Saturday, August 15, 2009


Serves 4 as a side dish.

Salting and draining the onion along with the cucumbers in this recipe removes the sharp sting of raw onions.

1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 medium cucumbers , sliced, salted, and drained (see directions)
1/2 medium red onion , sliced very thin, salted and drained with cucumbers
To prepare the cucumbers: Peel, halve lengthwise, and scoop seeds from cucumbers. Stack halves flat side down; slice diagonally 1/4-inch thick. Toss with 1 tablespoon salt in strainer or colander set over bowl; weight with water-filled, one-gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag, sealed tight. Drain for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 hours. Transfer to medium bowl; reserve for further use.

Whisk first four ingredients, and salt and pepper to taste, in medium bowl. Add cucumbers and onion; toss to coat. Serve chilled, adjusting seasonings if necessary.


Monday, July 24, 2006


About Time

It's been a long time since my last post. Summer is half over. Still it's hot. 90 today. Well, it's about time that I get back at it. Blogging that is. Lots of interesting stuff going on in and around Winona.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Caught the little bugger

This little red squirrel was getting on my roof and then into my attic. A while back a friend of his was doing the same thing. However he was hauling walnuts and storing them in the attic. I've fixed the hole but now this new guy has found a new hole!??

As an added benefit, I actually saw him walk into the live trap! Once in there, he rattled around like a marble in a coffee cup. They are so quick that they seem to be in two places at once.

He has a new home now. I'm glad it is warm this January so that he has time to find new "digs". They are fun to watch but they sure can be destructive.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


A real January thaw

The weatherman tells us that it will be 46 degrees by 3 this afternoon. Other sources are more optimistic and are predicting 50. One fellow plans to play a round of golf. January warmth like this is unpresidented. Officials tell us that this is the warmest January ever recorded in Minnesota.

Lake Winona usually would have about 2 feet of ice on it. There would be a scattering of ice houses and pickups parked near the "hot" fishing spots. But today, the lake threatens to open up, that is, become ice free. The Mississippi river has been open all month. People have launched their boats and have got in a little fishing.

Usually ice houses have to be off the lake by March 1. Maybe the middle of January would have been better this year. Notice that the ice house is sinking in the punky ice. No, I don't know how the owner will get it off the ice. He is required to do so however.


Sunday, November 27, 2005


November Thunder

November's weather is a bit crazy in Minnesota. Two days ago on the 25th we had an all day snow fall. Yesterday morning I was shoveling the snow from my driveway with a temperature of 10 degrees F. After a day having a late Thanksgiving with my family I went to bed, full of sleep inducing turkey. At 2:08 A.M. on the 27th I woke up to the sounds of thunder. One clap after another. Then it rained for a while. It is now quiet. I supose during this transistion month when we change from summer to winter thunder storms have happened in the past, but I believe them to be a remote possibility. Now we have one more thing to talk about at the grocery store. "Did you hear that thunder last night?" Talking weather in Minnesota is a pasttime.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Sudoku is addicting

Sudoku is a puzzle from Japan that uses logic to solve. Japan couldn’t make crossword puzzles because their language and alphabet prevent it. The puzzles have the numbers 1 – 9 in them but it takes no mathematical skill what so ever to solve Sudoku puzzles. You can solve them by reasoning alone. It is that characteristic that makes them so interesting and so addictive.

They have become very popular in Great Britain and many daily newspapers run Sudoku puzzles. As far as I know, American papers don’t run them. Which means that I haven’t found them yet. But, I’ll bet they will soon.

A regular Sudoku puzzle is a grid, containing 9 rows and 9 columns. Within this grid are nine 3 X 3 boxes. Filling in the empty cells with the numbers 1 through 9 solves the puzzle by using the following rules:

1. Each row will have one instance of numbers 1 through 9.
2. Each column will have one instance of numbers 1 through 9.
3. Each 3 X 3 box will have one instance of numbers 1 through 9.

The puzzle will start with 28 or so numbers in the right place. The puzzles are ranked Easy, Medium, Hard, and Diabolical.

Again, Sudoku puzzles have one solution, which is found by a sequence of logical steps from the starting position. There is no need to guess. In fact, guessing will get you into trouble. You will know when you have solved the Sudoku puzzle because all the numbers will fall satisfyingly into place. The links contained here will get you started on your new addiction.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Working on a Mississippi River Towboat

I've often thought that it would be interesting to work on a tow boat (barge) on the Upper Mississippi. From reading Calvin Fremlings book "Immortal River - The Upper Mississippi in Ancient and Modern Times" I've learned about the crew, and it's work. There are 12 members on a tow boat, more or less.

The tow is operated 24 hours a day in which each crew member works 2 six-hour shifts. They can't leave the tow except for emergencies. There is no alcohol and no drugs. They work for 28 days and then get 28 days off (with pay). The captain and pilot who operated the boat alternate 6 hour shifts.

So, for all you barge watchers, that's how it goes. Still sound interesting? It does to me. I'll bet Mark Twain would have liked working on a tow or barge. But he'd want to be the pilot.


Much Better Ham and Bean Soup

This is a hearty ham and bean soup. Easy to make and a perfect way to use that left over ham bone. In addition it has lots of vegetables. (Not veggies! Thats a disgusting word.) Prep time about 30 minutes. Cook time about 2 hours 30 minutes or until you can't stand to wait any longer. Makes 4 - 16 bowls-full depending upon the size of the bowl.

1 pound dry Great Northern Beans. You can use the pound package of 15 bean soup. It has that nice flavor packet included.
8 Cups of water. I use some Ham Base with the water.
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste. Depends on the ham bone.
1 ham bone or hock
1 Cup chopped carrots. Good job for the food processor.
1 Stalk of celery, chopped. Put it in with the carrots above.
1 Cup chopped onions. You know what to do now.
1 teaspoon minced garlic. More if your social life is on hold for a while.
1 teaspoon mustard powder.
2 Bay leaves. Remember to take them out at the end. Bean soup should not crunch.
2 Cups of chopped ham. Some will be left from the ham bone. Add more!
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper. Same as black but you can't see the specks.


1. Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. Sometimes stones are found. Put the water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add beans and salt. Wait on the ham base if using. Put it in at the end. Remove from heat. Let the beans sit in the water at least 60 minutes but better if beans soak all night.

2. After the soaking, return to high heat and add the ham bone (hock), carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard and bay leaves. Stir well and simmer for 60 more minutes.

3. Remove ham bone and discard. Maybe Rover would like to chew on it for a while. Stir in chopped ham and ham base if using. Check seasoning. Did you remember the bay leaves? Add the white pepper. Done.


I like to take about 1/4 of the beans out of the pot at the end and mash them and return them to the pot. Thickens the soup a bit.

The soup gets better as time goes on.

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