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The Crack. Day 512.

Photo by James Cheney on Pexels.com

The sun claims the afternoon sky, in the way it does from behind the winter haze, glowing white, burning imaginary holes, piercing the center of my pupils. It’s four P.M., and nobody else is on the ice but me and Kim.

“Where is everyone?”

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That Horse. Day 510.

There’s a horse I can see through the empty deciduous trees when I tend to the chickens. I think he’s a red chestnut. Red short-haired body and red mane and tail, the sun’s shine obvious even so far away. He stands through the trees and over the fields and watches me from the tops of his hooves and legs and chest. He stops chewing his grassy whatever and looks at me from under his long black lashes as I toss dusty scratch at my hens and roosters. He turns just slightly enough to watch me as I toss the tennis ball to Gronk and he stops walking and turns when he hears me come outside again to collect one or two eggs. I find myself making excuses to go outside like I need one. I walk casually to the right of the property and aim myself at the back field. As I walk, I peer to the right just slightly enough to see him waiting for me, laughing to himself at my predictability. When I turn to aim my gaze directly at him, he resumes his chewing and looks away to seem disinterested. His name I’ll never know just as mine he won’t either, but this is our story. Mine and his. I’ll look for him tomorrow when I step outside to crash the thin ice that rests gently atop the chickens’ water, and he will hopefully be waiting to catch of glimpse of the odd and mysterious human he waits for. I hope he’s there. If he’s not, I will look again next time, and remember him always.

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Nana’s Trick. Day 507.

Nana was pretty much a lefty. She primarily wrote with her left hand but was completely proficient at using her right as well. That’s not the coolest part.

Nana could, with both hands, write her name at the same time! One name she would write the regular way, and the other she would write backward. If she held the paper up to a mirror, it looked perfect.

Her penmanship was also an art with clean, curved ups and downs. Tiny cursive a’s would mix with high and straight t’s. It was beautiful. It is beautiful.

I miss Nana, but I am so grateful to still have her perfect prose on intentional notepaper.

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The Sweets Intro that Never Was. Day 506.

As with the breakfast intro, the sweets intro will not make it into my cookbook. I don’t want these pieces to die, so I must share:

We fortunate ones have fond memories of walking around the kitchen with a beater loaded with hot pink frosting, or of secretly dipping our finger into the freshly whipped and sweetened cream. Birthdays, holidays, and just plain old days are the best days for sweets! Of course, it is best to eat them in moderation, but I have not perfected that practice yet. The following recipes, like chocolate toffee bars and my version of banana pudding are a simple few of the boys’ favorites.

When they were small, I refrained from buying packaged cookies and cakes as much as possible. Since I was taught to cook at a very early age, I was fortunate to know how to prepare all the sweets we would need for special occasions and weekends. Plus, we could not afford to stock our cabinets with colorful packages of snacks and highly processed foods, so I, with teachings from my mom, made them from scratch. Desserts and treats would be simple, like graham crackers with homemade chocolate frosting, and with other uncomplicated and clean ingredients like real butter, pure sugar, and eggs from our chickens.

When some people see the word “scratch,” they shy away from attempting to create. Most of the following sweet recipes are easy to make, so try. Also, ones like “Nana’s Dessert,” and “North/South ‘Banana’ Pudding” require more assembling and less scratch-baking, so start there on your venture to feed the sweetest of teeth!

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Mom, There’s Nothing to Eat! Day 503.

My Short Intro:

Fifty-three original and oh-so-tasty recipes require whole ingredients, stretchy pants, and a miniscule amount of patience. Using savory and sweet links to the past, the food was created in quaint home kitchens in North Carolina and Massachusetts. A true, small-scale project, Mom, There’s Nothing to Eat! is the first book creation of Teresa Forester Adams, mother of four sons, war widow, and local writer.

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Eggs? Day 499.

I’m reading about egg shortages all over the place. People share funny jokes about it online, but when I was at the store yesterday, I saw it myself. They were almost eight bucks!

They are saying it’s because of supply chain shortages as well as illness in the hens.

How sad.

This spring, we are hoping to grow new babies, add to our flock with our existing hens. We’ve done it once and it was incredible! It’s nice to have fresh eggs every day. It’s also nice to help out friends once in awhile.

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Pieces of Me. Day 497.

Now that the cookbook is almost ready to be sent to the printers (again), I’ve been eyeing my memoir as my next project. Although I dread diving deeply into the memories of those days, the ones concentrated with grief, part of me is excited to revise and finally be done with it.

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Loon. Day 496.

Nana would take us to Maine in the summer for vacation and we would stay in a house in Winthrop. It rested high and proud on a crystal-clear lake.

We slept with the windows open. The night air was crisp and clean and would always find its way to my bare face causing me to tuck the blanket tightly between my chin and neck.

Although my peaceful childhood trips to Maine were over thirty years ago, the call of the loon still haunts me. I wonder if and when I will even hear one again, or where I would even go.

Today’s post serves as an ode to the loon, the one I choose to believe is the same loon who called to only me each summer for seven days. If you see her, tell her I miss her.

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Lists. Day 492.

Writers, do you have a list of topics you wish to write about? Is it on your phone, computer, or on paper with real ink? The what-should-I-write-about list in my phone is getting longer and longer, but I don’t write about those topics because I’ve been so busy lately, and they’re too important to rush.

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A Memoir Section. Day 485.

This is a small piece of a chapter I titled “Ashes and Sweaty Palms” from my memoir. It illuminates the absurdity of days that follow a loss for a widow or widower, absurdity that many refrain from talking about. It goes beyond the pomp and circumstance of the lavish, gold-draped services with generals, carefully pressed uniforms, and good behavior. There are no folded flags in these intimate moments, nor are there people guiding you, holding you by both elbows as they show you the way. In the days and months and years that pass, the glory and grace move along with the masses of mourners, and Americans really should know that:

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A Dream of forty Years. Day 484.

Photo by Aaron J Hill on Pexels.com

Nana’s hands were tiny and delicate, so feminine and simply pretty, but felt strong and protective to me when I was a child. We held hands until she died, and although I was shy about doing that in public when I became a teenager, it was short-lived.

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Property Description. Day 478.

Called “The Chicken Tree,” it offers shade in the summer and loses its leaves to offer direct sunlight in the winter.

Nestled safely alongside the protection of friendly humans and contained watch dogs, this bright and airy coop with an oversized attached run is shaded in the summer and open for sunlight in the colder months. Shielded from the city lights, you will find one large bedroom, perfect for laying eggs, sleeping, and huddling up with your flock. The home offers an electric door to protect you from the neighborhood racoons and foxes, and the covered run is the most wonderful place to sun yourself, scratch around, and bathe in the fresh, black dirt without worrying about the menacing hawks.

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College Divide. Day 476.

The divide between people who went to college and those who didn’t has become quite, well, dumb, and the worst part is, it was created intentionally.

Why is there such an effort to form a severe division between people? Is it politics? Insecurity? Boredom?

We all need each other, so why not try a little harder to realize that and stop putting down others because they are on the opposite end of the spectrum that was created out of unkind and unsensible intentions?

Imagine a world where we all worked together, even just a little.

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ISO Plans. Day 469.

I want to build a greenhouse and have a vision. It’s especially heavy on my mind right now because we’ve had our first frost, and the herbs are limp.

There are many kits online, and I’ve seen plans to build. I imagine, on cold days like these, it would be nice to sit in the greenhouse and inhale the warmth and scents of mint and fresh basil.

So that is my next project, because I’m not busy or anything.

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Our Anniversary. Day 465.

I remember feeling warm in my sleeveless, rented white gown while standing in the twilight December snow. He was across the street watching me. His Dress Blues wrapped his body like liquid, gold buttons mirroring the Christmas lights that surrounded us, waist trim and tight, patent leather shoes like melting black on the white crystals.

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