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Monday, July 28, 2014

About Home :: Rebuilding


Here is something entirely obvious, that I lost sight of for a while; and when I remembered it, couldn't get to it from where I was: that to live a life centered around home and the work of tending and creating that home, you must be at home.  Here is another obvious truth that was overlooked: a person who needs quiet will eventually run dry going full-on, no matter how good the goings-on may be.

But the good thing about getting all out of whack is that it teaches you something.  It's like learning to ride a bike: lean too far to one side, and down you go, scraped knees and elbows, bruises and all.  It doesn't feel so good, but now you know a little better how to stay balanced and maybe next time catch yourself wobbling and adjust as needed before hitting the pavement.

I'm taking August to rebuild, to tend those scrapes and bruises and refill the dried-up bits; to reassess, get my feet firmly underneath me again.  So, it will be quiet here for a time I think, though I may be back now and then.  I hope the rest of your summer is filled with those things that keep you balanced and grounded in your days.  I'll see you back here when I've found that place, too.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Surprising Bounty


I went out to the garden this evening, thinking I'd pick a bit of chard and a zucchini for dinner, not expecting anything else to be ready.  Instead I ended up with the chard and zucchini (several), a round squash Jim planted and neither of us can remember what exactly it was, onions, beans, basil & some dill seed.  And the last two day lily buds I could find.  (Not to mention the renewed energy it gave me as I was fading fast.)  So maybe it's not a "bounty" compared to many.  But then it's all relative, and tonight, it was a bounty to me, surprisingly and without a doubt.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In the Quiet




I am worn thin.  I topple
over the line with a faint breeze,
then watch out if you are close to me as I fall.
It is not pretty.

But here: in the quiet
I close my eyes and I am me, alone
with the hush of the air and the crickets and birdsong.
Here I can pause, and just
be.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Freezing :: Drying :: Foraging


I have managed to make some time lately to do some preserving of this and that.  I find I usually have to psych myself up and then just take a deep breath and dive in, this time of year.  It seems kind of silly, really, but there you go.  In the winter, I had dreams (like every winter, I think) of the bounty of herbs I would harvest - wild and tended - to fill jars in my little herb "pantry".  But: I am making an effort to readjust my perspective to gratitude for what I do manage to get stored away, rather than wasting time in comparisons to others' harvests and my own high hopes.  Every little bit is more than I had, and every little bit teaches me something and emboldens me to try a little more.  So now, scattered around the house in various stages of drying, are batches of mint, calendula flowers and lemon balm.  I'm hoping more will join them soon, bit by bit. 

I'm still trying to figure out the best way of drying these herbs.  I have a dehydrator which I've used in the past but am trying to find a workable non-electric way.  Our days get so humid here in the summer that it's a bit hard.  A solar dehydrator is on our wish list to build, but that is not now.  So I'm trying just laying the cuttings out on cooling racks or baking sheets, and I also decided to try hanging some in paper bags with holes cut in the sides to let the air through.  Any ideas?

I've also been itching to head outside and harvest some things to add to our meals, but there's not too much ready to pick in the garden right now (kale, chard, herbs, tiny little zucchinis is about it).  I recently learned that you can eat day lily buds, so yesterday I grabbed some and added them to a stir fry of broccoli and tiny zucchinis (for some reason once our zucchinis get a little bigger than finger-sized, they turn yellow and shrivel up).  I grabbed a couple nasturtium blossoms while I was out there, and gave us each one on top.  They were both so good!  Such little harvests, but they make me happy: despite their size, they are our harvests, and we're learning all the time, and each step leads to another.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hearty Pancakes


D has been lobbying for pancakes, recently, so tonight that was our dinner.  And while I was making them, I thought maybe I'd share the our recipe.  I tried to take some pictures of the finished cakes, but my food photography leaves something to be desired.  (As do my pancake flipping skills...)  So you will have to imagine their golden-brown goodness ~ unless you make your own.

(As with most things I do, this recipe is pretty versatile; I rarely make it the exact same way twice.  So here are the basics, feel free to make them your own!)

Combine:
2 c flour (your choice)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
cinnamon (optional)
wheat or oat bran (optional)

(In a separate bowl) Combine:
1 c or so milk (I use water + a little coconut oil)
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
4 tbsp honey

Mix wet & dry ingredients together, then fold in any or all:
finely grated carrot
finely grated zucchini
mashed banana
berries or other fruit

Spoon onto a hot, lightly oiled griddle & cook each side until golden brown.

Notes:
These are a denser, heartier version of "regular" pancakes, so expect the batter to be thicker, and the cakes themselves to be nice and plump.  Because of this, they may need to cook at a slightly lower temperature for a little longer so that they are done all the way through.
This recipe should make close to 2 doz small-medium size pancakes.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2014

That Time of Day


It is that time of day.  Around about 4:30, it's a little like walking down the beach and into the water: the beach might trip you up here and there a bit - an unseen hole, a bigger-than-most rock - but overall, it's pretty easy going.  Then you hit the water and the going gets a lot. more. labored. as the waves push back against you and your feet seem to become buried in the sodden sand along the bottom. 

Maybe you have one of these times of day?

As I hit the water, so to speak, this evening, I was wondering what if anything I could change to make these evening hours a little lighter.  Something to think about.  Let me know if something has worked for you! 

And take a moment, if you'd like, to stop over and enter the giveaway for some rosemary-peppermint lip balm or lavender-lemon essential oil soap made by the talented Megan at Kids & Eggs!
rosemary-peppermint lip balm and a batch of lavendar-lemon essential oil soap - See more at: http://www.devinefamily.typepad.com/#sthash.NF3bHFRf.dpuf
rosemary-peppermint lip balm and a batch of lavendar-lemon essential oil soap - See more at: http://www.devinefamily.typepad.com/#sthash.NF3bHFRf.dpuf
rosemary-peppermint lip balm and a batch of lavendar-lemon essential oil soap - See more at: http://www.devinefamily.typepad.com/#sthash.NF3bHFRf.dpuf

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

At Home



Today we stayed home.  We had no plans, and my first reaction, upon realizing this, was to mentally flip through possible plans to make.  We’ve been so busy that has been the norm: an object in motion will stay in motion.  As much as I have been yearning for things to slow down, and to have a day wide open, when it was there before me, I have to admit I panicked, slightly.  We’ve (or maybe it’s just I’ve) forgotten how to be at home, how to choose to take care of things that need to be seen to.  Or that that I just want to see to.

We read, I washed dishes, folded laundry.  I went outside for over an hour and weeded, transplanted sunflowers, herbs, primroses (most of which have been waiting so patiently for much too long); I pulled our peas out and fed the birds.  The boys rode their bikes (and I speed-walked behind) to deliver some get well wishes to a friend across the street.  And all that before lunch – though granted, we didn’t eat until 2:00.  The boys fought, and chased each other around the house teetering on the line between fun and breakdowns, because that’s what they do lately.  But they also went on various imagined quests in the woods while I worked on some books.

This month will be more of the same perpetual motion, but today was a little nudge to remind me to look for these days, and protect them when I can.