Turkey Tracks: Cream of Tomato Soup

Turkey Tracks:  December 31, 2013

Cream of Tomato Soup

I spent the day before yesterday thinking about cream of tomato soup.

So I defrosted a pint jar of tomato sauce I put up two years ago.  Since then I’ve been roasting tomatoes and freezing them as the flavors are more intense and I can do more with them.  The sauce, as I recall, is not made with onions…  The roasted tomatoes are.  Both are made with the newly harvested garlic crop, lots of basil, and gorgeous, home-grown tomatoes.  Both make fabulous cream soup.

A jar of tomato sauce is an awesome, awesome asset in the kitchen store.

Yesterday, I spent the morning thinking about my lunch of cream of tomato soup–made with the now-defrosted sauce–and a grilled cheese sandwich (on Sami’s gluten-free bread spread with mustard) made with Applegate provolone cheese.



Cream of Tomato Soup is dead easy.  Pour the pint jar of tomato sauce or roasted tomatoes into a saucepan and add about 3/4 cup of raw, heavy cream.  Heat gently.  Eat!!!

There’s enough left for today’s lunch.

And I’ve been thinking about it all morning!

I wish you all nutrient-dense, nourishing, comfort food for 2014.

Interesting Information: Blog: 2013 in review

Interesting Information:  December 31, 2013

My Blog:  2013 In Review

Every year WordPress does a “review” of my blog.

It’s kind of interesting information.

You can take a look if you like…


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

▶Books, Documentaries, Reviews: The Future of Food – Trailer – YouTube

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  December 30, 2013

The Future of Food Trailer on YouTube

I couldn’t get all of this information on The Future of Food on one blog entry.  So here’s the trailer:

▶ The Future of Food – Trailer – YouTube.


It’s important that we all understand the issues with GMO foods since this battle is heating up across the nation and will come to your area sooner or later.

GMO foods have never been tested properly.

There is a lot of good science now showing that these foods are harmful.

At the very least, GMO foods should be labeled–which is what the rest of the world is doing.

Here in “exceptional” America, we are asleep at the wheel.

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: The Future of Food

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  December 30, 2013

The Future of Food

A Film By Deborah Koons Garcia (2004)


We have a “swap shop” at our local dump here in Camden, Maine.

I’ve gotten some really cool things there–and, I’d like to think, dropped off some really cool things I’m not using there so someone else can use those things.

Books and DVDs are big items people “swap” at the Swap Shop.

Ronald VanHeeswijk brought me The Future of Food from the Swap Shop last summer some time.

I watched it when the cable was out.

It’s a good documentary.  Sturdy.  Covers the issue of GMO foods.  Has lots of scientist experts.  Exposes Monsanto’s goals to control food.  Did you know there are patents now on “life,” like cells, seeds, and so forth.  That’s pretty scary.

Here’s a review:

The Future of Food | Top Documentary Films.

Turkey Tracks: Winter Turkeys

Turkey Tracks:  December 30, 2013

Winter Turkeys

Turkeys are very present in my yard in the winter.

They’ve always been drawn to the tall pines to roost.   But, with the coming of the chickens, they started wintering with us.  They wait patiently until I discard chicken bedding under the pines alongside the creek.  Chickens “bill out” a lot of food into the bedding.  And, then, there is the matter of the chicken droppings–which are filled with protein and good bacteria.  It’s a fact that most city-dwellers don’t know, but most animals, including man, will eat the feces of other animals.  There are, of course, health claims made by men eating cow dung a few times a year…

And with weather like we’ve had recently, I often throw them some sunflower seeds or a bit of chicken scratch feed (corn, barley, etc.).

This band of turkeys is mixed male and female.  Altogether there are between 25 and 30.  It’s hard to count as they are always moving in and among the trees and up and down the hillside.


I was able to get the video below of the turkeys after some days of them seeing me up close frequently.  It’s not the clearest video I took, but it shows a large male starting to display his gorgeous self.  He went on to strut around the snow yard for some 20 minutes or so.

I talk to the turkeys as much as I talk to the chickens in the winter.  Often, they answer.

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: THE BROTHERS, Stephen Kinzer

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  December 29, 2013


Stephen Kinzer

The Brothers is a devastating book.

It’s also a deeply “Cultural Studies” book, which is my academic area.  This book  describes a system of cultural power which allowed men who wielded their cultural power to keep the status quo in place–a status quo from which they benefited mightily.  And, again, I am drawn to the notion that there is no possibility of an actual democracy when systems of cultural power control information, government functions, and the legal apparatus in the way that they do.  The recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to be “people” is the culmination of this same kind of cultural power.

This book could probably only have been written 50 years after the events that it describes as the dust of history needed to settle fully.  If someone tried to write this book very much earlier–while the players were still alive–that person would likely have put him/herself in danger and at the very least would have been discredited, fired, demoted, banished–as that’s what happens when the powerful don’t like being exposed.  It still happens in America today–as I have described many times in this blog.  You betcha!


We need to pay attention to the history this book details because we have not yet fully learned these lessons of history.  For instance, this morning the The New York Times reported that it is clear after its own extensive investigation of the Benghazi disaster that American intelligence and State Department people were so focused on Al Qaeda they missed entirely that local people were telling them to get out of Benghazi because the danger was local–home grown boys thought to be bought off with American aid started the Benghazi riots.

We made these same mistakes with the Soviet Union after World War II.  We, led by the Dulles brothers, created a monster enemy and then tacked onto this enemy a huge conspiracy theory–one that bore little connection to reality, but out of which we acted.  And, act we did, in the process fomenting murder, torture, and chaos across the world–all of which was unnecessary, secret, cruel, inhuman, stupid, and, yes, evil incarnate.  And all of which created genuine hatred and the “blowback” with which we live today.  The Dulles brothers, John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State and Allen Dulles as head of the CIA (which he built into an immense organization), along with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, led us into the mess we now find ourselves.

Here’s an illustrative quote from Kinzer:

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, many Americans projected the worst images of their World War II enemies, including the Nazi campaign of mass murder, onto Soviet Communism.  Americans were told, and came to believe, that Soviet leaders were actively plotting to overrun the world; that they would use any means to ensure victory; that their victory would mean the end of civilization and meaningful life; and that therefore they must be resisted by every means, no matter how distasteful (115).

Fear is a powerful motivator.  And in the hands of those who have an agenda…fear mongering is very effective.   My dad was military.  I grew up with sirens going off in the night and my dad rushing out of the house, dressing as he went.  We lay in our beds, waiting for the telephone call to tell us it was ok, just a drill.  I spent some time under school desks as well.  And, in long lines of cars practicing getting out of a city targeted by a nuclear bomb.  My family’s life was dedicated to “keeping America safe.”  Little did we know that our lives were being sacrificed so that a bunch of wealthy, privileged people could continue playing in their particular sand piles.  Or, that so we could continue to have all the riches we all take so much for granted–the resources of which came and come from many of the countries targeted by the Dulles brothers and their ilk.

Stalin was a monster.  There is no doubt about that.  But the Soviet Union had been wiped out during World War II.  And the actions of the United States–actions coming out of this projection of the Soviet Union as an enormous enemy to be feared, terrified the Soviets.  They, in turn, took compensatory actions.  But, over the years, some of their leaders reached out to the United States and were rebuffed at key moments by John Foster Dulles–who “saw” that their overtures were just plots to get us to lower our guard.

I always said that I would never vote for a military man for President of the United States, but that President Dwight D. Eisenhower seemed to be a pretty good president.

I take it all back.

Military men are trained to identify and seek out enemies and to neutralize them.  Eisenhower was no except it seems.  He was as motivated as the Dulles brothers by the specter they created of an evil Soviet Union with plans to spread communism over the whole world.  And while the Dulles brothers could present their world views to him,  Eisenhower had the power to grant them the power to try to depose and murder–yes murder–anyone they did not like.  Recent scholarship, explains Kinzer, thinks that Eisenhower used the Dulles brothers, not the other way around.

Together, these three men lied to the American people, repeatedly.  They secretly deposed NATIONALIST leaders trying to take back their countries from the nations that had colonized them and were sucking out all their rich resources.  These three men used the power and money of the United States to prevent democratically elected leaders from throwing out American corporations–which were making these men and others in their networks wealthy.  They called these nationalist, neutralist leaders “communists” and said that if they stayed in power, they would join with the Soviet Union in plots against the United States.  John Foster Dulles, in fact, was the coiner of the term “domino theory” which was used to drag us into the Vietnam War.   And the thing is, John Foster Dulles believed what he believed, and he got rid of anyone who tried to complicate his belief system with complexity, facts, or actual truth.

Kinzer describes in detail what occurred with six of the “monsters” the Dulles brothers created and sought to defeat:  Mohammad Mossadagh of Iran, President Sukarno of Indonesia, Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, and Fidel Castro in Cuba.  All of these men were trying to be “neutralists” and to not become engaged with the battle lines drawn by the Cold War rhetoric that reduced the world to two ways of being:  capitalist and communist.  But the Dulles brothers and Eisenhower would not allow nations to be “neutral” if they could force them into the USA camp.

I read quite a bit about the shoddy history of Vietnam when I went back to school.  And I knew we installed a friendly Shah in Iran, but I did not know just how we did that and who we deposed.  I knew about the cesspool created in Cuba by American interests–from the mafia to American corporations.  I did not know so much about Sukarno and Indonesia.  And I am still sick at heart after reading about our role in Patrice Lumumba’s terrible death.  (The uranium that we used in the atomic bombs we dropped on Japan came from the Congo.)  What I like about this book is that Kinzer has put all of these events in one place, so readers can see the full extent of what was done in the name of the American people.

One piece of history I took away from this book is how alone the US was in its refusal to “see” nationalism and neutralism as an OK place to be.  With the possible exception of Germany, most European nations did not agree with the United States’s stark views about good and evil.  (John Foster Dulles supported, liked, and admired the Nazis long after other Americans had seen them for what they were.)  And Britain, often our staunch ally, refused to participate.  Churchill, in fact, loathed John Foster Dulles.  He thought Dulles a “narrow-minded ideologue and deplored his vivid denunciations of Communism.” Churchill noted after one of their meetings that Foster Dulles “`is the only case I know of a bull who carries his own china shop around with him’ ” (201).

In addition, Allen Dulles early on put CIA teams into fifteen countries in Europe that were charged with creating underground armies “that would be ready to rebel and spread terror in case of Soviet invasion or the election of leftist governments” (135).  Kinzer notes that the Swiss scholar Daniele Ganser “reported that in eight of the fifteen countries where the CIA shaped `stay-behind’ armies–Italy, Turkey, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Sweden–`links to terrorism have been either confirmed or claimed’ ” (136).   And the CIA Allan Dulles built had plenty of money and virtually no oversight beyond those men who agreed with what it was doing across the world–and that agreement was often formed by their own economic self interest or their need to be part of the cultural power structures.  (Does this sound a bit like the NSA thinking its ok to tap the phones of world leaders?)

The Dulles brothers were born into seats of power and wealth.  They also came from a family of Calvinist Christians who believed that they owned and understood all “truth”–and that they, and America, as all were “exceptional,” were tasked to be major players in the internal battle between good and evil–which is why they sought out “evil” to fight.  Again, John Foster Dulles was a smart man who was so wedded to his ideology that he became a very dumb man. He had no flexibility and could not “see” beyond his belief system.  He put all the complexities of the world into a simple good/bad world view.

But, Allen Dulles was quite different. Allen was a curious combination of someone who liked people, but seemed to have no empathy for them.  He was a womanizer of monumental proportions–and sought out women, wine, song, playing, debauchery, for his whole life.  At one point, he was sleeping with Henry Luce’s wife while Luce was sleeping with Allen’s girlfriend.  From the beginning, Allen was drawn to the secret, covert life he lived.  He was a danger junkie in many ways–if only from the safety of his office desk for much of his life.  He was not in any way a deep thinker–but a devious, cunning man who led his men into dirty, dirty tricks across the world in order to get his way.  One cannot read the saga of Patrice Lumumba without feeling enormously dirty oneself.  In the early CIA, Allen hired men like himself–men born into wealthy, powerful families who were bored.

The ends do not justify the means.

And I do not understand how anyone professing to be Christian can think that justifying the “means” is ok.

Kinzer’s book is an important corrective to the history that we have been taught and have told ourselves since World War II.

I think you should read it.

Kinzer is primarily a journalist, not a trained historian.  But here he is doing what good journalists should do:  inform, not entertain.  He is the author of All the Shah’s Men, Overthrow, and Bitter Fruit.  He served as the New York Times‘s bureau chief in Turkey, Germany, and Nicaragua and as the Boston Globe’s Latin America correspondent.  He is a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, where he teaches in the international relations program.  He contributes to The New York Review of Books and is a columnist for The Guardian.

Turkey Tracks: God Bless the Generator!

Turkey Tracks:  December 27, 2013

God Bless the Generator!

It’s saved me before.  But this time it saved me BIG TIME!

It’s one thing to be without power in the summer when it’s warm.  It’s quite another to be without power and to have no other heat source, like a fireplace or a wood stove, with temps moving toward the teens.

The ice storm started Monday, December 23rd.  And the power went out late afternoon.  The Big Girl kicked in without a moment’s hesitation and ran for 24 hours.  We got power back in that same late afternoon time frame on Christmas Eve and kept it until 4 a.m. Christmas Day.  I know the time because Miss Reynolds Georgia woke me asking to go out, and the power went out just as we were tucking ourselves back into bed.  And, again, the generator ran flawlessly until power came back about 9 a.m. Christmas morning.

I had power, but no phone, internet, or tv.  Fortunately my cell phone worked and, sometimes, took in email.  But, not everyone has my cell number…

I was nervous about the amount of propane the generator was using, and by Christmas Day, my tanks were down to between 40 and 50%.  So I’m going to need a fill-up very soon now, and that’s in the works.

I have been such a beneficiary of so many kindnesses during this Christmas Ice Storm.  Our neighborhood checked back and forth frequently–“how are you,” “do you need anything,” “are you warm,” “the power trucks are on the hill…”  Chris Richmond, just above me on the right, stopped in personally to make sure I was ok.  And he and Susan–they own Golden Brook Farm–invited me for Christmas Dinner (which was fun and delicious).  I especially enjoyed spending time with the Richmond children.

Mark Anderson of Mark’s Appliance drove all the way up here from Warren to make sure I had enough propane when he couldn’t get me on the house phone.  He discovered an outside faucet that was slowly leaking and fixed it. That could have meant an inside burst pipe. And he will make sure that I actually get a propane fill up in the next few days.

The ice is still with us.  Here’s a picture I took Christmas Day, and nothing has changed.


When you see the bending of the trees, you understand how the weight of the ice breaks off branches and snaps trees as if they were match sticks.

I tried to take pictures of the glitter when the sun hits the trees coated with ice–it all sparkles like spun sugar.  But you can’t get the sun backlighting the ice:  the picture comes out too dark.   So this picture gives you some idea of how everything, everything outside was and is covered with ice–which, except for the firs which present a darker surface in the sun, is not melting.


It snowed most of yesterday–we got about 5 inches.  BUT, I got cable back this morning–and phones and internet.  AND today is Friday, so Bonnie Hunter has released her next clue.  I just printed it out, but have a quilt on Lucy the long arm and need to finish and bind it before I can work on Clue 5.

I am warm and happy.  It’s amazing how much we have come to depend on all of our technology…

December has been really challenging in Maine:  two back-to-back snow storms, each with about 2 feet of snow; an ice storm that did major damage–many people will not get power back until some time next week–right at Christmas; and snow all yesterday.  What will January and February be like???

Turkey Tracks: Coping with Ice and Quilting Clue No. 4

Turkey Tracks:  December 22, 2013

Coping with Ice


Quilting Clue No. Four

My sister Susan, down in Virginia Beach, Virginia, loves to follow the weather.  But, like me, she grew up with ice storms and has a healthy respect for them.

She called today to make sure I was carrying my cell phone when I went outside in the ice.  (I hadn’t been, and that was perhaps foolish).  Friend Giovanna McCarthy just wrote me to urge me to carry it when going out to the chickens, too.  So I promise to from now on.

BUT, here’s the best protection of all:


With ice cleats on the boots, one doesn’t slide.  Or find oneself upside down on the ice.

I used the cleats and took along John’s cane for extra balance on a trip to the garage for chicken feed.  Not a single slip.  They are really great.  No wonder people use them for winter hiking.

I have two pairs of these really good kind with spikes on the bottom–so I put one pair on the LLBean boots and one pair on the chicken-muck-out-the-coop boots that live upstairs by the back door.

I finished Clue Four of the Bonnie Hunter 2013 Mystery Quilt–120 four-patches in orange and green:


So, the pile of finished units is growing.  And excitement about how the units will go into the quilt is also growing.

Now I will work on the other quilts  I have in progress and wait for next Friday’s Clue Number 5.


Turkey Tracks: Ice!

Turkey Tracks:  December 22, 2013


This ice storm has been predicted for days now.

And sure enough, I woke this morning to a layer of ice on every surface that would hold it.  And the temps are hovering around 32 and slated to dip into the teens over the next few days.  Really cold weather means that the ice will hang around until we get a melt.

Here’s a not-so-good picture of ice on the trees:


The trees will bear this much ice without breaking.  The danger of power outages will come of the ice gets any thicker.  And that’s where the weather reports are unclear as everything depends on exactly where one lives and whether the rain is rain or icy rain.  The further west one lives, the more ice.  Very far west, there will be snow.

I crept out to the chicken coop this morning–throwing chicken scratch feed in front of me for traction.

The thin layer of ice coating everything is invisible, and it’s deeply treacherous.  So I crept along being very careful with each step.

This will be a sewing, blogging, reading day.  I roasted a huge chicken last night, so food is already done.  This will be a winter day where I will drift from one pleasurable project to another and count my blessings.

And Tom Jackson’s snow crew will come and put grit down on the driveway and the boardwalk to the house when the storm is over.

And thank heavens for the generator.  It’s this kind of ice storm I grew up with in the South and that I feared would come to Maine more frequently with a warming planet.

Interesting Information: Perspectives on Mammograms

Interesting Information:  December 22, 2013

Perspective on Mammograms

Beedy Parker sent me this article.  Beedy is one of the people I look to in this world for wisdom.

I hope you will take time to read this Orion Magazine piece by Jennifer Lunden, “Exposed.”  I especially hope you will if you are a woman and are still getting mammograms.  Lunden has down a really good job of tracing down the “pink” history of the breast cancer arena and of pointing to the most current research on this topic of mammograms and breast cancer.

Exposed | Orion Magazine.

I do not get mammograms any longer.  But, as always, YOU decide.