Wednesday, October 18, 2006

To Autumn

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.


This lovely poem speaks to me each year about this time. As our trees are turning red, orange, and gold and the rain comes down in a soft mist, crystalizing colors into a clarity not seen during sunny days.

An apple pie is baking in the oven, sending its fragrance throughout the house, the fire is dancing in the grate and the warmth is starting to spread enough that the dog and cat are now stretched out rather than sleeping in tightly curled little balls of fur.

Even though life is busy and I'm not able to get to all the things that need to be done, it is still good. It is still precious.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sometimes Simple Living Scares People


There is someone I know through the "blogosphere" who is having difficulties with fitting in to their neighborhood. They live a simple, frugal life in a smaller town, in an old home that they are slowly updating. They are now mortgage-free. They grow many of their own vegetables and fruits. They have a few much-loved chickens that play in their garden. They are considerate of their neighbors. They bake wonderful breads and other dishes that they share. They leave bouquets of fresh flowers on doorsteps--just to bring some joy to others. Any yet, they are denounced as being "problems" and the neighborhood children call them names and make them feel unwanted, and unwelcome.

I'm trying to figure out why some people are so threatened by someone showing only kindness. I think it's because when people see someone managing to be happy,(especially without all the "things" that modern society says that they "need" in order to be so), they become frightened because it means that maybe--just maybe--they are wrong.

That's a scary thought. After all they've suffered in order to get ahead, buy the right house, the right car, wear the right clothes, and go on the right vacations, perhaps it's all meaningless after all. Perhaps they didn't really need to do all that in order to find happiness.

Learning to be content with what you have is, perhaps, the greatest skill one can ever learn. I'm still struggling. Most everyone else is too. Sometimes you have to make your own community if the one you live in won't have you. That's sad, but it's their loss, not yours.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On The Sticks & In the Fridge


If it's autumn, it must be time to knit! At least it seems that once the air gets that cool, crisp feeling then it's naturally time to start oogling lovely yarn and dreaming about what you might make out of it. Since my life has been so hectic lately, a nice, warm scarf that requires nothing but garter stitch is just the thing. Plus, I can knit away while listening to tv, music, or the radio, without dropping stitches, or otherwise messing up--always a bonus!


Yesterday was such a fabulous day and a perfect time to harvest the last bits from the garden. I ended up with some squash, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and a bowl full of quince fruit. (Quince smell so fragrant and wonderful--if you can find room for a bush they provide you lovely flowers first thing in the Spring and then you can scent your home naturally with their fruit in the Autumn.) They were all so pretty that I had to capture them. If we're lucky, we may get a little more, but the nights have gotten colder, so who knows. We'll enjoy it while we can! Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 06, 2006

Wait--This Isn't What I Signed Up For!

Check out this link to the cover story of the most recent Business Week magazine. I knew that there was something fishy going on. How could all those organic products suddenly start popping up on the supermarket shelves? I know that it takes at least two years to be certified organic, and all those wheat growers, rice growers, cow growers, etc. couldn't have switched over that quickly!

Now that greed has entered the picture "they're" getting around the meaning of the movement by shipping products in from all over the world. This isn't bad of itself, (anything that encourages natural, healthier food is good) but it defeats the purpose if food needs to travel 9,000 miles to reach our grocery carts. And "organic" cows on feedlots? That's not the picture in my mind...

I still support organic food, but now more than ever, I support getting it from trusted, local sources. Join the "Slow Food" movement, and ask your local store where they purchase their produce/dairy/meat from. If we demand local suppliers, we'll get local supply. It's just that simple.

Apron Swap

I've just joined Sarah and Mary's second Apron Swap. If you are curious about what this is, please visit their fun blog and check it out for yourself. The gist is, you're partnered with someone else and tasked with making them a festive holiday apron along with some handmade (and hopefully clever) recipe cards for holiday party food. All this needs to be done and sent to them before December 1st, at which time we all take photos of our gifts and post them and have an internet party! Sounds crazy, sounds fun. And as a lover of aprons, it's good to know that there are others with my illness out there!

So, for the benefit of the person who has me assigned to them, I will answer the questions they require. (The holiday swap is full, but if you want to get in on the fun, be sure to drop them a line. They will be doing another one soon!)

1. What kind of holiday party food do you like best? finger food buffet or sit down multi-course style?
Finger food buffet--my little house isn't big enough for sit-down parties!

2. Do you make/use those little name cards for your table seating or is that just another little something that magazines are trying to add to our already long holiday to-do list?
Arghhh. Put down the magazines and stop the madness! Another stressful bit of nonsense. (Unless you're the President or Queen of England.)

3. Do you miss sitting at the "kid's table"?
Never had to, thankfully. But...the "kid's table is a great idea...

4. Any particular holiday party traditions that you like to do every year?
Yes, we dream about having a holiday party. We used to, but everyone is so busy these days that we seem to go to other people's parties instead of having our own.Maybe if I got some cool party recipes....

5. Which is your favorite winter holiday?

Christmas by far!

6. Do you make or have you tasted any good egg nog recipes...whether using it in a dish or as a drink?
I made some good egg nog cookies, oh, and an egg nog pumpkin pie.

7. Fruit cake .... do you love it or think it should be used as a door stop?
LOVE IT! Especially my mom's and my friend Hannelore's white fruitcake. I'm going to make it this year for sure.

8. What do you like to do to get yourself in the holiday spirit (ie. certain music, visiting certain seasonal sites, enjoying winter weather, ect.)
Love to play "real" Christmas music. Medieval carols and the old Bing Crosby-type songs are wonderful. (Don't care for the funny ones, or the Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer type.)

9. What is your favorite holiday song and who sings it best?
I can't possibly choose! There are so many...Silent Night, Oh Holy Night, The Holly and the Ivy. I Can't Pick.......

10. Any ideas for interesting holiday themed parties? (Even if it's really out there -- like renting a snow machine and having everyone build snowmen if you live in a no-snow areas!)
We have friends who do a great annual Cookie Party. It's not what you think though. They are both engineers. (Need I say more?) Each year there's a theme like "flotation"--the goal is for your cookie to float in milk longer than anyone elses. Then you must be able to eat it in thirty seconds once it's done floating. You'd be amazed at what people come up with, and of course since you have to eat it, there's no cheating by using inedible components. This party particularly appeals to the men, so it's easier to get them to want to attend!