Children and children-at-heart are impatiently watching the skies this dark morning. We are waiting for snow. A few lazy flakes drift to the ground as I write. Not enough for a snow-day from school! Ah well, perhaps we'll be able to play in the snow this weekend. I'm hoping so.
Last Saturday we went for lunch with some friends. Our view included a boat-builders' dock and the old boat above. It doesn't look like the best advertisement for the business, but certainly has plenty of character. The day was gloomy with clouds and that's certainly reflected in the photo.
On another day this week, I drove out to Island View Beach for a walk. The late afternoon light was so clear with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. (That's cold for us.) Mount Baker, in Washington State, glowed white and blue.
The light transformed rose hips into almost translucent orbs of colour. Soon they will all fall and be replaced by fresh wild blossoms.
Storms and waves toss up huge piles of driftwood along the shorelines. Beach visitors are almost compelled to create something from them - shelters, sculptures, artful arrangements. I don't know if the placement of arching branch was an affair of nature, or deliberate.
Oh, the light, beautiful as it fades.
On another day, light streamed in the window to dance on the frame photo of Hailes Abbey, taken almost 3 years ago now.
A number of readers posed a question about what I teach in Grade 8 Foods. We run a program called RAFT - Robotics, Art, Food, Tech Ed (aka Woodworking) - for our 13-year-old students. This semester, February through June, is divided into 4 blocks with the students rotating through each of the four options. There are 3 groups of students, so I will have one block free. Our goal is to give students the opportunity to explore a variety of applied arts. It's just a taste - I think I have them for 25 class days.
My goal is to help them see how they can learn skills that will enable them to eat well and to be mindful of what they eat. We begin with breakfast - Pancakes with Berry Sauce, followed by Banana Muffins. So they've learned how to mix two types of doughs, and thicken a sauce with cornstarch, cook on the stove top and use the oven.
Next is lunch, and yesterday they prepared the pizza dough (yeast) and tomato sauce. Today they will roll out the crust, add the sauce, grate the cheese and bake it. Alongside, we're serving carrot sticks and cucumber slices, so those will be prepared while the pizza bakes.
It's a busy, busy class - there are 24 students in 6 kitchens. Students come with a very wide range of experience. Some never cook at home; others prepare entire meals. We intersperse the cooking days with discussions and lessons about theory and nutrition.
I demonstrated how to make the pizza dough on Wednesday and stressed a number of times to NOT squish the dough but to use a push and fold and pull method. Some students don't listen well. I was called to two kitchens where the "kneader's" hands were coated with sticky dough because they had picked it up and squished it through their fingers. What a mess! We scraped the dough off and I showed them, once again, how to knead.
Of course, the best part of the course is eating the food they've prepared, and I don't think anyone has ever produced something utterly inedible. Cooking is very forgiving.
Linking to Friday Bliss, hosted by Riitta of Floral Passions.