Soup Stock, and Coco

We always recycle, reuse, repurpose everything that we can here on Widder Island. We also create lovely piles of compost from our garden and kitchen waste. Everything organic, except meat, goes into the compost bins, and is covered in a layer of leaves, grass clippings, that sort of thing, then left to its own devices. We don’t turn it or add anything special. We rotate through three bins and when one is full we empty it on a compost pile to age some more, then it goes onto the gardens … to grow things that contribute their little bit to the on-going cycle.

Recently I started recycling our veggie scraps …

Anything that isn’t actually moldy or rotten

Anything that isn’t actually moldy or rotten

… and freeze them until we got a full bag …

Large-size freezer bag

Large-size freezer bag

… and then boil ‘em up for a few hours …

Bubble, bubble, veggie trouble

Bubble, bubble, veggie trouble

… I usually reduce 4 liters of liquid down to one liter of concentrated stock, then once it’s cool …

Ice-cube sized, for your cooking convenience

Ice-cube sized, for your cooking convenience


And now, about Coco, the Community Cat  …

Don’t worry she’s still alive

Don’t worry she’s still alive

Her person is a little old lady who has found she can’t keep up with the maintenance of her house and has moved into an apartment in town, taking Coco with her.

We miss her terribly

We miss her terribly

We do know, however, that when the time is right another cat will present herself to us, and we’ll be staff-persons again.

Coco, the Community Cat  … lived across the way with her primary staff-person, but acquired a collection of subsidiary residences along our end of our little road, whom she regularly visited for BBQ’s and cuddles and naps.



Torn Between Two Rodents

It’s all the squirrel’s fault. The pair of ‘em, being all cute and everything.

Yes folks, it’s time for the 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards!

This year I did pick the winner from the magnificent list of finalists. Go check ’em out.

Here she, or he, is … the winning SKWRL …

The Champion! ... 'Caught in the Act' by Mary McGowan

The Champion! … ‘Caught in the Act’ by Mary McGowan

… and mentioned honourably …

'Splits' by Geert Weggen

‘Splits’ by Geert Weggen

You Wanna See Some Cool Magic?

Three Things That Happened On Monday

Last year I had a flu shot for the first time, not because I’d reached a ‘certain age’ but because the year before I’d managed to spend most of my time being in the throes of, or recovering from, lung and phlegm related lurgys. All I had to go out my front door and I’d catch every virus within a hundred kilometer radius. For the whole of last winter or all this year, nary a lurgy raised it’s ugly head, so not wanting to break my winning streak I decided it was time to renew my subscription.

Monday was the day I’d picked to do the deed.

At 3am on Monday morning a migraine woke me up. Thankfully it wasn’t a skull-crushing galaxy-buster, as they usually tend to be, and once some painkillers kicked in I managed to convince myself to go back to sleep. I felt a little delicate when I woke up at the crack of 10.30am but not enough to scuttle my plans.

My arm ached a moderate amount after the flu shot so I ambled off to the Tim Hortons coffee shop just around the corner from my doctors office for a restorative french vanilla coffee and some timbits. (timbits are the tasty bits they cut out of the center of doughnuts)

Whilst chomping on the gooey wonderfulness at the center of a timbit, I thought I felt the crown on one of my teeth wobble. By my third timbit I knew without a doubt the crown was loose. Having already swallowed a crown from this very tooth some years back, I reluctantly put my remaining timbits and coffee aside and glanced up at my dentists office which happened to be just across the parking lot. I was starting to feel a little migraine-hangover headachy and my arm hurt. None-the-less, and with minimal sighing, I called upon my dentist, and half an hour later I was sitting in his chair listening to him mutter softly, “Oh darn,” behind me.  The dear man actually said ‘oh darn!’

This tooth had been troublesome off and on, since it’s root-canal ten years ago, and it turned out to be cracked right down to the roots of its little, roots. It was time for it to head off to the Great Tooth Retirement Home In The Sky.

A single memory of the ensuing ten minutes that is now burned indelibly into my psyche was of my ‘oh darn’ dentist taking to my poor tooth with a, and I kid you not, hammer and chisel!

There you have it, all in the space of a few hours, a migraine, a pain-in-the-arm flu shot, and an emergency second-from-the-back-on-the-bottom tooth extraction.

It wasn’t until this evening (2am Wednesday morning actually) that I put it together. Nothing happens on one … well, I call ‘em, Realms of Awareness – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – that isn’t reflected on the others. These three things were definitely physical, but what they were mirroring was the chaos that’s created at the change of the seasons.

UPDATE: Before you read any further, I realised this morning that it’s Samhain, NOT Bealtaine … Note To Self: It’s probably not a good idea to post, a) in the middle of the night, and b) when the effects of painkillers haven’t quite worn off.

Here in the northern hemisphere, Autumn is ending. Bealtaine (Beltane or Hallowe’en) marks the beginning of Winter, and when things end in order to make way for something new to begin, there is always chaos. (no matter how hard we mortals try to avoid it) Sometimes it’s a genteel chaos and sometimes it’s of the hammer-and-chisel-to-your-tooth variety.

Now that I’ve had my ‘chaos’, and all things being equal, (ha!) it just might be smooth sailing for a while.

I’m off to bed with a hot water bottle for my arm and another one for my face … and I might just have another one for my feet.

What Separates Us

Today was a slow day and it wasn’t until this evening that I got to the last of my email reminders for blogs I follow. It was for Derrick Knight, a retired lad in England, who delightfully chronicles his adventures in the garden the Head Gardener (Jackie, Mrs Knight) kindly lets him meander through whilst doing a few gardening-ish chores. Derrick is a lover of books, and the New Forest, and the seaside, and his comestibles.

In his latest post he talks about Dirk Bogarde, a British actor, and his writing.

I always liked him as an actor, (Dirk, not Derrick) so I tootled off to read up about him via that wonderful resource portal, Wikipedia.

Turns out that Dirk was among the Allied officers who went into Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April of 1945. Please read what he wrote. It’s important. (just click on the green link)

. . .

. . .


Did you read it through? Did you look at the photographs? Were you horrified, sickened? Did you think to yourself, that could never happen now, here?

Truth is, humans have been doing this to other humans for thousands of years.

Do you know what the difference is between you and I, and them?



They were, and are, (because humans have never really stopped brutally torturing and murdering each other somewhere on the planet)  just like you and I. Assorted limbs, a functioning brain, carrying all sorts of wounds, physical and metaphysical, each with our own little bubbles of concerns that can make a day shine or feel like a milestone around our necks … and yet, some of us commit horrendous acts of brutality, and some of us do not.

Do you know what separates us?

Choice. That’s all.

When you strip away the dogma, political, religious, whatever,  all we’re left with is, Choice.

Whether it’s a choice about a moral ambiguity or to become another a butcher of humans, it’s exactly the same choice. A step this way, a step that way. Some choices involve major amounts of suckitude, but they’re still choices. 

As I pondered on the choices I’ve made in my life, the good, the bad, the ugly … the really bad … and the beautiful, I heard in my head a phrase from a song by Bette Midler, about ‘hollow, ancient eyes’, I dug out my collection of Bette albums and listened to the song in question … and it seemed to me that it’s a song about how we can find hope in our choices.

(sorry I couldn’t find a better quality video)

The Missing Symbol

Scrivener has had me all hot and bothered all afternoon, which, given that it’s currently 34°C (93°F) in the shade today, is a very dangerous thing for all beings within a hundred meter radius of my Self.

No cranky feelings here!

I’m doing the ‘front bits’ for ‘Prelude’ and I wanted to insert a copyright symbol into the text. I couldn’t find it so I went on-line and asked pertinent questions … and found answers that were all for the Apple version of the Scrivener software.

I get that Scrivener was first developed in Apple-ese, and PC’s were the poor cousins who had to wait at the kiddies table until the grown-ups were sated, but  I thought we were all growed-up now.

Eventually, buried in the furthest depths of page ninety-eleven of my google search I found what I was looking for.

So, here it is, if you’re using Scrivener on a PC … first make sure your cursor is where you want the character to be on your document … and go to … Edit  > Character Map (no idea why it’s called that) then ‘select’ which character you want to use, then ‘copy’, at which point you’ll have to manually (using your keyboard) insert or paste (CTRL/V) the character where it needs to be.


Scrivener is wonderful, but perfect it ain’t.

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

‘Prelude’ is complete, and well on its way to its next incarnation.

I’ve already taken the individual episodes out of the ‘topics’ section over there on the right but I’m going to leave it up on its page ‘Prelude’ up there in the Header for a couple more days and then sometime on … hmm … Thursday (26th) I’ll remove it from there too. So if you haven’t caught up with the entire story, now is your moment.

I’m going to do a bit of an edit, typos, etc, then I will publish it as a complete entity all of its own. 


As I read through my old notes whilst preparing each episode of ‘Prelude’, I came across quite a few scenes that had appeared, fully-formed, in Mortal Instinct. I chuckled to myself. There I was thinking I’d pulled all that imagery out of the aethers by myself!

For those new to my corner of the interwebz, Mortal Instinct was my firstborn that suffered from ‘Premature Publication Syndrome’, by a traditional publishing house, that, to make a very long and painful story short, screwed the entire publication process from beginning to end.

Lesson learned. Not going to use a trad publisher again.

My initial plan was to do a complete rewrite of the whole manuscript and self publish, but, as I was editing and publishing each episode of ‘Prelude’ I came to the slow realization that Mortal Instinct’s time had passed.

I suppose this is the logical extreme of ‘kill your darlings’ which advises authors not to hold on to characters, or scenes, which fall short of Vernor’s Law.

What’s Vernors Law, I hear you ask? A SF writer lad by the name of Vernor Vinge coined a wee missive that goes like this …

All scenes need to accomplish at least 2 of 3 things: 1 – provide background information, 2 – develop the characters, and 3 – advance the plot

My faithful old manuscript that had been with me, in various incarnations since 1985, is now no more.

Bon Voyage, old Friend.

Perhaps in another Realm, another version of me will publish it as it’s meant to be. Wouldn’t that be wild!