Sunday, November 29, 2020

a new beginning

 Well, it's Advent, and I'm glad. 

The Lord will come and not be slow,
His footsteps cannot err;
Before him righteousness shall go,
His royal harbinger.

Truth from the earth, like to a flower,
Shall bud and blossom then;
And justice, from her heav'nly bower,
Look down on mortal men.

- John Milton

"You, O Lord, are our father, our redeemer you are named forever. Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old."

-  from the book of Isaiah

"Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and I will dwell within Jerusalem"

-  from the book of Zechariah

And this hymn, again. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

a good day


Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. To everyone else, you should adopt this holiday, it's lovely. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

far more than the family dinner

 "Of course, Thanksgiving is far more than the family dinner and the national festival. All people have always had harvest celebrations of one kind or another, so there is nothing distinctive about a feast time after the crops are in. But our Thanksgiving seems very close to our relation with God. It has a deep religious significance not always spoken of, but, I think, felt.

I am thankful for love, and friends, and the family gathering together. For starlight over the old apple orchard. For the chilly sweetness of peepers in April. For my winter birds, so brave, so hungry, and particularly for my little chickadee with the bent wing who bangs away at the suet cake right while I type. He cocks a shining eye at me and seems to say, 'Life is really what you make of it, eh?'

And it is good to take time to be thankful, for it is all too easy to let the world's trouble sweep over one in a dark flood and to fall into despair."

                                                                           -   Gladys Taber

Monday, November 23, 2020

a fancy cat

 When Orphan Annie came to live with us, my brother showed a photo of her to a client - the lady said she must be part Russian Blue. Well, she isn't remotely blue colored, she's kind of a dark warm gray; when she was young you could see faint stripes, and I thought she might be part tabby, but not a Russian Blue.

Her profile, even from the first, always brought to mind those ancient Egyptian cat statues

although, honestly, I don't think the above photo shows it. I'll keep trying, but she does move around so! Anyway, then Clare said something which made me do a bit of research. 

I had put up the video where Annie is playing fetch with me, and I said we'd never taught her this. Clare said there might be Burmese in her. I looked it up.

Well! Rover has a very interesting article, and almost right away something got my attention: They are heavier than they appear. Bingo! This little cat weighs a ton! I always marvel at it. In fact, they are referred to as "silk covered bricks" - yes! Her fur is so flat and shiny it doesn't seem to require combing. This article also mentions the fetching, and other dog-like behavior and cute personality. 

The cats in the photos don't look like Annie, their faces are rounder. The article says there are American Burmese (rounder faces) and British Burmese (more angular faces), so maybe she's a British. They are supposed to have yellow eyes; Annie's eyes are yellow with a green ring around the pupil. They were yellow when we took her in, though. 

Then I wandered over to an article on the Russian Blue. They sure had her angular facial features. They also have faint stripes when young! And, they all have green eyes when fully grown, but first their eyes are yellow with a green ring! 

Well, if she's got Russian Blue in her, it probably isn't much, but I believe she's got lots of Burmese in her. I don't think her eye color will change anymore, but it's pretty funny to me that a fancy cat just sort of ended up here with us. Thank you, Clare, for sending me down that rabbit hole!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

new customer at the drive-thru

 The bird feeder went up this week, and then I saw an unfamiliar bird there. I thought at first glance it was a chickadee, but it had a stripe along the head unlike the chickadee. Small and roundish like a wren, but it was gray, not brown. I got the bird book.

"borrowed" from the internet

A red-breasted nuthatch. We are used to seeing a different kind of nuthatch, the white-breasted - very different looking, with a white face. 

But I did think of a nuthatch when I saw him go upside down on the pole, like nuthatches do. 

I wonder how common they are, since the feeder is up every winter and I like to look up new (to me) birds - this cute fellow I don't think I've seen.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

bright leaves, bright bird

 This morning I sat by the window to put on makeup and saw such pretty bright leaves on my neighbor's apple tree. I got the camera - I guess you can sort of see them. 

Then a cardinal was suddenly on the tree, right in the middle.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

eat your spinach

 I lately picked up a Gladys Taber book, which is what you do when all around you seems to be falling apart.

"Somehow I feel it is a tradition with children not to like spinach, and I wonder when it started. The dislike seems to go from one generation to the next, spurred no doubt by parents who say it is so good for you. I think if parents would say, 'You are not old enough to eat this', the story might be different."

                                            - from The Best of Stillmeadow: A Treasury of Country Living

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

the last brights of November

As I move about the house doing my thing(s), my eye is always drawn out the window to a patch of bright color at the edge of the brook. It really jumps out at me in contrast to the quieter tones of November's usual offerings.

So I went to capture it before the rain starts.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Soul Cakes

 November is the month we remember the souls of those who have gone before us, and may need some help before they reach everlasting joy. 

There was a recipe linked on the Aleteia website , for - Soul Cakes!  Have you heard Sting's winter album? He sings a song called "Soul Cake". I love it. It's old

I made the recipe last night. Of course! It was sixty thirty but so dark out that when I realized it was early, I got to work baking. They are a shortbread, very nice flavor, with currants. We ate a couple, and now the rest are in the freezer.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

a commentary of sorts

 G. K. Chesterton on socialism:

"...for my own part, I cannot in the least agree with those who see no difference between Christian and modern Socialism... No reasonable man can read the Sermon on the Mount and think that its tone is not very different from that of the most collectivist speculation of the present day... There is a difference between Christ's Socialist program and that of our own time...

...the modern socialist is saying, 'What will society do?' while his prototype [the Christian]...said, 'What shall I do?' The modern socialist regards his theory of regeneration as a duty which society owes to him, the early Christian regarded it as a duty which he owed to society; the modern socialist is busy framing schemes for its fulfillment, the early Christian was busy considering whether he would himself fulfill it there and then; the ideal of modern socialism is an elaborate Utopia to which he hopes the world may be tending, the ideal of the early Christian was an actual nucleus "living the new life" to whom he might join himself if he liked. 

The modern socialist regards Communism as a distant panacea for society, the early Christian regarded it as an immediate and difficult regeneration of himself."

Rejoice, rejoice, believers,
And let your lights appear.
The evening is advancing,
And darker night is near.

- from a hymn by Laurentius Laurenti, in Magnificat, November, 2020

We spoke to a young Polish woman after Mass, who was amazed that America would ever turn socialist. They never thought it could happen here.

The closing hymn at church was Glory, Glory, Hallelujah - I was surprised, but I sang with gusto.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He has loosed the fateful lightening of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on. 
Glory, glory, hallelujah 
Glory, glory, hallelujah 
Glory, glory, hallelujah
His truth is marching on
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps
I can read His righteous sentence in the dim and flaring lamps
His day is marching on
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah
His truth is marching on
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy let us live to make men free
While God is marching on
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah
His truth is marching on
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah
His truth is marching on.

Also known as The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Indian summer

I slept with my window open last night. It is November 7th. 

Few phrases evoke as much delight as Indian Summer. Our past couple of days have been sunny, glittering - trees with dried leaves hanging like burnished pieces of old gold. We always call it Indian summer when it gets warm again in September or October, but I read someplace, and I think it was something Tasha Tudor said, that real Indian Summer comes in November, after the frost has come, after it's been cold. This is what Gladys Taber says about it:

"When Indian summer comes, nothing indoors seems important. I must carry my breakfast tray to the terrace and eat in the wine-bright sun. There is always a haze on the hills, making them dreamlike. Perhaps it is such an enchanted time because it is a promise that another summer will come, after winter goes. Actually there is no set date for Indian summer; it comes when it is ready. Sometimes it seems to come after a cold spell in October, but it may even come around Thanksgiving. The later it comes the better, I think - like an extra dividend."

A week ago there was snow on the ground. Now, the days are in the seventies, for a little while. Wonderful.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

one-stop shopping in the bargain basement

 A few times it's happened that an object suddenly appears, from out of nowhere, but we know the Orphan has brought it. She's scrounged it out of who-knows-where, something we've either never before seen, or had forgotten was in the house. 

Once it was a small alphabet block with charming images on it. We can't imagine how it came to be in the house, or where she found it. It's of no use to us; still, I didn't toss it - too cute.  Recently some sort of kitchen scrubber showed up. It's like she gets into the basement closets and goes shopping. 

So today it was a maraca.

It has taken me all day for the distant memory to return of these maracas I used to enjoy shaking as a kid. Didn't know we still had them. Where the heck has it been? 

Of course, the other part of the question is: Did she really carry that upstairs? Really? 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

I voted

 I got one of the fancy ones this time, and put it right in front on my Thanksgiving Dottie Angel dress.

Monday, November 2, 2020

the real thing


For some reason, homegrown winter squash seems more exciting a thing than homegrown tomatoes, cukes or other things we grow every year. I cut into one and can't believe it's the right color inside. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

another Halloween

 We had forty six trick-or-treaters! I wouldn't have expected any, except somebody said on Facebook there was talk of parents bringing their children out, so we bought candy. 

And the little girls said the kitty was pretty. As they always do.