The Call of the Wild Rice

Let’s go gather some wild rice. After all, it grows on the fresh water tidal inlet very near where I live. What? You’d rather go to Costco? Naw, we can’t go to Costco, not while there’s abundant wild rice just begging to be harvested. Do I know how to do it? Of course I know. How do I know? Well….I read about it and really, there’s nothing to it. You get in canoe, one person paddles around in the rice, the other person whacks at it with a stick and before long, wild rice is piling up in your canoe. Then what? You take it out. Obviously. There’s nothing to do after that?

Well. Probably. But I’ll find that out when we’ve gotten all the wild rice.


Me, ricing


My sister, paddling.

Not much rice is in the canoe. We decide the birds are eating it all. (There are a lot of red-winged blackbirds. Hundreds. They are on the rice stalks. This mollifies my sister somewhat since it tells her that this stuff we are attempting to harvest is, in fact, edible and not another one of my sketchy ideas.)


Our harvest.

Obviously, the canoe did not get filled up with wild rice.I research what happens next. My sister goes to her house to take an allergy pill. Turns out she is allergic to nature. I dry the rice, as per YouTube instructions.


I dry and parch the rice.

I parch the rice, ditto.


Next the rice needs to be hulled. YouTube says Native Americans stomped on it with soft deerskin thingies on their feet. That seems difficult.


I squish it with my hands. Ouch. I don’t have soft deerskin mittens.


I rub it with a rock I picked up on the Maine seashore. That seems to sort of work. But not really.


Maine seashore rock.


With hull.


Without hull.

I hull the frickin’ things one grain at a time. I invite my sister over. She declines.



The almost finished harvest.

I have taken “Gather Wild Rice” off my bucket list.


Alrighty Then, Week Off

A few weeks ago, at our team dinner, the kids attempted to school Richie in # v. @ and other twitter niceties. Fair warning: The following could be construed as a grumpy old person post. #grumpyoldperson

Sometimes, when I’m sitting in bed in the morning, drinking my cup of tea and I cast my mental net #thinkinrealhard out into the social media web, I can sort of understand it #notquiteclueless. I see that it is a community of sorts: someone types something out on their little device #widescreentviphone6 and it is instantly seen by everyone following #lemmingstothesea that person. You get to know what that person is thinking right then, as if you were there! #butyou’renotsodon’tkidyourself.

So I get that part—it’s communication—which is probably where the word community comes from #toolazytogoogleit and it is all about connecting via communication. But wait: What are we actually communicating?

I’m a polymath #lookitup and so I like to connect at a deep and real level #D&R#sosanctimonious about lots of different things and this trend of more and more sprightly communication leaves me shaking my head, just as the tortoise must have shaken its head as the hare sprinted past, leaving a cloud of dust in its wake. #aparableyouareprobablytooyoungtoknowabout #andprobablyhaslostitsrelavenceanyway

I suppose it’s an age thing #grumpyoldperson and if you’ve grown up communicating by actually talking to someone #actuallytalkingtosomeone or by writing a letter on a piece of paper and mailing it, #whatsthiswhitethingwithmarksonit then the instant and brief communication offered by certain aspects of social media isn’t going to resonate, because the need has not been created in your psyche.

Ha! #lightbulb#!!! Since I, as middle-aged person, have not spent my formative years in a world filled by social media #alternateuniverse my communication needs #darkages have been filled with what I’ve already got. #whatsthiswhitethingwithmarksonit #actuallytalkingtosomeone

Good. That’s solved. #alrightythen Now onto other conundrums of modern living #passwordmanagerpasswordiswhat?#whydon’tihaveanyfollowers?


Color Therapy

If you’re like me, you’re craving color about now. Big, bold, shameless color. What’s my fix? Going to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) in North Adams to see the three floors of Sol LeWitt installations–it’s a veritable bubble bath of color. Last week, the hubby and I travelled there, over the scary mountain (hairpin turns galore!) and stayed at a very cool place called The Porches Inn, right across the street from Mass MoCA. IMG_2033Highly recommend The Porches, not just for its rooming house chic and heated outdoor pool and hot tub, but also for the breakfast delivered each morning in a metal lunchbox, complete with thermos of coffee and OJ.

At Mass MoCA, we arrived ten minutes before opening and were surprised to find the place packed. “Wow, lots of Seasonal Affective Disorder people,” we thought. But that was not the case (or maybe it was) but at any rate, turns out the new governor, Charlie Baker, was there to give a little speech, no doubt about how western Mass is still Massachusetts, ihho, and he’s going to bring us into the twenty-first century with things like cell phone reception and fiber internet (which would be very nice, btw.)


Seizing our opportunity, we bought our tickets and galloped to the Sol LeWitt, knowing that we would have all those luscious rooms to ourselves.




Lovely, lovely, I’m getting happier by the second.


Wait! What’s that? Is that the governor again?IMG_1986

Yup. We went to the next floor.

Whoops! That governor sure does get around. Is he following us? Should I tell him about my tiny town that has no cell phone reception?


Nah, I’d rather soak in more color.

IMG_1983 IMG_1971 IMG_1976 IMG_1988

Over the River and Through the Woods: A Post by Buddy

I think that title is very clever of me because…I am at Grandmother’s house! It is Chanukah, so we are visiting dad’s mom, who is my Nanny Bobbe.

Where Nanny Bobbe lives is very different from where I live with mom and dad. It’s a place called New Jersey. In New Jersey, there’s millions of people and cars. We stop and go, stop and go, and I look at the other people in the cars next to us with my most appealing expression to brighten their day, but most of the time the other people in the cars are looking at a box in their hands and moving their fingers on it and they don’t see me at all. Which  is too bad, because I think seeing adorable me would make them happier than a box in their hands. But maybe looking at the box is a rule here. Also, I’ve noticed that there is almost always one person per car and that the bigger the car is, the smaller the person who is in it. That might be another rule. I’ll have to observe more because I like to think of myself as a worldly Maltese and so I like to know how things work.

When we get to Nanny Bobbe’s, I go in my bag, and we go into the building and then when we’re in Nanny Bobbe’s house, I go out of my bag and look cute and everyone tells me how cute and well-behaved I am. Then mom gets me some water, and I lay down and look adorable and everyone says how adorable I look. So what’s not to like about New Jersey?

This year I became acquainted with the “Chanukah gelt” tradition. Mom and dad think it’s wonderful, but for me it’s just ho-hum. Being the well-bred dog I am, though, I’d never let on that I’d rather have a toy that has a bit more squishiness to it.