Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Mark Twain! November 30, 1835

Mark Twain's birthplace in Florida, Missouri

We are celebrating the birth of Mark Twain on November 30th.  Twain was born in a log cabin in Florida, Missouri in 1835.  This cabin is now a historic shrine and a museum that also houses some of Twain's first editions.  And there is Mark Twain lake that runs through the bluff near Florida, Missouri.  I couldn't find Florida, Missouri on a current map, but it appears to be located near Hannibal, Missouri.  The small map below indicates the spot where Florida, Missouri is located.
One would probably think Mark Twain is my favorite author because I mention him often and refer to his quotes in my own writings.  Well, I can't say he is my favorite author, but I will admit, he is the most interesting of authors to me.  So much has been written about Mr. Twain that I find him to be one of the most self-taught and street-wise (or river wise) personalities of all time.  He was a man who had nothing, yet had everything, and was satisfied in his own skin.  And he loved the Mississippi-he said, "The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise." 

Mark Twain's love of food has become particularly interesting to a wide range of authors and cooks.  There have been some recent writings describing Twain's tastes and how he preferred his foods to be prepared.    Andrew Beahrs is one such author who has written a very descriptive book called "Twain's Feast".  Mr. Beahrs writes that when Twain was abroad he missed American food terribly.  He learned that Twain found European food to be "monotonous" and "tasteless".  Mark Twain's desired breakfast consisted of  "a mighty porterhouse steak an inch and a half thick, hot and sputtering from the griddle; dusted with fragrant pepper, and enriched with melting bits of butter."  Along with the steak, Twain desired a great cup of American home-made coffee with frothy cream on top, smoking hot biscuits, and hot buckwheat cakes with transparent syrup.  A heart attack on a plate (or two), no doubt!

And as I read on, I learn what some of Mark Twain's other favorite meals were. 

The Greater Prairie Chicken

Twain's uncle John Quarle's prairie farm was just about 4 miles from Florida, Missouri on 500 acres.  He would spend several months a year on this farm and always remembered, and, in later years, longed for the foods that he claimed could never be properly cooked outside the South.  And one of these foods was the "prairie chicken" that lived within the prairie tallgrass on his uncle's farm.  He wrote:

"I can call back the prairie, and its loneliness and peace,
 and a vast hawk hanging motionless in the sky,
 with his wings spread wide and the blue of the vault
showing through the fringe of their end feathers..."

I did a bit more digging and came up with a recipe for Prairie Chicken from Estelle Woods Wilcox "Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, 1877".  It went like this:
You can find more of these scrumptuous recipes in the cookbook itself by seeing it on line-just type in Feeding America.  I have placed a picture of this book on my sidebar.

"I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on a hearth on a winter's evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream.

In Andrew Beahrs' book, he posts 80 American foods that Mark Twain lists as his favorites.  Here are just a few:

Radishes.  Baked apples, with cream.
 Cherry-stone clams.
Early rose potatoes, roasted in the ashes, Southern style, served hot.
'Possum. Coon.
Hot corn-pone, with chitlings,  Southern style.
Lake Trout, from Tahoe.
Apple puffs, Southern style.  All sorts of American pastry.
Fresh American fruits of all kinds.
And "ice water"-NOT prepared in the ineffectual goblet, but in the sincere and capable refrigerator."

Well, now we have an idea of what Mark Twain might enjoy for his Birthday dinner.  I do imagine that if he's reading this right now, he is chomping at the bits and salivating at the very thought of Prairie Chicken with sweet Irish potatoes, peaches and apples, biscuits, "corn on the ear", coffee and sugar and whiskey.
"It makes me cry to think of them", he wrote.  

Once again, I was inspired by my mother to write this story.  No-she didn't push me into it...she just put a bee in my bonnet.  In September she sent me an article from the Kansas City Star newspaper written by Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune.  The article is entitled "In Search of the Founding Flavors" and it focuses on the book written by Andrew Beahrs, "Twain's Feast".  Sooo, I bought the book, and it has been very good reading.  I didn't say that right, did I?  It's really very good.  I learned how to raise oysters, AND, how to skin a possum!  You can purchase this book at

I hope you all had a very good Thanksgiving-we over-ate and now it's time to suffer.  This time, though, I only tried two of the desserts instead of all six.  My sister-in-law made a grape salad with white and red grapes, cream cheese and walnuts.  I told myself that it wasn't a dessert, which did allow me to have two others, and I loved it!  Everything was good and we were sent home with some good leftovers!  And our Grandson Shawn spent a couple of days with us, and called me Ammaw and he called Karo Awpaw!  Works for us! 

And now I will bid you, my readers, adieu.  Don't forget to vote on my survey about Columbus' ship, The Nina.  The survey closes December 11, 2010.  

 Food for thought, eh?

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."

my friend~Mark Twain
November 30, 1835 ~ April 21, 1910

See you next month!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from The KardKorner!

photos taken by my mom (1 taken by me) Thanksgiving 1997

Well, well, where do we begin?  These are various photos from Thanksgiving 1997 at my house that I was lucky enough to be able to kreate a kollage with .  My husband Karo and I were dating at the time...we've now been married 10 years!  I don't get to see my family often for Thanksgiving because they live in Kansas City and sometimes it's snowing there at Thanksgiving and travel is risky.  But, as you can see, we're all wearing t-shirts.  The weather in Texas was wonderful.  I'm the one with the blonde hair-you should see it now! AAGGH!  And Karo is the one sitting in the middle of us girls sipping on a chilled Mimosa that my cute niece Erica (the girl with the long, dark hair) whipped up-delicious!   The very center is my groovy sister Leta, stirring her cranberries (and sipping a Mimosa) which are very tasty!  I'ts hard to get a picture of a whole table and everyone around it-n'est pas?  In the upper right hand corner is me, my brother Stan, who lived in Waco, Texas, and my son Rusty.  Upper center is my stepdad,  Bob, who is diligently carving the turkey.  Upper left is my sister, my brother and my mom.  At the bottom center is me holding one of my dinner plates up at my table.  Mom had these plates made for me in Kansas City-they are actually Christmas dinnerware, but since they were visiting, I thought using them at Thanksgiving would be appropriate.   Each piece is different.  They have god's little creatures painted on them.  Rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks-some in the center of the plate, and others on the bottoms.  A lot of BLUE going on there, huh?  And, of course, there's the table with all the blue decor.  The placemats were blue with gold stars on them.  We had a wonderful time during my family's visit-laughed a lot.  And, yes, enjoyed a few mimosa's too!  One my greatest memories.

Unbeknownst to me, my blue dining room would eventually become KardKorner Headquarters.  My old desk was in another room collecting dust and everything else that came along.  And we don't have enough large family dinners for that table.  The table and chairs has gone to a family who enjoys it very regularly.  And the walls are now a soft oat color with  pale yellow beneath the chair rail.  And now, we have a small dinette table for four, and sometimes five that accommodates us very nicely.

I am truly thankful for all the gifts that God and life have given me.  My brother Stan passed away in 2007, which still saddens us today.  But we have the greatest memories of him that do live on.  He was our own "Davy Crockett"!  I have a wonderful husband who is always at my side-and he does floors too!  I have my handsome son Rusty who has given us a most precious gift-Shawn!  And, right now, I STILL have a job and health insurance!  I am thankful for my family-mom and her husband Bob, my sister Leta, niece Erica and for Karo's family who have always been kind and a lot of fun to be around.  We have 3 granddaughters on Karo's side from his son Chad.  All three are healthy, cute and smart.  Wonderful girls.  And selfishly enough, I am thankful to be me! 

I am also extremely thankful for my readers-it is so much fun reading other's blogs.  I have been entertained by them and have also learned new things that interest me.  Thank you for visiting my blog and making wonderful and uplifting comments.  I was very shy about it at first, and leary of making comments-but I've seen and read such fabulous stories, that I finally had to reach out and speak.  I thank my fellow bloggers for bringing me out.  And I want to thank the readers who visit and say nothing!  I know you're out there!   Happy Thanksgiving!


I guess you've noticed my new survey on the sidebar...please feel free to vote on it.  No strings attached, as usual.  OK?  I would vote on your surveys any day!  This survey closes at about 10:30 pm on December 10, 2010

We're looking at 71 degrees in Fort Worth tonite at 9:42 pm!  Works for me!

And in the spirit of Thanksgiving Day, I think the poem below pretty much sums it up.

For each new morning with it's light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

See you soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Are We Really Closed For Winter? in my mind's eye...

photo taken by Suzanne November 17, 2010

Every day, along my 6 mile trek into downtown Fort Worth, I pass by this cute little yellow snow cone stand.  I think it just opened up this past spring because I don't remember seeing it here after 12 years of driving this route daily.  And you know, I haven't stopped in to check out their wares either, even tho I have always loved snow cones.  I guess I'm just too anxious to keep truckin' and get home after a long day's work.  But oh!  What a treat an ice cold cherry or rootbeer snow cone would be on a hot summer's day!

Then, sometime in late September, I noticed that the tiny establishment no longer had cars parked around, or customers walking by and stopping at the window for some kind of cool delight.  Does this mean the little stand is already closed for winter, or is it possible that it's closed permanently?  Every afternoon I look for signs of life and laughter as I pass by.  There is a "closed" sign in the little window-so maybe it's scheduled to re-open sometime in the spring.  Looking over at the empty parking lot that encircles the stand, I feel a small frown coming to my face, and I lower my eyes slightly as if I know someone may see the disappointment on my face.  So what does that make me?  Keeper of the stand?  The Snow Cone police? 

YES IT DOES!  And I've decided to do something about it.  I will bring this place back to it's summer heyday!  Sometimes our mind's eye shows us how things could and should be.  I will recreate this scene the way I perceive it to be.  And my journeys to and from work will be enlightened as I turn that corner and pass by MY snow cone stand!

kreated at kardkorner headquarters

Mind's eye:  the human ability for visualization; for the experiencing of visual mental imagery.

"Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind's eye, and you will be drawn toward it"
Napoleon Hill quotes (American author)

At 10:05 pm, it is 54 degrees in Fort Worth, Texas

Sleep tight, my dear readers!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

KardKorner Comes Thru For Fall!

Photo taken by Suzanne-November 14, 2010

Sometimes, what you're looking for is right under your nose!  I've done enough whining about not seeing signs of Fall...but all I had to do was just WAIT and WATCH.  This afternoon, as we returned from an errand, my husband Karo (that's his real name, sort of), said he noticed a tree down our street that had red leaves on it.  I said, "you know-I think I saw that on Friday.  What am I doing standing here without my camera?"  So Karo kept watch while I went in after the camera.  The result is above.  I kind of spruced it up with charcoal enhancements.    

photo by Suzanne ~ November 11, 2010

Now here we are downtown Fort Worth across the street from the building I work in.  A nice little cluster of trees turning red.  I guess I hadn't noticed them earlier, because my co-worker Cindy told me to step outside and look.  You see, poor Cindy has had to listen to my whimpering about the autumn colors too.  I think she's been on the lookout for me-and, I've been trying to keep my camera close at hand.  Thanks Cindy!   

photo by Suzanne ~ November 14, 2010

And finally, here we are on my sidewalk looking through my crepe myrtle (white blooms in summer) into my next door neighbor's yard.  The dark crimson red is from my crepe myrtle and the bright yellow is my neighbor's "mammoth" china berry tree which is a lustrous glossy green in the summer.  On the right is a younger china berry tree my neighbor planted last year.  It is just now turning and still has some green on it.  Taken from the right angle, these colors really blend beautifully.  And, of course, I had to mess with it and do it in watercolor (kinda like I painted it myself-yeah, right!)  Don't worry, I kept my day job!   

Well, it has finally cooled down in the Lone Star State-we're waking up to 50 degree temps in the mornings.  But tonite it's already down to 52 degrees at 8:40 pm.  Football games are in full swing-go teams!  I remember wearing earmuffs to our football games in high school.  Karo has asked why the warm furry stuff was always on the outside of the earmuff and the part that covers your ears had wires and a small amount of lining.  You know, he's right.  And the wire connecting the two muffs always gave me a headache!  In Kansas, we would put wool scarves on over our earmuffs to keep the rest of our head warm.  Other than just looking "cute", I'm really beginning to question the true function of the "earmuff"!


And, my dear readers, I know you're anxiously awaiting my next survey.  I was happy to see that my last survey on "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" did bring a few voters.  As much as I want to, I DO NOT vote on my surveys myself.  They are strictly for you!

Our Thanksgiving luncheon at my office is's hoping I can get a few flicks of the annual occasion.  My contribution this year will be my own English Pea Salad and a Pecan Pie (not baked by me). We have about 50 employees, and they are serious eaters!

Delicious Autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
And if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
Seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot

"bon nuit"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

KardKornerKrib...this is where I-uh...can I have a do-over?

photo by suzanne on november 6, 2010

I don't even know where it all got started...I mean, I was given an old IBM computer somewhere in 2003 or 2004 that was obsolete and stripped of anything and everything.  I had never owned a computer other than the Tandy computer that you hooked up to a TV.  But my job required computer work-just data entry, and that I could do.  So my brother, who was a computer and electronic nut, came to visit and put a bunch of stuff into it and gave me an attrocious scanner!  I told him my wish was to create my own greeting cards-I needed some art!  I didn't have internet-embarrassingly enough, I didn't even know what internet was.  I had done a lot of work with word processing, so I knew I could design letterheads, business forms, etc.  But that wasn't good enough.  My brother did install a photoshop program, a great learning tool that enabled me to scan my own photos and work with them.  The scanner was also a printer and my husband and I started taking old negatives and reversing them, thus creating the original photos.  This was pretty cool, because Karo had no idea what the photos were, other than they were from his family years ago.

Well, the on/off button eventually fell off the old computer and we had to stick a Q-tip inside and wiggle it to turn it on.  We didn't have a lot of extra money-couldn't just go out and buy a new computer, nor did I have any idea what kind I would buy.  But, finally, after we had gotten a tax refund,  my husband said it was time to upgrade, so I could do what I desired to do.  Of course, I had to purchase a couple of greeting card and photo programs, and then learn how to use them!  But, I was on my way.  And I haven't bought a greeting card, stationery, business cards, invitations since-well, and all kinds of things that I've designed and printed.  I even make stuff for my office at work.  I make my own Christmas gift tags, and I even made a stand-up menu with name cards for our table at Thanksgiving a couple of years ago.  I've made flyers and menus for my mom's herb group-and now she is on that bandwagon, and at 84 years young, she is creating and printing her own stuff!  "You go, Mom Girl!"  I swear, mom can still run circles around me!  We had taken our large dining table that seats 10 out of our already small dining room and bought a 4-seater dinette set, and then took in the corner of the dining room to set me up.  That old desk was given to me in 1972 bought from a garage sale for $10.00-I never got rid of was a blonde color.  We stripped it and stained it-then my husband rebuilt the desktop and made the hutch for the top with shelves so I could display some of my favorite things and a few books for inspiration.  And I love it!

I always like to put something personal on the back of my cards-I try to put something "snappy" like, "Kickin up Dust" from me to you , or "from the skeletal archives" of my spooky world, etc.  So I had to come up with a name for myself, other than Suzanne, Susan, Sparrow, Sewer, or BerryPie!  So, KardKorner it is...I do inhabit a corner, and I do make cards-but since I like the letter "K", having always liked Kris Kristofferson's name,  I converted (konverted) from C to K.    Actually, the Krib at the end of my blog title is because I had to add something else as I was kreating my blog-and I like it too!  

I don't know about you, my readers, but I enjoyed sleeping in this morning...9:15am, oh, but no!  It was only 8:15am!  Yes!  I didn't oversleep afterall!  And the nites are getting kooler and kooler!  So says the "kreep" from "KardKornerKrib".

Clouds come floating into my life,
no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky.
~Rabindranath Tagore

au revoir, mes amies!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We're Outa Here! But Watch Out...We'll Be Back Next Year! R.I.P.

Created at the KardKorner by Suzanne and Karo
November 1, 2010

And now my readers, the final chapter.  So ends Halloween for the year 2010.  And I must say it was a pretty enjoyable holiday.  I got to write some interesting stories, and I had the pleasure of reading quite a few exciting stories and OH! the photos and pictures that were shared!   Along the way, I reconnected with a few old friends via "The Haunted Castle", and I made a few new friends, all aboard "The Scariest Halloween Movies Ever!".  Did you check out the "witch" lineup on my sideboard?  Each one had a story to tell, if I'd only had more time...ah, and maybe more talent?

But hey...we're moving right along-got plenty more work to do for November.  And have I got some great ideas!  I hope everyone had a safe Halloween and a smooth transition into the REAL autumn of the year.  And thank you for those who did the BRAVE thing and voted on my poll, which is now closed.  In the 1943 movie, "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman", Lon Chaney, Jr. played the wolfman.  There were two correct votes.  My husband, of course, had to be the funny guy and vote for "Wolfman Jack", because he always liked him.  So that's ok!  I think a lot of us liked "Wolman Jack"-I know we miss him.  And Michael J. Fox?  He played the best "teen wolf" ever!  Love that boy!

And now, I do have some pictures to share.  We had our grandson Shawn with us for Halloween, and we celebrated his 2nd Birthday too.  My son Rusty, who is Shawn's dad, and I took him on a "trick or treat"  hunt in our neighborhood, and I believe he was a little "awestruck", but had fun!  And Grandpa held vigil at the house and served our "trick or treaters" while we were prowling the street!

Here's Shawn working on Grandpa's riding mower-
actually I think he dropped his little car and was looking for it.

Shawn and dad heading for their first house with Grandma bringing up the tail end with the camera!

AAGGHHEE!!!  This was more than he bargained for-he couldn't even look at WHAT opened this door!

OK-look at that little face!  Shawn does a double-take here at this pretty little trick or treater!
Dad tells him, "We'll discuss that later!"

AH, safe at last...back at Grandma's and Grandpa's!  Checking out his haul with a smirk on his face.
All in all, it was a productive nite of mystery and fun!  And we are so blessed for getting to share this fun holiday with Shawn!

And now, dear readers, I would like to leave you with just a couple of lines from a poem written by Wallace Stevens, The Region November.

Deeplier, deeplier, loudlier, loudlier,
The trees are swaying, swaying, swaying. 

au revoir, mes amies!