Random Thoughts for Elders (and Others)

October's Gifts


Will you look at that. According to accuweather.com, there's not a raindrop in sight for the next two weeks. Instead, bright full sun and mid-60s temperatures.

I don't suppose I'm complaining but it wasn't like that on Saturday and in the chilly, gray, misty morning, my thoughts turned to cold days to come.

At the final farmer's market of the season, I stocked up on roots – parsnips, potatoes, multi-colored carrots and beets in red and gold.

Onions too and just-picked apples because the peaches that had been so luscious just a week ago looked tired and bruised now.

In the afternoon I cooked up six pints of spicy apple sauce to take the place in my morning cereal of the fresh berries I have relished all summer.

Then, while writing this post on Sunday, I cooked up a big batch of pea soup - a recipe I've been tinkering with every fall and winter for at least 40 years. I took time, too, to get out for some photos of the glorious fall colors near my home.

In the eastern United States, some people drive hundreds of miles to indulge in annual leaf peeping. I just open the door. This is my path to the trash bins.

Fall Leaves

Not many more steps from my door in the neighboring park is a colonnade now halfway between its summer greenery and the barren vines of winter.


A late Sunday afternoon posting at The New York Times online:

”Leaders at meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund said the United States must raise its debt ceiling and reopen the government so as not to cause 'massive disruption' worldwide.”

You can see how early I was out and about on Sunday morning errands.

Yellow Tree and Clock

The malice of Congressional Republicans knows no limit in their determination to harm some segment - any segment - of the American public. Now it's women again according to a Sunday headline at Huffington Post:

”[Paul] Ryan Brings Birth Control into Shutdown Fight”

Certainly there is science to how tree leaves turn colors. Do certain ones become red, others orange or yellow or brown? I have no idea which explains why I was surprised to see so many colors on each tree in this line.

Multicolored Trees

And until Sunday, I had no idea that grasses also take on fall colors. These seem to be on fire.

Grasses in Color

It was impossible Sunday, while keeping an eye on the soup, not to repeatedly check television and internet news to see if Congress is still intent on bringing down the economy of the entire world this week.

The Onion gave me my only laugh of the day. Referencing the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of last week, the faux news website headlined a story, "Psychiatrists Deeply Concerned For 5% Of Americans Who Approve Of Congress."

According to “psychiatrist Dr. Donald Levin,” The Onion “reported”:

”We’re not entirely sure who these people are or where they come from - perhaps they are psych ward patients, or unstable recluses living in remote huts on the outskirts of society - but what we do know is that they are extremely disconnected from reality and in need of immediate attention if they are not already receiving it.”

But it wasn't funny enough to stop my creeping panic as the debt deadline looms. Nor could this gorgeous bush.

Red Bush From Car

The one satisfaction of the day was storing away five quarts of soup in the freezer. If economic apocalypse arrives, at least I won't be hungry.

Pea Soup

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Vicki E. Jones: The Minivan


What a gal! All that wonderful soup in the freezer--almost as good (or better) than money in the bank! And a very good remedy for the black thoughts we are having about our elected public 'servants'!
May all this be over soon, in the meantime follow Ronni's good example--Make soup!

Is that squash soup? I'm making a cabbage bean soup today. After reading your blog I wonder if its the standoff in Washington that's inspired this burst of cooking for the freezer for me.

After a long hot dry summer here in North Texas, rain is always a welcome sight. Had some yesterday but as I write this it is softly and steadily coming down. Supposed to do this all day long too. I love it.

Opened all the windows allowing the cool breeze to replace the costs of running the A/C and getting a little lazy from the patter of the rain drops as they hit the pavement and landscape around the house.

What glorious colors you are surrounded by. While we have near-ideal weather in No.California, I miss the NW seasons. I made bean soup and tomato jam for winter this week-end.
Those Washington folks, tho, looking official and serious in their suits, ties & jewelry, are resembling monkeys more all the time. I hope people remember this at election time. Terrible how they have passed laws ensuring they cannot be thrown out of office in short notice - or can they, by will and actions of the people? If nothing else, that would keep the memory of this debacle going til 2014 elections.
And two news online sources I've recently signed onto, at least temporarily, are The Guardian (GB & not owned by anyone!) & Al-Jezeera(sp).
Now, off to walk and find the beauty, the breezes, and other forms of delight.

For those who asked here and via email, as stated in the story, it's pea soup.

For those who asked where I live: a suburb of Portland, Oregon.

You are surrounded by such beautiful Fall colors. Unless you drive up in the mountains there are no color changes to be seen in the desert. This is the only time of the year I wish I lived in a cooler climate. Maple trees are so gorgeous in their flaming coats and the gold of Aspens next to the green of Evergreen trees is a sight not to be missed.

Thanks for sharing the lovely Fall colors with those of us not fortunate enough to see them out our windows.

Mother nature is sometimes able to make us forget the insanity of man. And she is obviously in her glory in your town.

Most of the orange and yellow pigments you see we're already in the leaves and grass hiding under the bright green of the chlorophyll. Once the cool weather causes the chlorophyll to break down, the other pigments appear!

The bright red pigment only forms when there is a cold snap, though.

Smooth a fresh green leaf, mix it with a bit of alcohol, and then hank a strip of coffee filter from a pencil with the tip in the green mush, and you can see the different pigments separate on the strip- simple chromatography! From a retired Jr High science teacher!!!

Smoosh.... not "smooth"!

Thank you, Kathleen. I must have slept through that class in high school.

Such beautiful colors have not arrived in Northern Tennessee - yet. But soon...
Thank you for sharing the beauty surrounding you.
I am making butternut squash soup this week and also with a cool end of the week expected some chili.
Always freeze some as too much for one :)

Loved your going from delight to despair! Cooking is a passion for me., and it relieves anxiety and tension. So I'm making soup too and
freezing veggies from the farmer. If those nuts in DC are going to "squash" my retirement nest egg, I'd better take care of myself. Our generation is tough!
The colors in Wisconsin are gorgeous right now, but not for long.

What beautiful fall colors you have there. People here in Colorado go nuts over the aspen in fall, and so do I, but it's all mostly yellow/gold. If only we could combine all the different colors of a hardwood forest with the spectacular peaks of the Rockies ...

I get that hoarding feeling, too. We tend to get large crops of tropical fruit all at once and freeze or dry what we can't eat right away.
You know who's really scared? Fox News. They have been flogging their wares for so long, and now they may be going out of business.

Here's hoping Hattie's predictions are true. Are you going to post your pea soup receipe? -- barbara

Oh, that soup is encouraging. The Geezer is eating Atkins, so I have been doing thing just like that soup.

And the colors. Just lovely stuff. Passionate. I ignore the Government for your marvelous colors.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; and so on "Autumn" by Keats. I wish we could have some of your wonderful autumn colour-in England the colours seem very muted in comparison. We look on in amazement at all the games being played re Obamacare etc If things go from bad to worse we will be immediately affected as you take 14% of our exports so please get things sorted very soon...

Being pretty much of a non-cook, I stand in awe! As far as Congress is concerned, if I were ever to harbor a thought of voting for a Republican (which would have been rare even under the best of circumstances), it's toast now. I am SO disgusted with the entire mess but specifically with how the Repubs allowed the radical right to take over their party. When did our democracy devolve into a bunch of adolescents ruled by a small group of ideological bullies? Ted Cruz et. al are more closely aligned with the Taliban and al Qaida than they are with the majority of U.S. citizens.

First of all, THANK YOU, Ronni, for sharing those beautiful pictures. It's lovely to think how nice taking out the garbage is for you these days. I was floating along as I read and then was brought up short by the other take on current reality. I'm afraid both our political parties are in total disarray ... the Republicans are the Republicans but the Democrats haven't been able to get their act together either. May Hattie's prediction prove true; at least that way some of the dreadful disinformation that gets spread so amazingly easily will be halted.

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