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yesterday

Here is what I started to write yesterday. I wrote a long post this evening as a continuation but the site crashed and it is completely gone. What's that, afternoon coffee? Yes, I think I will... I do like having a day off that's mine and mine alone. The possibilities! Not to mention nobody hearing me grumbling about the housework.

Today the sky is bright grey, if such a colour can exist. The sun behind soupy clouds is responsible for this. I would prefer rain to this indecisive and melancholic sky. In the mountains, tiny snowflakes might be drifting down. Cherry tree petals are scattered on the sidewalks. The songbirds seem quite pleased by this change in the weather; they flit musically between branches, shrubs and soil. Daffodils are coming in fast now, a cheery yellow row in the yard.

I brought home a bucket (probably about 5 kg) of dark chocolate ganache from work yesterday! It was rejected for being grainy but the flavour is still nice. Now I need to use it for something. Banana muffins iced with ganache are first on the list.

I've been finding tiny ants in the house. Sugar ants, I call them, though I don't know if that's accurate. The first one I appreciated for its antness. I greeted it, escorted it outdoors and thought about ants. The other ones haven't been so welcome. Yesterday I found an ant on my computer and another on the kitchen island. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of the log cabin I lived in last summer did a great job of deterring ants so I think it's time to try that here.

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the sky in the evening

I'm on my way to bed. Hoping that one day I'll look in the mirror and the shadows under my eyes will have faded in darkness. Some days it's easy to get down. How it would bolster my comfort in the world to know what's for dinner, but at least there are endless possibilities for dinner. I need to repeat to myself that everything has a way of working out perfectly, and to remind myself that things have a way of happening better than expected. That even though I feel stuck, so much has been happening, and so much good unfolding. Here is what I've noticed lately.

Pink and blue clouds of the crepuscular sky reflected calico on the smooth water near the shore.

Sliver of a crescent moon in the sky, earthshine moon behind. Twice reflected sunlight or moonglow mist. Venus brighter than the moon and hovering below its lapel. Not a star, belied by its steady gaze. Stellar scintillation happening overhead though, a tiny twinkling to the left.

Clutches of crows lifting off rooftops like smoke or dandelion seeds against blue sky, white clouds like ridges in sandbars.

Yesterday we returned to the lagoon and on the beach in front of where we pulled up a stately and elegant swan stood at the water's edge, facing us. It stayed still for some time, towering over the ducks which surrounded it like cygnets around a protector. Yesterday also, I wore a summer dress and J dug our yard into a garden.

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not to be taken lightly

Seven the sweet bunny has an ear infection. And her teeth are a little offset so she needs to have some dental work done. Poor baby. This morning I tried to apply online for a job I found a couple days ago. The pay wasn't great, but the work seemed alright and for an interesting business in the healthy foods industry. I hit the submit button and it didn't work. Tried another ten times (because that totally helps...), but it looks like the ad got taken down already. The most frustrating thing about missed opportunities is that I can only blame myself. Did a semi-desperate search of the job board again. I'm getting pretty tired of chasing around jobs that pay only slightly better than minimum wage. I could just keep doing what I'm doing, which I like for 3 days of the week and dislike for 2 days, and hope that eventually I can switch to better hours or that something ideal will someday come up for me. Or, I have this back-up plan: I could go back up north for the summer as a wildfire dispatcher, which is a pretty neat job with awesome pay, but it really sucks to be so far away from home and from my man and the bunnies and everyone. The awesome pay would help us pay off student debts so we could get on with having better lives. I need to decide pretty soon though because the application deadline is probably right around the end of this month. I've filled out the forms. One minute, I've decided that I'll go. Thirty seconds later, I'm staying for sure. Back and forth. 1,765 km from home is not to be taken lightly. With the money I make we would be closer to being able to afford to start a family. But what is money to almost half a year apart? There, butterflies and big active skies, relentless sunshine and aspen trees of the boreal forest. It is undeniably beautiful. The bugs are so bad I spent most of my spare time indoors. Not to mention fear of dry lightening strikes. Here, dipping into the ocean at the end of the day. Family. Home. Garden parties and cool evening breezes. What is it worth? I think I need some help with this one.

There have been shriveled mandarin oranges sitting neglected in the fruit bowl for ages here, since other citrus have come and gone and fresh kiwis are available at the farmers market. In order to save them from sitting longer or worse, hitting the compost, I thought it was worth a try baking them into scones. I am pretty devoted to Molly Wizenberg's Scottish Scone recipe so I thought I would try a variation of it here. I'd say that I've had more luck when I followed her original recipe more closely, and with fruit like raspberries, strawberries or rhubarb. The dough was a little sticky, but manageable. The orange segments were wily and resistant when I divided the dough into scones, but it could just be that I need to sharpen our knives. After 15 minutes in the oven, these still looked quite pale so I left them another five-ish minutes but may have overbaked them slightly as I feel they could be more tender. A recipe that needs more testing perhaps, but a pretty tasty way to use up languishing oranges.

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Orange Oat Cardamom Scones recipe based on these scones by Orangette 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup oat flour (you can make this! - or buy it, or just substitute all-purpose flour or WW pastry flour or something) 2 tsp baking powder 3/4 tsp salt 1 tbsp ground cardamom 3 tbsp vanilla sugar (aka cane sugar that has vanilla beans hanging out in it from the last time you made something with a vanilla bean. Organic cane sugar is nicest.) 2 oz butter, cubed and chilled zest of 3 small mandarin oranges 7 small mandarin oranges, peeled, segmented and de-seeded 1 egg 1/2 cup whole milk (Not homogenized though because your body doesn't know what to do with the tiny fat particles- get the kind with the cream on top. Cream of some kind could be deliciously substituted.) Preheat oven to 425º. Stir together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until the lumps are not bigger than a pea. Toss in fruit and zest. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk, then add it to the dry ingredients, reserving about 1 1/2 tbsp to use as a wash, then gently stirring/folding with a wooden spoon until the dough barely comes together. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead it just until it's cohesive, as few times as possible. Flatten dough into a circle, about 1/2" thick, then slice it into 8-12 scones. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the egg-milk wash (if it looks like you won't have enough then thin it out with some milk or water). I sprinkled a little vanilla sugar on top but it kind of disappeared during baking. Medium or coarse sugar would be better, and I will eventually buy some. Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden, or longer if it still looks doughy. Cool on a wire rack (but eat while still warm, with butter). These should keep for a few days in a cookie tin, and might be nice if re-heated in a toaster.

 

no less spectacular

Driving up the cherry-blossom tree-lined street in the misting night, somehow the first word that came to mind was "galactic". The splendor of the soft rosy poufs against the hazy indigo sky was breathtaking. The view the next morning was no less spectacular. The road has become a tunnel in frothy clouds of pale pink flowers, their perfume coaxing past my cold to remind me that it's spring. Friends came for dinner, which was lovely. J cooked, because he is lovely, but somehow I still felt ill-prepared. Maybe because normally I'm bustling around the kitchen, and physically completing tasks is reassuring. I made what I thought for sure was a failed custard, a clafoutis with frozen raspberries and cranberries which was a soupy mess in the oven long after it was supposed to be cooling on the counter. It redeemed itself at the last minute by firming up and tasting wonderful. Frozen fruit was almost certainly the problem but I would totally do it again, and probably will tomorrow. You see, not a scrap remains.

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home

Right now I'm winding down. I tend to need the house spotless before I can truly relax so winding down for me usually involves cleaning. And sitting still. The rain started in light spatters as I drove home, turned to a steady drizzle as I sat at the table eating yogurt with homemade plum jam, toasted almonds, cacao and maca, with my feet on the heater, and when we went out before dinner to proof our wedding invitations, it was pouring. I can't speak for anyone else, but I feel relief when it rains. The softness of the air soothes me and the continuous patter calms me. Outside, I am refreshed, and indoors, I am cozy.

It's funny, today has been quite lovely and yet I have little to say about it.

J made tortillas tonight and we had such an excellent fresh dinner from them.

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