Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Gratitude

 I am taking a break from my busy kitchen where food preparation is happening for the big Thanksgiving Feast that will be taking place tomorrow.  My crust is cooling on the counter for my lemon layer dessert.  My future DIL is in the midst of putting together pies and baking corn bread for the dressing. When she is done I will get the dinner rolls baked.  We are looking forward to tasting all our family  favorites made with recipes that have been enjoyed over and over again through the years, as well as some new ones that are being introduced through new family members. Isn't that one of the many joys and blessings of the holiday season?


 

We were reminded as a family just how much we take for granted when a huge and tempestuous wind storm barreled through here almost three weeks ago.  The winds toppled hundreds of trees as well as power poles all over the Puget Sound, leaving over 230,000 homes and businesses without power. We get wind storms every Fall but this was one of the fiercest storms I can remember. We were without power for four days for a total of 91 hours! Two of the three roads to our property were closed due to fallen trees and live wires across the pavement. Fortunately for us, we had worked to "debranch" most of our tall trees last year and they all made it through.


Even though the trees were still standing there was plenty of cleanup to be done.  



 


We were more fortunate than many others to have a generator to keep our food cold. Also, our wood burning stove has a small cook top where we were able to prepare some simple food for the family and water to boil for cleaning up. Our outdoor camp stove was very helpful as well.




Between our fireplace and our emergency lanterns we were actually quite cozy. 

We were one of the last areas to get connected back to civilization.  This was our third night.  We could see lights across the lake but the only light in the darkness on our side was coming from the the full moon overhead.  


What a sigh of relief and genuine gratitude we shared once our power was finally restored. I was reminded of this wonderful video by Brother David Steindl-Rast on gratefulness.  I may have shared it before. It's such a beautiful testimony of how blessed we truly are in our everyday lives when we take the time to stop and look around. I really hope  it will go through, as I sometimes have trouble with videos.


It was 2 weeks yesterday when we returned to the modern world and with all the cleaning up, preparing for Thanksgiving, planning a 90th birthday luncheon for my mom for next week, and preparing for Christmas before my daughter's family arrives in mid December for two weeks, I have been peddling as fast as I can to get myself caught up again. All are joyful things to look forward to but stressful none the less. Still trying to take the time to stop and take in all God's daily gifts.

I am wishing each of you here in the States a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. May it be filled with many blessings shared with loved ones.

Oh! And I bought a new hat!  You know how I love hats! It's the little things, right?



“The root of joy is gratefulness...It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
Brother David Steindl-Rast

 

Adieu!

 

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Early Morning in the Garden

I took a short walk around the yard this morning before breakfast. It was chilly, but a sweater took care of that.  We are so grateful that the rains have returned.  All the fires are finally completely out and everything looks so fresh and clean.  On this first day of November, (All Saint's Day) we are definitely deep into Autumn.

 

There was just one last leaf clinging to the branch of the Flame Maple.

 

Now we can see the moss that grows on the branches in this damp climate of ours.



The Virginia Creeper has lost it's leaves as well, leaving an abundant supply of berries for the birds to feast upon.



 I have filled my bird feeders as well.



I walked past the shed and noticed this little stock of corn with a tiny ear of corn growing.  A bird or squirrel must have dropped a seed at the beginning of summer.  It was determined to grow!  Imagine if it had been given water and sunshine.


There was still some color to be seen as I walked around, a splash of yellow from the tree by the corner fence, a touch of red a I look over the blackberry brambles in the empty field behind my house. 




The Smoke Tree is just starting to turn.  The leaves on the flowering plum will begin falling soon.


 

This last little red orb marks the end of the tomato season for us. It's time to put everything to bed for another year.

 


 

"Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting and Autumn a mosaic of them all."

— Stanley Horowitz

 

Adieu!


 

 


 


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Tea with Edgar Allen Poe

It's that time of year for trips to the pumpkin farm, the carving of jack o lanterns, and children dressing up to "trick or treat".  While I don't get overly excited about Halloween, I must say our Tribute to Edgar Allen Poe evening tea party was a great success. 


 My son J is an avid reader, a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe and can recite nearly the entire poem "The Raven".  All the books stacked on the table are his.  My future daughter-in-law C is very talented when it comes to decorating and the final results of her tea table were spot on in capturing the essence of mystery and macabre in a fun and light way.


I believe I mentioned in my last post that we were using my grandmother's tea set.  She loved giving tea parties.  I know she would be thrilled to know that we were using her set and carrying on the tradition of serving tea to friends.




 

Six guests came knocking on my chamber door. Not a one was named Lenore!  It was great fun getting to know these young ladies, many of  whom will be a part of the wedding next summer. C is the third from the left.





My future DIL is diabetic and has several food allergies as well.  Even so, she made some delicious food and her presentation was lovely. With the exception of the frosted cookies, every other baked good was gluten free.  There were scones with orange glaze, apple muffins and pumpkin pie bites.  We made deviled eggs with vegan mayonnaise and chicken salad to spread on gluten free crackers.  I love the pumpkin shaped cheese ball C made. My son J even had a hand in making homemade caramel sauce that was poured over cream cheese and used for dipping apple slices. Yum! Sweet and healthy at the same time.




The girls talked and laughed for hours as they enjoyed their tea and goodies.  I  think the food looked as picturesque on the plate as it did on the serving board. 


Several mornings have passed since our night of revelry. Our raven has flown away to return "nevermore".  Autumn has taken over my dining table where it will remain until after Thanksgiving, not quite as exciting as Poe I'm afraid.


~~


Changing the subject, there were a number of folks who asked about my recipe for the apricot shortbread bars. Here it is. 

 


You can use any flavor of preserves you like.  Sometimes I make half raspberry and half apricot. By the way, they freeze nicely too.


Happy Baking!


 

 

 

 

 


 



 


Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Autumn Fun

I have been home from my trip to Georgia for a week now.  More on that later.  Let's just say I have been home for the past eight days or so recovering from Covid.  Once I started feeling better and tested negative I realized I had been really feeling hungry for something buttery and sweet, so I decided to do a little baking over the weekend.  Apricot is one of my more favorite flavors.  For me that means apricot and almond shortbread.  Since these are bar cookies, they come together fast and easy and taste, Oh, so delicious!

First, a buttery almond flavored shortbread crust,


Topped with apricot preserves and sliced almonds.


Then just bake and cut into squares, so easy, and a delightful little treat with a cup of tea.

 


Speaking of tea, my future daughter-in-law asked if she could use my dining room to host an Autumn tea party for her sister and friends who will be a part of her wedding party next summer.  Of course, it was the perfect motivation for me to get the house all decorated. There is still a little "tweeking" to do before her party on Friday, but it's coming along nicely.  The silver teapot set belonged to my grandmother, a gift for her 45th wedding anniversary. 



Of course the decorating didn't end in the dining room.




 

Getting back to my baking.  I also needed to make a seasonal dessert to take to our church's Autumn chili feed and hayride.  I chose to make a pumpkin dump cake.  Everyone loves a dump cake.  Once again so easy and quick, just dump all the ingredients together, pour in a pan, top with a powdered cake mix and melted butter, bake and Voila!  Dessert!


 






 And here it is ready to serve along with all the other yummy desserts and food.  Looks like someone  has already had a sample. Yum!


Getting to sample all the delicious chili recipes was yummy too.



One of our sister churches has a parishioner who owns a large farm outside of town where he hosts many church events for the district.  He graciously allowed us to come out and use his facilities.  The air was a bit smoky from the wildfires that have been burning in the foothills east of us.  Other than that, it was a perfect autumn afternoon for a hayride.









Watching the setting sun through the smoky sky was a bit eerie.The wind doesn't usually blow from the east. After a very long wet spring we have had an even longer dry summer with no real measurable rain since the end of June.


I am happy to say that even though it still hasn't rained yet, the wind has changed and the air is a little better, although it's still not all that healthy. There is rain in the forecast for the end of the week.  Funny how we long for the sunshine and then if it stays too long we pine for the rain. Lord help us to be happy no matter our circumstances Until next time.

Adieu!