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Friday, June 10, 2005

Squire Gabby and the Sheep with the Golden Wool

Conclusion – Where Our Heros Arrive Too Late to Find the Sheep
Continued from Wednesday June 8, 2005) Click Here for Start of Story

Once past the land of the Centeaurs the road climbed sharply toward the sky. Up and up and up our brave Knights and little Squire climbed until they reached the top and would have touched the sky if it wern't for the giant that stood there holding up the sky.

At the top of the mountain the road split and went in three directions.
There was a sign which indicated that one of the three branches led to the end of the world (where one would fall off and never be heard from again), one led to the land of eternal fighting (where one had to fight forever) which was too much even for our brave Knights) and the third led to the land of the Sheep With The Golden Wool. Unfortunatly, the sign had been knocked down and you could not tell which road was which.

So Sir Adan asked the giant which road led to the Land of the Sheep With The Golden Wool. The giant said that he would have to check the map in his pocket and asked them if they would hold up the sky for him while he checked. Each of the four Knights took a corner and, while it was very heavy, managed to take it from the giant. The giant then introduced himself as Atlas and informed the four Knights that he had misbehaved in the past and, as punishment, had been forced to hold up the sky forever. But now, having tricked the four brave Knights into taking over his task, he was free to resume his life of mischief.

Knowing that they had to stall him, Sir Esteban asked if he would please complete his part of the bargain by checking his map and telling which road led to the Land of the Sheep With The Golden Wool. After he told them the correct road Sir Adan told Atlas that the weight of the sky was very uncomfortable pressing against their armour and would he mind taking the sky for a minute while they took off their armour. Taking pity on them, he agreed to assist with that one task. But as soon as Atlas had the sky back on his shoulders the four brave Knights mounted their hourses and, calling for Squire Gabby, took off for the Land of the Sheep With the Golden Wool leaving Atlas to hold the sky forever.

A short time later the trail led into a lush green meadow that matched the description the troubador had given. But, search as they may, there were no sheep, golden or otherwise. After riding around for hours they came to a man with a hammer and Sir Esteban asked where the Sheep With The Golden Wool could be found. He told him that the sheep had been sold after the land had been sold to a developer who was building a new shopping mall in the meadow.

Unable to fufull their quest their quest, the four Knights turned and headed back to Soggy Meadow Castle empty handed. Squire Gabby also returned empty handed - at least as far as the hollow tree in Land of Lazy Soda Drinkers. After retrieving her bags of gold floriens and silver tallers (gained from redeeming the old cans and bottles) she and her mule were so loaded down they almost sunk the boat. But by plodding on, as usual, Squire Gabby and her faithful mule eventually made it back to Soggy Meadow Castle with all of her booty!

Copyright © 2005 by Charles & Victor Nugent

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Spinich Lasagna

(Also called Florentine Lasagna)

This tasty dish is easy to prepare. It is also a good dish to make up ahead of time, freeze and then bake when needed.

½ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 26-ounce jars/cans of spaghetti sauce (plain or other)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ package (8 oz) Lasagna
1 16-ounce container (2 cups) ricotta cheese
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinich, thawed, and well drained
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces sliced mozzerella cheese

Heat oven to 350 F. In 10-inch skillet saute onion and garlic in butter. Stir in speghetti sauce and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 155 minutes. Cook lasagna as package directs, then drain. Combine ricotta cheese, spinich, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg; mix well. in 13x9-inch baking dish, layer sauce, lasagna, ricotta mixture and mozzerella cheese; repeat layers, ending with sauce. Bake, uncovered, 35 minutes or until top starts to bubble. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

This is an easy dish to prepare in advance and store.

If you wish to prepare it to serve the next day simply cover the unbaked lasagna and store it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day remove cover and bake in 350 F oven for 35 minutes or until top starts to bubble.

If you wish to freeze it for later use simply cover uncooked lasagna and store, frozen, in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to cook let thaw to refrigerator temperature; then uncover and bake in unpreheated oven at 350 F for 35 to 50 minutes or until cooked all the way through and bubbling on top.

Always store leftover cooked lasagna in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Squire Gabby and the Sheep with the Golden Wool

Part II: Sailing the Sea of Peril
continued from Monday June 6, 2005 Click Here for Start of Story

As the sun arose the next morning they awoke and saw the narrow Siren Passage in the misty distance. All four of the knights longed for the chance to hear the beautiful singing of the sirens but knew the folly of such a move as the singing was designed to lure ships toward the music, causing the ships to crash on to the treacherous rocks that guarded the shore. Once a ship crashed on the reef the sirens would cease their singing and run out to the boats where they would steal the cargo and kill and eat the occupants of the unfortunate boat. But, as usual, the quick witted little Squire Gabby, proposed a plan. She got some chains and locks and chained each of the Knights securely to the mast of the boat. She then plugged her ears and the ears of the crew with wax so they could not hear the Siren's song. In this way the four Knights could hear the beautiful song but, being chained up, could not steer the boat toward shore, while Squire Gabby and the crew calmly sailed straight through the narrow passage. In fact it was so peacful and relaxing that, once through the passage, Squire Gabby left the wax in her ears and left the Knights chained up for the rest of the trip. As she would later tell, this was the best part of the trip!

Soon they landed at their destination at the far end of the Sea of Peril. They tied the boat up at the beginning of the road to the Land of the Sheep with the Golden Wool which also happened to be in a place called Land of Lazy Soda Drinkers. This was as slovenly place inhabited by a race of tiny, fierce warriors, the Lazy Soda Drinkers. The Lazy Soda Drinkers attacked, robbed and killed everyone in sight. When not attacking and fighting the Lazy Soda Drinkers would sit around drinking sodas and tossing the bottles and cans on the ground. The four Knights suited up in their armour with lances and swords in hand. Before the boat even docked they had mounted their horses and charged off the boat to fight the Lazy Soda Drinkers. Squire Gabby waited until the boat had docked and was securely tied up before disembarking with her mule. After making arrangements for the crew and boat to wait there for their return she set about collecting the discarded bottles and cans that literally covered Land of Lazy Soda Drinkers.

While the four Knights set about restoring law and order to Land of Lazy Soda Drinkers by dispatching the Lazy Soda Drinkers and then moving on to further adventures down the road, Squire Gabby traversed the road back and forth between Land of Lazy Soda Drinkers and the Acme Bottle Exchange and Supply Depot where she exchanged the bottles and cans she had collected for gold florians and silver tallers. Amassing more floriens and tallers than she could carry, Squire Gabby found a hollow tree tree near the boat, but well hidden, and stashed her treasures. She then made one final trip to the Acme Bottle Exchange and Supply Depot where she exchanged a couple of florians and a big wad of Sir Esteban's coupons (which he had left behind, being loaded down with his sword, lance, mace, battle ax and dagger) for food and supplies for the rest of the trip. She then proceeded along the peaceful road that led out from Acme Bottle Exchange and Supply Depot and joined the main road between the House of the Medusa and Grazing Lands of the Centeaurs.

Meanwhile the four Knights, having established order in the Land of the Lazy Soda Drinkers, proceeded down the road to the Land of the Hydra. The Hydra were a race of fierce creatures who never lost a fight because every time an opponant chopped off their arm or head a hundered more arms or heads instantly grew on them. The only way to kill such a creature would be to stab it straight in the heart (it is hard enough to stab an opponent with a sword when the opponant has a sword fighting you, but when the opponent has one hundred arms, with a sword in each, reaching the creature's heart can be quite difficult). However, our four brave Knights charged in to the Land of the Hydra and, after many hours of fierce fighting, emerged victorious.

With Squire Gabby being nowhere in sight, the Knights picked up their blood stained weapons and, leaving the field littered with the bodies of the dead Hydra, proceeded on to the Land of the Cyclops.

Now the Cyclops are an even grosser race of creatures. They are huge, ugly creatures that love nothing better than to crush and eat humans. The bodies of the Cyclops are covered with a thick scaly skin that is too tough for a sword or spear to penetrate. Their hands consist of huge, strong claws which are used to tear their victims apart. Their only weakness comes form the fact that they have only one eye in the middle of their foreheads and this limits their ability to see. This eye is also the only soft spot on their bodies where, if one is lucky enough, a sword or spear can penetrate and kill the Cyclops. Having no fear, our four Knightly heros spured their horses on and charged into the Cyclops guarding the road. Again the four Knights fought long and hard. Hours later they again emerged, unscathed, on the other side of the field of battle. Behind the four Knights lay a field littered with the dead bodies of the evil Cyclops.

Leaving the Land of the Cyclops and continuing down the road they ran into Squire Gabby. She was sitting on the road next to a stone marker warning all travelers to turn around and not enter the area of the House of the Medusa.

The Medusa is a wicked, ugly, lady-like creature standing about ten feet tall. It looks like a human except for the fact that growing out of its head are poisoness snakes instead of hair. But the real danger of the Medusa is not the snakes or its great height. Rather it is the fact that it destroys its enemies (which is every other living thing on the planet) by looking at them with its evil eyes and turning them into stone. This posed quite a problem to our Knights as it would be impossible to destroy such a creature by sheer might and courage. After cleaning up and having a good meal, our four brave Knights sat down and tried to think up a strategy for destroying the Medusa. Squire Gabby had a plan all worked out but, since she was only a Squire, she was not allowed to attend the meeting. The four Knights thought all day and all night. Finally they gave up and called Squire Gabby over to present her plan. Her plan was simple - she would creep down the road in the middle of the night while the Medusa slept. When she was just outside the door of the Medusa's house she would quietly set up a large mirror (which she had acquired at the Acme Bottle Exchange and Supply Depot by taking advantage of a sale and tripple off coupon offer) just outside the door. At dawn she would call the Medusa. When the Medusa answered her call and walked out the door, it would see itself in the mirror and be turned into stone. Of course each of the Knights wanted the honor of setting up the mirror but Squire Gabby insisted it was her right since the mirror was hers. In the end she ended up sneaking down under the cover of darkness.

In the eirie silence of the dark, moonless night it was very scary as Squire Gabby silently crawled down the road to the House of the Medusa. Just before dawn Squire Gabby had everything in place. As the sun flooded the valley with light Squire Gabby called to the Medusa who, as planned, charged out of her door and suddenly found herself face to face with her own ugly image in the mirror. Upon seeing the ugly sight she was instantly turned to stone and ceased to be a threat to anyone.

Word of the great deeds of our four brave Knights and their trusty little Squire spread quickly ahead of them. By the time the party reached the Grazing Land of the Centaurs (strange creatures that looked like horses but had arms and heads like humans) the road was open with no Centaurs in sight. Normally the Centaurs would have put up a fight. And fierce fighters they were being able to run as fast as a horse and shoot arrows or weild swords as well as any warrior. But today the Centeaurs had elected to take the day off and visit the other side of the mountain that bounded their area. To be continued...

Come back on Friday, June 10, 2005 for the exciting conclusion of our story.

Copyright © 2005 by Charles & Victor Nugent

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Please Wear a Poppy

by Don Crawford

"Please wear a poppy," the lady said
And held one forth, but I shook my head.
Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,
And her face was old and lined with care;
But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.

A boy came whistling down the street,
Bouncing along on care-free feet.
His smile was full of joy and fun,
"Lady," said he, "may I have one?"
When she's pinned in on he turned to say,
"Why do we wear a poppy today?"

The lady smiled in her wistful way
And answered, "This is Remembrance Day,
And the poppy there is the symbol for
The gallant men who died in war.
And because they did, you and I are free -
That's why we wear a poppy, you see.

"I had a boy about your size,
With golden hair and big blue eyes.
He loved to play and jump and shout,
Free as a bird he would race about.
As the years went by he learned and grew
and became a man - as you will, too.

"He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile,
But he'd seemed with us such a little while
When war broke out and he went away.
I still remember his face that day
When he smiled at me and said, Goodbye,
I'll be back soon, Mom, so please don't cry.

"But the war went on and he had to stay,
And all I could do was wait and pray.
His letters told of the awful fight,
(I can see it still in my dreams at night),
With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire,
And the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.

"Till at last, at last, the war was won-
And that's why we wear a poppy son."
The small boy turned as if to go,
Then said, "Thanks, lady, I'm glad to know.
That sure did sound like an awful fight,
But your son - did he come back all right?"

A tear rolled down each faded check;
She shook her head, but didn't speak.
I slunk away in a sort of shame,
And if you were me you'd have done the same;
For our thanks, in giving, if oft delayed,
Thought our freedom was bought - and thousands paid!

And so when we see a poppy worn,
Let us reflect on the burden borne,
By those who gave their very all
When asked to answer their country's call
That we at home in peace might live.
Then wear a poppy! Remember - and give!

NOTE: I first found on the Internet at However, this site did not indicate any source for the poem other than the author's name. Further searches using first the title and then the author's name yielded numerous sites with the poem (all crediting Don Crawford as the author) but none cited where the poem originated. I am assuming that this is one of those items that, intentionally or unintentionally, has been blasted all over the Internet (you know, the emails with more forwarding information than content) and is now used at will. It is in this spirit, with thanks to Don Crawford, whoever & whereever he is, that I am publishing it here as well.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Squire Gabby and the Sheep with the Golden Wool

Part I: The Troubador's Tale

Once upon a time Sir David, Sir Esteban, Sir Victor and Sir Adan were sitting around Soggy Meadow Castle bored and wondering what to do. They had slain all the dragons in the kingdom, defeated all the witches in the area, exterminated the gargoyles and eliminated all other types of undesirables. Having nothing better to do they simply sat around reminiscing about the good old days six months ago. Only little squire Gabby was gainfully occupied, as usual, polishing the armor and setting the table for dinner.

They heard the ringing of the bell at the castle gate and immediately dispatched squire Gabby to investigate. She opened the massive doors, lowered the drawbridge and was greated by a wandering troubador looking for dinner. Sir David said the troubador could stay for dinner provided he entertained them with good tales. Sir Esteban then dispatched squire Gabby to set an extra place at the table and pour some water in the soup to accomodate the extra mouth at the table. At dinner the troubador told many exciting tales but captured everyone's, except squire Gabby who was busy scrubbing the empty soup pot and bowls, attention with his tale of a distant land where sheep grew wool of pure gold on their backs. All four knights knew that they could supplement their allowances much better selling clothes made from golden wool than from recycling slain dragons. They sat up far into the night getting every scrap of information they could about how to reach this far away land.

After locating its approximate position on their big map, Sir Esteban managed to construct a detailed map showing the route from Soggy Meadow Castle to the land of the sheep with the golden wool. Since troubadors are known for their skills in poetry rather than cartography, the resulting diagram was more a picture poem than a map. But


Start: Soggy Meadow Castle

Go South to: Great Sea to the South

Sail Through: Siren Passage

To: Sea of Peril

Dock at: Land of Lazy Soda Drinkers

Get Supplies at: Acme Bottle Exchange & Supply Depot

(Note: Cars and Squires on mules may take scenic, paved road to right to avoid Cyclops, Hydra and other assorted
creatures – Trucks over 1 ton and knights in heavy
armor must use main dirt road)

Advance to: Land of Cyclops

Proceed to: Land of Hydra
Ride to: Grazing Lands of Centaurs

Turn Left and go to: Home of Medusa

Climb up and over: The Pillers of the Sky

Turn Right and saunter toward: Land of the Sheep with the Golden Wool

Early the next morning the four knights roused themselves from their slumber, descended to the dining room, seated themselves comfortably and proceeded to consume a hearty breakfast (the troubador simply woke up and started eating). Squire Gabby had the armour and weapons packed and the hourses saddled. Immediately after breakfast they mounted their hourses and rode out. Since the troubador had nothing better to do they left him behind to watch the castle while they were gone.

After they had traveled for a few hours they met a dragon in the middle of the road. Sir Adan, being the most junior knight, rode out to slay it. He fought a fierce battle with the dragon, who breathed fire on the shield so often that the shield became warped. But finally, as he reared up to shower flames down upon him, he lunged at the exposed mid section and ran his sword through the dragon's heart, killing him. As he lay smouldering in the middle of the road, the party, led by Sir David, mounted on his great white charger, rode on around him. Squire Gabby brought up the rear on her mule. As they rode along the effecient little squire hammered the shield back into shape, scoured the burn marks off the shield and armor and cleaned the green dragon's blood from Sir Adan's mighty battle sword.

Soon they reached the port at the Sea of Peril and began negotiating to purchase a boat. Sir Victor found a leaky old tub and crew for 150 gold florians but, before closing the deal, Squire Gabby rummaged through her coupon pouch and found a manufacturer's coupon good for ten gold florians off the purchase price. Since it was a double coupon dealer they were able to knock another ten gold florians off and got the entire package for 130 gold florians. As soon as they left the dock Squire Gabby served supper and they ate as they sailed into the sunset. To be continued...

Come back on Wednesday, June 8, 2005 for Part II of this story.

Copyright © 2005 by Charles & Victor Nugent