Monday, April 20, 2015

The Ostrich

ABC Wednesday
April 22nd, 2015
O is the Letter

I give you THE OSTRICH

The Ostrich roams the great Sahara

Its mouth is wide, its neck is narra

It has such long and lofty legs

I'm glad it sits to lay its eggs

Ogden Nash

For more info about O s visit here at ABC Wednesday -

with thanks to Denise, Roger and their most orderly helpers.

Friday, April 17, 2015

April in the Garden

It is a warm and sunny morning.  Blue skies, - the sound of sandhill cranes flying through the valley, skirting the friendly clouds,

I am out early, with no other commitments than to feel the warm earth on my hands, and a half a dozen amaryllis that need a summer home.

I find a lovely big pot, loosen the soil, add a handful of promising fertilizing pellets and top it up with some beautiful black crumbly composted earth; into which I scoop out little bowls and lay the bulbs and their long trailing roots, patting them tenderly and wishing them a nice summer in whatever weather might come and nurture them.

Yesterday I made myself a nice cheese sandwich, and took a cup of coffee and a bowl of yogurt out for lunch on the lawn, but today I had a Philharmonic concert from Berlin to watch and listen to at eleven o'clock.  Gorgeous Shumann, a marvelous Mozart and then some rousing Strauss.

So after tending to the amaryllis I made a tour of my little garden spot, - marveling at how quickly things are growing and coming into bud and blossom, and here are some of the things that Callie and I found growing.

Mostly tulips and aconites in bloom right now, but the early peonies have pink buds
and the poppies and delphinium  are reaching skywards.

And some people have early lilacs blooming, filling their yards with
heavenly scent.  Mine are on the verge.....

There is a great plethora of that particular kind of violet
that doesn't bloom, but seeds itself in every available bit of space,
crowding around the feet of all the perennials.  It seems to
have taken the place of the Great Chinese Lantern Railway
(which is present, but in decent bounds)
and I spend a lot of time pulling it out by its shallow roots
and filling the compost bins.

The hills are greening nicely, and I noticed coming home from Penticton the
other day that the Black Eyed Susans are beginning
to decorate the hillsides.

I am taking the trip across the Pass on Sunday, to a birthday party,
and will have a fine opportunity to take pictures
as a dear DIL is driving.

Oh, - and did I tell you I heard a Meadowlark singing across the way,
towards the creek!!!!

And here is the 'new-bed-last-year' where I am going to plant lilies and freesia tomorrow!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ABC Wednesday
late on Thursday.......
The letter is N for NOW, you forgetful Nellie!!!

The days go by, and I try to keep my reminder Notes up-to-date, but sometimes Time plays tricks on me, and I forget...

Yesterday I looked, puzzled, at the "Tree to Me" note on my wall calendar - what could it mean????

I put it out of my mind as inconsequential and went off to singing with the Seniors - singing at Orchard Haven where those who are not lucky enough to still look after themselves find - well, HAVEN...

My good friend who fell and broke her leg is there, - no longer able to maintain her own little apartment.  And my dear, old friend who I first met seventy years ago and who is so terribly frustrated by her inability to be able to find words to express herself (as the result of a stroke).  She is also there...  Time stretches on painfully for them, and NOW is not always pleasant.

As we finished singing the old tunes for those residents who had gathered to listen and some to sing along, one of the singers said "Are you coming to LUNCH?"

LUNCH?  LUNCH???? - oh my, - NOW I remember.  Lunch with the Apple Tarts at TREE TO ME!!

I didn't go to lunch.  I filled my NOW time trying to solve the problem of why my dear old friend could not hear (dead battery in her hearing aid), holding her hand, and reminiscing.

Today my NOW time is going to be spent in the garden, - but first this little contribution to ABC Wednesday, whose Yesterday was NOW TIME, but better late than never, I guess......

If you pop in here at ABC Wednesday you will probably find much more interesting comments on the letter N by people who are more attentive to NOW and get things done on time!!!!  Like all the NOBLE people at ABC Wednesday!!

And I will go out in the garden on this lovely sunny day and plant pansies and sweet peas, grateful that I have such pleasant things to fill my NOW days at Ninety!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

All in the April evening...

I see on Facebook that my nephew, the News Correspondent, has posted the launching of the robotic Dragon with a load of supplies for the International Space Station, and so I hurry to the site and the image of the ship and the Falcon launcher standing straight and tall, pointed towards the heavens against the blue of the sky and the wisp of clouds, and belching smoke and fire .....

As I watched the preparations for launch suddenly into my head came the hymn, 'All in the April Evening' (Roberton) and I found myself humming, and singing snatches of the words.  A somewhat vague feeling of the passage of time, eternity, and how in some way despite the great advances in technologly since I first learned that lovely April hymn, all things remain the same throughout and despite these incredible changes.

And how blase we are about it all...  I saw nothing on the news about the Falcon and the robotic Dragon, - or the close proximity of Mars and the total eclipse of the moon (ah, I was looking in the wrong place...)

When we first came to the farm and John Maunsell was the incumbent at St. John's there were a number of good singers in the congregation and we formed a choir of sorts.  All in the April Evening was one of the pieces we sang - it has a lovely sweetness and melancholy about it and it brought back so many memories.  Singing, sheep, lambs, the years on the farm........

I love the sound of this Men's Choir and picture the sheep on the hills in the Dales when we visited Charles' crew member, Brownie, in Peakdale..

A walk in the April woods with Charles when we first met, - a journey through space this April afternoon some seventy years later.....the same incredibly beautiful world!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A sunny Saturday, with wispy white clouds painting the blue, blue sky.

I am just home from printing the pew bulletins for tomorrow's Morning Prayer. and see that it is time for Happy Hour (a little Orange Brandy) and that there are enough minutes before supper to gather up a few pictures and tell the tale of my pleasant, but rather lonely, trip to Ginty's Pond.

It is blossom time in the valley, and the orchards are fragrant with peach and plum and cherry promises - and the apple trees still just in the pink.

I went on a whim, on the spur of the moment, and found that the battery in my camera was low, so took the Ipad instead.  It takes lovely pictures and is immediately available for quick snaps, but they aren't quite the quality of the Canon.

I am less daring than Charles was when we made these trips together, and was loath to take the narrow river bank road in Cawston, but saw through the trees that the river is still quite low.

As I drove out I looked upon the lane leading to the old Pump House which supplied
water to the Veterans on the Cawston Bench in our early days of farming.

It looked so inviting, but what was once a walk along the lane is now a saunter,
and that accompanied by a CANE!

Ginty's Pond is still very much muddled with the remains of last year's growth,
and the water itself is rather scummy in spots,
but I did see a few ducks, still courting, off in the distance.
Unfortunately didn't have the long lens with me!

The upper end of the pond was much more picturesque and a few ducks
were out taking in the sunshine and calm waters.

Across the road, where the culvert guides the stream down through a meandering path to the river
the pond itself had little to offer, but the blue sky and clouds stretching down to the Border
were promising.

I went along the old familiar road through Fairview Heights, the Veterans'  project,
and around the Rocking Chair ranch where a friendly black cow looked at me
inquisitively when I stopped to snap a picture.

The new property owner down the road where we used to stop on the bridge and take 
lovely pictures of the creek has removed the old willow that once dipped it's branches
into the water, and the grasses that grew along the side provided
shade for the occasional fish.

But here is a picture of it, as it was.....

I stopped on the way home to visit with family and see what blossoms the farm had to offer...

and also got a nice picture of a sweet great grandson up a gnarled old cherry tree!

 At home the tulips were showing signs of being ready to provide

altar flowers on Sunday, and a little clump of daffodils and

delicate blue forget-me-nots blossomed at the foot of the quince,

whose buds are showing beasutiful shades of pink and coral.

Next week I will take a little jaunt out west, across the river, to see where the water reaches on the rock that Charles always used for a flood-or-not-flood spring.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

ABC Wednesday
The letter is M for Memories

My contribution today is unabashedly sentimental!!

Memories,  sung by Bing Crosby.

My husband learned to play "Memories" from a player piano when he first left school, 
and it stirs my heart and my own memories when I play it now...

For more Ms mosey on over to ABC Wednesday, here
with thanks to Denise and Roger and all their
memorable helpers.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Easter Dinner. and all that....

Easter is upon us, and I wish you all the happiest of days, however you celebrate the Holy Festival.

I had planned to have an ordinary Sunday dinner tomorrow - a roast, surrounded by baby potatoes getting brown and crisp, some sweetgingered carrots and a salad, - but!

While on a foray in the local grocery store this morning to pick up Lilies for the church I was going by the meat counter when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a handsome Ham Steak waving at me frantically.  Take Me - Take Me!!!

It wasn't the Ham himself that seduced me, but the memories of days gone by when Easter meant turkey, ham and above all POTATOES ANNA.

Change of menu.......

I was first introduced to Pommes Anna by an exotic neighbouring veteran who lived down the hill from us and with whom we used to play bridge, although we were much out of his league.  A very intelligent man of mid-eastern descent, educated in England, overly familiar with classical music and art.  It was he who advised me to learn one piece of music really well, - preferably the Pathetique, and play only that when requested to perform.

He was also a very sophisticated cook, and Potatoes Anna was only one of his recipes I enjoyed making, and the family were estatic to see on the dinner table.

I research Messrs. Google and Wiki about Potatoes Anna and discovered that the recipes were varied. 

Alec didnt tell me they could be turned out on to a plate, cut like a pie and served in slices, so I didn't ever do that, but it does look quite elegant to serve them that way.

Our recipe was quite simple and its allure was based on scads of melted butter and very thinly sliced potatoes, arranged in a deep pie plate, layer upon layer of potato circles, each layer brushed with melted butter to which salt had been added, - all in all about six large potatoes, a generous quarter cup of butter and about a teaspoon of salt.

I ran across recipes that suggested cutting the potatoes with a mandolin, after they had first been shaped into perfect tubes, and recipes that involved parchment paper. and inverting the whole potage half way through, but I have found that like Occam's Razor, simplest is best, baked in a medium oven, perhaps covered for the first ten minutes, and left to simmer in that wonderful buttery sauce until very tender.

So that will be Easter dinner for us - wish you could join us!

P.S.  - I did run across one interesting variation, that left the potatoes whole but slathered each slim slice with butter and then baked them like baked potatoes.