A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


Meanwhile back at the farm, winter is sliding into spring. Last year my driveway had several swamps and pools, all caused by melting snow. This year the driveway is much better and has only two swamps. Of course, the weather has been warmer and we have had our share of rain. Two weeks ago I was let out for a few hours for good behavior. I called for a driver who took me to the farm. While leaving the farm to meet my curfew, my driver backed into one of the swamps with her front wheel drive vehicle. The front wheels were stuck in the mud. I almost had a fit. I could not push the car out even if I wanted to. I had a few suggestions.

“Give me your phone. I will call someone,” I said.

“No, I can do this,” she answered as the wheels continued to spin, throw wet mud and sink deeper.

“We could get the mule out and drive toward Calais. When the police stop us we could ask them to get the car out of the mud,” I suggested.

“No, I can do this,” she said.

I was beginning to panic when my driver had a good idea. I had a small pile of wood by the driveway so she took a few of the sticks and put them under the front wheels. When she tried to get out of the mud, the car pulled ahead a bit. Then she put several more pieces  of fire wood in front of her front tires, tried to get the mud off her shoes by kicking the car and climbed in. She fired up the car and away we went - off to a few more days off my sentence.

On the farm when I was a kid, the men would be still cutting next year’s firewood in this weather. The logs would have to stay in the woods until the ground hardened and then they would be hauled out by the horses. I was always a bit nervous when the horses were taken into the woods. Uncle Hum told me that he witnessed a horse walk into quick sand and the more the horse tried to get out, the more he sank into the quick sand. I always worried about walking into quick sand myself. I could just see myself thrashing around while sinking deeper and deeper. I wondered if it would be easier to drown in quick sand or to have a stroke from the claustrophobia. In the end, it probably will not matter.

When my nephew was young, we took him clamming in Perry. He had to wear his cousin’s boots and he got stuck in the clam flats. I went to rescue him and when I picked him up, he came right out of those boots. I then had a red-faced, angry kid in his bare feet and I was sinking into the clam flats. That picture of me in the quick sand came to mind and I had an anxiety attack. My mother and niece finally rescued both of us.

Thank you, readers, for all the feedback on my stories. My goal is to bring back the memories of the “good old days” and to give everyone a laugh. Readers tell me I have accomplished these goals.


I have been hearing about how walnuts are very healthy items to add to our meals. Since I do not have access to my old cook books, I have been looking in magazines here at my vacation resort. I have found that most magazines have recipes with ingredients that I do not have at home and cannot find in our local grocery stores. However, I found this recipe in Rachael Ray Every Day, a magazine I found here. I believe that all of the ingredients can be found in our local stores. This recipe is for Roasted Vegetables with walnuts, basil and balsamic vinaigrette, which is a side dish or a salad.

Roasted Vegetables with Walnut, Basil and Balsamic Vinaigrette


1/2 red bell pepper, small, cut into 1-inch cubes.

1/2 orange bell pepper, small, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 red onion, medium, cut into 1-inch cubes, separated

4 ounces Portabella baby mushrooms, halved

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup sugar snap peas

1 zucchini, small, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 summer squash, yellow, small, sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons basil, fresh snipped or 1 teaspoon dried basil adding it to 

the olive oil before roasting vegetables

1/2 cup California walnuts, coarsely chopped.

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place bell peppers, onion and mushrooms in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and dried basil if used. Place in a single layer on a large baking sheet, making sure not to crowd vegetables. Cook for 10 minutes

Add snap peas, zucchini, yellow squash and garlic and stir lightly.

Top with walnuts and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more or until all vegetables are 

crisp-tender and walnuts are toasted.

Drizzle with balsamic and toss well. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if used.


This recipe serves five. I recommend not worrying about using exact measurements for the vegetables. A little extra on the vegetables will not change this recipe