Sunday, May 30, 2021


 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.