Friday, March 29, 2013

Today's picture(s)/Oranges



Today is the last day of fresh-squeezed orange juice until next winter. This is one of my great seasonal pleasures. My mother always squeezed fresh orange juice, and I have followed her example all my life. I wrote about the first day of the season a few years ago. And the juicer also made an earlier appearance on a 'Tools of the trade' post. This year I couldn't find my beloved Temples, but I made do with Minneolas and Honey tangerines. In addition to the delicious taste, the oranges offer a burst of color in the kitchen as I look out at a white landscape.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quote du jour/Arnold Bennett

The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.
Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spaghetti squash

Years ago, we grew spaghetti squash but Tom didn't like it, and I didn't love it enough to make it worth the growing space. I hadn't eaten any since that time, but recently I bought some cooked in the deli of my local co-op. Only butter and salt were added, and I thought it was wonderful so I bought a spaghetti squash to cook for myself. It is easy to make, and oh so delicious. I'm thinking about growing some again, even if it is just for me.

All you do is:
preheat the oven to 375┬║ F.
prick it all over so it won't burst in the oven, much as you would a potato before baking
put it in a shallow pan
bake for an hour
cool and cut in 1/2 lengthwise with serrated knife
scoop seeds and fribrous strings out
gently scrape a table fork around the edge to shred the pulp into strands

That's it. Then add butter and salt. Yum. They say you may top with tomato sauce, but for me I like it just the way I eat peas and yellow beans.

just out of the oven


the inside with both pulp and 'spaghetti'


pulling the edible strands


almost empty


  with butter and salt


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Sally/March 23


Sally: a brief journey; an excursion or trip.

Did you read Peyton Place when you were a kid or an adult? Were you shocked? After all these years, there's just one part I remember, and it was indeed quite 'racy.' There was an excellent, in-depth article in NH Magazine about the author Grace Metalious. You may read it online here

There was a really encouraging piece in The Christian Science Monitor on how independent bookstores are doing. You may read it here:

I heard a very upsetting story on the radio program Here and Now about the Monarch butterflies. There are 59% fewer that made it to Mexico this winter. The good news is that there are things you and I can do in our own gardens and communities to possibly help the situation. You may read more here. Your place may even become certified as an official Monarch Waystation. I find this incredibly exciting and am looking into it for Windy Poplars Farm. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today's picture(s)/First day of spring


Update: a few hours later when the sun came out.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Buttermilk Blueberry Cornbread

My love of buttermilk began three years ago this month with buttermilk pancakes. At that time I knew of only Butterworks Farm Buttermilk from Vermont


but since then my local co-op also sells Kate's Buttermilk from Maine.


They are both excellent. And they aren't filled with unpronounceable chemicals. One is smaller and organic, the other larger and though not organic is still from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones.

I always have buttermilk in the house now. If you type 'buttermilk' into the search bar you'll see all the recipes I've posted so far.

Today's offering is a terrific little quick bread.

Buttermilk Blueberry Cornbread




1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup buttermilk (in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup)
1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
Lightly grease with cooking spray (original recipe called for butter) an 8-inch square baking pan.
Place the cornmeal in a medium-sized bowl, then sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
Stir until thoroughly combined, and make a well in the center.
Add the egg, sugar, and melted butter to the buttermilk in the measuring cup, and whisk gently until uniform. 
Pour this mixture into the well in the center of the dry ingredients, and mix with a wooden spoon until all the dry ingredients are moist and incorporated. (Don't overmix.)
Place the blueberries on top of the batter, and gently fold them in with a rubber spatula, scraping up batter from the bottom of the bowl, and lifting it on top of the berries.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted all the way into the center comes out clean (I found it took about half an hour).
Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with butter.

Delicious! We're having it with a light vegetable soup

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quote du jour/Donald Culross Peattie

The last fling of winter is over.  ...  The earth, the soil itself, has a dreaming quality about it.  It is warm now to the touch; it has come alive; it hides secrets that in a moment, in a little while, it will tell.
Donald Culross Peattie (1898-1964)


If you'd like to know more about Peattie, there is a nice article here.

It rained overnight and into today, washing away some snow, overflowing the little stream, and making mud pie of the road. I can't remember when it last rained. Isn't it funny - the snows of winter completely erase even the notion of rain from my mind. 

I took this picture in the morning looking out the screened study window. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Quote du jour/H.G. Wells



Man must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind him to the fact that each moment of his life is a miracle and a mystery.
    H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Books Read in 2013

December - 9
7 Kindle books

79. The Keeper of the Keys - book 6 in the Charlie Chan series
by Earl Derr Biggers
mystery, 1932
Kindle book
finished 12/27/13

78. Provence, 1970
by Luke Barr
nonfiction, 2013
finished 12/26/13

77. Nipped in the Bud - book 14 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1951
Kindle book
finished 12/22/13

76. The Great Cake Mystery - book 3 in the Precious Ramotswe series
by Alexander McCall Smith
middle grade fiction, 2012
Kindle book
library book
finished 12/15/13

75. The Green Ace - book 13 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1950
Kindle book
finished 12/15/13

74. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost - 1922
illustrated by Susan Jeffers - 1978, 2001
children's book
finished 12/14/13

73. The Luck Runs Out - book 2 in the Professor Peter Shandy series
by Charlotte MacLeod
mystery, 1979
Kindle book
finished 12/9/13

72. Stuck
by Stacey D. Atkinson
fiction, 2013
Kindle book
finished 12/6/13

71. Rest You Merry - book 1 in the Professor Peter Shandy series
by Charlotte MacLeod
mystery, 1978
Kindle book
finished 12/5/13


November - 7
7 Kindle books

70. Four Lost Ladies - book 11 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1949
Kindle book
finished 11/28/13

69. Miss Withers Regrets - book 10 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1947
Kindle book
finished 11/24/13

68. The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan - book 8 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1941
Kindle book
finished 11/23/13

67. The Puzzle of the Blue Banderilla - book 7 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1937
Kindle book
finished 11/20/13

66. The Puzzle of the Red Stallion - book 6 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1936
Kindle book
finished 11/16/13

65. Seven Keys to Baldpate
by Earl Derr Biggers
fiction, 1913
Kindle book
finished 11/11/13

64. The Agony Column
by Earl Derr Biggers
fiction, 1916
Kindle book
finished 11/2/13


October - 8
7 Kindle books

63. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette - book 3 in the Penderwicks series
by Jeanne Birdsall
middle grade fiction, 2011
Kindle book
library book
finished 10/31/13

62. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street - book 2 in the Penderwicks series
by Jeanne Birdsall
middle grade fiction, 2008
Kindle book
library book
finished 10/28/13

61. E.B. White on Dogs
edited by Martha White
nonfiction, 2013
finished 10/26/13

60. The Red Trailer Mystery - book 2 in the Trixie Belden series
by Julie Campbell
middle grade mystery, 1950
Kindle book
library book
finished 10/25/13

59. The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn - book 3 in the Inspector Morse series
by Colin Dexter
mystery, 1977
Kindle book
finished 10/23/13

58. Last Seen Wearing - book 2 in the Inspector Morse series
by Colin Dexter
mystery, 1976
Kindle book
finished 10/19/13

57. The Puzzle of the Silver Persian - book 5 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1934
Kindle book
finished 10/9/13

56. Last Bus to Woodstock - book 1 in the Inspector Morse series
by Colin Dexter
mystery, 1975
Kindle book
finished 10/3/13



September - 5
5 Kindle books

55. In The Woods - book 1 in Dublin Murder Squad series
by Tana French
mystery, 2007
Kindle book
finished 9/24/13

54. Someone: A Novel
by Alice McDermott
fiction, 2013
Kindle book
finished 9/22/13

53. Charlie Chan Carries On - book 5 in the Charlie Chan series
by Earl Derr Biggers
mystery, 1930
Kindle book
finished 9/14/13

52. Old City Hall - book 1 in the Old City Hall series
by Robert Rotenberg
mystery, 2009
Kindle book
finished 9/8/13

51. Calamity Town
by Ellery Queen
mystery, 1942
Kindle book
finished 9/2/13


August - 7
5 Kindle books

50. The Black Camel - book 4 in the Charlie Chan series
by Earl Derr Biggers
mystery, 1929
Kindle book
finished 8/31/13

49. Behind That Curtain - book 3 in the Charlie Chan series
by Earl Derr Biggers
mystery, 1928
Kindle book
finished 8/25/13

48. Up, Back, and Away
by K. Velk
fiction, 2013
finished 8/18/13

47. The Chinese Parrot - book 2 in the Charlie Chan series
by Earl Derr Biggers
mystery, 1926
Kindle book
finished 8/17/13

46. The House Without a Key - book 1 in the Charlie Chan series
by Earl Derr Biggers
mystery, 1925
Kindle book
finished 8/11/13

45. Remembering the Bones
by Frances Itani
fiction, 2007
library book
finished 8/8/13

44. The Puzzle of the Pepper Tree - book 4 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1933
Kindle book
finished 8/4/13


July - 6
6 Kindle books

43. Murder on the Blackboard - book 3 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1932
Kindle book
finished 7/29/13

42. Murder on Wheels - book 2 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1932
Kindle book
finished 7/24/13

41. The Penguin Pool Murder - book 1 in the Hildegarde Withers series
by Stuart Palmer
mystery, 1931
Kindle book
finished 7/16/13

40. The Broken Rules of Ten - prequel to the Tenzing Norbu series
by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
mystery, 2013
Kindle book
finished 7/13/13

39. Dodsworth in Paris - book 2 in the Dodsworth series
by Tim Egan
children's fiction, 2008
Kindle book
library book
finished 7/13/13

38. Leaving Everything Most Loved - book 10 in the Maisie Dobbs series
by Jacqueline Winspear
mystery, 2012
Kindle book
library book
finished 7/9/13



June - 6
5 Kindle books

37. The Penderwicks - book 1 in the Penderwicks series
A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
by Jeanne Birdsall
middle grade fiction, 2005
Kindle book
library book
finished 6/27/13 

36. Lady Molly of Scotland Yard
by Baroness Orczy
mystery, 1910
Kindle book
finished 6/23/13

35. Father and Son book 2 in the LS9 series
by John Barlow
mystery, 2013
Kindle book
finished 6/23/13

34. The Golden Calf - book 5 in the Inspector Huss series
by Helene Tursten
mystery, 2003; English translation by Laura A. Wideburg 2013
Kindle book
library book
finished 6/18/13

33. Sins of the Fathers - book 2 in the Chief Inspector Wexford series
by Ruth Rendell
mystery, 1967
library book (ILL)
finished 6/15/13

32. The Secret of the Mansion - book 1 in the Trixie Belden series
by Julie Campbell
middle grade mystery, 1948
Kindle book
library book
finished 6/9/13


May - 6
5 Kindle books

31. Murder is Binding - book 1 in the Booktown series
by Lorna Barrett
mystery, 2008
Kindle book
library book
finished 5/31/13

30. The Old Man in the Corner
by Baroness Orczy
mystery, 1909
Kindle book
finished 5/26/13

29. Stillmeadow Seasons
by Gladys Taber
nonfiction, 1950
second reading
library book
finished 5/25/13

28. From Doon with Death - book 1 in the Chief Inspector Wexford series
by Ruth Rendell
mystery, 1964
Kindle book
finished 5/7/13

27. The Guards - book 1 in the Jack Taylor series
by Ken Bruen
fiction, 2001
Kindle book
finished 5/5/13

26. The Second Rule of Ten - book 2 in the Tenzing Norbu series
by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
mystery, 2013
Kindle book
finished 5/2/13



April - 3
3 Kindle books

25. The First Rule of Ten - book 1 in the Tenzing Norbu series
by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay
mystery, 2012
Kindle book
finished 4/24/13

24. Getting Old Is A Disaster - book 5 in the Gladdy Gold series
by Rita Lakin
mystery, 2008
Kindle book
library book
finished 4/7/13

23. Getting Old Is To Die For - book 4 in the Gladdy Gold series
by Rita Lakin
mystery, 2007
Kindle book 
library book
finished 4/3/13



March - 8
7 Kindle books

Short book notes on January through March books may be found here.

22. Getting Old Is Criminal - book 3 in the Gladdy Gold series
by Rita Lakin
mystery, 2007
Kindle book
library book
finished 3/31/13

21. Getting Old Is The Best Revenge - book 2 in the Gladdy Gold series
by Rita Lakin
mystery, 2006
Kindle book
library book
finished 3/28/13

20. Getting Old Is Murder - book 1 in the Gladdy Gold series
by Rita Lakin
mystery, 2005
Kindle book
library book
finished 3/26/13

19. 97 Orchard
An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement
by Jane Ziegelman
nonfiction, 2010
Kindle book
library book
finished 3/23/13

18. Death of a Cozy Writer - book 1 in the St. Just series
by G.M. Malliet
mystery, 2008
Kindle book
library book
finished 3/17/13

17. Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool
middle grade fiction, 2010
Kindle book
library book
finished 3/13/13

16. Harry Lipkin, Private Eye
by Barry Fantoni
mystery 2012
Kindle book
library book
finished 3/8/13

15. Strong Poison
by Dorothy L. Sayers
mystery 1930
finished 3/1/13


February - 3
3 Kindle books

14. Cabin: Two Brothers, A Dream, and Five Acres in Maine
by Lou Ureneck
nonfiction, 2011
Kindle book
library book
finished 2/18/13


13. Dear Enemy
by Jean Webster
fiction, 1915
Kindle book
finished 2/14/13

12. Daddy-Long-Legs

by Jean Webster
fiction, 1912
Kindle book
finished 2/10/13




January - 11
8 Kindle books

11. The Pigeon Pie Mystery
by Julia Stuart
fiction, 2012

Kindle book
library book
finished 1/30/13

10. The Story of Charlotte's Web
by Michael Sims
nonfiction, 2011
finished 1/30/13

9. The Man in the Brown Suit
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1924
Kindle book
finished 1/21/13

8. Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1934
Kindle book
finished 1/19/13

7. Miss Buncle's Book - book 1 in the Miss Buncle series
by D.E. Stevenson
fiction, 1934
reread (first read 2005)

Kindle book
library book
finished 1/17/13

6. Night Rounds - book 2 in the Inspector Irene Huss series
by Helene Tursten
mystery, 1999
English translation by Laura A. Wideburg 2012
library book (ILL)
finished 1/16/13

5. Sad Cypress - an Hercule Poirot mystery
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1940
Kindle book
finished 1/14/13

4. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection - book 13 in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
by Alexander McCall Smith
fiction, 2012

Kindle book
library book
finished 1/9/13

3. When We Were the Kennedys: a memoir from Mexico, Maine
by Monica Wood
nonfiction, 2012

Kindle book
library book
finished 1/5/13

2. An Impartial Witness - book 2 in the Bess Crawford series
by Charles Todd
mystery, 2010
Kindle book

library book
finished 1/4/13

1. A Box of Matches 
by Nicholson Baker
fiction, 2003
finished 1/1/13

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Death of our donkey, Daisy

The first quote du jour entry I put up on the blog was:
A quotation at the right moment is like bread to the famished.The Talmud 
Last evening I pulled a book off the shelf called Long Life by Mary Oliver. It is a collection of essays and poems, which I haven't read yet. I opened to this passage:
For the first time in twenty-five years there is no small footstool next to the bed, on which to break one's toes. The little dogs, first Jasper and then Bear, are gone. How neatening is loss, since it only takes away! One less mouth to feed, to walk, to bathe, to hold. One less sentient creature to cherish, to worry over, to feel for, to receive comfort from. And where is he, little Bear, the latest to leave us? We watch the clouds carefully; sooner or later we will see him, sailing away in careless and beautiful serenity. Of what rich and ornate stuff the powerful and uncontainable gods invented the world, out of the rampant dust! The silky brant, the scarf of chiffon, the letter, the empty envelope, the black ducks, the old shoes, the little white dog fall away, fall away, and all the music of our lives is in them. The gods act as they act for what purpose we do not know, but this we do understand: the world could not be made without the swirl and whirlwind of our deepest attention and our cherishing. And if I mean the god of the sky, I mean also the god of the river - not only the god of the gold-speckled cathedral but the lord of the green field, where people pause casually and snap each other's picture; where thrushes release their darkling songs; where little dogs bark and leap, their ears tossing, joyously, as they run toward us.
Yet again, I marvel at Mary Oliver, and I marvel at those words from the Talmud. Just before leaving for work yesterday morning, Tom came in from the barn and said, 'Daisy is dying.' The day was a fretful one. I went out to the barn a few times to check on her. She seemed peaceful and quiet, laying on her side in the stall, separate from the goat and sheep. By the end of the day, she had passed on. She turned thirty last summer, and we've had her since 1988, when my children were six and three. She was a wonderful girl, who absolutely adored people. She would walk up to perfect strangers and nuzzle them. The last picture I have of her was on the first day of fall, in the pasture with 'her' animals, guarding them from predators, guiding them where they should go. Daisy was a happy, contented, loving soul, and though our hearts are aching and the tears are falling, we know that she had the best possible life.
 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Returning, with a poem by May Sarton

March-Mad

The strangely radiant skies have come
To lift us out of winter's gloom,
A paler more transparent blue,
A softer gold light on fresh snow.
It is a naked time that bares
Our slightly worn-down hopes and cares,
And sets us listening for frogs,
And sends us to seed catalogues
To bury our starved eyes and noses
In an extravagance of roses,
And order madly at this season
When we have had enough of reason.

May Sarton
from As Does New Hampshire and other poems, 1967