Poem to what might have been.

In different circumstances,
a different place; a different time.

We are who, what, and where we are.
Shadows of memory of desire
Dance in the still of night
Tickle questions of what if; if only.

Know that I love you, here and now,
The best way I can, as sister.

I found this scribbled on a scrap of
paper while cleaning off my desk.
Not sure when I wrote it, or to whom.
But there are a few who might fit.


Quote from Jonas Wainwright, c1832

“I think that if I did not work with wood, my life would be a hollow emptiness. If I did not form and shape and build, what would I have done to leave my mark on the world.

“My eyes have been filled with the endlessly changing patterns of the grains. I have felt the warmth of a thousand suns in my hands every day. I have smelled the rich, tangy odors of the freshly hewn chips.

“These are the things that have made my life so fine. 
These are the most precious things that I can leave for you, my son.”

~Jonas Wainwright, master carpenter, from a letter to his son, 1832.
Quoted from “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker”, Lost Art Press (C)2009

Red Chili


  • 1 lb ground beef or buffalo (coarse or chili ground is better, but regular does fine)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans pinto bean (no chili beans)
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 bottle of decent beer or ale
  • olive or vegetable oil
  • ground red or chipotle chili to taste. I generally use about 1/2 t of chipotle for this size batch. Start with less; you can always add more, but you can’t take it back out.
  • 1-1/2 t smoked paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 t oregano
  • salt

Makes about 2-ish quarts


  • heavy skillet
  • stock pot


  1. Heat about 1T of oil in skillet and add meat. Break up meat into smallish chunks and stir occasionally until done and drippings on  the bottom of the pan are fairly dark brown.
  2. While cooking meat, heat about 1T oil in stock pot and add onions. Cook until soft. If meat is not done yet, turn heat off.
  3. When meat is done, add to onions in stock pot. Turn heat to medium and continue stirring.
  4. Add spices and about 1/2 t salt to stock pot and stir in.
  5. De-glaze skillet with water and some of the beer. Make sure you have as much of the “stuff” off the bottom of the pan as possible. This is where a lot of the richness if flavor comes from. Add to stock pot.
  6. Add canned tomatoes (not drained) to stock pot and let cook until it comes to a boil.
  7. Add canned beans to the stock pot. I do not drain the beans before adding; I think it adds flavor that I like. Your choice.
  8. Add remainder of beer or ale.
  9. Add water to about 1 inch over the ingredients.
  10. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and cover.
  11. After 30 minutes, taste and check heat level. Add more chili if you think it needs it.
  12. Simmer at least 1 hour, the more time the better the flavor.
  13. Before serving, taste and add more salt if desired.

Serve with grated cheese (cheddar or jack), sour cream as desired. Have tortilla chips of warmed flour tortillas as a side

I usually set out a bottle of hot sauce for my guest that like it hotter.

This is a great recipe for feeding a large group. You can scale back the meat a little if your budget demands, or up to double the meat for a richer, meatier meal. The quantities of seasonings are approximate; I cook by eye and nose. Feel free to adjust to your taste.

Bear’s Sour Cream Pancakes


  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz (1 C) sour cream
  • 8 oz (1 C) tap-hot water
  • 1-3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1 T melted butter


  • 1 large bowl (3 qt)
  • 1 small bowl (1 pt)
  • whisk
  • egg beater
  • silicone spatula
  • large wire strainer or flour sifter
  • griddle
  • 3 oz ladle


  1. Separate eggs, whites in small bowl, yolks in large bowl. Set whites aside.
  2. Use whisk to beat yolks thoroughly together.
  3. Whisk sour cream and hot water into egg yolks until well mixed.
  4. Add baking powder to flour and sift into large bowl over wet ingredients.
  5. Use whisk to mix well. DO NOT OVERWORK.
  6. Batter should flow off whisk in a slow ribbon, and slightly thicker than a normal pancake batter. Add small amounts of water or flour to adjust consistency.
  7. Mix in melted butter and set aside.
  8. Use eggbeater to whip egg whites until the form stiff peaks.
  9. Gently fold egg whites into batter.


  1. Heat griddle over medium-high heat. Griddle is hot enough when water sprinkled from fingers sizzles and dances over surface.
  2. lightly grease hot griddle with butter.
  3. Use 3 oz ladle to make pancakes. Do not spread cakes with ladle, and try to make sure the edges of the cakes do not touch.
  4. Let cook until bottom is medium-brown. You can not judge these by bubbles surfacing and popping like other pancakes.
  5. Gently flip and cook second side until brown.
  6. Serve with butter and you favorite syrup, fresh fruit, preserves, or jam.