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The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest ~ Sir Thomas Moore ~

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Here & Now ...

Our morning walk was filled with bright sunshine & birdsong ♥

We still have quite a bit of snow and winter jackets/boots/hats and gloves are still needed.


The Chickadees have become so tame that they fly down beside us on our morning walk.

They are so quick, that this was the only photo I was able to get :-)

The temps are beginning to warm up ...
And the sun is shining brightly...

The ducks and geese were happily sunning themselves... And squirrels happily nibbling on some seed sprinkled on the bridge.
***

Live is available only in the present.

That is why

we should walk

in such a way

that every step

can bring us

to the

here and now

~Thich Nhat Hanh~

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful {things I love} Thursday...

"What happened to Spring"?
***
I love Sparrows ... they may seem like ordinary little birds to many people, but they hold a special spot in my heart ♥
Each morning when I open up the curtains it doesn't take long for them to arrive at the feeders keeping me company as I enjoy my tea.
These two happy fellows seemed to be having a conversation yesterday amid our 'surprise' snow storm. I imagine they were saying the same thing as we were "What happened to Spring"? :-)
***
There is no such thing
as a worthless conversation,
provided you know what to listen for.
And questions
are the breath of life
for a conversation.
~James Nathan Miller~

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring ~ter? ...

This is what we saw when we opened the curtains this morning ...
A little bit of Winter decided to return :-)
Spring ~ ter is how the weather man has been referring it as!
-11 with a mixture of snow/sleet
Thankfully, the feeders in our garden had just been re-filled

so the Sparrows and anyone else who stopped by had lots to eat.
The reason there is so much seed on the ground is because the squirrels stopped by first :-)
Ernie LOVES the snow ... so no complaints from him.
The snow blower is back out.
It has been a steady snow fall since we woke and we are to expect a bit more tomorrow...
And a look out into the garden tells me the feeders will definitely need to be refilled :-)
***
To be interested in the changing seasons
is a happier state of mind
than to be hopelessly in love
with Spring
~George Santayana~

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweet Treat...

Baklava {bah-klah-vah} is one of my favourite desert "treats".
Something I don't make very often, which is probably why we all enjoy it as much as we do when I make it.
It's also one of those recipes that is much easier to prepare than the final product looks making it ideal to make when friends are stopping by, or when you are invited out and want to bring something homemade to enjoy with tea ♥
Ingredients
1 16 ounce pkg phyllo dough
2 cups chopped walnuts ( you can chop these as fine as you like, I prefer them bite sized)
1 cup butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of a 9 " x 13 " pan.
Add cinnamon to walnuts and set aside.
Unroll phyllo dough and cut the entire stack in half to fit the pan.
Cover phyllo sheets with a damp tea towel to keep from drying out as you work.
Place 2 sheets of phyllo dough in the pan and using a pastry brush, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered on the bottom.
Sprinkle a few tbsps of nut/cinnamon mixture on the dough.
Beginning layering by adding 2 sheets of dough on top, followed by butter and cinnamon/nut mixture.
Finish the way you began, by layering and buttering 8 sheets of phyllo on top.
Using a sharp knife cut into diamond shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.
An easy way to do this is to first cut dough into squares and then cut across each square diagonally.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes until the Baklava is golden in colour and crisp.
While the Baklava is baking, make sauce by boiling sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved.
Add vanilla and honey.
Simmer approximately 20 minutes.
Remove Baklava from the oven and immediately spoon sauce over top.
Let cool.
Serve each piece in a small cupcake liner & Enjoy this flaky phyllo pastry with your fingers :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcoming Spring ...

The first Sparrow of Spring!
The year beginning with younger hope than ever!
What at such a time
are histories, chronologies, traditions, and all written revelations?
The brooks sing carols
and glees to the Spring
~Henry David Thoreau~
***
Thankfully we don't have to wait until Spring for the Sparrows to arrive in our garden, but we were thrilled to spot our first Robin :-)
On our walk to the park this morning, Ernie & I spotted 12 Robins! Now that says Spring to me.
All the snow has disappeared & now comes rain.
I'm looking for the slightest sign of life in the garden under our kitchen window - that's where the crocus are :-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green...

May you always have walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
tea beside the fire
laughter to cheer you
those you love
near you
and all your heart
might desire
~Irish Blessing~
***
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sprinkled With Sugar...

Usually when I have only a little bit of jam left in the jar, I make a batch of jam tarts, but this weekend,decided to indulge a bit and make jelly donuts .

They take a bit of time and effort, but it is all well worth it for the final product.
The hardest part really, is keeping yourself from eating too many!!

Ingredients1 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 package rapid rise dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fat for frying, such as canola oil
raspberry jam
confectioners' sugar or granulated sugar
DirectionsIn a small saucepan,scald the milk by heating just until bubbles form around the edge of the pot. Remove from heat and whisk in butter to melt. Cool for approx 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Sprinkle yeast over the warm milk and butter.
Add the sugar and stir gently to dissolve.
Let stand 10 minutes until foam appears,( this indicates the yeast is active).
Turn mixer on low and add the egg yolks then gradually add the flour.
When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium and add the salt.
Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook.
Mix just until the dough is supple and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Once smooth, turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 2 minutes.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2-inch thick and cut with a floured biscuit cutter or water glass, about 3-inches in diameter.
Transfer to a greased baking sheet, and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.
Heat 3-inches of vegetable oil or shortening to 375 degrees F in an electric fryer or deep saucepan.
Slip doughnuts in the hot oil, top-risen side down, and fry doughnuts until golden, about 4 minutes each side.
To keep the oil temperature constant, fry only a few at a time.
Drain on paper towels.
To add jam, fit a pastry bag with a small tip. Poke a small hole in the side of the donut and pipe the jam inside.
Dust heavily with confectioners' sugar or granulated sugar while still slightly warm.
Enjoy ♥
***
Donuts.
Is there anything
they can't do?
~Homer Simpson~

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This past weekend's read was "The Stillmeadow Road" by Gladys Taber & I thoroughly enjoyed every page.
It tells of her adventures in country living through all 4 Seasons ~ beginning with Winter, followed by Spring, Summer, Autumn and back to Winter once again "as the Calendar turns".
Stories of finding and purchasing "Stillmeadow" a 17th Century Farmhouse.
My favourite line is early in the book when Gladys writes she heard the house say
"I've been waiting for you. What took you so long?" ♥♥

Planting and growing in 40 acres of Connecticut soil and filling the cellar full.
Spotting birds at the feeder she hadn't seen before and penciling in the date/location and number of birds.
Saving a little birds life that had flown into the window.
A great love & respect of nature.
This lovely book felt like I was reading a letter from a dear friend and the perfect read for a cold , rainy (which then became snowy) weekend :-)
I had a hard time putting it down!

At the bottom page of my blog I have a Gladys Taber quote that is my favourite
"I suppose I am a Sparrow, a stay-at-home-bird"
Ernie and I are headed out to the Library as a hold I placed is available ...
The Best of Stillmeadow: A Treasury of Country Living by Gladys Taber. Can't wait to start reading!
And for Shrove Tuesday, it's Pancakes for supper tonight with pure Canadian maple syrup.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lover of the Written Word ...

Love.
Fall in love and stay in love.
Write only what you love, and love what you write.
The key word is love.
You have to get up in the morning and write something you love,
something to live for.
~Ray Bradbury~
***
Have a wonderful weekend ~ the forecast here is rain & lots of it ...
never mind, I LOVE the rain and looking forward to catching up on some reading.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thankful {things I love} Thursday...

{Shadow Portrait}
***
Thankful for my Shadow :-)
♥♥♥
I'll fill those canyons
in your soul
like a river
lead you home.
And I'll walk a step behind
in the shadows
so you shine.
Just ask, it will be done
and I will prove my love
until you're sure
that I'm the one
~Gary Allan~

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When March Is Scarcely Here...

Had a walk through my very slushy garden this morning after filling up the bird feeders.
Birdsong is starting earlier & lasting longer each morning!
No need to bring in any more Pussy Willow branches to force ~

They are all in full bloom.
March has come in like a lamb
There is still quite a bit of snow left in the garden
And I had to walk over snow banks in order to take photos :-)

And while I walked over the snow ... Ernie rolled, frolicked & finally sat in it
keeping a watchful eye on me ☺

A light exists in Spring
Not present in the Year
At any other period
When March is scarcely here
~Emily Dickinson~