Thursday, March 14, 2019

springtime in the south

"This is spring."

I remember the years we were living on the farm and lambing season arrived with so much  highlighted anticipation. We would do all we could in the autumn to allow breeding with the intention that all the ewes would lamb somewhere between early to late March, this was shortly after shearing their long wool fleeces in mid- February.

Some of those days of lambing would be balmy and beautiful making all the extra time at the barn light and delightful, but there would certainly be those nights of freezing cold weather too, and you  simply took the good with the bad. It was springtime in the south and it was lambing time!

I walked today and spring settled deep in my soul. The potted pussy willow is blooming, the pear and plum trees are blooming vigorously, the daffodils are dancing in the breezes and spring has opened its door wide. If and when the colder temperatures do show themselves again, it is okay because its springtime in the south.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

daily measures

I have been reading quite a bit lately about the renewing of the mind. The basis of this thought for me is based on the Holy Scriptures which states that I am not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of my mind in order that I would by proving, discern the will of God (Romans 12:2). First and foremost I renew my mind through the careful reading and meditating upon His Word regularly, trusting fully in the Holy Spirit. I am dependent on the Holy Spirit to renew my mind in all that I do, think, or say. Renewing my mind also involves looking at everything I do in the light of God's Word, and then giving application from His Word to the daily happenings in my life, no matter how big or how small that might look at any given moment.

This morning while I was busy in my kitchen, MR. C. came to tune our piano. I continued with the making of a loaf of sourdough Einkorn bread and made a tasty vegetable beef soup; Charlotte sat at the kitchen table doing some of her school work occasionally interspersing  questions about a paper she was writing. It was restful hearing the dramatic rising and falling pings of the piano in the next room mixed with gentle choppings and occasional stirrings of the soup while the levain was set with the flour to rise for five hours.

 The field of ornithology fascinates me, and my husband is kind to indulge me in allowing the backyard feeding of these creatures year round. Recently I ran across excellent sites, here and here to aid in learning to recognize various bird sounds. As I take my daily walk many times I hear more than I see, therefore it would be extremely helpful to being able to detect several of the birds by their beautiful calls and songs. 
(Above photo): During the cold months I will sometimes place sunflower seeds at my kitchen window ledge, then as I am busy at my kitchen sink I am able to enjoy my feathered friend's closer visits.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

yarn along, winter successes

Here it is yarn along time with Ginny as the month of March has come in like a lamb...thus far in my region of the country,  and after missing last month's yarn along I was happy to be able to post on what I am presently knitting and reading.

I continued most winter evenings knitting on this fascinating cabled vest by Thea Colman, which I am  happy to announce I am almost through with the cabling side! Then its on to the front of the vest which is all stocking knit and should go much more quickly, a project to tote along while I ride in cars or wait in coffee shops allowing knitting  on it more devotedly. The cabling pattern required a pattern board and concentration....

But my serious lack of finished knitting does not mean I have neither been learning new things nor immersed in other worthwhile pursuits. The making of bread with sourdough starter and einkorn flour has been a journey worth traversing, and one which I have loved.  Along with my three cats, outside birds at the feeders (not mentioning the squirrels), I am now feeding a sourdough starter and a bowl of live brown planaria. Think tenth grade biology invertebrates, and the dissection of earthworms... of my goals was to find some very good clean crime/mystery novels this winter. This had a two fold purpose since my mother-in-law loves to read mysteries and crime novels and I would like to have some new authors to recommend to her. I believe I found it in Charles Todd. Why is it that crime and mystery writers can be so fecund? Their minds amaze me. I am presently reading through the Bess Crawford series by this author. And what is a winter without a little bedtime/soaking in the bathtub while reading Miss Read's Winter in Thrush Green? Truthfully, I must read that novel every winter and it never ceases to hold my delight and interest. I found another good read in the library recently, Ann Hood's Kitchen Yarns, an autobiography of her life from childhood (first memories) until the present. And she  disperses recipes at the end of every chapter enticing my tastebuds to tie on a apron and get cooking!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

rainy day sewing

Awakened to much rain this Saturday morning, and from what "they say", it will be an incessant rain throughout the day. Ivy will turn three next month, so today appears to be an excellent day for spending time in my sewing room and concentrating on completing the quietly engaged book I began for her a back in the summer. 

After one brief breach of focus to straighten the closet, I regained my momentum and spent several happy hours sewing until the already cloudy, dark day inched into even greater darkness outside my window and "hungry calls" were heard downstairs. I knew it was time to stop and begin supper.

“I am reminded that every day I have the chance to pick up a needle and some thread and add to the story. To stitch together something beautiful and unique, to patch a small scrap of fabric to the story..."
― Jerusalem Jackson Greer, A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting, and Coming Together

Thursday, February 21, 2019

how pleasant is the light

Surely the light is a pleasant thing: it is a good thing to the eyes to see the sun.
Ecclesiastes 11:7

Late afternoon, the sun pours in the windows making the living room warm and cozy. A good place to take a bit of a break with a cup of tea and a bit of knitting before supper preparations begin in earnest.

The tiny twinkly white lights put up in December are left up in the kitchen during the darker months of January and February. It is such comfort to turn them on as the night closes in, and in the evenings magic is created in the room until they are unplugged right before we go to bed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

a collation worth mentioning

For lunch I like to consider eating simple, healthy meals, but I certainly want them to be tasty and enjoyable as well. I love it when I find such a meal that makes me anxious for the arrival of lunchtime just because the meal is so good! I would like to share a particular lunchtime meal with you  that falls into that approbative category

 Brown rice is my rice of choice and I prefer soaking the dried rice for about twelve hours before it is cooked. One cup of rice per two cups of water is placed into a bowl and covered until the next day. The soaked rice is then cooked and kept it in the refrigerator until needed for a dinner or lunch dish. A favorite midday meal is reheating the rice and topping it with a helping of homemade kimchi. Lately, I am  also liking the addition of a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos. I do not usually include soy in my diet, but I have not noticed any problems with the "once in a while use" of this seasoning.  There is a high content of sodium in Braggs and Tamari sauce (but not as high as in regular soy sauce), therefore, it is a seasoning I would use sparingly and not very often.

What do you prepare for a healthy, delicious lunch? 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

happenings of the home kind

That week beginning immediately after New Year's Day, which  as you know happened to be on a Wednesday this year, I have found to be much kinder to body and soul if that week is eased into  with as much calm and home kind of activities as possible. Not unlike yeast being added to the bread flour, it jump starts the forthcoming return of daily life's schedules.

Usually on New Years Eve I will pull out a new jigsaw puzzle on the table in the sun room. I begin with a marathon amount of hours working on it that evening, then it might rest until I absolutely must finish it. It "calls my name" if you know what I mean. It took New Years Eve and two day bouts of popping in from time to time to complete this 1000 piece puzzle this week.
 And in the kitchen, one of my most favorite places to be when I am home, a non-knead bread from this book was baked, and a  whole chicken roasted,  from which the meat was pulled off the bones in order to make a much requested dish for my husband, a pot of chicken and dumplings. How that man of mine loves a bowl of brothy rich chicken and dumplings! The bones were used to make the chicken stock. Between those two recipes January began with being surrounded with high levels of comfort food!
I  have no interest in drinking Chai Tea until the winter months. Last year I planned to try experimenting with making my own recipe for chai tea. But honestly, this loose leaf tea purchased from  Mountain Rose Herb Company is quite delicious. And having milk warmer and frother is excellent for adding hot milk or froth to any warm beverage. Last winter I spent some time reading reviews about several on the market via amazon and decided that this inexpensive one by eurolux would meet my needs, and it does so, most excellently.  I was pleased to hear how Michelle had created her own recipe for Chai tea this Christmas. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

new year, cables, reading, and yarn along

The first of the 2019 Yarn Alongs, and it almost caught up with me. How about you? The changing of the calendar always makes me breathless, but in a fine way. Newness in the middle of winter, satisfying to say the least.

Back in November a huge desire to knit a project using cables would not settle until I hunted through Ravelry and decided upon a pattern that I would not only like to knit but also would enjoy wearing.  This vest by Thea Colman was perfect, especially since I do not have much experience in cabling and it had been some time since I had in fact knitted anything with a cable. You begin knitting the project on the back of the vest where all the cabling is designed. The color of this yarn, Fauna, by Brooklyn Tweed Shelter is not showing up as pretty as it truly is, but I tried to show it with the second photo. I forgot how concentration is key when beginning such a project, but I learned quickly enough! And my magnetic board is extremely helpful in keeping my place.

Back in December I pulled Stillmeadow Daybook off the book shelf. Gladys Taber's books are never far from my reach, particularly her monthly journal books. I read throughout the December entries, many times reading them aloud to my family, now I am enjoying her January entries.

"New Year's resolutions are a chancy thing. I make mine simple. I only pray that I may be a better person the coming year than in the past. More tolerant, kinder, and gentler. Not impatient when things are difficult."

Friday, December 28, 2018

just be

Those quiet days after Christmas...when something inside you might be wanting to get back to the normal schedules of your life, yet it is quite delightful to just throw away the schedule and just be.

My beloved MIL has a birthday the day after New Years, therefore, we are venturing to her house tomorrow a couple of hours away to spend some time with her. I baked a devil's foods cake  selected from the Vintage Cakes cookbook by Jane Brocket. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Devil's Food and a Chocolate Cake? It is obvious to the baker when you add a double amount of baking soda  in proportion to the amount of baking powder in the cake mixture. This extra dose of baking soda will raise the ph level causing the cake to be darker and fluffier, along with the addition of cocoa powder and coffee  which also ups the intensity of richness and fluffiness to the cake. Since Claire had made my husband a birthday cake last week using a buttercream frosting which tasted so delicious, I decided on this simple chocolate buttercream recipe. I have all the ingredients on my pantry shelf and the butter is softening on my kitchen counter even as I type this.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

the ongoing advent of Jesus, our Savior

The trappings are fun, the holiday exciting, but more than that, I feel it has significance not lost in the glitter, not really.

It is the birthday of Jesus. And it is good to remember that the carpenter's son was born, and taught, and died so long ago and yet is so alive, that we celebrate His birthday.
Gladys Taber
Stillmeadow Daybook

Merry Christmas! 
  Christ Jesus, we celebrate your first advent and await  your second one with great expectation.
Immanuel, God with us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

sugar plum fairy

"There was something in her movements that made you think she never walked but always danced".
Rilla of Ingleside
L.M. Montgomery

Another season of the Nutcracker has come and gone. And while I find myself humming the music from the Sugar Plum Fairy as I go about my day, still it feels like a dream that another year's production is finally over, and that this year I had the unsurpassed joy of watching Charlotte beautifully dance the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

She was sewn into the dress before every performance . This is done on a precautionary note with any dance that involves a cavalier lifting a dancer, there must not be any opportunity for his hand to get caught in  the back of her dress with any of the lifts.
Since I am privileged to be a part of the costume execution and coordination team, which basically means I rip apart, sew, and help with the fittings of the many costumes for all the dancers, I am back stage for some of the performances. The following pics were some I snapped prior to Saturday evening's performance. Not good photo quality at all, but I do appreciate the concentration in her face as she is gets alone to warm up before going on stage.

And after a full week of tiring late nights and then the culmination of four stage performances, all can truthfully say that is was worth every bit of hard work that putting on such a show like this entails.

springtime in the south

"This is spring." I remember the years we were living on the farm and lambing season arrived with so much  highlighted anticipa...