Monday, April 24, 2017

P is for Pie - the Flapper variety

ABC Wednesday
April 26th, 2017

The letter is P for Pie

You have to have grown up on the Canadian Prairies
to be intimate with today's PIE recipe....

I am going to tell you about Flapper Pie....

dear to the heart of all Prairie Folk
and a staple at all Church and Harvest dinners
in the thirties and forties and fifties
and perhaps even today...
but I have left the prairies and live in mountain country now.
and the home grown treats here are Nanaimo Bars.

But the Flapper is a humble, throw together pie, - the ingredients all available
on the farm or at the corner grocery store.

What you have to do to set this yummy dessert before your loved ones is
firstly, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Stir together one and a quarter cups of graham cracker crumbs
with one quarter cup of melted butter
and one half cup of sugar.

Put aside a couple of tablespoons of the mixture
and press the rest into a ten inch pie plate and  bake for 8 minutes.

Combine two and a half cups of milk, one half a cup of white sugar, 
one quarter of a cup of cornstarch, three egg yolks
one teaspoon of vanilla and one quarter teaspoon of salt,

Cook on medium heat until it bubbles and thickens,
making sure to whisk constantly.
when nicely thickened set aside to cool.

Beat the three egg whites (you did save the egg whites, didn't you!)
and one quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar
until they are foamy and hold soft peaks.
Then gradually beat in the sugar,
whipping until it holds stiff, glossy peaks.

Pour the cooled filling into the crust
and top with the meringue.
Sprinkle the set-aside crumbs on the top
and bake in the oven until the meringue browns slightly
(probably around ten minutes, but watch it carefully)

Cool in the fridge and eat the same day,
as the meringue and the custard have a bad habit of slipping apart.

This is not a detriment..
No matter where you hide it the Flapper Pie will call to you
and you won't be able to resist......

Amazon has for sale a cook book entitle "Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky"
by Karlynn Johnston,,it calls to me too
for some good prairie cooking!

That takes care of the pie - here is a little video devoted to the Flappers...

My mother's era....

For more interesting Ps click here
to see what's going on at ABC Wednesday
with thanks who all who maintain this great meme.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Evening

April 23rd, 2017

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that

I get up reluctantly from my loom with just ten more inches left
before I finish the pretty new scarf that I am so anxious to take off and wash
and see if the gracefulness of the drape  is everything Jane said it would be
if I were only to concentrate on making the sett balance.
The same number of ends per inch in the reed as I throw picks per inch with the shuttle....
Jane is Jane Stafford, a whiz of a weaver who is conducting an online studio
that I am so happy to take part in.

I am a self taught weaver.  I developed the passion when we had sheep, and I learned to spin.
It was also an era when many of our helpers on the orchard
were hippies living the easy contented life.
Some of the girls had taken to old crafts and were doing odd, primitive weaving,
which inspired me to go further into fabric arts.

There were no teachers or Weaving Guilds nearby,
so we bought a small loom, a number of books
 and dozens of skeins of wool
 from the Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers, and I was off!!!

Soon I bought a floor loom, a spinning wheel,
and eventually a counter marche eight harness, which really challenged me.
But I was learning, and that really brings me to the thoughts I have been having lately,
 about learning something new every day!!

I am astonished at all the things I don't know!!!!

Even about weaving, although I have been involved with it for forty years or so.  
I knew a balanced sett was important, but I didn't know what an amazing difference
it made in the "hand" of the cloth.  Very exciting!

My children are teaching me oodles of things.  
Sometimes they tell me about mischief they indulged in while growing up,
all new to me!  
But more often they tell me of new ideas about the universe, 
about physics and sometimes different spirituality. 
or set me straight about technical tips and ancient

One of my sons is reading Durant's History of the World's Civilizations,
all thirteen volumes.  
They sat on our bookshelves for many years, for research, 
- but now he tells me all sorts of amazing things
about the ancients Greeks and Romans and Byzantines, etc.
 I am content with reading Durant's Pleasures of Philosophy.

 The sons who live on the meadow in the Chilcotin are full of tales 
about the creatures that inhabit this lovely spot, 
and the great variety birds who come to visit in the summer, 
and the accommodation they provide for all the swallows 
who make the meadow their summer home.

When will it all end - this gathering of knowledge
(oh, some of which I forget, I must admit). 
 It makes life so interesting, and I realize how lucky I am 
to have the energy and interest to absorb it.

Tomorrow I will finish the nicely balanced scarf
and if it all falls in a gentle heap 
when I let it drop I will post a picture.

What I learned today was that if I spend more than an hour in the garden with trowel and snippers

my back will ache and my knee will freeze up!!!!

No matter how golden the daffodils are or how tenderly green the new leaves appear!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O for Ostentatious

ABC Wednesday
April 19th, 2017

The letter is O for Ostentatious

A few quips, quotes and examples


Ostentatious simplicity is sophisticated hypocrisy

I don't know who said this, but I think it is quite true

If you must tattoo be elaborate !!!!!

How not to be ostentatious in literature

Advice from T.S. Eliot

My dear, how vulgar!

and slightly ridiculous!!!

Which probably brings one to this conclusion.....

More Os here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all the unpretentious people
who maintain this great meme.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday evening
April 15th, 2017

My eyes close, and I put my book aside..

Not that it is getting on in the evening - I have really just finished dinner, but had a session in the garden this aftenoon and all that fresh air and battling with the cutch grass has left me a little weary, a little sleepy.

And the book I am reading is long (667 pages) and the print is very small.  The Los Angeles times says in its review "that it is actually possible to live within it for the brief time one spends with this book. You may never leave the chair."  I find that very hard to believe,
but the words are encouraging, if far-fetched....

I am at Chapter 18, page 231 and I have to confess to being gripped by this story Abraham Verghese tells, about twin boys born in Ethiopia to a Sister, who dies in childbirth, and a surgeon who is so wrought up he disappears and has not yet re-appeared in the pages I have read.  I could tell you all the wonderful words the many reviewers have written, but all I shall say is that I find it to be an amazing, imaginative, generous story.  And I guess I could say compelling, as well. 
The name is "Cutting for Stone".

Abraham Verghese  is Professor and Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the founding director of the Centre for Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Centre.  Also an exhilarating writer.

I am reading this book for the Library Book Club, and luckily have another 
couple of weeks to finish it.

I hurried along at the end with the last one, too ...."It's all true, no lies here" ....a story about Daniel Boone that possibly contained some of the myth that surrounds this American pioneer hero.

In the meantime. Alexander McCall Smith's latest book has arrived "My Italian Bulldozer".  I have a little stack waiting to be read, - Joanna Trollope's "Girl from the South", Emma Donoghue's "Frog Music;  and Kate Atkinson's "Behind the Scenes at the Museum"has been hanging around, waiting patiently, for ages.  

I was rash enough to pick up "spill simmer falter wither" by Sara Baume at the library the other day, being so fascinated by the title!!!

Ah well, - too much going on in the garden and at the loom for me to get a lot of reading done.  There are rainy days coming up and I can't spend all day throwing the shuttle back and forth, so perhaps I will ignore the housework and immerse myself in all this fine print!

Look for me in the big chair, underneath the lamplight, with my reading glasses
 and a magnifying glass.

Happy Easter to all!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Nighthawk - varied

ABC Wednesday
April 12th, 2017

The letter is N for Nighthawk

Here, in town, I never see this bird
but my memories recall warm summer evenings on the farm
when a community of  Common Nighthawks would swoosh down 
the road and through the orchards, gathering up the evening insects 
with their white bars flashing as they flew in graceful loops,
their sharp peenot call echoing through the twilight.

So beautiful and impressive - they were a part of our life there.

The Common Nighthawks are slender birds with very long, pointed wings,
and medium long tails.
It is well camouflaged in gray, white, buff and back
with a V shaped white throat and striking white wing bars.

When migrating or feeding over insect-rich areas
nighthawks may gather in large flocks
as they did in our orchard territory.
They are most visible when they forage on the wing
and their call is unforgettable.
At least to me.....

Mostly they fly in the mornings and the evenings.
During the day they roost on a tree branch, a fence post,
or on the ground, where they are most difficult to see.

If they were to follow south along the road for a few
miles  they would cross the US/Canada border into Washington State
and do their wonderful acrobatics in the Ghost Town
of Nighthawk which I am sure was named after them.

It is Nighthawk country....

An old mining town from the early 1900's, - it still had a general store
in the 1950's and Charles was friends with the Storekeeper,
but since that time the buildings have fallen into sad disrepair
and as far as I know the surrounding ranchers do their shopping elsewhere.

We are not finished with Nighthawk...

There is a famous painting by Edward Hopper
depicting some night hawks (or owls)
gathered around a table in an all night diner....

and a couple of poems inspired by the painting.

All sorts of planes with Nighthawk attached to them.....

There are numerous (numerous!) bands called "Nighthawk"
but the one that I enjoyed most was a Dixie Land Band.

For more interesting Ns visit here at ABC Wednesday
with many thanks to those who maintain this meme.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

M forMessenger

ABC Wednesday
April 5, 2017

The letter is M for Messenger

A Mindful poem from Mary Oliver


My work is loving the world,
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird -
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old?  Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium,
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture,
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over how it is
that we live forever.


I am sorry I cannot read the signature on the watercolour of the Sunflower
and the Hummingbird, but I think it is very beautiful,
and I thank the painter....
Find more Ms here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain this great meme.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Post Script

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

A Post Scrip to my previous "Loom" post.....

While leafing through the last edition of the magazine "Handwoven" looking for something which would reinforce my thoughts on using a fine white linen as warp for a silk weft, - (both yarns that languish in the top drawer of my left-overs), I came to the last page, "Endnotes".

The article, by Benjamin Krudwig, tells how he was originally drawn to be a weaver, based on the official reason and "one that covers the deeper question of why I started" weaving.

"There is also a metaphorical reason why I love weaving. 
 It is one of the greatest metaphors for life.  
We create this beautiful and unique piece of art called life, seemingly out of nothing - 
weaving relationships, experiences, and stories into a fabric 
that when viewed as a whole, becomes something. 

 We are stronger together than we are apart, 
and each of us is an integral part of this world, this community, and this life. 
 Each thread gives character to the entire fabric."

It is an ancient metaphor... many have compared weaving to life.
some in more poetic words,
but this young man is only in his twenties
and his words did give my spirit a lift.....

Ancient picture of Greek Ladies weaving a tapestry

and a moment of togetherness in the Loom Room