Monday, January 18, 2021

wintry psalm 8

your majestic name fills the sky

you have set your glory high

sun snow and stars spinning

but here in our days

the children's praise







forts for Creator

their collaborator

God's mindfulness brings them near

remembers each chickadee here

Monday, December 7, 2020

one saturnian year

we walk at dusk 
heads thrown back 
to search the darkening sky 
for emerging pinpoints of light
tell-tale tracks of sunshine 
from distant spheres

mars first, shining orange 
high in the eastern sky
jupiter plays with our eyes
flashing like a diamond in the sky
till we are certain
and then we wait for saturn's
light to reach us

two walking along spadina
peering into the southern horizon 
two swinging through the sky
out of step enough that they will slip

in and out of each other's arms
in the next month

if you walk outside at dusk 
you can watch them emerge 
before the rest of the heavens shine
their night lights into our sky

by 6:30 those two are bright in the south-west
every night they swing closer
till Dec 21 when they may
(I've never seen this)
look like a single star

every night the stars 
sweep across our sky
as we spin

planets sweep through
on their own orbit
spinning into new
as we all fly 
around the sun

perhaps I am telling you things
you already know

but I am walking down spadina
as the colors rise and fade
with the setting of the sun
finding new patterns
in pinpoints of light

and he tells me 
we have been married for
one saturnian year

Thursday, November 5, 2020

shoreline prayer

the November morning sun slants
long and bright into my window 

green cedars wave in the breeze
discarded poplar leaves
caught in lilac's dense branches
gladiola stems stubbornly
standing tall and green
with iris spears
 'we're not dead yet!'

wanting to play banjo but do not pick it up
did not yesterday or in the many days before

longing for You
but sometimes I skirt along the 
content to gaze at reflections, find
a sign
of Your presence and
rather than plunge into deep water
gulping wine

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.