Corny, I know. Probably the most commonly understood axiom of life. Even more common than, “Love your mother.”

I could go through the entire list of illustrations from my life that demonstrate this truism, but neither of us is interested in that, I am sure.

I have been getting messages all week from as far away as Texas and Arizona asking about the snow we have gotten. It seems that if anyone in the northeast is getting snow surely Maine will be in there for its share.

We had a dusting yesterday and this morning we woke up to a “flocked” world with 2″ of new wet stuff clinging to anything it touched, which I will gladly welcome over the knee deep stuff that the mid section of our country has to brag about.

We’ve won our share of snow storm contests but this late in the year and after a snowless and warm February, I am not in the mood for a two foot storm that paralyzes life here on the plantation. Ah but, as addicted to this ray of hapless hope as I am I know and would put my money on the most major storm of the season to be in our future. You can never trust March in New England.

Meanwhile, wind has proven to be the worst of our problems, knocking out power and internet connections for thousands over the past few days. We’ll just have to wait and see.

JH

A friend of mine over in New Hampshire posted a comment on Facebook about seeing a coyote in his yard. He said a few things about startling the animal by calling his wife to see and then wondered, “What is it about seeing wild animals that’s so thrilling”.

His comment started me to thinking about the wild world all around us. I immediately wondered about it and began putting words together about it. Then it occurred to that when someone expresses being thrilled by the sight of a coyote in their yard the only sensible thing to say would be something like, “Wow!”. Or maybe something more detailed and scholarly like, “That’s fantastic”, or “Way cool”.

It wasn’t that long ago that I had a fox in my yard beneath a bird feeder on two consecutive days! My partner in life CA talks of hearing coyotes yipping in the night. I can no longer hear that well. I’d love to be able to hear that.

Once I had three adolescents with me in the San Juan Mountains in the late summer on a two night hike in some of the most beautiful high country there is. Late in the second day we were scrambling down a hill trying to stay close to the creek we were following that would lead us to the shelter we sought when we saw, standing tall in the glade into which we were skidding, this huge black bear. We’re talking 150 feet, which isn’t much to a bear, and even less to us we felt at the time. We were loaded with heavy packs which were doing little to help slow our descent. At that point, the bear turned toward us and then scurried off into the tangle of forest beyond not to be seen again. We probably represented more of a threat to it than it represented to us. We did a lot of “Wowing” and “That’s fantastic”, that night around the fire.

Living on the edge of the woods here we see a lot of deer, turkeys, raccoons, ground hogs and squirrels. It’s their home after all. I sometimes loose sight of how fortunate we are to live where these creatures can be seen. We share this space. It would be sad if there were no critters in the woods. The meaning of living here would be severely altered.

Then there is that sense that the animal kingdom have an awareness, beyond that which we have, of the environment. These creatures remind us of the existence of another world – a parallel universe – a nature bound economy that goes on around us from the molecular level up through the deer that keep our euonymus pruned.

I’m not sure just what it is that thrills us at the sight of wild things. Some say they represent a challenge to our “dominion” directive. Some say it is a spiritual thing. Some say it’s because we are ourselves descendants of wild things. Could that be it? Is it the thrill of meeting a long lost cousin?

Well, I was up this morning with my coffee for a change. I set the timer for 7 o’clock and it stays hot for 2 hours. That’s a pretty big window that allows for lazing in bed if that seems the thing to do or getting up and hacking into the morning amid the usual bodily aches and stiffness that seem to be the “normal” for me these days.

I keep thinking that regular exercise and stretching will get me beyond the hurting phase of physical training as it did when I was younger but nowadays it just seems to aggravate my muscles and joints all the more. Alas, I stay with the regimen believing, for the time being, that it keeps me from hitting that inevitable slippery slope of immobility and even senility.

I am reminded, of course, of Newton’s First Law of Motion – an integral part of every waking moment. An object at rest will remain at rest and an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an external force. That force is, many times, an act of raw will. Picture me getting out of bed in the morning and taking those initial steps and you have a picture of Newton’s idea of some “external force” in action. Not a pretty sight. On second thought, don’t picture that.

But that is the battle of old age isn’t it? When I was young the battle seemed remote as I enjoyed abundant strength and elasticity. Now, fettered by waning physical powers and a diminishing range of movement I face my Nemesis daily as though an old and cantankerous friend.

Moving does help so I’ll keep moving. I feel my second cup of dark roast beckoning.
Sounds like an “external force” to me. Here I go. I’m moving!

It isn’t exactly Super Bowl fare but it’ll do for me and my house tonight. It has fallen my lot to prepare supper. It will be taken by the fireside in Maine, not on a tail gate at Sun Life Stadium in Florida. Although I’d love to be there. I have witnessed Saints football in in the Super Dome and there isn’t another experience like it. Oh, hell, I’m sure there is but I like the way it sounds to say it that way. I am sure there will be some good times rolling on and on there and even as we speak.

It will be a one pot meal. Boned chicken thighs ( three for this ) seasoned with Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice and dredged in flour lightly and browned partly in EVOO and set aside. Then I saute half a big white onion half a bell pepper and a long stalk of celery in the remaining oil ( add more if necessary). I do this until the onion is transparent.

Now for the sauce. I take two tablespoons of flour and toss into the pot and move it around until it gets clumpy and then some ( don’t worry this prepares the flour to absorb the liquid ). I add about two cups of seasoned vegetable stock and it begins to make gravy right before your eyes. It’s frigging magic.

As this gets thick I grind some black pepper into the mix ( no salt please as there is some in the other spices and liquid – you’ll see ). I also shake a healthy dollop of PICKAPEPPA SAUCE from Shooter’s Hill, Jamaica. This is essential. If you don’t have some of this stuff – well, just go get some right now while I shake my head in disbelief.

By now there is a pot full of sauce and chicken and sauted vegetables to which you add a double handful of pealed and cut carrots about twenty minutes before it is done, and before I forget it two links of Andouille sausage pealed and cut in 1 inch pieces. You can also crumble it up too. That’s nice.

It cooks covered about 30 minutes over low heat. You can tell when it is done. I mean, if you can’t tell you better just let it alone and order out.

This is served over rice by the way and the 100% whole wheat biscuits I made this morning will serve for bread.

Well, that’s it. I hope you like it.
Be well and stay tuned . . . . .
Jerry Henderson

This is one of those days when my mind just won’t let me be. I can usually turn it off by opening one of the many mindless slam bang adventure reads I have laying about all the time for just that purpose. I got side tracked this morning first by reading some of the opinion in the Times. First was the piece by David Brooks expertly analyzing the phenomenon of sports in our culture and sadly, in it all, there was not discussion of the money involved. Without the money that is there to be made sports as we know it would go away. I am not saying it should but it is a thought. Enough money and the thought will go away I am sure.

Then there was this piece by Deborah Blum about brain concussions sustained in sports. As we all know, the NFL has recently acknowledged that there could be a connection between head injuries sustained in football and serious debilitating conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s later in life. This information has been around 80 + years in places like the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is not new news. Why has it taken so long for some kind of concession from the NFL that repeated blows to the head could cause permanent brain damage? Money. Oh I’ll admit to the culpability of the fans – we the Freeborn the high seats clamoring for the blood of the slaves who are about to die. Money. Blood lust.

The argument is about greater protectiveness. This is an argument? I love this one: Republican Ted Poe of Texas said that football as we know it could be destroyed if we move toward greater protectiveness. Oh jeeze I never thought of it like that. Thanks Ted for enlightening us. Money and blood lust are an unbeatable combination in this country, and possibly the world.

There is enough blame to go around here, but the greatest blame would come to those who fail to take action to protect players from the youth leagues to the pro ranks. I don’t know, they are talking about this in Congress now. It might be easier to revive a belief in the Tooth Fairy.