Monday, July 18, 2022

brewing summer teas

“Drinking tea with a pinch of imagination!” 

I  am enjoying a simple task of taking a gallon Fida jar, filling it with fresh water, stirring in a tad of sugar then adding dried hibiscus flowers to brew outside in the sun. I do not simply sip this tea, I gustily drink a glassful over ice.


Friday, July 15, 2022

easing in

This move  to another house just an hour away from our last town has not been a happy one for everyone concerned. And since she leaves in August to go back to school, her adjustment will flow along on a more extended time frame.

But she understands.

Her room is now fixed more to her liking even though she does not stay here but a few days a week. She works at her old job from last summer at a garden center and she has managed by housesitting this summer as well as staying with friends.

But  I love it when she is able to come for a few days. She has helped shovel the pile of dirt outside the front porch awaiting the planting of the various flowers and shrubs I brought from our old home. She has made suggestions for decorating and hanging pictures, and she has rummaged around in the attic to help me find things that were delegated to the third floor until we discovered we needed them.

And one day she helped me drape several stands of white lights around the screened- in back porch. That evening we sat outside and talked...amidst the echoing orchestra of the cicadas and the high pitched mooing of a cow every now and then.  

But by far the most fun we experienced was the evening we removed the handful of skeleton keys from the large ring  we found in the laundry room cabinet and went from door to door upstairs and downstairs finding its proper fit."So satisfying", she simply said when she found the one key that fit that door.

She must ease in to this place and we are letting time walk its course.

One day this week she arrived with her most longest and dearest friend. As they left the next afternoon, I was too late to grab my camera in time, therefore, the precious picture will  just have to stay in my mind. They were walking down the front paved path to the car, Charlotte with a violin thrown on her shoulder and Laura carrying her bow, arrows and target.  I love every minute I have these girls around me...


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

a new place to call home

 I read within a poet's book 

A word that starred the page: 
'Stone walls do not a prison make, 
Nor iron bars a cage! ' 

Yes, that is true; and something more 
You'll find, where'er you roam, 
That marble floors and gilded walls 
Can never make a home. 
But every house where Love abides, 
And Friendship is a guest, 
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home: 
For there the heart can rest.
                                          Henry Van Dyke, "A Home Song"

It was that time of day just before dusk settles, as the lightening bugs were putting on their most spectacular show. And the thought revisiting swept over every part of my consciousness. It was another time frame, another place, a different family dynamics, but nevertheless, cherith revisiting.  I was in a new home with those fond thoughts once again doing something significant. 

We moved. Not to a farm this time, but to a lovely stately 1930 built home in a rural setting. I call it "my city house in the country" with its large rooms adorned with dental molding around the ceilings, beautiful mantles, original doors- some double wide- with brass doorknobs and hardwood floors. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

some simple doings

  Every little once in a while I entertain the unction to participate in a blog community.  Such things as Yarn along and Happy Homemaker Monday presently pop into my mind. Which also brings to my mind a certain blog I would read years ago where a woman would photograph and write about her knitting projects, and she always included a cookie recipe.

 Yesterday as I baked a most delectable cookie I decided I would like to create a post using a similar idea. 

 A post of this sort should  contain a Reading and Cooking/Baking portion. Since I love to work with my hands, it must also include a Gentle Art of some kind. Oh, and quotes, I really must throw in one of those too.

Three of these books belong in my own personal library, two purchased from Abe Books and the other one ordered from another source. Homebrewed Vinegar is on loan from a local library. And speaking of local libraries, Rose and I took Ivy to the library last Saturday.  I realized I had not physically been inside a library in two years!  It was a very arresting moment. I have not realized how much I have missed such a simple joy of the past.

Ever since I read Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity, her word for cookies has delighted me and still bounces around happily in my mind from time to time. Rock Buns! I do love Oatmeal Raisin cookies and since we do try to limit our sweet intake, I adjusted the recipe in order to lessen the high amount of sugar. If you eat sweets consider making them at home with whole ingredients and I do not think lessening the sugar amounts makes  for a less appetizing sweets one little bit.

This particular Oatmeal Raisin Rock Bun is a delicious, just sweet enough cookie. 

1 cup of unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar 

1 Tablespoon unsulphured molasses

1 Tablespoon of vanilla

2 eggs

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, then mix in the molasses and vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine:

1 1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3 cups of organic oats, not instant or quick cooking

1 cup Thompsons raisins; if you use other kinds you might want to soak them before time. (I am a die hard Thompson Raisin fan.)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Stir until well incorporated.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. 

I have mentioned my revisiting of the art of cross stitching. Now instead of using AIDA cloth as I did back in the 80's, I stitch on beautiful linen fabrics. I am very happy I found Krista's site, Avlea, because she has outstanding kits to order and stitch. Krista is personal and helpful and she runs her business in the best possible manner, offering to make you satisfied with your purchase as far as she is able. Plus there is the added loveliness of your order arriving wrapped in the most beautiful way. I have had to succumb to reading glasses to stitch on the linen though, but I am thankful for my red trusty ones.

"However, as I reflect on our time I feel sure the basic values of life are not changed, or the basic experiences. We are born, we grow into maturity, we die according to the law of nature. Our highly mechanized civilization has not redesigned the human heart. We find happiness, we suffer sorrow, we make our contribution to the world around us, whether it be a blessing or a disaster. Every man's life is entangled with others."

                                                   Harvest of Yesterdays Gladys Taber 



Thursday, March 3, 2022

an excellent and easy sourdough bread loaf

"With bread all sorrows are less"
     Don Quixote, Cervantes

I have tried many different flours and just as many recipes in baking bread with a sourdough starter. I have discovered some very good recipes with great successes using various flours and recipes over a period of several years. But today I wanted to share from my own repertoire of bread baking and experience in the baking and eating of sourdough loaves.
This loaf bread is absolutely by far the easiest sourdough bread recipe for taste that I have found and has become my weekly loaf. It is delicious in taste and slices beautifully for toast or a sandwich. My husband is a fan of it, and that alone speaks volumes. The recipe is found here from dieteasily. It is extremely easy and begins with a very sticky dough that does not require any kneading. After mixing the ingredients together, you pour the dough into your baking pan and throw a cloth over the top. It is set in a warm (room temperature) place to rise anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. I usually make mine after supper and the next morning everyone wakes up to the smell of freshly baking bread.
I have ground my own wheat for this loaf which makes a more dense bread, but an organic all purpose flour works the best for my family's needs.
I do not presently add any seeds because my family likes it plain. It is not always a pretty loaf, but the taste never fails and as mentioned before it cuts wonderfully with just a tender bite in the outside crust. 

Give it a try and tell me what you think!


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

surviving and becoming stronger

(This is yet another draft I found and decided I would post today.)

There are many beginnings to this story. I could begin here or perhaps start there. Maybe a slow and easy prelude should be the manner in which I tell this story or maybe just a direct jump in with a big splash and have done with it. 

Every summer when the pool season opens I know the water in the newly filled pool is going to be cold.  That water is pretty, clear and crystal looking with the sunbeams sparkling on its surface. But it does not fool me. I know. I know when I even as much as put my feet into that pool it will be cold and an agonizing kind of feeling rises to my brain "rememberer". I have decided the best way every summer is to just take the plunge. Jump right in, squealing as I do, never wanting to miss an opportunity to squeal as a full-fledged adult.

     So with that I will jump into my story.  I came down with covid, four days after returning home from taking Charlotte to college back in August. I had a very regular, classic case. And one week later I was up and continuing my daily routine even though I quarantined a full ten days. My daughter also came down with covid, being younger, her classic symptoms much like mine ended within five days. On the last day of my personal quarantine, my husband who was thinking he had perhaps escaped this malady much like a Houdini in a glaring side show, come down with it. We had to make sure he understood that he would not be able to go anywhere for ten days. His symptoms were like a cold, her worked at home for three days, cold-like symptoms nothing alarming or unnatural. Then by that weekend, day four, he had developed a fever and he felt horrible. On Monday and Tuesday he worked from home, not feeling the best. Tuesday we recognized his breathing was more shallow than was normal for him. From there we watched him daily get sicker and sicker. Yes, we gave him all the protocol of natural supplements. After a week of struggling with breathing I would ask him, " Do you want to go to the hospital and he would say no. But there comes a point when one must go to the only place they do not want to go but are forced to...the hospital...for nine days. 

What have we learned? More than I could adequately report on this space and some of the knowledge we gained would only make some totally disagree with us and feel they have a case for thinking we were in the wrong for all our convictions  and thoughts on what is going on with the protocols and such of this virus. I am rather numb to those disagreements.  One of the most important things we learned was where to get ivermectin and  blessings of all blessings we discovered a most excellent doctor who "thinks like we do"... a like-minded one. Why did the LORD not provide the doctor and the medicine that would have more than likely prevented a horrendous hospital stay?  My solid answer to that is I do not know, but I trust Him. He knows best and what we was learned has proven to be priceless.

But I am telling you there are things going on that are beyond  our wildest imaginations. My husband is alive not because of the wonderful care he received in the hospital, but by the grace of God and great prayers. 

We have not changed a single thing in how we think about this virus, if any thing we are more strengthened in our beliefs and are resolved to stand for what we know is right.

And the LORD has turned it for good. You would not believe the people that we have referred to this godly doctor that have been able to get the needed medications and prescriptions to get over this virus without serious trouble.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

concerning leaf blowers and doves on a line

(I have been reading through some of the posts in my draft box and I have decided to post this one today...)

"November is chill, frosted mornings with a silver sun rising behind the trees, red cardinals at the feeders, and squirrels running scallops along the tops of the gray stone walls."
– Jean Hersey


The mind is free to make connections as one takes a walk, a walk designated for exercise and good health for the body surely, but it is actually so much more. A walk with an active mind is productive for the soul. I go the same route  almost every day consequently, I have met several people along this routine neighborhood walk. These people recognize me as "the one who walks every day", they wave and smile and some even come out to chat a bit every once and a while. What fine acquaintances I note.

 The other afternoon was quite chilly even with the sunshine's warmth. Leaf blowers with their almost invasive noise could be heard on almost every street and I was able to watch, some of them, with toboggan covered heads, moving the leaves across their yards. It was an autumn sound and sight. I looked up and observed a row of doves on the electric line. Since I walk the same pattern most days I have time to think and observe. I have measured the length of miles and I know how long it will take me from leaving home and returning which can be very helpful at times, even when I am delayed by one of my neighbors, and that is okay too. Several years back I spent time on my walk noticing the telephone lines in a particular neighborhood. My own neighborhood has underground lines and we become accustomed to not paying attention to them as a norm. But this particular neighborhood still has the wires and on they had my full attention on this day. I was fascinated with all the wires and mentally weighing all the electrical power running through those lines.

  I love watching doves in my backyard at the feeder. They usually feed on the ground and if you see one you will more than likely see another close by, with their bobbing heads and lovely smooth grayish-hued feathers. Have you ever seen a lone dove? It a most sad sight and makes one wish there was a courtship assistant in the bird world to help in finding them another mate.I would be the first to call.

I have been reading this book lately. 

And while the book does contain a few recipes and it does most certainly talk about food in regard to the Regency era, in essence the root word of diet possesses a deeper meaning than we use in our modern world. 

Diaita in Greek means "way of life". As you can imagine this involves the whole course of a person's lifestyle, to live in such way that involves not only healthy eating, but choosing every routine and habit of healthy living to make your life happy and fulfilled. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

need some hope?

" While there is tea, there is hope."

                                                        Arthur W. Pinero

Practical advice for these times. And with the recent winter snow and the appearance of a wintry moon resembling a pearl in the early morning sky, it just seems like an resolution for those of us with hope to practice often.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

adding pumpkin pie spice to your life

I do not know why we wait until autumn to reach for our favorite pumpkin recipes. To my way of thinking some of the most desired seasonal recipes involve pumpkin. So it goes without much ado that the decision to add a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to my morning coffee au lait is a good choice.  That tiny stream of spice sits atop the foamy hot milk awaiting that first sip.

Here is a simple Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe that I especially like:

3 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons of ground allspice

Thursday, August 19, 2021

going back a few weeks to late July

 It was time to dismantle the schoolroom. 

And so began the task of taking down school day memories, days and moments. Huge portions of my time, energy and efforts were removed from the walls that day as well as the bookshelves being emptied and most books boxed up, a desk was taken down and donated to a thrift store ministry.

But new things were ahead and the room was about to experience new beginnings too. Ivy was moving in and this was to be her bedroom. Charlotte and I drove to the Sherwin Williams store and bought a can of Crisp Linen paint one morning in late July and so began part two of the transformation of this room. It brightened the walls perfectly for this kindergartener's new place to call her own.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

going along

 He kept saying, "Smile, smile", as he had the camera rightly posed to capture that last moment shot.

This was the best I could do. After two full days it was time to say good-bye...the college saying so this time.

They had been there and they had done this before. But then so had I, leaving a child at college, but she was my last, after all. 

And now, Charlotte, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:32

I am including a present favorite song of Charlotte's that does have some significant words and feelings at the moment. (Skip the ads at the beginning)

brewing summer teas

“Drinking tea with a pinch of imagination!”  I  am enjoying a simple task of taking a gallon Fida jar, filling it with fresh water, stirring...