Archive for June, 2008

mulberry pie/cake with raw milk yogurt

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

I ended up creating this recipe –

I used an aluminum removable bottom pan. The bottom is a circle that you can push out with the surrounding circle of walls around it, a ledge on the bottom the movable bottom rests on. Does that make sense? A springform pan would also work, but I find this other pan fabulous for cheesecake and other types of cakes. I don’t normally use aluminum, it is a special occasion pan.

In the food processor I whizzed up about 1/2 cup butter, 8-10 squares of graham crackers, a handful of almonds, and a handful of Ghirardeli chocolate chips. I pressed that into the bottom of the pan, baked for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

When it had cooled, I mixed a couple cups of mulberries with 1/2 cup agave sweetener, and about 2 1/2 cups yogurt. Then I whipped about 1 1/2 cups of fresh cream (maybe a little more) and folded that into the yogurt berry mixture. Poured that into the pan, and froze it. It needs 4-5 hours.

I served it a little too soft but it was still great. The crust makes it all work, and the chocolate is an important ingredient. I garnished it with more fresh mulberries.

The whipped cream makes it light, I’ve done it with just yogurt but this was better. Yeah berries! I’m beginning to have a large stash in the freezer, not all mine, but still a great satisfaction to imagine eating them all winter.

berries berries berries

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

The strawberries have peaked, the slugs enjoyed them but I ate at least one a day.
Suddenly the service berries, mulberries, and black raspberries are all ripe and everywhere I turn. Gary and I have been picking and enjoying, freezing and cooking. Buckwheat pancakes with fresh ground flour, split into three batches – one with service berries, one with mulberries, and one with black raspberries. Oh yum.

There is a huge patch near home, and another at the lake. The freezer is filling up. In the morning I’m planning a pie with a graham cracker/almond/butter and chocolate chip crust with sweetened yogurt and mulberries – bake the pie crust, mix the yogurt, freeze.

And the mulberry tree a few feet from my house is also abundant, with a concrete wall I can stand on to reach higher. There is abundance. Free food. And medicine.
Time to tincture some motherwort, we checked the St. John’s Wort and it is growing but no buds yet so we’ll wait a few weeks. I would like to make some more pesto with yellow dock, the catnip tincture was tested against mosquitoes today and did well. So that is almost ready to be decanted and used a lot – all this rain and they are bad.

So much to keep up with, but it all keeps me outside and eating well and in tune with the seasons. Bliss.

Blame and health care and raw milk and the presidency

Friday, June 27th, 2008

I’ve been talking to a friend a lot lately about blame. We pretty much reduced it to a joke — “It’s your turn to have it be all your fault” “It’s Nala’s [the dog’s] fault”.

Because that is about as useful as it is to blame someone. The motivation is mostly defense, denial, or anger. Resolution of the problem? Blame isn’t too helpful.

So now I ran into an article about blame and healthcare, and it triggered some new thinking for me.

One is to actually use the urge to blame to do some research. What happened? What is measurable? What were the stated goals or assumpitons that went wrong? What intervention can now be consciously applied and measured?

I’m the intuitive type, mostly, these days. It is faster and since my intuition is based on lots of intelligence and experience it is even pretty good mostly. But this has set me back down the path of using scientific principles to examine and then come to conclusions. And when you approach it that way, you look at the process that failed, the assignment that failed, and not so much the person. Although you can certainly have bad matches of people and tasks, like asking me to show up in corporate attire to an event. I’m likely to fail. I just don’t know how to do it and would be blindly uncomfortable in hose and make up, and don’t have the skills to even know how to start.

Unless I did extensive study and research and lots of direct advice and donations.

So the milk has been spoiling. The raw milk we get from the cow. And it would be easy to just blame the carious people and even that it is raw milk and this and that. But instead a detailed scientific analysis of temperatures and times and exposures and testing for pathogens and systems makes sense. We see the week points, correct them, and check again.

It doesn’t matter who spoiled the milk – we have spoiled milk, that is unacceptable, so we either fix the systems at where it is at greatest risk or change the system at a deeper level.

Of course, my other interest is what happens when you’re honest with people and upfront about what the failings may be? It took I lot of practicing for me to be able to easily say “I’m wrong” but these days it isn’t a big deal at all. And I’m willing to share that experience with other people if it will help. Including modeling “hey, I made a mistake” so they feel more comfortable with their mistakes.

So with the milk I also sent the detailed info to all the milk group. Because it is the right thing to do. And when it comes to raw milk, being honest and transparent is the only way to deal with the true risk involved, and replace the ned for regulations, inspections, paperwork, and other measures that are just not as meaningful in the long run.

So there are a lot of little lessons and ideas and values in this small post, but the bottom line is I’m investing my time in communication, transparency, identifying and solving problems so we can all live easier and happier. And I don’t really care who is to blame. But we also need to remove incompetent people from positions they can’t handle – and that is a lesson we are all learning and why I hope Obama wins the white house in November.

wild (but pretty tame) harvesting

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The service berries are ripe, as well as mulberries, and cherries. Lots of picking this weekend, as well as randomly the last few days. What is fun this year is that Nala is an enthusiast as well – as I pick form the trees she is scarfing them up from the ground as fast as she can. The previous dogs had no interest, so it is fun to see her enthusiasm!

I have service berries in the freezer, hope to have enough mulberries soon to join them. I’m getting strawberries one at a time from my garden, oh well, it makes me appreciate each bite.

Friday Gary and his daughter and I all contributed to a cherry rhubarb crisp that was outstanding – they picked the dark cherries, I found a bit of rhubarb still growing, they harvested cat tail pollen while I swam, and combined with some oatmeal, local honey, cinnamon, and almonds it was beautiful and tasty as can be.

It is also time for more yellow dock pesto form the second batch of leaves –


Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I ran into this simple article on how to handle shared tasks in a household with your partner. Simple, practical, thoughtful, I just liked the common sense.

I like the first three especially – ask for a task to be done without words. That will eliminate some of the natural triggers and defensive reactions that come up so quickly and illogically. Same with using single words to remind — not as much charge and accusation there. Unless one of your parents used that tactic, in which case you may flash back to unpleasant childhood issues….

Explain your timetable, that just makes sense. The rest are more obvious, but good reminders. Anythign simple that increases communication and cooperation seems worth spending a few minutes looking over.

Are cell phones dangerous?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Well, I don’t think we really know yet. But spending too much time on the phone does seem problematic on many levels. The precautionary principle should apply, especially for teens who spend so much time on the phone. Nothing really alarming has shown up yet, but reports of brain surgeons using headsets is interesting.

I personally love the speakerphone feature on my Palm. So I spend a lot of time on voice mail on speaker phone, and any conversation to set up appts. ends up on speaker so I can manipulate the calendar option, and long conversations are easier on speaker if no one else is around.

The phone also tracks minutes, I’m around 700 a month, so I know I’m spending a lot of time with the radiation generating device. I liked finding this info on which phones generate the most radiation. Mine is a bit high, actually.

So I do have the head set, I will see about incorporating it when I’m doing lots of call backs.

But I love love love my new phone, and not having a land line, and having all in one convenience. But reading this article does remind me to use the speaker phone more often.

Top of the Park

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I’ve made it to the summer festival’s top of the park a couple of times already, and plan to make it at least a few more times before the end. Swimming is in direct competition, I appreciate having two good choices for how to spend time. It is handy to have this schedule to refer to.

Which setting is best, the original on top of the parking structure? Or the new setting at Ingall’s mall. For me, clearly the new setting. There is grass, shade, more room, more options, dogs can stroll around a bit, it is just much more comfortable for someone who doesn’t like being in the sun. Sure, people are more spread out and you can miss seeing someone. The whole put drinkers up close is more obnoxious in this setting. But the younger crowd has their own place to hang – by the fountain. And that seem very cool for them.

I do run into a lot of my students when I go. Some ignore me, some wave, same even talk to me. That’s sweet.

It is just a very great part of Ann Arbor.

The next big party after that?

From the art fair web site:

Fourth Ever Townie Street Party!

Come party with the locals to kick off art fair week at the Townie Street Party, on Monday, July 14, 2008, from 5 PM to 9:30 PM, under the big tents on North University between Thayer and Fletcher, adjacent to the University of Michigan’s Ingalls Mall on central campus. It’s a family event, and admission is free.

Music and dancing and lots of people (and dog) watching….

more on synesthesia

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Since this is a brain “disorder” that I have I’m always interested in what others have to say about it.
Here is a five minute video on a guy who is doing research on it, and who sees colors for words. I’ll also embed it here –

Mine is seeing what I feel, and feeling what I see. So if someone has a painful spot or tension in their body, if I touch it I see it, and if I see the spot I can feel it. Helpful in my work, and especially teaching.

36 years of appreciation

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I was an enthusiastic convert to George Carlin in late 1972. The blogs are full of praise and analysis and clips of some of his routines today, it was a sad thing to wake up and discover he had died.
I saw him perform twice, the first time I’m guessing I was in high school or just after, the last time was just a year ago when he was in Ann Arbor. But I had many of his records, and memorized his routines, talked about his humor, loved his perspective and appreciated his willingness to take on liberals, conservatives, feminists, religion on all levels, and more.

He was funny, and thoughtful, and inspired others to take another look at things in a different way.

At his last performance I left impressed with the brilliance and quality of his art form, a little taken aback at the language (I admit – didn’t think I’d have that reaction) but smiling and laughing and feeling like I had seen something rare and wonderful. And now he is gone. Unable to comment on the craziness of the times, and that perspective is a loss indeed. Here are some clips I found in other tributes –

He made a huge impact in my life, made being a teenager easier and more funny, and I’m sorry he is gone.

Interview and Article

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Last week I had the fun experience of climbing on a teeter totter with “Homeless Dave” who actually lives in a wonderful home very nearby…

He does interviews with people while sitting on the wooden plank with fulcrum… a rather pleasant way to spend time with someone and an interesting addition to an interview. I’ve enjoyed many of his past interviews and suggested a ride talking about wild edibles available locally would be a great topic. We went off on many other tangents, but you can read it for yourself if you’d like. This link is to the intro, and you can link form there to the interview or go straight to his transcript with photos.

We did get into the recent experience with the Co-op and the question about boycotting Israeli products. Another article that came out recently, I co-wrote with Kevin Sharp on the process – what we did wrong, what we did right. It was printed in The Cooperative Grocer, a national publication for Co-ops, May/June issue. The target audience is other Co-ops planning for boycott requests.

That’s my news for now… i have a whole stash of links I want to put up but life has been busy as well as peculiar stresses this time of year creates (grading, gardening, trying to swim as much as possible…)