"Stir it Up Sunday" traditionally falls on the Sunday just before Advent and is the time to make the Christmas pudding.
A collect in the Anglican Prayer Book for that Sunday reads,
"Stir up, we beseech thee oh Lord,
the wills of thy faithful people,
that they, plenteously bringing forth
the fruit of good works,
may be of thee plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen"
a true Christmas pudding:
*has 13 ingredients, for Christ and his 12 disciples.
*is stirred from East to West to recall the magi who visited the baby Jesus.
*is stirred by every member of the family for good luck.
*sometimes has a coin baked within it and the finder is assured wealth for the coming year.
"...life is so much more than occasions, and its grand ordinariness must never go unsavored." Robert Farrar Capon
"Hanging out the laundry may be impracticable for many people. You may live in the city with nowhere to put a clothesline. You may live in one of the increasing number of suburban developments that ban clotheslines (itself a very interesting attempt at suppressing the reality of housework and detaching people from their natural environments). You may live in a climate where line-drying days are rare. Or you may simply work full time at a job that precludes the kind of flexibility necessary to respond to beautiful weather by doing laundry.
But if you work flexible hours or are at home and if you have a place to put a clothesline, why not hang laundry out? So much of modern life is disconnected from the world beyond our doors. People go to work or to school whether it rains or shines; they exercise indoors on stationary bicycles rather than riding outdoors on real bicycles. Hanging out the wash can be one small way to begin living in response to and in cooperation with the natural world, receiving both rain and sun as gifts from the God who made both us and our world."
-Margaret Kim Peterson, Keeping House
"Women would like to make one big spiritual sacrifice. We would like to do one grand thing and be assured everything will work out well. But we can't. It's the bits and pieces put together year after year that count. Sometimes we don't see meaning in the little things and we are not conscious of how it all works together to create a powerful image. The little things we do at home, like putting wildflowers in a vase, are invisible medicine for all the bumps and bruises of family life. The connections we make in our daily rounds, an old photograph tucked into a frame, a lullaby each evening by the bedside, a hug among fresh clean linens, are the putty that holds the mosaic together." Ingrid Trobish
How to Make Hummingbird Food
Making Hummingbird nectar isn't very hard, but I have to look up the ratios every time.
It's 4 parts water to one part sugar.
To fill my feeder I boil two cups of water in a saucepan and stir in 1/2 cup of sugar until all the grittiness is gone.
I let it cool while i clean the feeder.
Some people add red food colouring but I've read that it's is bad for their wee constitutions (but living on sugar water can't be that great either...apparently Hummingbirds are great eaters of insects, so I'm relieved to think of them as having protein to offset that sugar high!)
I am waiting for there to be enough to make stewed rhubarb, a dish I've eaten every spring since I can remember. I don't use a recipe, just eyeball it, but you want** about
3 cups of rhubarb (cut in 1/2" pieces)
1/4 cup of sugar (or more to taste)
1/4 cup of water
You simmer it all (15-20 minutes until it is all soft but not sticking to the bottom of the pot) It is best eaten chilled. It can be added to yogurt, top pancakes or pork...but i like it best made slightly sour and eaten on its own for breakfast. I always think of my Grandma pulling one of the great stalks from her northern garden and giving it to me whole* with a little sugar in the bottom of a mug and leaving me to the chilly spring morning with my snack. I can almost feel the pain in base of my jaw from that sour taste of spring ( a tonic she called it.)
* make sure not to give children the leaves since they are poisonous. In fact, you can lay the cut off leaves around the base of plants where you wish to discourage weeds or boil the rhubarb leaves and mix with water and soap for a natural insecticide.
** spring 2020, recently making a few changes that give a good result:
4 cups of rhubarb
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 small juice box of pure apple juice (instead of the water)
Tamarack trees in the Ottawa Valley this weekend. They are the only conifer I know that drop their needles in the fall. They always look like someone forgot to water them but I know eastern Ontario recorded their wettest year ever this year. The woods were glowing even though most of the deciduous trees had already lost their leaves. Native Americans made Goose Decoys out the pliable twigs once the needles had dropped.
Anybody want to make one?
Blackberry Upside Down Cake
2 1/2 cups wild blackberries
a good yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
1 1/4cup buttermilk
1 T. lemon zest
1/4 white sugar
method: Make cake mix with the oil, eggs, buttermilk and lemon zest instead of as directed. Melt butter in the bottom of a bundt pan and line with berries and sugar. Pour cake batter on top and bake approx.45 minutes at 350 F or until golden. Cool, invert and serve with whipped cream.
A new poet.
Love Calls Us to the Things of This World
The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.
Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.
Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;
Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
The soul shrinks
From all that is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessed day,
``Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.''
Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world's hunks and colors,
The soul descends once more in bitter love
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,
``Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating
Of dark habits,
keeping their difficult balance.''
Chickory is blooming--my sweet grandmother (French Canadian) told me her family had once made a drink like coffee from the roots so today I looked up a recipe and found this cool cafe: Cafe DuMonde
"The taste for coffee and chicory was developed by the French during their civil war. Coffee was scarce during those times, and they found that chicory added body and flavor to the brew. The Acadians from Nova Scotia brought this taste and many other french customs (heritage) to Louisiana. Chicory is the root of the endive plant. Endive is a type of lettuce. The root of the plant is roasted and ground. It is added to the coffee to soften the bitter edge of the dark roasted coffee. It adds an almost chocolate flavor to the Cafe Au Lait served at Cafe Du Monde."
A wee explanation: this website was created as a way to amplify the daily surprise of seeing glory in one small life. The notebook entries represented here are all selected from things actually lived and noted on paper in an effort to live the full life British educator Charlotte Mason so ably championed.
Book Of Centuries
Book Of Firsts