Sunday, October 24, 2021

Meema and Josie Collaborate

 Youthful freedom and optimism meet existential angst.

She was knocking off her paintings in minutes while I was still getting started on mine. I mentioned this and she said, "It's because I'm young and you're an old lady."

I tried to say something about old ladies having learned that they do better work if they take their time, but she had already dashed off another piece (this time using a chunk of dry watercolor like a crayon) and moved on to play dough.

This is a turtle.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Pancit Bijon--Filipino Cooking


My friend Cory often sends me links to recipes he's intrigued by. Pancit Bijon is a  Filipino dish with rice noodles, chicken, snow peas, and grated carrots--not to mention garlic (7 cloves which sounds like a lot but which were not even noticeable to us,) onion, scallions, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce.  The chicken is simmered and shredded ahead of time, the veggie prep can also be done earlier (I grated my carrots in the food processor,)  and the last minute cooking takes about 10 minutes.

The recipe calls for a garnish of sliced scallion (I increased the amount) and a squeeze of calamansa juice. Turns out calamansas are calamondins which we had in Florida but rarely see in stores up here. Fortunately the juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime with about a teaspoon of sugar is a perfect substitute. 

The dish is light and delicious and really pretty simple. This recipe could serve four to six. When I reheat the leftovers for another meal, I plan to throw in a few shrimp because why not. Also maybe a little Sriracha for heat.

The full recipe is HERE.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Hunter's Moon

The Hunter's Moon makes me think of a story I posted on this blog maybe four years ago about the mysterious Nimrod Hunter.  Go HERE to read it.  


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Pansy Madness Continues

I went back to the nursery and got a second flat of pansies.

I visualize a pool of purple blooms around this little rock pool. (The rock is  naturally hollowed, used by the previous occupant of this land to hold salt for his cows.) 

Some years my pansies thrive; some years the deer pull them up. As we hadn't seem many deer recently, I took a chance.

Then at lunch, I looked out the dining room window to see three young deer, sauntering through the pasture. 

Oh dear. oh dear.


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

On a Clear Day--Sunrise to Moonrise





Monday, October 18, 2021

Fun with Grumpy's Tongs by Me Josie

Tongs are very useful for moving the Castle People and their pets around.

You have to do it very carefully. Watch how I pick up this horse.

It doesn't hurt him.

It is like an exciting ride high up in the sky.  He likes it.

The tongs are Grumpy's, like the spatula is Meema's. He uses them when he cooks on the grill. But I am using them now. I moved all the Castle People out to the table with them. And I took the Castle People for high up rides around the living room. 

Meema says maybe I will use the tongs to put them back before I go home. I tell her We'll see. Right now I am busy.


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Unearthing The Secret Garden

I've long been a fan of Marta McDowell's elegant and knowledgeable garden-related prose. For me, as a gardener a writer, and a reader, my cup overflows when she turns her discerning eye to writers and their gardens. Beatrix Potter, Emily Dickenson, Laura Ingalls Wilder have all received their due from this fine writer.  But, oh! when she takes on Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, it is a match made in gardening heaven.

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in saying that The Secret Garden is one of the formative and best beloved books of my childhood. And McDowell's account of Burnett's life and writing and gardens is a sumptuous feast of delights. Much like Louisa May Alcott, Burnett supported herself and her family by writing 'pot-boilers.' With the publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy, she became a wealthy woman--and was enabled to support her gardening passion in a manner most of us can only dream of.  Gardeners! Cartloads of rose bushes! Delphiniums by the bushel!

During the course of her life, Burnett made gardens at three homes--one in England, one on Long Island, and one in Bermuda. McDowell details the making of these wonderlands in such vivid description that the photographs and illustrations of which the book is full, are hardly necessary, delightful though they are.

And learning about Burnett herself was fascinating. I've had an almost lifelong acquaintance with Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden) and Sara Crewe (A Little Princess) and I loved seeing how they echoed bits of their creator's life.

Highly recommended, especially for gardeners and fans of The Secret Garden.


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Friday, October 15, 2021

Fall Gardening-Lite

My touchy back and imperfect balance make impossible the kind of gardening I once did. But it's fall and it's time to plant some pansies. If deer or chipmunks don't mess with them, they will bloom through the winter, their smiling faces uplifted as the sow melts.

A few share space with a snapdragon, dianthus, and golden oregano in the planter by the greenhouse door.

On the deck, I pruned back the evergreens in the blue pots to make room for pansies.

We'll enjoy seeing them from the dining room windows. And there was a bonus--one pot had a fine crop of chickweed, just right for the evening salad.

There are more pansies to plant but that will entail making space in some overcrowded beds. Onward and upward in the garden--at my own slow pace!


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Autumn Light--Cheap or Rich?

 A commenter on one of my recent posts of photos from around here said she'd always disliked autumn light, calling it 'cheap light' because it isn't as direct and full on as summer light. 

True enough. Summer light is hard-edged and clear while autumn light is mellow and a little blurred around the edges. Kind of like the difference between young people and elders.


But I've always loved the golden haze of autumn. To me it's a magical, liminal time--not straightforward like summer. I see the air as rich and heavy with memories of the past spring and summer, waiting to be wiped clean by winter.

And that's maybe another parallel with people.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021


Hey, it's me Josie again. I had another sleepover at Meema and Grumpy's on Monday night. 

I took Margot down to watch the goldfish and we counted seven.  Well, counted them because Margot is only one and can't count while I can count to 100 if someone helps with the -ty numbers like 40, 70, and 90. Meema got me to count when she turned the lights out to go to sleep but it didn't make me sleepy. 

Of course we did some painting.  Meema is still working on a bunny. (She is pretty slow but I can finish a picture in no time.)

Meema says I am moving from my abstract/color field phase to more representational pictures. (I just did it to make her happy because she asked it I could make a tree. I made purple water, a yellow sun and two trees--apple and banana--and one more.)

I put some of my babies to bed in my old crib. Now that I am a Big Kid, I sleep in the bed with Meema and Blue Elephant and Snugglepuppy and Margot and Dolly. And a few books. Sometimes I have to tell Meema to skooch over (she is very large.) And sometimes Corycat gets on the foot of the bed. But we all sleep together very nicely, once Meema settles down.

I love sleepovers but Meema says one day a week is enough if I don't want her to get cranky. (Sometimes she is a little cranky anyway like when I had to take Dolly and Blue Elephant and Margot into the grocery store and she didn't want to carry them for me. She didn't want to carry my suitcase either and I had to leave it in the car. But mostly she is nice and reads books and gets me food when I ask politely. I ate four apples in one day. You have to have apples when you are reading.)