Life as we know it
Outhouses and Port-a-Potties Division
Twitty of Como writes: “When I was about age 12, my parents bought a small, unfinished cabin on 28 acres of lakeshore. It was beautiful but had no well, electricity or lavatory facilities.
“When spring came, it became my job to dig a hole for the as-yet-unbuilt outhouse, which I did. The outhouse wasn’t intended for long-term use, so it was pretty much a spare wood frame wrapped with tarpaper — cold in winter and hot in summer.
“My dog, a golden Lab, was following me down to the lake one morning when she suddenly leapt sideways into the brush along the trail, emerging seconds later clutching a young partridge in her mouth. She must have landed on it when she pounced, because it was still warm but already limp and lifeless when she proudly placed it at my feet.
“It was too small to eat. I picked it up and, spotting the outhouse, walked over and tossed it down the hole. We already had an indoor toilet by that time, so I didn’t think my donation to the aging effluence mattered.
“At dinner, days later, a question was raised as to the source of the foul (fowl?) odor emanating from said outhouse. Apparently one of the parent figures had investigated and discovered the fowl, visible with the aid of a flashlight, and I was driven to confess my foul fowl deed. Spadesful of sand took care of the odor and the flies, and I learned a life lesson to boot: Blame it on my sisters.
“One last thing: Using the outhouse at night always filled my sisters with trepidation, but for me it was almost joyous. The stars were always so bright! And the dog: Even on the darkest night, when absolutely NOTHING was visible, as soon as my foot came off that last step, her cold nose would reassuringly nudge my hand and she’d faithfully accompany me across the yard to the outhouse, waiting at the door until I finished and then accompanying me back to the porch door.”
Itinerant: “My wife and I are compulsive travelers, so when we were invited to a wedding in South Africa, we tacked on a few days at a tent camp in a remote part of Botswana.
“After rising in Angola, the Okavango River flows south. Once in Botswana, it splits into an inland delta of five smaller rivers. Each eventually sinks into the Kalahari Desert, made famous in the film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy.’ Before that, though, the delta hosts hundreds of bird species, hippos, and crocodiles, and provides water for animals big and small.
“Our guide broke open dried dung to explain how migrating elephants have spread species such as the palm trees in one of our photos.
“For an hour, he tracked the leopard in our other photo to his hiding place, in the tall grasses, by watching the movement of the wary impalas that are its prey and the baboons whose claws frighten leopards.
“Our time on the delta was quite a lesson in how an ecosystem works.”
Their theater of seasons (responsorial)
Dorothy of Connecticut writes: “Carolina Swede’s story [BB, 1/7/2017] reminds me of our two years in West Virginia.
“After 11 years in Fridley, Minnesota, we moved to South Charleston, West Virginia. One school morning, we noted a half-inch of snow on the ground. My son went to meet the school bus as usual, but the bus didn’t show up. One of his friends noticed him out there and informed him that school was canceled.
“What!? For one-half inch of snow? We Minnesotans scoffed.
“But it turns out there was a valid reason to cancel school. It seems that even minimal snow on the roads will prevent the school buses from driving up the steep hills in the more rural areas, and therefore those students would be unable to come to school. Hence the cancellation.
“It all makes sense, but it took some getting used to!”
Gee, our old La Salle ran great! (responsorial)
Dolly Dimples: “Golly! Does the F.W. Woolworth Co. menu submitted by Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake [BB, 1/6/2017] stir up wonderful memories of shopping in downtown St. Paul. No malls in those long-gone days — so shopping was a real excursion and included going from one department store to another: the Emporium and the Golden Rule (that was a breeze, because the entrances to the Emporium and the Golden Rule were across street from each other). Then up the block to Schuneman’s.
“Those were our favorite stores to visit. I say ‘visit’ because money was tight, and unless something was on sale, we just browsed and dreamed of owning it someday.
“Our shopping trip ended at Woolworth’s, where we always bought a few special items we’d saved for. After purchasing our special items, we settled down at the refreshment counter with happy hearts and much anticipation for the delicious treat we were going to have: the biggest and best banana split you could ever imagine.
“With full tummies and clutching our treasured packages, we happily went home to show the rest of the family what we had purchased that day.
“By the way: Does anyone use the expression ‘Golly!’ these days? It was quite prevalent in the olden days. Just wondering.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Golly! Dolly! You’ve answered your own question!
Just a coincidence? (responsorial V)
Or: Only a ________ would notice!
Postscript of Twenty Miles From Everywhere: “I thought I remembered this from many years ago. The general difference between a college and a university is that colleges offer only undergraduate degrees, whereas a university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. There was more information on the site I checked, but that is the gist of it.”
Again, The Linguidiot: “As Sally, the Cleaning Lady of Shoreview and others already know [BB, 1/8/2017], my belief that the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota was the only institution of higher learning allowed to have ‘university’ in its name in the ’60s is contradicted by fact. Seems some private schools also claimed the designation. As a Catholic-school graduate, this is not the first time schools with religious affiliation have challenged my assumptions, but it’s the first time I so quickly and easily admit to seeing the light, and am actually grateful for it. Thank you, BB’ers, for stopping me from spreading this heresy.”
The Suggestibles (responsorial)
Sunday’s Bulletin Board included a note from Poet X of PDX: “About a month ago, a Facebook friend posted a picture of a root-beer float and asked: ‘Did you have these when you were young?’ Of course I did, and the picture gave me an immediate craving. In the next weeks I had several, including about five or six nights in a row. And I had another about an hour ago.
“The same thing has now happened after someone on BB mentioned going out to get green Jell-O. I suspect it’s been over 20 years since I’ve made or eaten Jell-O. Today I made it and added some mandarin oranges, the ones in little single servings, not fresh, which have been in the fridge for a long while. I also did some overdue grocery shopping today and got some watermelon Jell-O (red, not green) and some single-serving pineapple chunks, which I think will go well in the watermelon jello. [Bulletin Board says: We always thought Jell-O wouldn’t jell with pineapple in it.]
“The ‘green Jell-O’ with mandarin oranges was the best Jell-O I ever remember having and will probably become a habit. Tasty! Thanks to whichever BB contributor sparked my craving.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We were quickly disabused of our Jell-O/pineapple misconception!
Lawyergirl of St. Paul: “That’s fresh pineapple; canned pineapple is just fine in Jell-O. Fresh pineapple has bromelain in it, which breaks up the Jell-O into its amino-acid building blocks. The canning process must change that, as I’ve had canned pineapple in Jell-O.
“When these recipes were developed, it’s doubtful that anyone in the Midwest had much fresh pineapple. I remember what a big deal it was to try fresh pineapple and fresh coconut for the first time as a child; Grandma and some of her siblings had gone to Hawaii and brought pineapple and coconut home with them.”
Mamallama of Como Park: “My mother’s traditional holiday salad involved alternating pineapple tidbits and maraschino cherries in a ring mold, covering it with a mix of liquid lemon and lime Jello and refrigerating it until partially set. She then filled the mold with the rest of the partially set Jello after adding grated carrots and celery. When the jello was completely set, she removed it from the mold and cut sections to set on a lettuce leaf. She also made a dressing with Miracle Whip, paprika, and some liquid. (I didn’t like the dressing and never ate it, so I did not memorize the recipe.)
“The only caveat was not to use fresh pineapple because that would keep the Jell-O from setting. Canned pineapple created no problem.”
OTD from NSP: “It can’t be fresh pineapple. Canned/processed, such as snack cups, work fine. I think this is also the guideline for mango.
“As an insulin diabetic, I make/eat a lot of sugar-free Jell-O and like to mix different combinations of the snack-cup fruits with different flavors of Jell-O. One of my favorites is pears and green Jello-O. There was an article in the last year or so saying that the company that now owns Jello-O is thinking of dropping it. I hope not. It would take away a snack/treat/dessert for me.”
Vapid in Vadnais: “I learned the hard way that the enzymes in FRESH pineapple prevent Jell-O from jelling. Canned pineapple doesn’t affect the process. Had to change the menu that night.
“My ex-sister-in-law had a Jell-O recipe with three layers: a graham-crust bottom, a lime (with something that made it opaque and light-colored) middle layer, and a clear red top. It was delicious. Sure wish I had the directions. It would hit the spot. The family of my son, Albertville Author, would likely turn up their noses at it, as they are food snobs. Sparky and his kids might eat it.
“Pretty sure my roommate Megan would gobble it up. She’s a beagle-mix, and, like Mikey, she eats everything. She isn’t doing well lately. I might have to make a hard decision soon.”
Poet X of PDX: “The watermelon Jell-O was fine with pineapple chunks. I drained (drank) the juice before adding the pineapple to the Jell-O, of course. I don’t remember if Mom (or anyone else from my youth) put pineapple into Jell-O, but it seems likely. Besides mandarin oranges, I do remember other ingredients that were put in Jell-O when I was young, separately: sliced banana, fruit cocktail, shredded carrot, mini-marshmallows.
“After the Jello-O has ‘set,’ it could be mixed with dollops of Cool Whip, which my sister suggested a few days ago when I told her of my renewed taste for Jell-O. ‘Too much sugar,’ I responded, but I remember that it did make Jell-O very tasty. The Cool Whip was not added to Jell-O that already had other things added.”
There’s nothin’ like a simile!
And: Unclear on the concept?
Donald: “This was the opening sentence (and paragraph) in Brian Murphy’s article on Minnesota’s new football coach in Saturday’s Pioneer Press: ‘P.J. Fleck crushed his introductory news conference Friday with verbal revelry and theatrical flourish as predictable as January permafrost.’”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We’re not sure (and would prefer not to learn) how one “crushes” a news conference — but we’re pretty sure we know what permafrost is!
Our birds, our squirrels, our trail cams, ourselves
Wild Bill of River Falls, Wis.: “About a week ago I wrote up a little Aesop fable based on a crow/squirrel confrontation in my front yard, which you were kind enough to run. Imagine my surprise when I checked my trail camera out in my woodlands and caught another epic squirrel/crow battle, this time over peanuts.”
A thought for today
From Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Thought for today: We are one day closer to spring.”
Band Name of the Day: Dried Dung
Website of the Day: Okavanga Wilderness Project