Monday, August 31, 2009

Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie, File Gumbo

Photo by B. Fontana, with thanks.

Growing up here, I spent a lot of time in the woods . We had lots of crayfish in the river back then, and always had to watch our feet when wading in the river. Alas, there have been very few recent sightings of crayfish; I haven't seen one in the 6 years I've been back.

But wait! This picture isn't too clear, but it's exciting!

Another woman who loves the woods snapped this picture several days ago and sent me a copy of it - a crayfish! I hope this means they're returning. Signs of crayfish, along with bull frogs, swans and other life forms mean that the river is getting healthier and that is a very good thing.

Of course, now I cannot stop humming Hank Williams' song:

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

It's a toe tapper for sure!

After viewing this picture, my mind wandered back 4 years to New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. That was beyond terrible. I simply cannot imagine the horror of the humans and animals with the onslaught of water and wind, not to mention the fear of being stranded on rooftops and the grief of leaving behind beloved animals to fend for themselves. I shudder and weep still whenever I see a documentary about that catastrophe - which didn't need to be as horrific had Bush not been installed as POTUS by the Supreme Court (I don't believe Al Gore would ever leave that City and all her inhabitants to drown and yes, I do think he would have been a 2 term President had we had a legimate election), had the levees been repaired and had the shrimpers been listened to. I hope Marie Laveau haunts Bush's dreams. Cheney's, too. And often. You might even enjoy a bit of this yourself! Yes, I know, I'm bad. Bad 7 year old witch - do you hear, bad! To which I reply, "You've been fired, censor - begone or you might find that you're food for that crayfish."

One of my sisters is a very talented mosaic artist and she did this piece. If you follow the link to her Flickr page, you can view it in more detail and also read her story about the piece.

A Tale of Two Futures

Click on link to go to her Flickr site and see a larger image.

Sundry thoughts on squash

Unfurling squash blossom - click on image to enlarge it.

Zucchinis terrific!
Like bunnies, prolific!

~Author Unknown~


The trouble is, you cannot grow just one zucchini. Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables. At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more zucchinis erupt.

~Dave Barry~



Now in the east the white bean
and the great squash
are tied with the rainbow.
Listen! the rain's drawing near!
The voice of the bluebird is heard.


~Navaho Indian Chant,

Songs in the Garden of the House God~



Native Americans all over the U.S. and Canada use a term they call the Three Sisters to describe the Native American way of life through the gardening technique of planting corn, beans and squash together on the same mound. These Three Sisters - corn, beans and squash supplement and compliment each other. The vines of the bean plant grow up the corn stalk. The huge leaves of the squash vines keep the ground moist for all of the roots. The nutritious vitamins from each of the plants escapes into the soil so that they each benefit from one another.

~Deborah Champlain~



And most definitely there are recipes for squash blossoms! How do these sound to you:

Battered Squash Blossoms (With or Without Stuffing)

Squash Blossom Frittata

Squash Blossom Quesadillas

Squash Blossom Hush Puppies

Squash Blossom Soup

The recipes can be found here. I may have to ask my neighbor if I can have a few of those blossoms!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Amaterasu emerges

Squash blossom with friends - click on picture to enlarge it.

What a gorgeous day! The Sun has come out, the air is warm, the humidity is low, everything has been scrubbed clean by the rain of the last few days! I'm sure that the woods are too wet to walk in - but it's just too nice not to be out on a day like today!

Later!

A little about Amaterasu here.

In Beauty may I walk....

Navajo Blessing Way Prayer

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Queen of the Night

Jasmine Sambac, a heavenly and intensely fragranced flower. It's one of my favorites.
Photograph taken after storm yesterday. Click on image to enlarge it.

Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm.
When a storm approaches thee,
Be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower.

~Jean Paul Richter~

Redwood Tree

Click on picture to enlarge it.

Oh redwood tree

Please let us under
When we were young we used to go
Under the redwood tree

And it smells like rain
Maybe even thunder
Won’t you keep us from all harm
Wonderful redwood tree

~Lyrics from Redwood Tree, Van Morrison~

In 1976, when I visited NJ from the Bay Area, I brought back a Redwood tree for my father. The wrong kind, of course - I brought back the Coastal Redwood rather than the Giant Sequoia Redwood. The former doesn't experience snow whereas the latter does. The former grows on the coast of California and the latter in the interior places like Kings Canyon, Yosemite and Sequoia National Park (of course!). And yet, the tree that grows on the coast of California is still here and growing in New Jersey. With all of the cold and snow. Much hardier than I ever imagined.

Right now, with all of the rain and humidity, the tree is LOVING it! The picture is of the bark of the tree taken yesterday - I was trying to get a picture of the raindrop, but everything I took looks like an abstract painting of some sort! However, I did like the colors - and so I am posting it here.

Captive Sun

Click on picture to enlarge it.

The Sun's been held captive for a few days, but right now, I think She's planning her break out as it's getting lighter as I type!

This rain that we've had these past few days has made everything impossibly green! And lush. With so many different shades and hues of green! It's really quite lovely. I took quite a lot of pictures yesterday and am in the process of posting on my Flickr site, which you can find here.

You can bet that I'll be posting a few more of yesterday's photos here - and probably this afternoon!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Prayer of the Woods

Tree root filled with Spring rain

Prayer of the Woods

I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights,
the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun,
and my fruits are refreshing draughts
quenching your thirst as you journey on.

I am the beam that holds your house,
the board of your table,
the bed on which you lie,
and the timber that builds your boat.
I am the handle of your hoe,
the door of your homestead,
the wood of your cradle,

and the shell of your coffin.
I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty.

'Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer:

Harm me not.


This prayer
has been used in the Portuguese forest preservations for more than 1,000 years.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Canine epilepsy

Kylie, 1 week after arriving in NJ from Louisiana

I don't like this disease. I don't think any dog likes it, either. It is sneaky. The seizures arrive unannounced, much like an earthquake. And like earthquakes, there are severe tremors and shaking.

Kylie had one yesterday afternoon. And under the worst case scenario for me. I was working on the computer and she came over, nudging me. I thought she had to go pee, so I got up to take her outside. Now, I keep a baby gate upstairs and downstairs because I've had this fear of her having a seizure while on the stairs. And, I am usually quite vigilant in making sure that the gate is in use.

But, yesterday I forgot.

And unfortunately, Kylie had already headed downstairs. I heard a couple of thuds and then a crash. She had had a seizure and had fallen down the stairs. I saw her thrashing about at the foot of the stairs. I felt sick to my stomach.

I ran down the stairs and straightened her out - she tends to contract during a seizure. I was frantic - I didn't know if she broke any bones or ruptured any organs. The seizure was short, as usual. It took her a couple of minutes to stand up, stagger around and pace off the effects of the seizure. While watching her, I called the vet. I could hear my voice shaking. Then, I called one of my sisters and asked her to drive me to the vet if I needed to go. I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate on driving and Kylie at the same time.

The vet wasn't in the office, but the receptionist said he would call me and just to watch Kylie until he did. By the time he called, Kylie was back to normal. She wasn't limping and didn't flinch when I felt around her abdomen, ribs and spine. She was alert, interested in playing with her Squeaker and finally, I indulged her in her favorite pastime: I threw in a load of laundry. She seemed back to normal.

Kylie and I went on a long walk this morning. I haven't noticed anything physically amiss with her - let's hope it stays that way.

Dogs never cease to amaze me - they truly live in the moment, another trait they can teach us humans. I read this article this morning and thought you dog lovers might like it, too.



Kylie this afternoon, lounging on the bed while I update this post!

A Slash of Blue

A slash of Blue

A slash of Blue --
A sweep of Gray --
Some scarlet patches on the way,
Compose an Evening Sky --
A little purple -- slipped between --
Some Ruby Trousers hurried on --
A Wave of Gold --
A Bank of Day --
This just makes out the Morning Sky.

~Emily Dickinson~

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A lotus of countless petals

Photo taken by my sister, TeeDee, at the Botanical Gardens in NY.

On Self-Knowledge

Kahlil Gibran

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.


And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.


Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.


This site has the entire Prophet on line.

Allium Moon, Allium Star

Garlic chive - click on image to enlarge it.

Ode to the Onion

Onion,
luminous flask,
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
the miracle
happened
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
like swords
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
make you,
onion
clear as a planet
and destined
to shine,
constant constellation,
round rose of water,
upon
the table
of the poor.

You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
unmoving dance
of the snowy anemone

and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.

~Pablo Neruda~

Catch of the day

Click on image to enlarge it - and see just how cute he really is!
The baseball mitt belongs to Joe's 10 year old "sister."

Squeeeeeeeeee!

O M G - is this too cute or what? Meet Joe. More correctly Joe Nuthead, so named by the 6 year old boy with whom he lives.

Joe fell out of his nest and was found by my sister. Although she has raised orphaned squirrels before, she was leaving town for a few days and couldn't manage this one. So, my neighbor volunteered to take on this project with her 2 kids, husband, cats, dog and cockatiel, in spite of having no experience with baby squirrels.

Joe has opened his eyes and is quite active. Really active. He's still being fed the formula recommended by Clarissa (who knows all about baby squirrels) and is moving on to more solid food. Next on the menu are Squirrel Nutballs which will keep his minerals in balance. Or something like that.

After Joe arrived, my neighbor's husband found another baby squirrel. What are the odds of that happening? Ross, as he is known, is about a week or so younger than Joe. He has yet to open his eyes. When he was found, he had a slight bloody nose from the fall, but seems to be fine now.

I want to get over there later this week and get some pictures of my own! This one was sent by Joe's mom.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Written in the Stars

Sagittarius
November 22 to December 21


The stars foresee great deal of wealth and success in your future, though mostly it's just to keep themselves entertained.

The Onion strikes again.

Actually, if you are interested in astrology, my friend, Lark, is a very gifted astrologer. She has done a few readings for me and I found them to be very helpful in understanding past issues and some of what was happening in my life at the time of the reading.

Here are a few paragraphs from her website:

Evolutionary Astrology, seeks to penetrate the essence of each symbol to explain rather than merely describe, i.e. "Gemini people love to talk and make good teachers," might translate to, "Because of their innate curiosity and openness, Gemini people want to experience and learn as much as they can in life and to share what they know."

Evolutionary Astrology, also takes into account the questions "Why are we here? "What is this experience for?" "What do we stand to lose?" And also asks "Where have we come from?" and "Where are we headed?
Lark herself has this to say about her craft:

In the method of Evolutionary astrology that I use, the Sun sign represents our basic sense of Identity. The Moon sign represents our inner, emotional nature and the Ascendant, or Rising sign tells about our personal style and how we interface with the world. Sun, Moon and Ascendant are called the Primal Triad and are the foundation for understanding your personal themes. I consider the chart as a WHOLE. I also very carefully study the way the symbols are arranged in order to make your personal life themes clear.

Lark and her husband, Kris, are also wonderful musicians. They call themselves Kuimba and their music is world music. From their website:

Our purpose is to create and perform music that cross-links the world's cultures and philosophies and creates respect for our home planet.
If you want to hear some of their music or read more about Lark's astrology, wander on over to their websites. You won't be disappointed.

Image from here.

What's for dinner?

Baby robins nesting in the Weigela bush.

I think I'll try this recipe and use chicken breasts instead. Bourbon is another one of those bottles of alcohol that I have and don't know what to do with! I bought it to make a sweet potato pie - Jeff Smith's recipe calls for 1/4 cup of the stuff. Delicious recipe - I'll dig it out and post it close to Thanksgiving.

I will have to figure out something for the breadcrumbs and flour, though. I've been gluten free for about a month to see if this dermatitis, rashy thing I have clears up; I actually do see improvement already.

Head on over to Elise's place for cooking directions and check out some of her other delicious offerings!


Porkchops with Mushroom Bourbon Cream Sauce

Ingredients

* 2 Tbsp olive oil
* 1 pound sliced button or cremini mushrooms
* 1/4 cup chopped onions
* 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
* 1/2 cup dry white wine (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc)
* 1 cup chicken stock
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup bourbon whisky
* Salt and pepper

* 1 large egg
* 2 Tbsp water
* 4 6-7 oz center-cut pork chops
* All purpose flour
* 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
* 3 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
* 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil

Breaking News

Dog Humiliated In Front Of Entire Park


CONCORD, NH—Banjo, a local border collie mix and loyal human companion, was utterly humiliated Tuesday, when his owner, 34-year-old Michael Ingram, loudly scolded the dog right in the middle of Cold Brook Park.

Read the entire horrifying story here.

The picture, of course, is of Kylie. The humiliated Banjo can be seen at The Onion.

Song of the Flower

Song of the Flower XXIII

I am a kind word uttered and repeated
By the voice of Nature;
I am a star fallen from the
Blue tent upon the green carpet.
I am the daughter of the elements
With whom Winter conceived;
To whom Spring gave birth; I was
Reared in the lap of Summer and I
Slept in the bed of Autumn.

At dawn I unite with the breeze
To announce the coming of light;
At eventide I join the birds
In bidding the light farewell.

The plains are decorated with
My beautiful colors, and the air
Is scented with my fragrance.

As I embrace Slumber the eyes of
Night watch over me, and as I
Awaken I stare at the sun, which is
The only eye of the day.

I drink dew for wine, and hearken to
The voices of the birds, and dance
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.

I am the lover's gift; I am the wedding wreath;
I am the memory of a moment of happiness;
I am the last gift of the living to the dead;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.
This is wisdom which man must learn.

~Khalil Gibran~

Monday, August 24, 2009

October anticipation

The Squirrel

Whisky, frisky,
Hippity hop;
Up he goes
To the tree top!

Whirly, twirly,
Round and round,
Down he scampers
To the ground.

Furly, curly
What a tail!
Tall as a feather
Broad as a sail!

Where's his supper?
In the shell,
Snappity, crackity,
Out it fell.

~Anonymous~


And just you wait for new squirrel pictures! They're coming - hopefully sometime this week!

Floral waterfalls

spray clouds roar beauty
cascades pull all emotions
wonder lost in space


~Gloria Buono~


Gooseneck loosestrife from my garden reminded me of a waterfalls - or a bridal bouquet. Ah, Bridal Veil Falls! Click on image to enlarge it.

Blessing Tree

Woods

I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
there is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me

~Wendell Berry~


This HUGE tree has been around the swamp area of the woods for years. It is known by such names as Monster Tree, Muscle Tree, Witch Tree, to name a few. I like Blessing Tree. Click on image to enlarge it.


Illumined path


Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty & frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

~Rumi~

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Masks

Croneletta's Mask altered book, front cover - click on picture to enlarge it.

I have wanted to make masks for about 25 years after I first watched a PBS documentary about a woman from New Mexico who made beautiful plaster masks of people. The half hour program had me riveted. There was something so profound about capturing a few minutes in someone's life. I realized that the mask was about revealing and not hiding our inner selves as the emotional and psychic/energetic state of the person was so clearly captured in their mask. I think we humans waste an awful lot of time wearing a mask (or multiple masks!) to try and hide our authentic selves. One of the reasons I love Nature so much is that it is what it is - a dog is a dog and doesn't put on a cat's mask; an oak tree doesn't wear the skin of a beech tree; and pigs don't fly. Or even attempt to fly.

I made a mask while attending The Council of All Beings weekend retreat in Sonoma County back in the late '80s - or was it 1990? I can't remember. I do remember how profound the experience was. We all had to make a mask of the non human entity who "chose" us to speak for them. Mine was Owl.

Then in the early 2000s, I discovered Kaleo Ching who makes amazing masks. I'm sorry that I never had the opportunity to attend any of his workshops when I lived in the Bay Area. His Flickr page has some wonderful pictures of his and his students' creations. Worth a peek.

In 1993, I went to beauty school, where we did lots of masques - another way of working with a person's face! I enjoyed the experience, although I never went into the business after receiving my license as an aesthetician. When I was a child, I wanted to go to beauty school, but my mother, being who she was, thought that "only stupid girls go to beauty school."

Really? Would you trust a stupid girl with chemicals next to your hair? Unlikely.

The reason I went to beauty school at such a late date was that I had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 1991 and I thought, "If I am going to die, I'm going to beauty school first!" Thankfully, I didn't die. I never regretted leaving the corporate world for a few months in order to do this. I still maintain a strong interest in natural cosmetics, including fragrance.

And, I still have a strong desire to learn mask making.

Sunday altered book blogging

More from the mind and artistry of Croneletta.

This is the very first altered book she did - it's one of those miniature books. I can't imagine how much time she spent getting all of the pages just the way she wanted when the pages are SO small! I'd need jeweler's glasses or an electron microscope!

This is a real treasure for me....

Click on each picture to enlarge it.




Saturday, August 22, 2009

Smart doggies


A friend just forwarded this article - Moscow's Stray Dogs. It's worth the read and the pictures are priceless!

Of course, I think that Borders are the smartest - but I am slightly biased!

Spring Beauty


glittering raindrop necklace

clinging to a naked branch

reminiscent I smile

~Tukuli Dogra~

Saturday altered book blogging

My friend, Croneletta (a sort of 7 year old Crone-in-training), gifted me with a few very clever, wonderful and hilarious altered books that she made. I've decided to put some of the pages online just because. I have to figure out a better way to photograph them, though - I don't want to scan them for fear of breaking the spines of the books.

The themes in all of them are varied, depending on where she and I were in our lives. Here are themes of The Wizard of Oz, one of my all time favorite movies. When I went to see the original cast version of Wicked, my Oz experience was complete!

Happily, Croneletta had the opportunity to see the play not once, but twice in California! I would see it again, too!


Click on each of the pictures to enlarge them.

Actually, Croneletta created her book in 2005, not 1995 - both of us are 10 years behind the times in so many ways and truly haven't arrived in the 21st century yet. Time travel, as you know, like teleporting, can be quite tricky.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Grooming day today!


Wu Ji

Only earth's warm skin
below
and crown of head
singing

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Artemis as a child

(Photo by B. Fontana, with thanks. Click on picture to enlarge it.)

sometimes i feel like
a deer in the woods looking

for just the right place

~Author unknown*~


*Note: I grabbed this poem from the internet and could not find attribution given to the author. If you are the author or know the author, please leave a note in the comment section so that I can give credit.

Summer dreams


This is about where I'd like to be for a day or 2 until this heat and humidity disappear back to where they came.

And to think that at one point in the past I dreamed of moving to a tropical country.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

St. Germain

A qausi spiritual post about this guy?

Nope.

About this. You might be feeling like quite the ascended master after a few drinks, though.

I bought this to make cocktails for a couple of my sisters when they had dinner here. That was one night and 3 cocktails. I had no idea what to do with the rest of the bottle since the only alcohol that I drink is wine.

One day, while making a fruit salad, my inner alchemist got the idea of incorporating this liqueur into the fruit salad. Its aroma is so delicate and flowery; I thought it would be a good addition to the fruit.

So into the bowl of many different fruits ~ fresh pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, to name a few ~ went a couple of kinds of fresh mint, pineapple sage and lemon verbena from my garden (chopped quite finely), superfine sugar to taste, a squeeze of fresh lime and/or lemon or orange to taste and the last but not least, the St. Germain.

I tasted it.

More St. Germain.

Tasted again.

Still needed more St. Germain.

Tasted it once again.

Oh, what the heck, put a little bit more of the stuff in there - what else are you going to use it for?

Now, it was good; I liked it. And I had a slight buzz after all of that tasting.

I asked a neighbor to taste it. She asked, "Can I have some more?"

I asked another sister to taste it (I have 6 of them, by the way) and she simply stopped, closed her eyes and uttered, "This could make you famous. Did you write down the recipe?"

Of course, I hadn't. I made it up as I went along. I didn't measure anything and still don't.

Happy to share it if you like the idea of an adult fruit salad.

PS - I just saw that Elise has a recipe for Elderberry jelly and some links to sites for making Elderberry syrup and liqueur (from the berries, not the flowers).

The Art of Being

(Click on picture to enlarge it)

The privilege of a lifetime is to be who you are.

~Joseph Campbell~


I like my weekly horoscope, compliments of Rob Brezsny ~ I'm ready to play!

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

I'd like to discuss The Game. Do you
know what I mean? I'm talking about The Unnamed Game. The Uber-Game that is so vast and all-encompassing that it's virtually a secret. What if you discovered that one of the seemingly sacrosanct rules of The Game was really just a local ordinance, and no longer applied if you played in a different arena or at a higher level? And what if I said that in this different arena or higher level, new allies are poised to introduce you to loopholes and shortcuts you never imagined existed?

Humidity, humidity go away...

O M G!

Look what the humidity has done to me!

I'm morphing ~ I'm morphing!


Auntie Em, Auntie Emmmmmmmm

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Star Goddess


Charge of the Star Goddess


I who am the beauty of the green Earth

And the white Moon among the stars

And the mysteries of the waters,

I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.

For I am the soul of Nature that gives life to the universe.

From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.

Let my worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold ~

All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,

Honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who seek to know Me, know that your

Seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless

You know the Mystery:
For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself,

You will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning,

And I am that which is attained at the end of desire.



~From The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk~

Wings up, Petals down


Perhaps this silent
Wanderer fashions flowers
Dreamy butterfly

~Reikan~

Flamenco Dancer

Flamenco Dancer

She raises her long sinuous arms in stance,
Castanets slowly click and clack.
Head thrown back on long swanlike neck.
Lovely lithe body; Sweeping perfectly curved back.
Man stands in corner, hat over face.
She picks up the rhythm to his guitar.
Castanets trade on sound and pace.
Long beautiful legs sway body from a'far,
Tapping rhythm as he syncopates.
Swirling scarlet dress flounced to swing.
To the rhythm of her body; The audience anticipates.
Castanets reverberate as a continuous sound.
Scarlet skirt swirls flared from hips.
Arms now rotate and legs swing as she dances,
An impassioned display That befits the dance,
Of the matador as she steps and prances.
Loses all control as she sweeps and glides across the floor,
Surely there are no more passionate dances,
Played to flamenco heart and soul in tune with life in the raw.

~Sid John Gardner~

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jeremiah was a Bullfrog

Click on image to enlarge it.

This guy was caught by my neighbor's daughter. When she brought him over for me to see, I thought he was plastic. Wrong. He was quite real and quite alive. Notice the front left foot of Froggy - it appears that Froggy had some sort of encounter with a Snapping Turtle, or, perhaps the Blue Heron got a little too close for comfort.

Although the kids pleaded to keep Froggy, calmer heads prevailed and Froggy was released back to the river.

Go ahead.

Sing it.

You know you want to!

Joy to the world, all the boys and girls, joy to the fishies in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me....

Woodstock - 40 years ago

It just seemed appropriate to put this Black Swallowtail Caterpillar picture up on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. I enjoyed some of the programming I listened to on WFUV and the local PBS station this weekend.

My, how time flies - that music is still so fresh in my mind!

(Click on picture to enlarge it)

White Rabbit
( Jefferson Airplane / Stone Free LP )

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small

And the ones that mother gives you

Don't do anything at all

Go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall


And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell him a hookah-smokin' caterpillar
Has given you the call

And call Alice when she was just small


When the men on the chessboard

Get up and tell you where to go

And you have just have some kind of mushroom

And your mind is movin' low

Go ask Alice, I think she'll know

And logic and proportion

Have fallen sloppy dead

And the white knight is talking backwards

And the red queen's off with her head

Remember
What the dormouse said
Feed your head

Feed your head

Good Morning!


SUNSHINE

With her radiance full of glow

It soars high above

to touch our world below

~Melvin Banggollay~

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Name that bug!

Click on image to enlarge.

I have no idea what this little insect it - what intrigued me was that its antennae were as long, if not longer than its body! I tried to find a picture of it on line, but do you know just how many insects there are on our planet??

Hmmm, maybe I'll need to check my Gary Larson reference book on the natural world! I'm sure that this little bug is not one of these!

I miss The Far Side!

I Heart Cilantro


This was my herb garden when I first planted it. Someone in town was tossing out a bookcase which was open on both front and back sides - I thought it would make a great planter and it did! I stapled non-skid kitchen drawer lining to the sides of the bookcase to keep the soil in, filled it with potting soil and planted it with lots of herbs. It was really lush the first 2 years I had it - not so much this year.

The soil in this area needs a ton of amendment - it's got a lot of clay in it. Behind this box is my first herb garden that I dug out with a lot of effort! There were lots of rocks, roots and red clay soil - I wasn't deterred by them, although I was exhausted afterwards! It needs a lot of TLC right now - I'll rake out the debris, mulch it and let it sleep throughout the Winter. Maybe next year, it will perk up again.

I didn't plant any cilantro back then, but I sure discovered my taste for it this year! Here's a great recipe for cilantro pesto - yum!


Ingredients

2 bunches cilantro, rinsed of all grit
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 shallot
1 small jalapeno pepper, pith and seeds removed
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 Tsp sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Remove skins from garlic and shallot - put them with jalapeno into food processor and process. Add cilantro and sherry wine vinegar - process until it becomes a paste. Add in pine nuts - process until nuts are almost invisible. While food processor is running, pour in the olive oil and process until the mixture is a very smooth and wonderful shade of green. Taste for salt and pepper - give it a few pulses until everything is combined.

Spoon into old ice cube trays (ones you'll never use for ice!) and freeze. When frozen, remove from tray and put into a plastic container - keep in freezer until ready to use. I find these cubes a very convenient and handy way to have fresh cilantro pesto whenever I want.

Use with pasta, shrimp and even in guacamole (discovered when I realized I was out of fresh cilantro for the guacamole and tried one of the cubes with the rest of the ingredients - delish!)

Blessed Bee

Click image to enlarge it.

This is mint from my neighbor's garden - the one that has the corn and squash. I didn't do much in my garden this year; I'm still trying to figure out how to plant with the seasons. This year was so wet in June and then July sort of flew by. Now it's August, there is Hallowe'en and Autumn stuff at Marshalls (!) and I still have some donated perennials from my sister, Jane, in their temporary pots; same with some of my culinary herbs! I certainly was NOT busy like the bee in the picture. Oh, well - next year I hope to be a bit more involved with my herbs and plants.

It is so oppressively humid again today - the cicadas are singing loudly this morning. We managed to get our long walk in before 9 am, but still, both Kylie and I are wrung out from the humidity. The woods are loving it - everything is impossibly green and moist. It's beautiful to look at, but it is uncomfortable being outside for any length of time. I used to think I could live in the tropics - not any more!

Over the last few days, I've run into people I went to school with in NJ - that's a long time ago. I've only minimally kept up with one high school friend and very few other people from this small town. I met my neighbor's mother on Friday and after talking, we discovered that we graduated from the same high school one year apart. It brought home to me that I could have a daughter the same age as my neighbor, something I cannot even imagine! And today, I saw the woman who grows the beautiful hibiscus plants and found out she lived a few doors down from me when I was growing up here!

Weird. It feels so weird.

So much of my life growing up in this small town seems like a past life memory; California is much more real to me. I wonder if that will change anytime soon?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to my favorite Lioness!

Today is Sue's birthday - happy, happy birthday to one of my dearest friends!

I met Sue in 1971 when I moved to California - we worked together at a large insurance company for years and were even roommates for a few years. I've found that being around a person at work and living with them produces one of two emotions in me: I either love that person unconditionally or I despise them just as unconditionally! With Sue, it's the former. I'm so happy that we're still friends after all of these years.

For me, Sue is like having an older, beloved sister, something I never had. I learned so many things from her - being authentic, unconditional love, generosity of spirit, laughing at the absurdity of things, curiosity about life and cooking to name just a few.

My love of food and cooking came from Sue - she is an amazing cook; her food is flavored with her love for the art of cooking and for those for whom she prepares it. Think Babette's Feast or Like Water for Chocolate and you have Sue's food. It's no coincidence that she and Julia Child share the same birthday!

So, Sue - have a wonderful birthday today. I wish for you all the best of life and love, now and always!

xoxo

~Me

Image from here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Falling towards the Equinox


austere Zen garden
leaf falls, disturbing order

relief from straight lines

~Petescape~