Given Time

February 3, 2018

Made some apple crisp Saturday and it was pretty good. It’s a bit early in the year for apple crisp, I know, but I sometimes cannot wait to try a new recipe and you can always find apples and it seems to me cinnamon – unlike lemon or anise – works all year long. Kinda like garlic and avocado and saffron. Though I confess I have never once USED saffron. I will, though, given time.

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with enough presence of mind to write something coherent. For all kinds of reasons. This winter has been particularly intense. The cold, of course, is always there, but this year a few layers of ice under the periodic snows have sent cars into the ditch (not mine, yet, mind you) and the dark of the winter has seemed darker. Many people dear to me have been experiencing all manners of pain. A dear friend’s mother passed away last week. Another is struggling with her husband’s raging moods. Another is questioning his purpose in life. Another is with his father in a New Jersey hospital even as I write, the father wrestling in that place between life and death. And then there is the general sense of unease with our country’s shift into the unfamiliar. None of these things are insurmountable. None of them not prone to healing, given time.

But still. Some days are such that rising up out of warm quilts to be productive and do something meaningful seems not impossible, but on the list of questionable. On those polar days, who wants to venture out to sweep the inches of light snow off the walk when there’s a fire going inside, and candles lit, and the option of baking something with cardamom and cream? Thank the Lord for the wind, reminding us that we may take a break now and then, but Nature will not. It’s been a lovely force out there, swirling the snow away, the super blood blue moon rising to its whistling. A song for a moon dance, that wind. Along with the sun, it will clear the snow, that wind, in time.

I’ve been reading, books large and small, some for pleasure, some for answers, some because they were recommended by friends. I re-read “King Lear” just for the heck of it. Someone was talking about Shakespeare over at the post office, and I thought, Hmm, and why not. I read an interesting article on the purification of silver, and am reading now a book titled “A Long Walk To Water” by Linda Sue Park, a short read I would highly recommend if you are lacking any perspective at all on how fortunate we are to turn a knob and have hot or warm or cold water spill out onto our bodies, or into a cooking pot, or into a small glass for the drinking. It’s a take on a way of life so remote from ours, yet most similar in that we humans want, very much, the same things. Something to hope for, good work to do, someone to love. And to love us. And may we each have one of those or all, over time.

It seems only a week or so since I last wrote, and looking now through my notes it’s been more than a month, and I feel like apologizing, but instead, perhaps I will simply carry on and push “send” a bit more often, and share with you things I found, and ask you questions, and answer yours, and simply be here while you are there and we will continue finding each other as we have all along. The way true friends are, given time.

Here’s a recipe I was blessed to sample recently when a friend brought it along to a gathering celebrating January. (Yes, we do that, and why not?) The crisp can be served up in squares, warm, with ice cream (something with caramel or brickle or cinnamon or plain) or simply some cream whipped not stiff but close. Or it works cut into bars as well. Versatility here in the polar region is a mighty fine thing.

Apple Crisp

¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup oatmeal
2 cups flour
2 sticks butter, melted
Mix and press firmly into 9×13 pan.
Bake 10-12 min at 400.

6 cups apple slices (use your favorite pie apple)
1 cup sugar
1 T flour
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
Toss together and spread on crust.

Crumbly topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup melted butter
Mix together and spread on top.
Bake 45 min at 375.



  1. BoatBabe
    February 6, 2018

    Oh, there is my favorite pork loin recipe. I knew it was in October, but I missed the year: It was not 2017, but 2016, in the lovely story “The Night Drive Home.” Truly delightful. Thank you for this continuing family favorite, Mrs. Sundberg! You’d think I’d write the recipe down, in case your thread suddenly disappeared. I have faith. And I choose to keep my fears down to a dull roar. May you be well, without this “nasty cold” that keeps recurring.

  2. BoatBabe
    February 6, 2018

    What a lovely treat! A new apple crisp recipe to make and share with others, and apple crisp is a treat this time of year, or any time of year. Thanks for this, Mrs. Sundberg! Our oldest new granddaughter (8 months on the 10th of February) might be allowed a little taste of the sauce.

  3. Mrs. Sundberg
    February 4, 2018

    Thank you for your words. Yes, it got busy there awhile. A grandchild makes a difference in a life. You’ll be hearing from me more often now. We got through January, and that is something.

  4. AmyzMsSundberg
    February 4, 2018

    So glad to see a new post! And I can’t wait to try the apple crisp.

    • Mrs. Sundberg
      February 4, 2018

      Let me know how it turns out!

  5. gail in northern California
    February 3, 2018

    Any idea what may have happened to the Mrs. Sundberg archives on the Prairie Home Companion website? I would love to see Red Winterberries republished.

    • Mrs. Sundberg
      February 4, 2018

      I imagine they were removed along with all else. However, you can find them here, I believe, all of them. On this blog. Check it out.

      • Mrs. Sundberg
        February 4, 2018

        Now I see they go back only through 2008. Well, I have ’em, dear Gail. And I’ll find it. The one you requested.

  6. gail in northern California
    February 3, 2018

    Periodically, I check the site hoping you have posted a new column. Disappointed when you haven’t but please don’t feel you must apologize. You have a life, a busy life, other than The View From Mrs. Sundberg’s Window as demonstrated in the second paragraph and you phrased it so well “…a general sense of unease”. None of it very conducive to writing.

    Please know I’m thrilled when I see a new post. There. I said it and I’m glad. 😉

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