Monday, October 20, 2014


ABC Wednesday
October 22nd, 2014

The letter is O and the subject is ONIONS

Julian Merrow-Smith

What can I tell you about the onion that you don't already know.

Such an ancient, familiar, priceless part of our plant heritage, onions are endlessly
versatile and absolutely essential in so many of the dishes we savour.

When chopped, onions produce a volatile, sulphur rich oil that makes the eyes water, but
never let that deter you  - its taste, the lovely odour it imparts when cooking
and the unbelievable medicinal qualities it has make it one of the most valued additions
to any menu.

What is a kitchen without a bag full of onions - red, white, purple - all
delicious and so good for you!

I keep a half a dozen frozen onion soups ready in the freezer for days I have
unexpected company for lunch, or to pop into the oven on chilly, damp days.

and what better than onion rings to spice up a burger, or eat alongside a green salad!!

I love onions roasted in the oven, or the delicious aroma of them frying in a pan.

I am particularly addicted to creamed onions served as a vegetable....(although my youngest son only 
recommends creamed onions as a poultice if you get bitten by an alligator)

but what I love most is Onion Pie!!!!

Here is a nice recipe I use....

Combine one and one half cups of flour, 3/4 tsp of salt and one and one half
teaspoons of caraway seed.
Add one half a cup of shortening (diced) and cut into flour mixture.
Mix with 3 tablespoons of ice cold water.

Well you know how to do this pastry making thing, and when you have mixed if and rolled
it and fitted it into a pie pan, bake at 425 degrees for ten minutes.

In the meantime, back at the range, saute three cups of thinly sliced onions
in three tablespoons of butter. Spoon into the baked pastry shell.

Add one and one quarter cups of sour cream and 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt to
two eggs, well beaten.

Blend two tablespoons of flour with a quarter cup of sour creams and combine this
with the egg mixture.

Pour over the onions and bake at 325 degreesF for thirty minutes.
It is nice garnished with bacon curls.....

Very deliciously edible.....

When wool dyeing was one of my passions I used to save the thin papery skins of onions
and sometimes I would beg them from the local grocer,  and they
made a wonderful variety of yellows and golds with just an alum mordant and a bit of
baking soda and cream of tartar.

Also, for many years in my garden a cousin of the onion has been keeping company with the tulips
and looks very tall and elegant amongst them - the allium, also available
in white and pinks.

For more interesting Os visit here at ABC Wednesday
with many thanks to Roger, Denise and the people on their team
who come to visit you....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Some October, when the leaves turn gold, ask
me if I've done enough to deserve this life
I've been given.  A pile of sorrows, yes, but joy
enough to unbalance the equation.

When the sky turns blue as the robes of heaven,
ask me if I've made a difference.

The road winds through the copper-coloured woods;
no one sees around the bend.

Today the wind poured out of Canada,
a river in flood, bringing down the brilliant leaves,
broken sticks and twigs, deserted nests.
Go where the current takes you.

Some twilight, when the clouds stream in from the west
like the breath of God, ask me again.

Barbara Crooker

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ABC Wednesday
The letter is N, today

N for Narcissus

I have just tucked in dozens of bulbs for spring, planting them in drifts to make a beautiful picture of yellow waves, tossing in the spring breezes with welcoming nods of their golden heads.  Nice picture to imagine as we say goodbye to autumn and head into winter......

But speaking of winter, my favourite Narcissus is the Paper White, which for all my life has meant Christmas to me.  On my last stop at Knapp's plantland the paper whites were not yet on the shelves, but a kind helper went into the storage room and brought me two dozen bulbs.  I will pot them on December 1st (along with the help of the White Rabbit who visits on that day..) and will look forward to them being in bloom for Christmas Eve.

Lots of other references to "Narcissus", including Ethelbert Nevin's lovely recital show piece for piano........

And of course the poor sad fellow of Greek Mythology, who fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring, ignoring Echo, the nymph, who sat by enticingly.  He pined away and died, and the flower that bears his name sprang up on the spot.

For more great Ns visit here at ABC Wednesday with thanks
to Roger, Denise and all the Nice helpers who come around to read your posting.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Little of This and a Lot of That

This afternoon casts gentle hints that we may be coming 
to the end of our incredible Indian Summer weather.

There is a faint chill in the air that wasn't there this morning when I 
was out being diligent in the garden,
moving great clumps of coreopsis and rudbeckia 
and planting in their place lilies and spring bulbs

The week has flown by, each day dawning with the crispness of fall
and then, by noon, warming the valley with wild, rich
colours, blue sky and sunshine.

On Wednesday I spoke with a gentleman in India
(who had called me on behalf of Telus)
and he informed me it was 29C there in the city where he lived.
We were only a little behind, - on my front porch
the thermometer read 26C.

As a result of this call my daughter and I are going to have an
encounter with Smart Phones!!!!

For Charles and I a little minimum flip phone was adequate,
and my daughter took over her Dad's phone when he left,
so she could keep track of me.

Now that we are into a new contract time  I took the plunge, and ordered a
clever phone that does all sorts of amazing things, hoping that she
would be happy with this new challenge.

These men from India who work for Telus have a way about them
that is quite encouraging........

A week ago, at this time, we were just arriving in Langley and 
transferring luggage into the Motel.
We had arrived after traveling the Coquihalla, a high pass
across the mountains that I first encountered on a train when
I was taking our first born to the hospital in Vancouver.
In the middle of winter.  When the snow frequently halted one's train journey
at the height of the pass, as it did at that time!

This time I was traveling with the same first born and his wife,
but times were not as fraught and I was able to relax
and take some wonderful pictures of this high country.

We came home along the Hope Princton Highway, where the scenery was 
equally as spectacular and brought back so many memories of the times
Charles and I traveled this road in early October to attend School Board conferences.

We stopped for a break at the spot where the Dewney Trail touches the Rest Area

Lovely quiet woods

and then off to travel the Old Hedley Road leaving Princton

It is so beautiful along this back road as it winds along the water
but unfortunately we ran out of memory on the camera, and the card we had
purchased at Langley was too small and rattled around in the camera,
so we just relaxed and enjoyed the wonderful, familiar drive.

Besides talking to the 'man from India' on Wednesday I made
a really humungous and delicious stew,
so the next day I stashed away a dozen small beef pies in
the freezer, and I'm going to have one for supper!

And it's just about time....certainly time for Happy Hour.

I leave you with one last gorgeous picture that arrived in my mail box today.

Monday, October 06, 2014

M is for Memorial

ABC Wednesday
October 8th, 2014

The letter is M, for Memorial

I have just returned from New Westminster where I attended
the unveiling of this poignant statue
commissioned by the City of New Westminster in memory of
the thousand men from the Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles
who marched down Columbia Street on the 1st of October,1940, 
on their way to embark to Nanaimo for winter training
and thence overseas for five long years.

Claude Dettloff, a news photographer, captured 
the march in an iconic picture that became
famous all through North America, and from which the artists,
fashioned the sculpture.

It was a wonderful and rather emotional experience.

First came the pipers and the drums.....

Then the dignitaries, 

 and the servicemen, who valiantly remained standing without a twitch
all through the speeches and presentations

the small boy, now eighty, was present with his grandchildren
and helped to unveil the statue

 The artists, working on the project

My husband's two brothers marched that day in 1940 with the Regiment.

Neither of them returned to the hills of home
and sleep in Canadian War Cemeteries in France and Holland.

Here is Tom, second behind the 'Daddy"

Gordon is a few rows behind, and in the adjoining file, not visible.

Tom's daughter was there on Saturday, and I was accompanied by family -
it was a time of poignancy and pride among a wonderful gathering
of young and old.

Have you seen this picture?  It hangs in our living room, a gift to
Charles from some of the children.  Greatly cherished.

For more interesting Ms visit here at ABC Wednesday, with
Many thanks to Roger, Denise and Multiple helpers.

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....