Baked Beans and the Brunch Bunch

© Pat Murkland Photo

Some of my Twitter friends and I meet for brunch.
They're in New England, New York, Nova Scotia.
I'm in Inland Southern California.
We have never met IRL (in real life).
But we get together every Sunday or so.

And we have a digital brunch, of sorts.
We call ourselves the #brunchbunch.

Our world is a fast place these days. It seems that people don't often sit down and converse around a table, and eat a meal together, and visit.
Many of us have lost those neighborly conversations on front porches.
We no longer linger and visit in kitchens where the coffee pot always is ready for another cup.

Our #brunchbunch may be digital, but we connect.

Needless to say our digital meals have no calories.
The camaraderie, though, is weighty.

Sometimes we've shared memories of traditional family foods.
Recently we found out that, growing up, we all ate supper.
For some, dinner was always at noon.
And for some of us, Saturday night meant baked beans.

A couple of my #brunchbunch friends are serious about their beans.
They discuss the details of beans.
They compare types of beans.
They labor to prepare their beans.
Their tweets brought back long-ago memories of my mother's beans soaking and then simmering in the kitchen.

Sadly, I can never duplicate my mother's beans.
Yes, I have the recipe, which she typed long ago onto an index card for me.
I know how much molasses she used.
I know all the ingredients.
But it doesn't matter.
They aren't her beans at all.
The memory of her bean pot, the baked beans on the plates, us sitting at the table ...
these all combined with the beans to give a flavor and a feeling that I'll savor for life.

So here's her bean pot.
It hasn't held beans for years.
But it's overflowing with happy memories.
Today, I'm sharing them with you.

Gourd Art

Pat Murkland photo

I've been seeing some wonderful gourd art, so I decided to try my hand (and drill) at it.

It took a while for me to figure out how to open the gourd.

Then after some false starts I cleaned out the interior.

I decided to make a container, so I kept the top for a lid.

I experimented with carving faux petroglyphs of bighorn sheep.

I added stains of purple and red inks, and gold paint with mica chips, to go with the gourd's natural colors. I stamped spirals and added a turquoise accent.

I tied some fibers around the lid and tacked them with a spot of glue.

Inside, I put some salves and soaps made from native plants (made by a friend, Pinyon Pine Botanicals).
My gift was ready!