This is soup weather . . .

First real snowfall of the season.

First real snowfall of the season.

We had the first real snowfall during the night. And it’s cold! I mean it’ s cold like it was in my Montana childhood!

I’ve been tending birds here for several years. Today, I came back from that chore with icy-burny fingers and toes. Just like I remember as a kid.

So, it’s time to put on a pot of soup. Vegetable soup. I’ll take a piece of cheap steak from the freezer, defrost it, cube it and brown it on the stove in a little olive oil. Then, in that pan, I’ll add some canned tomatoes for liquid; some diced potatoes and various vegetables from the freezer – beans, corn, carrots and peas, peppers, onions.  A little salt. Some peppercorns. Dried parsley. After it simmers on the stovetop for 15 minutes or do, I’ll transfer the soup to a crock pot to finish cooking. That will be ready to eat by dinner time.

I often add beans to the mix – small red or white beans – but today I don’t have any cooked and I don’t want to wait that long to eat this soup.

It’s time to appreciate veggies from the garden.

Mona L S Baisch


It’s a fact . . .



It’s a fact that’s been confirmed here on Ross Road. Both the indoor cat, Bugs, and the outdoor cat, FreddyCat PREFER cat food to turkey. Bugs won’t eat tuna. Go figure . . .

Gotta love ’em!





The tail of the cat

goes round about after,

part of the master



It follows behind,

sometimes it goes faster,

in case of disaster,



into the treacherous

fray, ready to fight.

The cat, when it might



with its whiskers atwitch,

soft under covers silk

snoozing away with milk



and dreams of love kittens,

still it keeps throwing

the coming and going


Mona L S Baisch (Mona L Spaulding circa 1994)

Christmas is a Metaphor . . . and a time for memories

Christmas is a metaphor for childhood–the way it should be. A way of thinking about the invisible but real, thinking about goodness, joy and promise.

It’s also about memories:

I remember my Aunt Win coming home from D.C. every year at Christmas and making candies. Especially marshmallows. What kid wouldn’t remember a well-dressed woman in an apron standing outside in the Montana cold whipping candy until it cooled?

Marshmallows – 2 envelopes Knox Sparkling Gelatin, 1/2 cup cold water, 3/4 cups boiling water, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla – Boil sugar and boiling water together until syrup tests thread stage (thread forms when syrup drops from edge of silver spoon). Remove from fire. Pour cold water in bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top of water. Add to hot syrup and stir until dissolved. Let stand until partially cooled. Add salt and flavoring. Beat until mixture becomes thick, fluffy and cold. Pour into pans (size about 8×4 inches), thickly covered with powdered sugar, having mixture one inch in depth. Let stand in cool place (not a refrigerator) until thoroughly chilled. With a wet sharp knife loosen around edges of pan and turn out on a board lightly covered with powdered sugar. Cut in cubes and roll in powdered sugar. Fruit juices in place of part of the water, or nuts, chocolate or candied fruits, chopped, may be added – or the plain ones rolled in grated cocoanut before being sugared. Dates stuffed with this confection are delicious.

This recipe obviously serves for the home-made version of Aplets and Cotlets!

Mona L S Baisch

The Little Daisy Salad Book

From my mother’s recipe collection, I’ve come across a small booklet titled The Little Daisy Salad Book, copyright 1923 in Minden, Nebraska. My mother was born in 1917 so it obviously came to her from another relative – mother, sister . . . The book is inscribed by Marian Weber, but I don’t recall anyone by that name. It’s a delightful little book of 24 pages.

I rarely take time to go through these treasures I have in boxes. Generally when I do, it’s at the holidays. They’re treasures, speaking from a time most of us don’t remember. Here’s a sampling:

To Peel Oranges – Pour boiling water on oranges and let them stand five minutes. The peeling can then be easily removed and the bitter white lining will come off with the peeling.

To Curl Celery – Cut thick stalks of celery in two inch pieces, and with a sharp knife, beginning at the outside of the stalks, make fine cuts parallel to each other, extending one-third the length of the pieces. Make six cuts at right angles to the cuts already made. Cut the other end in the same fashion. Put the pieces in cold or iced water and let stand for several hours.

A Fruit Salad Dressing – 4 tbsp. heavy cream, 1 tbsp. vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp paprika, 1 tsp finely chopped mint, 1/4 tsp salt – Beat cream until light (not stiff0 add vinegar, etc., and serve on salad.

Another Fruit Salad Dressing – 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, juice of 1 lemon, 1 egg – Boil the sugar and water together until the syrup will spin a thread, then pour over the well-beaten yolk of the egg. Beat while cooling and add the lemon juice. When cold and just before serving, whip in the stiffly beaten white of the egg. [This was back when people still ate raw eggs.]

Mona L S Baisch



I’ve discovered a cute, easy, and timely (Christmasy) bootie pattern . . .

Cutest booties ever! Make a pair with bells for the Christmas baby!

Cutest booties ever!
Make a pair with bells for the Christmas baby!

I like to have a hand-work project to work on when I find myself sitting in front of the TV, but it doesn’t command my full attention.Right now, I’m making baby booties. We have not one, but two new baby girls in the family! I LOVE this bootie pattern and want to shout it out to the world.

Here it is folks. It’s a free pattern and a wonderful pattern site:

Ms. Moser’s booties are Christmas green. Mine, you see are red. The strings are still attached. I’m making up a batch and will finish them all at the same time.

NOTE: This is a copyright belonging to DIY Maven, also known as JoAnn Moser.

Mona L S Baisch


Updating the iris site . . .

PAYPAL_INVOICE_LOGOI’m spending a lot of time now updating the iris site. I take hundreds of pictures when the iris are in bloom, but the gardens are just too busy to process them then. That’s left for winter. It’s a process.

The ornamental pheasants are still included in the Ross Road Iris web – I suppose I should separate them and give them a home of their own. Maybe next year. My letter to previous hatching egg buyers went out yesterday. Presales for the eggs always start before the iris.

Take a look!

Mona L S Baisch

Pondering . . .

I ran on to a quote that hasn’t left my mind since I read it a few days ago.

In art as in politics, well-meant, noble-sounding errors can devalue the world. – John Gardner from On Moral Fiction

He goes on to explain, at some length, that creative efforts that work to tear-down, no matter how wildly they are lauded by the public – whatever the audience (film, music, literature, sculpture, painting), is not really art. Art, by definition, uplifts.

I thought I’d let that wander through some other minds besides my own. Download at least the free chapter from your Kindle bookstore: ON MORAL FICTION.

Decorating now for Christmas . . .

I tied them to a pine bough with gold ribbon.

I tied them to a pine bough with gold ribbon.

Simple is often best.

This is the second year we’ve decorated with leaves from the yard, sprayed gold. They’re lovely! They’re free!

Here in Idaho, it’s too late to be collecting leaves. Do it if you still can collect them where you live. Otherwise, file this away for next year.

Is next year’s garden already planted in your mind?

Thinking spring!

Thinking spring!

We’re about to have a week of really cold weather here in Weiser, Idaho. Zero! But I have my garden catalogs to keep me warm.Really, I have my garden CATALOG. I’m pretty much down to one. After trying all the rest, I’ve settled on my favorite for my vegetable garden seeds. If you haven’t found Baker Heirloom Seeds catalog, you’re going to be thrilled! You may have know these folks as Rare Seeds.

My faves from this catalog include the best watermelon ever, and this is the only place I’ve found it: Alibab. If you don’t cross-pollinate it, the seeds are true. It’s an Iraqi variety and get to be from 12-30 pounds. It has a light green rind, is very sweet, and has very red, crisp flesh. Seeds, of course – it’s an heirloom.

Mona L S Baisch

Living inside the lines . . . and outside the box . . .

Here you’ll find the scribbles, scraps and tidbits of life here on Ross Road.

When I first posted  Ross Road Iris, I had a monthly page I called “What’s New.” If you follow that hyperlink, you will now find yourself RIGHT HERE!

This is the new format for WHAT’S NEW ON ROSS ROAD –  a little of this and a little of that.

Mona L S Baisch