snowy sunday morning

We went to sleep to the almost silent patter of snow.  I say almost silent, because when sleet is mixed in there is the little whoosh sound.

I woke in the middle of the night and went to the window to watch the stillness below.  From the brightness of a snowy night, when everything has that unearthly sort of glow, I watched one of our foxes pad silently across the back garden.  It was old fox, whose face is a good part white now.  This fox looks like they are wearing a fur head warmer because there is a halo of fox red fur around their face, but their face now is whitened with age.

My husband laughs at me watching things in the still of the night in the back, but it’s like the woods come alive.  Deer tiptoeing across the rear of the woods, along the back neighbor’s fence line.  A trio of raccoons and even foxes eating the birdseed scattered on the ground for them.

A Midwinter Night’s Dream.

It’s lovely and almost lyrical as well as magical to watch. The sparkling new fallen snow and the woodland animals roaming in the night.  On some nights like this if the young raccoons are out, they tumble and wrestle, enjoying the freedom of playing.

Day breaks and a pinkish orange glow grows upward as light and dawn creep in.  Everything is still lush and quiet with the startling whiteness of the snow.  Then dawn is gone and skies are blue.  That is a whole other kind of beauty.

The luxury of open space means I look out to snow covered trees and branches and shrubs. Nature’s fine frosting.  I hear the woodpeckers squabbling in the tall red oak.  The mourning doves and cardinals flutter in first, followed by the other song birds.

Overhead, a hawk cries out.

This is morning in Chester County.  This is what we need to preserve before developers and greedy corporate giants like Sunoco displace all of this loveliness.  These are the moments individuals like the head of the Chester County Planning Commission does not get, because he hails from the land of infill development. Traffic noise and people squashed in like lemmings is his norm. He doesn’t live in Chester County, which I have always felt should be required. People like him do not get the simple joys of a snowy Chester County morning. Which, subsequently, is why we need more land and historic preservation, and less development.

It also makes me think of our Revolutionary War Soldiers.  For them, a Chester County Winter wasn’t so pleasant I think.  But you have to wonder, in the snow last night, did their ghosts traverse Crebilly in Westtown on silent maneuvers?

Or what about the old souls laid to rest at Ebenezer on Bacton Hill Road? What kind of winters did they see?

What did William Lockwood think when he looked out of the windows of Loch Aerie on a snowy night?

Or the fine people of Chester County’s now many historic villages? What did they see? Sugartown? Goshenville? Marshalton? St. Peter’s? Malvern? Other villages? Can’t you just hear the early morning clop, clop, clop of horses drawing carts on the old streets of West Chester and Kennett Square?

When we look out our windows at the snow in the evening, or the middle of the night, or at dawn and daybreak, who else has looked before us and what did they think?

Enjoy the snow before it all melts.

is plausible deniability the cornerstone of american politics?

I was having a conversation with a friend recently. They aren’t someone who is particularly political. All they wanted was a straight answer out of the township where they lived. But they weren’t supposed to bother township staff. They were supposed to go through elected officials. That would be (depending on where you live):

  1. A Commissioner
  2. A Supervisor
  3. A Borough Council Member
  4. A City Council Member
  5. A Selectman or Selectwoman
  6. An Alderman or Alderwoman

(You get the idea, right?)

So this person I know was turned over to a newly elected local representative/official. And the new person sadly appears to be merely the patsy of a more established political cat, a/k/a a more senior and longer duration elected official who feels free to be a puppet master of less experienced officials.

I am speaking in generalist terms and not saying where this friend lives, because this is not anything new. It’s as old as the art of politics itself, and goes on everywhere. I have experienced it in Chester County.

A few years ago now, I was told I should not bother the township people who worked in a township building. I was told the best practice was that I should go through an elected official. I did that at first until I realized it was a way to try to control residents and also for a way to ensure township residents wherever did not build relationships with township staff. I then decided that I didn’t want a politician translating for me all of the time. Sometimes it’s handy to have a politician translate for you, but really as a resident wherever you live you should be able to speak to the people that work in your municipality, right? (Yes that’s right, live dangerously and email your local municipality!)

What I have discovered with dealing with politicians versus municipal staff wherever, is municipal staff will answer an email even if they don’t have the answer. Politicians are more cagey. They only want to have a conversation, they don’t want anything in writing. And the reason for that is a term called plausible deniability . Plausible deniability refers to circumstances where a denial of responsibilty or knowledge of wrongdoing can not be proven true or untrue due to a lack of evidence proving the allegation.

Yes indeed, plausible deniability is a true hallmark of politicians from the tiniest of municipalities through to state houses and Washington, D.C. Without plausible deniability, politicians would not be able to give you that trademark blank or politically shocked stare and say murmuring “kindly” things like “I am so sorry I did not know” or “I was not aware.”

(Of course with this as a best practice, it is probably why there shouldn’t be a Tweeter in Chief with all their Stepford Tweeter Minions, right? )

But it’s no wonder nothing ever gets done anywhere because all of the politicians today are like various versions of Sergeant Schulz from Hogan’s Heroes. They see nothing.

When was the last time we truly had accountability in politics? Again , on any level, from the most local of levels through to the nation’s capital? And this is a problem with both Republicans and Democrats alike.

So why is it we keep electing these people? Or is this a corruption which occurs when they become sitting politicians?

Just some of the random things I think about with regard to politics. The politically jaded will now sign off.

Thanks for stopping by.

hummus tahini

With the exception of a few short days between the flu and flu related viruses I have now been sick off and on but mostly on since the 28th of December. (On the news when they run through the list of people who are susceptible to flu, especially if they forget to get a flu shot, I’m right up there.

As a result I have become the master of sick food. It has not been a month where I have been overwhelmingly starving. And the foods I have been eating have been pretty basic. A lot of chicken soups, in particular. (I have to tell you having an Instant Pot to make bone broth, soups, and stews has been a god send.)

I am not a big giant sandwich eater for lunch most days so things like yogurt and hummus have also been up there on the list of things which have tasted good to me.

I love hummus tahini. My mother has been making it since we were little. When we were little it was a sure sign of company coming over because it was one of her “go to” hors d’oeuvres kind of things.

I have never really used a recipe to make my hummus. I just watched what my mother did for years and then I have created my own recipes as an adult.

I made it again today and I think it’s extra delicious this time, so I decided to commit the recipe to paper, or blog. (And yes I still have that draft of that unfinished cookbook on my computer desk top and this recipe will be added to it.)

Hummus Tahini Ingredients:

1 extra large can of Goya chickpeas – 1 lb. 13 oz. DRAINED

1 large sweet onion rough chopped

4 large cloves garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 large red bell pepper rough chopped

Juice of two large lemons

A couple of dashes of Cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Approximately 1/3 cup Tahini paste (you can add more or you can add less – truthfully it’s a matter of personal taste)

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Olive oil and sweet paprika to dress the hummus before refrigerating.

A food processor or a blender that works like one. (I have a Breville blender it seems to do everything except take out the trash.)

Now to put it together…

I put into the blender the red pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, cayenne. I then add a couple of dashes of salt and pepper to taste and blend well.

Then I add the pine nuts and blend well.

Then I add the chickpeas, and blend well again.

Then I add the tahini paste in three parts because it’s a pain to work with and blend some more.

I taste it and adjust the salt and pepper as necessary, and also may add a little more lemon juice or a couple dashes of balsamic vinegar if I don’t think the acid balance is right. The thing about hummus is there is a balance to the acids you add, and when people omit the acid it doesn’t taste as good.

I will also tell you that I know some people who blend the tahini paste and lemon juice first to break down the tahini and make it more pliable. I do that sometimes too, but also breaking the adding of adding tahini in three bits also makes it manageable.

When my hummus tahini is velvety smooth, I put it in its own container and I dress the top of it with a few swirls of olive oil and sweet paprika. I then refrigerate until cold.

Hummus is fabulous with pita bread of course, but also goes well with carrots and other vegetables. it also makes a great base to a vegetarian type sandwich if you are so inclined.

Truthfully hummus is one of my favorite things especially for lunch. And not just when I’m not feeling well. I will buy prepackaged hummus tahini but I still think nothing is better than making it yourself and it’s so simple and takes very little time.

Enjoy!

unsolicited

Dear Mr.Mattia at Keller Williams,

One of my first jobs decades ago was a cold-caller for some high level securities brokers at then Prudential Securities. They taught me that soliciting was an art form.

As a matter of fact, when I did the cold calling equivalent of mailings for them, each letter and each envelope was personalized. You see, it’s bad enough to be solicited by strangers, but somehow the blow is softened if that stranger takes the time to not only personalize the envelope but the letter inside. Makes you feel like you’re more than just a name on a purchased mailing list.

Today we received a solicitation from you. You, apparently, are that friendly neighborhood realtor whom we’ve never heard of. And no, you haven’t sold anything in our extended neighborhood. The envelope was addressed to us personally in all caps and was hand written. Stuffed inside was a business card and a dear occupant generalized letter that wasn’t even personalized to the people you’re soliciting.

I personally hate these kinds of letters from total strangers. I get that you can buy a list anywhere, but Lordy if you want to “earn” the business of anyone maybe try something else.

I find these letters offensive, and that is probably because of the industry I came out of. I’m sure Keller Williams tells you it’s a great idea and a great marketing plan. It’s not. People choose important relationships like this based on references and often personal connections. What you sent out is what people recycle, not retain.

I know a lot of really fabulous realtors in Chester County, and you know what? They work their tails off. They get out there and they meet people. And they do not waste postage dripping drivel on anyone.

Please don’t solicit us again.

Thanks

kitchen elves needed.

Unless you were a complete suck up growing up, you avoided the kitchen when cleanup was needed. I know I did, although I always ended up somehow being the one that cleaned up the kitchen for the most part.

But in my defense my mother is still a master at getting other people to do what she wants done, and she was relentless when we were growing up. Come to think of it, she was also very good at getting other people to cook for her. It’s not like we had Mrs. Bridges in the kitchen it was more like me and my father. (But I digress.)

Mrs. Bridges was the beloved Cook from Upstairs, Downstairs the PBS Show. She had a veritable army of footman, maids, scullery maids, and kitchen help. Most of us don’t live like that, and never did. Which means we really appreciate a little help around the kitchen.

However I have noticed throughout my life, that cleaning up the kitchen means completely different things to men and women. And I love and adore my husband, but he and I have vastly different perspectives on this topic. And he gets really annoyed when I try to talk to him about it like I did this morning.

Face it, there are just days being a domestic goddess is harder than others. When I came down to the kitchen this morning I felt like the he-man woman haters club had held a chapter meeting in my kitchen.

There was stuff everywhere (including grains of rice lodged underneath the glass cutting board) and both sinks were loaded with dirty dishes.

So I spent a good part of my morning before getting ready to work cleaning up the kitchen and loading and running the dishwasher. That also meant time vacuuming up additional grains of rice from off of the floor.

I know, I know there are bigger problems on the face of this earth, but cleaning up the kitchen in a small house to me is a really big deal. Which means when you come in the front door it’s not too far to the kitchen. So as a woman you want everything to look tidy. Or at least I do personally.

I also live in a male household. So cleaning up the kitchen generally speaking falls to me. Not because anyone is chauvinistic, it’s just because I have a little bit of OCD going on when it comes to cleaning up.

Yes…one of my pet peeves are indeed dirty kitchens. I used to know someone that was such a slob and a pile-maker in the kitchen, that every time I came home from her house I had to clean something else up. I think to this day every time my kitchen is too dirty it reminds me of theirs.

I am also stepparent to a teenage male, and sometimes I don’t even think he sees what is in the kitchen. He is focused on being a teenage male. So he comes into the kitchen he gets what he wants and he leaves. That can be a little frustrating when it comes to cleaning up as well.

However, when my sister quipped recently that she didn’t believe either of her children (niece and nephew) knew what the dishwasher was, I know this is not just a male thing it’s just a kid thing. And I know from my other friends that there are many similar tales of “kitchen destruction” left in the wake of various aged children.

I guess it’s the whole thing when you’re a kid you don’t understand, but when you’re a grown-up you understand all too well. It’s kind of like you never understood why your mother got annoyed when there were multiple boxes of half eaten cereal in the cupboard, until you open your own cupboard and you have four open boxes of teenager designated cereal, and two are the same thing.

It seems to me that when we were growing up for the most part we had little assigned chores we were just expected to do. If we were lucky we got a little allowance out of them, but most of the time it was just we were expected to do it. We were expected to help.

Whenever I mention this, this is where my husband asks me if I was a robot growing up, and no honey, I wasn’t. We just had chores we were expected to do. And that was for me when my mother’s inner Pennsylvania German shined through, so I try not to be a bear about it as an adult in my own house. But I haven’t quite figured out what the balance is which will get me help once in a while when I need it …without me sounding like a nag.

It would be really nice to have occasional kitchen elves visit me. Unfortunately I live in Chester county, so I’m far more likely to get a mouse instead 🤣

Thanks for listening to my womanly gripes, and men? Live dangerously help your ladies clean up the kitchen. One benefit will be will you save money on hand cream and manicures.

Thanks for stopping by.