Tag Archives: apples

T.i.c.k. t.o.c.k.

For the first time this year I have slipped in to the zone of a ‘Slow Watch’.

My stay here may only last 24 hours 😉 but I intend to luxuriate in every nano second of it :

doors wide open to gentle breeze, soft sun, and cicada song;

table full- laden with gifts from friends and garden;

Gifts of garden and friends

Gifts from garden and friends

the noisy, bustling,  tilted world  of recent weeks,

Busy

Busy

 

restrained, then replaced by sweet moments

Sweet bites

Sweet bites

of the rightful order of a steady, subtlety silent, tick by tock.

The Rightful Order

The Rightful Order

With thanks to Nath at Beautycalypse for introducing me to the reframing of time via the Slow Watch.

https://beautycalypse.com/2017/02/26/productivity-and-sleep/

 

© silkannthreades

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12.51 ~Holding On

12.51 pm ~

that dreadful moment, 4 years ago, today, that ripped apart what was left of our quaint, quiet world.

I am remembering it.

My heart doesn’t want to anymore, but my brain and my body  insist.  12.51, and all the other moments, beginning Sept 4, 2010, are imprinted on my being ~ indelibly. They have leached to my very core. Part of who I am and what I will be, forever.

Four years on and I still stiffen at any unexpected movement in the house, even if it’s only the wind, or a shake caused by a truck rumbling  on the road.   I startle easily. And, then, there are those moments that come, out of the blue, and screech through my head for an intense few seconds, saying, ” Is it going to happen again, NOW?  Is it, is it? What will I do? What will I do? Will I make it? How will I hold on? Can I hold on? ”  I am standing again in the bathroom doorway, holding on to frame and fear. Indescribable fear.

Then it’s over. I survive, and move on. Slowly. On shaky legs.

I set the table, in some trepidation, with my great-grandmother’s china. (Please no shakes, please no shakes.) I remind myself it has survived more than a 100 years. It is chipped, cracked and crazed, but its beauty and value remains.

A friend brings apples.

What would my Bramley ancestors make of these apples http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravenstein in her serving dish?

What would my Bramley ancestor make of these  apples in her serving dish?

 

She has gathered them from an abandoned, earthquake-damaged property in her neighborhood. She calls them gravestone apples. I like that. They are, in a way. The property on which they grow is like a forlorn graveyard.

I eat the apples. I bake them. They are given new life, new form.

Crostatahttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/apple-crostata-recipe.html meets Chintz, Felicity, Vermont and Williamsburg

Crostata meets Chintz, Felicity, Vermont and Williamsburg at my table.

 

I bake bread, to share.

Bread to share

Bread to share

I want to feast on life, not fear.

Join me. Take a slice,

Take a slice

Take a slice

a spoon, a fork, “dig in”.

For keeps from Kerry. :) featuring Community Plate (Coronation) from my mother's cutlery set.http://www.rubylane.com/item/362270-1936CO-set-modgrille/Oneida-Community-Plate-CORONATION-Art-Deco

For keeps from Kerry. :), featuring Community Plate (Coronation) from my mother’s cutlery set. The tiny teaspoons belonged to my paternal great-grandmother Alice. http://www.rubylane.com/item/362270-1936CO-set-modgrille/Oneida-Community-Plate-CORONATION-Art-Deco

Something to ponder as you digest :

The china used in this post is a metaphor for continuity. The  Flow Blue  semi porcelain plates which belonged to my maternal great-grandmother were produced about 1912. The pattern is Vermont. They were made in England by Burgess and Leigh. The small blue plates, which I purchased just prior to the earthquakes, are also Burgess and Leigh. They are made in the same way and in the same factory as the Vermont china was all those years ago. One pattern is Felicity, the other is Chintz. Felicity is a small, delicate flower pattern reminiscent of elder flowers in a gentle pale blue originating from the 1930s. Burgess Chintz is a delicate blue chintz  pattern dating from the early 1900s, derived from the wild geranium. How any of this china survived the shaking, I will never know.

 

© silkannthreades

Apple pie and the longest night

June 21st;  the winter solstice; the longest night of the year.

The sun will set tonight at 5.01pm and not rise again till 8.03 am. A long, dark night is ahead. Harsh winter days are ahead, too, but, after this solstice, this time of standing still, the days will lighten and lengthen and provide promises of the warmth to come.

I have been quiet; gathering in the sunshine (when it appears); thinking and reflecting; allocating my physical and mental resources, carefully and sparingly.  I have been reading your blogs, as and when possible, enjoying your stories, your creativity, your company. You filter through my screen, reach out with your words and images, and become the surround sound, the presence, of my silent space, until the phone rings, or the doorbell trills, and my real-time world reminds me where I am.

Where I am….in a kitchen, looking at dishes, waiting on the sunlit bench, to be sent to the dishwasher.

Dishes standing still, waiting to be washed.

Dishes standing still, waiting to be washed.

In a kitchen, looking at the dishes, but sensing the sweetly fragrant camellias, at my back, on the sunlit table.

Yet, I am not entirely present, in this kitchen, for at the edges of my mind, I am dwelling in the time of my elders, seated at small kitchen tables, near old coal ranges, delighting in warm winter puddings, or bowls of hot porridge. And I am chuckling that this little girl, my mother’s big sister,

Best Apple Pie Maker in New Zealand

Best Apple Pie Maker in New Zealand

grew up to be the winner of a National Apple Pie competition in New Zealand, in the 1950s.  ( Yes, cooking competitions existed before  Masterchef) Who would have guessed it?  She was a star in the making.

My aunt is NOT in this photo but these people are the placegetters in the 1959 Apple Pie Competition. ( The photo of my aunt with her prize-winning pie is lying somewhere deep, and presently undiscoverable, in family files, read junk piles! )

Best Apple Pies in New Zealand 1959Placegetters in apple pie baking contest, holding their winning pies. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1959/2616-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30664376

Best Apple Pies in New Zealand 1959 Placegetters in apple pie baking contest, holding their winning pies. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1959/2616-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30664376

The darkness is coming; the sun is edging westward in the sky. Is it time to stop the memory clock and make a pie, perhaps?

Winter Puddings for 1957 or 2014Maori Affairs Department. APPLE PIE - (Te Ao Hou - No. 18 May 1957). Ref: Mao18TeA. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/199657

Winter Puddings for 1957 or 2014 Maori Affairs Department. APPLE PIE – (Te Ao Hou – No. 18 May 1957). Ref: Mao18TeA. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/199657

Or should I light a candle, take up the aged photo albums, and dwell a little longer with the old ones?

The blessings of the Solstices, the still time, to you all.

© silkannthreades

 

In other news….of caterpillars and kindnesses

In other news …

of caterpillars….

this is my first ‘ever’ photo of a monarch caterpillar beginning to pupate, (taken on Tuesday 18 February) .

Preparing to Pupate

Preparing to Pupate

I was looking forward to taking another photo, the next day, of the chrysalis but there was a wild wind storm in the night and, when the next day came, I couldn’t see a chrysalis anywhere. 😦

In other news…

of kindnesses……

A while back, on a whim, I sent a ceramic cat to blogger  Megan , to add to her cat collection.  Megan, as some of you may know, blogs about her life with Chester Cat and K, and her personal journey  with OCD. As a thank you for my gift of a little kitty, Megan sent me  two of her special crochet  blooms from her new venture, the Etsy Store,  Peony Crochet.

Blooms from Bloomington

Rose Blooms from Bloomington

Megan is a staunch advocate for Mental Health wellness, and has recently had success in her efforts to bring more sense and kindness and understanding to the media’s portrayal of mental health. She called it   One Small Victory.

To celebrate, Megan’s victory, I thought I would put a rose in my hair,

Bloomin' Beautiful

Bloomin’ Beautiful  (Have you any idea how difficult it is to take a selfie of the back of your head ? !)

and a rose on my hat,

Rose in my hat and ready to pick up my skirt and dance

Rose in my hat and ready to pick up my skirt and dance

and, with a flick of my skirt, dance out the door…..to… ?

But not before acknowledging other kindnesses:

from the friend who gave me the skirt to swish through the swan song of summer;

and the friends who lent me books about travel and gardens,

Going Somewhere?

Going Somewhere?

and what to grow in them;

A Modern Herbal edited by Violet Stevenson

A Modern Herbal edited by Violet Stevenson

and from friend, Sharifah Hamzah, global citizen of  Building Bridges, who sent me a signed copy of her Kampung Memories, as a Book-Giveaway prize.

Kampung Memories by Sharifah Hamzah

Kampung Memories by Sharifah Hamzah

Sharifah’s story “takes you on a trail of getting to know the kampungs of Singapore; its history, and the people who grew up there and lived the life. She also includes her own memories and reflections of kampung life and how it has been a part of her foundation as she navigates her life in other parts of the world.”   I can’t wait to get started, especially after reading this appreciative  review.

In other news…

for all those ‘haters’ of blogs who claim that we obsessively record too much trivia…here’s news for you….

sometimes we don’t record EVERYTHING; sometimes, when kindness arrives on the doorstep, in the guise of a  friend with bowls of delicious, warm apple pie-cake, we are in such a hurry to gobble it down, we forget the photo opportunities, until the plate is empty.

Praise Be

The  swan plant I ordered to replenish my monarch caterpillars’ food supply came yesterday, just in the nick of time. It has been planted,

Praise be for more food

Praise be for more food

and my remaining caterpillars are now busily chomping on their fresh greens. Hopefully, the caterpillars will  have enough food to take them through their fifth  instar and into their chrysalis stage.  Most of them look big enough to be close to their final and complete metamorphosis.

Is this the 5th instar?

Is this the 5th instar?

Whilst the caterpillars are nourishing their bodies in preparation for change, I thought we might do the same. Would you care to indulge?…..

in a taste of the last of summer in this delicious, spicy rhubarb cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

or, perhaps, in a little something that speaks of cooler mornings and the colder days to come; a gingerbread cake.

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

But, if you are wanting a lighter indulgence, may I suggest a serving of the apple, instead of the cake.  Again there are two choices; Cherry Gala apples lightly cooked with a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of sugar and a handful of rose petals;

or Royal Gala and Eve  apples , sautéed gently in a sliver of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.

Mmmmm…How was that? Delectable? Are you feeling suitably indulged and ever so glad that we are not limited to one food type like the monarch caterpillar; that we are able to experience so many taste sensations; that we have such variety in our menus.

Praise be to the  butterflies  and bees that make that possible.

~

At 12.51pm today we marked the  third anniversary of the  February 22nd earthquake. At the memorial service in the Botanic Gardens, the Mayor said “Let us unite as we did after the earthquakes. For those of us who have been able to move on, let us reach out to those who are still struggling. .. For those who cannot move on, please do not be afraid to ask for our help… We can get through this together.”

In caterpillar terms, ( because I have this essential life form so much on my mind 😉 ) most of us have made it through the first instar; some of us are almost ready to be butterflies; indeed, may already be  flying freely. Some of us, such as myself, are still  ambling along in the third instar. But there’s no rush. With nourishment and nurture, we will, eventually, be transformed.

( I think I will make a good  butterfly, don’t you?  🙂   Better keep my feet clean, though. Butterflies taste through their ‘feet’! )

© silkannthreades

“How do I love thee…apples….”

When the first blush of autumn tints the oak,

First tint of autumn

First tint of autumn

and one can feel that quintessential, autumnal air in the breeze,

the apple harvest comes to market.

It's a Breeze

It’s a Breeze

” Dull Russet, glossy  Quarrenden,

Green Wellington,  and scarlet-peeled  Pearmain

You apple-trees,  give up your sum-

Your time is come, your time is come.” (*Apple-time by Eleanor Farjeon)

I am Smitten

Smitten by apples

Smitten by apples

by apples. I adore them. Should I blame my love affair with the apple

I *heart* apples

I *heart* apples

on Eve,

Was it Adam or Eve?

Was it Adam or Eve?

or  Adam?

“Like Adam, I was born

To go  and seek the apple-trees…

the green, the yellow, and the red,

The streaky  pippin-stripe,

The windfall and the still unshed,

The ripe and the unripe-” (* The Favourite Fruit by Eleanor Farjeon)

Or, perhaps,  I should leave that scenario alone, clouded as it is with doubt, and attribute my love of apples to the irresistible  Beauty of  its feng shui,

A Beauty

A Beauty

which brings harmony and peace  to  hearth and home

and rosy good health, too; according to the ancient wisdom of Dae Jang Geum

The wisdom of Dae Jang Geumhttp://www.koreandrama.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/daejanggeum3.jpg

The wisdom of Dae Jang Geum

who, in  Episode 52    of  The Jewel in the Palace, insists that apples be placed next to the King, because the aroma of apples will improve his well-being.

And, though I am no King,  I can attest to the loveliness of falling asleep with the sweet scent of apples next to one’s pillow.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

So, when the hint of a flush colours the leaf,

Autumn in the air

Autumn in the air

feast on *”the ruddy apple of the sun” in all its variety, complexity

"Ruddy apple of the Sun" http://echodale.co.nz/apples

“Ruddy apple of the Sun”Suncrisp

and deliciousness.

Apple and raisin crepes with apricot fool, adapted from A Girl called Jackhttp://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/11/20/apple-sultana-pancakes-22p/

Apple and sultana crepes with apricot fool, adapted from  A Girl called Jack

© silkannthreades

Despond and a piece of humble pie

The other night, when I was putting the house to bed, (locking the doors, closing the windows, turning off lights, drawing the curtains), the curtain, plus rail, in the living room came galumphing down and nearly took out my shoulder. After a few  of these  #@!%@#*! , I galumphed in to a chair myself and thought, “Well, that just about sums up my week; broken and broke!”  And I went from being in a funk to floundering in the  Slough of Despond.

This miry Slough is such a place as cannot be mended; it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run, and therefore is it called the Slough of Despond: for still as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place; and this is the reason of the badness of this ground.’

Isn’t that such a great description of despondency?  It made me feel better just by reading it and wallowing, for a while, in its awful miry  scumminess.

Most of my funk came from the outcome of 4 month-long pension review/battle with  our government pension department. It’s too vexing and complicated to explain in this post but, basically, the outcome was not in our favour. As a result, our pension income is, now, several thousands of dollars  lower per annum than we expected it to be. The review results were delivered, this week, in a pleasant letter, and came with the offer of taking the matter through to further reviews and committees; and was signed, yours sincerely, ( by a sincere young man whom I have come to know well, mostly through an exchange of  very annoyed letters on my part 😦 )

Yes, well, harumph and grump; I am not entirely sure I can be bothered with continuing my pension crusade. Whilst all this was going on, Vickie Lester at  Beguiling Hollywood   posted this quote, from Franklin D Roosevelt, which entirely suited my mood

Let us not be afraid to help each other—let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and Government officials but the voters of this country.

She was, of course, using the quote in relation to the shutdown of the US Government but, in my dealings with Government bureaucracies and officials and official forms, over the years, I have often felt that there is a complete lack of understanding by Government, (and its officials) , of its purpose and role; that is, it is OUR service and its workers are OUR servants whom we ask to use OUR money wisely and for OUR benefit. Democratic governments were never intended to be our rulers, our disempowerers,  forever telling us what to do, and not to do, and which part of form WXB para. 8 c, sub-clause 24  we forgot to complete or completed incorrectly, and, and, and………….oh, and, by the way, does anyone remember when they last received a letter from a Government official signed, ” Your most humble and obedient servant.” ?

Thought not! That practice went out the window a long time ago. The Queen is about the only one who still remembers to use those words 🙂

Well, rant, rant……enough of it. To cheer myself, I made, and ate, my humble pie, otherwise known as  Crostata. The recipe I use is based on thisone  by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.

I am relatively new to the art of Crostata-making but I love its easy, rustic free-form style. And it is very forgiving of mistakes and carelessness. My Crostata, this week, had a filling of rhubarb and apple, spiced with orange peel and ginger.  I used up some pastry I had leftover from a potato pie I had made earlier in the week .  Until quite recently,  I was afraid of pastry making, worried that it was too complicated for my culinary  skill levels. But, in a moment of epiphany one fine day, it occurred to me that pies were once the most commonplace of foods and, therefore, should be as easy as pie to make. And so they are;  with the help of a kitchen whizz,  a good helping of nonchalance, and a light touch with the rolling-pin and a good hot oven.

Free-Form Pie

Free-Form Pie; rough as….

Perhaps it’s not the best looking pie you’ve ever seen but it tasted absolutely delicious.

And to cheer myself even more, I challenged myself to make a sound recording. It’s as rough and ready as my Crostata but, hey, I did it.  🙂 Perhaps there’s still a little filling left in the old girl yet!

© silkannthreades