learning

improvements

This morning I nearly called in sick. I was so not ready for the world. But off I went, and kept telling myself that things would get better. After a normal but good day at work, I drove home to find that J had mopped, made the bunnies a big hay-filled box to hang out in, and had made fruit leather. I knew I found a good one. This afternoon I got a call from an art store that I applied at (and my #1 choice of jobs at the moment)... Yes!

Before dinner (which J made- he really is awesome), I put together a batch of granola. I like to have granola on hand for snacking, and it became more of a priority after my failed attempt at yogurt on Thursday. I've made yogurt before, and sometimes it turns out better than other times. I normally use thermoses to culture it in, but have had trouble getting it to set. J's parents have kindly lent us their yogurt maker while they're on holidays and so I was really looking forward to it all just working out how it's meant to. However, there's always fine print that gets skimmed over (or large print in caps lock tucked away at the bottom of the page)... So I learned something important about yogurt on Thursday. It seems to be very important that it not get moved at all while it is doing its thing. Not shuffling it over to make room on the counter, not jiggling it a bit every few hours to see if it's set yet. I now have seven small jars of strange, flavorful, slightly coagulated milk. Because I used good milk and it really is perfectly fine, just not set, I don't want to throw it out. But it definitely could use the help of some granola.

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Our Everyday Granola adapted from - but still strongly based on- Megan Gordon's recipe from Whole-Grain Mornings

3 cups rolled oats 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped 1/2 hazelnuts (aka filberts), coarsely chopped 1/4 pumpkin seeds 1/4  cup sunflower seeds 1 1/2 tsp salt (nice salt, like French grey sea salt) 1/2 tsp cardamom 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp ginger (new to this batch but I think I like it)

1/2 cup olive oil 1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Mix the dry ingredients, then stir in the wet. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be toasty and appealing. Mix in the raisins and cranberries after baking.

things missed

I keep thinking of things that I meant to write about after I’ve posted for the day. Yesterday I forgot to mention that I heated up marmalade without the rind-y bits as a substitute for apricot glaze, to brush over the tarts when they come out of the oven, and I toasted sliced almonds to scatter on top. How, moving back to Victoria we psyched ourselves up for days or even weeks of rain and it has been unexpectedly sunny.

When I was lying in bed on Thursday morning, I kept drifting off and I dreamt of kitchens, a car I couldn’t start, and catching then releasing broken butterflies.

Yesterday was J’s birthday and I wasn’t at all ready for it. I got out of bed early and made him a mouse card, and there was a trip to Lee Valley and the frangipane tarts, but I would have liked to have made it more special. When it’s my birthday he lavishes me with gifts and sweet plans.

At work, even though I feel I'm trying no more or less than before, it would seem my efforts are paying off; I was told that I'm on track. I got off work early this afternoon, but had to wait for J and the car to come at my usual time. I sat and ate a small and excellent rejected quiche and part of a strawberry rhubarb galette from work. There was a bunch of tulips that I wanted to buy across the street, but I had just enough change for cilantro for the rabbits.

We have a second set of keys for the car now, so now I also have a key. It feels symbolic for now being able to drive it and capably drive standard.

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the direction the ocean is nearest

Zephyr the thirteen-pound silver rabbit has been rattling her fence this week. She lifts it with her strong neck and yanks forward and back, heaving the bunny corral so it overlaps the hall. For added effect, she works loose the food bowl and flings it in the air. We've been letting the rabbits run amok (well almost- I did stop her eating a houseplant) around the house in the evenings, and this taste of freedom has got her fuzzy feet eager for more hallway leaps and exploring. This morning I glanced up from my workbench towards the daylight and saw a wall of white mist where the street normally runs. The mist rolled in across the fields towards my house last night too, advancing from the direction the ocean is nearest. From my bed I could feel it surround the house like a blanket. The mild air glowed softly, tiny particles of water reflecting engulfed streetlights and house windows.

I'm still unraveling my nerves from my first stick-shift solo drive through downtown afternoon traffic. I stalled more times than all my previous stalls together, and each intersection left me a little shakier. For the record, I didn't cry or get angry, just muttered curses and apologies to our good, forgiving little car. Some kindness of the car gods got me home, and I am -or like to think I am- gathering my courage for the next drive.

Today I heard about an island far north of here where when the raspberries are ripe the people on the island celebrated raspberries for five days by going from huge garden patch to huge garden patch, picking the ripe red drupelets, and then they make raspberry pies and raspberry pasta and drink last year's raspberry wine. "Where is this place?" I asked, thinking it sounded like some kind of utopia. "Oh, it doesn't show up on the map". Later in life I will sail each island from Haida Gwaii to Alaska in search of teeming gardens and basketfuls of raspberries.

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