Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Summer's Day

While out in the back garden this morning I caught the lowly Barn Flower
looking splendidly gorgeous, don't you think!

It was a lovely morning, - still a cool breeze and the sun barely up and stirring up the fire he
plans to roast us with later in the day.

I don't have an apricot tree in my garden any more but the neighbours on both sides
have wonderful trees that very generously lean their branches over on
my side of the fence and drop the fruit as it ripens with a rather
disastrous splash. 

To avoid this, and because they are both nice neighbours, they
are also very generous and bid me help myself...
which I do!!!

I have canned a couple of dozen small half pints, just enough for a wintery dessert,
and made three apricot pies yesterday, as well as a crisp.

But this morning I was thinking about our youngest son's passion for dried apricots
and how he used to split buckets and buckets of them, laying them
on the roof of the chicken house (amongst other places)
until they dried in the hot summer sun and were a wonderful
soft leathery morsel to set aside for winter.

I decided I would try my hand at drying apricots again, found a wire cage that
Charles had conveniently included in our move down town.
I picked a pail of beautiful tree ripened cots, hanging over the picket fence
and I sat in the shade, split them and laid them on the wire, in the sunshine.

They are covered with cheese cloth to keep the flies and ants away, and I even saw a small green
grasshopper thwarted by the thin covering.
However, considering the skunks that are growing up under various back yard sheds,
and their night time perambulating,
I think I should probably put the drying cots to bed in the garage tonight.

Hopefully they will dry nicely and I can do more, and more and more,
as long as the sun continues to shine so energetically!!!

We had a lovely sunset last evening - I took my camera when I walked to get the mail
and here is what I saw....


In addition to the wonderful light reflected by these clouds
I walked back through it from the post box with a small parcel containing
five Wallace Stagner books that I am replacing on my shelves.

All the Little Live Things,   Crossing to Safety,
Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Spring, 
Angle of Repose and Wolf Willow

All books that I have read before but have a great yearning to read again, 
along with some of  Ivan Doig's and more of Wendell Berry.

Besides being wonderful reads, they take me back in time.......

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

D fruits

ABC Wednesday
August 6th, 2014

The letter is D and I had to think long and hard before I could come up 
with fruits that begin with the letter D.

All I could think of at first was Dragon Fruit. and I have only tried that once and didn't think it was worth the money I had to pay for it at the Super Store.

So I had to turn to Mister Google, and he came up with all sorts of suggestions.  I was immediately drawn to the Dangleberry (sometimes called the Dingleberry) but when I began to research the Dangleberry I found all sorts of rude allusions to it. 

But here is a Scottish group of musicians known as The Dangleberries, dressed in kilts and playing the kind of music my grandkids go for.  (Except for this one which I really like....)

And besides, I discovered the Dangleberry is known as the good old Huckleberry on this side of the Atlantic, and I'm not sure if huckleberries make good pie and jam or if they are just good for painting fences as in Huckleberry Finn.

Dates seemed quite sedate, and then I thought of Damson plums.  Lots of recipes for Damson jam but I suspect they are not all on the up-and-up as they talk airily about cutting them in two and discarding the stone, and we all know the Damson Plum is a clingstone and the devil to part from it's stone.

However I did find a recipe for Damson liquor that seemed to have a way around this nasty stone business.

What you do is lightly stab your Damsons (with a straight pin, a hat pin, or a rusty nail and put them in a sterilized jar (scratch the rusty nail!) of sufficient size to hold both damsons and alcohol.  Choose your poison (alcohol);  brandy, vodka or gin, according to your taste and pour it over the fruit.

Seal up the jar and set it away in a cool dark spot for a month or two.

Strain it,- discard the plums, taste the liqueur and add as much sugar as seems good to you.

Somewhat the same as making Sloe Gin.

This information came from a blog entitled 'Seasonal Ontario Food' and contained a few more precious tid-bits about Damson plums if you want to expand your knowledge.....

For more about the letter D visit  here at ABC Wednesday with thanks to Denise, Roger and all their darling helpers.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Remembrance - August 4th, 1914

August 4th, 1914

My father - a young private in the First World War, 
and a snap of he and my mother, courting, at war's end.

This morning at 11 o'clock I will go to the Cenotaph, where the Royal Canadian Legion will be holding a ceremony in remembrance of that sad day in August one hundred years ago when war was declared and the world was plunged into turmoil and devastation. 

In sorrow I acknowledge that we haven't learned very much yet about settling differences and dealing with terrorists - and how do you deal with terrorists who harbour hatred and are prepared to sacrifice even their own to achieve their frightening ends????  Probably love is the answer,
if we could just unlock its secrets about how to make it trump ego.

I will remember my father, who at 17 joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was wounded at Cambrai, just a month before the war ended in 1918.  He bore the scars of his wound and twenty years later a return of the osteomylitis that had so badly infected his body and now resulted in another
year in hospital and the stiffening of his leg.

The History of the 191st Battalion gives an account of the second battle for Cambrai (Oct. 11th, 1918)

My father was with the 31st Battalion, attached to the 191st, and they waited in their assembly position for the battle to begin at 9:00 a.m. and the Brigade to move.  

"No sooner had the advance commenced, however, than German artillery observers, watching the lines of infantry as they moved forward, signaled their batteries, and within a few minutes a devastating barrage had been brought down upon the Canadian formations.

The 31st Battalion...came in for a terrific shelling with gas and high explosives......For a time hell was loose among the men of Alberta.  The shells, as they fell, detonated off the trees that covered the Battalion's assembly area, and the wounds caused by the flying shell splinters were terrible.  Enemy machine-gunners, realizing the Regiment was being cut up, poured belt after belt of machine-gun  bullets into the area;  and the deafening crash of bursting shells, the rending of riven timber and the continual stammer of the machine guns combined in an inferno of din sufficient to strike terror into the heart of the bravest.

To the lasting credit of the 31st Battalion it must be recorded that this terrible punishment at the very start of the day's operations produced  neither panic nor confusion, nor did it in any way deter officers and men from proceeding to carry out their allotted tasks in the day's campaign". (from the History of the 191st Battalion)

This is the battle in which my father was wounded, - a wound he suffered from 
but seldom mentioned.

My children knew him as a loving tender grandfather, who walked with a limp and a cane 
for the rest of his life.

When I come home I will post some pictures of this community's remembrance of the unbelievable number of young men who gave either a part of their lives in the mud and trenches of France or made the ultimate sacrifice with such honour.

Not an overwhelming turnout, but a reverent one.

And there was a piper!!