Monday, June 14, 2021

zippered pouches


 I bought some zippered pouches on etsy a few years ago, and now they're worn. They need replacing, but I am going to make them. This is the first. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

a little insurance

 Dolly is always wanting food and she eats a lot. But now and then she leaves it; she feels better just knowing there's some nearby.



Monday, June 7, 2021

snipping

 

It's June and that means roses. Our two bushes, yes, but those little white roses/(weeds?) that are everywhere, fragrancing the air. I rarely cut from our bushes because I don't want to see a bare bush , but there are plenty of the wild ones to spare. And then I noticed at the base of the pink rugosa these deeper ones - from the root stock? I don't know, but I snipped them off; nobody'd notice them if I didn't. 


Now they can show off properly.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

in light and liberty

The voice of God goes out through all the world:
God's glory speaks across the universe.
The great King's herald cries from star to star:
With power, with justice, he will walk his way.

Anointed with the Spirit and with power,
He comes to crown with comfort all the weak.
To show the face of justice to the poor:
With power, with justice, he will walk his way.

His touch will bless the eyes that darkness held,
The lame shall run, the halting tongue shall sing,
And prisoners laugh in light and liberty;
With power, with justice, he will walk his way.

-    from Magnificat, June 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

first ice cream of the season


 Continuing my efforts to use up leftover things, I searched for a recipe which calls for Nutella, not a full jar. I made some ice cream. It was a cool and overcast Memorial Day, not really an ice cream day, but everyone seemed glad to have it. Another thing, used up! 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

stretching

 My mother was a big fan of what she called "stretching" the meals. She would add a can of Dinty Moore to leftover beef stew to "stretch" it. I thought of this yesterday, when I needed to make supper and was planning to make minestrone. But there were too many odds and ends in the refrigerator to ignore. So, I gathered them up and took a good look.

I sliced up two small red onions, which were getting soft. Then, cut up a few parsnips - can I say that parsnips don't seem to go bad? I can't remember how long they were in the fridge, but no slime, nothing. This is most likely due to whatever modern supermarket vegetables are treated with, but we won't dwell on that too much. I added some rosemary and sauteed it for a while in olive oil, and meanwhile I scraped a very large carrot and sliced it. This went into the pot with two and a half quarts of vegetable broth, a small bit of powdered sage and some chiffonaded romaine lettuce which I'd never gotten around to washing - it was wilting and the top and outer parts had to go into the compost bin but the insides were still good, and two little Campari tomatoes which were getting a little wrinkly.  I cooked all this for half an hour. 

There was some leftover mashed potato and I scooped half into the soup and then mashed it all slightly by hand. It was time to taste - rather sweet, from the parsnips, so sea salt got added. I put aside some leftover cooked cauliflower for another meal, thinking it would not improve anything here. Lastly, a small piece of braised chicken with lots of spinach and some chicken stock. I thought it turned out delicious and was very pleased. These items were saved because I used them in time - nothing had to get thrown out for rottenness. I need to think this way more often. 

Today, I did something similar again. There was some leftover multigrain thin spaghetti. I've made spaghetti pie in the past, but had no appetite for it this time. I really wanted to throw it out - too many carbs! But instead I spied a bag of Brussels sprouts and cooked them, then sliced them up and added to the pasta, which I'd warmed up in plenty of olive oil and Italian seasoning. What next to add? A couple of tablespoons of Parmesan and a can of diced tomatoes. Salt. For protein, I thawed a few meatballs I'd frozen just yesterday, cut them up and it was very nice! We had it with yesterday's soup. Did I mention that it's been in the fifties yesterday and today? Soup weather. 




Saturday, May 29, 2021

healing river

 Healing river of the Spirit,
Bathe the wounds that living brings.
Plunge our pain, our sin, our sadness
Deep beneath your sacred springs.
Weary from the restless searching
That has lured us from your side,
We discover in your presence
Peace the world cannot provide.

Wellspring of the healing Spirit,
Stream that flows to bring release,
As we gain our selves, our senses,
May our lives reflect your peace.
Grateful for the flood that heals us,
May your Church enact your grace.
As we meet both friend and stranger,
May we see our Savior's face.

-  from Magnificat, May 2021

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

clearing the air

 We had a long, proper thunderstorm this evening. I sat in my room in front of the fan, in low light; out my back window I could see lights in the windows of the people behind us. There is something about a summer evening, window open, and seeing someone else's lit windows. Well, even in winter it's intriguing, but summer is different. There is less of a distant feeling about it. 

We've had some definite summer days lately, but now things will cool down. When a big heat comes in May, it's brings you right into a summer frame of mind. It's welcome, but you know it can't last. Still, I think tomorrow I'll get out the airy living room curtains, so I guess the heat did it's magic on me. And Memorial Day is coming, so that means my white sandals. ;-)

Speaking of Memorial Day, I realized that without those two trees which recently were removed we have no early/mid-afternoon shade in the back yard! This is a grave disappointment to me. We can't have a cookout. There's some shade in the mornings, till maybe eleven-ish. Then in late afternoon there's some against the house in the back, because we face west (ish). So, I can still sit outside with Dolly on hot mornings come July or August, but I may start scouting out places in the front yard and see how they work out. It's just that you're on display for everyone who goes by. Maybe that could be a positive thing in the time of COVID. But I remember the day of the eclipse, when we sat out and I just love doing that whenever possible and now we can't. 

Maybe I'm being too picky about these trees! The sooner we have new trees, the sooner we'll have shade.

The storm just came back, briefly. Long enough to thunder a little and pour for a bit. So I ran to close the north windows, but this time it rained straight down. I guess it's really summer.




Monday, May 24, 2021

tree picking

 The fellow who grinds up the tree stumps came last week, so we thought we'd better go to the local nursery to see what they've got for trees. Why didn't I bring my camera? I love those places, they're like being in a sort of paradise. My brother took photos of the tags on trees we thought might do. Now, I'm looking them up online and don't feel any more sure than I was before. The laburnum is entirely poisonous - that makes me nervous. Two of the dogwoods we looked at seem to be kousas, but the tags didn't say that. The library has kousas all around - every year when they bloom, patrons come in and ask us what they are. But they seem more like a shrubby tree than a proper tree with a thick trunk. Yes, you can train anything to have a main trunk, but... I'm not keen on kousa dogwoods. I like a weeping cherry; my brother - I wish I could remember how he put it (kind of like cooked cherry tomatoes reminding him of the bog people), but he strongly dislikes them. And they're so graceful! Anyway. I don't know what the heck we're gonna do.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

thinking of summer food already


I truly do mean to come here regularly, but I'm suddenly tired at night, or it's too late or whatever. 

I haven't made pancakes in years, since too many carbs cause too much trouble in people my age. But I saw a recipe for savory cheddar waffles. We don't have a waffle iron, so I made pancakes and we had them for supper yesterday, with applesauce, chicken salad and sliced cukes. They didn't taste so cheddary - were quite normal-tasting. But it was a treat to have pancakes. 

It's been a summery week, temperature-wise. Yesterday and today near ninety, but now the cool air has come and the house is getting comfortable again. But it's brought me back to summer food planning. It's thing, summer food, unlike with other seasons. You just don't want to heat up the house too much, or be standing at the hot stove for long, but it can get to where you aren't having enough variety. So, I'm always wanting to collect more recipes for summer.

Our neighbor told us the baby squirrel didn't make it; we don't know what happened. 

The birds were making such a racket I figured a predator was nearby, but it went on longer than I thought possible - I looked outside. It was the baby starlings; they really are noisy. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Pentecost tomorrow

 Creator Spirit, by whose aid
The world's foundations first were laid,
Come, visit every humble mind;
Come, pour thy joys on humankind;
From sin and sorrow set us free
And make thy temples fit for thee.

- from Magnificat, May 2021




Monday, May 17, 2021

"he fills my empty hands"

My soul doth wait on God,
From him my help proceeds;
His mercy is exceeding broad,
To overtake my needs.

He gives his pard'ning grace,
When I my sin confess;
Nor ever hides from me his face
In my distressfulness.

The Spirit of all pow'r,
Most freely he bestows;
And I am strong in evil hour,
When pressed by direst foes.

Oh, he has gifts in store,
More rich than wealth commands;
And when his pity I implore,
He fills my empty hands.

                          - from Magnificat, May 2021 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

part-time weeds

 

I was pulling up these blue-flowered weeds under the tree, but they look so pretty under the azalea.



Monday, May 10, 2021

close look at a catbird

 There's been a catbird coming to the feeder.


This is unusual; they tend to eat berries and insects. I've never seen one eat seeds!


He looks round and almost wren-like here, but they aren't round birds. But I think their black eyes are so cute. 

I knew they were back because I'd heard the warbling outside my window, where they hang out in the forsythia hedge.


I just looked it up - if there aren't enough bugs around they'll eat some seed. I wonder if it was the same bird both times I've seen him.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

to the end of the way

 O Lord of all power, I give you my will,
In joyful obedience your tasks to fulfill.
Your bondage is freedom, your service is song,
And, held in your keeping, my weakness is strong.

O Lord of all wisdom, I give you my mind,
Rich truth that surpasses man's knowledge to find.
What eye has not seen and what ear has not heard
Is taught by your Spirit and shines from your Word.

O Lord of all bounty, I give you my heart,
I praise and adore you for all you impart:
Your love to inspire me, your counsel to guide,
Your presence to cheer me, whatever betide.

O Lord of all being, I give you my all,
If e'er I disown you I stumble and fall;
But, sworn in glad service your word to obey,
I walk in your freedom to th'end of the way.


from Magnificat, May 2021

Thursday, May 6, 2021

new napkins and what I'm reading


 I made six cloth napkins from a nice plaid cotton; I like their rustic air. I've got another book by Sally Clarkson because I liked the previous one so much, and the Miss Read is News from Thrush Green. I'm still enjoying these!

This evening my brother was mowing the lawn before dark and he came in to tell me he'd found a baby - that is, a baby with the eyes still closed - squirrel, no others around. Our neighbor has taken it in, but we're looking up what to do now. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

tree blossoms


 When the cherry tree blooms, the leaves appear at the same time and the new ones always have an orange-y greenish color - which looks very interesting against the cool pink flowers. 

Since I noticed our neighbor's apple in bloom, I've been looking intently for the appearance of an oriole, without success. But, this morning I did see one in the other neighbor's crabapple tree; you have to look carefully, because they don't perch on your porch railing or land in the grass, that I've ever noticed. But they do like the tree blossoms and they like to go up high. You will suddenly see a flash of orange amid the blooms. And then they fly.

A very windy day last week left a bright flower in the back yard, and it took me a minute to realize it was just a cherry blossom from the front yard. Now it's in the kitchen.



Monday, April 26, 2021

end of April musings, including creeping authoritarianism

 I finally saw a rabbit today; I've been looking. The little chickadee still flutters over my brother's car when he's home, and I've seen a sparrow hang around the nest and even go in twice, but coming out right away. I don't like it.

I've been continuing the plan of cooking the same meals every week for the whole month. It's a good way to hone a promising recipe, perhaps finding ways to make it more cheaply, or improving it in some way. I like it - less menu planning, anyway. 

Poor Dolly's allergies are terrible right now. She's always had them, some years worse than others. Her eyes stream and she ends up looking like Alice Cooper. No photos! I will not photograph Dolly unless she's looking her beautiful self. She's eighteen now, by the way.

Someone is coming Thursday to look at the tree stumps and remove them. And we're still thinking about what kind of trees we want to replace them. Another cherry, for sure, and something else. Nothing slow-growing, or too tall.


I picked up a book about education in our state during the Revolutionary War, from 1763 to 1800.
"Parents and relatives, school and church, town and state shared the responsibility for guaranteeing the piety and morality of the next generation...The colonists themselves recognized that the Revolution occurred only because the commonality could read and write. The Patriots, believing education determined the character of a people, recognized the crucial but indirect importance of morality in creating and sustaining the Revolution....Americans were thankful that they could perceive the difference between creeping authoritarianism and necessary order. Eighteenth century man believed that anarchy in the state would lead to chaos in church and family. Parents, ministers, and magistrates should cooperate in instilling the right mixture of assertion and deference in each citizen. Education was the method by which a society could preserve what was most essential School, church, and family worked together to inculcate correct attitudes towards God and country."

                                                 -  by J. William Frost

Sunday, April 25, 2021

praising

 I'm reading Bandersnatch, about the Inklings. They made a point to not skimp on praise where it was due, which struck me as awfully nice. 

"Resonators* offer their support in a number of different ways, and the most obvious one is praise. [C.S.] Lewis firmly believed praise should be part of daily life. He asserts: 'The world rings with praise - lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walker praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game - praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars.'"

*"What is a resonator? The term describes anyone who acts as a friendly, interested, supportive audience."


                                          - from Bandersnatch, by Diana Pavlac Glyer

Thursday, April 22, 2021

does this remind you of anything?

 "What Rome was capable of, the achievement of her empire shows. The Roman character had great qualities, great potential strength. If the people had held together, realizing their interdependence and working for a common good, their problems, completely strange and enormously difficult though they were, would not, it may well be believed, have proved too much for them. But they were split into sharpest oppositions, extremes that ever grew more extreme and so more irresponsible. A narrow selfishness kept men blind when their own self-preservation demanded a world-wide outlook.

History repeats itself. The fact is a testimony to human stupidity. The saying has become a truism; nevertheless, the study of the past is relegated to the scholar and the school-boy. And yet it is really a chart for our guidance - no less than that. Where we now are going astray and losing ourselves, other men once did the same, and they left a record of the blind alleys they went down. We are like youth that can never learn from age - but youth is young, and wisdom is for the mature. We that are grown should not find it impossible to learn from the ages-old recorded experience of the past."


                                            - Edith Hamilton, The Roman Way

Monday, April 19, 2021

memories of a tree

 


The maple right there, right before you get to the bridge - well, take a good look. It isn't there now.

The infamous October snowstorm from nine and a half years ago caused this dear tree to lean toward the house, and another one on the side near the fence had damaged limbs up high. We thought it would be safer to take them down.


A co-worker had a tree land on her house during a very windy night. Now, a year and a half later, they are still living in a condo, waiting for their home to be finished - the delays due to COVID, for the most part.

This is the tree Dolly and I sit under every summer, with our quilt and music and books and magazines - well, my stuff, but she enjoys the quilt and the music. No more, Dolly. 

There is a tree out there the clothesline is attached to, so we do have some backyard shade. And we're wanting to put another two or three trees back there as soon as the stumps get removed. Maybe another ornamental cherry, Japanese maple - nothing too tall. 

It was quite something to watch these fellows; they were here seven or eight hours, and it's such hard work. Worth the amount we paid them. And it was arranged that they'd drive the logs up the road to a neighbor who can use them, so that was very tidy.

At the end as they were leaving, a sun shower arrived. Immediately, I started looking for the rainbow.


It was faint, though not as faint as it looks here. But it was heartening to see a rainbow, and now there's nothing to block the view. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

with us abide

 That Eastertide with joy was bright,
The sun shone out with fairer light,
When, to their longing eyes restored,
The glad Apostles saw their Lord.

He bade them see his hands, his side,
Where yet the glorious wounds abide;
The tokens true which made it plain
Their Lord indeed was risen again.

Jesus, the King of gentleness,
Do thou thyself our hearts possess
That we may give thee all our days
The tribute of our grateful praise.

O Lord of all, with us abide
In this our joyful Eastertide;
From every weapon death can wield
Thine own redeemed forever shield.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

chickadee nest, found



 The chickadee nest is in that hole in the middle of the picture.

Monday, April 12, 2021

little neighbors


 It's been a few days now this little chickadee has been seen flitting distractedly around my brother's car. It's like he's trying to get in, but I suppose he's really seeing his reflection? We feel terrible about it; he's going to wear himself out. Yesterday it was sunny - my brother even moved the car a little and it seemed to stop. For a while - but maybe just because somebody was there. Today it was cloudy, but that didn't matter - he was there again. I hope he gets over it, whatever it is.

A young woodchuck came quite near the house the other day, seeing something tasty to eat, I guess. Here he is, heading for the house. I've never seen one that close.



Sunday, April 11, 2021

Divine Mercy

 "Mercy consists in bringing a thing out of non-being into being."

                                        - St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

translating Horace

 This book about the Romans is way more interesting than I expected it to be. The present chapter is on Horace. The author says it is impossible to accurately translate his poetry*; she does quote some of his prose, however. "I can do nothing about what fate sends me, but I can do everything about the way I take what is sent. I can so order my own spirit that no matter how outrageous fortune is I can keep my balance within unmoved. Do you know, friend, what I feel, for what I pray? Not to waver to and fro, hanging upon the hope of the dubious hour. God may give this or that - life - wealth. I will my own self make my spirit undisturbed." 

                                                   -   The Roman Way, by Edith Hamilton


*Her reason is not that his poetry cannot really be translated, but that with him, it's the way he says things, the words he so carefully chooses that make him unique. So a translation would fail to show that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

still Easter

 How the time goes by - over a week since I've been here! I never mean to stay away so long. 

Easter was lovely, of course. It just is. But note to self: next time you cook a rich piece of meat (lamb), it's better to avoid other potentially rich sides (Ina's roasted asparagus with melted parmesan), or desserts (cheesecake). It wasn't bad and nobody complained, but I did have the thought. It might be helpful to write these things on a notecard for the recipe box. 


I was emptying my wastebasket and saw these stamps in there - ahhhh! 

While I'm typing this, Dolly is behind me on my bed, with the radio - of course - and the jazz program on - of course. And they're playing a couple of things by Paul Desmond. Which reminds me of a touching story I came across very recently about him from The New Yorker. Read it - it's very short but very sweet. 

I took this week off, and am making great progress with the mending pile. 

I also pruned the roses today, quite late; they had quite a few small leaves on them already. Well, this will set them back a bit but it can't be helped. 

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the gardener and we the soil:
Let the seed of Easter life bear fruit in us for your eternal harvest.

A Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Palm Sunday

 

Entry of Christ into Jerusalem by van Dyck

"All desire to rejoice with Him, few are willing to endure anything for Him, or with Him. Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread; but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion. Many reverence His miracles, few follow the ignominy of His cross. Many love Jesus so long as no adversities befall them."

                                                                  -  from the Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis

Saturday, March 27, 2021

warmth

 The grass is entirely green now, and all it takes is a warm day. It had begun to turn a couple of weeks back with those two days of warmth, and then stopped the greening when it cooled down. This week was enough to finish it - it makes such a difference, to see green grass all around! And the maples have their red buds all over them.


And Easter is coming. 

I heard a question on the radio the other day - they wanted to know if anyone could guess which president said this:  "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"  I said to myself, that sounds like something Reagan would say, and I was right. Good old Ronnie. Life was simpler then.

I thought I would've had some seeds started inside by now, but you can only do so many things in one day, and Sweetie's condition has been occupying my mind a lot this week; she took a turn for the worse over last weekend and can't seem to eat by herself anymore. So, we fish her out of whatever corner she's hiding herself and squirt some thinned-out soft food in her mouth a few times a day. She can still drink from the water bowl on her own. The vet's coming on Monday, and I hope she can help us figure out a way to clean her - she doesn't groom herself and she is dirty and smelly, poor mite. But she's so hostile to any kind of messing with her little person - she really is the most difficult cat I've ever dealt with. But I feel sorry, and I think she understands we're trying to help her when we disturb her so often. If she can be sedated so she can be bathed that would be great; it's a terrible situation but today she came out from hiding for a bit and scratched on a cardboard scratching thing. The reason she hides is not because of her illness, but because she does not like being bothered so often by us - this I know. The vet ordered a pain med for her which should arrive soon. We'll see. She still enjoys hearing the chant CDs I play every day. 

The reading challenge I'm taking part in requires a book written in ancient Greece or Roman times, or one about those times, or even just a novel taking place during those times. I looked around the library and settled on The Roman Way by Edith Hamilton, published in 1932. So interesting! What Charlotte Mason would call a living book, I think, which means non-fiction written in a narrative style. I have never been attracted to those cultures very much - I prefer the middle ages. Still, a chapter from this morning's reading was about Cicero, and apparently we have eight hundred of his letters. 

"Cleopatra. How I detest the woman. You know she lived just across the river from me for several months."  (maybe she snubbed him!) He says that Brutus was charging forty eight percent interest on money he's paid to the people of Salamis! It's becoming more appealing to me - I guess I'm warming up to it. Lots of gossipy stuff.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

springing up

 I could have worn a sleeveless shift today. It was well over seventy and it's still warm - sixty. After chopping the soup vegetables early in the day, I never made the soup. Who need it on a warm day? It's not unheard of in March - very warm temperatures like this happen every, oh, every ten years or so. I always hope for it. 

It was also the Annunciation of the Lord. 

The Just One has descended like dew from above; the earth has opened and the Savior has sprung up.

-  Isaiah 45:8


Some more earthly things are springing up - a friend pointed out a crocus in our front lawn, and a little cluster in the bed where I'd planted some a few years ago. 


A delight. 


Dolly gets so fretful, wanting food All the Time, but then you give it, and she wanders away, seemingly inviting you to bring the dish to the new location. But then maybe she still doesn't eat it, and what you realize (but why should it take so long, when you know she's a music lover) is that she really wants to Hear something. So you put the radio on, right next to her (if you don't, she moves closer to it anyway) and it's quite obvious she's really listening. 


This was Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler. She just likes music, even Kenny Rogers. I didn't care for it, but the classical program was over and the jazz one hadn't begun yet. And I wanted the ipad myself for a change, so I couldn't stream anything for her. She got quiet and settled down immediately, poor little thing. She just wanted the comfort of the sounds, I guess. And maybe she has a little Spring Fever.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Monday projects

 


This thing is almost done; it may serve as a cat mat. We will see. Meanwhile, I'm trying to do my state income taxes, and the mending pile gets higher.