Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I have been enjoying the wildflower themed posts by participants in Elizabeth Joy's Wildflower Morning anticipating spring round-up! Fellow bloggers have been busy posting photos and prose as assigned in the weekly wildflower themes.
This week's assignment is: Literary Wildflowers - Stories, quotations or poetry about wildflowers written by you or someone else. Or write a book review about a book that features wildflowers, such a guide book, picture book, travel guide or something about wildflower gardening, etc. Or write about some special places/trails/areas to go searching for wildflowers that you are familiar with. Tell about the best time of year to go there, and what you might see. Share photographs if you have them.
If you'd enjoy reading what other bloggers are posting, you can find help from Mr. Linky on Elizabeth Joy's blog or find a list of links at the right of this page.
clematis, pink chervil, lavender, aruncus, astilbe, rosebuds, eryngium leaves, red achillea, filipendula, francoa, mignonette, pink larkspur, white larkspur, elder flowers, white achillea, forget-me-nots, moss, lichen, rosebuds, potentilla, feverfew, and Polygomum campanulatum.
I had a difficult time deciding which book I wanted to review for this event and so have selected two. Later in the week I will be reviewing a book on creating and growing native wildflowers in a cultivated garden. Please come back again!
Monday, January 28, 2008
to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on
silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were
children once again.
Bill Morgan, Jr.
Piles of snow adorn the yard and winter winds blow through the trees. It was a 'snow day' today; schools were canceled. Ice on roads and walkways keep everyone alert, especially when evidence of vehicles in the berm along the highway reminds us of it's slickness! Young adult visitors were our guests today, and they spent much time skating on the sidewalk in their athletic shoes! They were children once again. Joyful, carefree, and energetic. It made me happy to simply observe them.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
As January draws to a close, I thought I would post several more items in honor of National Hot Tea Month. A cup of tea offers much by way of relaxation, good health, and reprieve. So, lets talk tea for a little bit.
A favorite writer of mine is Ce'leste perrino Walker who writes from Rutland, Vermont. I think I enjoy her writing because it her topics deal with real life things. In the Sept/Oct 2001 issue of Vibrant Life magazine she wrote an article that I've saved called One if by Land; Two if by Tea. In it she shares how a friend introduced her (and her French blood) to the gentle art of the English afternoon tea. She learned that tea is much more than a beverage in a cup, but rather something emotionally fulfilling, and a refreshing pause to the day.
To quote her: "Teatime fills a need for peace in our stressed-out society. Not only that, but the manner in which you 'take tea' lifts the spirits and fills the senses with beauty. Everything about tea time contributes in some small way to this: beautiful tea linens, gorgeous china, luscious tea, delicious tea biscuits or cookies (or other even more scrumptious treats). Teatime 'for the soul' can be compared to dropping everything to spend a few stolen moments in a beautiful garden."
She goes on to say: "I've decided to give 'teatime' a try. I'm not sure how it works. Maybe it's the special feeling you get from using the pretty teapot and china on yourself for a change. Maybe it's the ritual of preparig the tea, boiling the water, smelling the aroma of the tea as you measure it out, the rhythm of the procedure that won't be hurried. But teatime really is all they say it is."
Her advice to her readers is to take a little time for yourself this week and discover teatime, the pause that refreshes. Then thank the English. They were right all along. C'est la vie.
*The photo shown with the article reminds me of the children's teas that my mother used to conduct. She taught kindergarten for thirty years. Sometimes her school would have a benefit auction, and mother would donate a children's tea party. They were always popular and mothers and daughters would enjoy a lovely afternoon tea with all the trimmings at mom's house if they were the winners of the auction bid. Her beautiful children's china tea set was put to good use!
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Lucy at Quilting with the Past is coming out of a quilting slump and is preparing to stitch a lovely new quilt, the pattern which she discovered in the December issue of McCall's Quilting magazine. It's a quilt that caught my eye as well, although I have to many unfinished projects right now to start something new. I took this picture of the very same quilt top last December! This quilt called Mennonite Mosaic was made in 1915 by 73-year-old Elizabeth Weber of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I look forward to reading about Lucy's project as she stitches and quilts.
Over at Rosemary House, Nancy has posted some beautiful pictures of her extensive collection of tea strainers. She is happy to report that they are featured in this month's issue of TEA - A Magazine. Nancy is a lovely tea friend of mine who owns Sweet Remembrances Tea Room --- also in Lancaster County. Be sure to scroll down and see her other tea-related posts. She's been sharing some interesting things.
Of course there is Lovella at What Matter's Most who is making the most of January blahs and is transforming them into an exciting challenge to walk 7,000 or more steps a day! She's started a blogging club for walking and has been sharing pictures of her walks in interesting places. It's been pretty cold and bleak here, but if I had Lovella to walk with. . .and could walk at the interesting places she's been visiting. . .I am sure I would be inspired. Okay, so I am a little bit inspired from afar and just need a little more inspiration, Lovella. Where will tomorrow's walk be?
Elizabeth Joy is chasing the winter blues away by hosting her Wildflowers in Winter event. It's been fun to visit Wildflower Morning each day to see who has joined in by posting wildflower pictures. Each week a different challenge is presented. Soon to come? Wildflower objects in the house; wildflower art; wildflower stories or poetry; and more. It's not too late to join the fun! I know Elizabeth Joy would welcome you.
Clarice at Storybook Woods has been sharing tips for stretching the grocery budget in series of posts. I especially appreciated her post describing creative ways to add flavor to recipes. She suggests everything from powdered coconut to capers, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. I've never heard of powdered coconut, but it sounds so interesting and is something I will look for next time I'm at the health food store. I was a fortunate guest at an afternoon tea party at Clarice's house one time and she is a delightful cook who makes scrumptious food!
It's time to close, but let me share one last blog with you. Fay at Mrs. I's Drawing Club is offering art lessons to interested readers. Especially designed for young people, she has activities and lessons designed to lead the student along as they learn to draw and create. This is a perfect place for homeschoolers or someone who would like an after school activity for a child on a cold winter day.
Katherine at Yellow Rose Arbor has gone all out in celebration of National Hot Tea Month and has posted a series of wonderful posts about tea. In her most recent post she shares about Chinese teas. And previously she shared tea accoutrement's and showed a variety of tea bags and strainers. It's been interesting reading.
Meanwhile, Lallee at Lallee's Cottage shares the purchase of a fancy new year --- by showing us photos of her pets as they gaze at their reflections. I wonder if they barked and meowed at themselves as they saw their framed faces? Lallee has quite a lovely menagerie who lives at her house. Lallee is also sharing pictures of her creative crochet projects. Simply divine!
I would also like to wish Marie a happy recovery as she gets over a recent illness. Being sick is no fun, but it sounds like she has finished some knitting projects and read several books during her down time as a way to relax while her body mends. You can visit her at Zquilts. I hope you feel a little better each and every day, Marie!
Now it's your turn! I love to visit new blogs. Is there a blog you are especially enjoying on these winter days? If so, please leave a comment and share a link so we can go there too!
May God bless you day!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
*Dear husband is busy with remodeling tasks and this week removed our entire kitchen. The family has since decided that the kitchen really IS the heart of a home! We are feeling somewhat lost without it!
If you would like to visit the blogs of participants, for your ease I have placed a link for each of them near the top of my blog page under the Wildflowers in Winter banner. Enjoy!
The flowers on the mullen plant in this photo have mostly gone to seed, except for one or two that have survived winter's cold and snow to still peek their bright faces up towards the sunshine. I'm sure there's a lesson somewhere in their example.
A carrot, an egg and a cup of tea...One may never look at a cup of tea the same way again.....
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on ahigh fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed fragrant tea leaves. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the tea out and placed it ina bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?""Carrots, eggs, and tea," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the tea. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity; boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outershell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The tea leaves were unique,however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter."When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a tea leaf?"
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with theheat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like tea? The tea actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like tea leaves, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?How do you handle adversity?
Are you a carrot, an egg or tea?May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
Source: the Internet
Monday, January 21, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
The apron in the picture above is Aunt Cella's and came from Grandmother Iva's apron stash. Full length, it appears to have been 'too special' for Grandmother to wear. Instead it was saved away in a drawer like many of her fine things were. Machine applique adorns the bib and pockets and little tidbits of applique are scattered above the hemline. Features that make this apron unique are the darts used to ease the fabric into the waistline and the pretty style of the pockets that are stitched into the side seams. In soft blue, it has a romantic sense about it with just enough contrast in yellow and pink to make it cheerful.
Both of us are eagerly anticipating spring, and she has expressed this desire on her blog, Wildflower Morning, and has introduced a fun way to looking forward to these first blossoms. She's conducting a Wildflowers in Winter Weekly Theme and Drawing. Here's what she says:
Every winter I find myself longing for spring. I just love the warming rays of sun and the wildflowers that start to open. It is my favorite time of year. Wildflowers bring me so much joy. So, I propose some wildflower fun this winter to take us into the first days of spring. I will have a different theme each week through the middle of March. Join right in by making a post on your blog fitting the theme.
She gives more instructions on her blog and will be having a drawing in March where she will be giving away a set of handmade wildflower cards that she is making. It will go to one of the participants in her Wildflowers in Winter Weekly Theme event.
I'm delighted to join her in this venture! Would you like to join too? It would be fun to see what wildflowers are your favorites in your locale. Let's see if we can find participants from all over North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America. Antarctica is welcome to join in as well, but I'm not sure there are wildflowers there. Are there?
Let's anticipate spring together!
D. hendersonii is summer deciduous, dying back to the ground after the rains cease. It has basal clumps of leaves, 2-16 cm, with nodding flowers 6-25 mm long on stems 10-30 cm tall. The flowers are magenta to deep lavender to white, with the stamens are thrust out and the sepals bent back. It is highly variable and hybridizes with Dodecatheon clevelandii, from which it can be distinguished by its reddish or purplish stem.
The leaves and roots can be eaten when roasted or boiled, but are reported to be poisonous when eaten raw.
It needs good drainage, and needs a dry summer period. Plants germinated from seed may take 3-5 years to produce flowers. For some Dodecatheon, with frequent light fertilization and moisture, dormancy may be delayed, and flowering time may be decreased to 1-2 years. Another technique to speed flowering is to place them in a cooler after dormancy, then bring them to a shadehouse in midsummer.
Information source: Wikipedia
Friday, January 18, 2008
The pure white snow buffers noises; peace and calm surround. There is no noise unless you make it yourself. Boots on snow provide squeak and thump --- but when standing silently in the forest you can nearly hear yourself think!
A lake bed is frozen over and looks small and insignificant when covered with snow. During the summer months this is an active and vital lake, swarming with people, frogs, and fish! Many a happy hour has been spent hiking around this lake.
The setting sun beamed low in the sky and sent golden light upon objects in it's way. Icicles on a tree reflected the sun's glory. It seemed to join in the refrain of my Dad's song: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts! Heaven and earth are full of thee! Heaven and earth are praising thee, O Lord most high!
Dusk fell upon another lake bed. Cozy lights from cabins dotting the shore cast an inviting glow. It was time to go home. With quiet heart and peaceful mind, the day ends with warm memories and sweet times.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
As promised, it's time for a cookbook review. It was very difficult to know where to start. My collection isn't 'new' or necessarily exciting, but it's meaningful to me. Each cookbook represents a piece of the history of my family, dear friends, or of myself. Looking through my collection, I decided to start with some old cookbooks that have much meaning for me. During my years as a high school home economics teacher, my students participated in fund raisers to assist with field trips, fees for their vocational club, or other extra-curricular things related to home ec. The students selected a variety of items to sell, but one of the most successful fund-raising projects was selling cookbooks. Each year a vendor would publish a new cookbook or two that was a compilation of favorite recipes of home economics teachers from throughout the United States. The recipes were usually creative, sometimes unusual, and tasty. Parents appreciated having something of substance to purchase rather than a stuffed animal, candle, stationary, or chocolate bars! The students did very well with this innovative fund-raiser.
1 cup oats
1/4 cup sesame seed
1/4 tsp. salt
2 medium bananas, sliced
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Makes: 6 - 8 servings.
*To make gluten free, use certified gluten free oats.
I really enjoyed all the comments you posted regarding your love of reading cookbooks. I see I am not alone! I suspected such. Thanks for your comments. Here are some I'd love to share with others:
I love collecting cook books, especially chocolate cook books.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Do you remember puzzles like this one? I used to enjoy them as a child. Simple and wholesome, they were very interesting to a six year old! This one came from a children's weekly church paper. Similar puzzles and games were also common in Highlights Magazine. Do you remember it? We never received it at home, but it was a staple of the doctor's office waiting room. It helped to keep your mind off the dread of having to go in for a shot!
Saturday, January 12, 2008