Showing posts from July, 2014

Gathering the Moments: July

There were sunny walks and a rainy weekend camping trip. A birthday. An anniversary. Flowers galore. Gardening. Jam making. Baby cuddles and plenty of reading. Laughter and good food. Hydrangeas. Cherries. Pool time.

A month goes by so quickly, yet in looking back I can see how much life was lived in it. Thanks be to God.

Linking to Gathering the Moments at Thinking About Home. 

An Island Walk

The best thing about having a boat, as far as I'm concerned, is not the boat itself, but the ability to explore new places, especially places not accessible by road or ferry. We went to Sidney Island on Sunday afternoon. There is a small ferry that shuttles passengers back and forth from our big island, but we went on our own boat. 

There's a park and a nature preserve as well as a lot of old bricks for in the early 20th century Sidney Island produced thousands of red bricks. The shadows lengthened as we walked the trails yet plenty of heat was to be had in the sunny spots.

An old piling stands in the water, rotting from the inside. Perhaps a bird dropped a seed here and it took root - an invasive Himalayan blackberry, but pretty in this spot where the thorns won't tear. 

Water, soft and smooth as silk. Sidney Island has a narrow spit of sandy beach at the north end of the island that stretches low and long, and is covered by water at high tide. 

Golden grasses wave in clumps …

The good, more good and the ugly

Lots of goodness in the garden these days. The blueberries are winding down, but there are still enough to pick a batch every few days for topping breakfast granola. 

Last night we drove to Chemainus for dinner followed by musical theatre. Les Misérables. It was so very, very good. Such a wonderful story of the power of grace and love. "To love another person is to see the face of God." I'm still thinking about the story and the soaring voices. 

White phlox is blooming, standing tall and fragrant against the cedar hedge. White and green loveliness. A couple of weeks ago I lost my watch (my regular one) while gardening. I dug through the compost bin, through the recycle bin (where the weeds go) and looked in the garden beds. No luck. 

Today I noticed something shiny in the grass in front of the compost bin. I was watering at the time and turned the hose on the shiny, thinking it might be a slug. Nope. It was my watch, still keeping perfect time. Can't think how it survi…

Fussing for the Two of Us

A special day. A special dinner. A little fuss. Last night's dinner à deux. A host of memories on the table alone - a pale blue damask linen table cloth given to Tim's parents on their wedding day more than 60 years ago. White linen napkins from the same era. China salad plates and later, for dessert, tea cups from the set started by my mother when I was 16. Flatware given by my parents for our first wedding anniversary. Crystal water goblets chosen for our wedding (I only have 6 for they ceased production soon after.) The table itself, built by Tim in Ecuador 28 years ago. How many people have sat here, lingering, laughing, talking?

Candlelight on a summer evening. White flowers and greenery gathered from the garden. All this fuss for just the two of us.  You know, it didn't take long to pull together. I started cooking and table setting at 3:00 and all the prep was done by 5:00, except for the last minute cooking after he arrived home.

I use to save "special' for…

Daisy Memories

"Daisies are such friendly flowers." (Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail)

 Daisies in glass bowls decorated the tables at our wedding, 37 years ago today. My aunt volunteered to do them for us. 

Tim and I looked at each other this morning and marveled how the years have marched by. Those young, young people committing to each other and to God are not the same people as they are now. The years have taken their toll on physical bodies. Careers have changed. Children were born, grew up and now form families of their own. Darling little ones now call us Nana and Grandpa. There's been much, much joy and a large portion of tears during these years. The joy far outweighs the tears, but this morning, I'm feeling a little pensive.

Our dreams were not grandiose. We envisioned a family, settling down in the town we met in, building our own home and living there forever. Tim has his carpentry papers and envisioned himself as a contractor one day. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. 


Wildflowers, Summer Eating and a Winner!

All along the roadsides these days there's a blue blur. I've been hoping to see some wild chicory up close and personal. On a walk this past week I noticed some beside a pathway and took a couple of photos. Such a pretty flower.

Summer may not be the greatest time for slaving over a hot stove, but it's a wonderful time for eating. All the fresh produce and seasonal treats must be enjoyed now, not later. Cherry Clafoutis is one dish I make at least once each summer. Cherries are so delicious and these are roasted with a little sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon before the batter is added. A bit more work, but the taste is worth it. Clicking on the link will take you to my recipe blog.

This quick-to-make salad has been done twice here this summer already, once with the feta cheese and once without it. It was delicious either way. The combination of watermelon and tomatoes may seem unlikely, but the pairing works very well. You hardly need a recipe, but here's a link to my ver…

Five on Friday

1.  It's been a week of glorious warm sunshine. Maybe a bit too warm at times, but I won't complain. Not much. I spent time with little ones this week, on two separate days. Little Miss S here is waving her pinwheel with great enthusiasm. I get such joy from watching my grandchildren interact with the world. Bugs, water, grass, sticks, rocks - everything is interesting and an avenue for imagination.

2. Yesterday afternoon I walked through the Horticultural Garden of the Pacific with Miss A, her mother, and her little brother. I haven't been there in years and was surprised to see all the development. Another visit will be on my calendar. This garden has lots of fun areas to keep little ones engaged. A play house decorated with toy bugs and other creatures was a big hit. She and I sat down at the little table inside and had a tea party with shell dishes.

3.  The lilies were astounding. Huge flowers growing tall, tall, tall. Richly fragrant. Gorgeously coloured. 

4.  What I'…

In the Summer Kitchen

Memories of childhood summers include the intense fruity fragrance of jam making on a hot summer's day. Stirring the bubbling cauldron of sugar and berries. More stirring. The caution to "stand back, it's hot," as the pot is removed from the stove. The sound of jar lids popping as they cool and seal.

I learned how to make jam from my mother and have made it for years with commercial pectin. However, I've been experimenting with recipes other than the ones that come with the pectin packets or the companies that have a vested interest in pectin. I took a book out from the library recently called Food in Jars, by Marisa McClellan. She has a blog, also called Food in Jars. Her recipes call for a little more cooking of the jam and fruit and a bit of liquid pectin at the end. But the ratio of fruit to sugar is much, much higher. Both the raspberry jam (Simple Raspberry Jam) and the Rhubarb Jam (Rhubarb Vanilla Jam with Earl Grey) are from her book. 

So. Delicious. I lick…

On the Water

Last Friday afternoon Tim arrived home a bit earlier than normal and we set sail for Genoa Bay. I packed a picnic supper to eat along the way. After anchoring Solitude we watched clear light fade to pink and grey as we bobbed on the water.

Full moon? Almost full moon? How beautiful to watch it rise over the trees until its light shone a glimmering pathway to us. 

Mornings are what I love best - hanging over the side of the boat looking into the water and watching the activity on the shoreline. Gulls and a heron in this photo but there were seals a-plenty in the water, and on-shore, a mama raccoon with three little ones. Mama turned over rocks and dug down a little, then moved aside while the babies scrabbled in the hole for sustenance.

We usually anchor our boat in a sheltered harbour for the night, preferring the peace and quiet to conveniences on shore. But on this trip we pulled up to a slip in a marina because we were meeting with friends - new friends - people who own boats similar …

Telling Time and Something for YOU!

From time to time I receive email offers to review a product on my blog. I usually ignore them. However, recently, Jord Wooden Watches sent an offer for something really unique - a watch made of wood. I've watched my husband, Tim, work with wood and I was fascinated by the idea of wood being used as a timepiece. 

I checked out the website and agreed to try out the Ely - Natural Green timepiece. It's beautifully made and equally beautiful to wear. Its lighter weight is perfect for summer although I can see wearing this year round. I love the natural look. It tells time, but it's also a wonderful accessory. I wear it loose on my wrist, like a bracelet. 

The band, watch face and case are all made of wood. The clasp and time mechanism are metal. It's really a lovely piece of artistry suitable for men or women. Jord Wooden Watches have kindly offered a watch as a giveaway for one of my readers. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment below. I'll check …

Five on Friday posted on Saturday

1.  It's been like a zoo around here this week. I don't know why but I've felt a little bit behind the 8-ball. Lots of issues percolating through my mind - family stuff, vacation planning, projects. Tim was sick for a couple of days - a nasty gastro virus that laid him flat for a day and a half. 

2.  I'm not fond of orange (sorry, Vee) but the day lilies are in bloom. They are slated for removal to a distant corner but that hasn't happened yet. And they are beautiful. I'm trying to appreciate them more. 

3. Things are looking brighter indoors since yesterday. A fine young university student stopped by asking if he could wash my windows for me. 

"Why, yes," I said. Then I ran around upstairs and down, wiggling screens out of windows and washing window frames. Then I decided that since the outsides were so clean, the insides could benefit from a wash, too. Then I realized the ridiculousness of putting dirty screens back into clean windows, so I hauled them…

Portrait Photography: A Personal Challenge

Once again, it's time for A Personal Photography Challenge, hosted by Donna. True confession time here - I did practice taking candid portraits, but I did not read all the wonderful articles that would have helped me to do a better job. I'll blame lack of time, which is a very lame excuse. But there you have it.

This Little Miss does not like having her picture taken. I fudged a little by saying that I would like to take photos of the zoo animals (aka aminals), and she seemed to think that was okay.
She was playing in the pool and telling wonderful stories, of which I caught only a few words.

Inside or outside; that is the question. This photo was taken in a boat, under a roof, but the sides were open to the light. Since I'm not quick enough with my manual settings, I used the automatic setting, and I believe I chose outdoors for this one. Perhaps indoors would have allowed for more light on my daughter's face. I love the intense pursing of the lips of Little Miss S. Thi…

Lemons, Fleur de lis and Daisies

Have you ever cooked with preserved lemons? They are often used in Moroccan foods and add a salty tartness to dishes. They are easy to make at home and I used some of our home-grown lemons to make a few small jars yesterday. It's a simple matter of layering lemon wedges and kosher salt, squishing the lemons down until the juice covers them. I added a bit more lemon juice to make certain everything was covered. Seal it up and let it sit for a month or so. I keep the jar in the fridge after that and it lasts at least a year.

While I was working with the lemons, I also made some lemon finishing salt, which consisted of grating the rind of a couple of lemons and rubbing it into sea salt. I dried the mixture for about 20 minutes at the lowest setting on my oven - 200 degrees, let it cool and put it into jars. I think it will be good on salmon and other fish dishes.  

In the spring I painted the little lavatory off the laundry room. It was a dismal beige and now it's a beautiful green…