I have longed for an automated espresso machine for years.  Thinking about it often, trying to justify the cost, shopping, investing a lot of time!  But today, I got out my trusted manual espresso pot and made the most delicious cup of cappuccino ever.  It was perfect. Creamy, vibrant, and luxurious.  Every sip was savored and appreciated, slowly, thoughtfully.

Yes, the preparation process took a bit of time and finding the pot behind a coffee press on the top shelf of the “coffee” cabinet was no small feat either.  But, the entire event was a glorious morning coffee ceremony, and I’m scrapping the idea of automation, for now.

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Stink and Beauty

On an almost-fall morning walk, I discovered the most beautiful bug on a road between a field of corn and soybeans. It took some time and consultation with friends to learn it was a Green Shield Bug nymph (immature) Ackrosternum hilare AKA a Stink Bug. She’s a beauty.  There are an estimated 30,000 different insects species in Nebraska should you decide to start a collection.

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Several years ago I began the journey of beekeeping, and I’m still learning something new every day.  Initially I wanted to help bees repopulate after hearing their numbers had dropped to concerning levels.  The bees help my orchard and, of course, honey is always a sweet thing, I decided!   And so the journey continues; Swarms, angry queen drama and harvesting the honey.

From my perspective, bees are not unlike people in communities, countries or world regions.  If you get a great queen (leader), there is organization, excellent hive wax structures with food storage, healthy offspring and resilience from harsh winters,  beetle, wasp or animal attacks.    But if you have a bad queen (leader), there is chaos, disfunction, confusion and the colony suffers, wages war on others or each other…Things get ugly .

I have learned much by observing my honey bee colony and have so much more to learn.

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Hail to the Kale!

bloomI answered the phone reluctantly knowing it would be more work to stack my pile higher. “Really?  You have too much kale in your garden and I should come pick it?  I’ll be right there!” I love picking, cooking, and eating kale or any garden vegetable.

When I arrived at Olga’s garden, I found the largest squash leaves, tallest green beans and leafiest kale I have ever seen.  The weedless garden had super-sized plants with picture perfect produce.  She assured me that her secret included just a few simple things:

1.  Never plow the soil – just plug your plants or seeds in the ground.

2. Add horse manure to the top soil – just scatter it about.

3. Surround your plants with alfalfa –  it has nutrients, holds moisture and resists weeds.

4. Never, ever, ever use chemicals or insecticides of any type – you’ll poison your food!


I can do this ….

Next time my phone rings, I’ll be a bit more enthusiastic about answering it.


Posted in cooking, foodie, gardening, green, health, Local foods, Self-Sustainability, Simple Living, simple living tips JJ Palmtag | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cheese Whiz


cheese aging

Aging Cheese

cheese 4

A short drive West of Nebraska City, NE among green pastures spotted with beautiful milking cows, there is a farmer who lives in a 100-year-old home and works in her modern milking barn.  The home is heated with power from a wind turbine and supplementary solar panels. In the new barn and dairy shop,  stainless steel cheese equipment is humming with gauges blinking important numbers. Beautiful cheese is stored for aging in different types and sizes. The cheese is beautiful, fresh and produced with the loving hands of the cheese whiz farmer using organic, grass-fed cow’s milk.  I can’t wait to buy this fresh, local cheese!


Happy milking cows eating organic grass

In the store area I’m greeted by a  friendly piglet named, “Wilber” who is adorable and yes, very smart. The farmer’s freckle-faced, red-headed daughters anxiously find me the best cheese and other local foods they have to sell like local honey, fresh-picked asparagus and homemade soap. You can also buy milk, cream, yogurt and pudding made fresh daily –  displayed in a glass cooler.

cheese 2

Pepper Cheese – beautiful!

This trip to the farmer’s barn store might seem like stepping back in time, but for me, it’s definitely the future of our food supply and local economies.  Beyond incredibly wholesome food, there is a high-tech, sophisticated, strong family thriving in a small, dependable community that is quite possibly a perfect model for the future of mankind.

Find The Cheese Wiz (Laura Chisholm) at:

1875 D Road
Unadilla, NE 68454 (if you can’t get to the farm-order online)

cheese whiz

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The Old Goat



At the office today, a technical problem with data causes bad information on the Web which then creates human emotional despair involving at least two humans.  Unable to fix the problem after several hours, I grab a cappuccino and take a drive for 10 minutes to find myself driving towards my “farm” which is really just a few acres with a barn where I dream or reprieve .  On my way there, I find that the neighbors goat has escaped again this week!  She or he, not sure…is out near the road looking toward my place.  Every time on my trip to the barn, I see the old goat trying to escape and about once a week she or he, actually does!  The determination and pure defiance in the eyes of this old goat convinces me that my technical problems at work exist in a completely different dimensional plane of reality.


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womanSitting in the park today, I contemplate the struggles of women.

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