Archive for the ‘Food’ category


June 21, 2019


Observations:   Vast empty lifeless areas in the Pacific Ocean.    Vast.  Lifeless.     Starving larger fish species.  Starving  seals and  baby seals dead of starvation.    Ocean food species disappearing.   Coastal species dying and disappearing.  Starfish limbs dissolving.  Salmon industry collapse.    Etc.

If we read only scattered  headlines  like these, here and there, over the space of eight or nine years,  our minds are not doing the addition.     It doesn’t add up to anything.


Here’s another recent story:


It was followed quickly by the reports of hundreds of whales beaching themselves in the Pacific Northwest, and hundreds of seals found dead on a Pacific coast beach.

The photo shows Bill Laughing Bear, who lives near this newly dead whale in Alaska.  He normally tests dead salmon and halibut for radioactivity and says he has not found one which did not test positive for radioactivity.   That made him curious about this recent dead whale.   He said he found the whale to be “radioactive,”  although there were no specifics.   He thought that it would have tested higher near the stomach area than down by the tail fin, but he didn’t want to get wet that day, walking up to the stomach area, but he also said he wouldn’t be eating whale blubber anymore.  Hmm.

As I used a search engine to find and re-read the article for accuracy,   I found subsequent reports of “another,” and then  4, then 5,  and the latest 24 dead whales found recently on the beaches up there.

The stories  of radioactive dead sea creatures began shortly after the Fukushima event which “downloaded”   gabillions  of tons of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, and still ongoing today, and that is in addition to an uncounted amount of radiation spewing into the air  from the heavily damaged nuclear reactors..

Fuku Spraying 380

The meltdown is still going on.     Sometimes we forget what a dangerous, hopeless, unsuccessful mess it was to try to ‘cool” the damaged reactors after the earthquake and tsunami.  

I saw (and posted occasionally)  the maps of the world showing how the radiation  dispersed, especially across the United States.  I know grasslands for cattle became radioactive in Colorado, for instance, and milk as far away as Vermont tested positive for radiation, so I was often curious about what the rain was delivering to us here  in the Far North.

I bought a “Geiger counter” –  The Inspector brand.

After I saw  that article about the dead gray whale and read that someone had gone out  with a Geiger counter and found it three to four times more radioactive  than expected, I decided to check out any possible radiation in our current days of “endless” rain this week.  After all,  my herbs and tomatoes are growing outside there on my back deck!

I thought maybe we have less radiation in our rain now than we did when I used to measure it a few years ago.

Inspector 114


Normal background radiation is 22 – 38.      This “114”  on Wednesday is “higher than normal background radiation,”  I’ll state that explicitly.

When the rain stopped,  the radiation count went way down, into the 50s,  but I was getting wet.  I’m sure it went down to where it should be eventually.    As usual, my eyes burned a little after I came in from the rain.

Nuclear power plants are NOT a safe alternative to the-called “fossil”  fuels.

02 Nucl Reactors in N Caroliona

Another Fukushima waiting to happen?    To us? 

So what about our fish that comes from the Pacific Ocean?     I made it a point  to buy  only “Atlantic” Salmon from my grocery store — only to find out that “Atlantic” means only a type of salmon, not its origin.     My butcher assured me that all the fish in his display counter came from the Pacific Ocean – nothing from the Atlantic!

Today I found out that most of our “wild-caught Atlantic” salmon comes from Chile, which is,   for some  reason of ocean currents,   safer from Japanese radiation.

But then you don’t want to eat “farm-raised” salmon either, even though American farm-raised standards have improved.  But doctors still give warnings to not each too much salmon per month.     One to three salmon meals, maximum.



But salmon from our country,  our “Atlantic” salmon caught on the West Coast   —   tumors are common.

slmon tumor

Poor things:

salmon mouth

I won’t buy them anymore anyway.



Sorry to have kept those old Fukushima links up so long in the right columns.   They are useless now.    They have petered out or moved to other locations.   I haven’t found any other central location for Fukushima news.    But the stories keep coming.

I’ll remove those links soon . . . .



June 10, 2019

Yep.  Going domestic on all of you, my readers.    Although I tend to be very interested in history, politics, patriotism, current  earthquakes and volcanoes,  cultural developments,   strange aerial phenomena,  sociological trends, pedagogy,  the power of the Fourth Estate =-  (i.e.  “the entertainment-news media), space science,  physics,  nature, botany, music  (no “modern music,”  nothing past 1825, please), my friends and family,  and  all resting on a bedrock of firm traditional Christian faith —

—  Oh, yes,  that’s why I say The Spruce Tunnel is a place for ‘random thoughts;”  sorry I don’t have any certain predictable  theme to employ here . . .

“Although” all that . . .  like any human creature who is free to live to his fullest, I do all that,  but I especially enjoy being a woman and feeling “all domestic.”   Hah!

Say  Anything

When Daughter and Grandson Cooper were here for a few days during the Memorial Day weekend,  we found time to play a board game called “Say Anything.”   You draw a card with four or five questions to choose from, read it out loud, and then the rest of the players write down what they think will be your most likely answer. . . .  wagering for points, etc., etc.

Hmmmm.    Can be very revealing.

Well, one time my question is “What do I think is the best thing about being a woman?”   An explosion like colorful confetti burst inside my brain“Everything!”    And my family knew me well, with their answers.   To play the game  I had to choose one, but all of them were correct:  wearing skirts (and other pretty clothes, I guess),   being a wife,  homemaker,  being a wife and mother and grandmother (that last set of three from Cooper).

It was a fun game to play, a good question to think about,  but it still reverberates in my memory, for some reason.    Made me think about all the possibilities.

I hope, if you’re a woman (in the Western world),  you have many happy answers.   The answers could actually make you happy.   (“Count your blessings.”)

And I know,  just know,  that the same could be said if you’re a man.    To be a man,  so strong and capable physically (or at least you could train yourself to be more and more “capable”),  to be protective of others around you,  to be a father (or brother or uncle or older cousin), to be a prime example of manliness and courage and constancy,  to lead the way in the exercise of your faith in God,  to provide for your household,  to know how to fix so many things,  to  . . .  I don’t ‘know, all the other advantages . .  .



Okay,  so I like baking pies.


rhubarb pie

My Rhubarb Pie

  The recipe and the nutritional benefits:


This is called Peoria Rhubarb Cream Pie:

Preheat:  400 degree oven.
Ingredients for a single-crust pie (crust):

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
3 – 4 tablespoons cold water


(The usual way:  stir the first three ingredients all together in a bowl until it resembles “coarse crumbs,”   then sprinkle in the cold water.   Ice cold water is best, and I certainly use 4 or more tablespoons of water.)   Form into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a circle that’s going to fit your pie plate.  Flute the edges.


Ingredients for filling:

4 cups sliced fresh rhubarb*   (or thawed and drained frozen sliced rhubarb)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg  (you’ll scarcely taste the nutmeg)
Then mix in 3 slightly beaten eggs.

Ingredients for streusel topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter   (cold is best, but room temperature butter is quicker.)

Mix all together until coarse crumbs are formed.   I use a fork, but a pastry cutter or your fingers work pretty well too.

I assume you know how to assemble these three components of the pie.

Cover the edges with aluminum foil.   I don’t usually, but I’m glad I did this time.

Bake for twenty minutes.

Remove the foil, and bake for another twenty or so minutes.

And that’s what you get!   A   delicious rhubarb pie!  Mild tasting,  no overwhelming tartness or bitterness.    Very thick.   (I probably used five cups of cut up rhubarb.)


Hope you enjoy!     (Of course,  just “full disclosure” for this modern world:   men bake too.)



. *    (Thank you, my recorder partner,  for fresh rhubarb from your garden!)



For those of you interested in health,  I discovered that rhubarb has far more healthy benefits than I could have imagined:

From    (removing the spaces, of course):

https://   http://www.

Nutritional Value:

One of the main reasons why people cultivate and eat rhubarb is for its astounding nutritional value. It is packed with minerals, vitamins, organic compounds, and other nutrients that make it ideal for keeping our bodies healthy. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, these precious components are dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. In terms of organic compounds, the plant is a rich source of polyphenolic flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Prevents Alzheimer’s:

A 2006 study published in the Brain Research Bulletin said that a rhubarb glucoside compound, rhaponticin, can protect the body against Alzheimer’s. In vitro results show the rhaponticin is positively linked to preventing the harmful effects of amyloid beta, which are peptides of 36-43 amino acids that are crucially involved in the formation of amyloid plaques found in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
This compound also aids with blood sugar levels

Improves Bone Health:

Along with its role in protecting the brain from neural degeneration, vitamin K also promotes osteotropic activity, meaning that it stimulates bone growth and repair. Combined with the rich amount of calcium and other minerals found in rhubarb, the vegetable as a whole is a major player in bone protection.

Obviously high in fiber and allt he health enefits that produces…

Anti-cancer Properties:

According to the researchers from the National University of Singapore, anthraquinones from rhubarb possesses anti-cancer properties and could have therapeutic potential. It is a good source of beta-carotene and other polyphenolic compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin which act in a similar way to vitamin A, protecting the skin and eyes from the effects of free radicals. A decent amount of antioxidants in your diet can help avoid premature aging, cataracts, macular degeneration, and wrinkles.
. . .  Copper and iron, stimulate new red blood cells, increasing the oxygenation in the body



March 17, 2019

edu pat in glass

If you study a little philosophy (the real stuff, not the modern stuff) you will discover that Imagination is one of the faculties of our God-given Intellect.     Fun!



So.      Imagine a four lane city street, divided in two lanes each way by a lovely boulevard down the middle,   with green grass, small trees, and statues;  and imagine that street going right next to  a Big Ten campus.    

edu people   Now imagine that street, that grass, and that campus, as far as the eyes can see,  thousands of students,*   decked out in green and orange and checkered pants and leprechaun hats with jaunty green feathers!   

Yep.    That was my challenge (and my delight)   driving home from church today. 

Not my own photos, sorry.  I left my cell phone at home.  I wasn’t planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in any special way.       My mistake.


I’ve written about the “real” St. Patrick many times before in all the years of this blog’s existence, so I won’t do it again this year.  ( He’s there in the archives. )

Just keep in mind who and what we’re really celebrating today – or if you can’t celebrate,  then at least acknowledge, for this day has been on Western calendars for many, many centuries,  long before you or I came about.

So.     Imagine a young teenager living in   Scotland, kidnapped from his family’s estate and sold into slavery by Irish pirates.   Kept in slavery for many years. . .  more than half a lifetime to one so young.

Now, just as when a soldier is captured by the enemy,  his first duty to his country is to escape,  so  I can imagine that young Patrick’s daily thought was returning to his home.  Somehow.  But he didn’t know where he was, he had no money or means, and he would have to escape through lands owned and watched over by his master’s warriors and servants.

So Patrick’s years passed;  tender years, growing into manhood.     Although he slowly learned the language and the customs of his captors,  he also turned back to his Catholic prayers and met God daily through them;   all throughout the day,  growing in  patience and trust and firmness of faith.

Just imagine all that.   You know “The Rest of the Story.”

edu hill

A hill worth climbing;  a life worth knowing.



So.     Now I imagine that my last-minute decision to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional Irish meal will turn out all right!     I hadn’t bought any of the food until late last night  –   just on a whim.   (Good prices and all.)  

Instead of boiling everything together,  as is traditional,  I’m roasting everything.   I did have that packet of spices that comes with corned beef,  but I’ve amped it up a little with extra cardamom, dill, allspice, cracked pepper and garlic.  

Five hours from now,  I’ll find out if reality meets my imagination. 

corned beef

Kind of like this.

st patrick's day greetings


Banner St Patrick's Day


“Everyone’s Irish today!!!”

.*   Imagine!      Young adults,  trained by our socialist college professors that “nationalism is a bad thing,    especially   “white nationalism”   have come out in the thousands to celebrate a nation’s culture and to honor its (Christian) patron saint!!!

One would think St. Patrick would be on their Naughty List,    white, Catholic, male,  and loving the people of one country!




June 5, 2018

I received a Thousand-Mile warning today from Son.     More than a thousand miles, actually,  and it was a weather warning.   He probably knew that the Bluegrass Junction channel on Sirius/XM  does not announce the local weather,  no matter where your locale is,  so I was totally unaware of what I was driving into.

This –

Storm Clouds 390

Just beginning to drive into a huge dark tropical storm.     Up ahead of that white truck the storm clouds are dragging the ground.   There was lightning of all kinds, almost constant,  but the camera got this shot between some of the most spectacular thick bolts of lightning.   It was crackling up there.

Then I did drive right into it:

Storm Into 390

The rain really hit;   it got very dark and the wind gusts blew the car around.

The road disappeared under a solid surface of water.  You could not  see the lanes or the shoulder of the road.    Cars slowed down variously to  20 m.p.h.  or 15  or 10.   I put the emphasis on “variously”  because even though the cars were bunching up,  often less than a car length apart,  every driver seemed to have his own idea of how slow he should go.

Cars were stopping in the median or on the shoulder of the road, sometimes down in the grass but they all left their taillights on, so you couldn’t tell if you should follow them or not.       That was the dangerous part,  because, as I said,  the lanes were all under water.

I couldn’t take a picture of the worst of it.  “Two hands on the wheel,”  you know.

I think we drove like this for a half hour or so . . .  Eventually I found my exit and drove out of the worst of the storm.    Pried my hands off the steering wheel and found my motel –  my home for the next several days.

I am dry,  safe,  and “home.”   And there’s a steak house associated with this hotel.

I ate   (and drank)  myself into a coma and slept for the next three hours.

Okay –  I’m not known as a “drinker” —  but when you have this menu staring at you on your table:

Armadillo 200

. . .   and the cranberry, pineapple, and orange juice  sounds sooooo good and healthy,  it’s hard to resist.    That’s an armadillo in the upper left corner  with the light shining on his back;    a shelf decoration, I guess.

You don’t need to see my full ribs dinner,  but   —

Arma glass 360

—  I got the Armadillo Punch.



Sweet dreams,  everyone, and me.    I’ll be busy tomorrow.







February 2, 2018


In ascending order of importance to us as individual souls:

February 2nd –      Ground Hog Day, of course.


Restless last night, so I got to hear the report from  Gobbler’s Nob right as it was first announced.   (Guess they call that “morning.”   It’s going to be a long day without sleep.)  And so, according to the Prognosticator from Pennsylvania,    (one of his official titles) our winter will be –  six weeks longer.

“Thanks”  from the Far North where it is current  9  degrees, with snow predicted all weekend.    At least we were also told that the Ground Hog is right 39% of the time.

football happy

February 2nd –  Time to be thinking about what to have for your Super Bowl experience, whether it’s a party or simply private enjoyment before a fireplace and a big screen.      corn Looking at email newsletters from Kraft,  all grocery store flyers,  and I suppose television ads,  you’d  think there was only one meal, ahead of us!

I have my favorite team.   Predicted to win by four points, and it’s not the underdog.  I hope those prognosticators have a better than 39% record.


February 2nd –    The day of the publication of the Summary of wrongdoings and questionable practices in the collusion between the Justice Dept. and the political appointees at the FBI,  erroneously called The Memo.

Who is it that famously said  governments fall from within?     Well known to historians is the fact that  republics last an average of 200 years.

I hope we Americans can prove both “prognostications”  wrong.


Are we serious about this?   Are we happy that we Americans are (supposed to be)  self-governing?  That means self-correcting too.   Read what it says:  we have the DUTY  to overturn our government if it becomes a tyranny.    It’s our responsibility to be on the watch for signs that it is becoming a tyranny.    (Lois Lerner anyone?  Weaponizing the IRS against the political enemies of the radical Left?)

We have plenty of catching up to do.

February 2nd –  A busy day in Christendom!   It’s Candlemas today.   Candles are blessed in church today, a token of our acknowledgement that something Supernatural and Sacred is possible and existent in our world.

presentationThe Presentation at the Temple,  Jesus and Mary.     

Yes,  it’s an actual, historical event.

Mary has given birth 40 days ago, and this is the day she presents herself at the temple for the formal end of her  ritual seclusion from public and religious activities.

(Can you imagine how kind and gentle it is to allow  (to require) a woman who has just given birth to stay at home,  rest,  recover,  and have time to bond with her new child?!

When my Filipina friends told me how kindly the Christian culture there treated their new mothers,  I nearly cried for joy.   How they honor the one who labored to bring new life into this world!

Do not let the God-haters tell you that women who give birth are shamed and isolated and are looked down upon as “unclean” (as American s understand that word)  until some “white male priest declares her all right again.   Rather,  this whole ritual is an affirmation of the sacredness of the whole, process of the co-creaion of  a new human being.

The second thing that happened back then   – that we remember, for our instruction –  is that Jesus was presented to the Temple –  with a sacrifice of a lamb and a little bird.  Id you were too poor, the family could substitute a second little bird    (usually a dove)  in place of the lamb.

You have a baby,  you make sacrifice to God to  acknowledge all life is in His hands.  Sacrifice the dove, not the baby.    You GIVE the baby back to God –  but you can Redeem him for a small price and raise him as your own.     Jewish people will recognize this as the ceremony of Pidyon Haben,  which is returning to modern practice in many places.


Ceremonial coins for Pidyon Haben

Two very old people who were living at the Temple at the time of the Presentation saw and recognized the Messiah they had been waiting for all their lives.

Their  words  deserve a post of their own.


Meanwhile —  it’s a busy Friday!


November 28, 2017

Well, “from the sublime to the ridiculous,”  as the saying goes . . . .


I hope you all have had a very nice Thanksgiving Day.   This is about the time when leftovers are finally gone in this house.    The dinner turned out very nicely;  everything tasted so good,  the leftovers were good . . .  all these days . . .  the leftovers were enough!  Enough, already!

Maybe part of the reason the traditional food tasted so good is that I used nearly all organic meat and vegetables.   Real food.  Real taste.  I resent the fact that I have to spend so much more to get that real food,  but in the end, it’s worth it.   I no longer dare to feed my body with the chemical concoctions that are called “food”  today.



But I wanted a little change from the taste of turkey and turkey-related leftovers,  so I bought a little package of shrimp.   I know they’re bottom feeders,  garbage eaters, and they pick up all the chemical wash that slides down into the ocean bottom –  But, anyway.

I didn’t even buy shrimp that I had to clean and trim and cook;  I bought kind of ready-made shrimp,   chemical breading and all.

But.   Another but.  I didn’t really get shrimp.

Food mush

I got  Mush.  Shrimp mush, I guess.   I re-read the package, and it said “Shrimp” – not “shrimp pieces” or “minced shrimp.”    It said Shrimp.    I like to pick off the breading, but when I did this it seemed to be all white mush inside.    Didn’t taste much like shrimp either.

I re-re-read the package, and I looked harder at the stuff:

Food Worm

See those two white parallel lines?

Have you ever gone hunting for night crawlers, walking around on your lawn at night with a flashlight, and then you see the big worm and snatch it up and put it in your pail so someone can go fishing?

Well, those two parallel lines are about the size and thickness of a night crawler.  As near as I can tell,  those are the shrimp.   Except tasteless.

I went hungry tonight, a little bit.  At least I didn’t have my “treat.”

Where’s George Soros when you need him?   Where’s his Antifa?     I really think we ought to be out protesting this kind of stuff on our grocery shelves!

Should I show you the package so you know what to avoid?

Okay,  but so I don’t insult any Big Food Corp.,  I’ll blur out the label:

Food Pkg





July 18, 2017

It’s been a l o n g day, and I want to go to bed.   Sort of.

I often say my body is manic-depressive.    Son gave me a good excuse today:


We haven’t had too many sunspots lately  (not many in the past decade or so!  We’re in a period of cooling which often accompanies a time of fewer sunspots.) — but little ol’  #2665  let out a good CME this weekend,  sending a decent size geomagnetic storm our way.

The KP Index was interesting.  At least we got into the Red:

KP j

I didn’t see much effect on my radio reception and I didn’t see any auroras,  but Son said sometimes there’s an effect on . . . people.

Which might account for my sleeping nearly every hour of this past weekend.    I’d like to think it was the Sun that did it to me,  not being awake for nearly every hour of the preceding three days.      Manic-depressive;  up and down.  My body, not my emotions.  It’s kind of interesting.

I actually began my class this afternoon with the announcement of this geomagnetic storm.    Yes,  it’s a Bible study and we’re discussing the Apparitions of Fatima – (Visions of Hell and Wars and Famines and Persecutions, etc.   and the worldwide spread of a disastrous cultural marxism and economic socialism,  i.e.  the “Errors of Russia” )     But the announcement of a big CME seemed an appropriate way to keep my people grounded in the joys and wonders of this world –  or this solar system, anyway.

The life God gave us is  very, very big!

Because of my weekend-long snooze, I had to catch up on some routine things.  Like grocery shopping.   It can be fun –  but not exciting,  and when you get home there is a lot of dreary drudgery to do if you don’t buy any pre-packaged food.

Chop,  chop,  chop  . . .  separate and store:


If I don’t get these things ready to use in a salad –  I won’t use them in a salad.   And they will fold up, turn brown, and go away.     I remember as I was cutting and chopping how impatient I felt-  until I thought of how much I had to do –  how fortunate I was that I had so much to do . . . .

I have a whole garden full of vegetables that was already grown for me,  picked, packaged, and shipped to me.   All I have to do is take care of the vegetables.

And tonight.  As I said above,   I really want to go to bed now,  but I made another stop at my meat store.   Now I have to take good care of those things too:


Bone broth and soup –  bubbling away on my stove.   The longer they “bubble” the better they are.

Tomorrow,  I’ll be glad I made them tonight.   I can’t grumble about all the work I have to do after I go food shopping.   Thanks be to God who supplies this bounty.    Thank you to Hubbie who provided for his family so well.

I can’t grumble.   I must not grumble.

I’m just so tired.     And our world and all its bounty is so very big.

Deo gratias.





March 21, 2017


Exploring my own home town:

4 thai large shell

(We don’t have seashells around here.)



Well, I’m not always enthused about eating.   Same ol’ same ol’ —


What chunk of wood do I want to munch on today?

It’s easy to lose interest,  fall into bad, boring eating habits,   eat the same thing  . . .   So sometimes I have to make myself just go –  just do it –  just leave home and try out a new restaurant.

So here’s a “brief commercial from a local eating establishment”  that  is actually pretty good.  And it has the endorsement of Son,  daughter, son-in-law,  and even little Cooper who is a worldwide traveler, eats everything,  and knows good food when he gets it.

So after a   l  o  n  g   delay,   I finally tried it out:

1 Thai Outside

That’s about as different as it gets around here.   It has a quaint, comfy entrance.

2 Thai Entrance

Lots to look at.

3 Thai Chairs

Small,  cozy,  locally-owned,  totally fresh, natural and organic ingredients.   The owners, husband and wife,  were successful professionals,   retired,  then they opened up this place based upon her ethnic background.  I like those wood floors.

6 Thai pick plate and shells

Pretty table setting with seashells embedded into the table.

And sand dollars:

5 Thai silver dollars

Each table different.   Someone took some extra  care to keep us diners . . .  amused.

7 Thai Menu

Very helpful menu!  Since I don’t know the first thing about  Thai food vocabulary,  the pictures and detailed descriptions of each entree was a  good idea.    In fact, after I ordered my food,  I kept the menu so I could read it some more.

The waitress gave me a choice of “spice level,”  0 – 5.    Since I’m Scandinavian,  and the hottest spice I use is cinnamon,  I took a bold chance and ordered a 0.5   –  kind of halfway to the first level.

I’ve gone back a few times and now I order a 0.    Plenty hot for me.    The complimentary cabbage soup up there in the photo is a nice touch.    It’s  a meal in itself.  And check out that Thai tea –  it came with instructions:

8 Thai Tea.jpg

It comes in red or green with a huge puff of whipped cream floating on top.   I ordered red, and I was instructed to “gently stir the whipped cream into the tea until it turns pink. ”  Unusual,  but  so good!     Gently, creamy sweet.

Main course?

9 Thai good food

Well, I don’t know what it is.   I don’t even know what’s in it.

But I liked it.

I did  “get out and eat!”   like the title of this post says.   I’m glad I did.    Gotta get out and explore the world a little bit, even when you don’t know what you’re eating.






December 3, 2016

“Meat”  has always been kind of a  loose word in the English language.  It can mean not only the “flesh” or the “muscle-flesh” of animals  that we eat and gives us strength  (like my Highland beef cattle in the last post),   but also, it can mean food in general:  “Meat and drink at the end of a long trip.”

And it can even mean  “that which sustains you and gives you the strength to go on.” When asked if he had food enough to eat,  Jesus once answered: “My meat is to do the will of Him who sent Me . . .”       Meaning, of course  that doing the will of God gives a person motivation and the reason and the spiritual strength to go on.

“The meat which sustains me” on Fridays   is fish;   cod, specifically,  on this Friday.


Baked cod.     The flesh of the cod was particularly rich and pink today.    I like to bake it  in half and half, which has fewer carbs than milk,  and it makes the cod very smooth and  creamy.

And then the onions:


I cut up two onions for that pound of cod.      But I wanted a little more flavor –


I went out to my deck and picked some rather pathetic-looking  chives.  We’ve already had some very frosty nights, and I don’t usually bring my herbs in for the winter so my   chives are rather limp now,  but they still smelled real good.     Many of the herbs will come up just fine in the Spring.

The herbs are given to us for our “medicine.”     Each one has a different function in our bodies.     The Creator’s design is that all these good  health-giving herbs enhance the flavor of our food and make us want to use them in our cooking.  If I hadn’t thought of the taste that the chives would add,  I wouldn’t have thought of them at all.

“Herbs.”   From the Garden of Eden . . .   to us!

So,  all the ingredients,  all  together —


Ready for the oven:


There is another “flavor-enhancer.”    It’s said that  Hunger is the best condiment!  I was very hungry.  I hadn’t had anything to eat yet, but I had rushed off to my morning class and then  I didn’t get home until well after “lunch time”  so it was going to be a long 25-minute wait while my lunch was baking.

But, at last —


Baked cod and buttery boiled potatoes.

That’s the only meal I’ll have today.   The leftovers will be breakfast tomorrow and maybe a light supper on Sunday evening.      Funny how you don’t really have to eat much as you grow older.

And funny how “abstaining”  from meat is not really a  difficult penance for Friday.















December 2, 2016

Or maybe I should call this post:  MEAT BECAUSE OF THE MODERN WORLD.


Meet my meat:


They’re fine (Scottish) Highland cattle, big shaggy things.



They do well in  pastures here in the Far North,  and their owners let them graze  on grass during their whole lives.    Even when it’s time for their lives to end,  they are not “force fed”  vitamin and chemical laden grains to  add marbling (streaks of fat) to their muscles in their last six weeks,   which is what happens to a lot of “grass-fed”  cows.

I know their owners personally.   I don’t mean they’re “friends of mine,”  but I have come to know them, talk to them,  and respect the way they handle their herd and the way they handle the meat and bring it to  market.

(From an informative flyer):


They’ve patiently answered all my questions and taught me a lot about what makes good meat.

I’m a meat-eater.    It’s in my genes.    My gene pool has been traced back 11,000 years (if you can trust the  gene-tracing company) —  and my family certainly came from a protein oriented culture (deep cold-water fish like herring and haddock and cod;  eels,   trout, salmon,   fish eggs, seals, walrus, and the occasionally bear and reindeer. )

So I’ve always taken meat for granted.

Until I learned how “modern”  industrial cattle factories have corrupted the meat supply and turned “meat” into something unwholesome – and not really very tasty, either,   compared to these:


It’s more expensive to buy a cut of real meat.    I know that.   But you can really get away with eating less.   You’re satisfied with  a smaller piece that is very tasty and full of nutrition.

I know this modern world and all its broken promises.     You have to pay more, sometimes much more,  just to keep even with the quality of the past.    That’s the challenge.

It’s “quality of life.”      Sometimes we just have to slow down and pay attention to the Quality of our lives.

We actually honor our Creator when we take care of the body He has created for us.    And so . . .   food is  a moral issue.








August 30, 2016

 (a brief break from the world’s problems)

Know what these are?


So fun !!!

Son brought these over today – to eat!

It works like this:  every  cell of our body is made of molecules, atoms,  whatever;   and all of our cells  are alive and need replenishment (food)  to maintain life —  and the food we eat is made of molecules and atoms that come from . . .  the earth!     The very earth that provides the “molecules and atoms”  that make up our bodies!   We use them up – we put them back in!

Plain history:    Mankind had a definite beginning point of Creation.   On this Earth.

Plain Science:   The microscopic things of the Earth gather together to form plants that provide the microscopic things that our bodies need to stay alive.

Plain fun:    (Or maybe  delight.)      “Love is diffusive of itself.”    (Remember that word.)  That means that one who loves just loves to give  towards all the ones he loves.    You love “something” and you love to share yourself and what you have with the one you love.  (Or else it’s not really love.)

Plain vocabulary:    Diffusive:  spreading out in all directions,  dispersing and  intermingling, sharing, becoming part of  . . .   Like fireworks, exploding out in all directions!

(What do you do with a dandelion that’s gone to seed?)


Plain theology:       The Creator loves His creation – including us – and loves to give to us freely of all the good things He has made.  No end to delightful things that are ours – –

That photo above?        That’s me holding a fun variety of grapes!     Actually,  they are slightly more reddish than green,  blame the lighting,   and I’m holding what could be an ordinary grape to compare its size and shape.  *

This variety of grape is called Witch Fingers.    We can now buy them locally.   I like grapes and these are gently sweet,  mild, with no tart after-taste, not even in the skins.

How many variety of grapes are there for us to eat?    How many kinds of healthy fruit?  How many kinds of vegetables and grains and spices and herbs . . .?

“In the beginning”  we were put into a paradise . . . ” And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of . . .”

If all you see in this verse from the Bible  (Gen.  2:9)  is that we got good-looking food to eat,    you are missing the love from God and you’re missing His loving care and you’re not seeing that He too delights when we delight in His creation.

“Love is diffusive of itself.”  God is Love.   God gives us an endless sampling of His goodness – even when it comes to all the varieties of the food we eat.

It’s delightful to really enjoy natural food “from out of the ground”!    It’s fun!      It’s an honor to God when we enjoy His good things!

Witch Fingers make me happy.

Thanks, Son.

Deo gratias.

Bar wavy


. *    It “could” be a regular grape,  but it’s not.   I grabbed a nearby fig that happened to be a good model for a grape.









March 21, 2015

(In honor of a new Reader of The Spruce Tunnel who especially likes the Food Part,    I’ll offer up the next three posts in honor of “food.”)

I could call this “Fish Fry Fridays,”  but as a kid who moved around a lot,  I see the things I long for — and that is a sense of community.    A sense of belonging to a community.

SAMSUNGAnd that’s why I pulled into this rather full parking lot, ready to meet a nice friend and some of her family members – also very nice! –  and enjoy some good company and sort of good food.      Looks like many others had the same idea.

SAMSUNGIt’s a safe and gentle place to meet.   No pressure.  No performances.    Low key and welcoming.   My friend is a smart, competent, professional young woman who has an intelligent and gentle approach to life.    I was soon to learn that her cousin and his wife and baby have a similar intelligent gentleness about them.     It was good to be with them.

SAMSUNGIt was crowded inside too!   I snapped pictures as I walked along — kind of “shooting from the hip” — so many photos came out a little fuzzy.   But this gives you an idea of where we’d be spending the next hour or so.    Among them.    “Among”  was a nice word that evening.

SAMSUNG  The “food place.”   Where you get your food.     Fried fish.  Baked fish.   Baked potatoes.   French fries.   Macaroni and cheese.   Creamy cole slaw.   Vinegar-y cole slaw.   Pickles, bread, and all the condiments you might need.     Iced tea.  Lemonade.  Milk.   Coffee.  Water.      All my life I’ve seen signs for “Fish Fry”  at this time of the year.    You can get a fish fry at restaurants or at churches.    Only recently have I participated.    If you abstain from meat on Fridays,  why not do it with your community?

You don’t have to belong to a church to take part in their fish fries:     I had excused myself “for a minute”  to go get something . . . .

SAMSUNG     . . . . but the “minute” turned into about fifteen minutes.    I went up some stairs and came across a not-so-old man just struggling and struggling to breathe as he tried to ascend.   He said he couldn’t get the elevator to open for him.    Poor man!    I stayed with him until he was at the top – and still living! —  and then went on down the hallway.    Then   I met a group of people  who were lost.   So I showed them how to get into the fish fry area.   Before I got back to where I was going,  I met more people, one with a big wheelchair,  who didn’t know how to leave!    So I walked them down the hallways until they could see the outdoors.   When I got to where I was going,  the room was full of little daughters and their mother, so I had to go back downstairs again where I started from.

So, see?   You don’t have to know your way around.   It’s a fish fry at a church and you’re invited!     And there’s a community there of good, intelligent, and gentle people.


February 1, 2015

I threw away a book today.  It looked good, promising.  a historical saga interweaving a tale of the early settlers right off the Mayflower with a contemporary account of how the direct descendants of those first arrivals are doing now.    I tried hard to enjoy the historical details, but in the end the trashy mind of a 20th century author overcame the enjoyment.     Disappointing.

And so today, also,  it seems like we’re closing the book on this year’s football season.   I’m going to enjoy this last “super”  game,  but … Uh . . .

Bear down

You know.    The season was a little disappointing.

It’s a good day for football, though.    Big snowstorm to keep us in by the fireplace;  and some pretty good food:


Although I’m getting a little BBQ’d out —  ribs and wings.    More south-of-the-border type meat coming later too.     (That avocado didn’t quite make it to the guacamole.)

I won’t tell you who I’m rooting for.   It won’t be the QB who purportedly makes mindless PSA’s on behalf of the man they put into our Wh*   it e Ho  use.     There’s the other QB.     I think his coach has the right idea:

belichick yeah

He’s going to be interesting to watch.    (“Don’t tread on me” on the back of his t-shirt.)

But all this will be Yesterday’s News, tomorrow.    Days pass, pages turn,  some pages get tossed out in the trash, never to be remembered again.

Some things have a short life cycle, and then it ends.

Some things come to us in cycles, over and over,  like an ever-deepening spiral,  and although it’s time to close some books,   all over Christendom today a new one is opening,   a new part of the cycle that will last as long as this world lasts.

We close the season of Christmastide today and open the penitential season.     Lent-Lite today.    Septuagesima.

More on that soon — after the football season finally comes to an end.




December 13, 2014


Just a short supper break from my “Great America” posts.

What’s for supper tonight?    Egg.


That one,   on the left.

Son came to do more log splitting and wood chopping this afternoon, and  he knew he’d be hungry later.      No chicken egg for us — he had brought over an ostrich egg!    It came in a cube-shaped cardboard box, plenty of bubble wrap,  and this cute extra padding:


It was heavy, and the shell felt thick and textured.   It reminded me of a . . .   well,  you know . . . a dragon’s egg.   Really cool!     While Son went out to turn our logs and tree trunks into firewood,  he assigned me the task of going to YouTube to figure out how to cook this thing.    On the menu was deviled egg;  deviled ostrich egg, we hoped.

From all the Internet stories of “best guesses”  and varied attempts to cook an ostrich egg, I finally assembled a vague sense of instructions and got to work.


My very biggest cooking pot wasn’t quite large enough to completely submerge the egg.    Over the next two and a half hours I would be returning to this pot every fifteen minutes or so to check on the rate of boiling and to turn the egg over so all of it could take turns being under water.

When we hoped we had a hard-boiled ostrich egg,  the challenge was to OPEN it.       We are told that the shell is made to withstand a 300-pound ostrich mother sitting on it.    That has to be one tough egg!       Pictures on the Internet showed all kinds of ingenious ideas,   including a chisel and an electric drill and dropping it onto a tile kitchen floor.

Son and I decided to use the most logical “tool”  which just happened to be sitting on my kitchen cabinet.    Handy.

SAMSUNGStraight down with the blade,  right?



Pounding with the back of the axe head got results.


Then with a lot of fast  hand-magic,  the egg shell began to peel off.


We were eager to see the yolk inside.

Son’s hands are huge,  but even the pieces of the egg were big in his hands.


The yolk was firm and smooth and tasted very, very good.    Tasted the way you hope a yolk would taste.  Rich and “meaty.”

The whites  surprised me.   The cooked whites were firm too, and creamy colored,  but they had a gelatinous look and feel to them.   It was different from a chicken egg,  but it really didn’t feel any different in your mouth,  nothing to fear there,  and it  tasted the same as a chicken egg white would,  but slightly more tender and pleasant.

We couldn’t slice the cooked egg easily, nor take the yolk out of the whites as you would when you’re preparing deviled eggs.   It seemed the whites just weren’t strong enough.   That was okay.  We kept testing the bits and pieces of white and yolk…  eating, testing, sampling, eating . . .  It didn’t look like we were eating much, but this was a BIG egg!     I think we sampled quite a lot!

Eventually I deviled that egg.   It was okay.  Pretty good.    My fault, though.   The added ingredients seemed to add too much flavor to the egg which was already rich in egg flavor.    Next time I’d only “suggest”  some added ingredients;  you know, mix in just a very little bit of everything.

Toasted bread worked best:


The cooked egg whites showed up very “gelatinous”  in the photo, but they really didn’t really looks strange on the plate.

It wasn’t long before we were very full!

Recipes say one ostrich egg equals about 12 to 15 chicken eggs.   “Scrambled eggs” made with an ostrich egg could feed a dozen people!

Such fun!  Ostrich eggs are easy to obtain (via Internet if you don’t have an ostrich farm nearby).    They’re not hard to cook.   Just treat them like you would a chicken egg.  A big chicken egg.

And keep your axe handy.




October 2, 2014

What do you do when your birthday falls on a beautiful sunny weekend of football games, homecoming, and your California family comes to visit?   You invite an honorary Spartan and  hold a Tailgate Birthday Party!!!!


What fun this weekend!!       Croquet.    Balloon volley ball.    Front yard football.    Family, friends, and neighbors.

The balloons were ready.


The Little One  helped with the decorations:  “Grrrrrrma!  Can I decorate your car?”


We had a genuine tailgate, opened and ready to fill with sloppy joes and pulled pork sandwiches.


The tables were all set.


The birthday cakes were ready.


I’m pretty sure the first five ingredients of each cake were “sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, and sugar.”     And next came lemon and chocolate!

And the Little One found more snacks .


After all,  it’s okay to be a Bears fan in Spartan country.

A beautiful gift from a talented neighbor,  pulled out of their backyard.   It was hard to get a picture that shows the artistic elements of balance and harmony.   I wish you could see the beautiful ceramic vase.   Thank you, my friend!


And the gift that will last for many winters!  —


Thick and warm and cozy, cuddly Bears blanket!     Thank you, Son!

I give thanks to God for bringing me through a very exhausting year and opening up another year for me.  I thank God for allowing me to be in better shape now than I was twelve months ago.   And I look forward to showing my gratitude to God in whatever time I have ahead.

Can’t wait to see what new things there will be!

Deo gratias.


August 14, 2014

It had to come eventually  —

K Lake good-bye

—   a  Good-bye to the beautiful blue waters of “Gitchi Gummi, by the shining Big-Sea Water” – or, as we know it today,  Lake Superior.   Au revoir:  I’ll be back again some day.   Two blog posts ago I wrote about walking right out into these blue waters.   Lake Superior has a way of grabbing on to a piece of you, and keeping it forever in her heart.

 I wanted to take something healthy with me on my long trip home.  While I’d be busy driving all day,  my body could be busy digesting some good nutrients.    I stopped here:

K Temaki outside

The sign says:

K Temaki Tea signTemaki & Tea.  But then so it wouldn’t sound too foreign, they added a “Smoothie King” franchise sign.   This was the place everyone told me about, the place that makes the best smoothies.

When you first walk in,  it doesn’t look much like a Japanese Tea House.  Maybe that’s because it’s right across the street from Northern Michigan University’s campus.  Tea houses are fun,  but when you’re a student,  there’s scarcely any time for that kind of fun.

Indeed,  upon walking in, the customer is presented with a fast-food type of menu:

K Menu offering

That was the style, but the contents of the menu were quite interesting.   Delicious salad combinations with fresh ingredients like I would use at home.   Although  I had come in for just a smoothie, I ordered a salad too.

K fruit smooth sign

And then a smoothie.  I chose the Carrot Kale, and I really made the right choice.  It tasted neither like kale nor like carrot, but a smooth blend of something mellow and pleasing.  It’s what you’d want your “nutrition”  to taste like!

As I waited for them to prepare my order,  I walked around, looking for a place to sit down.   There were tables and chairs, but also this inviting place, complete with fireplace:

K lounging area

Winters get very cold near Lake Superior.  I think I’d like to come back and try this out some winter.

As I continued wandering around,  much to my surprise, I found this area: 

K Japanese style

What a pleasant little surprise!    It really is a “Japanese Tea House” if you want it to be.   Unfortunately,  I wanted to head home,  I had no time for ceremony.

How was the food?    Very, very good.  The smoothie stayed surprisingly  icy for a couple  hundred miles.   That was nice because the sun was hot that day.   The salad was satisfyingly natural tasting with big chunky bits of things.  I eventually stopped using the small plastic fork and just reached in with my non-driving hand every once in a while for another bite.

Except — always keep in mind what you’ve ordered!   I finally reached into the salad deep enough and my fingers went into something very wet and pasty.  And very messy.   And light green.    I forgot there was going to be avocado in the salad;  and it was there,  several layers down,   nice and ripe and delicious.

Oh, well,  as I said,  I didn’t have time for “ceremony.”

I knew I had just one more quick stop on my way home. . . . a Jewelry Store Mine!



August 9, 2014

Well, the road trip went pretty well,  but the culinary part was difficult.    There was just not enough time or appetite in these last few days.     So — what do you do when you don’t feel like visiting too many restaurants?    You enjoy  the ones you do go to.   Like “Sweet Basil”  on Third Street in Marquette, a little city on the shores of Lake Superior.

SAMSUNG  It was a sunny, pretty day, and the outside of this little place looked charming and cozy.     Inside,  there was a very full menu board:


I only caught part of it with my camera.    Imagine writing out that whole thing every day!!    I asked;  and, no,  they do not serve the same thing every day.   It just depends on what they feel like cooking.  It was easier to  look at the food than to read about the food:

SAMSUNG  I zeroed in on the quiche for a meal later   —



— And some soup and some basil lemonade for the present time.    Lemonade — with basil in it.  What else?  I am in the “Sweet Basil.”


The basil lemonade was very good  –  couldn’t taste much basil, which might be a good thing,   but the whole drink had a refreshing quality to it.   The vegetable beef soup was certainly homemade with thick chunks of beef and vegetables.  Almost like I make at home.

As I sat there eating and reading and eating, writing, reading, and eating . . ..  I looked down at the floor.   Hmmmm.     Old wooden floors.   A charming touch, maybe.    Or maybe just an old building.     I looked beyond the counter and into the kitchen.    Wooden floors.    Really well-used wooden floors.   But I didn’t mind.  It may not be squeaky clean back there,  but that’s because they were busy cooking up really good food in not much space.    I took that as a good sign.


SAMSUNG  I also had time to read the bulletin board.  It looked busy too, like a really well-used local information center.   All the notices were up to date and gave me a hint about the regular customers:   biking, swimming, art shows, dancing,  music, theater.     Kind of the “starving student” kind of life style.  We are not far from Northern Michigan University, and I know students need  a lot of good-tasting inexpensive food.     I know because I used to be one of them.


I passed up a lot of “better” restaurants on my trip.     Restaurants that were clean and modern,  nice seats, waitresses,  attractive menus.     Like “nice restaurants”  in many cities.   But it was “local flavor”  that I was interested in that day, and there’s no better place for local flavor than these really small places that offer just plain good food.



August 4, 2014

There is a culinary bonus to this Necessary Trip.     First you have to drive northward through beautiful northern roads, of course, like driving through giant park lands –

Pas Open Rd

And when you run out of land,  there is a Bridge to take you even  further North.   This is “the Bridge,”   the  Mighty Mac,  Big Mac,  the Mackinaw Bridge –

Pas On Bridge

Sparkling deep blue waters of the Straits,  looking out over the side —

Pas bridge side

—  not me, of course,  just my camera.   I was looking up !   —

Pas Bridge top lotsa time

The Bride is a real feat of human engineering.   Laying the foundation pillars in deep waters and getting the whole thing to stay up with suspension riggings.       It’s five miles long, so there’s plenty of time to do your sightseeing on the Bridge.

Coming off the Bridge, you’re in a different country, so to speak.   You’ve left the Far North and entered the Far Far North  —

Pas coming off

And the first thing you look for is — THIS –the first and (I think) best entry of the numerous pasty shops along the way, on US – 2.

Pas Sign

PASTIES!      Just so you’re sure,  a pasty is pronounced:  PAST – TEA.   (It’s not . . .  the other thing.)

“Suzy’s Pasties.”          It’s a cute little shop —

Pas Sign Shop

If you ever travel this way,   this is what it looks like;  you’ll want to stop here.

Inside is smoked fish,  jerkied fish,  northern berry jams and jellies, Mackinaw Island Fudge. . . and KETCHUP !

Pas Counter

Ketchup there on the counter –  an important accompaniment to pasties.   The main attraction —


Potatoes, some kind of beef,  onions,  should be rutabagaas in there, lots of salt and fats!,  packaged in a flaky delicious crust.   You can’t wait too long to break into the piping hot pasty and pour on the ketchup.   You can eat it with a fork or just pick up the whole thing in your hands and munch into it.    A picnic table works best,  but I can usually manage driving and eating a pasty at the same time.

In fact, once you have your pasty in hand,  it’s a beautiful drive along Lake Michigan —

Pas awayMmmmm –  munching a pasty next to a beautiful Lake shore.

And right here is the home of that little ‘gator that got away —   (Remember him a few posts ago?)     The Garlyn Zoo.    A roadside tourist zoo.

Pas zoo

But ‘gator wasn’t on the menu today.

Nothing else tastes quite like these pasties up here in the Far Far North.         I have my own recipe,  but I understand they have another way to get these little pasties into their shops:

Pas farming

And then, of course, for a more robust flavor,   they  work a little harder —

Pas Mining

Happy munching!!


June 26, 2014


Dinner tonight.


(I’m not very good at double entendres.)

(I didn’t know they’d be . . . sliced.   I just thought they’d be the shape of,  you know,   what they are.)



April 5, 2014

Gemütlichkeit  in Lent !!

purple bar

It’s been “one of those days”  for about four days this week.     And then on Friday,  I had plans  to meet with some friends for a Fish Fry.     On my way in, in the parking lot,   I stopped for a moment under these lovely pines.   I watched their tips swaying back and forth, hearing the soft winds ruffle up the pine needles,  breathing in the cool, fresh air.


The three of us finally found each other , paid for our meals, and then we made our choices – something like this:



Choices of fish,  choices of potatoes,  choices of cole slaws, and choices of desserts!    You’d have to try hard to not be happy with something.    These photos are not from all the same Fish Fry because, actually,  I forgot to take more pictures that evening!

I fussed about that for a while.  I tried to find old photos of this very same location during past fish fries,  but I couldn’t.  Finally I realized that I didn’t want to write about the food or the room or the exact location;  I wanted to testify to the  companionship — the friendship,  the conversation,  the trust we’d feel in each other,  the knowledge that we are known by friends,  the enjoyment of being together.    We’re not the only friends each one of us has, but for that evening we did indeed share friendship . . . and I think we all enjoyed each other’s company.    This is gemütlichkeit,  that wonderful German word that describes the warm and happy companionship, comforting and energizing at the same time, good-natured and pleasant.


See?  A fish fry is not about food.    It’s a bout friends and understanding.   It’s about friends who understand the same thing you do about fish fries and why we have them and why fish on Fridays, and why Lent, and why did Christ have to die, and why there must be a response from us –  repentance;  penance;  prayers;  sorrow;  hope; anticipation;  and Joy.

Joy from our companionship with Christ and with each other.      And there is pleasant companionship among friends who understand all that.

There is one more Friday left in Lent.   I hope some of you may find a fish fry somewhere.   You don’t have to “know” someone.   I’ve gone to “strange” churches on their fish fry day – all alone –  but I still felt that I was part of something far bigger than I am.   I passed those pine trees, again, on my way out.  They made me look up, again;   up all the way to remind me to give thanks for it all.