Friday, November 14, 2014

From Russia with Love

This year our annual pre-Christmas extravaganza will celebrate none other than Mother-Russia.
That's right the land of Tzars, communism, caviar and borscht.
There will be 15-20 guests, my sister in law is graciously hosting again this year as she is the only one with a house large and solid enough to accommodate our...exuberance.

Here is the current menu:
Borscht (a traditional soup made of beets and potatoes accented with sour cream)
Salade Olivier (this is a French origin dish that is beloved in Russia. It's a mayonnaise based potato salad)
Sauerkraut (as a side dish)
Pirozhki (pastry filled with meat and spices)
Smelana (sour cream as a condiment)
Sochivo (lentil based stew)

Almond Cake and Baked Apples for dessert.

oh and Vodka...lots of Vodka....

Things have happened, are happening, will continue to happen...The flowers have bloomed, the monarchs have migrated the leaves have fallen...These things are inevitable, constant and expected. Other things that happen are less easy to predict. Falling in love, your house being robbed, opportunities being dropped in your lap.
My house is in a transitional phase. I have worked as the executive secretary for a non profit organization for about a year. In order to save money-and service our members better-the office will be moving into my front bedroom. This presents both a great opportunity and a challenge. It will be nice to be able to write the newsletter in my pajamas, but at less than 800 square feet giving up an entire room for a single use presents a number of challenges.
The move has forced me to do some serious rearranging and soul searching: how many pairs of boots does one woman need? I have pared down, reorganized and tossed things that I realized I had been saving simply because it required less thought than throwing them away. I probably don't need an iPod Classic with 25 songs on or the cables for every electronic I've ever owned. It it so easy when you are settled somewhere, comfortable and secure, to take the things tucked away in drawers for granted. To forget them and yet know that they are there, gathering dust and slowly growing obsolete.Change is good.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Here's the kit. Includes seeds for 3 kinds of Milkweed, Zinnia, Joe Pye Weed, Scarlet Sage, Tithonia Torch, Indian Blanet and Purple Coneflower.

The future location of the butterfly sanctuary.

Friday, April 4, 2014


When I was little, growing up in suburban Chicago, I remember Milkweed pods being everywhere. We would break open their brittle shells and play with the creamy silk in the center. I haven't seen a Milkweed plant in years. The plant has become more and more scarce over the past 15 years. And that is in large part because Roundup is sprayed over most farm fields and it kills indiscriminately, both invasive and beneficial vegetation.The Milkweed plant is the primary habitat for the Monarch Butterfly. They lay their eggs in them. The eggs hatch and the caterpillars eat the Milkweed. Come to think of it I haven't seen a Monarch in a long time either....
The Monarch is completely dependent upon the milkweed plant. So I'm going to plant Milkweed! I haven't seen any along the local roadsides so I did some Googling and found They are tracking migration and trying to preserve habitat for the Monarch. I ordered from them a Monarch Waystation Kit for about $20. It includes Milkweed seeds as well as a variety of other butterfly/Monarch attracting plants. I've already picked a spot for my little butterfly sanctuary. They will have a safe place and I will have their help with pollinating. Carving out a small part of my landscape and setting it aside for a threatened species seems to me like a worthwhile project. Good for them, good for me, good for the planet. (Pictures to follow.)