Thursday, June 30, 2016

Today's picture - Raya and Lucy

As I sat reading in the waning daylight, this was the sight across the room.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Flower CSA

I've joined a local flower CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Food CSAs have been around quite a while in our area. You pay a subscription upfront, which allows the farmers to have money to spend on improving their farms. The grower is a young woman who works with her father on family land in a nearby town. This is only the second year the program has been offered. Here is what she says about it:
Your CSA membership will help us continue to invest in our first greenhouse that we will be building next spring. Our growing season is limited to a small window of time. Greenhouses allow us to extended our season by up to 8 weeks and grow more varieties of flowers, giving them the warmth and protection they need. In turn, we will be able to provide you with many more beautiful bouquets! Last year’s CSA provided funds for additional seeds, fertilizer, and equipment for three new planting plots, including the ground for our greenhouse.
You can get a half-share or a full-share. I signed up for the full, and am so happy to be part of this. So far, we've gotten two beautiful bouquets.

Each week they are a little different depending what is in bloom. These flowers have enriched our lives. They are worth every penny just for the pleasure they give. And they are worth it because they support a local grower in her work.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Product placement/Dave's Killer Bread

I really mean to put up a Weekend Cooking post each week, but it has been quite busy lately and I haven't had much time to read blogs or write postings.

As you may know if you've been reading my letters for a while I bake my own bread. I usually make it twice a week, but when I don't have a chance I always have a couple loaves of store-bought bread in my freezer. It is difficult to find organic, whole wheat (or mostly whole wheat) bread, but recently I came upon a new display in my local co-op for Dave's Killer Bread.

This company makes several kinds, including a regular white version

This bread is packed with nutrition!

What is special about this bread, besides the fact that it is so healthy, is what I learned from the label.

My co-op is a small store in a little town so if Dave's Killer Bread is available here, it must be all over the country. I'm happy and proud to be buying this product. It is delicious bread toasted or in sandwiches. Healthy for me, and good for society.

You may visit the website here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It was twenty years ago today

On June 22, 1996, Tom's parents took the whole family on a wonderful week-long cruise from New York City to Bermuda.

All the pictures are photos of photos so not such good quality. We didn't have a digital camera then!

Some of us

Tom and I and his folks.

This was our Christmas card that year.

Such fun dancing in the evening.

The cousins in front of the ship

There were 1427 passengers!

We went on a horse-drawn carriage ride in St. George,

and saw a moon arch.

In Hamilton we visited a most beautiful beach

and went on a glass-bottom boat ride.

Tom and Michael, Margaret and me in one of the rooms.

That guy on the top left is not in our family. I have no idea why or how he got into the photo!

I've been thinking about this trip a lot lately. I am now the exact age that Nina, Tom's mother, was then. We went as four married couples, two of whom had two children each. In the 20 years since, we've had one death, Nina's husband. She remarried and she and her husband, now 88 and almost 93 are going strong. In our little group there have been divorces, and marriages, and now three births in these twenty years.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Washing dishes

A few weeks ago our dishwasher stopped working. The repair person has come three times, and yesterday it was fixed. It was still under warranty so there was no charge to us for the $400 repair. This is the first time this dishwasher has broken down, but not the first dishwasher we've had trouble with. It seems like every few years we have to get a new one. We've had all brands and none of them were perfect.

Whenever one has broken down I have wondered if I could get along without it. I usually did okay, but when it was repaired or we've gotten a new one, I got right back into the swing of loading and unloading.

But not this time. I am mystified as to the reason, but I have come to love washing dishes by hand. I realized that I would begin to hum every time I filled the sink and began washing. I felt a contentment, almost a meditative state, as I washed and looked out the window.

I kept waiting for reality to set in. I was sure there would be an evening when I wished the dishwasher was working. But no. Not even when there were a lot of dishes, or 'difficult' dishes like the bread bowl. I liked every minute, every time. I went to Mr and Mrs Amazon and bought a nice new rack.

If there are more dishes than it will hold at once, I put them in the soapy water to soak a while. I go off and do something else, and then come and put away the dry ones, and begin to wash the others. Tom just shakes his head in amazement. The other night he said if he saw all those dishes to wash he'd be longing for the dishwasher. Not me. I actually looked forward to settling down to washing them and humming whatever song came into my head. He has offered to help but honestly I like doing them alone.

I know how strange this sounds, and indeed it is to me, but all I know is that it makes me happy. And the detergent I use? The same brand I've used for ages.

I've read that it is more economical, more 'green' to use a dishwasher. I'm not quite convinced this is true when our dishwasher would run for almost three hours for a normal load. But even if it is true, the water comes from our ever-flowing spring, and our hot water heater isn't set for terribly hot water. The electric bill went down by over 20 dollars this month. Probably a coincidence, but I wonder.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Quote du jour/Jean and Lionel in As Time Goes By

Jean has put a booklet together about their wedding arrangements. She hears Lionel muttering: "On page six - get curtains cleaned."
Jean: "Well, we must."
Lionel: "Why?"
Jean: " 'Cause they're filthy. Don't want my wedding guests looking at my curtains saying how filthy they are."
Lionel: "They look perfectly clean to me."
Jean: "That's 'cause you don't look."
Lionel: "Well, I don't peer at them, if that's what you mean."

A variation of this scene plays out in my home quite regularly.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Monday, June 6, 2016

An Afternoon with Campbell Walker and Indy Thomas - June 5, 2016

Yesterday we had another afternoon with the grandsons. This time Michael and Estée went out for lunch together - I think for the first time alone since the boys were born.

When we arrived Indy Thomas was asleep so we had an extended time alone with Campbell Walker. He wasn't a bit concerned that his parents left. One time he did look around the house saying, 'baby,' but we said Indy was asleep so all was fine. The big deal was Play-Doh. They keep it in a basket and he wanted each of the little cups, one by one. 'More Play-Doh' he would say after he'd opened one.

Working hard and very patiently to get it out.

And so happy when he did it.

I have a wonderful little movie of him saying 'ta-da' when he got it out. I wish I could post it without it having to be on youtube.

For his second birthday, Margaret's friend, the queen of paper mache who made the wedding 'cake' for Matthew and Margaret, made Campbell a Daniel Tiger which he loves.

She made a Postman Pat for Hazel's second birthday.

For Indy's first birthday we commissioned a Curious George. Both Hazel and Campbell got them for their firsts as well, Hazel a pug, and Campbell a dog playing piano. We'll probably stop after Indy turns two, but they are sure fun to look at, and love.

We spent a lot of time doing 'cheers.'

I went up to peek in at Indy, and he was just waking up.

I put this on Instagram and called it 'Pop sandwich.'

Can you tell that Indy is crying? We all went downstairs, and Tom and Campbell watched Sarah & Duck, while I went out into the three-season room so we could hear the rain, and I sang and sang for about half an hour until his parents came home. At first he couldn't stop crying, and then he began to settle down until he just cried a tiny bit. I felt good that I was able to soothe this little fellow who had only been alone with me twice.

So, the little things that make up an afternoon in childhood. They seem little, but they are the building blocks of a happy, contented life. Tom and I had a wonderful time.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Keeping Up Appearances

Did you watch Keeping Up Appearances when it was first on from 1990-1995? I just love this show! If you've never seen it, or if you remember it fondly, it is now streaming on Netflix in the US.

I came upon a site that tells what four of the six main characters are doing these days. Sadly, three have died. The first Rose - Shirley Stelfox, and the second Rose - Mary Millar, and dear Onslow played by Geoffrey Hughes, whose death I noted here. But I'm happy to see that Patricia Routledge, Clive Swift, Josephine Tewson, and Judy Cornwell are all still with us. You may read about them, and see recent photographs here.