Monday, September 19, 2016

K is for Kingfisher

ABC Wednesday
September 21st, 2016

The letter is K for Kingfisher

The Kingfisher

The kingfisher rises out of the black wave
like a blue flower.  In his beak
he carries a silver leaf.  I think this is
the prettiest world - so long as you don't mind
a little dying.  How could there be a day in your
whole life
that doesn't have its splash of happiness?
There are more fish than there are leaves
on a thousand trees, and anyway, the kingfisher
wasn't born to think about it, or anything else.
When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the
remains water - hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could
I don't say he's right.  Neither
do I say he's wrong.  Religiously he swallows the
silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and
easy cry
I couldn't rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.

Mary Oliver

For more interesting Ks click here to visit
ABC Wednesday
with many thanks to
Roger, Denise, Leslie
and all keen helpers. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

J is for Jewels.

ABC Wednesday
September 14, 2016

The letter is J for Jewels

And here is a pretty, romantic poem by Sara Teasdale, entitled "Jewels"

If I should see your eyes again,
I know how far their look would go --
BAck to a morning in the park
With sapphire shadows on the snow.

OR back to oak trees in the spring
WHen you unloosed my hair and kissed
The head that lay against your knees
In the leaf ahadow's amethyst,

And still another shining place
We would remember - how the dun
Wild mountain held us on its crest
One diamond morning white with sun.

But I will turn my eyes from you
As women turn to put away
The jewels they have worn at night
And cannot wear in sober day

For more Js click Here to visit ABC Wednesday,
with thanks to Roger, Denise, Leslie
And all their Jolly helpers

Monday, September 05, 2016

Irish Music

ABC Wednesday
September 7th, 2016

The Letter is I for Ireland

and here is a little Irish Music to set your toes a-tapping

more interesting takes on the letter I here
at ABC Wednesday, 
with thanks to Roger, Denise, Leslie 
and all irrepressible helpers

Friday, September 02, 2016

Hello September!!!

.....and welcome!!!

April might be wet and moody, and the summer months can leave you
gasping with the heat
but when did September ever let you down????

Such a wonderful month..

full of energy and enthusiasm and new beginnings...

During the school lunch years (and they were many with our
six children stretched out over sixteen years)
when I was making sandwiches, baking chocolate cakes
and cookies, how I yearned to pack up a lunch
for myself, and join them in the learning experience.

Eventually I did go back to College
but in the meantime September was like New Years,
full of good intentions and
wonderful projects to tackle.

And the colours, the harvest, the mellowness,
the gentle descent into sleep
that was going on in the gardens and
throughout the countryside.,

I loved it then and I love it still.

A few pictures of the countryside in the Autumn

Not this year's pictures - many of them taken on those wonderful
picture taking drives that Charles and I indulged in
when everything was particularly beautiful....

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ABC Wednesday
The letter is H for William Ernest Henley


Probably known best for his poem "Invictus"
which reflects his resilient struggle with the deadly disease,
tuberculosis of the bone.

"I am and Master of my fate
I am the Captain of my Soul"

Henley lost his left leg below the knee when he was in his teens.
In 1873 his other leg was affected by tuberculosis
but thanks to the innovative treatment of Dr. Joseph Lister it
was not amputated.  

Henley stayed almost two years under Dr. Lister's care
and during this time he turned to writing poetry 
about his hospital experiences.
These poems are probably the most interesting of all for the present day reader,
as they depart from the traditional themes and imagery
of Victoria poetry and have an affinity in form
with Gerald Manley Hopkins and T.S. Eliot.

'In spite of his illness Henley was a strong and sociable man with boundless energy, 
excellent memory, enthusiasm and versatile mind.'

As much as I admire his poem Invictus
probably my favourite Henley poem is
"O Gather Me the Rose"

lovely words with a gentle admonishment
to gather joy as we find it and whenever we can.

O gather me the rose, the rose,
While yet in flower we find it
For summer smiles, but summer goes,
And winter waits behind it.

For with the dream foregone, foregone,
The deed foreborn forever,
The worm Regret will canker on,
And time will turn him never.

So were it well to love, my love,
And cheat of any laughter
The fate beneath us, and above,
The dark before and after.

The myrtle and the rose, the rose,
The sunshine and the swallow
The dream that comes, the wish that goes
The memories that follow!

William Ernest Henley fell from a railway carriage in 1902
and the accident caused the latent tuberculosis germ
to awaken.  He died on he 11th of July, 1903, a the age of 53.

For more interesting Hs visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks for Roger, Denise and Leslie
and all Helpers

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

G is for Goulash

ABC Wednesday
August 24th, 2016

The letter is G for Goulash

Not part of my repertoire, 
but I have such fond memories of the goulash made by a family friend, 
when I was a child.

And so the other day I made a pot of Goulash
and although not exactly enchanted by it
I was really very pleased, and vowed to make more. 

I made my Goulash American style,
 with ground beef and tomatoes and
elbow macaroni

But I am reminded of the wonderful history of
Hungarian Goulash
and the practically of taking along a
dish that cooks while you herd cattle.


This thick, hearty dish is popular with herdsmen in Hungary.
They make it in a cast-iron kettle hung above an open fire, out in the fields. 

The herdsmen have the best ingredients at hand -  prime quality beef, and as it cooks while
they work it goes well with their lifestyle.

During the 19th century, when there was a general raising of
national awareness of Hungarian culture
language and 'gastronomical delights'
this peasant dish came to be accepted by town folk, and even the elite.

Today it is a tourists' favourite, and is featured
in all the best restaurants in Budapest, 
throughout Hungary, and with
slight national variations in many other
countries of Europe.

You ask for Gulyas - Hungarian for Herdsman.

Here is a Classical Hungarian Goulash Recipe

Heat up a couple of tablespoons of oil or lard in a heavy pot and braise 2 medium chopped up onions
until they are a nice golden brown, - 
then add two cups of beef cubes, stirring a bit until they become brown.

Add 2 cloves of garlic, 2 diced carrots, 1 diced parsnip, a couple of celery leaves 
and 2 or 3 medium potatoes, sliced, 
i tablespoon of Hungarian paprika and
a teaspoon of caraway seed.  
along with one bay leaf. some ground black pepper and salt to taste.

When the vegetables and meat are almost done add 2 medium tomatoes, 
peeled and chopped and the sliced green peppers.
Let it cook on low heat for another few minutes.

If you want to be really Classical here is where you
bring the mixture to a boil and add the CSIPETKE, or
small Hungarian noodles. 

A Hungarian Herdsman in Traditional Finery

doubtless ordering a bowl of Goulash.
Hungarian Style.

Here is a Hungarian Folk Song and some scenes that will perhaps
give you a taste of Hungary and its culture.

For more interesting Gs click here at ABC Wednesday,
with thanks to Roger, Denise, Leslie and
all grand helpers.

Monday, August 15, 2016

F for Fiddlehead

ABC Wednesday
August 17th, 2016

The letter is F for Fiddlehead

Chock full of vitamin A and C fiddlehead greens are a nutritional powerhouse rich in antioxidants, and a great source of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.  The furled fronds of a young fern, the fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and are cut fairly close to the ground.

Over-picking will eventually kill the plant, and it is important to maintain sustainable harvesting, whether you are growing them commercially or out in the woods  where it is damp, and the ferns grow freely.

Fiddleheads have been part of traditional diets for centuries in much of France, across Asia, and among Native Americans.  With a flavouring similar to asparagus this springtime veggie goes well in soups, salads and pastas - and quiche too!

Bring some potatoes, celery, onion, water, stock and salt and pepper to a boil, - cover and simmer about twenty minutes or until veggies are tender.  Add fiddleheads and simmer until they are tender too and you have a nice creamy fiddlehead soup.

Of course there is a Band, too that is called Fiddlehead Soup, - one which has a delightfully unique sound well known in the community in which they play (in eastern Ontario, Canada)

Fiddlehead Soup sings and plays English, Scottish, Irish, French, Spanish, Icelandic, Finnish, Northern Sami, Uyghur and Italian music, as well as their own compositions.  (I am not familiar with Uyghur music, but I plan to listen and discover.....

Glenna Hunter, Doug Hendry and Ursa Meyer. Band members.
The ladies are mother and daughter.

There is also a well known Canadian Literary Magazine called The Fiddlehead, 
and a Radio Pod Cast associated with it, both of which can be
found online.

For more interesting Fs click here to visit ABC Wednesday,
with thanks to Roger, Denise, Leslie and those helpers who frantically visit
the contributors to ABC Wednesday each week.