Friday, May 19, 2017

Time, Gardening and a Good Book

Yesterday morning, just after breakfast, I went out into the garden, anticipating a quick look-around to see what magic had happened during the night!  And with every intention of coming back in and making a rhubarb crisp from the stalks I had picked the day before.

However, - my son-in-law came to inquire if this would be a good day to cut back the poor Blaze rose who didn't make it through the winter, and how could I not take advantage of his kind offer.  One thing led to another, - with the dead wood gone I was able to reach all the couch grass that finds its way through the fence from the neighbours yard.  And then there were the saplings that had grown up around the elderberry tree, and the remnants of my potting flowers that needed to find a home in the new bed I had made beside the house......

I stopped for coffee, thinking it must be 'that time' - hobbled into the house (I was hobbling by this time!) and discovered it was twenty minutes past twelve - lunch time!!!!  How time flies when one is in the midst of passion of one kind or another.........

This morning, at five o'clock, my aching muscles muttered at me - "foolish woman, foolish woman" and I couldn't stay in bed a minute longer!!

Today my gardening will consist of a long session in the comfy garden swing, a cup of tea and one of the new books I picked up at the library yesterday.  Over breakfast I glanced at the first few pages of the preface to "The Cloister Walk" by Kathleen Norris, and on the second or third page she talks about time and our perspective of the fleeting quality of life, - enemy or gift?????

Time does not hang heavy on my hands, but it does occupy my mind now that I have come to realize it is not limitless....  And so I will start with this book, which also has another story to it.  In conversation at church last Sunday Kim, our new adventurous minister, asked if I had read Kathleen Norris.  I said 'yes' but not realizing which Kathleen Norris he was referring to.  My Kathleen Norris was a novelist, whose books I read early in my marriage, - but Kim's Kathleen Norris is a poet who writes about religion, meditation  and has a history of being a Presbyterian Oblate to a Benedictine Monastery.  When I realized this I ordered what books I could from the library, and they came immediately.

The lines which drew my attention like a bolt of lightening:---

"Gradually my perspective on time had changed.  In our culture time can seem like an enemy: it chews us up and spits us out with appalling ease.  But the monastic perspective welcomes time as as gift from God, and seeks to put it to good use rather than allowing us to be used up by it.  A friend who was educated by the Benedictines has told me that she owes to them her sanity with regard to time.  "You never really finish anything in life," she says, "and while that's humbling and frustrating it's all right.  The Benedictines, more than any other people I know, insist that there is time in each day for prayer, for work, for study, and for play"  Liturgical time is essentially poetic time, oriented toward process rather than productivity, willing to wait attentively in stillness rather than always pushing to 'get the job done."  (end of quote)

So today I plan to devote my time to an appreciation of what I HAVE done in the garden, 
(though it is not finished) 
and to feeding my soul with an appreciation of what Time I have had,
 and what Time I have left...
and how best to fill these lovely days....

And my aching muscles say 'thank you'!!!!

All they have to do today is hold the book......

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Strawberry Pecan Pie

ABC Wednesday
May 17th, 2017

The letter is S for Strawberry Pecan Pie

If it EVER stops raining the Strawberry Season will be upon us

and all the Mums and Cooks and strawberry lovers

will delight in baking this delicious treat!

At least once a year this scrumptious pie in a nutty, buttery shell
is an absolute MUST.

Here is the recipe...

First the Pecan Pastry.

In a bowl combine 1 cup of flour, a quarter cup of brown sugar
and a half teaspoon of salt.

Cut in one half a cup of butter until the mixture
resembles coarse crumbs....

and then stir in one half a cup of ground pecans!

Beat together 2 tablespoons of icy water and 1 egg yolk
and using a fork stir into the flour mixture until crumbly and  moist

Press into a 10 inch pie plate
Flute the edges and cover and refrigerate for about half an hour.

Meanwhile prepare the filling....(below)

When the half an hour is up
Prick the pastry all over and bake in a 375degree oven for ten minutes.

So, for the filling - puree four cups of strawberries
and in a saucepan combine 1 cup of sugar, one quarter cup of cornstarch
and one half a cup of water, blending well.

Add the pureed berries, bring to a boil stirring constantly, then reduce heat to low 
and cook for one or two minutes until the mixture
is translucent and slightly thickened.

Keep stirring while doing this.

Remove from heat and blend in one tablespoon of butter.

Let cool until lukewarm.

If you want the mixture extra smooth you might press it through a sieve.

Arrange four cups of whole strawberries tips up, in the pastry shell.
Pour in the filling and refrigerate for at least two hours....

Just before serving whip a cup of cream
with two tablespoons of icing sugar and pipe it around the edging....

My image, which I borrowed from Mister Google,
and that would be o.k. too!!!

More Ss here at ABC Wednesday with thanks to
all those who make this meme possible!