Posts

Showing posts from September, 2011

The Last Day of September

Image
There are still a few dahlias in my garden. I cut five of them yesterday and plunked them into a soup tureen, along with clippings from the yard (including lots of sage) and one bunch of purchased dark mums. It looks fall-ish to me, as does the gray sky.

Last weekend, when I cooked an early Thanksgiving dinner for our traveling children, I brought out my thankfulness rocks. 
I made these a couple of years ago, when life looked rather bleak, as a reminder to myself of the many, many things for which I could give thanks.
I put them into a hand-carved wooden leaf-shaped bowl from Ecuador and remember that I am blessed.

And I realized that there was one big blessing who arrived this past year, for whom there was no rock.
I promptly remedied that!

This weekend's lineup - overnight guests (2 sets!),  a little studying,  a little cooking, - other than that, things are rather mellow around here.

Seizing the Day

Image
Tis the season for apples. Via Pinterest I found this recipe for an Apple Upside-Down Cake. I made it last night for dinner, and took a picture, using a flash, which means it's not the greatest photo. The cake was good, not spectacular, but good, slightly spicy, juicy with apples. The sauce definitely made it. Here's a link to the King Arthur Flour site where the recipe originated.

I recently won a giveaway at the Hostess of the Humble Bungalow. It arrived yesterday, prettily packaged and accompanied by a lovely card.

As I contemplate going back to work, this book will definitely be useful. Time to ditch my usual uniform of jeans/cords plus knit top plus sweater/vest. Thank you, Hostess!

As I turned on my computer this morning, I glanced out the window and saw the lovely play of morning light on the Virginia Creeper outside my window. I enjoyed it for a few seconds, then sat down and looked at the screen.

The colours, shadows and textures drew me back, so I seized my camera and we…

Fall Mantel

Image
I've been itching to get at some fall decorating. We left on our vacation the first week of September when it was still summery and warm. Since our return we've had rain, wind and chilly temperatures. Today, however, the sky is bright and clear, with lovely autumn light that has a special pureness.
I turned in my final essay today. Final. I have an exam on Tuesday and then - I'm done my degree. I'm not certain what the future will hold, but I'm know that God will reveal it all in time. 

To celebrate that essay I indulged in a little creativity. When I use old book covers for my handstitched journals, the guts of the book are left behind. I use individual pages for various things, but have a lot of coverless books lying about. I saw these pumpkins at Craftberry Bush and thought, "aha! just the ticket!" They were fast and easy to do. Keen eyes will note that one pumpkin's words are upside down. It wasn't intentional, but it gives a rather whimsical ap…

Banff Stopover

Image
On our way home from Alberta last week, we spent a couple of days in Banff National Park. The mornings were cool and crisp, frost covered the rooftops and made us glad we'd thrown in our gloves. 
When the Canadian Pacific Railway was being built, this stopover was known as Siding 29. Three railway workers discovered mineral hot springs nearby and in 1885 about 10 square miles was set aside by the government of Canada as a reserve. The land reserve was soon increased and formed the first national park of Canada. 
I am so very glad that someone had the foresight to protect these lands. The beauty is astounding. People come from all over the world to see the Canadian Rocky Mountains and towns such as Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise. 

The railway magnate William Cornelius Van Horne envisioned a series of luxury hotels along the railway to entice visitors. One of these is the Banff Springs Hotel. Set in the shadow of Mount Rundle, at the meeting of the Spray and Bow Rivers, the hotel is eno…

A New Season

Image
Last night I cooked a special dinner.

It was a mini-Thanksgiving. (Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks - so I'm not all THAT early.)
I made stuffed turkey breast, roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa pilaf, cranberry sauce, and apple pie. For just four of us.

This morning we said our good-byes - Ashley and Owen are off to Europe for a year. With their backpacks and computers. No, they are not flying as dressed above. After leaving our home, they drove to a wedding on Thetis Island. Tonight they will be at Owen's parents' place in Victoria, and tomorrow they'll take the 7 am ferry to Vancouver and catch a plane to Munich. 
It's exciting and we wish them all the best. I'm so glad for Skype and email - nothing like that was available when we left for Ecuador 30 years ago.

But my heart hurts. After we watched the car disappear into the distance and we walked back into the house, Tim and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes. Tim suggested a walk on t…

A Beautiful Land

Image
Tim's mother and siblings live in Alberta. We spent most of our time visiting, catching up on what's been happening in their lives.
But there were times for walks - like this one around the pond near Tim's mother's place. Autumn's presence was foreshadowed in the cool mornings and yellowing leaves.

Graceful poplars leaned against the sky. I loved listening to the swishing fluidity of wind playing in the branches. 

One day we visited Dry Island Buffalo Jump - a provincial park near Tim's sister's home. Here the native people used to stampede buffalo over the cliff to kill them, and then employed every part of the animal for their use.

The peace of the grassy cliff and the gray sky beyond belies its gory past.


High bush cranberries grow plentifully. We picked a big bowlful for Tim's sister to make into cranberry jelly. The berries looked easy to pick, but the thorns were fierce!


An abandoned barn in a field of wheat. Evocative of someone's hopes and dreams.

Home Again

Image
Our vacation started two weeks ago with a birthday party in Victoria. Three of our children and their spouses have birthdays in September so we celebrate with one party. The efforts of the birthday boys and girl garnered a lot of laughter. I'm sorry I don't have a photo of the cake because Katie topped it with little Lego people representing each personality. 

Our next stop was Chilliwack, on the mainland, where we spent the weekend visiting my family and eating my mom's good cooking!
Early Monday morning (you can tell just how early by the photo) we headed east, to Alberta.

Up, over the coastal mountains, then across the interior of British Columbia, past Kamloops. We stopped at Yard Creek to run around a little and stretch our legs.

On towards the Rockies. Lunch was a picnic at Hemlock Grove rest area in Revelstoke National Park. 

The leaves were still green, but tired-looking. We soaked in the lovely warm sunshine, enjoying our food.

An inquisitive jay hovered nearby, hoping …

Ratatouille

Image
Ratatouille is one of those dishes from southern France (Provence) that can be oh, so very good, or oh, so very bad. This is a sort of recipe. 
It's a great way to use late summer vegetables - zucchini, eggplant, onions, sweet peppers and tomatoes all meld into a delectable dish. And I've found that it can be frozen successfully - it loses a little of the texture, but not much and if baked with a cheese topping - mmmm good. Of course, fresh is best.
The way I make it takes awhile, so I like to make a big batch and have leftovers. Basically all the vegetables are cut into pieces and sauteed slowly until tender. I like to saute each vegetable separately, in olive oil, each with a separate herb and salt.
Onions - thyme Red or Orange Peppers - rosemary Zucchini - oregano Eggplant - just salt and pepper Tomatoes - garlic
Combine all the sauteed vegetables and then add a good squeeze of lemon juice and perhaps some finely chopped mint.
I could eat just this for dinner, or lunch, by itself. B…

Makeup Brushes and Travel Plans

Image
With less courses and a little more time for other things, I stitched up a couple of makeup brush rolls. I made this one for my youngest daughter, 

and this one for myself. The brushes (and mascara tubes, eyeliner pencils, etc) all fit neatly into their slots. It's easy to untie and unroll in the morning and keeps everything neat and tidy.

See the feathers on this fabric? Our little girl, last September's bride, is spreading her wings and flying off to Europe. For a year. She and her husband are taking their jobs with them (via computer) and plan to spend a couple of months in several countries. 
Does my mother-heart go pitter patter? You bet. But this is an opportunity of a lifetime. We will miss them. But I would never hold them back. Our parents let us go freely and now we can do the same. Just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't good. 
And there's Skype. And a good reason to make a trip to Europe, don't you think?

Words to Inspire

Image
"You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence..."
Psalm 18:11

Gladiolus for a Pink Saturday

Image
Gladiolas remind me of my childhood. My mother grew them in the front and along the side of our house. Standing tall, they symbolize sincerity and strength of character.
A few weekends ago when we babysat our granddaughter overnight, her parents gave us these gladiolas. They were tight buds but opened up beautifully. 
Actually, I would have given THEM flowers for the privilege of looking after the little one, herself a bundle of pink sweetness.
Linking to Pink Saturday, hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.

First Anniversary

Image
I've been thinking a lot about the wedding that took place last Sept 4. And looking at photos. So I thought you might like looking too. Here's the happy couple right after the ceremony.

Beautiful flowers ... 

Beautiful cake ... 

Beautiful outdoor setting for the reception.
Happy days, and a happy couple. Isn't memory a wonderful thing?

Of Rocks and Patterns

Image
In the past two weeks I've finished two more courses. I have one left to complete my B.A. in French. And that course is more than half done. Change is in the wind. I feel uncertain. What's next? 
The routine of solitary study, of reading and essays is about to end. It's taken me a little longer than the three years I'd planned - by just a few months. I lost some time in this past tumultuous 18 months - family issues, moving, a wedding, and more. But I always returned to my desk and my computer, to a well-established routine.
Like the beach rocks in the photo, tumbled by the waves, life has a way of shaping human character. Rough and tumble, at times uncomfortable, but always with the hope of smoothing those sharp edges while preserving the essence of being. At least, I hope so. I don't know what beach, figuratively speaking, I'll be washing up on next.  

In the Blackberry Patch

Image
Twice during the long weekend Tim and I donned long-sleeved shirts and shoes with socks (I'm barefoot as much as possible in the summer) to brave the thorns of the blackberry patch.

Tim loves blackberries on his granola every morning so we fill the freezer. He's willing to make the effort to get the very best berries - those high up, where the sun sweetens them first. A number of people wandering by commented on what a brilliant idea it was to bring a ladder.

"Our" blackberry patch is just steps from the ocean, at the end of a beach access. A steady stream of people wandered by yesterday afternoon: to walk their dogs, to sit on a bench and read, to wander the rocky high tide line. 

We filled our buckets, then took a short stroll on the beach, enjoying the late afternoon sun - it's warm here these days!
The berries are all tucked away in the freezer - ready for sprinkling on cereal or for baking into muffins and cobblers. This morning I'm drying tomatoes and cherr…

Late Summer Garden

Image
Sunny days combined with cooler nights mean sweet juicy tomatoes. We're enjoying them a variety of ways, but they are best sliced, on fresh bread, with a little pesto and fresh mozzarella cheese.
The garden delights with flowers, too - fragrant heliotrope, roses, yellow callas, and succulents. Ah, September - summer's last effort.
Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary at the Little Red House.