Thursday, December 1, 2022

Frank Sinatra & Ella Fitzgerald - Moonlight In Vermont

This is a beautiful version of the song "Moonlight in Vermont". Here's something cool I learned on a jazz radio show. I was amazed to learn that each verse is a haiku. From the dictionary: a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Quote du jour/Ross MacDonald

The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world and its disasters.
     Ross Macdonald

I came upon these words near the end of my book, The Diary of a Bookseller, and they rather stopped me in my reading. I am very struck by the truth of them when it comes to my own life. My books are indeed a kind of "insulation". Looking at a shelf, or taking out a particular book seems to soothe me when the world is a bit much. I so don't understand this new trend I've read about where people want all their music on a phone and their books on a Kindle. What must their homes, their "insulation" look like? And this other trend of simplicity and spareness is beyond me. I love my books, records, CDs, DVDs, pictures, photographs, cookbooks, recipe boxes, old worn furniture. They are the signs of me, of my life, of who I am. That "I am", period. Not that I necessarily have to have them to be a real person, but they are, for me, my heart and soul. 

Have you read anything by Ross Macdonald? I looked him up, and saw the words "hard boiled" and I'm not really one for that kind of book, but I could be convinced to give him a try.

Walking around the house...

Monday, November 7, 2022

Book connections

 Years ago when I read and wrote about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I mentioned the way a book you are reading can lead you to others, just by a mention. 

Well, my current print book (on sidebar) is one that the local library email recommended. I immediately signed up for it, and began the book a couple days ago. I have gotten through just a very few pages because I have been caught by so many titles that I have to put the book down and come to the computer to learn more. 

George Orwell's "Bookshop Memories" - an essay I now have on the desktop.

Three Fevers by Leo Walmsley - a title that had me visiting the LW society and reading about his books and his life. And which sent me to Stuck in a Book because I just knew that he would have read this author.  

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell.

The Bankrupt Bookseller Speaks Again by William Y. Darling.

Ian Niall, who was mentioned by the author as having believed that the "land of milk and honey" was Galloway (Scotland) "in part because there was always an abundance of both in the pantry in the farmhouse in which he grew up, but also because, for him, it was a kind of paradise." Well, that certainly caught my interest and I have found in my searching that he is definitely someone I must read. 

All this in five pages! I'm sure there will be more to come in this wonderful book.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Quote du jour/from Call The Midwife

 I wish I'd written down the date I began watching all of Call The Midwife on Netflix. It has been a few weeks now. I've put aside The Great British Baking Show (still known to most as GBBO!) and Gardeners' World. It has been a supreme joy to see the episodes one after another. I have filled many post-it notes with quotes.

This is from episode 8 of series 9, spoken by Vanessa Redgrave at the start of the show. 

"When autumn starts to dampen into winter, should we say, 'the nights are getting dark'? Should we thrust our hands into our pockets and anticipate the chill? Or should we say, 'light the fire, draw close, it will not be as cold as you imagine'?"

And at the end of the episode.

"The seasons will always turn, the clouds will gather and the cold will come. We will survive them. We will grow regardless of the weather. We will know wonder where there has been despair. There will be happiness, and we will remember it. There will be friendships which we won't forget. Love is the constant whereby we endure all winters and all storms. It is the climate in which all things can thrive. Welcome the darkness. Embrace it as a canopy from which the stars can hang. For there are always stars when we are where we ought to be, amongst the faces we love best, each with our place, each with our purpose, as fixed and familiar as the constellations. The darkness is beautiful, for how else can we shine."

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Old soldiers and old cleomes

 Old soldiers just fade away
Mick Jagger - "Old Habits Die Hard"

This line from Jagger's song was running through my head today as I walked toward the garden and looked at the cleomes. You may think I am obsessed by them, and I suppose I am a bit.  Even on this first day of October, they have a grandeur as they "fade away".  Amazing flowers.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Last stewing of the season


Sorry to go on and on, but I like to keep track of the gardens here on the blog. You may just skip over!

Today I just got around to stewing the tomatoes in the last post. Instead of freezing, I'm going to add a jar of crushed tomatoes, strain both the fresh and the canned, and make sauce for supper. Sad to see the season end, but happy to have some for the winter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Pretty much the end of the tomato harvest


If you have stopped by recently, you will have seen the chopped tomatoes as my blog header. I've stewed and strained quite a few tomatoes in the past weeks, added a little tomato paste, and frozen them. I look forward to that taste of summer on my pasta this winter. We tried many new varieties this year - some heirlooms. They are so individual both in look and taste. Here is a pic I took a while back.

The ones on the front left are called Purple Cherokee, from seeds found on a Cherokee reservation. They just may be the best tasting tomatoes I've ever eaten. On the front right are Rose de Berne.They are a Swiss heirloom. We didn't get too many, but they were very delicious. On the yellow plate is a super producer with a terrific taste, Moskvich. Not an heirloom yet, but a great tomato from Russia. Not sure what the time table is for declaring a tomato is an heirloom. I think the Moskvich was developed in the 1970s. 

The yellowy orange one is Marmalade, not an heirloom. Great producer and such a beauty. It is really stunning in the garden.

The green and yellow ones are ripe. That is their color. The variety is Green Zebra. I always pronounce the name with the British "Zeb", not the American "Zee" because I first heard of it on Pie in the Sky, one of my most favorite television series. There is an episode where Henry Crabbe makes this delicious looking dish, stuffing a Green Zebra with bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and something else I think I'm forgetting. I was so looking forward to making it, but my Green Zebras just didn't get big enough this year.  Will try again next year (the gardener's motto). The first picture was taken today - maybe the last tomatoes of the season. The little one on the bottom with those grooves is called Costoluto Genovese, an Italian heirloom. What flavor, and I love the grooves - I just cut one section out and eat it! 

We've grown Peacevine cherry tomatoes for years. Next year we may try a few heirloom cherries, too. I bought quite a few from a local farm this summer, and the taste was out of this world. Here is a whimsical picture of them with my colorful bowls.

We did a few different things with our tomatoes this year - one was cutting all the shoots off except the main flowering ones. That was okay, except we didn't get nearly as many tomatoes as other years. Will go back to letting the side shoots flower, until later in the season. I'm always up for trying new ideas, but this one just didn't work out that well. Plus I missed the huge, tall plants we got before.

When I was a kid, I never ate tomatoes - not even tomato sauce. And these summer months, they are all I wanted to eat!