Tuesday, May 26, 2015

loving plain yogurt

As recently as a year ago, I never thought I'd ever want to eat plain yogurt.

Now, it's what I prefer, with a little fruit and about a teaspoon of honey.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

sparrows at Stop & Shop

Our grocery store keeps its outer doors open in nicer weather, and you can hear birds tweeting high up in the rafters; very occasionally one will get inside. But last evening as I was rounding the corner near the organic aisle, what should I see but three house sparrows on the floor, eating something there.

from the internet - it was just like this, except mother was also present!

I was amazed, and had to stop and watch. They were unconcerned about my presence. Well, of course - there was a baby there and the parents had to stay near it. It was the cutest thing! As I walked around the store, one would whiz by periodically. I hope they're all settled now, where they're supposed to be. 

Pentecost Sunday

I read this yesterday here, and it struck me so -

To the Spirit all creatures turn in their need for sanctification; all living things seek him according to their ability. His breath empowers each to achieve its own natural end.

The Spirit is the source of holiness, a spiritual light, and he offers his own light to every mind to help it in its search for truth. By nature the Spirit is beyond the reach of our mind, but we can know him by his goodness. The power of the Spirit fills the whole universe, but he gives himself only to those who are worthy, acting in each according to the measure of his faith.

Simple in himself, the Spirit is manifold in his mighty works. The whole of his being is present to each individual; the whole of his being is present everywhere. Though shared in by many, he remains unchanged; his self-giving is no loss to himself. Like the sunshine, which permeates all the atmosphere, spreading over land and sea, and yet is enjoyed by each person  as though it were for him alone, so the Spirit pours forth his grace in full measure, sufficient for all, and yet is present as though exclusively to everyone who can receive him. To all creatures that share in him he gives a delight limited only by their own nature, not by his ability to give.

The Spirit raises our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of the weak, and brings to perfection those who are making progress. He enlightens those who have been cleansed from every stain of sin and makes them spiritual by communion with himself. 

As clear, transparent substances become very bright when sunlight falls on them and shine with a new radiance, so also souls in whom the Spirit dwells, and who are enlightened by the Spirit, become spiritual themselves and a source of grace for others.

-  St. Basil the Great

stained glass window from I don't know where

Thursday, May 21, 2015

mostly wool mitts and Out of Africa

I wanted to join Ginny for yarnalong today (which was really yesterday).

Cyndi gave me some different yarns for Christmas which I hadn't done anything with yet; so, I picked out this Kathmandu Aran the other day, which is mostly wool, with some silk and a bit of cashmere, 104 yards. Since I have such a weakness for hand warmers, I chose this pattern - 70 Yard Mitts, by Hannah Fettig. They're cute, and I only just started.

Working with size three dpn's took me a few minutes to get used to, but now I think I'm good. I'll switch to sixes soon (that is, when Linda loans me hers, because I could have sworn I had some, but I guess not). The color is a sort of brick tweed, which is hard to tell here.

Two weeks ago I brought home Out of Africa to watch - had never seen it!  Now I'm reading the book, out of curiosity for the real story, because I know the film was romanticized; and I've looked with interest at it many times at the library. She was a real poet in her descriptions of Africa.

The chief feature of the landscape, and of your life in it, was the air. Looking back on a sojourn in the African highlands, you are struck by your feeling of having lived for a time up in the air. The sky was rarely more than pale blue or violet, with a profusion of mighty, weightless, ever-changing clouds towering up and sailing on it, but it has a blue vigour in it, and at a short distance it painted the ranges of hills and the woods a fresh deep blue. In the middle of the day the air was alive over the land, like a flame burning; it scintillated, waved and shone like running water, mirrored and doubled all objects, and created great Fata Morgana. Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pinterest recipes: peanut butter munchies

I meant to make these last week to bring to the library, but after mixing the dough, I couldn't find time to finish. So I did it yesterday, and was glad everything was chilled, because it was much easier to work with.

I didn't take a picture, because the ones you see here with the recipe look much better than mine did. You see, I forgot the last step - to press them down with the sugared glass - you know. But everyone at work was quite enthusiastic. So, I would say "Try them! You'll like them."

Monday, May 18, 2015

"the phantoms of the day"

Into the darkness and the hush of night
  Slowly the landscape sinks, and fades away,
  And with it fade the phantoms of the day.
  The ghosts of men and things, that haunt the light.
The crowd, the clamor, the pursuit, the flight,
  The unprofitable splendor and display,
  The agitations, and the cares that prey
  Upon our hearts, all vanish out of sight.
The better life begins; the world no more
  Molests us; all its records we erase
  From the dull common-place book of our lives,
That like a palimpsest is written o'er
  With trivial incidents of time and place,
  And lo! the ideal, hidden beneath, revives.

                                              - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Sunday, May 17, 2015

singing to the Lord

Sing to the Lord, all the earth,
announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.

For great is the Lord and highly to be praised;
and awesome is he, beyond all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are things of nought,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and joy are in his holy place.

Give to the Lord, you families of nations,
give to the Lord glory and praise;
Give to the Lord the glory due his name!
Bring gifts, and enter his presence;
worship the Lord in holy attire.

-     I Chronicles 16:23-29

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

fresh and green

I came home to a bag full of freshly picked asparagus spears, from a customer of my brother's. I cooked the thinner ones for our supper, and the fat ones are standing in two glasses, waiting for their turn.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dairy Hollow House pumpernickel

I've been baking lots of bread lately, making any and all recipes which sound appealing to me, but using my own method - I'm learning a lot!  Today it was Raisin Pumpernickel Bread with a Secret, from Crescent Dragonwagon's Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread. The secret being a half cup of chocolate chips, and sooo good!  I've got four round loaves.

A year ago I was getting into bread making but when the hot weather hit, it all fell apart  -  I shrink from using the oven in summer. So, I don't know what'll happen this year, but for now I'm really having fun.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

little blue vase

I was happy to find this pretty pitcher after realizing that little vases would be just the thing for the four small shelves near the kitchen sink.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

opening up

With temperatures all week in the seventies and eighties, the cherry is beginning to bloom.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pinterest recipes: toffee surprise brownies

I made these today because I wanted to bring goodies to work for tomorrow. They're good, but I'm not saving the recipe  -  it's very similar to Anna's, except she has one extra egg in hers, and chocolate chips. This one is studded with toffee pieces and has a less simple method.

I'm sure they'll be welcome, and my co-workers won't be wondering about which recipe I used; but here it is, and here's Anna's.   In case you want to compare.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

a jar of grape hyacinths

Grape hyacinth comes up every year by itself, next to the rose bushes.  There was so much of it yesterday in among the overlong grasses; when I realized my brother would just cut them down with the weed-wacker, I cut them down before him and brought them inside.

I looked for a pretty vase, but they truly look better in a mason jar.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

something to think about

"There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person."

                                                                  -   Rumer Godden,  from Simple Abundance

Friday, May 1, 2015

"as if the sun were hers"

Napping everywhere
Stretched in the sun
As if the sun were hers
Awash in warmth
And furs.

                                                                                                            - Karla Kuskin

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pinterest recipes: creamy spiced cauliflower soup

In trying really hard to use up things in the cupboard, I searched for a recipe which called for coconut milk. Whatever I'd bought that can for, it hadn't happened. I found a nice soup recipe.

Oh, this was so delicious!  You can imagine the aroma of two onions, four cloves of garlic, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, coriander and a bay leaf sauteeing.  My brother told me I could make this soup anytime.

Monday, April 27, 2015

"the most human things we do"

"...any small acts of transformation are among the most human things we do. Whether it's nudging dried leaves around a patch of cement, or salting a tomato, we feel, when we exert tiny bits of our human preference in the universe, more alive."

                                        -   An Everlasting Meal,  Tamar Adler

Friday, April 24, 2015

a winter of our discontent

Three things:

One - Yesterday was Shakespeare's birthday.
Two - I'm currently reading a book about how they found the bones of Richard III. (very interesting)
Three - Yesterday it actually snowed a little here!  (it's cold and not very spring-like)

Glorious spring wouldn't be bad, either. Or even a normal spring.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pinterest recipes: Homemade chicken and broccoli casserole

I think it was Leila who provided a link to this recipe, which uses a homemade version of cream of celery soup. I followed it more or less, but used all broth rather than any milk.

It would be a good way to use leftovers, with a layer of broccoli (or other veg) on the bottom, and chicken layered over it. Then, two cups of the soup, mixed with mayonnaise, lemon juice and a bit of curry powder. Grated cheddar over all - and I'm sure I used extra because I had it - and bread crumbs because I didn't have panko.

Quite delicious!  And with the mayo - very filling. I didn't need to serve a starch with this; just some cut-up cukes and it was fine. And more for tomorrow.

Monday, April 20, 2015

little jar of honey

I'm not entirely clear on why honey crystallizes - something I read says the cold can make it happen. That makes sense, but I also wonder if moisture getting inside the jar can cause it; I try to keep it away from my steaming cups of tea.

Realizing that it's best to get it out of there at the first signs, after heating the container in hot water, the honey got scooped into a conveniently charming little mason jar which says "Garden" on it. Delightful!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

the $20 meat loaf

A few years ago, my brother had a customer who suffered from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The poor man ended up dying from it, but from this association my brother learned that some think it's caused by eating bad beef - related to the mad cow situation - and he was starting to lean toward wanting us to buy only grass-fed or organic beef - as good quality as we could find. Meanwhile, on my end of it, I was coming across videos online of the terrible treatment of these unfortunate animals and this one from Germany, of some happy cows gamboling about in grass (which they'd never seen before), when some kind-hearted neighbors had arranged for them to escape the slaughterhouse. So, I was also not wanting to eat regular beef anymore, albeit for different reasons. And that's how we came to be spending lots more money on beef, (not to mention having far less variety!).

With a two-pound meatloaf in mind for Sunday dinner, I made my way to the organic meat area at the supermarket the other day. I should have seen it coming  -  in fact, I had, but chose to ignore it. The pound of grass-fed ground beef which used to be $6.49 a pound, was now $9.99.  I say I knew it was coming to this, because for the last two weeks the sign had said, "$5.99!  Four dollars off!" Oh, brother.  And, here it was. A two pound meatloaf was going to cost me twenty dollars. I couldn't believe it. I really wanted to cry. At least, I felt that I should be crying!

Well, I bucked up and bought it. And when our purchases went through the checkout I watched the screen. Guess what? It was on sale! So, our twenty dollar meatloaf was only a twelve dollar one.  I took no pictures of it, but they always look the same - here's a previous one. So, we got a reprieve - this time. But it's going to happen one of these weeks.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"I will love them freely"

"I will heal their defection, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them. I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lily; He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, and put forth his shoots. His splendor shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. Again they shall dwell in his shade and raise grain; They shall blossom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon."

                                                  -  Hosea 14: 5-8


Saturday, April 11, 2015

brightness of another kind

Today the sun shone brightly. Yesterday, four of us from the library went for an outing.

It was cold, rainy and damp. But what should await us at the museum - bright flowers glowing in pretty planters  in spite of the gloom of the day. 

They were such a welcome sight! Then an angel with a torch appeared right before we went home. 

Brightness of a different kind. Still wonderful!

Monday, April 6, 2015

"clothed in the light of glory"

(unknown artist)

Stripped on Holy Thursday to wash the Apostles' feet, stripped on Good Friday to hang upon the cross, Jesus risen and triumphant is clothed in the light of glory, before which no enemy can stand, not even the raoring waters of chaos and death.

                                                                         - Magnificat, April 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

ironing the Easter tablecloth

So little Cindy (her name is Tootsie now) can dip it in the water bowl tomorrow.  Yes, she's back for a week!