Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Welcome September... Soon to be golden.

Labour day weekend was full of Labour for me, as I picked up 11 lbs of tiny cucumbers on Saturday to be dilled and pickled on Sunday.  But first, the baskets of tomatoes from my garden had to be scalded, peeled, chopped and mixed with ingredients to be made into chili sauce.  Then I scrubbed the cukes, and soaked them in a salt water brine. 

The entire neighbourhood could tell what was happening in my kitchen.  It takes me back to memories of my parents in the basement with the old stove always bubbling with some spicy pickle brew in August.  My childhood home had a nearly permanent scent of briney vinegar.

This season I have done more than usual.  My energy is bubbling, the garden has produced more this, and I just keep buying more jars.  And I'm out again.  

I might do beets this coming weekend, because I love the colour.  I might find some trendy recipe in my new Bernardin canning book.  My old faithful, bought in 1993 was left out in the rain a few years ago.  I just cannot get into canning from the internet.  I need a book to write in.  I need to record quantities and alterations for future reference.  Stains and jot notes that record a lifetime of canning.  

Gearing up for soup season though, I am ready for cool weather suppers of spicy Kima and Chili.  I am looking forward to sweaters and socks.  Maybe even home-knitted socks!  I have reached the heel of my sock now, and am entering uncharted territory.  I am hoping to not have to take a 2nd private lesson, because I just don't have time to go for a few weeks.

My friend who moved to Costa Rica last October is back for a visit, and I invited her and her partner over yesterday afternoon for a visit.  Not supper, just some nibblers on the deck, and a glass of wine.  It forced us to rip through the house, and we did a good tidy/vacuum and now my home is soooo peaceful.  It is like tiny thorns have been removed from just under my skin.  Order has been returned, it is a good feeling.   

However temporary, today I feel in control.  

Friday, 29 August 2014

Long Tails and plans for Warm Feet

Knitting.  I have learnt how to knit in the round, and now I sit and knit in the evenings, imagining my warm winter feet...  I might take a 2nd private lesson to teach me how to 'turn a heel' but we shall see.  I am not completely lost with knitting instructions, just a little slow on learning unless I can SEE it being done, with a real person, sitting beside me.

Then it all makes sense.

Like this Long Tail cast on.  U-Tube had me so confused I thought I would never learn, but 15 minutes with a breathing person, and it was stuck well-enough in my head.  My mother taught me how to knit, but it was your very, very basic everything.  It took years and years of baby hats and booties, then cat mittens and dish cloths before I craved something new.  Seamless.

And now I am knitting in the round.  Only two immense disasters, one was catastrophic [Young James the Adolescent Cat] and the other was a dropped stitch which I didn't notice...  This first sock will certainly not be a perfect one.

Eldest and his Lovely Lu are leaving their mansion apartment, and have found a half-house to rent, in a lovely, quiet neighbourhood across town.  Soon we too will flee to a new home, next spring, I am so looking forward to the coming changes.  Between now and then is a lot of work, though, and I'm not sure if my energy level will ever be what it once was, but honestly it is so much better than even last year.

Now I look forward to our last Yule, our last spring, our last this and that, with no sadness.  Our tall skinny house has been a good one, these last 8 years have taught me a lot.  Surrounded on one side by pure evil, I still blame that energy for the cancer that attacked my kidney.  The kidney is a filter, and I was feeding the evil by reacting.  Poor kidney.

Now, we let it drift over us.  Mental illness is a harsh neighbour.  This man has terrorised the community for decades, and because he has no censor, no ability or desire to practice self control, the community has no recourse.  He has no reason, no ability to behave reasonably.  Anyway, writing about him also feeds his bad energy, so I will stop.

There is a lesson in my experience, maybe I won't know what it was until I have de-stressed sometime next summer.

Now it is all about the fantasy-new home.  So far it will have a large yard, a pool, a hot-tub, a garage, main floor bedroom & bathroom, the ability to ride my bike to [new] work....  Sending our wishes out to the cosmos.

A long weekend looms, dill pickles and chili sauce to make.  A visit with friends.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Revisiting the Secrets Long Forgotten

Strange things in the air.  In the last week I have reconnected with an very old friend that I have not seen since childhood, and found an even more so ancient relative living in the very house my mother grew up in in the 1920s.  He is the grandson of my grandfather's older sister.  This tall skinny house in Hamilton seems to have housed relatives since 1907.

He wants to meet...   I hope they are not buried in the cellar.

Delving into history really messes with your head because the past becomes nearly real, and the past I am dealing with is much, much older than myself.  My sisters might remember the names and faces, but I was born so far after they were.

Sometimes I think that this digging of the past is wrong.  Hard lives, sadness, grief, trauma...  Isn't it better to allow it all to fade away into non-memory?  Curiosity killed the cat, they say.  Who does it benefit to know that my maternal grandmother died of a botched abortion in 1924?  Who knew before I dug it up?  It was lost, her sadness and desperation had dissipated.  It was private.  90 years lost in time until one overly curious granddaughter thought to search out the death records in a hospital in Cleveland Ohio.

How could I not?  I am a product of the computer generation.  Information at my fingertips.  We do not even have to go to the library any longer to access information.

Secrets exposed, who will expose me someday?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A Gathering

Eldest and his Lovely Lu eloped last year in Vegas.  This year her parents hosted a wonderful family gathering at their farm.  A massive blend of many families, it was a happy, happy day.

I did not take many photos, as I was 'on' for the day, as mother-of-the-groom.

There they are, Eldest and Lovely Lu.  On the trees she had wrapped photos spanning the 9 years they have been together.

The farm is in a beautiful location.

Husband and Eldest built the picnic table out of cedar.  They had all the guests sign it and they plan on wood-burning the messages.

Nothing prepares you for the heart-wrenching pride you feel sometimes when you observe the people you have created.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

A Batch of Thoughts for Thursday

  • I've been trying to journal and write more, but am still struggling with the day to day casting of words on paper.  It is easy enough to spatter them off with keyboard, but to pick up pen and sort through my muddled mind for words and spelling is a huge challenge.
  • I've made an appointment to have a knitting lesson next week!  At a local yarn shop, I will be taught how to stretchy-cast-on stitches and [hopefully] have time to teach me how to knit in the round.  I want to spend my autumn and winter knitting socks.  Colourful, warm, beautiful socks.  This lesson is a gift to myself.
  • A new community gardener is stressing me out.  She comes to us with oodles of knowledge, but is abrasive and bossy, and instead of opening up conversation, she is shutting people down.  This will take a little careful dancing I think.
  • I don't know how to get my photos off my phone onto my computer to stick on my blog.  I do have an Instagram account now, though.  Lamorganna52  :)
  • I made both Zucchini and Cucumber relish this week from bounty picked at the community garden.  I have not made relish in years, and used my grandmother's old grinder screwed on to the counter.  Such a satisfying motion, the grinding of vegetables.  Next will be Chili Sauce & Dill Pickles...  Not this weekend though.
  • Eldest and his wife eloped a year ago, and this coming weekend her parents are having a large gathering at their farm as a celebration.  I have to bake Snickerdoodle cookies, Rhubarb Coffee Cake and some sort of Lemon Bars I made when he was 16 or something.  Apparently they had goop on top.  I think I located that recipe.  So no time for pickles this weekend, I hope, hope, hope I don't miss the cukes at the market...
  • And this Autumn!  I have booked a retreat with a friend.  We are going to a Collage Retreat for the weekend starting October 31 through November 2nd.  She and I both yearn for a weekend away from family but are not quite ready for the Silent Retreat, so this one will fill our tactile needs and also allow time for walking and hiking and alone time.  So looking forward to this.  

Monday, 11 August 2014

Late Summer Weekend in Words

A beautiful, hot weekend.  Nights are cool though, so sleeping is comfortable.  Most of our city-summers have been horribly hot and humid, tepid baths before bed to cool down.  This summer has been easy in comparison.  I will not complain.

Load after load of laundry hung to dry on the line... Drying clothes outside is a primal satisfaction.  I love the colours and patterns, I love the motion, and of course the smell.  An added bonus are the crunchy towels which are truly nature's exfoliation.

On Saturday night we barbecued Crab legs very late with tiny potatoes and sticky chicken thighs, feasting by candlelight.  A treat for sure, the younger two have discovered a love of many things from the sea, and usually something is on special.  We just buy a little bit, for a taste.  Waiting for the lobster tales to go on sale...

A spontaneous trip to the lake for a swim on Sunday.  Husband and I simply packed our towels and put on our suits and crept away while the others were sleeping.  The beach was busy, and the water wonderfully cold.  I did somersaults and later dug my toes into the sand, I think there is still some there.

I have acquired a cell phone, supplied by work.  After being cell-free for the last three years, now I have this phone that takes marvelous photos so I created an Instagram account, which I am slowly navigating.  A terrible photo [of me] was loaded in error, and with much effort successfully removed.
We stopped by the garden on our way to work this morning.  A heavy mist lay over the ground, my feet were dew-washed.  We picked some ripe tomatoes, red, purple and yellow plus some cucumbers... An eggplant is nearly ready to harvest.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Slightly Manic Thoughts on a Wednesday

Yesterday was my day off.  I didn't get anything done...
It started out well enough, with coffee with a friend, but somehow the day skittered away from me.
At the end of it, a late dinner on the deck with the family plus a visitor.
We had a mixture of foods from the barbecue, a few burgers, a tiny bit of lamb, some honey garlic sausages.
Sweet potato all caramelized.  
So it ended well.
But earlier I was frustrated, mostly with myself, somewhat with Daughter.
It happens.

Lovely Deb and Carol...
We are older and wiser, but still know how to have fun.  Deb is looking strong and fierce!
She laughed a lot that weekend, and it is so true what they say about laughter.
It is the Best Medicine.

I dug up my garlic last weekend.  Each one, fat and fresh, the smell was oh-so incredible.
Until recent years I was ignorant of the fact that garlic could be grown in Ontario.
I thought that it had to be imported...
Now I know better.
Even my garlic braid worked out!
Some will be saved to plant this autumn...

This is where I am today.
Soon, my job might be changing to full time, in two locations. 
This will be interesting when answering the phone...
Many, many years ago I worked at Sun Life.  
One day in the spring, I answered the phone : Good morning, Sun Life.
Like a Brain Fart.

I made a basket over the weekend, I forgot to take a photo of it finished.
Basket weaving is very satisfying.  
Weaving is methodical, and can be trance-like.
I would love to go into the marshland and gather some invasive Asian grasses that have
taken over the Bull Rushes. 
They are the beautiful wavy grasses, purple and green.
But they are choking out the natural vegetation.