Archive for November, 2016

Holiday Baking.


Many years ago (1977, in fact) my friend Wendy and I lived in apartments close to one another. At Christmas, we would get together and make Cranberry Nut Bread, which was awfully good. We used empty soup or vegetable cans for making round loaves, which made great presents (we thought) but these days I use small metal loaf pans. Still makes a great gift for the holidays.

The recipe calls for cranberries to be cut into quarters, and since we were young and somewhat new to cooking and baking, we took it literally and used a small sharp knife to cut the berries into quarters. Talk about devotion to detail! These days I imagine you could use a large knife or even one of those kitchen blade choppers.

Or a food processor, but I’ve never had one, and that seems too easy, and would maybe take some of the charm out of it. This morning I made 3 small loaves, and yes, I actually chopped each berry into quarters with a paring knife. Just like old times.

I don’t think Wendy would mind if I shared the recipe, so here goes.

Cranberry Nut Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 egg, well-beaten
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raw cranberries, cut into quarters

Sift all the dry ingredients together.
Combine the orange juice, orange rind, water, egg and salad oil, and add to the dry ingredients. Then add the nuts and cranberries. Bake in a well-greased loaf pan, or use 3 smaller foil loaf pans. (You could probably make muffins out of this, too.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 − 60 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick and have it come out clean. For smaller pans, about 30 minutes will do.

July 21 Storm in Duluth.


It is hard for me to imagine the power of a mere wind storm, but those of us who saw the one in Duluth on July 21 this year probably have a new appreciation for Mother Nature. Horrific damage was done to many parts of town; Woodland and Hartley Field most especially.

I try to imagine what it must have been like for the folks driving home at that hour of the early morning, perhaps from partying or from a night shift at work, and trying to avoid the trees that were falling over like matchsticks. I wonder, too, about the animals who must have been frightened (to death?) of the devastation. Deer, bears, skunks, raccoons, birds, snakes… what did they make of the noise that sounded like the end of the world?

I took these photos at a local cemetery. Trees were uprooted and pulled out of the ground as if they’d been plucked out like a simple flower. Many cemetery roads were closed while workers cleared the fallen trees, and many tombstones had been knocked over  by powerful winds, or hidden under debris.



cemetery4Closer to home, many neighbors on my street suffered huge losses to their property, while our power was out for nearly 3 days. Not as bad as some in town, who went a week without electricity. Not an easy task. I am grateful to helpful neighbors who used a generator to clear trees on the block, and who brought me a thermos of hot coffee one morning. Lovely!

These were taken on my block:




Much closer to home, Asn my own back yard, two trees behind my garage. My handy neighbor came out with a generator and a chain saw, and made light work of them. One landed on his aluminum boat and caused a rather large dent, and the other was a spruce tree that I loved simply for its wonderful scent. Boo hoo. A tiny problem compared to others.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAside from some of Woodland Avenue and much of Hartley Field and Nature Reserve, much of the cleanup has been completed. Life goes on.

Okay: Life Box.


My sisters winced at the notion of a “Death Box,” so I’m calling the Life Box, which is probably more appropriate. And speaking of appropriate, I found this wonderful box at Michael’s, and it was even on sale. I think it’s perfect.