More Cows!

Here are a few more photos from my cow photo shoot! I posted these on my shutterfly website, so check there for the complete collection or if you want to order prints.

It was fun sneaking up on these guys (or gals, I should say). I moved slowly and quietly so as not to scare them. They barely even noticed I was there until I started clicking away -- the shutter release of my camera was enough to perk their curiosity and call them slowly towards me. When I moved down to the ground they too brought their attention towards the ground. I thought it was funny how they formed a row to carry out their investigation. Go to my shutterfly site to witness more of these cow personalities!


Evan and I spent a few days down at the farm right before Easter. When E went out to the barn to help with chores I decided to come along with camera in tow. Turns out cows are pretty good models! They typically just stand there so you don't have to worry about sudden motion and shutter speed issues, and they perk up with curiosity when my camera starts clicking away; ears perched forward, noses searching the breeze, beautiful eyelashes fanning my way. Here is a little montage I put together with the images I edited focusing on the particular shape of the bovine body and their trademark colors. Sapa Ska, which means black-and-white in a Native American language, is the name of the Pierson family farm in Lake City, Minnesota.

NOTE: Notice anything tricky about the photos? How you can't tell where parts of the cows start and where the backgrounds begin?

Recipe: Tahini (or Peanut Butter) Oat Cookies

I have a little daily lunch routine when I'm at work: I sit at my desk and enjoy my lunch while searching the internet for tasty recipes! Most people who know me probably think I'm a bit of a health nut, but good food actually tastes good to me and makes me the happy, healthy and energetic person that I am. Just ask Evan what to do if I seem cranky -- dish me up my plain organic yogurt with honey and flax meal and I'll perk right up! Some may say I'm high maintenance as gravitating towards the organic and natural foods aisle in the store can be expensive... but I like to see it as the best investment you can make in life: your health.

One of my favorite recipe sites is Here is a recipe I found on their site for Tahini Oat Cookies. I was intrigued because 1) they seemed very easy to make and 2) they are completely naturally sweetened. I read in the comments that someone substituted peanut butter for the tahini so I did the same as I didn't have tahini on hand. It worked out great! I used non-hydrogenated peanut butter (with the oil you have to mix in) as that oil is much healthier for you than the hydrogenated form -- and I just love the taste : )

I love these cookies, but don't expect a big dessert-type taste. They are more like tea or coffee cookies.

Makes about 24 cookies

If you love sesame, you will love these cookies, rich in flavor from sesame seeds and subtly sweet from a touch of maple syrup.


1 cup rolled oats 
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or regular, or none at all)
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 cup tahini (or peanut butter, preferably non-hydrogenated)
1/4 cup sesame oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 teaspoons cornstarch 
1/2 cup maple syrup 
2 tablespoons sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grind oats in a blender until coarsely ground (some whole flakes should remain intact). Do not wash out blender. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, salt and baking powder. 

Place tahini (or peanut butter), sesame oil, vanilla, cornstarch and maple syrup in blender and process until smooth. Stir this mixture into oat mixture. 

Drop tablespoons of batter on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. I can't remember exactly, but I think I sprinkled some wheat germ or flax meal on top too. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are golden brown on bottom and puffed. Best when warm!


I started re-reading Harry Potter #7 this week. As it is the only one in the series I haven't read twice, I thought I owed it to myself to pour over the 759 pages one more time to make the tale complete (although no true HP fan is ever completely finished with the world of wizards, wands, and whomping willows). Of course, HP is about much more than magic spells and flighty fiction. One of the greatest powers employed by fiction, especially the tale of Harry Potter, is the keen connection it makes to our human world and "Muggle" life. I won't go too in depth on this now -- surely if you've read one or all in the series you already know what I mean. Let's just say people aren't drawn to the series because they are simply interested in magic or are curious about the lightning bolt scar. Sure, these things may have attracting some of the readers (especially the younger ones) at first. But people cling to HP because they recognize some of themselves in the pages.

As I read #7 this time around, I am drawn to the idea of Horcruxes and how the principle behind them is present in our human world. Don't roll your eyes yet! Bear with me, I have not gone off the deep end, although you may be tempted to think otherwise. Horcruxes, for those of you who don't know, are created when a wizard splits his soul into many parts and plants each fragment inside an object. The purpose? It is harder to die when your soul is hiding and cast apart. Of course this way of thinking about horcruxes is rather dark... after all, it requires a fair amount of dark magic to split one's soul apart and only Lord Voldermort is evil enough to devise such a plan. But nonetheless, it serves as a springboard into a much happier way of thinking about objects and our souls.

As we interact with objects and make connections with places in our world is it possible to keep some of ourself from rubbing off? When we write in a journal or wear a locket, does some part of you enter in? Perhaps it's the reason why it's so hard to get rid of your favorite childhood stuffed animal or your great-grandfather's pocket-watch (and why many of us never do). These things are not simply objects anymore -- some part of the "caretaker" seems to still dwell there.

Once my sister Sarah and I played a game where we tried to come up with a list of our own 7 horcruxes -- what objects or places in the world contained a portion of our soul. Remember, this is partially serious and part just a game (I'm not into witchcraft or sorcery!)
To come up with your own list think about a place or object that at one point was important (or possibly the world) to you. Think of something that feels like more than just a token of a fond memory. Something that is very comfortable and when you interact with it it's like an old friend (because in fact it is -- part of yourself resides there). When you pick it up or settle your thoughts around that space and time, do you feel a tug somewhere deep inside that begs you to linger? If, at your very core, you resonate, then my friend, you have found your horcrux.

Here's my list:

1. My violin. No matter how long it has been, when I pick it up by the neck and swing my elbow around into position and the wood makes that almost silent creek that only I can hear, I feel... present.

2. The Black Hills of South Dakota. No place in particular. Perhaps the treehouse we spent our summers building and painting, or a path in the woods where the scent of pine mingles with the dusty golden ground.

3. My road bike. When soaring above the roads of rural NJ I feel like a four-legged animal running so smoothly my legs don't touch the ground.

4. My camera. I love the sound of the release. So much potential within the frame, so much accomplished with just the move of your finger.

5. Old Man's Tree at the Waldorf School of Princeton, my elementary school. If you went to Waldorf you understand.

6. Sailing. On any boat/ship will do, but a Tall Ship (particularly the Spirit of Massachusetts) is one of my "homes".

7. C13 Carver Place (childhood home). My memory is so clear I can walk through the entire house in my mind and recall infinite details -- part of me must still be there, and probably always will. You can never fully leave the places that were witness to your growing up. Luckily I had (and still have!) a good home : )

8. I have to add an extra one because I know of one other place where part of me will always be: St. Olaf College. I am still on the hunt to find this specific horcrux (in a dorm? Old Main hill? cross-country trails?) but wherever/whatever it is, I know the Hill is a 'home' to me.

A couple more things:
Remember how I said that when a wizard's soul is spread across the world in different objects that it is really hard to die? Well, so too with these human horcruxes... people tend to feel that if they have something to leave behind (a memoir, a family tree, children) that they will never completely leave the world.

So what are your horcruxes? Where in the world do you resonate -- where have you found your homes? I'd love to hear!

Evan's aunt Connie (I have an aunt Connie too, who also lives in California!) wrote an awesome response on her blog -- check it out here. There are some other great horcrux lists below in the comment section. Be sure to add your own list, even if you aren't an HP fan!

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