What streams and shines.

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hellebore

 
The abundant rain made January of 2017 less depressing than average for that dark and cold month of the year. It looks likely that my town will have received 40 inches for the season-to-date before the end of the week. Usually we get 20+ inches. When it rains the air is cleared of pollutants and the burn restrictions are lifted – so we had lots of wood fires which are always cheering!

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Christmas joy and lightness always carry me through Theophany on January 6th, but then I have the reality of a Christmas tree that needs taking down eventually. I strained my shoulder slightly a few weeks ago, which slowed me down, but it gave me time to read five books in just the first month of the year, often sitting in front of that woodstove. I started drinking coffee, which is a mood-elevator for sure… and now suddenly, it’s February, and the weather has been 20 degrees milder.

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manzanita

Flocks of goldfinches and juncos have returned to the garden, swooping down from the bare branches of the snowball bush. The juncos peck around on the ground, and the finches hang all over the nyger seed feeder, even in the rain.

And flowersgl-asparagus-2-8-17-standing-water are coming on dear Margarita Manzanita, buds on the currant bushes and calla lilies. I went out and took pictures just now under the umbrella, so everything is too wet to be optimal, revealing how one of my asparagus beds is less than optimal – we didn’t dig down deep enough into the adobe clay, and now there is standing water. That may not portend good for the future of that planting.

I made several gallons total of various soups in January, including Barley Buttermilk Soup, which I decided to try incorporating into bread yesterday. Here you have it, Barley Buttermilk Bread. It was enough dough that I ought to have made three loaves of it, but what I did was bake one oval loaf on my pizza stone, with butter brushed on top toward the end, and a round one in the Dutch oven. I added some oat flour which made it soft, but by this morning its crumb is very nice, and I like it very much… even too much.

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It’s been a long time since I had eggs from hens who ate lots of greens. My fellow communion bread-baker James brought some pale blue-green eggs from his Americaunas to our last baking session, and I was the lucky one to take them home, just as he had brought them, in the bottom of a paper shopping bag. They are so wonderfully orange-yolked, I had to take their picture, too. They go well with Barley-Buttermilk Bread. 🙂

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Every week the peas and the poppies have been beaten down by the rain…

gl-poppies-p1060639But they keep growing and blooming. Overall, they appear to thrive in it. I am reminded of this verse from the hymn “O Worship the King,” which likens God’s provision for us generally to the moisture that falls.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Sometimes, it is not only a metaphor.

13 thoughts on “What streams and shines.

  1. Your bread is lovely. Your words express the joy I have felt these last few weeks. Just the way the refrain comes, from the words you shared from “O Worship the King.” I feel that this rain refreshes not only the ground and the whole of California, it gives me such expectations in how my garden will grow this year. I rejoice with you and hope your shoulder is much better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear reports of the rain from my parents every few days. Quite incredible!

    The bread looks delicious. I wish I had remembered to start my no-knead bread last night. 12 hour rise…not getting any today, alas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember from years past about all the bread you use to make for your growing family when we were neighbors. Bread is definitely a talent. Your bread making back then inspired me to make bread for my family sometimes too. I use to have a bread machine, but it didn’t make the bread near as good as “real” homemade bread. Maybe I should try making some bread again sometime, if I can round up a good, simple recipe. HA!

    Sherry

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a newsy post from your section of the country! Wow, you have had a LOT of rain.

    I hope your shoulder is soon feeling much better.

    Your bread looks delicious! I’m afraid my bread gets made in my bread machine. Still yummy and makes my little cottage smell so good while it is baking.

    Enjoy the rest of your week ~ Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This looks and sounds wonderful. We are having a lot of rain, and now a lot of snow, but it will be a long time before we see buds or flowers on anything. Your climate is so different from that of northeast Ohio. Both are excellent. And that bread. I am not supposed to eat much bread but it looks so delicious. Be well, Gretchen!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lots of rain, but *less* depressing – well! But yes, if you need rain, I can see that. We had much rain last month, but with the Christmas lights still up, it all seemed more cozy to me and I didn’t mind. Your bread looks perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. GretchenJoanna, I follow your blog and enjoy your posts immensely but obviously don’t comment often. I especially enjoyed today’s post. It was a bright spot in an otherwise not-so-good day due to an ice storm that we are currently experiencing. I hope and pray my children all made it to work safely.

    Liked by 1 person

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