Monday, October 26, 2020

a day

re-examining a day for rest...

So many childhood pathways
lay unexamined, unmaintained.
Now the tracks of an adult
wandering on the same
journey fall uneasily 
into well-worn patterns.

What if you want to walk them this time
with a grandmother's pace?

Light 2 candles
when you see 3 stars
or when you reach the amphitheater
or when you reach home 
   on Sunday afternoon.

Walking by a different light-
a candle's light, a star's light,
the light of 2 more generations.
Reframing work
by rest 
by freedom
by calling. 
Redeeming a day.

Letting seeds of redemption scatter into our lives

week by week by week.

The kingdom of God is like seed thrown on a field...

sometimes gratitude feels crunchy

sometimes gratitude feels crunchy
leaves underfoot
instead of overhead
golden light a sign
that it is time to dine

sometimes gratitude 
sounds like a grandchild's prayer
hearts laid bare
we circled around the puppy
skateboarded and walked, feeling lucky

eating strawberry salad
roots roasted, a ballad
potatoes smashed
sourdough stuffing stashed
in a golden turkey, brined
sour cherry pie'd
and cream cheese 
with pumpkin roll, please

sometimes gratitude 
covers the triple word tile
and the babble
of siblings
playing with words

sometimes gratitude feels crunchy
my poplar tree done
drawing water and summer sun
from branches and roots 
   through the neighborhood flung
breathes - exhales into my lungs

drops leaves like sunshine
for ladybugs to find
we scatter them like drifts
cover the gardens with poplar's gifts


Saturday, October 3, 2020

like a breath

chickadees calling
from the trees

flying along the path 
black eyes bright

like a question

alight on my finger
light as a feather

wings whirring
like a breath
I thought I was holding 

rustling aspen along the ridge
sandhill cranes across the river

but this 
in the grass
at my feet

wolf willow shines
in the afternoon sun

sparkles like diamonds
in the October sun

silver among the gold
of the prairieland sun

Beaver dam at Beaver Creek

Friday, September 25, 2020

late to the sour dough adventure

So I know that sour dough bread has been a thing in these pandemic months ... but my sister-in-law brought a jar of starter with her when she came to visit, and the thing entered my kitchen for the first time.  During their visit she created  amazing waffles, and cinnamon buns, and then left me with my own starter when they went back home.  

Irene has always been a cooking influence in my life.  We've spent time in her kitchen watching her study her recipes, following or adapting, meticulously chopping and pulling together such amazing feasts over the years.  So I watched her, and she talked through things as she worked. And then she began to write her tips onto the backs of papers that held Evelyn and Rick's painting originals.  "Adventures with sour dough, by Irene". 



I had watched her tend that starter, carefully feeding and stirring (no metal, except a fork or whisk to stir), refrigerating or leaving on the counter depending on what she was making or when.  

Lid on, or lid off and covered with a towel.  

Jar on the counter, jar in the fridge, or jar in a bowl so it didn't overflow.  

Opening the lid, looking at the bubbles, smelling the thing, deciding if it was "ripe".  

You "discard" some, and feed the jar.  then you feed the "discard" and cook with it.  or discard the discard, and then take some out to bake, and feed the bubbly baking part.  

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I am not all that nurturing of things inside my house.  If you are in my house, and you are a plant or other non person (and my dear husband may have grounds to claim that this lack of nurture extended in his general direction as well ... you are good, right?  Don't have to take care of you do I?). 

I value plant and "thing" independence.  Sour dough starter feels rather needy.  

However.  It comes from Irene. so... it bears some consideration. 

I take the jar out of the fridge in the evening.  Get the bubbles going over night.    

I look at it in the morning.  Sure is bubbling.  Smells like something ripe.  Kind of yeasty sour and sweet.  By evening the bubbles have sunk and it smells more yeasty and sharp.  Now I try to do the discard and feeding math and it is too late.  My brain has deeply carved trails of baking with yeast. I understand my oatmeal brown bread.  But this sourdough requires much more of me.  Not sure I want to give that. 

I give up for the day.  I feed the thing again in the evening. And go to bed.

In the morning I discard some, and feed them all. add things to it. let it sit for 30 minutes.  put it into a dutch oven and let it sit 30 more minutes (or a bit more. or a bit less. depends ...) then do the stretch and fold thing.  No kneading this needy bread.  Then leave it at room temperature till it doubles in size.  anywhere from 3-12 hours.  depends on the temperature of the room and the happiness of the sourdough.  

At 5 pm I decide that ready or not, that dough is getting shaped into a ball.  So.  Pull the edge up, fold, and turn. Repeat.  Flip over, and shape into a ball.  It just keeps sagging though - texture feels as though I didn't add enough flour.  

I did not buy a scale for the ingredients ... as true sourdough lore requires.  A scale is more acurate.  Oh well.  let's see this experiment through to the end.  

Back into the dutch oven (a cast iron pot we bought almost 30 years ago, and for all of those years have used only for camping ... now its coming into the kitchen for sour dough bread).  Cast iron pot is liberally sprinkled with corn meal. (See? I can follow directions!)  Rise another 30 minutes. or a bit more.  

Heat oven to 450.  Put loaf into 450 oven with lid, and turn down to 400.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Then remove lid and bake another 40 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool on wire racks for at least 1 hour ... or the middle is gummy.  Click here for a more precise recipe!

We all survived this first sour dough adventure, and the starter is back in the fridge where it only needs to be fed every 5-10 days.  I'll cut the loaf open this evening with some beef and barley soup.  I was not able to mathematically co-ordinate the ending of the sour dough baking last night with the beginning of supper.  

It keeps a bit of Irene in my kitchen, and that is always a good thing.  

Anyone want some starter? 

I DID slice the top of the loaf before baking... as instructed ... but obviously not deeply enough.
Stay tuned. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

lady bugs and lupines

If I stand too long
in one place
the lady bugs 
think I am a plant
and come crawling
looking for aphids

I am not a plant

tho I love them
and join in
the aphid hunt

a family of robins 
have decided to 
claim my ripening
mountain ash berries
as their own

they sit in stealth mode
camouflaged with their red breast
among the red mountain ash berries
accurately aim droppings on my
shirt if I stand too long
under their branch
that was the give-away

a family of magpies
stopped in the top of my 
poplar one morning
quietly discussing their day
or their night
or when to fly to
other trees
other homes

they spoke 
a different language
when perching all together
in the poplar
musical murmerings
and conversations
entirely missing the racous 
yelling I hear when they 
are far apart or 
defending territory

lupines are back
my friend brought me a 
package of seeds this spring
perhaps remembering that lupines
lined the highway to Nelson
when we picked Adam up
from his year of woodworking

lined the New Zealand creek
bed that we followed with
so much laughter when we were
visiting Mish, and Lisa and Luke

they sprouted
survived the slugs and their
first summer in the shelter of
my dogwood here 
survived - not thrived

today I moved them out 
into the front sunshine
long tap roots and
chomped-on leaves
watered them
hope to see them
again in spring

oh, I live in hope...

...and in the meantime
that frost skipped along the tops 
of my pots and gardens

but beneath the blackened shells
one zucchini blossoms brightly
one morning glory strand survived
my black-eyed Susans are trying 
to keep growing if I would just
notice that they are not dead
and offer them a drink
I finally noticed

my petunias are extravagently luscious - 
but to no avail
not one bee climbs to the heart
no hummingbirds
they go to morning glories and snapdragons
and sunflowers and liatrus and oh so many others.
even geraniums
but not the petunia. 
methinks I will 
find other flowers
for my pots

next year

Saturday, August 15, 2020

august turning

Mornings are cooler on my deck. Raspberries are ripening more slowly, and wasps are eager to take the sugary sweetness of any I've left hanging too long. Spotted robins are getting better at navigating flight. Chickadees so cheerfully chatter around the yard.  Morning glory strands climb all the cords we've hung in their way, seeking the best way up - waving their growing ends back and forth, twining around each other till I introduce them to my idea of a cord.  Sometimes they wind around it right away, and sometimes I need to remind them. Tomatoes are on the verge of turning. 

They are strange slow COVID summer days with a powerful undercurrent of energy. 

And in this season of waiting, wondering, planning, taking stock, I find myself 

less afraid of old age, old trees, an old earth; of wasps and pruning

more interested in flavors

    toasted coconut, garlic scape pesto, yellow and red tomatoes

more convinced that trees clapping and celebrating is more than a figure of speech 

increasingly captivated and intrigued by children

so grateful for a morning chat with my sisters and brother

just as thrilled by fresh raspberries and haskaps on my cereal in the morning

more curious about what the beavers are up to on the river banks

 ... and increasingly intrigued and captivated by a Creator

    who speaks a universe

    as well as a whisper

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Sunday, April 26, 2020

from Isaiah 40 and the south Saskatchewan river bluffs

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.