All posts by RiverBrown

Day 31

It's the final day of the March Slice of Life Challenge:  to write every day, post a link to your blog and comment on other writers' posts.  

I enjoyed reading some fresh writing and coming across a few works that were, to me, stunning. Commenting on writing is a pleasure, and I noticed my tendency to also want to talk with the writer about the life issues and experiences shared. Indeed, we created a sense of community in common experience of entering a pandemic.

Looking back on some of my posts, I see my need, as a writer, to get down to — or be able to start from — the feeling. It is emotion that powers the words to come out that will ring true, whether they are amusing or profound. And I’m feeling a teensy bit of loss that SOLC is ended.

I enjoyed the challenge of creating a blog post project that gave readers 5 days of drawing into writing. I believe that drawing is writing and I see it as a way that even adults can be more attentive to the nudges and quirks of their own minds that might bring forth something original.

I know there were prizes and prompts, and much administration of this event, for which I am grateful. But prizes don’t get me to the table. Writing to be heard does. Thanks to each of you who read a post.

Thank you, writers for peeks into your fears and bravery, into your inventive ways to manage sheltering in, and to just being who you are. Many voices across the plethora of blogs to read daily: in fact, an overwhelming amount of daily posts compared with years back.

But this is a good problem to have. Hope. Writing kept me at hope. You have been good company. Best to you, Slicers, as you carry on.

Be well. Stay safe. And love.

Alice & I Write

After the winter flood 2019

Today my younger daughter was home since she worked the weekend. She’s a home care nurse who lives in the Russian River resort area. This photo, taken after 7 of us women had helped her haul things out to the street and shovel & hose mud away, reveals A.’s resilient spirit. She mourned her beloved chickens who drowned, but also laughed at one of her old wooden chairs lodged in the fence, a strange water mark.

I got a long email from A. today, and responding to it was where my writing energy went. Now, it’s after supper and I said to Mom, “Oops, excuse me, please, I forgot to blog.”

Alice responded to the photos I sent her and I wrote comments in text.

I love our little malt bunny! I’ll make a batch of strong beer, then ferment that into vinegar, and get this guy printed up on clear labels. The malt vinegar batch I have now is really good but I think I need to do the whole thing from scratch w hops and other herbal bitters I grow here. I’m not going to try to grow my own grain but as much as possible I am moving all V.A. products to farm-made. We have the county go ahead for a farm stand and nursery, hope to be doing more with that by summer.

[This will be astonishing vinegar. My mouth is watering…]

I have some big pieces of the prickly pear cactus that came down that I need to replant. I think a prickly pear vinegar would be quite a fine thing, have you ever cooked with the “tuna” (fruit) -? Way back in culinary school I did a prickly pear vinaigrette in a foods of the Americas class, it was good, got me some praise in an era when raspberry vinaigrette was still a big wow. It was somewhat arduous extraction process, I think if I was going to do a vinegar I would make a base first and infuse in the tunas for color and flavor. Tiny hairlike stickers that do not come out of people or gloves, many seeds. But! It would be a lovely pink and super micro-nutrient rich stuff, and I believe tunas are a natural fermentor, come with their own wild strains of yeast. 

[You’ll notice I’ve adjusted my text color in euphoria over just the idea of prickly pear vinaigrette.  It would be fine, indeed, but I have never had the pleasure of tasting or cooking with it.  It could be a winner at a Sonoma State competition, that vinegar. Extra points for self-fermenting.]

[Wow. And yes, I notice I start trying to figure out how to use whatever I’ve got, as in the homesteading days. But this is exceptional that a memory from culinary school gives you a way into making something fabulous.  Chefs are artists.]

Enjoy the quiet time, take good care.. ever taken oregano oil for immune support?

[No, I haven’t used oregano oil, but my bush is very happy right now, pre-seeding.  In fact so robust that I had to trim a side to make room for the tomato set nearby.  I wonder, could I benefit from it without extracting the oil?  It smells divine to me, and I often just rub my hands up a stalk.  I am imagining that oil from herbs requires equipment.  And know how.   I’ll do some online research in fresh oregano practices.]

I used to take it in Seattle winters working in the market at the herb stores; all the sick people in the city came there for tea and cures so it was a bit of a challenge to stay well. I liked that and grapefruit seed. 

[Later I texted a photo]

Look! Making oregano oil – it’ll be ready in two weeks.

Food, growing food, plants, and processes…we have always like to share those things.


It takes a little alone time to become habitually self-referencing and it takes unstructured time to shift to the default brain network.

Time can feel oppressive if one views it as space to fill up. Or an agenda willed with things to accomplish.

If time is a river, and I think it is, it is a river that goes nowhere and everywhere. It is a flow in all things.

I like having uninterrupted time to think – to day dream. I am grateful for time to sit at my drawing table.

It takes time to make a good soup. I’ve got plenty.

Time is precious in the sense that life is brief. To be able to fill one’s day with exactly the things one is designed to do is a gift, indeed.

Here’s to the times. Strange as they are, salut!! to the quiet times.

Russian River bunny I drew for my daughter.

Today all day

It is late evening and I just remembered to blog. I spent the afternoon inventing a Russian River bunny who is eating fish and chips with his pint.

The highlight of the day was being outside in my backyard, weeding areas along the sidewalk and under the red smoke bush. I took down the huge sunflower that had volunteered there, and laid the stalks sideways on the potting shed by the garage for the seeds to mature.

Weeding in slightly damp earth is squatting, sitting and stretching exercise as well as completely absorbing. My thoughts settle into simply noticing what’s in front of me. Soil, plants, rocks…

Pulling the grasses out from the crack between the walkway and the bed that runs along the fence was challenging. I feel the work in my fingers even now at the keyboard. I took Mom out for a yard tour so she’d get a bit of a stretch and she ooh-ed and aah-ed over the spring changes.

Other earthy things today included making paleo healing chicken soup, with ginger, garlic, turmeric and many veggies. I feel stronger just thinking of it. And I enjoyed doing Miranda’s bone strengthening workout on DVD.

There isn’t a story to today, except that it was quiet and content.


Me in Space [When I was younger]

This week I have done quite a few quick ink drawings on index cards, sometimes to prompts, other times free. I drew a birthday card for my grand niece today in my full cartoon style: photo of K. with grandma on the living room floor. Gma is letting her pick the classical guitar while little brother looks on. After I sketch from the photo then I turn the people into rabbits. This was more challenging today since I know the people, so I was picky about the face, even though a rabbit cartoon doesn’t deliver a lot of expression.

I put some of the index card drawing in the envelope for K. after doctoring them up with a bit of color and comments on the back. This one, though, intrigues me, and I won’t part with it.

The prompt was “for 3 minutes, draw yourself in space.” There is something like the feel of The Little Prince, something of childhood, and maybe a taste of longing for good old Earth that made me tape this one up on my studio wall. [my “studio” btw is a drafting table in a laundry room I converted into my space.]

I am trying to write into what I like. Design-wise it just worked. Lucky. I have thought of making a short cartoon story in which some over-protective parents sent their little girl into orbit – they are well to do and have private space craft. She was to stay out of the pandemic for at least 2 months, with supplies, special food, toys and a baby monitor speaker phone in the satellite cabin. Of course, everything was remote control.

However, in the next frame, after they launch her into orbit, she gets curious about the new play environment and pulls a switch — close up frame of “Parental Control” and the top of the switch “Override.” Now the girl can go for a space walk….

And then I thought about how complex it will be for the parents, who are probably talking to her in her helmet/suit while she is looking at Earth, to decide whether to just talk her back into the cabin, or rush to the launch and rocket up. Who? Mom? Dad?

And what do they do? Perhaps they come alongside the craft and tow it back into the atmosphere. I don’t think manned satellite landings are cool. Old footage showed them harsh.

So, I didn’t write the story, but I like the drawing. I like the character and her outfit. Perhaps a different story will arise.

What I appreciate — in addition to the quiet from less traffic, is the clean air in our city and the gorgeous Spring weather. I appreciate so much what I have realized is time to be creative. It takes a bit of playful looking, stepping back…looking. I am so grateful for a drawing board in a lovely room. Drawing is soothing and stimulating at the same time.