Monday, September 29, 2008

A little cottage by the sea

It was a made to order holiday with halcyon moments spent this past weekend by the seaside.The first evening we dined on lobster bisque by the still sound and returned to sit on the open porch in vibrant blue rockers as we watched the shadows of the darkening sky fall at the closing of an exceptional day. (The pedicure of red polish was compliments of Rose the night before departure.)


A river runs through it, and we adore visiting this town, eating by the water, and strolling amongst the little shops. I was fortunate to find lavender and brown soy taper candles which will do nicely on my dining table this fall.

Since food is never far from our minds, as we walked along the wharf we read the various restaurant's posted menus until we found what savories suited our culinary desires for lunch. I chose crab cake served along with Hoppin' John. Perfectly cooked and a very good choice I might add. Just ask my husband, he helped me eat it after finishing his scallops and shrimp. I kept the waiter busy refilling my glass with iced tea.


I love this little cottage by the sea because when you rise with dawn's early light the most stunningly breathtaking sunrises greet you from the porch.




My heart, soul, mind, and spirit merges stout with the gift of yet another day. His Word, a cup of delicious coffee, by the silvery sea, my dear husband nearby....who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

down by the sea

"They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon."


Tomorrow morning my husband and I will stow our suitcase in the car and head to the sea ......just the two of us. We will eat by the water and dance on the sand. It will be so delightful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sorrel Soup

Because I have such a thriving bundle of sorrel by my patio steps, I desperately needed to find a use for it.


For the most part this plant is ignored, except when I tear back the flowering stalks. It graciously continues putting up more and more long smooth leaves, spilling over onto my walk.

I believe a soup is the answer for anything. If you are ailing....nothing like warm chicken soup, if your are celebrating.... bring on the stew, for large gatherings.... vegetable "along with anything else in the refrigerator that you can throw in there's always enough for one more" soup. And one mustn't forget the elegant ladies' luncheon..... butternut squash bisque or chilled zucchini soup.

Therefore, I knew there was a soup for that sorrel! Tonight was the night to make a soup for my family with the sorrel and let them imagine they were eating in a gourmet restaurant.

The recipe is given as Gladys Taber does many times in her books. I just find it so charming how this is done; rather like the recipes a friend and I intermingle into our handwritten letters when we have one to share with one another. I am calling this Creamy Sorrel Soup even though there are many other distinct ingredients. Take: 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped leeks, 1/2 cup chopped celery and saute in 3 Tablespoons of butter in a large pan until tender; add 5-6 potatoes, peeled and diced. Stir in 4 cups of chicken stock. Simmer this until the potatoes are done. Stir in about 10 ounces of fresh sorrel which you have coarsely chopped, cook 1 minute. Then add 1 cup heavy cream that has been warmed. Puree this in a blender in small batches until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh chives.

Delicious!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Autumn Day

Getting up in the mornings is somewhat more difficult due to the darkness and deliciously cooler weather. But arise I do, even if it is dark, and head to the kitchen hoping I will not stump my toe on anything left in my path. My coffee is the flint that lights the fire and in this fallen world and for this aging self little helps are very welcomed. I enjoyed it today in a mug made by Johnson Bros appropriately called "Autumn's Delight". Guess where I got it?


Today as I walked Mr. Putter I was wearing jeans and a jean jacket as the wind was chilly. I could not help but admire all the beautiful chrysanthemums blooming throughout my neighborhood. You can definitely tell the ones just purchased with their globe-like shapes. I spend the summer months pinching the heads off of mine so they will bloom profusely in the fall. They are tipping now and I shall soon have rust, yellow and amethyst splotches of color bursting in my yard too.

Upon returning from his walk, Mr. Putter was surrendered to the girls for a "beauty shop" treatment as he will be attending his obedience class once again tonight and Rose wants him at his best in every way. Charlotte must have been freezing in her sleeveless top and shorts along with being sprayed with cold faucet water. But she held on until the very end.




This is the day I change my bed linens ....why are they called bed linens anyway? Mine are definitely not made of linen.......But I like the name better than bed sheets.




Nature study was a call for the day when we discovered these spectacular examples of fungi....mushrooms, right up the road. This fitted right in with Rose's science studies on nonvascular plants. They were amazing!


Hidden up in the cupboard over the desk in my kitchen is my stash of chocolate. Just in case I am having a need for chocolate.... but to show I am not totally selfish, I will say I share some of the best pieces with my husband. Apparently he likes chocolate too!


And when I am feeling really generous I share the ones with nuts, even the cashews.





Saturday, September 20, 2008

China Hunt

I truly enjoy setting a pretty table.
I found myself waiting in a long line early this morning pulling along a little red wagon borrowed from a neighbor. The mission was to scavenger hunt for lovely off-white china plates....Wedgewood, Spode, Johnson Brothers....at a huge company yard sale. Hunting through boxes of assorted china is not something I would normally do on a particular Saturday, but finding such splendid pieces became a pleasing game on this balmy day. I was especially charmed by these cream soup bowls. I like to serve cream soups in china cups and these will make it even more charming. I found several with gorgeous English patterns.


I will be able to have quite a luncheon with all these plates. I love the mix match, but just in case I am having an orderly kind of day, I also happened upon a patterned set of seven, with delicate, lace-like edgings. The etchings that surround the rim of the plates are the most absorbing.....I even found one with horses! I know who will get dibs on that one!

Tonight my table in the dining room is set with some of my new pieces; autumn china plates. I decided these were too lovely to pass up. Charlotte had so much fun deciding whom would get which plate.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bedtime Story

Thursdays are so full.... moments flowing from one activity to another. I perceived myself to be so ready for the bedtime story this evening. Charlotte selected the story and we situated ourselves comfortably close in her bed. I do not know whom welcomed this special time the most, Charlotte or me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Easy Rolls

Wanting to make a special supper for the family I was leaving behind last week, I pulled out a recipe thought to be a nice complement to my meal. I "lovingly" gathered all the ingredients, measured, poured and endured my mouth watering as I mixed. What I so heedlessly forgot was the necessity of this bread dough resting in the refrigerator overnight.
Oh my!
We have had these easy rolls now three times since my return. Tonight I pulled out the big glass bowl from the extra refrigerator in the garage ( I honestly do not know what I would do without this overflow refrigerator), rolled out the triangular shapes and formed them into entwined crescents.
Easy Rolls
1 package of yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add the sugar, eggs, and butter. Add the salt to the flour and blend this together with liquid in mixer. Do not over mix. Place dough in buttered bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight.
The next day, divide the dough into three pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured surface into a circle a little thicker than you would a pie crust. Cut the dough into twelve triangles. Roll each triangle from wide end to narrow end.
Place on parchment paper a few inches apart and form into crescents. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature about 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until light golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
I put the remaining dough, covered tightly, back into the refrigerator after I get the amount of intended rolls for my meal. Yes, while we could eat the entire batch.....
This way I am able to get about three meals from this recipe. I have kept the dough up to a week with good results.
My family is happily satisfied with my return and these rolls.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rainy Day Pleasures

A day of darkness and clouds as pelting raindrops and intermittent streams of water ran down my pathways.


A day with a settling in mood which must be relished with total pleasure. We were planning a trip to Michaels this afternoon to buy sundry art items, but it felt too right to stay inside where it was snug and dry.


Charlotte and I made another apple cake, this time with walnuts. The leftover apple peels and a stick of cinnamon were put on the back of the stove top to simmer. My house smelled like apple pie just pulled out of the oven. We all enjoyed tea by candlelight this afternoon. Vivaldi playing in the background ....all around my kitchen table.





Tonight Mr. Putter attends his second class in obedience training. My husband and Rose are the elected handlers. Remember my job is to walk him....he was quite out of shape when I returned home after being gone for three days and therefore, our walk on Monday morning left him with tongue hanging out and lagging behind......several days without exercise makes one quite lax. But I certainly was able to stay in shape in the mountains. I walked up and down, across and over, and I visited the most serene prayer garden Friday morning. A wooden bridge went across a gurgling, singing brook. I was so rueful to have forgotten my camera, it was so absolutely worthless back home on the dining room table.


Since the weather was deliciously cooler, we turned off the AC and opened the windows. I could hear the rainsong even more....so lovely.

And Charlotte wore a tiara to the tea.....all this along with sugar cubes!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Rose by any other name......


Rose who is twelve.

She makes me smile way down deep.

My blessing of her is indescribable.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Miles to go

Leaving home while my family stays behind is always arduous for me. I plan to have healthy, delicious meals precooked in the refrigerator, all clothes hampers emptied of dirty laundry, pantry shelves filled with favorite foods, and the house spotlessly cleaned and organized. Then the day before departure comes and I am so busy with daily duties there's no time for all the extras. I find myself wondering how in the world I ever thought I would be able to do all those things in the first place!

Today was such a day. I leave tomorrow with a very dear friend for a women's prayer conference in the mountains. I shall be gone for three days and two nights, which seems forever at the present time. I choose to look up and surrender this to His all abiding grace too. I can get overwhelmed and frustrated or I can look to Him who provides for me and orders my every step. I am already refreshed by his goodness to me.

"Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you." Psalms 116:7

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A "new" table

One of the first pieces of furniture my husband and I purchased when we got married was this oak table. We used it in our breakfast room until five years ago when I decided to get a rectangular table. Then it was moved from place to place until it finally ended up in the garage; another place to dump books, ice chests, old boxes of clothes, etc. I found myself eyeing that table more intensely until I started wondering about painting it....and why not distressing it....and why not moving it back into the kitchen?

All this is fine and good. But I had to convince my older son and husband to help with this project. That was not the hard part. However, it took quite a bit of convincing for my husband to be willing to sand a newly painted table.....but he obliged.... because he loves me so!
I love my "new" table. Thank you dear heart......

Monday, September 8, 2008

Les Miserables

My husband and I made a quick stop by the video store this weekend. I was hoping to find this movie but was disappointed to discover they did not carry it. The clerk said she hasn't even had anyone request it in years so I don't think my request made any difference on hoping to find it on the shelves in the future.

However, we were able to pick up Les Miserables and last night after church, upon tucking the girls in bed, my husband popped up some old fashioned skillet popcorn and we settled down to watch it. I truly can not believe I have never seen this movie. It was stupendous! Such lingering thoughts have stayed with me all day from this film because it was a true story of redemption that reaches deep into the human soul. The themes of grace, mercy, love and forgiveness were central and the analogies were remarkable.

(A very special thanks goes to Jacqui, who so kindly explained to me how to use the link function on my posts!).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ticking and Snipping

Simple noises abiding side by side with the silence of early morning - like the gentle ticking of this little clock, a cherished gift from a friend after her visit to Vienna.
The dark and the rain kept me inside this early morning and I reacquainted myself with its steadfast and soothing sound. I find myself enveloped in its whispered rhythm. It will not be heard above the din of activity that my family brings with the beginnings of their day.
Because today was Saturday there were hopes of spending concentrated time on sewing. Several dress projects for Charlotte have been gathering dust and were crying for the creation of intended purposes.



My new Gingher scissors glide across this lovely fabric, a future pinafore which will be adorned with nine of the daintiest pale pink buttons coursing down its front.



I can't help holding my breath as the first sound of snipping begins.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Beach Towel Adieu

I love beach towels. They shout summer to me; brightly colored towels draped over porches at the beach, figure printed towels wrapped around dripping wet children at the pool, and warm, dry towels being pulled out of the clothes dryer. So along with the flow of our day, I packed and stored the beach towels away until next year. I felt as if I was saying goodbye to old friends.




Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quintessence

It felt as if Thanksgiving and Christmas were combined together and this day was the gift. Since our homeschooling is now in full swing, Rose had her last morning riding lesson. We will be changing to Monday afternoons starting next week.
So this beautiful morning I walked around the farm and shot pictures of whatever caught my fancy. Many things did..... Rose on Riley of course.

The barn stimulated my nose with its new cut hay smells. I make note of all the necessities for equine.
I can truly appreciate these things when I realize all this has the same appeal for my daughter as a yarn or fabric shop does for me.A raven beauty sits to lay her daily egg. I didn't even ruffle her feathers as I made a stop by the hen house.



And what would a farm be without a cat? This contented one answers to Oreo. He knows he has a bit of heaven.



The cloudless blue sky, the low humidity, and the warm sunshine all contributed to making this a rather quintessential kind of morning.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Full Morning Course

Saturdays and holidays always lend such an air for full breakfast service.
Through the years this has been our custom. My husband truly makes the best breakfasts so he is the main cook. Except the biscuits, that's my part. When the weather is good, eating outside is the added bonus. Such pleasant times we have shared and it is one of the things I hope my children will think back to with fondness.
This morning being a holiday found us gathered around the patio table. Hunger was astir and we were anticipating such bounty and could hardly wait. The appetizing food was all placed on the wrought-iron table, everyone was appropriately seated. Oops! This will not do at all; "someone" had forgotten the plates!

november as it looks now

"After the leaves come down, the countryside has an open look. New vistas appear, hills unseen when summer's wealth of green is spr...