A sabbatical, of sorts

music to read by :: Sabbatical (Michael Uzowuru)

I’ve been running into a lot of brick walls these days, when attempting the things I love. Interpreted literally, I am covered with bruises, constantly sporting a mild headache; figuratively,  I’m depressed, stressed, and again with the headache.

what sabbatical should look like

what sabbatical should look like

For the literal brick walls, I’ve started wearing my glasses more, but this makes me nuts as they are “reading” glasses and I find the more I wear them, the more I have to wear them. My eyes are becoming lazy in their old age. The figurative walls?  I’ve had to make some decisions regarding my time allotment, being realistic in what I can and cannot accomplish without underestimating my, well, ability to accomplish stuff. I am my own worst enemy after all.

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Being me.

music to read by :: Hickory (Iron and Wine)

Yeah. It’s been 9 months since I’ve posted here.

I mostly fell off the blog-wagon due to an overwhelming feeling of posting about someone who was trying to be someone worth posting about – and failing at it. I mean, if I wasn’t one of the cool homesteading kids who made my own soap while hand raising wild turkeys to guard my for-making-my-own-clothes-hemp patch, well then what exactly did I think I was doing here?

And I’ve been busy; working projects of varying importance to my life, potting, slowly taking back my health and changing the course of my life.

Now I’m ready to return. There will be some changes here – but not many; a change in categories, a slightly different focus, and an allowance to be me – to write about the mundane, silly things that go on in my day to day.

That will be the important change here. Allowing myself to be me.


The best goldarn sammich buns. Ever

music to read by :: Sandwich (Blue Cheer)

And I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the eggs and sugar. Nope. No way.

I have this recipe in my old and tattered bread book by Better Homes and Garden, inherited from my mom, however I am going to write it out in my method, as I don’t use a mixer, and am just a combine stuff add flour kinda bread maker. It is listed as a hamburger bun but, trust me, you will use them for all your yummy sammich needs.

Start with your yeast – 2 tbsp, or two packages depending on how you roll. I buy my in bulk, so 2 tbsp it is. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp salt.

Pour in 1/3 cup vegetable oil, then add 2 cups warm water and stir.

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Shepherding those pesky lentils into a line – er, I mean pie.

music to read by :: Shepherd (Genesis)

One of our favourite cold weather foods, here at casa vassal, is my veggie shepherd’s pie. Why? Because it is limitless in it’s versatility, and can be customized for a variety of dietary needs.

Except for meat eaters, of course. Then it just becomes regular ol’ shepherd’s pie. And that’s not what it’s all about today.

I’m pretty sure I started out, eons ago, with a recipe. Something tells me it might have been from a magazine, but I’m not sure anymore. I work this shepherd’s pie like most my meals, doing a little something I like to call “cooking”; using what I have on hand, and flavouring to taste.

So go, now! and grab yourself some brown lentils. Do they *have* to be brown? No. Go wild! Use the green ones! Mix them up, if you’re feeling crazy! Continue reading


Never judge a racoon by its attempts to kill you in the night

music to read by :: Drunk (Ed Sheeran)

You’d think that everything about this photo is staged, and you’d be partly right. Except that the guys are real, the racoon is real, and we really were out out in the middle of nowhere. That guy in front? He’s not really drunk.

I can’t speak for the racoon.

The racoon. Or “Vito”, as we came to call him.

Vito came to us in the middle of the night, making his scary racoon noises and trying to claw his way through the roof of our flimsy in the middle of the woods cult horror film cabin. This was mostly three years of therapy forming for my friend who, earlier, had lost the toss for the top bunk. The bunk situated a foot from the roof. The bunk now firmly below where this wild maniacal racoon was trying to claw through. Screeching. Howling. Probably wielding an ax or some such thing.

The racoon finally gave up, or lost its knife or something, and moved on to the second cabin where he went to town on the door. We held a brief discussion as to whether or not to go to our friends’ aid, but decided our bunks were safer. Seriously. Never leave the bunk, or go out alone when being attacked by things in the woods. Basic safety, people.

I’m not sure how long the screaming went on for – I think I nodded off around dawn –  but when I rose for breakfast I found my camp mates hanging around drinking coffee and shooting the breeze with the cutest wee little racoon! Turned out our midnight killer was just a babe in the woods, had spent the remainder of the night sleeping at the foot of our camp mates bunk, and had no intention of leaving our company. And he was hungry.

So my husband dug deep, reached for his inner racoon and went frog hunting.

Vito hung with us the whole weekend. We made sure he was fed, but not with our food. We hunted (frogs) and gathered. When it came time to leave, we had many mixed feelings. Wolves were abundant in this area and it seemed he had no family and was still really quite young. We were also in deep woods. The kind you off-road to get to; where “cross the bridge” on the directions really meant, “balance your car tires on two the boards and attempt to drive without falling off”.

In the end we left, but two of our group returned the next day and found him hanging in the camp. The had brought a cat carrier, so gathered Vito up and brought him to town to the wildlife rescue centre , where he was fattened up and later released to the wild.

I just hope they took away his machete.

Oh yeah … support your local wildlife rescue centres. They do good work.


Hello November, the month that follows September….

music to read by  :: November (Tom Waits)

…because if November followed, say, some made up month like – oh, I don’t know – October, it would mean that I accomplished nothing of import, that I slept and watched the rain, knitted while leaves fell, and generally sat around; that I missed some yoga, and painted nothing. No pots, no blood, no stuff at all.

So, November. As you blow your below zero temperatures across the 613 – and don’t think I didn’t notice that snow – let’s pretend we are tucked in, all nice a cosy, back in Jaipur, back in the Samode Palace having tea with the sun beating down on our heads.

Samode Palace