Tuesday, July 22, 2014

a night walk in summer

"The cool evening air was heavy with dew when they started. The winds were folded among the shadowy glens. The spice ferns were fragrant in the corners of the upland pastures. It was so calm and still you could hear all kinds of far-away sounds... She heard the distant bark of a fox...the sound of tiny feet in the fern...she saw the pale glimmer of night moths and took friendly counsel with the stars. Almost they sang, as if one star called to another in infinite harmony."

                                               L.M. Montgomery, Jane of Lantern Hill

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pinterest recipes: oven-roasted corn

I didn't take a picture, but I had some corn yesterday and thought I'd try this for a change. It was a great disappointment. The corn was starchy, and the kernels didn't have the juiciness you get from boiling. I won't do that again, although wrapping them in foil may bring a better result from the oven.

On another note, I found out the handsome cat's name. It's Yogi.

I think I like him because he looks kind of like a Norwegian Forest cat, which breed I just love.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Psalm 37

Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not envy those who do evil:
for they wither quickly like grass
and fade like the green of the fields.

If you trust in the Lord and do good,
then you will live in the land and be secure.
If you find your delight in the Lord,
he will grant your heart's desire.

Be still before the Lord and wait in patience;
do not fret at the man who prospers;
a man who makes evil plots
to bring down the needy and the poor.

Calm your anger and forget your rage;
do not fret, it only leads to evil.
For those who do evil shall perish;
the patient shall inherit the land.

The parable of the weeds and the wheat captures the tangled ambiguities of the human heart. The word translated as "weeds" actually refers specifically to darnel, also called "false wheat". 
Darnel, poisonous to human beings, is easily mistaken for true wheat until the ear, the fruit, appears. Jesus counsels patience; the true will be sorted from the false when the time comes, even within our own souls.

                                         -  from Magnificat, July 2014

"By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them."

                                                -  Matthew 7:16-20

Friday, July 18, 2014

snake plant blossom

When I was watering the plants at the library this morning, I found a "blossom" on the snake plant.
After more than twenty years, this is only the second time. I had no idea they bloomed at all!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pinterest recipes: Cheese, Olive and Buttermilk Herb Bread

I have a Pinterest board which is just appealing photos of food - it may be my favorite. But I thought I could try some of these rather than just enjoy their appearance. So I decided to make the Cheese, Olive and Buttermilk Herb Bread, recipe here.

So delicious! Theirs, of course, looks better than mine. (That's why I collect these pictures, isn't it?) It's very moist, even with just two and a half tablespoons of olive oil - almost like a savory cottage pudding. Do try it!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Some of the hollyhocks actually peep in my brother's window -

some look the other way.

Friday, July 11, 2014

a new pillowcase

In the interest of using up fabric, and satisfying my longtime desire to sew a pillowcase, I made one yesterday, using these very clear instructions.

There are threads which need cutting yet. I think I'll make another.

Monday, July 7, 2014

the littlest garden

Yes, that's my garden - just three feet by nine, and some things which haven't even surfaced yet. I bought my greenhouse rather late, and some things from older seeds didn't sprout in the house, so I replanted them outside.  I don't mind; I'm learning. And there's time. 

Last year I bought a metal raised bed with interlocking sections. It was a nice idea, but because it didn't stick into the ground, it shifted over the winter and the rectangle went askew. It was a mass of weeds, and looked terrible to me. Then I went to Debra's and saw her oh-so-orderly oh-so-beautiful garden. She got her ideas from the Square Foot method, and that's what I resolved to do. 

I removed one or two sections at a time, weeded just that square foot area and planted in that spot. Bamboo skewers are stuck in here and there to delineate the 12-inch areas. It's still a raised bed, just without borders. But it looks so much neater. And weeding a square patch is so easy, so fast - it's nothing!  

We'll see what comes up.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

a little recipe for little berries

It's time again for our wild black raspberries. We won't approach last year's pickings, but whatever we get is a gift!

Yesterday I made some quick light ice cream; based on Anna's vanilla recipe.

Into the blender, put one cup of milk, three quarter cup sugar, a heaping serving spoon of cocoa and one cup of these berries, if you're so lucky as to have them. Whiz it up good.

Mix gently with a pint of light cream and half a teaspoon vanilla. Chill well, then proceed in the normal way of making frozen desserts. The little bit of chocolate really adds something, I think.

Lots of seeds, but real good.

Friday, July 4, 2014

God mend thine every flaw

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

                 -    America the Beautiful,   by Katharine Lee Bates

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

yes to hollyhocks

There's a very small flower bed next to the front steps - it's about three by four feet. And a number of years ago I bought some perennial hollyhocks and put them in this bed. They grew to eight feet tall! A medley of colors - yellow, pink, white and deep maroon. They were fabulous at first, but soon their leaves got chewed-looking, which wasn't so good, and after a few years of this I thought maybe they weren't suited for this area and decided to pull them up. But they came back the next year.

My brother even got into that small space once, with a shovel, and dug them out (I can see him in my mind's eye even now). They still returned the next year.

I tried again one year by layering newspaper all over the bed, knowing it would also kill my daffodils, but I had to get rid of those hollyhocks. Still, they were there again the following spring.
I know their leaves by now - I know a hollyhock leaf in a second!

You may think I dislike them. I assure you, I love them. What anglophile doesn't dream of a cottage-style garden? And what cottage garden doesn't include hollyhocks? Did I say they were at least six feet tall? Usually seven, sometimes eight? I loved them. But they would look so buggy and awful.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is this - these are not old pictures. They want to stay? Okay - stay! It's yes to hollyhocks from now on.

I give up.  I'm even happy.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

blue glass bowl

My neighbor is planning to move, and she said to me, "You once told me this was pretty - do you want it?"

Yes, it's beautiful!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I guess after this, I'll have no reason to forget that fritters are a nice thing for supper once in a while.

I made this recipe (from Country Living magazine) for my midsummer party, and it not only looks good, but is good, and very simple. Unlike so very many recipes, it went along just as they said it would, except I ended up with ten cakes rather than twelve. If you've got a bag of frozen corn kernels, you've probably got all the other ingredients you'd need for this. I'm going to make it again, maybe on Friday.

Monday, June 23, 2014


I sing the mighty power of God,
that made the mountains rise,
that spread the flowing seas abroad,
and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
the sun to rule the day;
the moon shines full at His command,
and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord,
Who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word,
and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how thy wonders are displayed,
where'ever I turn my eye,
if I survey the ground I tread,
or gaze upon the sky.

There's not a plant or flower below,
but makes Thy glories known,
and clouds arise, and tempests blow,
by order from Thy throne;
while all that borrows life from thee
is ever in thy care;
and everywhere that we can be,
Thou, God, art present there.

           - from Magnificat, June 2014

"It is you, O Lord, you are the only one; you made the heavens, the highest heavens and all their host, the earth and all that is upon it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the heavenly hosts bow down before you."

                          -  Nehemiah 9:6

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

fancied up baked beans

I tried Anna's Schoolhouse Baked Beans. The reason being that it seemed very like something my mother used to make, and I never knew her method. So, I tried Anna's. 

It has a nice flavor, but it got a little thick - I won't cook it so long next time. My mother didn't use any bacon, but had cut-up hot dogs in hers. And plenty of onion, which may have been sauteed with the hot dogs, but I'm not sure. Anyway, this is good and now I've got a starting point.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

play it again, Sam

It may be that you are tired of photos of Dolly enjoying music

Dolly listening to the week-nightly jazz program

but I'm not.  :D

Monday, June 16, 2014

summery baby blanket

A Polish woman came up to me after Mass last week to tell me she's a grandmother. I know her very little, but that's okay - she was telling everybody!  I thought I'd make a baby blanket.

A piece of quilting cotton with a piece of cotton flannel. After sewing, then turning it right side out, now I'm hand stitching around the edges with pink floss, like these, all the way around.

Friday, June 13, 2014

bird talk

This morning a man came into the library with a photo of a bear he'd seen at a lake in our town. It was standing near a tree, and looked pretty big - he said it was a young bear; he came in to make copies of the photo. He says there's a mountain lion living three towns away.

I've seen him in the library before; he has a German accent and is willing to talk. Somehow the subject of birds came up. "Do you know", he said, "that it's illegal in Europe to feed the birds in summer?" Well, I know they say it makes them dependent on you and that isn't good, but he said one reason is that if they're eating your seed, they aren't eating bugs - esp. mosquitoes. That makes sense, doesn't it?  But he also told me that the birds bring the hard-shelled seeds to their young, and the babies die because they can't digest the hard seed shells. Is this true? Two good reasons to stop feeding birds except in winter, when they need the help.

Yesterday morning my brother took a short walk and came upon a little sparrow who'd been injured - bounced off a car, maybe? One eye was gone and the head injured; but it tried to sit up when he took it, so he placed the birdie under a bush. When he got home he drove with a box to get it. He put the box with birdie on a cloth in my greenhouse, for a warm place, and tried giving it water with a dropper.

I continued after he went to work. But the poor little thing wasn't opening his mouth for me; there was blood under his head, and he didn't last too long. I thought my brother'd want to bury him, but he said he doesn't bury birds - it doesn't seem right since they aren't earthbound creatures. So his little body was placed inside a dense arbor vitae for a natural resting-place. Good night, little prince.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

wild roses

This used to be a forsythia. It got taken over by these wild roses. I look around the yard at the brook's edge and they are everywhere, blooming, blooming. I guess they're invasive, if roses can really be called invasive.  I remember once, years ago, pruning some of it - before blooming began - and I threw it toward the brook in an area where we tended to throw clippings. When June came, they bloomed. They were just cut branches, and they bloomed! I tell the truth.

That would be scary if it was anything but roses.

And right now, the air is sweet with them. So, I pruned some up-sticking canes from this big weed-bush and now it's nice and neat. Bloom on!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

God within us

"The life of God is lived within us, within the deepest center of our being. Man becomes truly himself precisely at the point where he recognizes that the highest and brightest Being dwells within him. Moreover, he will rediscover himself and his own identity, as well as his faith in his own individual value, mission, and life options, to the degree that he comprehends human life as streaming forth out of the mystery of God. Then all that is negative and threatening is surmounted, its futility is exposed from within and simultaneously disempowered."

               - Father Alfred Delp,  a German Jesuit priest condemned to death by the Nazis.

                                            from Magnificat, June 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

side by side

I guess all Cindy's attacks on Henry really don't mean anything -

if they can sleep together, side by side.

I feel better now.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

the sit-upon

Don't ask me why I still have this thing, made by me when I was very young. But I do, and it's actually still useful to me.

A sit-upon. Done in kindergarten? in Brownies? And I can hardly say I made it myself because the pieces were all pre-cut and the holes punched. My task was to whipstitch it together with the shoelace. I discovered it among some old stuff a couple of years ago; I just sat on it outside - to read a bit in the cool evening.  I like it! I like the "oldness" of it, and I like the fact that I can sort of actually remember making it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

a very plain knit skirt

Lynda had wanted to see this -

here it is, wrinkled!  It's extremely basic. Four panels, with the hand top stitching only on the front and back center seams. Elastic at the waist in a turn-over style casing, and no hem needed. Next time I'll probably do some sort of embellishment.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

almost too easy

For fish I often get cod - it isn't heavy, and you can get it ready very quickly.

Salad dressing is perfect. Pour some on, and bake it twenty minutes or so at 375 and that's it. If I have a strongly flavored dressing that's enough, but the other day I had Italian, so first I spread mustard (Gulden's Spicy Brown, if you must know - totally forgot I had some dijon in the fridge) overall, then some Italian seasoning, and then plenty of dressing. Just right.

Monday, June 2, 2014

church bells

I'm in my room with the windows open. It's a beautiful, warm and sunny-but-not-humid day. Perfect, with a breeze. And birds chirping, etc., outside.

I'm trying to paint a picture here - now you may add to it the sound of a bell ringing. Behind our house, on the street parallel to ours, is a Lutheran church and they have a bell in front near the road. It's ringing as I write this.

from Google - it doesn't really look like this

It's electric - this is an American suburb, not London - and they've had it for many years. How many times this Anglophile has listened with such enjoyment every day at noon and six (pm)! Years ago I counted the tolling; sixty four, I think it was. It broke more than once and there've been spaces where nothing was heard. I've called and written more than once to assure them someone was enjoying it - even sent money to help with expensive repairs. 

Of course, in winter with everything shut up you don't hear the ringing and you forget about it. Especially since I don't think it's been working in recent years. But the other day there it was! I'm not sure it's ringing sixty four times any more. Whatever. I'm just thrilled to be hearing it again. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

open up your petals

Listen, my faithful children: open up your petals,
like roses planted near running waters;
send up the sweet odor of incense,
break forth in blossoms like the lily.

Send up the sweet odor of your hymn of praise;
bless the Lord for all he has done!

Proclaim the greatness of his name,
loudly sing his praises,
with music on the harp and all stringed instruments;
sing out with joy as you proclaim:
The works of God are all of them good.

                            -  Sirach 39:13-16a

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

some Alabama stitching

After seeing so many beautiful creations on Anna's blog, I am trying the Alabama Chanin techniques for myself. A very basic and familiar a-line skirt pattern I've used many times, cut down the front and back centers to make another seam, which I've hand stitched.

Dark grey fabric and ivory thread. No other embellishment - I'll finish the elastic at the waist and see how I like it.