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May 21, 2012


My mind evolves through sometimes unusual links to far-fetched topics, which I think of as different from wandering, but maybe it's the same thing. In later years my doing so really upset my husband and I always thought of him as the more artistically creative soul than me. He could improvise playing jazz, could draw freely and well, to name a couple ways. I listen to jazz and need a ruler to draw a straight line by comparison.

Ah yes. Letting one's mind wander over the hills and dales can be very creative.

Joared & Hattie--I think they call it "stream of consciousness". In coming up with a title for the posting, "I Wonder as I Wander" occurred to me. How nice it would be to embed a video of someone singing or playing that tune, thinks I. YouTube had many selections; but, they all seemed more religious than befitted my atheistic stance. Aha! I saw one on a hammered dulcimer - which reminded me of a friend who plays/teaches that instrument. I sent her the link. Then...I see other pieces played on the instrument. After checking out a couple, "Scotland the Brave" struck my fancy. It got embedded.

I love to wander through youtubes. I've never seen a hammered dulcimer before. I kept wandering until I wound up with a very young Joni Mitchell--three of her, on fact. One on the dulcimer (not hammered, though she did hammer it with her fist), one on the piano, and one very early studio recording (audio only) of her playing her guitar. What a pleasure! This was not the stream of MY consciousness, though. The more I did this, the less my own did anything at all. It simply kept finding new ways to BE entertained.

When I was studying in Iowa, I cleaned student apartments, walked beans (CC, you might know what that is), and pulled trumpet vines out of my landlord's shrubbery. None of those jobs required any THINKING, and I loved them for that. My mind was free. I wrote a lot of poetry doing that.

Thanks, CC (and Joared & Hattie)

ME--We always called it hoeing! I've planted, hoed, picked, and snapped many beans, as a matter of fact. Among the four of my female progenitors with whom I spent the most time (Mom, two grandmothers, one great-grandmother, and one great-great grandmother - I rarely saw my other surviving great-grandmother as she lived several miles away), they put up hundreds of quarts of beans each year - plus tomatoes, corn, relishes, beet pickles and sweet (cucumber) pickles. They also put up all sorts of jams, jellies, and conserves.

Mom always loved canning. I called it hot, exhausting work! Bogie takes after her grandmother (my mother) in her dedication to growing and preserving her own food. At best, I make a half-hearted effort to can a bit of applebutter (every 8-10 years - we hardly eat jams and jellies), pickled beets (the easy way, starting from sliced, canned beets - perhaps two dozen pints each year), and salsa (maybe two or three dozen pints each year, with a friend), several pints of cherries (off of our one cherry tree) each year, and the occasional bread-and-butter pickle batch.

yes, when we "walked beans," we used a little hoe kind of thing to chop through the volunteer cornstalks. My mother canned everything we grew in our victory garden--we always had home-canned tomatoes and beans and peas. The summer I was pregnant with Sally, the neighbors suggested I PICKLE the beets and can them that way. So, between picking beets, canning them, and conking out on the floor because of the vertigo I was having, I developed a total aversion to pickled beets. That was the year I lost my hearing. I love beets and even picked beets and most especially Sally, but whenever I open a jar of pickled beets, I feel slightly sick. It just washes over me like a wave on the shore and then is gone.

my mother's canned pheasant was superb! She could make pheasant ala king out of it with her homemade biscuits. geeez, we ate well!!

I should be the most creative person on the planet because my mind is always wandering.

I tend to do housework that way, also. I don't finish one task until I start another. One day my husband asked me why I did that. I had to think about it and decided that housework was so boring that I needed a variety of things going on at the same time to keep from going bonkers.

I think it's nature's way. Just let your mind wander as you do your chores.

What fertile conversation! I know what "walking beans" is, but I've never done it. I worked in Mother's flower gardens and Dad's veggie garden, but that was nothing like walking beans. Mother didn't can a lot. We developed the habit of canning something called "Chili sauce" each year. It's a condiment that she served with roast pork. She'd take the left over pork and grind it, and mix it with the chili sauce to make a sandwich spread.

On the subject of dulcimers, I own one that my father made for me. I haven't practiced at it, but I have enough music to be able to play the simplest of tunes. I want to restring it, using a combination of violin and banjo strings. I have watched hammered dulcimer performances at Silver Dollar City in Missouri, but I don't remember the struck tones continuing to ring through as they did in this performance. A piano has a dampening pedal, perhaps some dulcimers do too. As I listened to the performance, I thought that my father would have tuned this instrument with an oscilloscope. *G*

If I were to do without the CDs or DVDs I so often use to entertain myself, gardening, or sewing the patches for a quilt would give my mind the chance to roam. I refuse to clean the kitchen without entertainment. It's just too boring a job.

Oh, I meant to add that my youngest sis wanted to can the chili sauce with me last year, but she remembered too late in the season to get the tomatoes we needed. I've reminded her to set a date in late July or early August, and to let the family know that we're going to can, in case they would like to learn how to carry on the tradition. It's sweet to remember Mother this way.

ME--Bummer that you developed an aversion to pickled beets. I recall having to force myself to eat "Harvard beets" at a friend's house in about 1953 - the first time I'd been faced with non-pickled beets! (My parents taught us kids, well, that it was impolite to let anyone know that we didn't relish anything that was served to us!) I also recall, when pregnant with Bogie, having to lie on the floor to cool off a bit while canning. Who knows what I was canning in those days, though.

Darlene & ME--Maybe it's a characteristic that women evolved to "escape" the mindless chores we had/have to perform.

Buffy--OMG, yes, you make wonderful chili sauce. I must put that on my "to do" list for canning when tomatoes are plentiful. (Thanks for sharing your recipe!) I put two tomato plants out in early March, this year, and never got around to planting more (as I had intended - the two were a "gamble".) Those two are thriving, as is the lone pepper plant and thyme plant that I put out at the same time. We have lots of dill for the butterflies, and the cherry tree did its usual splended job of producing. However, I have been too busy with volunteer work to get the cherries all picked, this year.

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