Tag Archives: calendula

Daily Sustenance

It’s been cold here this week, and hailed for a few minutes yesterday. I hope my plum blossoms were not damaged! Maybe some that were hiding under leaves will be able to become plums.

Last Sunday our parish women’s book group was scheduled to meet at Ann’s house to discuss Father Arseny. I hadn’t planned to be there because Soldier and Liam were flying in from Colorado to celebrate my birthday with me; so I didn’t reread the book in preparation.

Of course my guests cancelled their plans, for everyone’s safety, and the women held a lively Zoom discussion which I “attended” along with eleven others. I sat in my garden at my laptop most of the time, until it got too chilly. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and decided to meet again in a week just to chat; we’ve been missing each other and don’t want to wait a whole month or more till we’ve read the next book.

Now we are reading At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald. This title is a good one for a few reasons:

1) Several of us love George MacDonald and his books have come up before in our list of possible group reads.
2) Even though physical libraries are closed, his works are easily found as free library digital editions, for 99 cents on Kindle and as audiobooks.
3) For families with more time together sheltering in place, it’s a good read-aloud.
4) I haven’t read it for a long time, but knowing MacDonald generally, it’s likely good nourishment for our souls that need extra sustenance right now.

 

Sustenance consists of those things we need for life and health. The opposite is deprivation or starvation. Often our souls are starving for spiritual food when our bodies are overfed.

I had the odd experience in the last week of several times being so busy socializing that I didn’t take time to eat. Because of the many anniversaries and birthdays in my extended family, in addition to dear friends phoning to talk about the pestilence, I was on the phone more hours that week than I had been in the previous six months. Because I’m generally overfed, that brief bodily deprivation had little effect. Since then I’ve also caught up on Alone Time.

And I’ve cooked some things. When my Painted Lady runner beans produced a bumper crop last fall I resolved to make soup with them during Lent. What I came up with was a vegetable soup rich with onions and garlic, and not too many beans. It’s sustaining for sure.

 

Over the decades I’ve discovered two sorts of (vegan) chocolate pudding that are great for breakfast, and I don’t see that I have shared the recipes here before. Well, I did share a link for this version of the chocolate chia seed pudding, and here it is again: Minimalist Baker.

But the one I’ve made many more times in various flavors is so simple and adaptable, I didn’t even measure yesterday when I made a batch.

SILKEN TOFU PUDDING

-an amount of silken tofu, say, 14 oz.
-cocoa powder, try 1/2 cup
-sweetening to taste: sugar, maple syrup, etc.
-cinnamon or vanilla or almond extract, etc.

Mix in food processor until smooth, divide into portions and eat or refrigerate. Of course you might top it with fruit or nuts or granola. The above amounts are what I used last night and I divided it into three containers. I think it’s a good breakfast food because it has protein and caffeine, and don’t we all like something easy for breakfast?

I have made it without chocolate at times, in the past. I think there was a lemon version, or a pumpkin spice, but as I remember, chocolate was the winner.

 

My remodel: It is not finished; some construction workers are willing and wanting to work at this uncertain time, and some are not, so I am preparing my mind for an indefinite prolonging of this mess. Three times over the last 16 months I’ve moved out of my walk-in closet, into a spare bedroom across the house that is even now serving as my dressing room, with my clothes stacked all over the bed, my laundry hamper squeezed in the corner, some of my hanging clothes squeezed into the wardrobe.

My goal now is to clear that room and somehow fit my clothes and shoes into my own bedroom, and use it as my dressing room. It has no closet currently, and is still full of storage, but I can move some of that stuff temporarily into the sewing room cabinet that is waiting for doors, as you can see in the photo above that I have already begun to do.

The workers’ clutter in the sewing room I hope I can stash in the garage or the unfinished closet, depending on whose it is, so I can clean up the sewing room, too. I am tired of waiting to wash the windows, and I want to be able to sit in there in the mornings. Do you think that as soon as I complete all this work, the construction guys will come back and make a mess again? If they do, I won’t complain. That’s the walk-in closet at right, which I can’t even shut the door to. It’s been the view from my bathroom for two months now, unchanged.

The new guest bathroom is usable except for things like the shower curtain rod and towel ring. There are six such accessories that a worker came to install one day weeks ago, and he completed two of them.

Outdoors, I myself have neglected the garden quite a bit, but it’s still a lovely place to stroll, and I’m cutting asparagus and waiting for snow peas to show on the tall vines. (You can see them at the back in the last picture below.) The Coast Bush Lupine I planted sometime last year is now covered with buds! Everything looked so pretty after the rain and hail, these recent mornings when the sun broke through.

There’s plenty of sustenance in my larders!

See the colors till the end.

It’s been a big week for me so far, because I took down and put away all of my Christmas decorations all by myself, including the faux tree. I feel incredibly lightened up by having that task out of the way. For several weeks the tree and its lights burning all day and night cheered me up as I was recovering from sickness and deep winter, but one day the top third was not lit anymore. I unplugged it, and after that, it became a chore needing to be done, which is possibly the opposite of cheery, until one gets into it, at which point it might become energizing and satisfying.

When the family was together at Christmas, evidently someone added a most natural ornament without asking me, because I was surprised to find among the branches a dried pansy, and it was a welcome late gift, bringing as it did memories of that rich couple of weeks.

I paid a man to level my fountain and clean it, and I watched as he lifted off the top and emptied the pipes of so much green stuff! I realize now that every time over the last four years that I have let the algae get away from me, by not putting the drops in every week, all the cleaning out I have done trying to remedy the situation has been woefully superficial, even if it did take a long time. I must become more diligent. When he finished he asked me how fast I wanted the flow to be. I said “low” and he set it so, but it seems fuller and faster than ever.

This year when I renew my driver’s license I have to take the written test. I started on that too late to get an appointment at the DMV, so I need to pick a day and wait in line. I’ve decided this will be the week for that as well. I got the handbook and have been taking practice tests online, and I’ll be ready. But I’m very annoyed by all the questions about the penalties for breaking laws. It doesn’t say anything about my driving skills if I can’t remember how many months or years I might be jailed for evading the police or for drunk driving, first or second offense, etc.

A few days ago when I was musing about my lack of yellow clothing, I did remember a scarf that I inherited that has some yellow in it. Have you ever seen anything like this?

It shows a hundred years of American soldiers and sub-groups of armies, starting with George Washington at top left. I can’t think of a proper occasion to which I might wear it, even if I were a militaristic woman.

 

 

 

Maybe Glad ancestors were among the American fighting men in that century, I don’t know. But I do know that one branch of my late husband’s people came from Ryegate, Vermont, and are mentioned in this book, first published in 1913. This morning my eldest, Pearl, asked me if I had a copy, and what do you know, I had two on a high shelf. I packed them up and sent them to Wisconsin so she can explore further what are her people, too.

This is turning out to be a gathering of historic tidbits; here is an article about the word till. Did you think maybe it should be ’til? Not at all. ’til is a modern invention. I was oddly happy to know this fact. You can learn about the history of till here at Daily Writing Tips.

THE COLOR BLUE has always been my favorite, so when Leila shared this link about its history on her blog Like Mother, Like Daughter I went straight there and drank in all the blues – and I feel so rich, not being colorblind. How could there be new blues being invented? Of course, there are infinite blues, but whether we can find a dye or an ink that paints them must be the question. Here is just one recent blue, from the article, named International Klein Blue:As much as I love blue, I’ll leave you with a picture of one of my otherwise tinted Iceland poppies in the front garden. They have been waving to the neighbors who walk past, and to me when I come home from my errands. And most of them are the color that I love in my garden especially: orange.

Oh, but thinking about the garden reminds me that I have learned enough Spanish that I was able to text to my gardener this week: “Puede trabajar aquí este fin de semana?” (Can you work here this weekend?) And he came even sooner. 🙂

 

Leeks and Pollinators

gl pollinator iphone 3049

I love to have a day like today, when I stayed home and worked, mostly in the garden. I planted seeds in the greenhouse on Wednesday, and today I wanted to sow others directly into the planting boxes. But I hadn’t realized how little space is currently unused by other plants. So I decided to take out a few leeks to make room for carrots. gl IMG_3034

 

I haven’t been sure about those leeks, if they are growing properly, or are a complete loss. Maybe they didn’t get enough water and are spongy as well as spindly? So I pulled up a few of the largest, and discovered that they are perfectly fine. This was comforting; my fennel had indeed been almost a complete loss, because I let it go too long. And one doesn’t want to have that experience often, of using a chunk of precious space for several months with not much to show for it.

(So I made some Leek Confit this evening.)

gl P1050374 leeks

At one point in my back-and-forth around the garden, I stopped raking pine needles or preparing seed beds and just watched all of the insects that are incredibly busy feeding off the flowers. It’s  become the pollinator garden that I planned for, and there are many kinds of bees, wasps, flies, moths and butterflies to be seen working.

These two seemed to be taking a break from their job, to play tag on a zinnia.
After I took several pictures of them they escaped from my spying and continued their game on the underside of the flower.
gl pollinators on zinnias

I also noticed a hummingbird at the Bachelor’s Buttons, when he made the branches shake, but he didn’t hang around very long after that. gl IMG_3042

The arugula seeds came up in only three days, in the warm and humid greenhouse, and in four days the hollyhocks began to emerge! This is a newborn hollyhock for you.

gl P1050378 hollyhock

gl P1050366 calendula

While I was doing my work in the back, the landscapers were doing theirs out front.

gl IMG_3029

gl P1050371 drain

 

 

I was quite pleased to see how they made use of the clods of adobe clay to make a sort of wall by the drain that slopes down the grade and will carry off any extra water from heavy rains.

A lovely and restful day. Only my feet hurt. So I wrote this blog post instead of taking an evening walk.

Good night!

 

 

gl P1050323 rudbeckia

The calendula lasts longer than this moment.

hopbush may 2016 close
Hopbush – dodonaea purpurea – right now

 

What a strange day… starting with a strange night, during which I was awake for four hours. What? At first I tried to pray and go back to sleep at the same time, but after an hour or so of that I switched on the light and sat in bed writing in my journal. I didn’t turn on my phone – yay for me! But if I had I might have been able to talk with my dear cousin who was wishing from the East Coast that she could talk to me, as she wrote, “I wish you were not still asleep.” Little did she guess that I was not.

P1040490
Mexican Bush Sage

 

 

 

Eventually I slept a little more, and got up late. Today is sunnier than in a long time, and I noticed out the window the hopbushes that line the fences, also looking brighter than ever decked in their flowers. I took my lunch outside to eat under the umbrella, with my back out of the shady area and baking, but as in a very slow oven, so I remained in place.

I conversed with friends blog-style about moments and fleeting time and what happens to those moments: Are they like the picture Annie Dillard paints in words for us, “…a freely given canvas… constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream….” ? The violence of her image doesn’t set well with me now, but just a few months ago its tone would have matched what I was feeling, not about a moment but about the entire lifetime of my husband.

Now here I am, in a lovely moment, a warm and springy afternoon with birds and insects crossing paths in the  air around me. The bird bath has water in it and the towhees are taking advantage of that — or is it just one towhee who has a daily bath, and a long one at that? He splashes around for about five minutes while I watch and wait from the kitchen window, because I know that when he’s satisfied I will need to refill the bowl.

Near the birdbath is one of my two remaining Mexican Bush Sage plants. The old one at which I used to watch hummingbirds out my window for several months of the year was dug up and divided into six plants. The one we transplanted into the new garden died, and the others spent the winter in pots, three of which I gave away on Freecycle this week. I always forget until I get up close, how furry the flowers of this plant are.

Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit May 2016
echinacea – Cheyenne Spirit

And the echinacea are already blooming. At this time I have six of this variety, but no traditional purple ones. I was planning to buy a purple one to replace one that was eaten by snails, but didn’t find one anywhere.

As I bask in this moment of an hour or more I am writing, yes, because that is what I do with many of my moments and minutes and hours. It isn’t often that I am enjoying a space other than my computer corner while I write, but today I’ve written in two other places. Because I took the trouble to move myself out here to the spot in my garden where I have the wide view of everything from Margarita Manzanita to the bird feeders to the greenhouse, my moment seems to expand into deliciousness. And this isn’t the time to wonder where it has gone, poof!

P1040475

 

I was planning to sit out here and read this book that I haven’t given up on by any means, but have been neglecting. Then I looked aside and saw the first calendula flower, and this is what happened. But now I will get down to business.

 

 

Solar Flashback calendula May2016
calendula – Solar Flashback