family has filled all of the nooks I think friends used to fill. I could be better but I haven’t been, so there you are. As Kirt V said; so it goes.


  1. Maybe I set up delivery to someone else? Someone I trust? A stranger? Someone that I don’t care if they get hurt? I’d give them a drop point, they’d pick up a G and then get hooked on the easy money. When did I begin to trust human greed more than friendship. Did I need to review my sole – is this a test?;

Dear friend,

We are never to meet but we are going to be close associates; really close. I am going to make you rich and powerful, beyond your wildest dreams.

Stop it. Right now! You’re trying to guess who I am, how you know me. We don’t barely know each other. I picked you for that reason. I know you’re smart and basically, I think, you’re a good person.

To find out what I’m talking about sign this note below, roll it back up and shove it into the cube . . .”

Oh man, what would I have done if I’d received this little package? Well I sort of did but instead I just found it laying in a forest. Hell, everyone is curious and a little greedy – right? Do I warn him that if he doesn’t play along I’ll drop my end into the ocean and water, at 10lbs/s, will poor out his end. Hell, would they ever find the other end if I dropped it into a lake? Sure, they’d just set up a powerful transmitter and then use a satellite to see the point of origin. This is so much harder than I’d ever guessed.

So what if they found it? The most they’d have is the note and one half of a small bridge; airbridge, spacetube, quantumgate, QG  I DON’T EVEN HAVE A NAME FOR IT!  Who would I give it to? What should they be like; a little curious, suspicious of government, smart, greedy? How would I evaluate for these things? One doesn’t know much about even their own children. They don’t know if I’m evil – right – I threaten to kill their family if they get out of line. OHHH, nice Buckman, you’re willing to scare the living piss out of a nearly total stranger. The curiosity about ‘why me’ would overwhelm anyone. They’d have to be someone who wouldn’t look the gift horse in the mouth. That’s it: “This is GOD making a gift to mankind . . . you need to sacrifice money to me and I, in turn, will give you Gs to use wisely”.  I’ll give it to a Mormon, genius; greedy, gullible, and smart. If they really believed it was God and clearly they think they are chosen by God. Too odd to have them push money back into the G, I’ll have them push gold in, “return to me the gold I sent to you all in those tablets”.

OK, I’ll give it to my nephew. Super smart, clearly skeptical of Trump, young, and he needs to prove that he is cool. That last job left him grabbing at straws. He has lots of family – that’s a good thing. He’d get a real thrill out of fame; what 22 year old wouldn’t?

“It’s the Krill  !”


Yes sir, they’ve somehow hacked the network without so much as a RF beam linked.

Could it be someone on board?

I was able to lock every port out except yours and mine.

Ah, captain , , , you should lock me out.

Carl, Why? That’s stupid, I’ve known you since we were 10.

Maybe they’re somehow using one of our ports. I can’t ask you to do a total lock down procedure unless you’re sure. You’re the only one that can link into the system with ‘meld’. Lock me out and then, lock yourself out and shut it down. If you’re able to do a cold boot we’ll be able to take back control.

How does that help Carl, we’ll ALL die in 20 minutes without life support.

Yes, but, if you can’t get back in, it gives us time to launch it – you know we have to.  I’m sorry Jim. You know what it would mean if the KRILL got their hands on it. We have tortured them for a thousand years. They are going to board us and we cannot let them have the gift.

Jim pales as it dawns on him that his first mate is, of course, correct. Slumping into his chair his life flickers before his tearing eyes. His life of mates flash in a stream. So many he won’t have time to picture each one even for a second. He settles on Carl’s face – his first and truest mate. They can load it to a tube, manually set the launch to max velocity and send the gift to the either. He’ll want to set it to perform random course corrections. It will, within 5 minutes, be safely out of KRILL’s reach and . . . lost to his species forever. He shuts down their other longtime friend T.I.N.A.  She blinked to life when they entered the academy and has been joined to them for the past 78 years. For 78 years they’d never been more than 100ns apart. And 25 minutes ago when she disconnected it was like being suddenly blinded.

Jim and Carl both heard the ship attach meaning they had about 8 minutes to launch. Jim, it’s better if they are attached they will not be able to pursue it without a 2 minutes delay. Hurriedly they loaded the most prized belonging of their race into a research missile and programmed its getaway.  Goodbye old friend. Whoever finds you next time I hope they are wise.

Who the hell is going to find it; lost in eternity? As they shoved the torpedo into the tube and sealed the door locks the clanking grew quickly louder. Jim looked at Carl and as he reached for the switch he said his last words in this plain; We did, we found it.

That’s the story I made up Tuesday night while waiting for sleep to come. I snuggled up, big-spoon and just listened to Liz’s steady breathing. In our first thirty years I’d only ever heard about 20 hours of this breathing. I always fell to sleep first while she read. Maybe 10 of those hours have been in the past 2 weeks.


What say you family

Observing always influences the reality being observed. When you talk about families this is even more true. So it is accurate to say that I’ve NEVER actually witnessed how other families interact. All I have to go on is TV, books and snippets of real families so I’m at a lost to know if mine is  . . .  normal? Even though I’ve heard that 70% of people describe themselves as ‘definitely above normal’, I’ll go ahead and describe my family as extremely super above average. Sure we have lots of the normal problems and the kids frequently fulfill their sibling positions. Still, when we are together, we are the coolest group I’ve ever been a part of. Not just that we love each other, we also have pretty honest interactions. We tease, a lot, but almost always on those attributes that we are darned sure there is no insecurity about. Sometimes, about those attributes we worry for or recognize that the target of the tease is worried about.

By far and away one of the best things we do as a family is that we’ll all fall into a shared fantasy. Any fantasy. We do this to a point that bystanders will get that ‘what the fuck just went on between you all?’ look on their face and often are compelled to just say it out loud. This leads me to a feeling that, at least in this way, we are not like a lot of other families. Maybe they come by it naturally in their genes but certainly Liz and I have always nurtured it. When the family was once scolded for a harmless turn around in a driveway marked ‘NOT A TURN AROUND’ we spent the next half day imagining how we might retaliate if he’d ranted at us much longer. I, of course, rack this shared quality up to excellent parenting. Like you do. Half an hour a day of screen time, no cell phones till junior year, endless long drives across the country and LOTS of encouraged story telling. On those trips, when the driving started to turn intolerable (there was no such thing as a ‘on-board movie’ in those days) we’d buy a family powerball ticket. The next 200 miles we’d imagine what we’d do with it. Who would we give money to, what adventure we’d plan, how we’d change our life.

So, next time we are all together that’s it; I just tell them what I have and they’ll open up and imagine the hell out of it. They’ll solve it a hundred different ways and they’ll have super ideas about the scary part of it. How long will it take them to think about the scary part? Man, they’re good at the imagine game, they’ll get there in five minutes flat. Is this even fair to do to them? It’d be like winning a dozen powerballs on the same Saturday evening. Or . . . . it’d be like discovering that you’re the pauper twin brother to the prince.  Separated at birth. Disney, right? How did that turn out?


Wait! I’ve got it.

Hi Zona, Greg and Tom,

                I’d like your help. I’ve decided to write a book and I’d like you to write a chapter from your perspective, your voice and your imagination. I’m asking all of you the same thing but I don’t want you to cooperate. I’ve included a couple of chapters to prime you on the story. You’ll see how you fit in but basically start by describing the evening where Pops sat down and told us that he’d made a discovery and wanted the family to weigh in on how to roll it out. sent me the oddest letter requesting that I write down how I’d deal with a wild discovery he made. I know what you’re thinking ‘my Dad, who I’ve seen read maybe a dozen books is writing one, what?’. I haven’t gone crazy I’m just trying my best to get through winter. I’ve made all the spoons the world needs and I want a new distraction. This wild ‘what if’ story has been running through my head and I just sat down and started to write. My typing has already been improving, what the hell. You’ll see I’ve changed your names but the book is going to resemble my our life. Add in the back story you write, channel yourself.

“James and I are busy as hell, we start the field trial next week. Three years we’ve worked on this ‘BUG’ and now we have the controls in place and all it has done for a month is rain. Now my dad wants me to sit around and write a story to go with his stupid fantasy . .  . . .”

See how it’ll go? Have fun with it, picture yourself in the backseat of the old Town and Country driving across New Mexico.

Well that should be interesting I’m excited to see what they write.

I wonder if any of them will see the danger, maybe I need to give them the warnings I’ve had every night thinking about all the ways this could go so badly. Maybe just the basics; like, the FBI busting in and confiscating it as a matter of national defense. I’ll give them 3 weeks. I wonder if any of them will start to wonder if I actually did discover something. Nope, that is just too darned far fetched.

In the meantime

I am out of money. Liz is going to start seeing the credit card bills. I haven’t even tested it for pollution – nothing can be that inert, nothing that does this. Whatever THIS is. All it can really do right now is cut anything like a hot knife through butter, to quote my mom. I wish my dad were around. I’m dying to tell someone about this and maybe get some help. I need a partner. Some nights I feel like I’ve totally lost it and am hallucinating the whole mess. It’s been 3 weeks since I got it to make the wormholes. Was it a fluke? Is the thing exhausted? I’d believe I’d dreamed it except that I still have the 23 “pairs” I made that first day in back in February.

They haven’t changed; they work just as they did that first day. I should have made bigger ones, hell I should’ve made a lot more. I got too excited. Then my stupid feet got so cold. The small storage shed I rented isn’t heated and my stupid shoes were wet. When I’m rich I’m going to throw out everything I own and buy new shoes, shirts that fit from LL Bean or Orvis. OK, not LL Bean; stupid Trump supporters. I knew it carved wood just fine so of course on my first visit to the shed I brought all sorts of materials from home to see if they all cut just as easily. Wood was easy, glass – easy, steel rebar – easy, BUT WHAT. That’s when I first saw it. Each end of the steel was missing, not cut off-but missing. When I looked at it I seemed to see whatever surface the other end was sitting on. I took the two ends where I’d cut and stuck one side of the pliers handle into one end and IT  CAME OUT OF THE OTHER SIDE??????? I ‘pulled’ the pliers out and felt it – still solid, but it had gone THROUGH the other end of the rebar. Like a total dope I pushed my pinky in one end and, wala, out it came of the other end. I touched the pinky with my left hand and, sure enough, I felt it when I touched it.


That’s when I made the other 22 pairs. I wacked the rebar over and over until it was too short to do safely. I started shaking all over, I threw up, I got really, really weak. And then my feet got really cold. I sat down on the floor and played with the pairs. I threw up and then stopped shaking. But man my feet were cold. I threw the pairs I had into a 5 gallon pail and headed back to the van. I sat in the van with the heater on until I quit shaking. I looked back towards the shed. Had I locked it? No, I hadn’t even closed the door. I went back to the door and just stood there, looking at the thing. I finally closed the door and locked it. My mind stopped racing and I wanted a drink – a big drink. Liz had dinner waiting, flounder from Woodstock with green beans and we watched Grace and Franky reruns before the next season came out. I was terrible company. Liz didn’t notice. The next day was gloriously warm. Liz worked from home all day. I decided to just work from home and think. I went and fired up the chainsaw and bucked wood for a couple of hours. It was lunch hour then and we had a nice stretch; my neck hurt like hell. We had some tomato soup and I took a nap – no reason to freak out. “BE NORMAL”

Later I went to the shop and just played with the pairs. I left one next to our wifi unit and then took its partner with me and drove up to the dam. Two miles away and I still had wifi service. In the other one I had I’d spliced an electric extension. Up at the dam this one worked as well. What do I have here? It makes holes in the universe. What if I drop one end into a pool of water?

I went to NYC to visit Greg for the weekend. I used one rebar pair from there and it didn’t care that I was 200 miles away. All I did was use the cord that feeds my iphone but how cool is that? Two hundred miles and I still got charge power; I never plugged the phone in and I NEVER lost the charge. Greg didn’t notice that I had phone charge even though his had run down twice.

I need to make some cash, buy a gigracounter and do some real testing, yet I can’t use the things I have. I don’t want to be discovered unless I’m ready for it. Right now with just 23 of them I could change the world but if I sell even a single link the world would know. Right? The FBI would kick in my door and TAKE that which I’d never trust our government (any government) to have.

I could drop off a pair with a guy at ATT; with some fiber optics shoved through it. Imagine that; they could take one to China and totally cash in on ‘unlimited bandwidth to fuckin China’. I‘d need a way to force them to pay; else they’d have a link free and clear. Right, right, I’d need two pairs; one into me, one out from me – if they don’t pay I’d cut the fibers that lay between my in and out.

“If you talk about this to anyone I’ll cut it and you’re out all of that easy reward”

It’s not profit to them, they’d turn it over and I know they could find me; they’d shove a radio transmitter in and locate me in 20 seconds. I’d need to shelter my two ends in, in, in what, WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT BLOCKING THE CIA? Nothing!

Maybe I should give it to a criminal? What if I gave it to a drug lord:

Hey man,

                Give one of these to a guy who knows a guy in Turkey. If he drops drug into it there in Turkey it will come out at your end. After one week you need to shove $5,000 cash into it or it will stop working. Shove it in at noon on Fridays.   Simple.

Sure, they’ll have the necessary greed to keep their curiosity in check. They’re motivated; cash or drug. They’ll make a gob of cash and I’ll get a steady income. Signed simple. I like that. It uses two pairs and they’ll never give it up to authorities.

The doctors who

Design me a good governance; kings and senates

Fears and hopes

Dreams of empire

Women of Mars

“So, you’re the newbie assigned to me hey? I don’t have time to train another shifter for 3 years – I’ve got real work to do. You’re a little old aren’t you?” Dr. Breanna Sherman started off exactly as I’d been told she would; pushing away any interference in what she’d grown to think of as ‘her domain’ the microbiome replacement stock facility. At the last shift she completely lorded over the lab and failed her contract to train the replacement candidate. The goal of the lab; hell the goal of the entire facility, was preparedness for the potential failure in a system. No one in oversight would permit her to hog this lab. I’d been sent to assess the situation; was she committed or committable? She’d been assigned two trainees last term but kicked both out of the lab because she felt they were both ‘not worth my time’.

“Dr. Sherman, I’m here to assess. I was a shifter here 9 years ago, same as you; now I’m back to assess your competence.” There. It’s out. I’m not here to learn the tricks of keeping the samples alive, I’m here to determine her fate. Does she stay in charge of microbiome or is she to be retired to Port Saint Clyde? Lord knows she can’t go ‘home’; you don’t stay 6 years past contract and still believe you can go back to earth. Rather you are assigned out of the Salvation Lab to Port Saint Clyde and spend your remaining years there. Doing whatever? Many thrive there, finding meaningful research or enjoying new jobs. Many check out on soma or booze or write the great Mares novel.

“Well then, you know the flaws inherent in the contract, same as I? “”remain prepared to replenish life on earth””. So, fuck you, I AM fulfilling the contract.   I have spent my life studying viral impact on macro-invertebrates, THIS IS HARD science. The kind needed to REPLENISH LIFE. A single Cadis Fly requires 22 viral infections to form a sexually mature adult. The last fuckin shifter you sent me never heard of a Cadis Fly.”

“Our goal is to be prepared to ‘sponsor’ the rebirth on earth should life be wiped out by any catastrophe. The lab is set up to ‘refresh’ itself every three years. If one area is left ‘abandoned’ to an ageing protector the breech is obvious. WE HAVE TO TRAIN OUR REPLACEMENTS, not set ourselves up as indispensable! You need to train your replacement, even if they aren’t as good as you. They’ll make do. When you choose to remain here you knew the requirements.”


“Both Launa and Kera WERE qualified. They were 22! They were still learning; able to learn and willing.”

“They were knits, not students. If I’m to be replaced I need real students damn it, not bimboes, selected for their ability to bear 20 children before menopause. The pool I protect is the critical key to re-terraforming; it has to be viable. If Gollum had been just 20% larger we’d be starting to deploy by now and the first rounds would be coming from my stock. It has to be ready.”

“You and I both know that whoever it falls on will be fumbling in the dark. We’ll never get the chance to practice. Launa could have introduced the primordial slime as well as you or anyone; with an equal chance of success. After you choose to remain past your term you agreed to stay in the capacity of mentor, not chief judge. If you can’t or won’t teach your shifter this term you’ll be immediately exiled to Little London and Jana will have to get by on your documentation. It will take one word from me. Jana is as bright a biologist as anyone. She was also selected for her amiability and her integrity, if she says you are challenging to work with it is you that will be locked out-period. Are we clear?”


“Good, Jana will start after orientation puking once she has her legs. I will meet with you both regularly.”

Damnit I hate working with geniuses but I think I nailed it. I’m sure she knows that she is smarter than me but I have the upper hand and she knows I’ll use it. She may try to sabotage me but the Oversight know that so I don’t need to worry about that while I perform the standard audit.


Shadows or lime light



Calc your shadow on the Equinox

I think, if I stood at the tropic of cancer, (between Cuba and Key West) today at noon my shadow would be 6′ long. Right?

  1. I need to know the altitude of the Sun. and recall a bit of trig (I’m kidding, I never really understood trig – ever) or I can use the interwebs:

Astronomical Applications Dept.
U.S. Naval Observatory
Washington, DC 20392-5420

Altitude and Azimuth of the Sun
Mar 20, 2017
Altitude Azimuth
(E of N)
h m o o
06:00 -10.7 79.7
06:10 -8.9 81.4

  1. At 12:10 and 13:50 the sun is at 45 degrees. Oddly, it actually gets a little higher between those times (who knows why?).

So my shadow will be 6′ long.   Nice. Equilateral

What’s my shortest and longest?

on June 21st at 13:00 the sun is at 69.7 degrees.



So, on the summer solstice my shadow, at 1:00PM, is 2′ – 2 1/2″ long.

On December 20th the highest the sun gets up in the sky is 21.9 degrees and my shadow, at noonish is 14′ – 11″.

Purcell Family Recipes from Nora

I’ve used this a bunch of times but always have to go looking for it. I know this isn’t the prettiest presentation for such a loving work but thought I’d try it: Dad

Hi Sweet Family,

I hope you enjoy this collection of recipes! It was lovingly compiled for you using Mom and Dad’s recipe collection and cookbooks. I picked out my favorite recipes from our childhood and then added in some recipes I’ve discovered as an adult. I’d love it if you added the recipes that you like to cook too – then mail it back to me!

So much love,

                                   Nora and Martin



Soups, Stews, Chilis

Brunch. 8

Dinner. 10

Appetizers. 15

Side Dishes. 18

Breads. 20

Dessert. 22



Mom’s list of “Standard Dinners”

Chef salad, tacos/refried beans, chili/garlic bread, tuna casserole, Spanish rice, scrambled tofu, grilled cheese, sausage gravy and cornbread, fish fillets and spinach soufflé, tofu dip and veggies/crackers, fruit salad/yogurt/bagels, English muffin pizzas, nacho salad, soup, bean and rice casserole, lentil pilaf and tabouli, stir-fried rice (w/veggies and cheese), broiled chicken, chicken and rice stir fry, beef stroganoff, quiche and salad, spaghetti and sauce, pasta w/cheese, smothered pork chops, chuck roast with veggies, twice baked potatoes, pizza, sweet potato and ham slices, hobo stew, beef stew, sausage links and applesauce, hotdogs and beans, grilled burgers, spinach burgers, tofu burgers, grinders, blts


  • 4 c. flour
  • 1 c. salt
  • 8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 4 c. water
  • 4 Tbsp cooking oil
  • Food coloring as needed – easier to add before cooking

Mix all in a large saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until dough forms a sticky, lumpy ball around the spoon. Cool. Knead, with extra flour as needed, until smooth. Keeps well in fridge.

E.L.F. Punch

  • 2 12-oz cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 6 bags red zinger tea
  • 4 bags spearmint tea
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 2 c. boiling water

Boil the 2 cups of water and steep all the tea bags until the water is cooled completely. Remove bags. Mix tea with the 2 12-oz cans lemonade and 6 12-oz cans of cold water. Sprinkle with fresh mint leaves and chill well.

Frozen Bubbles

200 ml warm water

35 ml light corn syrup

35 ml dish soap

2 T sugar

Soups, Stews, Chilis

Cashew Chili (from Wings of Life)

  • 2-3 c. cooked kidneys/pintos
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 TBsp chili or ½ tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 qt canned tomatoes
  • Black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ – 1 c. cashews
  • 1 handful raisins or 1 TBsp molasses
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ c. red wine vinegar or cider vinegar

Stir-fry the celery, onion, and peppers. Add the vinegar when chili is almost ready to serve.

White Bean Chili

  • 8 c. chkn broth
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 boneless chkn
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 cans Great Northern beans
  • 2 cans white corn
  • 5 cans chopped green chilis, undrained
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4t ground cumin
  • 2t ground coriander
  • 1t white pepper
  • 1 c. lowfat sour cream
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Combine broth and cumin, bring to a boil. Add chkn and cook until fork tender. Reduce broth by ½. Cut chkn to bite size.  Saute onion in 1T oil, add garlic. Stir in everything but sour cream and cilantro. Bring to a boil. Add chicken, lower heat, and cook until heated.  Top with sour cream and cilantro.

Nora’s alternative: I’ve never been able to find canned green chilis in Montreal, so I buy 9 fresh green chilis (3 jalapenos and 6 of whatever else I see that is green and a chili…eg. poblanos, etc.). I chop ‘em up and start the recipe by sautéing the chilis, onion, cumin, and garlic in a pot. When that’s cooked, I puree it up, throw in the beans and broth and boil it. I also add two big cans of tomatillos to bulk it all up. I cook the chicken separately so it’s a vegan dish but so guests can add shredded chicken as a topping if they want.

Curried Peanut Soup

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium .. size carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons catsup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ chopped peanuts

In a 3-quart pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring

occasionally, until vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).

Stir in curry powder and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 more minute.  Gradually stir in stock.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for15 minutes.

Stir in peanut butter, catsup, and Worcestershire until smooth. Add rice and simmer, uncovered, for 5

minutes. Garnish each serving with a spoonful of sour cream and peanuts.

Makes four 1 1/3-cup servings.

Aztec Soup

Aztec Soup glows with the golden-orange colors of squash and corn. And that’s just the basic soup-the background, as it were. At the table you pass bowls of condiments (pine nuts, walnuts, fried

tortilla pieces, grated cheese, pumpkin seeds, diced avocado) and let family or guests compose their own soup to suit their individual tastes.

To complete the meal, you might want to include a bowl of refried beans; fresh fruit would be excellent for dessert.

Fried Tortilla Pieces

(directions follow)

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup (about 3 oz.) pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 12 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 cups diced, peeled butternut, acorn, or hubbard squash
  • 2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup toasted shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 large avocado
  • 3 cups (12 oz.) shredded jack cheese

Fry tortilla pieces.

In an 8-quart pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add pine nuts and walnuts and

cook, stirring, until golden (about 2 minutes). Remove nuts; reserve.

Melt the remaininq 2 tablespoons butter in pan and cook onion and garlic until onion is golden.

Add stock and squash and bring to boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer until squash is tender (10 to 15 minutes).  Add corn and cook for 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds just before serving.

Peel and dice avocado. Arrange avocado, reserved nuts,  cheese, and tortilla pieces in bowls.

Pass condiments at the table to add to the soup.

Fried Tortilla Pieces:   Arrange 8 corn tortillas in a stack and cut into 6 equal wedges. Pour about

½ inch salad oil in a deep 2 or 3-quart pan and set on medium- high to high heat. When oil is hot

enough to make a piece of tortilla sizzle, add tortilla pieces, a handful at a time, and stir to separate.

Cook until crisp (1 to 1 ½  minutes): lift from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Makes ten 2-cup servings.

Mexican Corn Bread

Great taste of corny bread.

Start w/ a 8- inch square pan, heat over to 375

  • 1 c unbleached white flour
    1 c yellow corn meal
  • 3 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 egg, lighten beaten
    2 tbs honey
    1 c milk
    1/4 c olive oil
    1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 c fresh or frozen corn [whole kernels]
    1/2 c grated cheese
    1. heat the olive oil in a small skillet, add minced onion and saute over med heat for 5-8 m. set aside to cool.

2. Beat eggs, honey and milk together.

3. Thoroughly combine flour, corn meal, baking powder, and salt.

4. Mix the dry mixture into the milk n honey mixture and blend it.

5. Add the corn kernels, sauteed onions, [+oil] and the cheese; blend.

6. Spread into a well buttered 8″sqaure pan and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until brown and firm on top.

This is really good. Dad says serve with greens based on bacon, raisins, greens [OR, screw the greens, serve with beacon]

Nora’s Pea Soup with Mint

  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 1 c. leeks, chopped
  • 3 c. chkn broth
  • 5 c. (20 oz) frozen baby peas
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ c. low-fat buttermilk

Add leeks to melted butter; cook, stirring occasionally, until transparent, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in peas; cook until peas are tender crisp, about 3 minutes for frozen peas and 5 to 6 minutes for fresh peas. Remove pan from heat; stir in mint, salt and pepper. Puree soup in pot using an immersion blender (or in small batches using your blender or food processor); stir in milk. Serve warm or chilled.

Nora’s Tagine

~1 pound of spicy sausage, shredded chicken, or whatever meat of your choosing (optional – great vegan meal, too)

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • ½ pound carrots, chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted (optional)
  • ½ pound zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • ½ cup raisins or dates
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 3 cups chicken stock (just as good with veggie stock if you want to make a vegan version)
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot (eg. tagine, dutch oven). Add the spices to oil and cook until fragrant. Add the lemon, onion, fennel, garlic, and green olives to the pot and cook until softened, for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown the meat separately and set aside.

Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add in the remaining veggies, chickpeas, dried fruits, and the meat (if you’re using meat) at this point. Cook another 15 minutes more over medium or until veggies are tender.

Garnish with generous amounts of cilantro.


Egg Strada

  • 6 slices white bread, no crust
  • 1 lb sausage, browned/drained
  • 1 c. swiss (or cheddar) cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c. cream
  • 1 Tbsp each: salt, pepper, nutmeg

3500 Butter bottom of pan and line with bread. Spread sausage and cheese. Mix remainder and add. Bake 60 min.

Kibber’s Brunch Eggs aka. “Eggy Thing”

8 slices bacon
1 pkg (8oz, 3 c.) sliced mushrooms
3 Tbsp butter
16 eggs
1 c. half-and-half or milk
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 can (11oz) cream of mushroom (condensed)
2 Tbsp chopped chives
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (8 oz)

1) cook, crumble the bacon. Cook mushrooms in bacon drippings.

2) melt butter in skillet. Beat eggs with half-and-half, spices. Cook eggs until firm and moist, stir in soup and chives.

3) put half the eggs in a slow cooker, top with half the mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, and crumbled bacon. Repeat.

4) Keep warm (on low) in slow cooker up to 4 hours.

Chile Relleno Casserole

1 c. half-and-half
2 eggs
1/3 c. flour
Whole green chiles (10 oz can)
½ lb. Monterey jack, grated
½ lb. sharp cheese, grated
1 c. tomato sauce

3750. A bit blurry after that, but here’s what I think it says: combine the egg and flour and half-and-half. Split open, seed, and rinse the chilles. Mix the cheeses together, keeping someaside for topping. Mix alternate layers of egg mixture, cheese, and chilles in a glass casserole dish. Top with the last of the cheese. Bake 45-60 min.

Classic Quiche Pastry

1 c. + 2 Tbsp flour

Pinch of salt

3 Tbsp firm butter AND 3 Tbsp  shortening (OR use 6 Tbsp margarine instead)

2-5 Tbsp cold milk

Put flour and salt in bowl. Work butter in with fork until mealy. Stir while adding milk, 1 TBsp at a time. Add milk until mixture gathers into a firm (yet crumbly) ball. Roll b/w wax paper. Line pan, Prick all over surface. Rub w/ a little egg white. Chill and bake.

French Toast Casserole

1 challah bread (cut off crusts and slice thickly)

Beat together:

5 egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
sprinkle cinnamon

Simmer until syrupy:
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar

Pour this into bottom of 9×13 pan.

Fit bread over syrup. Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover with foil and refrig overnight.

Preheat overn to 350. Bake 20 minutes with foil and 20 minutes without foil.

Check. Done when middle is set.


Casey’s Mac n Cheese

¼ c. marg or butter

¼ c. flour (WW or regular)

¼ c. onion, chopped (opt)

Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and stir until smooth and bubbly.  Remove from heat, add:

1 ¾ c. milk

Return to med. heat. Stir frequently until smooth and just bubbling. Stir in:

2c. cheese (sharper is better)

Then mix with about half a box (2 ½ c. dry) macaroni cooked al dente. Bake 20 min at 3500.


Karen Murphy’s Million Dollar Chicken Recipe


3 cups hot couscous or rice
1 Tbs olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds (I toast mine in a hot skillet)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 chicken thighs, skin removed (what a waste)
1 cup chunky salsa
2 Tbs. dried currants
1 tsp honey
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add garlic to  skillet and stir for 30 seconds.

Add chicken: cook 4-5 minutes or until brown, turning once.

In medium bowl combine salsa and remaining ingredients: mix well and add to chicken. Mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until fork tender and juices run clear. Stir in almonds. Serve with couscous.

Serves 4

30 minutes to prepare.

“Barbecued” Brisket

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, more as needed
1 whole beef brisket, about 5 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 large onions, chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup dry red wine or water
1/4 cup wine or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire or soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven that can later be covered over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes. When it is hot, add oil, swirl it around, then add beef. Sear meat for about 5 minutes on each side, seasoning with salt and pepper; when nicely browned, remove from pot.

Turn off heat under pot for a minute.

Add onion to pot and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until softened,  5 to 10 minutes (if meat is very lean you might need to add a little oil). Add all remaining ingredients, stir, and cook for about a minute. Return meat to pot, nestling it in sauce.

Cover pan, put it in oven, and cook until meat is tender, at least 2 hours and probably closer to 3. When it is done, you can refrigerate it in its liquid for 1 to 2 days before proceeding.

Light a charcoal or gas grill or heat broiler; rack should be about 4 inches away from heat source. Drain meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill or broil on both sides until brown and crisp, just a few minutes. Meanwhile, skim cooking liquid of fat, warm gently, and use as sauce.

8 or more servings.

Oven-Roasted Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Prep Time: 15 min

Inactive Prep Time: 24 hr

Cook Time: 6 hr

12 servings


Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt


Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:

1 ½ cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
½ cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 hamburger buns
1 recipe Spicy Slaw, recipe follows
Pickle spears

Mix the paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl.

Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time for, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Put the pork in a roasting pan and bake for about 6 hours. Basically, roast the pork until it’s falling apart and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F.

To make the barbecue sauce: combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

Remove the pork roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While still warm, take 2 forks and “pull” the meat to form shreds. Using 2 forks, shred the pork by steadying the meat with 1 fork and pulling it away with the other. Put the shredded pork in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the shredded pork and mix well to coat.

To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom 1/2 of the hamburger bun, and top with the spicy slaw. Serve with pickle spears and the remaining sauce on the side.

Caribbean-Style Pork

1 (2-pound) boneless center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
6 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cooking spray

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 1/2 cups hot cooked basmati rice
2 tablespoons diagonally sliced green onions

Cut roast into 1-inch pieces. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork; saute 5 minutes or until browned.

Place pork, bell pepper, and green onion pieces in a 4-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray; stir well.

Combine hoisin sauce and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Pour mixture over pork and vegetables; stir well.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW, and cook for 5 to 6 hours.

Serve over rice; sprinkle with sliced green onions.

Flavor Tip: With their crisp texture and sweet flavor, bell peppers are a nice complement to the pork in this dish. If you plan to use the peppers within a day or two, keep them at room temperature for better flavor.

Nora’s Stuffed Eggplants

I like to make this for vegetarians – it’s a hearty main dish. Sometimes, if I don’t have eggplants, I just bake the stuffing in patties and top it with the sauce and relish.

Tahini sauce:
3 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons tahini
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced



2 eggplants

Cooking spray

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained



1 cup chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


To prepare sauce, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Set aside.


To prepare eggplant, slice the eggplants in half lengthwise; score cut sides with a crosshatch pattern. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475° for 7 minutes or until slightly tender and browned. Remove from oven; carefully scoop out pulp, leaving a 3/4-inch shell. Reserve pulp for another use. Season cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt.


Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, and next 11 ingredients (through chickpeas) in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon 1/2 cup chickpea mixture into each eggplant shell. Bake at 475° for 25 minutes or until eggplant halves are tender and chickpea mixture is lightly browned.


To prepare relish, combine the tomato and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir to combine. Place 1 eggplant half on each of 4 plates. Top each half with 1/4 cup relish and 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.


Nora’s Lemon Caper Chicken

1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooking spray
1/3 cup extra-dry vermouth  (I never have it around and I’ve never used it…)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper evenly over chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove from skillet. Set aside; keep warm.

Add 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, vermouth, lemon juice, and capers to skillet, scraping skillet to loosen browned bits. Cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 2 minutes). Stir in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken.

Nora’s Kofteh (Middle Eastern spiced meatballs)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground lamb (…I usually use beef)
3 tablespoons grated onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mash the garlic and mix it into the lamb along with the onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, ginger, and pepper in a mixing bowl until well blended. Form the mixture into 28 balls. Either cook these on skewers over a grill, or bake them in the oven.



Artichoke Nibblers

2 jars (6 oz each) marinated artichoke hearts

1 med onion, diced
4 eggs
¼ c bread crumbs
¼ c wheat germ (opt)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ t salt
¼ t oregano
½ lb (2c) grated cheddar
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1/8 t pepper


Drain marinade from jars into frying pan, reserving enough to grease pan. Chop artichokes and set aside. Saute onion and garlic in skillet. In a bowl, beat eggs, add bread crumbs, wheat germ, salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir in cheese, parsley, artichoke, and onion. Turn into greased 7×11 pan. Bake at 3500 for 30 min or until set. Cool then cut in squares. Serve cold or rewarmed.


Pepperoni Pizza Dip

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
½ cup dairy sour cream
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
½  cup pizza sauce
½  cup chopped pepperoni
¼ cup sliced green onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)

Sweet pepper strips, broccoli flowerets, or crackers (optional)


In a small mixer bowl beat together cream cheese, sour cream, oregano, garlic  powder, and red pepper. Spread evenly in a 9- or 10-inch quiche dish or pie plate.

Spread pizza sauce over the top. Sprinkle with pepperoni, green onion, and green pepper.

Bake in a 350ooven for 10 minutes. Top with cheese; bake 5 minutes more or till cheese is melted and mixture is heated through.

Serve with sweet pepper strips, broccoli flowerets, or crackers.

Makes 1 ½  cups, 12 servings.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

1 10-ounce box frozen cut or chopped spinach, thawed
1 12-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
½ cup whipped cream cheese
¾ cup sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Pita chips, tortilla chips, or sliced French bread
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Heat oven to 4000F. Squeeze the spinach between paper towels to remove excess  moisture.

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, and Cheddar.

Season with the salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a small oven -safe baking dish.

Bake until lightly golden and heated through,  about 15 minutes.

Serve warm with the chips or bread and the lemon wedges, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Hands-on time: 5 minutes I total time: 20 minutes I if made from scratch: 1 hour


2 c. firmly packed basil leaves
½ c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic
½ t salt
½ c. grated Parmesan
¼ c. pine nuts or walnuts (opt)

Place ingredients through salt in a blender. Then pulse in the cheese and nuts. Freezes well.

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 small onion
  • Garlic
  • ¼ c. bread crumbs
  • ¼ c. parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • White wine
  • Salt and pepper

Wash mushrooms, break off stems and chop the stems. Arrange caps on a baking sheet and sprinkle with white wine. Bake 5 minutes at 3500.

For the filling: saute celery, onion, garlic, stems.

Cool caps and filling. Stuff caps and bake another 10 minutes.

Mushroom Pate

4 ½ tablespoons butter, softened

½ pound mushrooms, cleaned and minced

¼ cup minced scallions
1 tsp shallots
1 tsp minced garlic
¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
¼ minced walnuts
½ tsp lemon juice
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Melt 2 tbsps. butter in skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic and scallions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add broth to the skillet and cook over medium heat until all the liquid has been absorbed; about 4 to 5 minutes.  Take the skillet of the stove and let cool for about 20 minutes.

Combine cream cheese and remaining 1 ½  tablespoons butter in a mixing bowl.  Add the mushroom mixture and combine.  Stir in salt and pepper and mix well.

Fill a 1 cup crockery bowl or pretty dish with the mushroom mixture and smooth surface. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours .

Serve with plain toasted, bagel chips or with endive leaves.



8 oz cream cheese
8 oz horse radish
2 8-oz jars of jelly
Mix jelly and horse radish, pour over cream cheese. Serve with crackers.

Apricot Barley Casserole

2/3 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/4 cup butter or margarine, divided
2 cups pearl barley
1 cup sliced green onions
7 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins


In a skillet, saute nuts in 2 tablespoons butter until lightly browned; remove and

set aside. In the same skillet, saute the barley and onions in remaining butter

until onions are tender.

Add broth; bring to a boil. Stir in the apricots, raisins and nuts. Pour into a greased 13-in. x s-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1-1/4 hours or until barley is tender.


8-10 servings.

Side Dishes

Tamari Pasta Salad

2 lbs fettucine

1 c. tamari
2 lemons
1 c. olive oil


Marinate cooked pasta at least one hour. Add veggie assortment (I think mom does bell peppers) after the pasta’s marinated.


Napa Cabbage Salad

1 head Napa
1 bunch scallions
5 Tbsp margarine
2, 3-oz. pkgs of Ramen noodles
2 ½ oz sliced almonds
4 Tbsp sesame seeds
¼ c. oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
½ c. sugar


Slice cabbage, add onions. Melt margarine and bbrown the noodles. Add almonds and sesame seeds. Combine remaining ingredients and boil for 1 minute. Toss salad, nuts, and noodles with dressing.


Wild rice salad

1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ cups water
1 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt


Rinse wild rice in a strainer under cold water. (You have to rinse it because it’s gathered directly from marsh grasses and may contain dirt or twigs.)

In a large saucepan, combine rice, broth, and water. Bring to a BOIL over high heat so you see nickle-sized bubbles at the surface.

Once it’s reached boiling point, immediately REDUCE heat to low and SIMMER (a few pearl-sized bubbles will form every minute) uncovered for 40 minutes, Do not stir.

Drain rice in a colander or strainer (take a taste, it should be a bit crunchy).

In a large bowl, COMBINE rice with remaining ingredients. Mix well and let stand at room temperature for up to four hours or until ready to serve.


Serves 4-6 • Prep time: 15 minutes • Cooking time: 40 minutes

Nora’s Fridge Pickles

6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.

Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.


Nora’s Chakchoukah

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, quartered lengthwise, then sliced thin across the grain

1 large green bell pepper, quartered lengthwise, seeded and sliced thin across the grain

1 large red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise, seeded and sliced thin across the grain

Salt to taste

1/2 medium or 1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded (about 4 cups)
2 serrano chiles or jalapeños, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons harissa, to taste, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon lightly toasted coriander seeds, ground
1 teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, or a mix
6 eggs


Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy casserole or skillet, or in an earthenware casserole set on a flame tamer. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. If they begin to stick to the pan add a generous pinch of salt. Add another generous pinch of salt and the peppers and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the cabbage, chiles, coriander seeds, cumin and caraway and cook, stirring, until cabbage has wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the harissa or cayenne, salt and pepper, stir together and add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring from time to time, until tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is thick and fragrant, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in all but 2 teaspoons of the parsley or cilantro, taste and adjust seasonings.


With the back of your spoon, make 6 depressions in the vegetables. Break an egg into each depression. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the eggs are set. Sprinkle the eggs with salt, pepper and the remaining parsley and serve.

Bennington’s Scalloped Corn

here is my scalloped corn recipe…  this is a family secret.

2 cups uncooked corn
2 beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
(1/4 cup minced seeded green peppers with skin removed – optional  you could also put all sorts of other things in it; onion, cheese, dried tomatoes)
3/4 cup cream

Spread a thin layer of Crisco (or whatever you use to grease a dish) on the bottom and sides of your baking dish (a casserole dish is best) and then cover the Crisco with a light coating of flour.

Place the mixings (you have two tweak the amounts intil you get the right consistency…  thick but pourable) in the dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs and a bit of Parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 1/2 – 3/4  hour or until it kinda congeals…



Mary Jean’s English Muffin Bread

2 pkg dry yeast
6 c. flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
½ tsp soda
½ c. water
2 c. milk


Combine 3 c. flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and soda – mix. Heat liquids to very warm (120-1300). Add to dry mix and beat well with a wooden spoon (if you’ve got a wooden spoon). Stir in rest of flour and mix into a stiff batter. Spoon into well greased pans that are coated with corn meal. Sprinkle corn meal over top. Cover*and let rise** 45 min in warm place. Bake 25 min at 4000, remove from pan onto wire rack at once.

*Grease a piece of wax paper and sprinkle with corn meal so it won’t stick to dough.

**For a great warming place – Just before I start the bread, I turn on my oven to 1700 five minutes for gas, ten minutes for electric, then put your bread into the oven to rise.


Zucchini Bread

1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. peeled chopped zucchini
3 c. flour
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1tsp soda
¼ tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 c. nuts or raisins
Pour into 1 loaf pan or 2 small loaf pans. Bake 1 hr at 3500


1 1/2 cup white or yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk


Sift dry ingredients together; add onion. Add beaten egg and milk, stirring lightly. Drop by teaspoon into hot fat. Fry few at a time until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot. 2 dozen.

Pizza dough

For 1 14” pizza:
½ c. white flour
½ c. whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp corn meal
½ tsp salt
Put all of the above in bowl, place into oven to warm, not cook. Meanwhile, into
¼ c. tepid water, measure:
¾ tsp yeast and
¾ tsp molasses.

Mix and let proof until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Remove bowl from oven and mix in the yeast mixture. Gradually add up to ½ c. verm warm water, working until dough comes away from bowl and it begins to be elastic. Form into ball, sprinkle with flour, cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place to rise double – about 1 ½ hours. When dough doubles, punch down, scrape out of bowl and knead on floured surface till smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form into ball, roll out into circle, place on oiled pan. Brush dough with olive oil, place toppings. Bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes.


Pesto Pinwheels

1 Frozen Pepperidge farms puff pastry sheet – Thaw for 20 min on floured surface, roll to 14×11 inch rectangle.

1/3 c. pesto

Spread evenly with pesto and sprinkle with parmesan. Roll up like jelly roll. Cut into 3/8” slices. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with egg. Bake at 4000 for 8-10 minutes.


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

2 c. sugar
1 ½ Wesson oil
4 eggs
Sift, then mix with egg mixture:
2 c. flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon


3 c. grated carrots.


Bake at 3500 for 30 min in a 9×13 pan.


For the icing:
1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
8 oz cream cheese
¼ stick butter
2 tsp vanilla
½ c. nuts (opt)


Mary Jean’s Date Pudding

1 c. chopped dates (if very hard, soak in milk about an hour)

1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. grated bread crumbs
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk
1 egg
1 cube butter
2 tsp baking powder


Mix well and bake 45 min at 3750

Baird’s Reindeer Cookies

1/6 ounce package of chocolate chips

½ 6-oz butter scotch (half cup)

1/  can of chow mein noodles


Melt butterscotch and chocolate in saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in noodles. On a cookie pan, shape into a V. Put half a cherry in middle of each. (Note – this looks like 6 year old Nora’s handwriting, so I can’t vouch that this recipe is correct!).

Praline Crunch

1 box Quaker Oat Squares – original with cinnamon
2 cups pecan pieces
½ c. lt brown sugar
½ c. lt corn syrup
¼ c. margarine
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla


Mix cereal and pecans in a 13×9 pan.

In a microwaveable bowl, mix syrup, sugar, and butter. Micro on full for 1 ½ minutes. Stir and return to micro for 1-2 minutes until boiling

Pour mixture over cereal and coat evenly. Bake at 300 for 1 hr stirring every 20 minutes. Pour out on aluminum foil.

Red Jello Salad

1 3-oz pkg rasp or cherry jello, melted in 1 c. water

Add 1 c. sugar, let sit.

Take 2 pkg plain gelatin and dissolve in all the juice drained from 1 can crushed pineapple. Melt if needed. Then add all together with the whole can of crushed pineapple, 1 ½ c. crushed cranberries, one whole orange that’s been pureed in a food processor, and 1 cup of celery. Stores great.

Blueberry Jello Salad – Phyllis Shortsleeve

1 large Raspberry Jello
2 cups hot water
1 can Blueberry Pie filling
1 medium can crushed pineapples


Mix Jello and hot water together.

Add one can Blueberry Pie filling and one medium can crushed pineapple (undrained).
Let set.


1-oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream

½ cup confectioner’s sugar
Beat until creamy.

Spread on salad.

Top with chopped nuts.

Seafoam Jello Salad

Hmm…I couldn’t find the recipe for this beloved classic! I think you mix lime jello, a can of crushed pineapple, and some cottage cheese, then let it firm up in a bundt pan in the fridge. If in doubt, call Mom and Dad for more directions.


Merlene’s Hermits (from Golde’s cookie book)

1 c. butter, softened
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
1 tsp each of ground: allspice, cinnamon, cloves
3 eggs
3 ¼ c. flour
1 tsp soda
½ tsp salt
½ c. molasses
1 cup raisins
½ cup nuts (opt)


Cream toether butter, sugar, spices. Add eggs one at a time, then add remaining ingredients. Spread on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes at 3250.

Light Lemon Squares (from Golde’s cookie book)

1 c. flour
1 stick butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
½ Tbsp flour
3 TBsp lemon juice


Mix pastry ingredients together and bake 20 min. at 3500. Combine topping ingredients, pour over pastry and bake another 20-25 minutes.

Corsones’ Death by Chocolate

1 box Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownie mix
5 boxes nestle milk chocolate mousse mix
2 8-oz creamy cool whip
2 pkgs raspberries
1 pkg health bar crunch candies, crushed up


Make brownies – cool and cut into 1 inch squares. Make mousse. Layer the ingredients into a big bowl. “Feeds 24 in the primary grades, 18 in the middle school.”

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Honey Glaze (from Tao of Cooking)

2/4 c. butter
1 ½ c. brown sugar
3 eggs
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ c. canned pumpkin
2 c. flour
1 tsp each of: baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves
1 c. chopped pecans


Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Stir in pumpkin. Sift dry ingredietns and add. Fold in nuts. Pour batter into a greased, floured 9” tube or bundt pan. Bake at 375 for 50-55 minutes. Top with honey glaze:

¼ c. honey

2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp butter

Boil the glaze ingredients, then cool and pour on top.


Gingerbread People

1 ½ cups dark molasses

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup cold water

1/3 cup shortening

7 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves.

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Mix molasses, brown sugar, water and shortening.  Mix in remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.


Heat oven to 350°. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on floured board. Cut with floured gingerbread cutter or other favorite shaped cutter. Place about 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake until no indentation remains when touched, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool. Decorate with Decorators’ Frosting.

If using self-rising flour, omit baking soda and salt.


2 1/2 DOZEN 2 1/2-lNCH cookies.


Gingerbread Cookies: Decrease flour to 6 cups. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick and cut with floured 2-inch round cutter. Place about 1 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes.


Hydrox Casserole

36 Hydrox cookies (crushed)

3/8 pound butter

1 pint cream

2 cups little colored marshmellow

2 cups pillow mints


Combine cookies and butter and press into buttered 13×9 inch pan .

Whip one pint cream ….. add 2 cups little colored marshmallows and 2 cups colored pillow mints. Allow to mellow 24 hours before serving.

(Top with additional whipped cream and crushed cookies if desired)


Cranberry/Pistachio Biscotti

8 saffron filaments

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached or all-purpose flour

1  ½ tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt (eliminate if using salted nuts)

3/4 cup apricot halves or cranberries

2/3 cup pistachio nuts


Sprinkle saffron into orange juice in a small bowl and heat in a preheated 325 degree oven for 5 minutes to infuse the flavor. In a small mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and orange juice with saffron.

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cloves and salt. Add to the creamed mixture, mixing until blended. Fold in apricots and nuts. Divide dough in half.

On a greased and floured baking sheet pat out two logs about  1/2 inch high, 1 ½  inches wide and 14 inches long, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake in the middle of a preheated 325 degree oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer from the baking sheet to a rack. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Place on a cutting board. With a serrated knife slice diagonally at a 45 degree angle about 1/2 inch thick. Place the slices upright on the baking sheet  1/2 inch apart and return to the oven for 10 minutes longer to dry slightly. Let cool on a rack. Store in a tightly covered container.


Makes about 3 ½  to 4 dozen


Sesame Crisps

1 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup coconut

2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4  cup of butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla


Toast sesame seeds and coconut at 3500 for 8 minutes until light brown.  Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and sesame seed and coconut mix. Beat well. Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing well.

Drop dough on ungreased sheet. Flatten to 1/8″ thickness.

Bake at 3500 for 8 minutes.


Maple pecan squares

Bottom Crust:

1 1/4 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

Combine flour and sugar in medium sized bowl, cut in the butter. Mix until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into a greased 13X2″ pan. Bake at 375 for 15 min.



2 beaten eggs

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup Vt Maple Syrup

2 tbsp flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp melted butter

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine ingredients and beat well. Add nuts. pour filling over prepared crust. Bake 25 minutes at 350 or until firm. Cool and cut into squares.


Makes about 2 dozen.


Chris Runcie’s Blueberry coffee cake

Mix 1/2 cup milk with1 tsp vinegar and let stand a few minutes


Separately, mix together and cut in the butter:

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp butter

(I do it in the food processor.)

Put it into a large bowl and add 2 cups of frozen blueberries (or fresh) to the above.


Now beat 1 egg with the milk. Fold this into the dry ingredients.

Put in a greased 8X8 glass pan.


For topping, mix (in food processor):

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon


Sprinkle over the batter.   Bake at 375 for 35 min.


Nora’s Cranberry Curd Tart

So…this one’s a lot of work, but the result is gorgeous and delicious.


For the hazelnut crust:

1 ¼ cups/180 grams raw hazelnuts

1 cup/125 grams rice flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup/112 grams sugar

6 tablespoons/100 grams softened butter, more as necessary


For the cranberry curd:

12 ounces/340 grams cranberries

1 cup/225 grams sugar

Juice and peel (orange part only) of 1 orange

4 ounces/113 grams softened butter (1 stick)

2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks


To make the crust: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Put hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until skins darken and crack. Put roasted nuts in a clean towel and rub off skins. Discard skins and let nuts cool.

In a food processor, grind nuts with half the rice flour until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining rice flour and salt and pulse briefly.

Cream sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon for a minute or two until pale and thick. Add nut mixture and combine until dough comes together. If it seems crumbly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons softened butter or a little cold water.

Press dough evenly into a 10-inch pie pan; use half the dough for the sides and half for the bottom. Prick bottom with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes (or several days if desired).

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chilled tart shell about 15 minutes until lightly brown. Cool.


To make the cranberry curd: Put cranberries, sugar and orange juice and peel in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until cranberries have popped and softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food mill or medium mesh sieve and press cooking liquid into a bowl. (I didn’t have either, so I pushed it through my strainer and that worked fine.) Whisk the butter into the warm liquid.

Put eggs and egg yolks into a bowl and beat lightly. Slowly whisk a cup of warm cranberry liquid into the eggs to temper, then combine both and whisk together. Wipe out pot if necessary, return liquid to pot and cook over low heat until nearly bubbling and thickened, about 10 minutes. If using immediately, let cool to room temperature. If working ahead, cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap (press wrap against curd) and refrigerate. (Curd may be cooked up to 1 day ahead.)

Pour cooled cranberry curd into the cooled prebaked tart shell and smooth top with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to set curd. Cool on a rack. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Dad’s pie crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • Add all ingredients to list


  • Prep 15m
  • Ready In15 m
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Blueberry Apple PieFilling

  • 4cups sliced peeled baking apples (4 medium)
  • 2cups fresh blueberries
  • 3/4cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1tablespoon lemon juice


  • 1cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3cup butter or margarine, softened


  • 1Place sheet of foil on rack below middle oven rack to catch drips. Heat oven to 425°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.
  • 2In large bowl, mix filling ingredients; set aside.
  • 3In medium bowl, mix topping ingredients with fork until crumbly. Spoon fruit into crust-lined pan. Spoon topping evenly over fruit.
  • 4Place pie on middle oven rack over foil; bake 50 to 70 minutes or until apples are tender and edge is bubbly. After 20 minutes of baking, cover entire pie loosely with foil to prevent excessive browning. Cool 2 hours. Serve warm or cold

Introducing the ‘Phocket’

To: The Orvis Company
Attn: New Product Submission
178 Conservation Way
Sunderland, VT 05250

Hi there,

I currently own exactly one, exquisitely crafted, Orvis shirt. I love it and wear it to all special occasions. It is clearly the best shirt I’ve ever owned.

I also own an off brand vest I got for my retirement and I wear almost every day in the winter. It has one feature I truly appreciate; it has a deep vertical pocket on the outside where I keep my iphone. THE PHONE HAS NEVER FALLEN OUT OF THIS POCKET! I love my phone, a gift from me son, and I broke one much like it when I placed it in my shirt pocket and leaned over to stock the fire. So, I want a pocket in the summer that has the same regard for my phone as my vest does. I have therefore ‘invented’ this pocket and would love to see you including it in all your shirts.

((( The Phocket could go on the left side of the shirt but gets hard to slide the phone into)))

So, here it is; it is a pocket between the third and fourth buttons [from the top] where, when you put your phone in it, the phone drops down about an inch. The pocket buttons on the upper left corner of the regular shirt pocket [or hooks – or whatever].

If I don’t hear back I’ll see who else would like it but, I like you guys, American made and local. And, your craftsmanship is impeccable!

Let me know and I’ll come pitch it in person. I’ll wear my trial version.




1 2


Garage Bay Beer ‘From our garage to yours’

It’s huge, it’s new and it’s delicious. It goes best with your favorite activities;

popular pairings include:

  • Jerky Brew , our newest brown ale, enhances the smell of new car wax.
  • Admire your newly sharpened tools with a bottle of Sharp Tong Lashing Lager
  • Just lubbed the jalopy? Get that rusty undercoating taste out of your mouth with a bottle of Grease Pit Pilsner
  • or just relax behind the garage with a can of Hammock Honcho; you’ll know your’re the boss then


2015 and the Wood Shop

12/2/2015 Today I finished the first phase of wiring – I HAVE A NICE LED SHOP LIGHT!! so exciting. I corrected the breaker to a 15 amp [they’d over sized it to a 20 and I like to be safe]  then I went out, plugged in the new light AND a small electric heater and the circuit held + I ran the skill saw. What more can a man ask for?

I put in the end caps so I could really insulate the hell out of it.


So, really good progress on my wood-shop. It is October 12 2015 and it has doors, windows, siding and the exterior is all stained. IMG_0260

So far the design has been perfect [of course it could be bigger]; 12×16 turned out to be the least wasteful size for a building imaginable.  Six 4×8 OSB board are the floor-nothing cut off She sits on 9 piers and is tied in to the slab garage foundation. A 30 degree pitch roof worked out great too. This used an 8’ 2×6 and left an overhang of 9 ½” running; that uses a 7 ¼” board [1 x 8] and a 2 ½” SOFFIT VENT-sweet. And, the roof used 8 full sheets of plywood plus two for the hitch roof that ties in with the garage. Nicely it ties at the roof just about halfway up and, as the garage roof pitch is 30 degrees, looks smooth. 

With only two saw horses and scrap lumber for a bench it is already the best workshop I ever had [OK, more outlets would be a keen addition].IMG_0155

Next I insulate the ceiling, run electric, insulate the walls and I’m in business. So great-216 SQ’ of work space.

I’ll post pictures and plans later but just wanted to get something up.


Thanks Lisa for supporting this effort; always ready to hold a board, climb on the roof and on and on. You’re the best wife any man ever had, ever!

A test of movie uploads

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Hear what Janet has to say about being a volunteer.


The Janka hardness test and our knife handles

We have some kitchen knives whose handles are no fun to hold in your hand. So I thought I’d make my own but wanted to test for the best type of wood to use.

Wood from the Hophornbeam is rated at 1860 in the ‘Janka Hardness Test’, Maple =1450, American Beech =1300 and White Ash =1320. I took samples from our wood pile and cut them down to 3/8”. I varnished [urethaned] one end and left them in the dishwasher for a month. Even though it was taken from the sap wood of a 5” diameter tree, the Hophornbeam was by far the smoothest of the woods; both the finished and unfinished ends were still smooth as silk after the month of washings. The rest got rough in descending order of their hardness. So I went with the hardest north American wood around.

For practice I made a new handle for one of our crappier knives and I’m very happy with it.

KnifeHandlesI bought rivets from:

hophornbeamThe Hophornbeam is super tough to work with and when a slice kicked out of the protesting table saw it pretty much wanted to break my shin; still bruised after a week-OUCH. ( )

The tree is too small to get from a lumber mill so I need a better way to get it down to boards – I’m thinking ‘more tools’.

lukesOrchidsAh yes, here is another of Luke’s orchids in bloom > 🙂