Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Meal

Ever since reading "A Handmade Life" (which I could never recommend highly enough) I've had a different attitude towards preparing meals for my family. I was feeling uninspired and sometimes resentful about the task and now I see it as such a priviledge -- something to be cherished and celebrated as I nourish myself, my unborn baby, my children and my hardworking husband. Along with my shift in perspective has come a different attitude from my family, as well. Wee P had gotten into the habit of announcing he wasn't eating whatever it was I'd made before he'd even sat down at the table. Now, as we hold each others hands and say our little blessing together before we eat, there's just a different energy at the table. I prepare the food with a grateful heart (and often with lots of help from my children) and that seems to truly translate into grateful partakers. It's really beautiful. I'd so much rather stir gratitude and love and joy and abundance into my food than resentment!
So, with that in mind, I just had to share a peek at our delicious supper last night...
Fresh caught trout, new potatoes (not from my garden) with lots of fresh dill, asparagus (last of the season?), greens from our garden topped with grilled fresh goat cheese (an idea from another book that I loved, "A Pig in Provence") and homemade bread just out of the oven... and then cinnamon buns for dessert.
Does life get any better?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bringing the beauties inside

It's been raining hard today so I cut some of the lovely blooms in the garden to rescue them from the dirt. Their heads, heavy with rain, were nearly touching the ground when I cut them.

My friend (who's also my aunt) gave me this beautiful vase when my Grandma died (her mum) (and I bought the little bird to go with it on the mantle) with the clear understanding that I would keep it full of flowers to cheer myself this spring and summer! It's been full since the very first blooms of spring and always cheers up the living room (and me!) SO much. This bouquet is the prettiest so far, but was difficult to get a good photo of it. This is for you, M! THANK YOU!
After a while you learn the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning,
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
And you begin to build your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
and futures have way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden,
and you decorate your own soul,
rather than waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure.
That you really are strong,
and that you really do have worth
And you learn,
and you learn,
with every goodbye you learn.

Veronica A. Shoffstall

Blooming in the Garden...

I always mourn the end of lilac season. It never seems to last long enough. There are still a few blooms effusing their heady perfume into our yard, but I'm reminded that there are other beauties just coming on blooming too!
I love our snowball bush.
It's like a giant hydrangea tree to me
This is the first year this "black iris" has bloomed. It's more beautiful than I'd imagined it would be.
We have loads of iris blooming, but this one sort of snuck out from beside a path without being invited and we love the colour of it too!
Poppies. A huge favourite for me.

Siberian iris blooming for the first time too... They used to grow wild in Alaska and I'd stop and pick armloads of them from the ditches. They'd only last a day, picked, but I loved them so...
Coral bells. I love any bits of red and blue or purple in the garden...
And a little cranesbill given by a friend last spring.

Recent Visitors

One morning Annika found a small robin, with its parents, hopping around in our grass. She tried to find our cat but was unsuccessful, so she and Pedar stationed themselves outside to "guard" the little thing. The mother saw that a banty hen was nibbling nearby, but must have decided that she wasn't a threat because her baby hopped right beside the banty, the banty gave the poor little thing a giant peck on the head, the children both yelled and jumped up and chased the banty back into the coop, and the little robin hid here, beside the rainbarrel for awhile. It was perfectly still, practicing its camouflage techniques. Annika desperately wanted to pick it up, but I felt this might stress its parents too much and didn't let her. She has proven to be a bird whisperer in seasons gone by, healing little birds of varied species, so I probably should've stayed out of it, but I didn't. I went into the house to make tea and suddenly heard the most terrible roar that caused me to drop the spoonful of tealeaves and race outside. I found the cause of the terrible sound was my wee daughter, racing across the yard, roaring from her belly and then suddenly crying as she successfully scared the cat from mid-pounce! I didn't realize that mother-bear instinct was inside us from birth, but apparently it is! I felt a bit of shock from this sound that had emerged from my girl, but terribly proud too!

And now this little robin is losing its spots and flapping happily around our yard each day. Happy endings are the best, aren't they? :o)
This little visitor came to stay for 16 hours on our door jam one evening! We all associate dragonflies with Oma and it was a lovely constant reminder that we get to SEE her and BE with her in less than a month! I don't know if this little critter was cold or hurt in some way, but it flew away once the sun came out the following morning.
Indigo buntings are one of my favourite birds since childhood, perhaps because I've so rarely seen them. In fact, there is one on the cover of our birding book (which my family has used since I was a child) but I'd never seen one in real life until we moved here. The first June we were here I saw one in the forest and was star-struck. I couldn't believe I'd REALLY seen one! I seem to see one nearly every June, but only once, in the years that have proceeded. The other night we were eating our supper on the deck when suddenly I said "Oh my goddess, everyone turn slowly around and LOOK at that!" My entire family froze in mid-bite, wondering whatever it was I could see behind them! There, sitting on top of the birdfeeder not 10 feet away from the table was an indigo bunting! FINALLY I got to share this bird sighting with my family! It soon flew away but Brent managed to get a photo of it in a distant tree for me. We saw its mate too, and we're HOPING they decide to nest somewhere nearby.

Another evening we were having dinner when our friendly Great Blue Heron flew RIGHT past the deck, its long legs extended for landing in our creek. We all ran down the bank, wanting to get a better look at it. We're wanting such great birds to land in our pond to deposit the fish eggs that cling to their legs! This one stuck to the creek, but we watched it for a long time, fishing for the small trout that inhabit our beloved creek.
The kids and I were at Briteland, recently, and they had a bag of ladybugs on the counter for sale. Annika was SO distraught to see her favourite little creatures "trapped" inside the plastic. I explained to her that they were fine, they had food, that they would be bought by someone and released for pest control, but she couldn't get the image of these little creatures inside plastic out of her head. So she decided to buy them and release them herself. What a delight! Now when she sees ladybugs around the yard she's quite sure they're one of her "rescued" ones.

We also had a lovely brown bear visit recently, and we sat on the fence watching and videoing (hence, no photos) it as it dug for roots and ate grass. It looked up at us now and then, but showed no interest in us, despite our alpacas constant warning noises of danger nearby.

And then yesterday we found deer tracks on the path below our house leading up to our house! It must have passed right outside my bedroom window but we didn't see it.

We live in such a magical place.