Monday, September 20, 2021

peppers, at least

 I don't recall if I already said this, but our big garden was a bust this summer - my brother didn't roto-till it as early as usual, and the very wet July killed several plants - most of them! I do think our preoccupation with Sweetie's illness was a factor. 

The little garden beside the back door is giving us plenty of peppers, though. There are always white blossoms on the plants. 



Something to be grateful for.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

temptations

 Reading my Bible last night, this intrigued me, a commentary on Luke, chapter 4 - which deals with the temptation of Jesus - by Bishop Robert Barron

"What is most interesting about this second temptation is that the devil couldn't offer all of the kingdoms of the world to Jesus unless, he, the devil, owned them. All the kingdoms of the world, Luke tells us, belong to a fallen spiritual force. I don't know a passage in any of the literature of the world that is as critical of political power as this one! 

Whereas many (if not most) cultures both ancient and modern tend to apotheosize their political leaders, the Bible sees right through politics and politicians. One of the most important contributions of the Scriptures to contemporary politics, at least in the West, is this deep suspicion that power tends to corrupt. The institutionalization of this suspicion in complex systems of checks and balances is a healthy outgrowth of the biblical view.

To be sure, scripturally minded people should not allow their suspicion to give way to a complete cynicism regarding politics. Since God is powerful, power in itself cannot be construed as something evil, and indeed the Bible frequently states that legitimate political authority participates in God's own governance of the cosmos. But given the general human tendency toward self-absorption and violence - about which the Bible is remarkably clear-eyed - one should never put one's total trust in political systems, leaders, or programs. And one should be ever aware of the fact that human legal arrangements are under the judgment and authority of God."

and:

"Power is extremely seductive. Many would gladly eschew material things or attention or fame in order to get it. Jesus' great answer in Matthew's account of this story is 'away with you, Satan'. To seek power is to serve Satan - it is stated that bluntly."

And this is in Magnificat today:

"Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is the temptation to beset the just one with revilement and torture. This is what Jesus reveals to his disciples: he is to be handed over to men and they will kill him. The disciples' response is to squabble among themselves about who was the greatest. Where do the conflicts among you come from? From your passions that make war within, spurring us to kill and envy. Yet, for all our coveting, we do not find satisfaction. So Jesus puts his arms around a child to show us that he calls us to be peaceable, gentle, full of mercy - qualities we receive by asking for them."


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

the secret lives of ants

 "The ways in which animals play had long been studied. Ornithologists had observed many types of bird play, such as when they hang upside down from tree branches and swing back and forth with apparent glee. Chimpanzees had been observed playing and chasing each other in ways that looked much like children playing tag. Even some insects had been observed to play. In 1929, August Forel, an influential ant researcher, wrote in his book The Social World of the Ants as Compared to Man: 'On fine, calm days when they are feeling no hunger or any other cause of anxiety, certain ants entertain themselves with sham fights, without doing each other any harm; but these games come to an end directly [if] they are scared. This is one of their most amusing habits.'"

                                                      - from How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)


Who knew?

Monday, September 13, 2021

late summer

 We're having the most lovely weather now, finally. Those insects or tree frogs or whatever they are are singing outside in the night, in a constant hum. Crickets have been heard inside the library for the past three weeks; I had to catch one the other day and put him outside, but I did wait for nice weather to do it. 

Dolly's dish has disappeared. It was last seen on Monday at lunch time. I fed her and Annie, then went out to lunch. When I came home, my brother said he couldn't find it anywhere. I have looked in every closet, cupboard, drawer and other ridiculous places. How do these things happen?

We were given a lovely homegrown cabbage! I made this recipe. Very nice. 



We found this yellow feather outside. I immediately thought of a goldfinch, but - they are small birds. This is five inches long. Goldfinches are about five and a half, with black wings. Here's a link to a good photo. I'll have to email this to the Audubon Society and see what they say.



This plant is the best hanging plant I've ever had - it never stopped blooming all summer, with no encouragement from me, in the way of fertilizer, I mean. Just water. I tried adjusting the color here, but can't get it right; it's warmer toned than this - more of a dusky rose, and I'll try to take a better photo.

But I don't even know what it is!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

nothing wasted

 "Since the time of Adam's fall, God has this invariable strategy...to draw good out of evil...The cowardice of Pilate, the cunning of Caiaphas, the intriguing, haughty spirit of the priestly leaders and the Scribes and Pharisees were the ladder along which Jesus went to his sacrifice. The tyranny of the Caesars during the first three centuries of the Church gave rise to the multitude of glorious martyrs. The heretics, who continued the persecutions, gave occasion to that group of Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Thus, in the succession of events, God always draws good out of evil.
What God does on a large scale in history, he does on a small scale in each soul."

                                                               -  Luis Maria Martinez

Friday, September 10, 2021

"the potency of God's grace"

 "The food we eat, our use of the world, the justice we bring, the art we make, these are the spaces in which the potency of God's grace shows plainly in the lives of those who love him."

                                                               -  Sarah ClarksonThis Beautiful Truth




Thursday, September 9, 2021

making progress


 These are the books I've been tackling lately. Mariner will take a while because it's thick, and because when I have time to read, I may not always have the mental wherewithal to absorb something like that. That's why the P.G. Wodehouse is in the pile, and a humorous novel is part of the reading challenge, anyway; I didn't know what else would qualify as a "light comedic novel" - do you? The Family Table is one of two cookbooks by Shaye Elliott that I'm actually reading - I know some people read cookbooks, but I never have. Until now, and I'm really getting a lot out of it. This may also help me with the reading challenge, where I'm supposed to read from a genre I don't normally.

How to Tame a Fox is dry, but something I've been interested in for a while - the Russian experiment in domesticating foxes in Siberia for decades. Somebody just dropped off this book at the library, and I grabbed it. This Beautiful Truth is Sarah Clarkson's new book about her lifelong struggles with mental illness. She writes like a poet, and the whole story is beautiful and touching. 

I made another zippered pouch.


In my two favorite colors.


Monday, September 6, 2021

those who love and those who labor

 It's Labor Day. So I'll be Laboring over the chicken thighs roasted with Brussels sprouts, the cornbread, and the zucchini fritters. And the chocolate cake. 

Those who love and those who labor
Follow in the way of Christ;

Lo, the bread of heaven is broken
In the sacrament of life.

                               - from Magnificat, September 2021, from a hymn by Geoffrey Dearmer


No labor for our Dolly

Thursday, August 26, 2021

from sublime to ridiculous

Someone gave this lovely basket to my brother filled with juicy tomatoes and even a dish towel. Very thoughtful. 


Tonight I combined all the cherry tomatoes with a can of cannellini beans, olive oil, salt, pepper and some chili powder, into the oven at 375 for somewhere around 40 to 50 minutes. Added some fresh Italian parsley and dried basil. I'd just seen an Elliott Homestead video where she made it and it caught my eye. Of course, I know my brother views small baked tomatoes as shrunken heads* - yes, I did remember it - but they were going to go and this looked awfully good. And it was! And he just came to me to see if he could eat the rest of it - yes!

*I had previously thought he called it bog people but now I realize it's shunken heads.


Before Henri the storm was due, I cut a clutch of red roses from the bush and brought them in.



They're still looking pretty good. 

The binding was disintegrating on my brother's summer blanket. I wanted to make a cotton binding to replace it, but I don't have any fabric which strikes me as really looking nice with it. Then I found a packet of blanket binding somewhere in a drawer. The blanket is tan, the binding light blue, but I like it.


It's a well-loved blanket with a patch, but we don't bother about such things - he likes it. And I realized after removing the old binding that it's there just for show, nothing is going to fray. There was only enough for one end and I'm going to leave the other end without.


In an etsy shop, there was a key fob with a saying on it:

"The problem with quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their validity."

-  Abraham Lincoln

Monday, August 23, 2021

the storms are past

 The storm moved more to the east and yes, we had lots of torrential rain but not as much as we feared. And, the winds were nothing like predicted for our area. I'm grateful. You know, you plan ahead for something, possibly destructive, and even when it doesn't come to pass, you need a day to just get over/process it, thank God, rest/recover, ponder it - whatever. Yes, you could go on with business as usual, but we are not machines. And we're still feeling the effects of it now, with tropical air and a soaking rain much of the day (but no "rivers" along the fence, as it didn't come down too fast).


A sympathy card came in the mail signed by one of Sweetie's doctors and two other employees there. This is not unheard of, but they each wrote a note inside! I was so sorry to hear about Sweetie. She was a very special cat - and so lucky to have such a loving family to care for her. Be comforted knowing you did everything you could. With sincere sympathy, and signed by the oncology doctor. Somewhere along the way, we'd heard there was a pet cancer center a couple of towns over which we had no idea of. We took her there in early spring, and even though by then Sweetie's tongue was infiltrated by the tumor, she still could move it somewhat and she still wanted to eat. They gave us a pill called Palladia, which is not chemo per se, but it can stop or slow down the cancer's growth. It seemed to, and Sweetie got used to us feeding her. It was a huge learning curve for all three of us, finding what foods were best for using in a syringe and what sizes of syringe are best. I will say that I'd always seen her as a difficult personality (Tortie!) but she surprised me, she was also willing to learn. She had to learn to get used to my brother trying to wash her feet and tail - you can't imagine how gross she got from the litter box. She had to learn to  let us feed her, but even when she gave a hard time she'd come back for more food, and she'd always come to us again at night, purring; she did not hold a grudge, she knew we were trying to help. 

This type of cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma, afflicts many cats and it's fast and lethal. She lasted a year, which was way more than the three to six month prediction. But this statistic is based on most people having their cat euthanized, so it's not a true statistic. Apparently there is a very promising treatment, but it's still in trials in Illinois and they would not let us participate - my brother was in contact with someone involved in it; he really did a lot of research. We always figured the time would come when we'd have her put to sleep, but she had plenty of life in her and she wanted to keep going. Her mouth would get infected often, and she'd need Clavamox to be comfortable enough to eat. We always did what we thought best and were grateful for the doctors who could support us. 




Saturday, August 21, 2021

a hurricane cometh

Well, I don't mean to joke about it;  it's heading right for us. Technically, there's a hurricane warning at the coast - we inlanders have a tropical storm warning, but still. A lot of rain, a lot of wind. In these situations I like to cook as much stuff as possible, to have some food in a state of readiness, so to speak. I grated a huge zucchini our neighbor gave us and made a chocolate zucchini cake. I also put handfuls of it into our mac and cheese and there are still eight cups left; it filled a whole mixing bowl.


I've got some bread in the oven and there's a chicken that's defrosted - I'd like to cook it ahead of time. Maybe in the early morning. It might be nice to have some flavored popcorn. All the laundry is done, except for some towels I've been using this evening. 

 Two days ago we had a spell of torrential rain, and I got my camera. What looked like a small river was rushing along the side yard, to the street.


 Then I stood on the back step, and could see the water flowing right up under the bridge.


So, here we go again - I just hope it doesn't flood our property. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

our Sweetie pie

 Our poor Sweetie passed away on Tuesday. It was a long time that she couldn't groom herself or feed herself and we tried to do it for her, but it was hard.



I had forgotten that she ever weighed this much. We had to break with the traveling vet - she wanted us to euthanize her and she almost had us convinced to do it. But the reality was that Sweetie still wanted to come sleep on our pillows at night, purring like she always had, and even two nights before she died she came in my room, a creature of her little habits. She was a survivor and it was clear to us she wanted to keep going, so we did. And our local vet understood this. 

Fly away, little Tweetie Bird, fly away! Rest in peace.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

until the light of dawn

 Today was the most beautiful of days, not because we've never had such a day, but because it was more welcome after the previous several. Another cool night awaits.

Then stay with us when evening comes
And darkness makes us blind,
O stay until the light of dawn
May fill both heart and mind.

                                                                                 Ralph Wright, from Magnificat, August 2021

Saturday, August 14, 2021

peace and coolness

 The windows are open, the air is cool. I may even get chilly tonight. What a relief, from the awful hot, humid days we’ve been having. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

gifts

 


I think these tomatoes are beautiful, even though a bit gnarly. They're not ours. All the rain last month was too much for several of our plants; not the best gardening year for us.

I made a zip pouch today, using a different method and I like it much better. 


The previous one had hand stitching near the zipper, and kept getting caught in it - this is neater. The lining is from an old skirt of my mother's and the print is from Debra. I think the green zipper makes a nice color combination.

I'm finishing up A Circle of Quiet, and here she's talking about how we want to excuse ourselves when we do something wrong:

"We need to be forgiven:
     we need to be forgiven in this grey atmosphere which clogs the lungs [c1972] so that we cannot breathe, and breathless, spiritless, can no longer discern what is right and what is wrong, what is our right hand and what is our left, what is justice and what tyranny, what is life and what is death.
      I heard a man of brilliance cry out that God has withdrawn from nations when they have turned from Him, and surely we are a stiff-necked people; why should He not withdraw?"

                                                       - Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, August 9, 2021

local wildlife

My brother came in from doing yardwork and said he discovered grape vines growing across the brook. And grapes, planted by the birds, and he only found them after trying to remove some overgrown bittersweet vines - there were grape leaves, and grapes, behind a rhododendron and some arbor vitaes. I put on my little wellies and went out to see. 


I passed by the apple tree - it's getting more sun these days since the nearby tree came down, but it's scrawny.

There are plenty of small but clean looking apples, but the leaves look diseased.


I continued on my way. See the group of three arbor vitaes? The grapes are behind them.



I picked a few small bunches which were mainly purple. But why didn't I taste one first? They are as sour as a lemon. If we wait till they're bigger, or darker, I'm not so sure the sweetness will increase. So we're not sure what to do. The birds planted them, perhaps they should enjoy them. Or, whoever. Many of the leaves have scale, but the fruits all look perfect. I don't know what creatures would eat them - maybe foxes? Raccoons, opossums? I removed a thick bittersweet vine which was winding around a shrub nearby and left them.

 I realized I haven't seen any rabbits for several days, when they're usually around somewhere. Then it dawned on me that perhaps there are babies, and the family is laying low. So, I will be patient and hope to see some little bunnies in a couple of weeks, possibly.

This afternoon my brother called to me, to come to his window quickly, and look out. What did I see but a dinosaur walking down our street. I'm not kidding! It was one of the upright ones, T. Rex or something, but no worries because there was someone walking along with it. Of course we both said get a camera! but I had cat food on my fingers and was rather stunned anyway; it isn't every day - you know. But we both came to ourselves rather late and with our cameras ran out into the road. 


It was quite tall, as you can see. I remember one year before my neighbor-friend moved to Maryland - she called me one day to say a young deer had strolled up our street, and it seems she was the only one to witness it. This tops that story, I think. 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

a devoted friend

 "In the Holy Eucharist, our Lord is not the master who commands; he is not the king who gives orders and whom we cannot resist without incurring penalty. He is a friend, the friend who loves us madly from all eternity; a friend who since our birth has never ceased pursuing us with his love, crying out: My child, my brother, give me your heart. He is a devoted friend who has extended his arms for long years without becoming discouraged by our indifference and our refusal; for all that, a friend who can expect nothing from us, from whom we hold everything, who still prepares us for gifts without number, so that finally he will introduce us into his Kingdom, give us a share in his glory and his eternity, allow us to sit by his side, open his heart to us, and unite us to himself so closely that, according to his own words, we become one with him, just as he and Heavenly Father are one.

Well, represent to yourself, or rather imagine that's what it is, because it is the reality; imagine that you are going to receive a friend with no equal in the world, from whom you have been separated for some forty years, by your own fault; imagine that you have had some wrongs against him which he has completely forgotten, that he is eager to receive you into his arms, to press you to his heart, to give himself to you, to unite you to himself in the closest way possible in this world, to renew with you the relationships of a hearty, eternal friendship."

                                                             -  Blessed Jean-Joseph Lataste,  from Magnificat, August 2021

Thursday, August 5, 2021

returning to Thrush Green

 


Having finished the moving and dramatic story about The Dean's Watch, I've gone back to the safe and quiet Miss Read, where I'm going through the Thrush Green novels we have at the library, which isn't all of them, just the ones we own - I think I have four left. It's a little disconcerting to read them out of order; I've picked them up alphabetically, the way they were sitting on the shelf, and didn't think too much about it when I started. Now I may as well continue that way. 

As for Mariner, I *really* like it, but you may be amazed when I tell you it's about Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner - I am certainly amazed that I could enjoy such a book! We read Piranesi with Joy Clarkson's podcast and she had Malcolm Guite (author of the aforementioned) on one episode while they talked about a connection with the Rime and he said he'd written a book about Coleridge and how his life echoed the poem he was later to write. So, I ordered the book because I was intrigued by the conversation, mainly. When it arrived I was dismayed by the size - I tend to avoid thicker books but, too late - I owned the thing. Well, it is Very interesting. 

They've had ground turkey on sale every week lately at the supermarket so I've been getting it, but without having any real expertise with it. I made a meatloaf last week but it was awful; somebody somewhere said you should try to not overmix it, but that isn't easy. I decided that mushy bread crumbs might not help the situation, so today I made meatballs using quick oats and I lightly and carefully mixed. They were good! I think I've got it. 

There was a beautiful sunset the other night, all fiery purples.



Thursday, July 29, 2021

in the lovely world where songs are sung that men hear in dreams

 "Until now life for him had meant the aridity of earthly duty and the dews of God. Now he was aware of something else, a world that was neither earth nor heaven, a heartbreaking, fabulous, lovely world where the conies take refuge in the rainbowed hills and in the deep valleys of the unicorns the songs are sung that men hear in dreams, the world that the poets know and the men who make music. Job's world. Isaac's world. The autumn song of the robin could let you in, or a shower of rain or a hobby-horse lying on a green lawn."

Or a phrase written by the late, great Elizabeth Goudge. From The Dean's Watch.


Sunday, July 25, 2021

quiet Sunday

 Note to self: resist adding too many noodles to the pot when making soup. I've done this more than once - it was fine, but really, today's chicken soup didn't need quite so much pasta.

And I also made ice cream. Clare, this is for you! This is the recipe, I've made it many times and it's adaptable to what you've got in the fridge. This is what I did:

In the blender, I whizzed:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (today I used raw, like she did)
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • some mint extract
  • 2 cups of a mix of plain Greek yogurt and light cream, about 50/50
Chill, and when your canister is ready, make your ice cream! We actually finished off the batch right away, because it was so nice and cold. The recipe is from a lady named Rose, who passed away a few years ago; she was a friend of Rhonda Hetzel of Down to Earth.

I just finished The Wild Silence (The Salt Path sequel), by Raynor Winn - I could hardly put it down. If you've been wondering about The Salt Path, just read it! Her suffering, her determination, her writing. Unforgettable.


Monday, July 19, 2021

"joy is a homing pigeon"

 I found a very pretty hanging plant at the supermarket, but since I brought it home it's been looking bedraggled.


Now the rain has eased, and it can perk up again. I don't know what it is - the true color is a little warmer than this.

From The Dean's Watch:

"With renewed civilities the three old gentlemen bowed to each other and the door was at last closed. Politeness was important in the city in those days. There was time for it."

 And, "As I see it, there is no giving without giving away. But joy is a homing pigeon."

Sunday, July 18, 2021

keep us all in peace

This was in Magnificat today:

For those who wander in the deserts of disbelief and despair,
                   
Lead your people home!

For those who browse for food in the pastures of untruth,
                   
Lead your people home!

For those who do not know that they are lost,
                   
Lead your people home!                 


There were two more thunderstorms last night, with loads of rain in attendance. I lay there during the first one around 2:15 amid the flashings and thunderings, and wondered how high the brook was getting, and if we'd see the bridge overturned in the morning. The next was an hour later, but mild in comparison. This morning, all appeared normal. But you can hear the rushing of the water from the house; if I wasn't nursing a headache I'd go out and film it for you, but, maybe tomorrow.


May the God in whose ways our fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
 the God who has been our shepherd from our birth to this day,
 the Angel who has delivered us from all harm,
 bless us and keep us in peace. Amen


Saturday, July 17, 2021

too much rain

We have had so much rain lately - so much.  Everything has an overgrown, semi-tropical look outside, and thunderstorms! We have thunderstorms almost every day - for weeks! I'm not exaggerating. 

Yesterday they issued a flash flood watch for this afternoon, through till tomorrow evening, so I decided to hurriedly make a grocery delivery order, rather than go out in rough weather. Glad I did, because it rained and thundered and rained more until I could see, from the kitchen window, the brook rushing right under the bridge. The brook isn't level with the ground - it's a couple of feet down, but the water level was up there all right. And on the street, the storm drain at the end of the driveway was overflowing, not to mention a "stream" which ran down the side of our yard along the fence, a path the brook originally took before being diverted by the developers, but it seems to still remember. My brother voiced concern that if the water overturned the bridge, it might end up damming the brook. And then there would be a mess. That was three hours ago - I can't see the water anymore from the window. I've been looking at photos from the flooding in Belgium - may God have mercy on them. 

Just like last month wasn't very June-like (much hotter than normal), this month doesn't much feel like July - it's way too wet, and swings from hot and very humid to cooler than normal. It isn't nice enough to spend much time outside. I wonder what August will bring. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Who split the Red Sea in twain,
for his mercy endures forever;
And led Israel through its midst,
for his mercy endures forever;
But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,
for his mercy endures forever.

- from Psalm 136


Thursday, July 15, 2021

"only the young are homebound when they can't go out"

"...Miss Montague sat apparently idle, her hands caressing the cat in her lap. Beyond the west window, behind the steep old roofs of Worship Street, the last of a fiery frosty sunset was burning itself out....Motionless in her chair Miss Montague left her room and went up and down the streets of the city, seeing the remembered pattern of its roofs against the sky,...knowing as she turned each corner exactly what she would see, for she had the city by heart....If anyone at this moment was thinking of her it was as a very old woman who never left her house except to go to the Cathedral in her Bath chair when she was well enough, and perhaps they pitied her. They did not know how vivid are the memories of the old and that only the young are homebound when they can't go out."

                                                                 -  Elizabeth Goudge, The Dean's Watch

I'm moving along with The Dean's Watch, and that last line really struck me. I love Elizabeth Goudge and have read several of her books, also this seems to be a favorite with many. But when I bought it last year I couldn't bear what seemed to me a heavy, gloomy atmosphere - so I put it away, surprised and disappointed. Meanwhile, I'm participating in this reading challenge; one of the things is a book I've avoided. Well, this was it, and you know, I'm really enjoying it now. There is a proper time and place for everything.

I worked on my dress today, carefully hand stitching the lace to the area somewhere near the neckline seam, if that's the right term for it. It's where the bias binding is sewn to the neck; I decided to attach it only there and leave it free everywhere else. I decided the other day to do my sewing or something creative for an hour first, before other things. It's nice - I took my time and forgot about everything else. 

It's the feast of St. Bonaventure today -

"When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than the proceedings from the mouth."

It's also Rembrandt's birthday. I hope the two of them are in the same place.


Sunday, July 11, 2021

a hope

 Almighty God, your word is cast
Like seed into the ground, 
Now let the dew of heav'n descend
And righteous fruits abound.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

now you see it, now you don't

 I think this is how I'm going to do the lace "collar"


I first pinned the sections further back at the shoulder seam, with a gap in the middle of the neckline; that looked all right, but then I thought I could maybe gather a length of it and stitch it along the whole front of the dress, but it didn't take long for me to change my mind about that - it might be clownish. So, I tried it like this. I don't mind that the sections don't reach to the shoulder seam, as I am aiming for a funky collar look, anyway. I'm not trying to make it look real. So, the upper edge of the lace pieces is just folded over the neckline and I guess I'm just going to hand-stitch it in place. I didn't know any other way to do it - I felt I had to bind the neckline first as I usually do and then figure out the lace. I've sewn several versions of this pattern (over-the-head, a-line dress), and I like finding ways of making each one distinct.

Okay, now this will be one of the strangest things you've seen this year.


This is a skirt. It's a heavyish cotton knit, in a "natural" background color, with blue and white flowers. I'd noticed a slight stain, visible only to me probably, but I put it in the Oxi Clean to soak and got lazy and left it there more than two weeks. But along the way, I thought it had turned this light purplish color. Now, I'm always soaking something or other in Oxi Clean and the only thing it does is get the stain out, eventually. This skirt is entirely made of cotton. I saw it in there, and thought, well, I suppose I won't mind having a skirt in that pretty shade, but I was in a lazy spell and I still left it in the Oxi Clean. I even threw in some other items, and stirred things up. This didn't affect anything else in this way, but some of the purple skirt stuck up into the air, and when I finally took it out, the part in the water was purply, but not the rest. As you see, above. 

Well. I rinsed it out, and decided to just pin it up on the clothesline and figure out what to do with it when it dried. Well! It's fine now! If this isn't the weirdest episode in my history of doing laundry, nothing else could be. I did notice that when I hung it outside, it was getting dark and it seemed almost phosphorescent. I suppose there's an explanation for it, and I'd like to hear it. But anyway, the stain is gone - ha! I should hope so, considering how long it soaked. And the skirt is put away for now. And I refuse to be afraid of Oxi Clean.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

freedom

 "For the first time a nation sprang forth, not simply from the bond of people living together in a place for years, but rather from an idea, the principle of the truth of the human person as sacred and unrepeatable. The Declaration acknowledged our origin as beings made by God, with rights God himself gave us. It is God's law - his plan - that declares unequivocally that at our creation by the divine hand rests our equal liberty and the rights inherent in us as God's creatures. Our liberty arises not from us, but from the one who made us."

                                                -  Anne Husted Burleigh, from Magnificat, July 2021


"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

                                                    - Ronald Reagan

Thursday, July 1, 2021

books and a project

This is my book pile this month.



Piranesi I'm reading along with Joy Clarkson's podcast. It's interesting, and strange. Apparently there's a connection with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, so I found a copy in the children's section at the library, of all places. The complete poem, and with illustrations!

I just read Antigone with the Literary Life podcast; A Circle of Quiet is with another group. The Dean's Watch is just for me, but that will be slow going. 

On top is the shift I started last summer. I'm doing the armhole and neck binding. And after hemming, there's some lace I hope to use for a faux collar of sorts.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

good intentions

 I often have the intention to come here and post, and then something gets in the way. It could be tiredness, computer troubles, interruptions - whatever it is, I wonder if I need a new schedule. 

this person is not responsible for my lack of posts

We have had the most un June-like weather this month - many days over ninety. And more to come, through the month's end. Meanwhile, I made ice cream, naturally.


French Vanilla, with cacao nibs. I'm not a vanilla girl, but French - there's something about it. I just realized that my 1975 Betty Crocker cookbook has ice cream recipes in it; I've tended to use it as a reference, not always looking for particular recipes. It had three yolks and a tablespoon of vanilla. You could smell it all over; there are worse things.

Speaking of food, I've been buying different pasta shapes lately - let's say, in a spirit of adventure. I got some radiatore. I never thought about the name.


Radiators, of course! And they look like it. We think Italian is so romantic, don't we? But they are calling their pasta "little worms". (vermicelli), "little tongues" (linguini). Totally practical. According to Frances Mayes, there's one called "choked (or strangled) priests". I don't know the name, and can't imagine the shape. 

I'm in the middle of making a list of things I might want to make for July 4th. 

"Somehow the main function of a list is to make me feel well organized. Practically speaking, they aren't much use, as I invariably mislay them. I make careful grocery lists and leave them behind when I go to the village. But it is nice to know that when I get home I'll know what I forgot because the list is under the coffeemaker right where I left it when I unplugged the pot."

                                                     -  Gladys Taber
"


Sunday, June 20, 2021

three weeks in a row

 Three weeks in a row I've gotten fresh strawberries. First, I made shortcake. Last week I made some freezer jam.


But this time, I think we should just eat them.


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.