hail? huh?

Last Tuesday morning I woke up to this.

Hail.  Loud hail.  Pounding on the deck.

Banjo Man didn’t hear a thing, but I grabbed my phone and started taking pictures.

See the blue sky?  After the hail the rain came down and that is a good thing.  We are desperate for rain.  But by the end of this week the northwest will be in the middle of a historic heat wave.

I saw that 108 is forecast for Spokane on Sunday.

It could hit 100 here.  Several days in a row.  We’ve had heat waves before, but not this early in the summer.  This could be a very scary fire season.

The morning of the hail storm, Banjo Man and I planned to head to Spokane to do some shopping before picking up Will at the airport at 5 PM.  He texted at 10 and said he was delayed in Austin due to a massive computer shutdown at Southwest.

We packed overnight bags just in case he came in late at night.  We no longer drive home from Spokane at midnight because we are old.

We stopped at Kohls and I tried on clothes in the fitting room.

We also went to Home Goods and spent time browsing every single aisle.  I am looking for new silverware.  I am tired of my worn Ebay collection.  I found a lazy susan for the porch.  And new dinner plates.  Fourth of July dish towels.  Battery-operated candles.  Wine from the Wine Shop.

oh, the joy!

I like this pattern.


Will originally had a 3 hour layover in  Denver, which gave him some leeway.  He barely made the connection and his plane was only an hour and a half late getting in to Spokane.

We were so happy to see him.  Of course.  Let the summer partying begin!


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the thrill of the hunt

Uncle Will, master arrowhead hunter, helped the Funny Grandson find this beauty.  It was in the water, a couple of feet from the beach, and is the largest one we’ve found.

The FG had been here less than twenty-four hours.

We haven’t found another one and chances are it will be months (years?) before something like this is plucked from the water again.

But no one ever stops looking.


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the kids are coming

These bars are always a big hit with my oldest son and the Funny Grandson.

5 Cups of Cheerios are mixed with a melted-in-the-microwave mixture of a bag of mini marshmallows, 3 TBS butter and 1/2 cup of peanut butter. The sticky mess is pressed into a greased 9 X 13″ pan.

This is not something I crave–and never will–but the guys make happy sounds when they see the pan and they quickly disappear.

Other goodies ready for the family? Blueberry cake, lemon cake and a massive bag of Bing cherries.

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ready for the apocalypse

A few weeks ago Dancing Mandolin Player asked a bunch of us if we would want to go to a Dutch Oven Cooking Class.

Of course we said yes.  Gardens had been planted.  Company not arriving yet.  Summer weather was still a few weeks away.

In other words, we had the time.

And the inclination.  Or was it curiousity?

I am having a hard time blogging, due to this much-detested 14″ HP computer I bought last summer for my lake house office.  I have so much trouble loading photos.  And today I have spent over an hour just trying to post the above picture of Dutch ovens.  iCloud is telling me my pictures will return when I am online.  Even though I am online.  

Daughter-in-law Amber helped me do an end run around iCloud by saving photos to my desktop, so hence the photo here.  It might be fuzzy, though.  I can’t tell.  The photos seem too small.

I don’t know what to do to solve this.

Back to Cast Iron Cooking…

Five of us descended upon the cooking class, which was north of the lake and in the middle nowhere (in a good way), past horses and barns and fields of growing things.

Julie was a great teacher.  The woman knows her stuff.  We heard she often does trail rides and packing trips.

We made fourteen things.  FOURTEEN.  From beef to chicken to chocolate cake to pizza.  And homemade rolls.  The pots were stacked four high, with ten hot briquettes on the bottom of the pot and twelve on the top.

Fifteen of us took turns working on the meals.

Peach cobbler ready to be baked.

And a few hours later we were ready to eat.

And the pans were empty.

It was a fascinating four hours.  I learned something I never thought I would.  And now I know how to cook just like the cooks on the chuck wagons did back in the cattle drive days.

We were all very impressed–with the food, the teacher and the amazing techniques.

And we could survive without electricity if we had to.  Which is a good thing to know.



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memorial day, 2021

This flag hung over a Marine base in the Philippines, where my father served as a medic, during World War II. It is now on display at the World War II museum in New Orleans, LA.

Rest in peace.

Donald Lloyd Winslow,


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history nerds

That’s what we are.

WARTIME FARM is a reality series on Amazon Prime Acorn (which costs extra per month but if you love British shows it’s entirely worth it) about life in the English countryside during World War II.

Ruth Goodman is a historian (and knows all there is to know about domestic living in any decade) and her cohorts are archaeologists who absolutely thrive on learning how to survive. They have done other shows, such as VICTORIAN FARM and EDWARDIAN FARM.

In 1939 Britain was importing 2/3 of its food. Their grains came from the US and Canada, so they specialized in beef, pork and lamb. And then the Nazis blockaded the island and prevented food from getting in, which meant that the Brits would have to grown 100% of their own food or risk being starved into submission by Germany.

And what they did was absolutely astounding.

WARTIME FARM covers all four seasons as Ruth, Peter and Alex learn ways to overcome the challenges of the war. The government had food quotas, farm rating systems, rationing and strict oversight of the agricultural system. Refugees poured into the countryside from bombed out cities and had to be fed and housed. Old rusted farm equipment was salvaged from hedgerows and repaired. Fuel was rationed, of course, which made farm work even harder

As we watch this (we’ve only seen four episodes so far) I am awed and inspired by what people can accomplish when their backs are to the wall. It truly was a “do or die” situation.

Plus…I’ve learned how to cook a stew in a well-insulated box of hay. The original Crock pot? I think so.

I found this on Youtube. There were quite a few videos of how to cook food this way. The secret is to bring your meal to boiling temperature and then pack it into an insulated container. Old coolers were suggested as a “box”, too.

Banjo Man just hinted that he would like to try this up at his off-the-grid cabin. Which is a definite possibility.

Dinner’s ready!

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baking oldies and goodies

Ben, my oldest son, loves Snickerdoodles. Sadly I stopped baking cookies when I started writing books. It was an “either/or” thing.

So I decided to bake these cookies for him (he’ll be here at the lake in about a month) and googled the old recipe from Betty Crocker that I’d used over 40 years ago. And since Google can find just about anything, here they are.



1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Steps: Heat oven to 400. Mix sugar, butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl until fluffy. Mix dry ingredients and add to the sugar-butter mixture until mixed completely.

Shape dough into 1 1/2″ balls. Mix the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon and roll the balls into the mixture. Place 2″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

(I doubled the recipe, made the balls a bit bigger and ended up with about 5 dozen cookies).

And then I sent a picture to Ben to show him what is waiting for him. I think he is really happy about that.

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our new little friend

Pardon my finger.

Here is the Beast. Welcome, Beast.

Have you experienced the shortages in lumber, building supplies, caulk, generators, etc. in the country right now? Banjo Man sawa a different generator in a store in town and came home to research it. Two days later he returned to the store to buy one, only to find out they were gone. As in, we don’t know when we will ever get another shipment.

So he saw a friend in the parking lot of Home Depot and the friend gave him some advice on generators and Banjo Man returned to the other store and bought a different model.

We think it’s going to be a huge success.

When we saw a camping stove and a griddle in the same store I insisted we buy it NOW. That’s what you have to do now: buy it when you see it.

In fact, that’s what I have always done with quilting fabric. I buy it when I see it. See? Who knew how smart I am?

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I went to my very first yoga class Monday night.

I think I survived it, but I’m not quite sure.

It was the easiest yoga class in the history of yoga, billed as a Beginner Yoga workshop for three Mondays in a row. Monday night about ten of us sat on our brand new mats at the Community Center and learned how to breathe.

I loved that part. I’ve read a zillion times how deep breathing is important and good for stress and anxiety and promotes all sorts of health. I am not a healthy breather, but I will learn. The sweet, patient instructor advised us to practice.

And then there were some “basic” positions. We sort of learned four of them. I was in the front row (big mistake) so I couldn’t see if anyone else was as twisted and confused as I was, but several times the instructor came by and told me to “sink into your hips.”

I still don’t know what that means, but next Monday night I will try to do it again.

Yesterday I expected to feel sore, but I didn’t. And then as the day wore on? Everything was sore–but not in a bad way–from the top of my head to my toes. I was in bed at 7:30. I wasn’t asleep, but I spent some time shopping online for a keychain wallet that will hold my driver’s license, gym card and a $20 bill (in case I go to the Pantry after swimming to get a sandwich).

As I told Banjo Man, I am an athlete now and I need the proper gear. And more Tylenol.

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lake treasures

Check out that beautiful round ball.  And the rock that looks like a leather ear.  And the perfect “skipper” for Banjo Man.

As my mother would say, there’s “no rhyme or reason” to my choices.  She said that to me a lot and it wasn’t necessarily a compliment, only a baffled observation.  But it always made me laugh.

I also picked up a few scraps of driftwood for our Mother’s Day campfire.

First campfire of 2021.

Am I excited about the upcoming summer?  You bet I am.  Yesterday I made up the guest beds, hauled all of the quilts out of the closet and ordered a new cotton blanket on Amazon.  Banjo Man intends to rebuild the fire pit and I have written “marshmallows” on my grocery list.

My daily mission is (a) search the beach for arrowheads, (b) pick up driftwood for future campfires and (c) cook or bake something to freeze.

Today it might be cookies.



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