On these rainy, blustery winter days, there’s no food that warms you as well as a steaming hot soup.  Son Steve and I have have warmed our souls  and bodies with fish chowder, shrimp in coconut sauce, beef stew, minestrone, lentil and vegetable soup, and chicken in various soup and sauce modes.

At the recent town hall, Congresswoman Jayapal said that, among her constituents, Vashonites were probably way ahead in addressing climate change.  It seemed to me at that point that, if that is true, then we are in big trouble.

Part one: Back in the 1970s I lived for a time in a house with some friends, one of whom was an engineer. He introduced me to the concept of natural slope by saying the house had achieved natural slope, i.e., it needed cleaning. Not that he was going to clean it. Cleaning was not men’s work.

Oysters have never been better than they are right now. Their fattening time begins in October as the weather cools off.  They go right on improving and being well worth eating until early spring.

With warmer weather and the sounds of Spring birds, my mind goes to growing food.  I recently read a great article in the Jan 12 addition of  Common Dreams (online news service) by Frances Moore Lappé called “Farming for a Small Planet.”  Lappé writes, “People yearn for alternatives to industrial agriculture, but they are worried.

I have been staring at the floor now for years, even though it has not been a pretty sight. While the collective sprawl of white pine decking came along to replace the pressboard sheets that had made up the first floor in this house just about thirty years ago,

A lot of people who had to sell their homes at a loss in the last ten years might disagree with that sentiment, but it has worked for Charlotte. She stood her ground, er, dirt, through the recession, and now her dirt is worth more than ever.

Each year, according to Brad Lemley, in his book The Secrets of Underground Medicine published in 2017, 2,00,000 people in America get the frightening diagnosis of cancer of some sort.  Despite millions of dollars spent yearly on cancer research,  and on treatments, the percentage of those cured does not rise.

In the article in The Beachcomber about housing prices on Vashon, several things seemed clear to me:  1) demand far exceeds supply, 2) properties always go to the highest bidder, 3) low and moderate incomes lose out, and 4) everybody seems to think this is an inexorable situation like the tides or the seasons.

In my previous column  I mentioned Chicken Soup for flu prevention and to ease symptoms if you already have a cold, stuffed up nose, or the flu. How do you know the difference between a cold and the flu ? With a cold you don’t have a fever; with the flu you have cold symptoms plus both a fever and aches. Both are caused by viruses.

“I’m sure there was some familiarization, but the question is, how familiar was he with        it?”      
Allen Zarembski- Univ. of Delaware

Right from the start, I will have to state in this latest struggle with words in this space, that for purposes of clarity I will have to suspend (at least this time around) my substitution of the term 45* for the name of the so-called current president of these United States.

Well, friends, comes now the end of another year, and with it come Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the Solstice which will mean longer days and more light for us up here in the Northern Hemisphere. Hanukkah has passed. The sixth of January will bring Epiphany for western Christianity,

The winter solstice has always seemed to me to be more meaningful than the summer solstice.  The promise of longer days at the darkest and coldest time of year is more heartening than the beginning of shorter days in the summer.  The darkness of December lends itself to stillness, introspection, and peace:  Silent Night.

To remain healthy through this coming holiday season, we need to pamper our immune systems. Iron feeds the immune system. Think red meat, the best food source. Think zinc gluconate, a 13 milligram  lozenge of it at the very start of a cold, every two hours for up to a week but not longer. Too much zinc actually weakens immunity says Reader’s Digest book 1801 Home Remedies.

Men are hound dogs, and suddenly it is news.
Not all men, I hasten to add. Most men are good, decent people, despite the hand life deals them, and that is admirable.

My column on affordable housing in the last issue was one that was first published several months ago.  I was delirious with fever at the time last week’s column needed to be in and didn’t even get it together to tell as much to The Loop.  One of my older columns was chosen to fill in, one of my better one’s, if I do say so myself.

Well, for those who have been counting, or reading what goes on here, I have to say that so far the whole exercise thing has been a bust. I would say that in part, I have been avoiding the physical side of things because I’ve been trying to finish up other projects in deference to all those pre-resolution day sales and specials- the ones where if I finally edit the lectures I’ve been recording at the VCA for the past year, a certain local station will send me a check.

On Thanksgiving Day eleven to fourteen family members--counting heads is like trying to count a flock of chickens--will gather around my dining table to feast on smoked turkey, cranberry relish and whatever  dishes the others contribute.

Throughout November, Southern Resident orcas have teased us a few times by changing direction between Dilworth and the north end ferry lanes -- dashing hopes of any Point Robinson encounters. One of those occasions was at Loop deadline! Fortunately, our intrepid colleagues Mark and Maya Sears deployed in their research boat, in the rain, to obtain identification photos and collect samples.

When I moved in with Rick in 1977, this building was the most run-down place I’d ever lived. The walls had holes in them. The roof leaked. Rats had free run of the place.

For a number of weeks recently we had our washer and dryer out on the back porch. The reason for this displacement was not as a banishing punishment or as a mini stay-cation to allow the machines a brief outside adventure before the wet of winter made time spent out of doors by objects with electronics an inadvisable alternative.

Back in 1988, Joy Goldstein strong-armed me into working with her and a handful of others on the Community Council Affordable Housing Committee.  We went on to form Vashon Household (Joy’s name).

You start with the leanest, cleanest, grass-raised beef. You can ask the butcher to grind a pound of round steak for you. Besides its yummy flavor, each low fat serving provides 20 grams of high quality protein, 3 mg Vitamin B12, 5 mg niacin (the happiness vitamin) and a smidgeon of B1, B2, and B6, also 258 mg of potassium.

According to all the calendars I have, winter begins with the solstice, on the twenty-first of December or thereabouts. I say that’s broccoli, and I say the hell with it.