Sunday, September 28, 2014

Keats' Ode to Autumn - and Vicki's Ode to Applesauce

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Kitchen Nostalgia

A few days ago, while rummaging under our kitchen benches in search of my applesauce strainer, I realized that it had been a long time, a very long time since I'd rousted all that stuff out. I was pretty amazed at what all I found.  Exhibit A (above) a can opener that was my grandmother's, still in its original box and never used, as far as I can tell.

Next, a hand cranked flour mill -- for making stone ground flour. Yes, I actually, when I was young and energetic, bought wheat in 50 pound bags and ground it to make flour for homemade bread.  That didn't last long. But it was good exercise.

On a more frivolous note, a rosette maker. Dip the decorative irons into a batter then immerse in hot oil. The little rosettes brown quickly and float free to be scooped up, drained on paper towels, and covered with powdered sugar. These were a feature, along with cotton candy and candy apples, at the elementary school Halloween carnivals of my youth. And I made them for my boys a few times before stowing them away in the underbench oubliette

A meat grinder that was my grandmother's. She used to grind up boiled chicken with a little India relish, a whiff of onion juice, and a very little mayonnaise to make the most delicious little crustless, white bread tea sandwiches for her bridge club. I've been thinking for many years that I'd like to duplicate those but I don't play bridge. 

I often say that we were seduced by The Whole Earth Catalog and Mother Earth News into leaving our suburban heritage and heading for the hills. Once we got here, we made several pilgrimages to the Mother Earth Truck Store to purchase stuff for country living -- among other things, an electric churn (Justin has it now,) this apple peeler, and the ceiling fan in our living room that has run almost constantly since 1977.

 A green bean frencher that makes frozen green beans almost worth eating . . .

A pea sheller -- which has seen very little use because on the rare occasions that the voles have left me any peas, I've found that I really prefer sitting in a rocker on the front porch and looking at the view as I shell peas, Oh, yes, and a trading card that had slipped under the benches a good while back. Check out the eyewear.

A pecan sheller - another relic from my grandmother whose sister sent her pecans from Alabama. I guess I need to send this to my brother who lives in Alabama and has a pecan tree too.

These was a dusty old note book full of recipes from magazines -- all of which only remind me how much my tastes have changed. I tossed them all but saved my mother's recipes for Boeuf a la mode and Coq au vin  --  I'll make both of those soon.

I probably won't make this easy recipe from my mother-in-law -- but I'll save it anyway.

Aspic molds -- 12 individual aspic molds. No doubt for my grandmother's bridge club. Also two tiny angel food cake pans and three little loaf pans --- were these for me when I 'helped' my grandmother bake? I can't remember . . . but I like to think they were.

So after vacuuming out and cataloging all this kitchen nostalgia, I put most of it right back. How can I toss out memories? And how could I ever divest myself of the Edlund Can Opener which guarantees my safety -- see, it says so, right there on the box!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

There's Still Time

There's still time to sign up for an amazing writing workshop experience next month (Oct. 10 - 25) here in the mountains of North Carolina!!

Vicki’s workshop — Jump Start Your Novel — is ideal for writers starting or under way with their first book length project.  The workshop follows a proven approach for Vicki and her students of all ages.
JUMP START YOUR NOVEL – The Nuts and Bolts Approach
Whether you have a novel in progress, an idea for a novel, or just the idea that you’d like to write a novel, this is the workshop for you. It was a workshop like this that started Vicki’s writing career (six novels published and counting) and a workshop like this that has resulted in completed novels from a number of her students.
During morning meetings, Vicki will offer guidance in the basics of setting, plot, characterization, and dialogue with practical and cautionary information about seeking an agent, submitting a manuscript, and building a career.  There will be some brief in-class writing prompts and there will be short (1-2 pages) assignments (which may incorporate the writer’s work in progress) written outside of class time. These assignments will be discussed during the next day’s workshop.   Afternoon and evenings will be free for writing, rest, reflection, or relaxation.  Vicki will be available most afternoons for one on one conferences. 

I blogged about it back in August HERE . . .

And you can get complete details at THIS LINK

A Garden Walk