Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Yes, I know I'm a cheater.  I had to change my ticker rather than confess that I had "outgrown" it. 

The last time we walking ladies weighed in was probably October or early November.  Yes, there was a reason we were skipping that step.  But, alas!  It's time to get back on target. 

Sadly, my previous ticker was obsolete.  Apparently one cannot record any weight above the starting weight.  And yes, that's where I needed to be.  So I had to start anew.  And since I had to make a new ticker anyway, I cheated just a little bit.  I went with my original starting weight rather than my current weight.  Because then it still looks good.

See, the good news is that I'm still less than when I started last winter.  So I went back to the beginning.  It makes things look more positive.  I have still lost four pounds.  That sounds great, right?  Actually, I've even lost a little bit more than that, because I rounded down to my initial starting weight to make a nice and even twenty pound goal.  I've really lost about five and a half pounds since last year in March when we started weighing. 

The bad news is that I had lost almost twenty pounds as of the end of last summer. 

Sooooooo, it's time to take it off again.  Step by step and pound by pound.  Saying no to one piece of candy or cookie at a time.  Saying yes to one salad at a time.  One reasonably sized portion at a time.  Saying no to seconds and thirds of those yummy carbs one meal at a time.

I'm so glad I have my friends, Lana and Connie, to share in this with me.  I love the companionship, and I very much appreciate their support. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

God is Amazing! Praying for more miracles!

This is a photo of Mickala from her Caring Bridge Site.  I believe she is with her older brothers last winter.

Early last September, the same day we were traveling to the Twin Cities the day before Louisa got on the plane to head to Italy, her classmate at her school here in Oklee, Mickala M, was admitted to the hospital in Thief River Falls, and then taken by ambulance to Fargo for a mystery illness that had brought on a severe case of ARDS.  Although since ARDS stands for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, by definition it is probably always severe.  Whatever the situation that brought this on, Mickala's lungs were severely damaged.  After watching her bounce between stable and unstable for a week in Fargo, the medical team there decided to have her flown to the Mayo Clinic to be hooked up to an ECMO machine.  ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.  In order to allow Mickala's lungs to rest, and in the hopes they then would more readily heal themselves, this machine would oxygenate her blood outside of her body.  This is different than a heart/lung machine in that it's designed for longer term use.  Even so, even being designed for longer term use, there is a constant risk of complications, and the longer a person is on ECMO, the risk become higher that complications will arise.  And the complications will likely be of an increasingly difficult to solve nature.

Mickala has been hospitalized for 118 days.  She has been on the ECMO machine for all but about a week of that time.  By God's grace He has allowed her to do well, and He has given the medical team the wisdom and skill to solve the many bumps in Mickala's road thus far.

I believe it was in early November that Mickala was put on a transplant list for heart/lung/kidneys.  The medical team was not seeing the healing they had expected to see in her lung function.  That was hard news for everyone who has been following her story, but hardest of all, I'm sure, for those closest to her.

Since that time, however, her lungs have continued to make baby steps in their healing.  Her kidneys have resumed functioning.  Her heart appears to be fully functional.  And now, after all this time, she has been weaning off the ECMO machine, in the hopes of being off it completely by the end of this week.  This is truly a miracle.  The doctors had not been very hopeful in October that after that amount of time healing would continue.  But it has.  Here we are 2 1/2 months later, and healing has continued.  Any complications have been resolved.  God is good.

During the last two months, in preparation for the potential transplant, Mickala has been doing OT and PT to regain some strength and muscle mass and stamina.  She has continued to amaze those around her with her spirit and drive.  She was eventually able to walk a short distance on her own.  Her team would attend her with all her machines and tubes coming along behind, as she increased that distance by yards each day.  Each step was miraculous, since the doctors had never before had a patient on ECMO strong enough to walk the halls.

Earlier this week, however, she developed a large hematoma in her abdomen.

This morning her mom wrote that they are doing surgery today to remove the cannulas that attach Mickala to the machine and if they are able, to also remove some of the hematoma.  With the blood thinners Mickala needs in order to be on the ECMO machine, she has had several hematomas.  Each one is a frightening, nerve-wracking situation.  One of them damaged the nerves in her right arm, and her arm function is only just returning.  But this time, because she is so near to being ready to try breathing without the machine, they decided to go for it and see how she does.
But this will be very tiring for Mickala.  During the times she has been off the machine, for an hour or two or a little more at a time, she gets very exhausted.  Her mom described just lying in bed as the amount of work for Mickala as running a marathon for a healthy person.  Her lungs are not at full capacity yet.  Her blood is not oxygenating as efficiently as it needs to be. 

Mickala will remain on the ventilator.  She will be kept still for several days in the hopes that her lungs will be able to handle this minimal work on their own.

Through this whole ordeal Mickala's mom, Judy, has kept us up to date almost daily on Mickala's well-being.  Her Caring Bridge posts continue to show incredible faith in the midst of such a long and arduous path.  Judy has often expressed appreciation that God has used Mickala's illness to bring so many people closer to God.

I pray that it is God's will for Mickala's lungs to continue to improve.  I pray that He has no more difficulties in store for this family.  I pray that He continue to use Mickala and her dear family to show His Light to the world and to bring others closer to Himself. 

I pray that God give all of us increased faith in salvation through Jesus Christ His Son.

Check Mickala's Caring Bridge site for updates. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Burnt Fingers and Tongues

Joe and I were just snitching nibbles off the cracklings we got off the pig he and Joe Walton butchered on Saturday.  I burned my fingers and tongue.  It reminded me of the section in the first chapter of Little House in the Big Woods about butchering.
     Pa owned a pig. It ran wild in the Big Woods, living on acorns and nuts and roots. Now he caught it and put it in a pen made of logs, to fatten. He would butcher it as soon as the weather was cold enough to keep the pork frozen.
     in the middle of the night Laura woke up and heard the pig squealing. Pa jumped out of bed, snatched his gun from the wall, and ran outdoors. Then Laura heard the gun go off, once, twice.
     When Pa came back, he told what had happened. He had seen a big black bear standing beside the pigpen. The bear was reaching into the pen to grab the pig, and the pig was running and squealing. Pa saw this in the starlight and he fired quickly. But the light was dim and in his haste he missed the bear. The bear ran away into the woods, not hurt at all.
     Laura was sorry Pa did not get the bear. She liked bear meat so much. Pa was sorry, too, but he said:
     "Anyway, I saved the bacon."
     Then one day Uncle Henry came riding out of the Big Woods. He had come to help Pa butcher. Ma's big butcher knife was already sharpened, and Uncle Henry had brought Aunt Polly's butcher knife.
     Near the pigpen Pa and Uncle Henry built a bonfire, and heated a great kettle of water over it. When the water was boiling they went to kill the hog. Then Laura ran and hid her head on the bed and stopped her ears with her fingers so she could not hear the hog squeal.
     "It doesn't hurt him, Laura," Pa said. "We do it so quickly." But she did not want to hear him squeal.
     In a minute she took one finger cautiously out of an ear, and listened. The hog had stopped squealing. After that, Butchering Time was great fun.
     It was such a busy day, with so much to see and do. Uncle Henry and Pa were jolly, and there would be spare-ribs for dinner, and Pa had promised Laura and Mary the bladder and the pig's tail.
     As soon as the hog was dead Pa and Uncle Henry lifted it up and down in the boiling water till it was well scalded. Then they laid it on a board and scraped it with their knives, and all the bristles came off. After that they hung the hog in a tree, took out the insides, and left it hanging to cool.
     When it was cool they took it down and cut it up. There were hams and shoulders, side meat and spare-ribs and belly. There was the heart and the liver and the tongue, and the head to be made into headcheese, and the dish-pan full of bits to be made into sausage.
     The meat was laid on a board in the back-door shed, and every piece was sprinkled with salt. The hams and the shoulders were put to pickle in brine, for they would be smoked, like the venison, in the hollow log.
     "You can't beat hickory-cured ham," Pa said.
     He was blowing up the bladder. It made a little white balloon, and he tied the end tight with a string and gave it to Mary and Laura to play with. They could throw it into the air and spat it back and forth with their hands. Or it would bounce along the ground and they could kick it. But even better fun than a balloon was the pig's tail.
     Pa skinned it for them carefully, and into the large end he thrust a sharpened stick. Ma opened the front of the cookstove and raked hot coals out into the iron hearth. Then Laura and Mary took turns holding the pig's tail over the coals.
     It sizzled and fried, and drops of fat dripped off it and blazed on the coals. Ma sprinkled it with salt. Their hands and their faces got very hot, and Laura burned her finger, but she was so excited she did not care. Roasting the pig's tail was such fun that it was hard to play fair, taking turns.
     At last it was done. It was nicely browned all over, and how good it smelled! They carried it into the yard to cool it, and even before it was cool enough they began tasting it and burned their tongues.
     They ate every little bit of meat off the bones, and then they gave the bones to Jack. And that was the end of the pig's tail. There would not be another one till next year.
     Uncle Henry went home after dinner, and Pa went away to his work in the Big Woods. But for Laura and Mary and Ma, Butchering Time had only begun. There was a great deal for Ma to do, and Laura and Mary helped her.
     All that day and the next, Ma was trying out the lard in big iron pots on the cookstove. Laura and Mary carried wood and watched the fire. It must be hot, but not too hot, or the lard would burn. The big pots simmered and boiled, but they must not smoke. From time to time Ma skimmed out the brown cracklings. She put them in a cloth and squeezed out every bit of the lard, and then she put the cracklings away. She would use them to flavor johnny-cake later.
     Cracklings were very good to eat, but Laura and Mary could have only a taste. They were too rich for little girls, Ma said.
     Ma scraped and cleaned the head carefully, and then she boiled it till all the meat fell off the bones. She chopped the meat fine with her chopping knife in the wooden bowl, she seasoned it with pepper and salt and spices. Then she mixed the pot-liquor with it, and set it away in a pan to cool. When it was cool it would cut in slices, and that was headcheese.
     The little pieces of meat, lean and fat, that had been cut off the large pieces, Ma chopped and chopped until it was all chopped fine. She seasoned it with salt and pepper and with dried sage leaves from the garden. Then with her hands she tossed and turned it until it was well mixed, and she molded it into balls. She put the balls in a pan out in the shed, where they would freeze and be good to eat all winter. That was the sausage.  from Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I'm pretty sure Joe and Joe did not blowup the bladder for a balloon; nor did they roast the tail over the fire.  And I am very,  very sure I will not be cleaning any head to make head cheese.  Sorry.  Nope.  I do many things now I never though I would.  There are also many things I thought I might like to try which I've realized I probably won't really feel like doing if the opportunity arises.  Then come those things that I realize might be useful and important at some point in the future.  In the post-apocalyptic world.  That's where head cheese falls in my book.  And I'm going to wait until then to try it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Living Word Pictures and Rough Language

I was feeling distracted and agitated this morning, pacing like a caged lion and unable to focus on anything productive.  I started a new scarf and got bored with it; played spider solitaire and dinked on facebook and got bored with them, too; took two naps; and ate junk (candy and crackers and anything easy to pick up).  I stood in the kitchen frenetically opening cupboards and the fridge.  Repetitively.  As if somehow, some new and improved sort of junk food might be waiting if I just keep checking.

Pacing, pacing.  Distracted and agitated. 

Finally I grabbed an apple and settled in reading On The Shores of Silver Lake.  

Ah, peace. 

I think this might be my favorite of all the Little House Books.  As in the other books, I love the descriptions and Laura's use of simile and metaphor.  But this one is a little more vivid, because at this time in her life, she must start seeing for Mary, who had been blinded by scarlet fever.  I love the contrast between Ma and Mary, and their pragmatic approach to life; and Laura and Pa's pining for adventure.  I so resonate with Laura and Pa.  I think that's why God gave me ten children.  What could be more adventuresome than that?

I'm going to share some of my favorite passages.

I love the following excerpt from the chapter just after they get to the railroad camp on the shores of the lake.  Laura had just come in from getting water, all a-fluster because of the excitement of seeing all the teams and men coming in from the work sight, chanting and singing their coming home songs.  Ma, in her gentle way, with just a look in her eye and a very slight nod, exhorted Pa to make it clear that the girls were to stay far away from the men and the camp.
     "There's all kinds of rough men working on the grade and using rough language, and the less you see and hear of them, the better."....
     "Yes, Pa," Laura promised, and Carrie almost whispered, "Yes, Pa."  Carrie's eyes were large and frightened.  She did not want to hear rough language, whatever rough language might be.  Laura would have liked to hear some, just once, but of course she must obey Pa.
Ah, yes, this perfectly summarizes the dance with danger in which we are so often inclined to participate.

I love how Laura shows the difference between her outlook and Mary's.  It gives a person pause, really, to stop and think about the different ways of seeing.  Metaphor or dishonesty?  Imagery or exaggeration?  These two excerpts capture that difficulty.
     Beyond the river the grassy land was a low curve behind curve and the road looked like a short hook.
     "The road pushes against the grassy land and breaks off short.  And that's the end of it,"  said Laura.
     "It can't be," Mary objected.  "The road goes all the way to Silver Lake."
     "I know it does," Laura answered.
     "Well, then I don't think you ought to say things like that, " Mary told her gently.  "We should always be careful to say exactly what we mean."
     "I was saying what I meant," Laura protested.  But she could not explain.  There were so many ways of seeing things and so many ways of saying them.
And it happens again, a few paragraphs later, after Big Jerry deterred a would-be assailant on the wide and lonely prairie.
     "Hullo, Ingalls!"  Big Jerry answered.  The other man gave them all a snarling look and went galloping on ahead, but Big Jerry rode along by the wagon.
     He looked like an Indian.  He was tall and big but not one bit fat, and his thin face was brown.  His shirt was flaming red.  His straight black hair swung against his flat high-boned cheek as he rode, for he wore no hat.  And his snow-white horse wore no saddle nor bridle.  The horse was free, he could go where he wanted to go, and he wanted to go with Big Jerry wherever big Jerry wanted to ride.  The horse and the man moved together as if they were one animal.
     They were beside the wagon only a moment.  Then away they went into the smoothest, prettiest run, down into a little hollow and up and away, straight into the blazing round sun on the far edge of the west.  The flaming red shirt and the white horse vanished into the blazing golden light.
     Laura let out her breath.  "Oh, Mary!  The snow-white horse and the tall, brown man, with such a black head and a bright red shirt!  The brown prairie all around--and they rode right into the sun as it was going down.  They'll go on in the sun around the world."
     Mary thought a moment.  Then she said, "Laura, you know he couldn't ride into the sun.  He's just riding on the ground like anybody.
     But Laura did not feel like she had told a lie.  What she said was true too.  Somehow that moment when the beautiful, free pony and the wild man rode into the sun would last forever.
Two other favorite sections come later in the narrative, but you'll have to read the book yourself for those.  They are lengthier passages.  If I could find an online text of it, I could cut and paste, but alas, I cannot.  But the reason they are also among my favorites is because of the attention to detail.  Laura is so gifted at giving a verbal description and through it, allowing readers to see what she was seeing, and even hear and smell and feel the various aspects of the scene.  She even gets the sense of excitement to come through almost visibly.

The first scene is when Pa takes Laura to the work site, where the men are building the railroad grade.  She describes so vividly how Pa explained to her all the machinations of the various workers, how each team worked together like clockwork, to be just where it needed to be at the right moment, cutting, loading, dumping.  She encapsulates in her descriptions not only a concrete description of how the work progressed, but also the excitement of that era of progress.

A second favorite part is one of which my friend Erica reminded me.  It's later in the book, after the railroad town had closed down for the winter.  The company wanted someone to stay in the fully stocked surveyor's house, to take care of it over the winter.  They asked Pa if he and his family would be willing to do this.  As the family is preparing to move in, Laura asked permission to run on ahead.  The entire chapter consists of Laura's detailed description of her excited exploration of all the wonderful food stuffs that have been put up for the winter.  The reader can almost taste and smell them.  The colors are so vivid.  Readers can reach out and touch for themselves the various shapes and sizes of receptacles.  Open that barrel and peak in.  It's an altogether wonderful chapter.

So are you ready for some winter reading?  Crack open the Little House books.  If you've read them before, isn't it time to do it again?  If you've never read them, pick one up and give it a try.  They are excellent for family read aloud time, or for individual reading.  You say you don't have time for the entire series?  Just pick one.  Any one.  Every one of them is an excellent self-contained adventure.

Just do it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jordan Rolls, Gluten Free

One of my facebook friends recently posted the link for a wonderful looking recipe called Jordan Rolls.  When I clicked to the link, I saw the most mouthwatering photos of a delectable looking yeast roll.  And the recipe looked pretty easy.  The technique seemed to be along the lines of a yeast biscuit that I've read about in historical fiction.  I've never made yeast biscuits, because by the time I became curious about them, I had mostly eliminated glutenous flours from my home.

But, oh my, did those photos look tasty.  Just click on that link above and see if you don't agree.  Can't you just almost smell that yeasty, wheaty, buttery goodness?  The smell as they bake, developing a crispy golden crust?  The steamy aroma as you pull them from the oven?  Can you smell it?  And then pull them apart, and watch that springy gluten hold it's delicate shape.

Mmmm.  OK, maybe I'm coveting just a little bit.

I read through the recipe a few times.  On a couple of different days.  I looked at the photos.  Dreamed.  Pined, even.  And I imagined how I'd change the recipe for gluten free flours.

After a few days, I cut and pasted the recipe onto a document file.

And then after that, I made a few changes.  At first, I kept the recipe as is, except for replacing the flour and adding xanthan gum.

Then I streamlined the instructions.  This may actually make things more confusing for some, but for me, it's easier this way.  I find it really difficult to keep track of where I am in an ingredient list and where I am in the instructions.  So I usually rewrite my recipes so that the ingredient amounts are right in the instructions, but in bold.  Then I only have to keep track of my steps in one location on the page.

Next I considered whether I needed all the different steps and how things might work differently using the GF flours.  For instance, most GF bread dough is more like very thick batter.  So putting it out on a floured surface to kneed it and then moving it afterwards, ... huh-uh.  Not going to happen. Besides, since you don't need to develop the gluten, you really don't need to kneed it.

I'll post my version here, and then at the end, I'll add any commentary.
Gluten Free Jordan Rolls
1/2 cup solid fat (bacon grease, lard or tallow, butter, shortening)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 packets fast acting yeast
1 tsp xanthan gum
5 cups GF flour mix, divided
4 eggs (the original recipe calls for 2 eggs, but while I was adding the second bunch of flour, the dough seemed too stiff, so I added two more, for both moisture and protein.)
½ c coconut oil
1 1/2 cups water

½ c sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
2 c flour
1 ½ TB yeast
1 tsp xanthan gum

Mix in a large mixing oven proof bowl.  (I used the metal bowl from my Kitchen Aid mixer.)

Cut in ½ c fat
Stir 4 eggs lightly with fork, then stir into above. 

Heat together until blood warm ½ c coconut oil
1 ½ c water
Stir into dough mix. (I used the whipping attachment for the first steps, to imitate a pastry knife; then switched it to the standard beater from here on to the end.)

Add remaining 3 c flour a little at a time, until combined.  Mixture should be very thick, but not stiff.

Cover with a sprayed pan or lid, and let sit in a warm place for twenty minutes.
Optional: heat oven to 175F degrees then turn it off, and put the covered dough into the oven.

After twenty minutes, turn out into a greased 10”x15” pan.
Spread evenly into the bottom of pan.
Cut into 15 squares with a pizza cutter. (I greased a large plastic ulu style pizza cutter and it was still a mess, trying to do this step with GF flours.  It turned out OK, but I will probably try something different next time.)
Let rise again for twenty minutes in warm place.

Take the pan out of the oven after dough has risen, and preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, or until tops are golden.
Brush with additional melted butter
Things I liked: These rolls were light and fluffy.  The texture was appealing.  The flavor and aroma were nice.  After being refrigerated overnight, the left-over rolls could be sliced without crumbling into small bread slices for toast or sandwiches.  It was quick and easy.

Things I didn't like:   The rolls were very crumbly when fresh from the oven.  We were able to carefully slice them in half, and dab (not spread) a bit of butter on the halves, but they would not have stood up to anything being spread on them.  Some of the kids broke theirs apart and used their spoons and forks to eat them.  Also, these made very big rolls.

Things I will do differently next time:  Use two 9"x13" pans, 12 rolls/pan, which would make smaller rolls; or simply blob the batter onto jelly roll pans, doing smallish blobs (maybe 1"), but somewhat close together so that they will come together a little bit as they rise.

I also might try some almond meal, just to see what happens.

The flour blend I use is from Pete and Kelli Bronski's No Gluten No Problem blog, also found in their cookbook, Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Black Gold; Red and White

We managed to sneak in a little family time again tonight.  I can't express how comforting that is to me.  This ritual.  The time with all my kiddos gathered round, simply being together.  It was not long tonight, but at least we did it.

It was getting late.  The littles were wild; engaging in mighty sword fights with the foam swords Grandma and Grandpa brought them at Christmas. 

Inge had her princess dresses on over her blanket sleeper.  This is an every night thing.  She lives in the dresses all day, trading from one to another, or layering them in different orders as the day goes on.  But after jammy time every night, one or another, or several, go on over her jammies.

The bigger kids were having a bit of commotion over getting dishes done.  Everyone did manage to be in the living room before the motivational timer beeped, however.  But by then the littles had their swords out (again), and had to put them away (again), which (again) took several minutes. 

Finally we were ready.  We try to do an 8:00 bedtime, but when I asked for the time as we were getting started, the reply came that it was already 7:52.  Sigh.  I really, really wanted to have read aloud. 

"Matt, grab Black Gold and see how many pages are in the coming chapter."  Some of the chapters have been pretty short and even the ones that are more than a couple of pages seem to go quickly.  So I thought I'd still consider reading awhile in spite of the late hour.

"Seven," Matt replied.

"Hmmm, well, let's just read for a few minutes and we'll see how far we get."

I picked up my crochet.  Joe had his guitar in hand, which he strummed quietly.  Inge and Donna drew pictures in a notebook.  Elsie worked a puzzle of some sort in her new puzzle book.  I think Clara, Sophie, John and Stella were simply listening.  Which is perfect, since they are the ideal age to which Marguerite Henry seems to write. 

Oh, wait, Sophie was rubbing lotion into her skin.  She battles chronic eczema during the winter months and is currently engaged in all-out warfare with a raging flare up.  I had helped her with the cortisone while the older kids did supper chores; and she was doing the Eucerine layer herself during read aloud.

It seemed only moments before Matt finished reading the chapter.

Clara then read us Psalm 123, and the Magnificat from Luke 1; and Elsie finished up our devotion readings with Hannah's song, from I Samuel 2.  We had family prayers. And scooted everyone off to bed.  Not by 8:00, but before 8:30, which is well worth the few minutes' lateness.  After our quiet time, everyone was calm and probably more likely to sleep than had they gone straight to devotion and bed.

Well, not quite everyone went to bed directly.  Elsie and Clara asked whether they could play a quick game of checkers, and I said yes.  Then after Clara went to bed, Elsie asked if I'd play her.  I was not inclined to have to think that much at this time of night, so she asked Joe.  They played three games.  It was all together fulfilling to see them playing quietly together.  A definite happy pill.

It reminded me of On the Shores of Silver Lake.
     One stormy day Pa brought a wide, square board in by the stove, and with his pencil he marked it off in small squares inside a plain border.
     "Whatever are you making, Pa?" Laura asked, and he answered, "Wait and see."
     He heated the tip of the poker red-hot in the stove, and carefully he burned black every alternate little square.
     "Curiosity killed a cat, Pa," Laura said.
     "You look pretty healthy," said Pa.  Tantalizing, he sat there whittling until he had made twenty-four small squares of wood.  Half of them he laid on the hot stove, turning them until they were burned black all over.
     Then he ranged all these pieces in the squares on the board, and set the board on his knees.
     "Now, Laura!" he said.
     "Now what?" asked Laura.
     "These are checkers, and this is a checker board.  Pull up your chair, and I'll show you how to play checkers."
     She learned so well that before that storm ended she had beaten Pa in one game.  But after that, they did not play so immoderately.  Ma did not care to play, nor Carrie, so after one game, Pa always put the board away.
     "Checkers is a selfish game," he said, "for only two can play it.  Bring me the fiddle, Flutterbudget."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dueling Songs? Or Melding?

I've got competing songs going through my brain. It's kind of like dueling banjos. But not really.

Joe was listening to a guitar learning video, teaching about delta blues guitar riffs. John is building the birdhouse from the kit he got for Christmas.

Each of those activities have put a song in my head.  I really like both songs.  But they're spinning around in my poor noggin and combining in a strange sort of musical meld.

Maybe some musically inclined person can explore this idea and make his or her fortune.  Go for it!  I surrender all rights.