Tuesday, September 30, 2014

L is for Lemon

ABC Wednesday
October 1, 2014

The letter is L, for Lemon

Found ubiquitously on Used Car Lots and in Dealers' Show Rooms

and viewed by all with Tongue in Cheek!!!

For more takes on the letter L visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Denise, Roger and all Loyal helpers.

Monday, September 29, 2014

It was a busy week, - here, there and everywhere
but now it's Monday again and a brand new week 
with sunshine and showers
forecast and nothing terribly pressing.

Oh well, is anything really very pressing anymore?

When I came home from church yesterday, and after I had had a bit of lunch
I stretched out on the couch where the sun's rays were warm and bright (with the cat)
and picked up Anne Lindbergh's 'Gifts from the Sea' which I had put out to re-read.

And I remembered when I had first read it, back in the 50's.

What an amazingly wonderful time it was!  Family, husband, community,
 a new orchard, sheep, great quantities of friends
 - veterans on a DVA project, poor but excited with a new life.
All of us squashed into tiny houses which was all we could afford to build at the time. 
And the children! Big ones at school, small ones at home.  
Charles so fantastically busy, and life stretched on forever and ever....

That is when I really appreciated 'Gifts from the Sea' - 
when each day was a great kaleidoscope of
fragmented activity and distractions,  
and there seemed little or no time for meditation or inner stillness.
 And yet when I look back at what I was reading and the opinions I remember having, 
it couldn't all have been a domestic mishmash....

Now it is a time of great nostalgia,
 and quiet moments of reflection and meditation are an important part of my life,
 - in the music I play, the books I read (and re-read), the photography of still life I indulge in, 
-  an hour spent spinning, my time in the garden. 
As I read Anne Lindbergh's words 
and follow her search for simplicity and stillness
 I think about centering and contemplation 
and I think perhaps I have reached that time in my life when this is a possibility.

But it comes at a price.....

And I still have all that 'STUFF' to dispose of
 before I can truly live the pure and simple life......
but more about that later!

Is there anyone who would give house to this lovely pot my sister
bought for me, years and years and years ago....

Monday, September 22, 2014

K is for Kiwi

ABC Wednesday
Sept. 24, 2014

The letter this week is K - for Kiwi

So, what can I tell you about KIWI???

Well, it depends upon which Kiwi we are talking about - shall we start with the fruit!

Native to China, the fruit was first called 'yang tao' but was changed to 'Chinese Gooseberry' by the New Zealanders who began cultivation on a commercial scale, exporting to California where the fruit was re-branded as the Kiwifruit, after the Kiwi Bird (more later).

About the size of a hen's egg it has a fibrous, dull greenish-brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny black edible seeds.  The fruit has a soft texture and a sweet but unique flavor and grows on a fast growing woody vine in most temperate climates with adequate summer heat.

The vines require vigorous pruning, similar to that of grapevines, and the fruit is borne on one year old and older canes.

Firm kiwifruit ripen after a few days to a week when stored at room temperature, but should not be kept in direct sunlight.  Faster ripening occurs when placed in a paper bag with
 an apple, pear, or banana.

Would you like a recipe?  I found this delightful recipe for chocolate covered kiwi popsicles at Bare Foot in the Kitchen (a blog) and it sounds easy and fun to make - and tempting....

You are going to need six large kiwis, peeled and cut into 1/3 to 1/2 inch rounds, a cup of dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup of coconut oil and some popsickle sticks.

Slice the kiwis into rounds with a popsickle stick in each one and place on a tray lined with wax paper (or parchment).  Freeze for AT LEAST four hours, and up to 48 hours.

In a glass bowl melt the chocolate and the coconut oil over a pan of simmering water, and then dip each frozen kiwi into the melted chocolate - the chocolate will harden within a few moments of being dipped.  Eat immediately -  or re-freeze what you don't eat immediately!  A good way to get chocolate along with your vitamin C.......

Another Kiwi is the wingless bird, for which the kiwi fruit was named, and there is a marked resemblance, at least in shape.

During the Second World War there were many boys from New Zealand 
stationed in Canada with the Commonwealth Training Program, and a few I came to know.

They were affectionately referred to as 'Kiwis".

They had a wonderful accent to our Canadian ears and lots of expressions that 
soon became familiar to us.

Great was either 'choice' or 'cracker'
'Crikey' or 'Crikey Dick' expressed  surprise
'Get off the grass' meant go away, or calm down
and of course everyone has heard 'G'day mate' and 'Good on ya!'

I have heard Charles say 'I'll have your guts for garters' - no doubt
picked up from Kiwi airmen.

'Like a box of fluffy ducks' indicates happiness
and if you were 'On the pig's back' all was well and good.
'We're home and hosed'  meant successful and safe.

For more K's visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and all Kool helpers.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The first day of Autumn, and still Summer lingers with us.  
A warm day and I spent the afternoon in the back garden, reading, 
and then finally stirring myself to gather up the 
great leaves of the squash and cucumber and pumpkin that I planted,
 and alas, had only a very meager harvest.  However, before the lovely leaves
 began to shred and dry they made a wonderful show at the edge of the deck.

And the nicotiana perfumed the night so intensely that the scent wafted 
through the open window, along the hall, and into my bedroom

However, I am now with Rilke, and his words about Autumn. 
I think that I have posted his poem before, 
but perhaps not this particular translation by Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann.

Lord it is time.  The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials
and let loose the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time,
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.

The grape harvest is not yet underway here in the valley,
but the orchards are busy with apple pickers and the alders and the poplars,
 high in the hills, mark the creeks they edge with gold.

I have determined to spend this coming week in the garden.
Those beautiful but ubiquitous yellow daisies have more or less taken over
even providing fierce competition for the Chinese Underground Railway
and the bright orange lanterns they festoon their
stations with.

I hope to move the daisies to another spot (not yet determined)
to make room for the lilies which suffered under the great growth and 
shade of the hazel nut tree this summer.  I think that this side garden
is going to end up being a haven for hostas
with the poppies and the delphinium also moving elsewhere.

Well, all these plans for the garden add a great
deal of enthusiasm to life
and I am not yet ready for the pile of books,
the easy chair, and my knitting!!

By the way, I didn't get to the Pepper Festival, but spent the morning yesterday
helping to provide coffee to fifty or so
Anglicans who were on a rally, visiting South Okanagan Parishes,
and the afternoon playing the organ at a funeral
for an old and dear friend I used to play hand bells with, but I heard
the music that sounded throughout the town
and it was hot and peppy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

J is for Jalapena peppper

ABC Wednesday
September 17th, 2014
The letter is J - for Jalapena pepper

For the last dozen years the town of Keremeos has held 
Canada's only Sizzle Pepper Fest, - in September
when the peppers are hottest,
and the Jalapena is a great favourite.

This year's event takes place next Saturday.
It is free to the public and families enjoy a great day of fun, music and lots of food.

The day starts with a pancake breakfast, with musical entertainment,
and the music continues all during the day with various local
bands playing hot music.

Vendors offer pulled pork, Jamaican patties, fish and chips, burgers, enchiladas, tamales and other Mexican flavours, and an amateur chili cook-off starts serving at 11 a.m.

There is a hot sauce contest with celebrity judges with some of wine country's top chefs
as well as local sauciers entering their sauces.

But the main feature of the day is the Sear Factor Hot Pepper Eating Contest.

Behold - a video of last year's winning contestant!


For those not interested in eating the Jalapeno in its raw state
here is a very nice Cheddar and Jalapeno Biscuit Recipe.

Preheat your oven to 425F and in a large bowl whisk together one and one third cups of flour, one quarter cup of polenta or corn meal, three tablespoons of sugar, a half teaspoon
of salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper and two teaspoons of baking powder.

Stir in one and a quarter cups of grated cheddar cheese and two tablespoons of diced
fresh jalapenos (more or less to taste)

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour 
three quarters of a cup plus two tablespoons of heavy cream.

With a light hand gently bring the ingredients together just until everything is wet enough so that the dough will be sticky and clumpy.  (Maybe you will have to add a few more drops of cream)

Turn the dough out on to a lightly flour surface, knead a few times,form it 
into a disc about three quarters of an inch thick, and cut round biscuit shapes out of the disk.

Brush the biscuits with a bit of cream and top them with a sprinkle of cheese.

Bake for eleven or twelve minutes until the cheese is nicely melted and the biscuits are golden!!!


For more interesting Js visit here at ABC Wednesday, with
thanks to Roger and Denise and Jolly helpers.....

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What's on my camera today??

We are having a magnificent spell of warm September weather.  Cool at nights, and a kind and gentle warmth in the day time, - not summer's fierce heat - just perfect for finishing off a splendid apple crop - the sun to size the apples by day and the coolness of the nights to add colour.

I took a few pictures off my camera today, - some from a few  days ago, and a couple of still life pictures (part of an assignment to compose "family pictures" with objects that called the person depicted to mind.

Here is one that speaks a little about my Mother - a petit point picture that she did in later years when
she was confined to a wheelchair, but the picture is mainly about her wedding.

The silken ribbon that tied together her wedding bouquet, a dried rose and a bit of fern (more than ninety years old) her pearls, a random earring that she wore when I was young and one of my father's cuff links, but what I most treasure is the booklet containing the Marriage Certificate and the whole of the Marriage ceremony.

I have made a little list of other precious things I have and pictures that I can put together in remembrance, - my Grandmother's wedding ring and her gold watch, a fan belonging to a great aunt,
my Father's house thermometer that Charles kept always by his bed,  his medals and a couple of books.  Letters and snapshots and old sheet music - I am very enthused about this project.

There were garden pictures on my camera too.  Sunflowers and roses and
 yellow daisies in abundance

And family who came to visit after closing up their summer home, bring with them TimBits and a wonderful Salmon Ball made from freshly caught salmon caught in the waters off the Queen Charlottes  And crackers on which to spread the salmon!

What wasn't on my camera?  
Pictures of a pleasant afternoon spent at tea with the Royal Purple, 
celebrating their Centennial, - at which the Senior Singers sang, and everyone joined in, and it was just a perfect friendly small town affair.  When I get some pictures I will post them....

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Inga Bean and the Ice Cream Tree

ABC Wednesday
September 10th, 2014
The letter is I - for the Inga bean and the Ice Cream Tree


Oh, do you know the Ice Cream Tree, the Ice Cream Tree
The Ice Cream Tree

Oh do you know the Ice Cream Tree, - it lives in Peru
and all sorts of other tropical places that are warm
and damp and swampy.

Any climate that does not dip below freezing is friendly to the Ice Cream Tree
(well, that makes sense!)  It has great appeal and is found in many of the warmer parts of the world.
Definitely not a desert tree it prefers shaded spots and finds the driest months
of summer too harsh.  The monsoon months of summer are much more soothing.

And it grows beans that quite often are at least a metre long and is also known
in some parts as the Inga Bean, and in other parts as the Pacay Tree.

Wonderful beans that are naturally perfectly packaged,  ready to delight as one devours them.

To eat them 'one has to break them like snapping a stick, which is relatively easy, and then peal back the sides.  The edible wedges can then be taken out one by one and eaten.  Each wedge contains a seed which separates cleanly from the fiber around it'.  

It is light and refreshing with a hint of vanilla and a mildly sweet flavor.

The tree itself is native to the Brazilian Amazon.  It grows along river banks,
has wide spreading branches and
bears beautiful white and yellow pom pom flowers when in bloom.
very fragrant and arranged in crowded heads, rich in nectar and
most attractive to bees and humming birds.

Besides providing delectable dessert the tree is medically inclined.
A concoction of the bark is favourable in treating
dropsy and bowel irritations, and provides a lotion for arthritis and rheumatism.

It improves sight, relieves coughing, and the seeds are a good source of protein

A wonderful shade tree, it is a strong wood and provides building
material for beams.   It produces a permanent mulch which encourages rooting.

And most importantly, although lacking in potassium and magnesium,
 it is "nitrogen fixed", providing nitrogen to the soil rather than taking it away.

Truly a friendly tree!!

For more interesting takes on the letter 'I' visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and all iconic helpersw.