Showing posts from September, 2016

Late September Doings

Do you watch The Great British Bake Off? We don't have cable television, but I discovered that the show is available on Youtube. It's become my "have to watch." There are some amazingly creative bakers in England! It's such a great show, partly because of the civility of the participants and judges. No insulting putdowns, no angry rivalry, just bakers being evaluated on what they produce. 

One of our sons-in-law had a birthday party this past weekend. I volunteered to bring a cheesecake (raspberry swirl), but when I put it on the plate, it looked singularly unattractive. A little thought, some quickly picked raspberries, white chocolate shards, and voila! A cake that didn't look too shabby. I think the Great British Bake Off is inspiring me. My daughter baked a chocolate cheesecake that was so delicious, and looked great as well.

Although temperatures are cooling down, this week is a sunny one. A good thing. Tim has been slaving away on our side driveway for a …

Two for One in Wales - Mosaic Monday

Welcome to Dinefwr Park, home to Newton House and Dinefwr Castle. We visited on a drizzly day in July, with my cousin and her daughter. Cows lounged in the field along the roadway, looking very much at home.

We learned that these are no ordinary cows; they are White Park Cattle, an ancient breed of horned cattle that have been around for a very long time - more than 1000 years!

Our guide told us that during World War II, the cattle's white colour stood out at night and helped the enemy bombers locate their targets. An attempt was made to first paint the cows green, then later to cover them with camouflage blankets, but these efforts failed as the cattle didn't recognize each other and began acting strangely. So the cattle were shipped to Canada, first residing at the Toronto Zoo, then later to the USA. A well-traveled breed!

Lord Rhys (Rice) built the original Newton House in 1660. Traces of it are still visible, but most of the current structure dates to 1850. Capability Brown w…

Officially Autumn: Five on Friday

1. The autumn equinox has come and gone. The sun slips low earlier and earlier. I search through my clothing for layers of warmth. No more bare feet. No more airy shirts. It's time for the coziness of sweaters and blankets. 

2. Autumn arrives with gentleness, gliding in on thistledown in foggy mornings clearing to bright sunshine that has us taking off those early morning sweaters to enjoy the sun's radiant warmth on our backs.

3. Many of the leaves have been parched brown and crunchy by lack of rain. Now begins the fall of softly coloured leaves - not so intense as in the eastern parts of our country, but their lovely yellows stand out against the dominant evergreens.

4. These calm photos belie the busyness of autumn. The whirlwind of beginning teaching has not yet abated. Yesterday, I, along with 4 other teachers, accompanied a big yellow bus of 45 teenagers to Bard on the Beach in Vancouver where we enjoyed a production of Romeo and Juliet. It was a long day.

5. In my own garde…

Five on Friday: This and That

1. One of our BC Ferries slips between islands. These boats are our link to the mainland. I find riding the ferry rather relaxing, although it took me awhile to get used to the slower pace. There are restaurants, coffee shops, and a small gift store on the larger ferries, like the one above.

Another view - closer up. This ferry is docked and was loading when we chugged by in our boat last weekend. It looked awfully big so close up. Ferries have the right of way, so we had to be careful to be well out of the way before the captain decided to leave. I kept an eye on the loading lanes (not visible from this angle) and the cars were still driving on as we passed.

2. I clipped a few dahlias yesterday evening just before darkness fell. As I arranged them, I noticed a dark something in one of those petals, tucked up tightly. After a bit of gentle shaking and pulling, a disoriented and very sleepy bumblebee tumbled onto the counter top. I carefully put him on a paper towel and set him outside. …

Signs of the Season

Although it's not officially fall, the signs are unmistakable. Fallen leaves, dried and crunchy underfoot. Still pliable and yellow leaves gently let go of their hold and twirl softly to the ground.

Dry grasses, dry branches, dry leaves, and the green-tinted ocean.

Darkness falls earlier and earlier. Soon our walk along this path will be dark. 

Skies streaked with colour and clouds. 

Tomatoes. Oodles and oodles of them. These are roasted cherry tomatoes, divided into containers and frozen for the colder, darker months to come. I like to make soup with them, and also just heat them and add a bit of cream for an easy side dish. That's what we enjoyed tonight.

What are the signs of the season around your place?

Mosaic Monday: On the Water

Boating stepped aside this summer as we traveled further afar than our own waters. "Surely," we thought, "we'll get out on the boat a few times." 

Nothing much happens if it's not planned for, so we penciled in a date. The weather cooperated beautifully and we spent two nights on the water. In the above photo, Mount Baker, in Washington State, rises tall into the clouds.

Our view from our anchorage in Princess Bay, off Portland Island. As the light faded into darkness, one single shooting star fizzled off the the bow. 

Saturday morning, after a hearty breakfast, we set out to walk around the island. Three hours and about 6.5 kilometres later we arrived back at the dock.

Recent rains have brought a little more green to our area, but there's no mistaking the coming season. 

The mere act of getting on the boat and anchoring just an hour away from home is the most relaxing thing I know. It's as if when we pull away from the dock we leave lists, lesson plans,…

Recent Makes: Five on Friday

During September my heart is drawn away from the garden into our home. It's still summer, according to the calendar, but darkness falls earlier and earlier. I find myself pulling the blankets tighter in the wee hours of the morning. 

The garden delights with tomatoes galore, and we still pick raspberries and zucchini. The pumpkins (just two) are growing fat and round. And the dahlias put out flower after flower. 

For today's Five on Friday I'm sharing 5 things I've made recently. The first is the bouquet on the mantel, a small arrangement of dahlias and plant trimmings. 

I've been admiring project bags for awhile now - there are some very pretty ones. On a rainy afternoon, I set my mind to thinking of dimensions and fabric combinations. It didn't take too long to stitch up a lined and zippered bag to hold my ...

knitting. I'm not very adept at knitting, but there's a craft club once a week at school, during lunch hour, and another teacher has offered to tea…