Archive for December, 2018

The Crazy Chicken Lady

My New Year’s resolution in 2011 was to write more, and write more I did. Having a weekly deadline for a newspaper forced me to sit down every Sunday afternoon and type out the words and ideas that had been floating around my head throughout the week. My first story was titled “Crazy”, and a crazy ride it has been, for sure. You, my readers, have probably learned more than you ever wanted to know about chickens, weeds, HIM, Barney the Chihuahua, chickens, our grandson, snow, and more chickens. Although The Minnesota Farm Woman has readers from all over thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web and social media, it is the people in my small home town of Deer River, Minnesota who have helped to change the stories in my head into words on paper. Thank you for your words of encouragement, hugs, smiles, and for sharing your own stories with me. I really have been embraced by your love and support. When The Western Itasca Review closes its doors for the last time this week, I will take some time to rest and recoop… er recoup. (Note to my writing self: Autocorrect is not always your friend.) I have a house to clean, which is anywhere from two days to two weeks behind. My bedroom needs painting. (That dreaded project is about five years behind.) Our grandson Max, who is now five, is expecting a new brother or sister, so there will be a baby to rock and grandma stories to tell. There are gardens to plan, chickens to feed (always) and eggs to gather (not always). I can’t forget about a New Year’s resolution for 2019, either. Maybe I should write more. The idea for a book has been floating around in my head for years, all mixed up and twisted around with the stories about chickens and weeds and HIM and Chihuahuas and grandchildren and snow and…more chickens.

Crazy, isn’t it?

You can find the stories at http://www.themnfarmwoman.com or on Facebook as The Minnesota Farm Woman.

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“Well, we tried the lutefisk trick to keep the raccoons away and it worked, but now there’s a family of Norwegians living under the front porch!” ~Author unknown, from an Ole and Lena joke

My Swedish mother made the best meatballs this side of Stockholm, but that was everyday food. Her special Christmas Eve dinner was lutefisk, and to me, it is the stuff of nightmares rather than Christmas dreams. Lutefisk is a white gelatinous odiferous fish, served with boiled potatoes and cream sauce. Everything on the plate was white, except for the melted butter and an occasional peppercorn from the cream sauce. Dessert was another tradition, risgrynsgrot, or rice pudding. The pudding was cooked slowly on the stovetop like a risotto and was also pure white, as nothing was added except sugar, vanilla, and milk. Sometimes, we added canned wild raspberries on top for both color and flavor. If you ever get a chance to try risgrynsgrot, don’t pass it up, as it is every bit as heavenly as Christmas Eve itself. Apparently, my dad’s Finnish mother also made lutefisk on Christmas Eve, so each and every year, my parents would go on and on about how delicious that lutefisk was, and each and every year, made us try a small bite. I could never stomach it, but would manage to fill my belly on REGULAR fish (because Mom felt sorry for us), potatoes, and that wonderful pudding. In our family’s tradition, an almond would be buried in one lucky person’s bowl, and that person got to open the first present. Over the years, my sister went to the dark side and now enjoys an occasional lutefisk meal, but I honestly think she eats it for the tradition rather than the taste. With parents gone and a busy Christmas Eve church schedule, we now make our own traditions, and those traditions don’t involve smelly fish. Sometimes we all go out for dinner, and sometimes we share appetizers at home. Sometimes, we have something white on the menu, just for old time’s sake. A couple of years ago, we blended up a concoction of Malibu rum, coconut cream, and ice called “Sex on a Snowbank”. It was white, all right. My strict Lutheran lutfisk-loving ancestors would probably have disapproved, but it was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that the family of Norwegians would probably have crawled out from under the front porch and joined us for a cup of Christmas cheer.

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