After walking a couple of miles today, I decided to spend the rest of the day in the kitchen. In addition to starting a batch of homemade sauerkraut, I also made a couple of quarts of chicken stock, AKA, liquid gold. That done, I fired up the grill.


As you can see, there was still snow on the ground even though it was 61 degrees (Farenheit) outside.

I chopped up some red cabbage and apples for a rot kraut and made a molasses and bourbon sauce …


.. to go with the Ozzy-brined bacon-wrapped pork chops.


It went really well with the Aventinus.


More February books

I finished two more books last week. The first was, Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, by Paul Hendrickson. I picked this up last May at the Ivy Bookshop and took it with me when my wife and I went on a short staycation to Annapolis and Frederick. I’m not sure why it took me nearly nine whole months to finish it. It’s well written and is chock full of interesting stories of Hemingway and the people whose lives he touched – not only his wifes and sons (especially Gigi), but others whom you may never have heard of, like Walter Houk. It’s a fascinating book, full of stuff I didn’t already know. If you are in any way interested in Hemingway, I recommend that you grab yourself a copy.

The other book I finished  was, Deceived, a mystery by Randy Wayne White.  White’s been in somewhat of a slump the past couple of books (since Deep Shadow), so much so that I’d never gotten more than 50 pages into them before putting them aside. This one held my interest from page one and I didn’t put it aside until reading the last page, finishing it in a day. Having a foot of snow outside and temperatures well below freezing was good for something, I guess.

After a hard day of moving snow


… a man needs something filling. So I made a butternut squash and chicken tagine over quinoa, with a fried egg on top. And an Aventinus.

Recently read

I don’t know what is up with my attention span, but I haven’t been able to finish many books lately. In fact, I’ve only read 3 books since New Years:
1. Spenser and Travis McGee: The Trafalgar Square Bomber by Bill Rayburn. This is a self-published fanfic tale starring two of my favorite private eyes. It’s an okay effort, as far as these thing go. The writing and plot is better than the official holiday novel, Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel that came out last fall. But it is nowhere near as good as any of the original Spenser novels nor the ones done by Ace Atkins, Lullaby and Wonderland. Mr. Atkins has done a masterful job at capturing the tone and the style of the Spenser universe.

2. Brown Dog, by Jim Harrison. This is a collection of novellas featuring Harrison’s beloved character, Brown Dog. All but the last story have appeared in other novella collections.  I’m a big Jim Harrison fan, so I got the book even though I have read the other novellas.

3. Great Plains, by Ian Frazier. What a marvelous book. If Nelse, a character in Jim Harrison’s, The Road Home, had written a book about his travels, this is the book he would have written. Reading it, I wanted to pack up my car and drive out to see the places Frazier was describing. Add an interesting mix of plains Indian history and you have yourself a potent book.

Greisliches Wetter Heit

Searching for inspiration on a crappy weather day


Draußen Regen, hey, mach doch mal Musik an …

Paul Zimmer’s poem, Zimmer Imagines Heaven

I sit with Joseph Conrad in Monet’s garden,
We are listening to Yeats chant his poems,
A breeze stirs through Thomas Hardy’s moustache,
John Skelton has gone to the house for beer,
Wanda Landowska lightly fingers a clavichord,
Along the spruce tree walk Roberto Clemente and
Thurman Munson whistle a baseball back and forth.
Mozart chats with Ellington in the roses.
Monet smokes and dabs his canvas in the sun,
Brueghel and Turner set easels behind the wisteria.
the band is warming up in the Big Studio:
Bean, Brute, Bird and Serge on saxes,
Kai, Bill Harris, Lawrence Brown, trombones,
Klook plays drums, Mingus bass, Bud the piano.
Later Madam Schumann-Heink will sing Schubert,
The monks of bendictine Abbey will chant.
There will be more poems from Emily Dickinson,
James Wright, John Clare, Walt Whitman.
Shakespeare rehearses players for King Lear.
At dusk Alice Toklas brings out platters
Of Sweetbreads à la Napolitaine, Salad Livonière,
And a tureen of Gaspacho of Malaga.
After the meal Brahms passes fine cigars.
God comes then, radiant with a bottle of cognac,
She pours generously into the snifters,
I tell Her I have begun to learn what
Heaven is about. She wants to hear.
It is, I say, being thankful for eternity.
Her smile is the best part of the day.

Living language

The next time I get irked by someone using “impacted” in place of “affected,” I will try to remember Stephen Fry’s admonition:


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