coffee

February 29

I love that today is a leap day- it seems like a special pocket of time.

Outside, the cheery trills of robins are balancing the soft dreariness of grey sky on the verge of rain. This afternoon, the sun shone and lit the pink cherry blossom and warmed the rug. In the morning, as on all mornings here, sea gulls dotted the field like sheep.

This past week there were some glorious spring storms, erratic wind/rain/sun and all colours in the sky. I dug out my paints. I finally bought an umbrella. Days were segmented by cappucinos, africanos, earl grey and herbal teas. Our rabbits are molting winter down. The daffodils are nodding bright heads.

I hurt my back by lifting a bin incorrectly and have spent the past few days feeling like a century has been tacked on to my years. It's easing up now and I am so glad. (That icy-hot stuff is so weird!) How easy it is to take health for granted.

I'm including the recipe for what I wish I was making right now. I like to make and freeze a batch of these cookies to have on hand - a gift to our future selves.

Chocolate Apricot Pecan Cookies Adapted from Leslie Mackie's Macrina Cookbook. The original recipe does not call for pecans, so feel free to leave them out. 

In a medium large bowl, stir together with a whisk then set aside: 1 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour 1 c all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp finely ground espresso beans

In a medium small bowl or in a KitchenAid mixer, cream until light and fluffy: 1 c butter, softened 1 c good raw/brown sugar such as panela-rapadura

Add eggs to creamed butter and sugar one at a time, mixing well, adding vanilla with second egg: 2 eggs, room temperature 2 tsp vanilla

Add dry ingredients and stir to mix until flour is just incorporated. Then stir in: 3/4 cup dried unsulphured apricots, chopped 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and cooled, roughly crushed by hand 8-9 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Let dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour before scooping and baking cookies. Or scoop then freeze dough to later thaw and bake whenever you need a few cookies! Makes about 16 cookies. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. 

list

If I look back on this post a year from now, here is what I want to remember: a fire rainbow in the windswept mare's tails clouds above the city at lunchtime; excellent coffee on many a morning boosting morale; picking and eating small precious handfuls of the summer's first blackberries; swimming, arms reaching, body skimming through the liquid landscape of the lake; homemade pizza; finally giving myself a much-needed footrub; evening walks to the tune of peaceful and yolky sunsets. IMG_8184 IMG_8186 IMG_8188

Golden

I'm learning the tides on my walks to work, and also the short seasons of the flowering plants that inhabit the dry, rocky margins of the shore. Already the long grass has cured to deep gold and I haven't seen the otters frolicking in it for over a week; they drift lazy in the kelp beds instead. The camas and California poppies are almost done, giving way to stonecrop and Nootka rose.  We drove up island to Nanaimo for an evening road trip adventure this week, through shady maples, lush farmland and tall Douglas firs. Now, I know that Nanaimo has some ugly strip malls going on, but the winding streets of the old city centre are pretty charming, and a road trip (with some good pizza at Torta Luna along the way) was just what we needed. 

This has also been a good week for visits. My beautiful, talented friend LA came to the island for a brief visit from the mountains, and we walked and walked, and ate very well indeed. My dad came by my work this morning, and on Sunday we went over to Salt Spring Island to visit my family there. The day was hot and sunny, perfect for drinking coffee, walks down to the beach, and my stepdad M's homemade cider. The salmonberries and honeysuckle were ripe, so I snacked as we walked, leaving a trail of orange trumpet flowers along the roadside. 

I brought some of my watercolour paintings into our local print shop this afternoon. It's part of working towards my dream of having an etsy shop up and running, and selling art prints and mobiles and jewellery, and whatever else I'm drawn to create. Yay!

I hope everyone out there is having a rich and vibrant May. 

PS I'm changing the title of this post because whenever I look at it (just what we needed) I get that old song in my head, even though the words are a little different, and that is perhaps not what we needed.

       

in a good way

Oh what a day. I have been over revving on several levels. So perhaps more coffee in the sun was not the wisest choice, but it was in keeping with current energies. At least sitting still, near the earth with nature happening around me was grounding to some degree. It was actually quite warm to be wearing a black 3/4 sleeve rabbit shirt. I bared my pale feet to the air and light. Some days - and today was one - it takes everything I have just to focus and settle. I was riled. Kind of in a good way. If my best friends were here, instead of mountains and prairies away, we could have such a time. The dandelion seeds are floating today and I am ready for adventure. Writing helps. Thoughts that had been like bumblebees in my brain are quieter on paper, or at least leave me with more space. Inside the house today, it's as if thoughts and feelings ricocheted off the walls at me, but outside, even just ten feet from the kitchen window, they diffused into the breeze and left me calm.

A squirrel ran along our rooftop this morning. I know because I watched its shadow glide along the fence. Sciurus, shadow tail, and so they are. I drove past Elk and Beaver Lakes today (neither of their namesakes live nearby) and the new leaves on the cottonwoods were almost autumnal in their fire-rosiness. Still translucent, the sunlight transformed them into soft, transpiring stained glass. Surrounded by green growth, blue lake and blue sky, and pale mountains in the distance, they were a moving sight.

IMG_0672 IMG_0731 IMG_0743

sitting, drinking coffee

I kind of love these sunny mornings, but I also don't quite know what to do with them and worry that I might be wasting them on sitting, drinking coffee and catching up with myself. But time enjoyed is never truly wasted, this I have decided. If I were in Nelson now, or anywhere really, I'd be doing the same thing but on the coffee shop patio, hopefully coming across friends doing the same, instead of at home. I like the idea of being outside, of going for walks to explore and discover, but the need to get ready to work after lunch pulls me in like a leash. Also, I like this neighborhood but it's edged by industry, busy roads and unkempt apartments. These things are all fine, I suppose, but what I want in a walk is to end up alone in nature, listening to the wind play through tree branches and water lapping shore. To sit still until birds appear from underbrush and my heartbeat harmonizes with the forest. This is the most 'city' that we've ever lived, and I like our house, I like our garden, I love going downtown for food and fun things, but I don't know where to go when I want to get away for a morning. All the quiet spots are a decent drive's distance. Sometimes I go to the ocean's edge, to a paved pathway buzzing with joggers and strollers, seniors and bicycles, and walk slowly when I have a stretch to myself. Maybe it's because I know the beaches and hills outside of town as well as any street of my childhood that I find it easier to breathe surrounded by trees than by people. IMG_6536        IMG_6636