Wandering Around Ein Feste Burg

One of the places we used as a “home base” this past June was Bad Pyrmont. It is a town with fascinating geology, in the Weser River Valley, tucked away in some hills. It has limestone around it, and a great deal of natural faulting, probably related to the Rhine Graben, or rift-valley, not too far away. Because of the faulting, there are a number of mineral springs that bubble up, and some sinkholes of interest, and a CO2 cave where people used to go and “dry bathe” in CO2 up to their chins. In 1556-1562, it became a princely seat, and a Baroque hunting lodge was added in 1706, and then a spa developed. Goethe and a few other minor German cultural figures spent time there, as did Peter the Great of Russia, and today it is a very nice, quiet, city with good historical guides, lovely parks, and several spa hotels. And a water-castle. Continue reading


Sudden Attack of the Cutes

Once a month Athena T Cat  goes to the cat wash. DadRed has mild dander allergies, and having her scrubbed and de-dandered helps keep things from getting out of hand. It also thins out her two coats of hair, reducing hairballs (as does daily brushing). Athena has strong, loud, opinions about being transported to the cat wash. Loud, vociferous, constant opinions, including words I can’t use on this blog. I have no idea where she learned them from, either. I certainly don’t use that kind of language around the cat. Continue reading

Book Review: Rimworld – Into the Green

Curtis, J. L. Rimworld: Into the Green Print edition

Humans merrily expanded out from Earth, and collided with the Dragons, or Dragoons, and war erupted. A stalemate of sorts has been reached, with the emphasis on “of sorts.” Because the Dragoons and their human slaves, the Traders, won’t stop their attempts to expand and conquer. And humans won’t stop exploring and spreading out among the stars. Into those steps, or rather falls, Lt. Ethan Fargo. And the Dragoons (and a few loose bureaucrats) are in for a surprise. Continue reading

Friday Fiction: Of Merchant and Magic Part 6

Spring has come to the north.

Chapter Six – The Sea-Road South


The winter passed as they often did, with a little snow, much cold rain, a few flooding storms, and the onset of negotiations for dowry rates. It wasn’t that Tycho didn’t think his daughter was not a fine, well-trained and charming young woman with an abundance of skill and an attractive face, far from it. But Geraarda should not require two gold kog to find a husband. Especially since Tycho would have to leave much of the selection and opening negotiations to Gerta while he went south. Both Gerta and Geraarda had candidates in mind, and to his great surprise several of the same names appeared on both lists. One of Geraarda’s he crossed through, then scratched it over until all that remained was a black splotch.

“He is unacceptable, my lord husband?” Gerta raised one eyebrow.

He pointed at the blot. “He abuses hired women. Was almost thrown bodily out of the merchants’ housing in Gheelford for beating a prostitute when she insisted on being paid the full amount he owed her. He was forced to pay damages as well as twice her hire. I do not trust some of his business practices, either.” What passed between a man and woman was their business so long as both agreed, but bad trade practices plus abuse? Absolutely not in any man who would marry one of Tycho Galnaar’s daughters. Continue reading

Show Museum or Teaching Museum?

You probably can tell without my saying much that I am a sucker for museums. Art museum, science museum, history museum, folk-life museum, botanical garden, I’ll probably at least poke my head in to see if it looks promising. I’ve been very, very fortunate to be able to visit, and re-visit, many of the great art and history museums north of the Alps, like the Kunsthistorischesmuseum [Art History Museum] in Vienna three times, the Gamäldegalarie [painting gallery] in Berlin twice, and a few others, like the Louvre (twice over two days. Don’t bother with the southern art section, IMHO). Continue reading

Alma’s Peach Fruit Soup

Fruit soup is a summer staple at RedQuarters, when there is sufficient good fruit. This recipe started as a Scandinavian blueberry soup and got changed, as tends to happen. After the Year Without Peaches, peach became a regular flavor of choice. You can also use blueberries*, or strawberries. I’d go easy on the spices for strawberry.

2 lb ripe peaches (4-7, depending on size)

whole milk OR half-and-half OR non-dairy creamer

cinnamon and/or cloves and/or ginger and/or other sweet spices

sugar or other sweetener (if needed)

What kind of peaches? Whatever is available, although I wouldn’t use very expensive super-sweet fruit or the pit-less kind. This time I used the less expensive of the available varieties, since they felt ripe and looked good. Continue reading