Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tasha Tudor Day

Today Clarice at Storybook Woods and some of her friends are implementing Tasha Tudor Day in commemoration of Miss Tudor's birthday. Be sure to stop by Clarice's blog so you can participate in this special event!

And in
celebration of Tasha Tudor Day, I've decided that Gracious Hospitality will be seeking as many comments as possible regarding ways that Miss Tudor has touched your life: memories, events, books, art, example, or lifestyle. I know that some of my tea and blogging friends had the joy and pleasure of visiting Miss Tudor's home and garden, and were able to visit with her in person during those times. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always welcome here, but especially today. Please leave a comment if the life of Tasha Tudor has touched you in some way. . .thank you!

I will be checking in again, to share with you at least one of the special things I decided to do myself today in honor of Tasha Tudor.

Lavender Year Around!

I'm sure you know by now that I'm crazy about lavender! The Royal Velvet hybrid lavender shown in this picture is one of my favorites. Not only is it vibrant and pretty when fresh, but it dries nicely and retains it's color well. Lavender is one of those seasonal plants that you enjoy during the summer and look forward to during the winter. Little dried lavender bundles set in a vase or on a pretty doily have been the extent my lavender joy during the winter months. But it looks like that could change. The September issue of Better Homes and Gardens has a segment called "Reader Shopping" and there they share something new. A little hybrid called "Goodwin Creek Grey" has been developed that loves the indoors and will thrive as a houseplant in a sunny window. According to the magazine, it produces spikes of fragrant deep blue flowers above a lush mound of silver foliage. The lavender is sold in a 7" glazed pot. The one year old plant can be planted outside in the spring if desired. Shipped through October, the plants are available for $42.00 from White Flower Farm at 800/420/2852. Now that's something to think about!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Puppy and I


I met a Puppy as I went walking;
We got talking, Puppy and I.
"Where are you going this nice fine day?"
(I said to the Puppy as he went by).
"Up to the hills to roll and play."
"I'll come with you, Puppy," said I.

A.A. Milne

Seasons and Sunrise

Have you noticed how the season is changing? The hot days of summer are passing by and the days are growing shorter and cooler. Indian summer is near. I love the coolness of these days, with the pleasant warmth during mid-day, and the way the flowers bloom with renewed freshness after the very hot days of summer. School starts for community children this week. The local school bus will be our alarm clock as it stops on the road to gather neighborhood children into it's fold. I enjoyed viewing the sunrise recently. Believe me, that's not something I do every day! But it was such a pleasant time of day --- and watching the shadows cast across the lawn as the sun rose over the eastern sky was the perfect way to start the day! September daze will soon be here --- and with it more change as the season progresses into autumn. I'm so glad that God created seasons!

A Tree Adventure

Sometimes nature's course can be very inconvenient! An electrical storm passed through the mountains a year or so ago, knocking down the top of a huge tree near the homestead cabin at the other end of our property. Fortunately it didn't land on the cabin, but it did crush a dandy little storage shed nearby. Months later, another storm blew down a smaller pine tree, creating quite an unsightly mess. Last week Brent removed the larger tree top, but this week he decided to tackle the smaller one that was suspended in the air.

Of course, I think he believes that he's still twenty, so up he climbed, onto the smaller tree. His plan --- to cut off the end of the tree.

Yeah! It worked and he was quite pleased. Getting back down was the next problem, but with the help of a large chain, he was able to lower the chain-saw to the ground and then walk back down the tree trunk.

Whew! He made it safely back to earth! And now the work begins.

Trimming, pulling log sections with chain and truck, and lots of picking up of old wood that had been the shed, and more await. He was busy! All this work --- at the place where Brent is most content --- maybe he should have been a logger!

Enjoy a peaceful week, my friends!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quilting at the Fair

Marie at ZQuilts recently posted pictures of many beautiful quilts from their San Juan County Fair. I think you would enjoy seeing them at her blog. Her post reminded me to take my camera to our county fair recently and see what I could find. The quilts were high on my priority, but I was quite disappointed that the viewer was kept so far back that it was a little difficult to see them. Additionally, they were so crowded together in the display that you could only see a portion of each quilt and each quilt was frequently blocked by another quilt displayed on top. Although this was frustrating, it was still a pleasure to view all the work that dedicated quilters put into their award winning quilts. The one above received the Superintendent's Choice Award. The 3-D basket of flowers was especially beautiful.

The Best of Show awards went to several quilts at the fair this year. This quilt, a picket fence display with beautiful flowers, received one such award. It was especially well done.

This quilt also received a Best of Show ribbon. Quilted by a man named Alan, it shows great workmanship and a maze of geometry!

This Best of Show quilt was appliqued in beautiful red's and green's. A stunning and classic quilt, it was a fine example of some one's hours of dedication, hard work, and lovely design!

As you can see, the quilt corner was crowded. It was difficult to view each quilt and appreciate it for what it had to offer. But, I do think it's wonderful that so many people submited examples of their beautiful work at the county fair this year. I suggest that the aisles for walking become narrower and the space for displaying such beautiful examples of stitchery be expanded!

I came away inspired --- and even found several mini-quilts that I will be posting later for my friend, Lucy, who loves to create her own mini's.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Window Shopping and Wishing

Do you enjoy window shopping? What if it's along a quaint main street in a little tourist town? And what if there are shops filled with teapots and teacups and linens galore? Sometimes it's fun to buy a little something as a souvenir, but usually looking is 'enough' to satisfy. What kinds of things do you like to observe when window shopping? Do different family members have different things they look for? In our household, I tend to look for tea things and linens, but a good bookstore is always welcome. When the boys were little, of course it was the closest toy store of the gadget section of a tourist shop. They soon outgrew that and have progressed to bookstores and any type of electronics store. There's one wonderful Pirate Shop I know they enjoy as well. Brent on the other hand is satisfied simply with a fudge shop. He's generally easy to please when it comes to his 'tourist' preferences. On the Oregon coast, a good kite shop is always a welcome respite from general browsing and the guys have been known to buy a nice kite or two to try out along the shore. I watch the flying action. . .nibble some of Brent's fudge. . .and have a cuppa tea from my thermos. Today. . .I'm wishing I were at the sea. . .

Simply the Sea

Cape Kiwanda
Oregon Coast

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Growing Baby Lavender

Propagating Lavender

Lavender is easy to propagate if you have a few plants to start with. Autumn cuttings work well, so this is the time to start preparing for any lavender propagation that you'd like to do before the cold weather arrives. Start by preparing a mixture of potting soil and sand. Cut a 2" - 3" lavender sprig from a main plant stem. Strip off any of the lower leaves. Dip the stem in rooting compound (hormone), but be sure to read the safety precautions first! (The rooting compound will speed up the process of propagation, but it not essential). Press the cutting into the potting mixture and place it in a warm, sunny room. It's important to keep the cutting moist, but not soggy. Once the plant has rooted, move outdoors for a few hours each day to acclimate it to nature. When the cutting has doubled or tripled in size, it is ready to plant in your garden in a well-drained location.

Another easy way to start lavender is to leave the stem right on the plant, but gently bend it down so it touches the earth. Secure in place with a rock or stone, and give it time to root. Once that happens, dig up the new baby plant and move it to where you'd like it to grow.

With the price of lavender plants, this is a simple and easy method of increasing your plant production --- while being easy on the pocketbook.

Photo: Purple Haze Lavender Farm

Sweet Lavender

"Here's your sweet lavender
Sixteen sprigs a penny,
That you'll find my ladies
Will smell as sweet as any"

Lavender Sellers's Cry

London England

CA 1900

Diligent workers at Purple Haze Lavender Farm chat together cheerfully as they bundle lavender for drying. Surrounded by the sweet fragrance of lavender fields, they are bathed in the fragrance after working with the blossoms all day. I thought this verse so fitting for them!

Rhubarb & Lavender Lemonade

I'm always happy when the rhubarb grows in the early spring, as it is fun to have something fresh and interesting to cook with in the kitchen after a long winter. But, this time of year, the rhubarb is neglected in favor of more sweet and exciting things like peaches, plums, and melons. But, with lavender blossoms and rhubarb still available in the August garden, it's time to make something interesting and here's just the recipe! Maybe you'd like to try it too!

Rhubarb & Lavender Lemonade

8 stalks chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup dried or 1 cup fresh lavender bud
8 cups purified water
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
dash of carbonated water (optional)

Place the water, rhubarb, and lavender together in a large kettle. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove kettle from heat and allow mixture to cool. Strain out the rhubarb and lavender. Add fresh-squeezed lemon juice and sugar. Pour into a glass of ice and garnish with a lavender sprig. If you like 'fizz', add a little carbonated water to each glass. Enjoy!

One Day at a Time

I've been working on putting together a birthday gift for a friend. I decided that before I wrapped it up, I'd try to take some pictures to share with you. That's easier said than done! Reflections on the glass and tiny fabric threads which show up as checks in the pictures made photographing this a challenge! With some creative angles, I was able to get two pictures to share with you. The most 'creative' thing about this project was deciding how to layer and sponge the paints used to create the shabby chic effect on the frame. Although it was pretty in all white and cream, I decided to add a touch of antique gold that I just skimmed over the top of the ridges and dots. I like how it enhanced the patterns in the frame molding. Next, it gets wrapped in roses tissue. . .and delivered to Paula. I hope she likes it!

Remember. . .

One day at a time. . .

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Friendship Bench

Hot summer days are meant for relaxing ---- and when it's time with friends, it's even better! We were blessed to have long-time friends join us for an afternoon at the cabin this week-end. It was fun catching up with one another's lives as we chatted and walked and talked. It seems such a short time ago that we shared our children's 'baby years' together and now they are nearly all grown up! Time really flies!

It seems like this log-bench on the point ends up as the 'main feature' in many blog pictures taken at the cabin. From tea table, to friendship bench, it's a popular place!

We're so glad you could join us, David & RuthAnn & kids!


Look who joined our family last night! He's the sweetest little thing. Yet nameless, he's adapting well and the dogs are giving him a wide berth. He has the hissing thing down pat! I think it's going to be fun to have a kitten around again. It's been a long time!

Enjoy a wonderful day!

UPDATE: Kitten has a name and has lost the dazed look on his face! What a bundle of energy! Rylan named him Frederick Bucky Beau-Jangles Katt. We'll see how the name evolves from here!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

One Friend

"I suppose
there is one friend
in the life
of each of us
who seems not a
separate person,
however dear and beloved,
but an expansion,
an interpretation,
of one's self,
the very meaning
of one's soul."

Edith Wharton

Sushi and Green Tea

Brandon and I went to lunch recently, and he chose a Sushi Bar as the place to eat. It was a new experience for me, and oh, so yummy! We had Seaweed and Cucumber Salad, Miso Soup, and Cucumber and Avocado Sushi Rolls. Pickled ginger, soy sauce, and a zippy wasabi gave accent to this delicious meal! A fragrant and mellow cup of Jasmine tea was the perfect closure for a delightful culinary experience.

I've never tried to make Sushi at home, but would love to try. I'm sure my friend, Toshiko, would be a very good teacher! I wish she lived nearby. In my search for healthy Asian recipes, I found one that uses 'toothsome and satisfying brown rice' and I think I'll give this one a try. You might like to as well, so I will share.

Tofu, Rice and Green Tea Soup

2 cups brown rice, short-grained
1 tsp. salt, divided
.8 oz. nori, toasted and seasoned
2 green onions
1 lb. extra firm tofu
8 tea bags genmaicha green tea (or equivalent loose tea)
1 tsp. black sesame seeds
Tamari sauce
Toasted sesame oil (optional)

Steam rice in 4 cups of boiling water and 1/2 tsp. salt. When done, remove rice from heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork.

While rice is steaming, cut nori into 1/4 inch strips. Set aside. Then slice green onions on the diagonal and set aside as well.

Remove tofu from wrapper, rinse, and pat dry with paper towel. Dice into bite-sized blocks.

After rice is cooked, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Pour over tea bags and allow tea to steep for 5 minutes.

Place 1 cup of rice in each of 4 large soup bowls. Place a spoonful of diced tofu on each bed of rice. Pour 2 cups of hot tea over each. Garnish with a sprinkle of green onion and black sesame seeds.

Serve immediately with bowls of nori, tamari, and sesame oil on the side. Chopped cilantro, hot sauce, or nuts oils also make good accompaniments.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Island Lavender

Today a friend is visiting Whidbey Island, and hearing her talk about her planned visit reminded me of my dad, as he lives nearby. You might recall that last summer I went 'to tea' with Dad and he enjoyed asking the tea hostess so many questions about the food and tea service. I simply think he enjoyed the attention! Afterwards we visited the Lavender Wind Farm and enjoyed the abundance of lavender in late bloom. Alma is shown in the picture as she walks amongst rows of lavender and orange poppies. In another field, huge yellow sunflowers complimented the lavender in bloom. Fog from the sea was wafting through the fields as we were there, creating a surreal appearance that added to the tranquility of it all.

Lavender has many uses. In the late summer, mix lavender flowers with drinks like iced tea or lemonade for a refreshing beverage. Or sprinkle it's blossoms onto favorite desserts like peach shortcake or chocolate mousse. Bunches of late summer lavender can be gathered and dried, then placed in a mesh bag that can be tucked into a lingerie drawer where it's fragrance can be enjoyed each time you open the drawer. It doesn't matter if the flowers are past their prime if you are using lavender in this way; the fragrance is just as nice. Bunches of lavender can be gathered fresh and placed in copper pots or ceramic vases. Don't worry about adding water; instead allow them to droop a bit (it adds character) and let them dry. You'll have a pretty arrangement that lasts all year long. Sometimes people aren't sure when the best time is to harvest lavender. I think that ANY time is the best time, but I admit to being crazy about lavender! Most people would say that lavender is best harvested when one-third to one-half of the spike is in bloom.

So, happy travels on the island, friend who's so fortunate to be there today! I hope you enjoy your visit and create many memories of sunshine and flowers --- times that will cheer you in the rainy days of winter to come.

And to Dad: I look forward to tea with you again soon!

The Mundane of Housekeeping

Do you know the song titled "I've Been Everywhere" that lists names and places throughout the United States? It was written by Geoff Mack in 1959 and has been adapted to locals in several countries and has been sung by everyone from Lynn Anderson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and The Statler Brothers. Well, take that tune and add these words: Kerby, Filter Queen, Hoover, Dirt Devil, Bissell, Eureka, Kenmore, and more. As you sing along, become more and more animated, giving the song more and more punch. These are all brands of vacuum cleaners we've had over the years. So far, there's nothing that I have really been satisfied with. With kids, pets, and sandy soil --- nothing seems to hold up very well and do a superb job (sorry, vacuum cleaner companies). We are now on a search for 'another' vacuum cleaner; something that will clean carpets and hardwood, that will keep it's suction, and that isn't messy to keep clean and tidy. Our search has lead us to the Dyson DC 25. Do you have one? Could you, would you --- share the pro's and con's? According to their website, this vacuum:

Sits on a ball to maneuver around furniture and obstacles. The motor is inside the ball, giving the machine a low center of gravity making it even easier to steer.

AND it. . .

Uses Root Cyclone™ technology to separate dirt from the air by centrifugal force. This patented technology doesn't lose suction power as you vacuum.

Hmmmm. . .so it this true? I am really curious and most cautious about my 'next' choice in a vacuum cleaner. I'd appreciate any feedback you can give me. And, I thank you in advance.

I know. . .vacuum cleaners are mundane and boring in blogland where we tend to focus on beautiful decor, yummy food, and family events. So, in order to perk up this post a bit, I'd like to share with you another 'housekeeping' tool that I found this week (and left in the shop window; it's shown in the picture below). It is the prettiest apron! I would love to find a pattern to make one. . .somewhere. . .somehow. This pretty little gem was $80.00 in the shop (and it's not even lined!). The skirt is fitted with darts with a cute, little gathered bodice that is accented with striped fabric at top and bottom. Isn't it adorable? Have you found a pattern for this anywhere? It's yummy!

Enjoy a lovely day and be sure to enjoy any housekeeping you might have planned for the day. Since I'm still deciding about a vacuum cleaner (and have only a simple apron), I will be dust mopping my floors today rather than sucking up the dirt with a vacuum!

Stay cool!

THANK YOU for all the excellent feedback regarding vacuum cleaners. It was all very helpful! I will keep you posted as to a decision soon!

THANK YOU, Deb --- from Homespun Living --- for the link to the apron pattern. For other's who are interested, it's available at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gracious Hospitality Chat

Have you ever tried to respond to a comment on Blogger or Word Press, only to discover (usually after writing a response) that the email address is 'no reply'? Isn't it frustrating? I admit to much dissatisfaction over the ease of commenting with other blog readers. I've been trying to think of a solution that would ease the situation somewhat, and am not sure if I really have or not --- but am willing to give something else a try. I have opened a Gracious Hospitality chat room on Yahoo groups that you are invited to join. It's an open chat for anyone who reads my blog and would like to talk with other bloggers about hospitality topics. You are invited to join in at Gracious Hospitality Chat. I'd love to talk with you there, as well as continue with hearing your gracious comments on the Blogger comments as well. Let's see if this works and makes conversation a little bit easier.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sue and her Sunbonnets

Recently, my friend Paula went to the antique market in Portland and came home with this beautiful vintage baby quilt in the Sunbonnet Sue design. She said she was thinking of me when she bought it, and of course I was most delighted to become it's new adopted owner! The fabric is perfectly worn and so soft. I love it's pastel colors and the tiny black stitches that hold the appliqued pieces to the backing. Completely hand-stitched, this quilt features pretty feather-stitched embroidery along each quilt block edge. I can't help but wonder about the little ones this cradled as they slept under it's gentle weight.

Sunbonnet Sue quilts became popular in the 1930's when a change in dye technology allowed for charming and cheerful pastel prints that were colorfast. The sunbonnets and dresses of this design created a perfect palette to show these fabrics off. The faceless design itself was crafted by a designer who was trying to prove that emotion could be expressed without facial expressions. I think she did a good job, don't you? Each Sunbonnet Sue quilt has a personality all it's own.

You might remember my original Sunbonnet Sue quilt; it's the larger one hanging on my back porch in the picture above. I found it in my mother's collection, but don't know any history about it. I don't believe it was a family treasure. Instead, I think she found it in an antique shop during one of her excursions with friends. Both designs are strikingly similar with the variation being the intensity of the colorful prints used and the placement of the arms in the design.

Here's a close-up of the border on the baby quilt. I love the choice of colors and the hand-stitching featured along each edge.

Someone else has been inspired by mother's Sunbonnet Sue quilt as well. It's Lucy from Quilting with the Past. At her suggestion, we are replicating my mother's quilt, making identical quilts that match mother's as closely as possible. From here to the Netherlands, fabrics are being exchanged as we plan this 'non-stress' and 'relaxing' venture together. Lucy has designed the pattern and stitched up the first block, as you can see above. She used the picture from my blog side-bar to create the design and has replicated it perfectly. She's an expert stitcher --- and I know I'm going to enjoy working on this project with her. She always inspires me with her vintage-inspired quilts! She's on a blog break right now, but I think she'll be back as soon as her children return to school after a busy summer of exciting activities! I can hardly wait to see what her blog will contain when she returns.

Here are a few samples of the 1930's replica fabrics that we have selected for our leisurely project. We are trying to come as close as possible to the original. Lucy even found an original flour sack fabric for one of our blocks during her summer travels.

And since we are talking about Sunbonnet Sue's, I thought I would share a picture of a modern Sue that was displayed beautifully on a quilt at our local quilt show this spring. Isn't it pretty? I love the stripes in the full skirt --- but nothing beats the simplicity and quaintness of the original vintage Sue. She will always be first in my heart!

[Thank you, Carrie, for directing me to a nice post about the history of Sunbonnet Sue at Confessions of an Apron Queen. And the Sunbonnet Sue potholders you have featured at Oak Rise Cottage are B E A U T I F U L !!!]

Dryland Wheat on Rolling Hills

Gracious Hospitality readers will be quick to realize that I have a love affair with flowers. Spring is my favorite season, and flowers, both cultivated and wild are so appreciated by me. Sometimes I feel like I am 'unfair' with the other seasons. I don't celebrate them in quite the same way. But, living with the passage of four definite seasons does bring me joy. It seems that each one makes me appreciate the others even more. In our community, things start to dry up in the late summer. If it weren't for irrigation, everything would be desert! During the late autumn, the dryland wheat farmers plant wheat seed and it sprouts before the first snowfall. By early spring the fields are showing pretty green shoots that rapidly grow throughout the spring and summer. One of our family members always comments early in the summer that "it won't be long until wheat harvest" and the rest of us are known to tease him about his rushing of the season. But, this year the wheat harvest seemed to sneak up on us. Wheat ranchers and their combines are busy harvesting. The grain elevators near our home are rumbling with wheat trucks and huge piles of golden grain are mounding up beside the tall, silver elevators at river's shore.

It is somewhat unusual that most of the wheat fields in our area are on hills rather than in flat fields. I tried to get a picture to show you how the combines are especially equipped for hillsides. The combine stays level while the wheels hug the hillside thanks to special self-leveling suspension devices. It is amazing how the large combines can maneuver hillsides that are extremely steep and precarious!

The same family member who speaks of how it won't be long until the wheat is harvested looked at this scene of harvesters and said "so much wheat, and I cannot eat a bite". Even after ten years of living with celiac, the loss is still keenly felt. Thank you, God, for yummy alternatives like millet, amaranth, corn, and quinoa. It's not quite the same, but. . .it there are alternatives. If you are a gluten-free blog reader, check out this site for recipes that help fill the gap. And for those who can enjoy the nutty benefits of whole wheat --- enjoy each and every bite!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Quiet Day of Delight

A quiet day at the cabin was filled with little surprises of delight! A cup of tea sipped on the viewing bench gave us opportunity to talk and enjoy the ever-changing view from the point. The ridges are showing golden, as the grasses are drying in the summer heat. Peak fire season is here. We're always glad when we're through it and passed without incident.

Tiny strawberries are well-hidden under their green leaves. Sweet and special, you have to be dedicated to get more than a thimbleful!

The Indian Paintbrush is striking against the tall green foliage in cabin meadow. It's especially welcome, since the pale pinks and lavenders of early spring flowers are now well past. It's quite interesting to observe wild flowers and their passage through the seasons. Early spring bears more purple and blue; summer some red, yellow, and lots of white.

A flock of ten wild turkeys came to visit. We observed them at the fire pit from a quiet spot by the window. As they left, I quietly followed them down Cabin-Woods Lane and was excited to be able to photograph them.

At late evening, it was time to pack up and head on home. A pileated woodpecker visited a tall dead snag near the cabin, looking majestic and beautiful sillouetted against the mountain ridge. About the size of a crow, he is the largest of all the woodpeckers in North America. He was too elusive for me to photograph --- visual observations were enough, though. Striking!

It is the custom to take a walk before we head home. This time we walked to a little homestead cabin at the far end of the property. A barn sits nearby and inside we found remnants of a neat and tidy little bed of grass and branches that were probably made by the little lost girl the week before. Her daddy said she had tried out the barn first before she decided to walk farther and found our 'more lived in looking' cabin. She was a competent young woman!

As we drove down the mountain towards home, we were delighted to see a young moose crossing the road ahead of us! We do not live in moose country! Reports of moose in our mountains are usually met with skeptisim, but this is the second sighting by anyone in our family. He was in no rush, walking past our truck and then heading through a dry meadow behind us. I was able to hop out of the truck and get quite a few pictures before he disappeared into the woods. He seemed to be looking for someone or something. Quite a guy!

May your week be blessed with many tiny delights and a few big ones too!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Twist of Love

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves and not to twist them with our own image, otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them."

~ Unknown ~

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Refreshment for a Hot Summer Day

Refreshing Strawberry Basil Lemonade

2 quarts pink lemonade
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
12 whole basil leaves

Combine ingredients. Place in a large container, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. To serve, remove infused basil if desired. Serve over ice, garnishing with an additional strawberry, a fresh basil leaf, and a splash of pink lemonade.

Makes 10 - 14 servings.

Kitchen at Far-Away Ranch, Arizona

Be Gentle

"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun."

"Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made."

"And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you posses. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither."

"Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace."

Quote: Kent Nerburn

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tranquility and Transitions

A change in seasons evolve. Because this year's prolonged spring brought summer slowly, the transition from spring green to summer dry has seemed sudden. But the reality of it all is --- that the season of green is diminished and things are starting to dry out. The mountain grasses are golden and fire season is at it's peak. Flowers are starting to go to seed and powdery dust accompanies our woodland walks. At least the dust makes it interesting when it comes to tracking wild animals, but coming across a large bear or cougar print in the trail becomes unnerving at times! Upon our arrival at cabin door this week-end, a note was found, thanking us for the hospitality our cabin provided for a girl lost in the woods overnight. Although she couldn't get in, there was clean water in a barrel and shelter in the woodshed. Fortunately she was found the next morning by a search team who had spent the night looking for her. I know her parents were most thankful for her recovery. After a week-end of relaxation and some spring (summer) cleaning, we headed home. As we passed by Robin's Lavender Farm, we stopped so I could take some pictures --- and to view the change of seasons in a cultivated garden as contrasted to the mountain wildness. The lavender left on the plants is nearly dry, and daisies, love-in-a-mist, and decorative thistles are going to seed. Bees still hover around, gathering sweet nectar for their hives from uncut lavender plants. They ignored me as I walked among the lavender rows. The setting sun cast a mellow glow over Robin's beautiful garden. Serenity and calm prevailed. As the day ended, I took time to savor the layers created by Robin's gardening style. I tried to capture it in this picture, but a photo doesn't do it justice. Cut lavender, dried daisies, tall lavender stalks, a bushy shrub of pink roses, tall trees behind, and a dried field in the background all worked together to create a beautiful and tranquil scene.

God is good. . .and I am thankful for the safety and recovery of a brave little girl! Enjoy a blessed week, friends!