May 30, 2016

Saturday it was sunny and 96°. Sunday it was overcast all day and  never got above 60°-- it was so nice to open the windows and let the house breathe in all that green-scented cool air. The birds and chipmunks and squirrels seemed especially happy and active.

 



I got up at five o'clock yesterday morning and went to the flea market with Amy, Seth, and my husband. We were cold even wearing our sweatshirts. Some people had on down coats (smart!). We came home with some wonderful treasures this time (most weeks I don't buy anything at all). I picked up a summery painting to hang above the living room bureau (I'll show it to you another time); Amy found a little wooden night-stand to put next to her bed, and a pair of adorable cat salt and pepper shakers (she collects them); and Seth bought some old records and a couple of vintage postcards of our town for his collections. It was a fun morning. 

In the afternoon we went to see "Captain America: Civil War". We're big fans of Marvel's "Shield" story line. We've seen all the Captain America movies and we watch both "Agent Carter" and "Marvel's Agents of Shield" on television. There are strong Christian overtones (not undertones) to these movies and television series. They are about making right moral choices in the face of adversity--even when it means disappointing everyone you know or even facing death. And they are about protecting life and the innocent and not tolerating evil.

This is Elvis's meditation spot. He loves to sit here and watch the bird feeder through the sliding glass door.  He reminds me of a little Buddha. Or a peaceful space alien. But, he's definitely not a dog. All pug owners  agree: pugs are something else. We're just not sure what.


My meditation spot is the dining room table. That is where I sit and read and pray and watch the birds through the window. 

The other day I came across this familiar quote:  

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.

And that made me think of the "Promised Seed" (Christ) who came and fell to the ground to become the "first fruit of many" who would also fall to the ground and then be raised up to life. Suffering is essential--there cannot be life without it. Yet who doesn't do everything in her power to avoid it? It is in suffering that we become Life and so can give life. I like this quote from Richard Rohr's book Falling Upward
Inside of life energy, a group or family will be productive and energetic; inside of death energy there will be gossip, cynicism, and mistrust hiding behind every interaction. Yet you usually cannot put your finger precisely on what is happening.
We're either giving life or we're destroying it. To give life, one must do just that: give her life.  That, folks, cannot be done without a good bit of suffering. 

But, cake helps everyone, doesn't it?  



This is another one of Jen's scrumptious recipes. I've adapted it for my American readers. If you prefer  European baking measurements, please see Jen's original post.

Gemoji image for :cherries   Lemon Yogurt Cake with Cherries:

Oven: 350° F

Ingredients for Cake:
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/3 stick of butter
6 oz. lemon yogurt
1 cup of pourable brown sugar (Domino sells this in a plastic bottle)
3 large free-range eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Cherries: stems removed, stoned, and quartered (enough for about 1 cup). Coat with flour so they won't sink to bottom of batter.

Melt butter and allow to cool. Mix flour and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl mix butter, sugar, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Gently mix in flour. Fold in cherries. Pour into greased 2 lb. loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Ingredients for Frosting:
6 tablespoons of softened butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon curd
1 tablespoon of milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add sugar and beat well. Then add lemon curd, milk, and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Spread on cooled cake.

♥♥♥

May 26, 2016

The woods in New England are cool, dense and earthy, rustling with birds, chipmunks, snakes, rabbits and other small creatures. It is easy to believe that fairies and elves also live here.

I think I saw a fairy the other day. Or maybe it was a hummingbird.


























I did see a beaver swimming in the pond. Busy. : )

And sweet, tiny ducklings:

video

And shy yellow goslings foraging with their mother in the woods:

video


I believe walking in these woods will heal you, make you better. But, you have to leave your headphones and your thoughts at home. You have to open your ears to woodsong and your eyes to simplicity, and your thoughts to wonder. Then, when you leave the woods, you will be taking something with you: Beauty. Joy. Peace.

"Beauty will save the world." ~Fyodor Dostoevsky

There is no place on Earth I would rather be in any season than here in these haunted woods full of dinosaur tracks, Native American artifacts, brightly feathered birds, wildflowers, and old stone fences.


May 24, 2016

  

At 4 am there was such a loud clap of thunder that it shook the house and woke everyone. At first I didn't know what was happening. My heart pounded so hard I couldn't breathe. I briefly wondered if there had been an explosion (this is not such an odd thing to think; every year at least one or two houses explode for no known reason in Massachusetts. Strange, huh?) A few minutes later there was a bright flash and another loud, house-shaking bang. Then it was as if someone opened a valve and rain poured from the sky for an hour. It was still raining when I got up this morning. I went out to my tiny garden and was amazed by how it had grown overnight. 

It has been a cool, wet spring; good weather for knitting, for walking in the woods, and for growing radishes, lettuces, broccoli, spinach and peas. 


 

Tomorrow they are saying it will reach 90°. It is hard to believe, since the high today is 63°. I am not looking forward to such a dramatic change in temperature. I've had enough drama in the past two years to last me a life time. I want only soft, gentle days; the kind in which the mail jeep and yellow birds in the garden are the most exciting events. 




See this little red-squirrel? She is a mama fat with babies. I love her. 

And, I love my domestic, feminine place on the Earth, hidden beneath the arms of Christ. I don't want anything else.


 
 Oh, and these frosted banana cookies are very good, too:

Oven 375°

Grease a cookie sheet. Stir together 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. In a mixer bowl beat 1/2 cup butter for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup granulated sugar and beat till fluffy. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat well. Add dry ingredients and 1 cup of very ripe mashed banana alternately to the beaten mixture, beating after each addition. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Drop from a teaspoon 2 inches apart on a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from cookies sheet immediately, cool on a wire rack. Frost cooled cookies with Banana Butter Frosting. Makes 60

Banana Butter Frosting: Stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup mashed banana, 2 tablespoons softened butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix well. If necessary, add additional powdered sugar to make of spreading consistency.