Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Dryer is Broken and the Dragonfly is Dead

My dryer broke the other day and I had to go to the laundromat to dry a blanket. I was the only one in the place. While waiting for the load to dry, I kept hearing a strange, faint, buzz. Surfing the web on my phone, standing up, sitting down, walking around...still that strange, faint, buzz. I looked down. There at my feet - so glad I didn't step on him/her, was a dragonfly, a very sick bug indeed. Buzz, nothing. Buzz, nothing, nothing. Faint buzz, nothing, nothing, nothing. Being the photographer I am, I scooped him/her up and put him/her in the car with thoughts of a wondrous photo shoot when I got home.
Got home. Went to find some fabric I bought in Japan, visions of a beautiful dragonfly lying gently on exotic fabric. Not so. Ok, went to the granddaughters room, raided the doll house of a few pieces of furniture - a dragonfly in an arm chair, a dragonfly taking a bath! You know, a dead dragonfly is a dead dragonfly and next time I think I'll leave him/her to die in peace.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sunrise Through the Curtain

Ok - all the obvious metaphors... I posted this photo a few days ago thinking of personal experiences of recent. I love photography in that way - to say without saying.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You Only See That Hair in a Certain Light

52 Years old. Where did the time go? You hear it all the time and certainly I feel this way... I feel much younger inside. Even my thoughts are much younger than they should be for a mature woman my age, I frequently think. I still can turn that volume way up on a favorite song, and I did recently see Bob Dylan in concert...and I did not stay seated! But when I look in the mirror I think I'm always a bit shocked. Especially in the full length one. I look like a 52 year old woman who needs to get on with the exercising and I don't like it. I am not unhappy with the inner me, it's the MB people see that needs some work! (Actually, the MB that people don't see is getting a work out all the time from the ultimate Make Over authority). Anyway, getting ready for the day today and looking in the bathroom sink mirror, the full length mirror and that special lighted close up mirror, I had these thoughts and decided to write them down - aren't you so glad? :-) No solution, no conclusion, just another post!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Challenge of Change

My garden on the east side of my house has brought me a lot of joy. There is a walkway between two patches of dirt and I can walk it's 40 ft. to check out the changes - what's bloomed, what has grown, what even might be in a stage of decay, what is dying. There are many different types of plants along the walkway - some in the ground, some in pots. Some tall, some small. Some that bloom, some that do not. As I walk and observe I then have to address each issue as I need to, as I am able, or want to, because I am the caregiver/gardener.
Life is sort of like that - as we walk life's path there are many changes we will see - some to enjoy, some to lend a hand to, and some to just watch die. I think that the wisdom to know our place as caregivers over the garden we have been assigned is crucial, to have the knowledge of the plants - divine.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Santa Rosa Sound, Gulf Breeze, Florida

My Chives Need a Haircut and the Cilantro Has Gone Wild

Another Sunday afternoon although this one is a bit different because Dan is convalescing from knee surgery and I know for a certainty that I was not created to be a nurse...
Since I am a constant companion in the living room/kitchen area with him, I am staying busy. I was also that companion yesterday and I was not as busy but a bit lazy, watching Netflick's on the lap top. Not a typical Saturday and my choice of movies were a bit on the dark side...I want today to be more uplifting and productive so I have repotted my chives and gave them a military style hair cut and my Cilantro has surprised me today by suddenly having a growth spurt and I am in the hunt for recipes that use it. I love the taste of Cilantro.
Today was Tomato Gravy for breakfast - Dan loves it, it must be a Southern thing, I do not love it but I do like that I can use the sweet marjoram I have growing to put in the sauce. Now I am cooking blackberry cobbler - blackberries I picked earlier this year - they freeze well. I put the blackberries in the food processor and grind them up then dump them in a wire mesh strainer to get all the juice out and leave the seeds behind. My granite pestel works really well for pressing the seeds and running it around in the strainer to drain the juice.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

St. Francis and the Pony Palm

St. Francis stands in my living room. I see him everyday, gazing lovingly down at the bird on his shoulder, the one who never moves. For that matter, neither does St. Francis, unless I choose to move him.
St. Francis was found very few days after Hurricane Dennis hit my hometown in 2005. He was almost buried completely under mounds of seaweed and other assorted refuse that had washed up on our property - fishing poles, lumber - lots of lumber, trash, signs, dead fish. My husband and I with some friends, after spending days washing muck out of the house, decided to walk a bit along the shoreline - a sort of treasure hunt - and there he was - laying as still as a saint under duress - and we rescued him.
Since that day St. Francis has lived silently in my living room, his only companions his birds and the assorted houseplants I decide look good standing with him. These changed from time to time, mood to mood - until one day he stood by the pony palm , the one we brought home from my mother-in-law's funeral in 2007 - the one that grows and grows. They became permanent companions that day.
St. Francis came to our house after adversity, the pony palm after a death. Visitors to my house may very well have wondered why I have a garden statue in my living room. It is because St. Francis and his friend the pony palm remind me daily that death and adversity are a part of life, sometimes companions - but life continues after death and sainthood comes from coping with adversity for God's sake.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quick Spaghetti For a Tired Cook

Farberware Classic 8 Quart Covered Straining Stockpot

The end of the day. I must have spaghetti for Dan - Went to Wal Mart to shop with the scooter gang. Remembered the reusable shocking blue Wal Mart grocery bags. YEA! A quick nod of the head to the greeter...bought Italian Sausage (just about the only meat I'll buy at Wal Mart), 29 oz. can tomato sauce, 29 0z can diced tomatoes, 8 oz. package of fresh portabella mushrooms, sweet onions - beat the scooter gang to check out, and came home. Making the sauce - put a glug of olive oil in pot - add one diced onion and one or two tablespoons of minced garlic. Dump in the entire pack of mushrooms and a cup of fresh basil - let cook until the onions are very soft and when they are, add the can of tomato sauce and the can of diced tomatos and another cup of fresh basil, salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer at least 15 minutes, 30 is better. I have window boxes of basil - (they love the sun and to be in a bottom watering container).Cook the Italian Sausage to the side - I just cook it in a fry pan with a lid - then you can add them to the sauce for about 5 minutes, or not if you have vegetarians in your house.

Sumatra in the morning - should it be tea?

Monday morning - a strong cup of Sumatra coffee, Starbucks of course and Good Morning! It's still dark at 6:15 am and a bit cool here in lower LA - (Lower Alabama) but it's Monday and thinking about getting back into the hamster wheel of trying to get Contractors to actually pay us makes for a challenge in the optimism department, but no matter - optimism is a must. On that note, with a probable challenge ahead, should it be tea instead of coffee? The coffee gets me going but since I love it and drink it until the pot is gone, would it be better to make myself get in the habit of tea? I think some of the issue is that we get into a ritual habit, making the coffee, smelling the coffee, that first taste in the morning...maybe if I have a tea maker...I made a tea with lemon balm, lemon catnip, rose hips, lavender - but that was for my sister who has had trouble sleeping for years. I think I'll put this on my list to do - find a mixture of herbs that would be good for a morning tea, with a kick! Ginseng comes to mind.
The sunrise today is so beautiful. Deep orange fading to yellow and moving on up to blue. Glorious!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Easy Beef Stew

OK - the stew. I had sirloin steak in freezer, I did NOT want to go to the store to buy stew meat so I used it. It was two average size steaks. Cut them up then dusted them with unbleached flour and about 2-3 tsp. of crushed basil I had just dried last night in the dehydrator. Some salt and pepper. Brown this in olive oil. Added a can of tomato soup (I need to replace this with chemical free soup - I used a popular brand and forgot to read the label but I am sure it has additives) then I cut in quarters 4 yellow onions. I use yellow onions with stew. Then I cut up about 1/8 cup of flat leaf parsley from herb garden, threw in a approx. 7" stem of rosemary from garden, about a tsp. of sweet marjoram, some water and about a tablespoon of minced garlic. The garlic, it is in the jar in refrigerator - fast - but I need to research the additive added in that - I'll do that later. Cook for one hour. Then added organic baby carrots - just dump them in without cutting them up - and 2 red potatoes I had and three russet - two yellow squash and let that cook until we leave for church. Turn off stove before leaving and stick pot in frig. I have sage and rosemary in dehydrator right now - must remember to turn that off too! Will sample after church...(bread is in bread machine...).
Just got back and ate the stew - great! I think next time a bit more salt but the rosemary gave it a sweet flavor and the basil also. Hurray! Oh yea - don't forget to pull the rosemary stem out. All the leaves should be cooked off.

Easy Sunday Morning

Well, this morning is great - clear, crisp and I feel energized - all 52 years of me. I've been wanting to start a blog for some time because...I really don't why but I have so here I am.
I have been trying to get us (Dan the hubby and myself) off of as many chemical additives in food as I can, factoring in that I don't have time to devote my life to it like a religion, but I am making the changes I can as they come to me as opportunities. For example - bread. Look at the ingredients in a loaf of whole wheat or whole grain bread - maybe you have the whole grains but you have a whole lot of other things also. So I started to make bread in my bread machine - yes, my bread machine because if I want to be a purist and make it by hand, it will never happen - whole wheat bread with flax and sunflower seeds. For my husband and I a loaf a week is enough - keep in the refrigerator - ingredients - unbleached bread flour, whole wheat flour (I am looking hard to find whole wheat bread flour (might have to grind my own) - salt, yeast, honey, butter, flax seed, raw sunflower seeds. Great! This morning I am making stew and I have decided to eliminate and replace the stew seasoning mix I have used for years with my herbs I grow. Herbs - that's for another post. I have learned so much about them and enjoy them and love the smell of them when cut and when drying. Too much to write now. But I'll post later what I did with the stew if it tastes good - or even not so good. Gotta learn by trying...