Thursday, March 31, 2022

Baking Memory

I recently used my 'go to' lemon meringue pie recipe I've been using for about 35 years or so. It's a recipe I usually make for special occasions - this one was to mark 'new beginnings' for our son.

The original recipe had been printed on the inside label of a Gold Cross condensed milk can from South Africa, and though I still have it, the printing has faded over the years (plus there are spills and smudges as well). That check mark means it's tried and tested and successful. I've since typed it into a document, to be kept on my computer. 



It's easy and simple now that I've stuck to it for so long, a kind of muscle memory, but has 3 phases that can make it a little daunting initially. 

I persevered through this choatic mess, knowing I could do it,



to produce this quite yummy lemon meringue pie. 




Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Branching Out

Spidery veins? Fingers of a tumor? The brain's neural connections? No, just branches threading their shadows across the snow one morning. Already a thing of the past ...




Monday, March 28, 2022

Tresspassers

Bird prints on our deck before all the snow melted. Without the snow, there'd have been no evidence of their trespass. So delicate. It might make a nice fabric print, or wallpaper effect!



Some prints were less deep than others, ethereal. Some were isolated, on the outskirts.




Sunday, March 27, 2022

Summer Preparations

 

Dale and I miss the taste of our traditional South African sausage, called boerewors, the literal translation of which is 'farmer's sausage, ' so we make our own at home with an electric meat grinder and its sausage making attachments.



This is the result of our afternoon's work: almost 8 lbs of coiled sausage, uniquely flavored with coriander seed, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. The meat is a 50/50 split of beef and pork, in hog casings.

I've packaged them up, all ready for the upcoming BBQ season. Roll on summer ...






Saturday, March 26, 2022

Looking Down on a Roof



 
Scallops and Arrows




Green & White Stripes




Dimpled Texture




Terrycloth?




Lingering Remnants


Friday, March 25, 2022

The Great Bake Off

 


My son and I have been baking together for a few weeks now - we try to bake the same basic recipe, with each of us 'tweaking' it differently. This was our blueberry loaf bake off week - he baked his in an aluminum pan, and added a streusel topping before baking (see above). I used a silicone pan, and substituted with some wholewheat flour into the mix. It needed about 10 minutes longer to bake than the original recipe. After it had cooled somewhat, I poured a warm lemon syrup over the loaf.

As you can see from the crumb, he was much gentler than I in folding in the blueberries. I loved the cinnamony crumb on his loaf. It made slicing the loaf a little difficult, but not enough to stop it being used again! The lemon syrup got a favorable response, too.



Same basic recipe, but with different treatments, and different outcomes, but each equally successful and tasty, and repeatable. Any parallels here?


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Rain Art

I'm sorry - more pictures of my weather windows. The effects are so exquisite:







Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Mud Luscious

 I can't help but pay homage to ee Cummings every time spring rolls around!



Mud between my toes,

Icy cold sludge oozes, chills,

Saturated earth.


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Monday, March 21, 2022

Sunday, March 20, 2022

It's Spring

 

Rain, crows, soggy moss,

Mergansers, skunk cabbages,

Turkey vultures, mink.




Saturday, March 19, 2022

Glittering Snow


 



Glistening snow banks

Sparkling with diamond crystals

Discarded by plows

Friday, March 18, 2022

Painting Misadventures


Some of the difficulties I encountered whilst painting (besides struggling to make a pot of coffee) included inadvertently placing one foot of the stepladder into the paint tray I'd placed on the floor while I moved the ladder .... groan! Someone wasn't thinking clearly by placing it on the floor. I have to say in my defense though, that there was NOWHERE else to put it - furniture was precariously stacked or draped with cloths.

The other mishap was a complete fluke. We had patched a crack in the plaster, and I had painted over it, but I brushed against that area whilst 'wearing' a roll of masking tape around my wrist (for those emergency masking situations). Of course, the sticky end of the tape managed to connect with the tacky, not quite dry paint, and it pulled a largish chunk right off the wall as I retracted! Start again ...



The 'offending' patch


I also managed to break a roller from its handle by pushing too hard against it to extract the last bit of paint - this was to save me from having to pour out more when I had only a small area to paint. Oh, woe is me! Shortsighted, bumbling fool!
       

 


The results were well worth all the discomforts I experienced getting to the end point. I'm thoroughly chuffed with the way the room looks now - why didn't I do this years ago? The main color is so enlightening!




And I've finally got more of our origin flags up on display:






Thursday, March 17, 2022

Spring's Pot O'Gold

 

A mourning dove coos

Treetops swirl in windy gusts

Ice melts at my feet.







Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Being Observant




Shadows of snowflakes!

An elusive spectacle

For the observant.



Now that we're past the Ides of March, maybe this phenomenon won't be around for much longer, so keep an eye out!



Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Winter Cottage


Cottage in the woods

Blanketed in quietude

Sparkling with fresh snow.




Monday, March 14, 2022

The Price of War

"Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world..."
(John Lennon, 1971)



Does the rising cost of gas and other supplies alarm you? Are you bothered by supply and demand shortages? Were you unable to buy your favorite brand of pasta, or was the grocery store out of fresh broccoli?

Whilst contemplating the so-called inconvenience these incidents might have on our lives, it is a good time to take stock, to become mindfully aware of how fortunate we, who live above the bread line, are. We still have our homes, our livelihoods, our families, our lives. What we are calling hardships are unimaginable luxuries to people facing life-threatening situations, highlighted by the war in Ukraine. The insignificant impacts we are noticing are the spiraling, indirect effects of a war in another part of the globe, spreading to us like concentric rings from an earthquake far away.



War has far reaching and unforeseen, sometimes unrecognized, effects. Like earthquake tremors that travel far from the epicenter, the effects of war travel beyond country boundaries. For those of us far from Ukraine, rising costs and scarcities are the natural aftershocks of their pain, suffering and deprivation. Everyone pays a price - some more dearly than others. I choose to weather financial and choice inconveniences with grace, as a mark of respect to my fellow suffering humans.

Everyone pays a price for war - we are after all, on the same singular planet. Let's stand together, make sacrifices, work together, and not let this evil threaten our humanity.

Our costs are not life-threatening. Bear them with grace.

Call me naïve, or a dreamer, but l like to
 

I M A G I N E


"the world ... as one"

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Pale Beech


Ghost of a beech leaf
Pale, withering and entombed
In textured ice sheet





 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Friday, March 11, 2022

Daily Grind


You know it's going to be a long, tough day when you feel you need a cup of coffee to help make a pot of coffee that morning!



I'd been painting a room, and my spongey knees from up and down ladders, aching neck from reaching up high, backache, and hardened skin from rinsing brushes meant I desperately needed a pick-me-up to get back to the job the following morning. But somehow, the usual, should-be-able-to-do-it-with-my-eyes-closed routine seemed too difficult to do - all I could think of was, 'if only I had some coffee ...' but even getting my much-needed caffeine fix seemed too difficult to manage without caffeine!









Thursday, March 10, 2022

Extra Snowfall



Secondary snow:

Tall plumes wisping through the trees

Like trails of white smoke.


Sparkling fairy dust

Cascading down from the trees

Sun adds emphasis.




Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Stained Glass

Close ups of the icy snowmelt on my windows from the inside. Mesmerizing! No manipulation on the colors here, just some intense cropping - ain't nature wonderful!









Monday, March 7, 2022

Snow 101


I must apologize in advance for the influx of snowy themed ponderings and pics that have been, and will be, flooding my blog: we had the most beautiful spring snowstorm towards the end of February, and I discovered that I'd added 66 new pics to my library during that event. And I love sharing my perceptions of them.

I've decided that that storm was ideal as far snow type goes. I'm going to pre-order that very same snow for all my next snowstorms in the future - it was the fluffiest, feather-iest, lightest, sparkliest snow ever!



The tall trees had snow nodules on their branch tips, and the light breeze was wafting these back up into the air for their second flight - I managed to capture a small incident in this photo if you look carefully into the blue.






Sunday, March 6, 2022

Crushed Hope

 

This scene epitomizes the difficulties of living through March in Maine - hopeful anticipation of continued warmer weather, only to be dashed by yet more cold and snow. It's such a terrible tease: hopeful and a downer all at the same time.