Tag Archives: plums

Keeping track of myself

As a slow-moving, slow-thinking, stay-at-homer, living without the aid of  a Fitbit to keep track of myself, I am inclined to fall into the habit of believing that my day’s achievements equal little more than  washing out and washing in; and that’s on a relatively well-organized day. 😀 However, if I stop for a moment and put on my old-fashioned  considering cap , I slowly  begin to understand that I have been achieving. Indeed, almost over-achieving 😉 .

For example, in this past first week of the New Year, I have, amongst other things, baked two  delicious cakes, a loaf of yogurt bread, and two hearty desserts.  I have been on some favourite  summertime walks. I have caught up with most of my blog reading and commenting. And I have decluttered the inner workings of my faithful old Toshiba laptop so that it performs faster and more efficiently than it has done in years. Hooray! Oh, and, let’s not forget, I  have given my husband a handsome haircut. ( It’s taken me more than thirty years to get up the courage to take on the haircutting! )

But of more importance, and beyond any of these achievements, has been my week of keeping tabs on my BEING; specifically on my Grateful Being.  Many people write a gratitude journal but this is the first time I have done so. It was much harder work than I expected, but I am pleased I persevered with it.

So, if you have a moment to spare, draw up a chair, put on your considering caps, and make what you will of my 7 days of random gratitudes.

Here I go….. grateful for

and grateful, too, for my new  Nextbook, for my ability to sleep soundly  through the Wilberforce earthquake, and grateful for the fact that our  Christmases don’t all come at once.

My final gratitude is reserved for the wonderful weeds that grow like flowers in my garden.

Self-sown beauties.

Self-sown beauties.

© silkannthreades


Inspiring transformations

Ladysighs teaches herself to write Minute Poems  and  Lanterne poetry.   Mrs P  of Destination Unknown challenges herself to create Villanelles. Their willingness to play with form and words inspired me to attempt a haiku; my very first haiku, ever, emerging, as I near the completion of my fifties!

The monarchs return

when the plums ripen and fall

and  the winds blow home.

The monarchs return

The monarchs return

Plums ripen

when the plums ripen

Plum drop

and fall

There it is; short and sweet 😉

Will I write more haiku, or try my hand, and brain, at another form of poetry ? Maybe, but probably not yet. I would like to concentrate  my spare creative energy on my  chap books.  They need a massive transformation before they are ready to fly.

© silkannthreades

Season for plums or delicious plum-foolery

It is the season for plums. It is the time for plum deliciousness.

Season for Plums

Season for Plums

Plums make:

a perfectly delightful gift for a friend;

Plums, pretty and perfect

Plums, pretty and perfect and a delicious gift

and a beautiful, bounteous, table decoration;

Laden with Plums

Laden with Plums


A Vase of Plums

A Vase of Plums

Plums make delectable eatables:

like gleaming, sugar-shimmering, baked compote;

Baked Plums for the Table

Baked Plums for the Table

and rich coffee cake.

Plum Coffee Cake

Plum Coffee Cake

[ take a slice, please do 🙂 ]

An invitation to a slice

An invitation to a slice

And plums are fabulous for frivolous  fool…ishness  ;

and golden jam,

Jono's Jam

Jono’s Jam

and plums make a jolly good story, too, don’t they? 😉

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© silkannthreades

Out of the Gloom come Gems of Loveliness

Continuing on the theme of   surprises ,  it is surprising what gems of loveliness can be found, tucked away,  in the gloom

There be GLOOM!

There be GLOOM!

of the back rooms of our lives.

Inspired by a friend’s gift of plums from her backyard tree,

Plums, pretty and perfect

Plums, pretty and perfect, rich gems of juicy fruit

I was fossicking in the attic,

in search of my books on  JAM , plum jam, when my eyes lit upon the long-forgotten face of Sister Wendy Beckett,

contemplative nun, writer, broadcaster and art lover, who recently appeared on Desert Island Discs, talking of her life, her love of  Schubert’s Serenade , and confessing to the sin of being nasty to her little sister 😦

I was thrilled to see her again and to reconnect with her meditations on peace, and  to realise how greatly she influenced my understanding of art,  in the days before online art galleries and Wiki and blogging.   What a remarkable person, I heard myself saying, communicating, as she does, so clearly, from the silence and  physical confines  of her world. …

not unlike this poem, of which Sister Wendy, defender of Classics and Latin, would surely  approve, which my daughter wrote for me, in  the solitude of her nights in   Far North Queensland

To a  Peony

(in which my daughter remembers the day, when she was extremely sad, and her mother gave her a sweet-scented peony from the garden )

Welcome back Sweet Peony

Welcome back Sweet Peony

Dark leaves, put forth thy anniversary.
Honey may burn; thy nectar rises up
like sugar syrup in a warmer cup,
ribbons the water. And say how can it be,
thou growest so magenta, when the hew
of thy first stock was white? Unless it was
among the hedgehogs and the heucheras
the lost  god stopped and wept his ancient dew.
Colours stand faster in the dimming air;
so in the long grey drizzling afternoon
of dying hope, was thy expressive bloom
placed by a gentle hand into my care;
I see it still, in my mind, in the gloom
unfolding endless petals in my empty room.

*td* (first draft)

© silkannthreades

Plum delicious

With surplus plums in the pantry, (well, they would be in the pantry, if I had one), it was time to get creative. So I was. I made my favourite plum coffee cake.Plum coffee cake

The recipe is from the Joy of Baking website  http://www.joyofbaking.com/PlumCoffeeCake.html which is an excellent place to find cake recipes. I follow the recipe to the letter, but not the pan, because I don’t have a suitable round cake tin.

With the most important cooking task completed, I decided to add a few more flavours to our evening meal. Enter my spinach and rice cake which is another favourite recipe.Spinach and Rice Cake This one comes from Very Easy Vegetarian Cookbook by Alison and Simon Holst. Again, I follow the recipe exactly, even to the baking dish,  because  the Holsts excel at producing precision recipes. Here is a link to their website, although I don’t think this recipe is on it, http://www.holst.co.nz/Home.aspx  The main ingredients, apart from the obvious spinach and rice and tomatoes, are cottage cheese and eggs and parmesan type cheese, onion and herbs.

Baking over, let us come to the table and feel blessed that our food is plentiful.Blessed

© silkannthreades

Let the feasting begin

This morning, I noticed two tiny monarch caterpillars on the swan plants outside our bedroom window.  Here is one of them magnified.Royal offspring

By evening, the caterpillar population had increased to 8; at least that’s how many I could see in the dusk. If the numbers keep increasing at today’s rate, I may have a caterpillar famine on my hands before the end of the week. I hope not. I am hoping, instead, that mother monarch  has laid the exact number of eggs for the exact amount of food provided by two swan plants. What are the odds of a monarch mother doing that kind of calculation. Probably rather good, because I find it completely amazing that, amongst all the vast foliage of my garden and neighbourhood gardens, she found my two small, swan plants. I saw her come three times. The first two visits were reconnaissance, I am sure. There was no messing about.She flew straight to the plants,  from the direction of the street. When I saw her the third time, she was laying eggs. No Google Maps for this lady; she knew exactly where she was going.  So, if she can identify plants so accurately, and select a laying site so carefully, surely she knows the ratio of eggs to plants to optimise offspring survival. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I have been honing my own version of monarch butterfly life skills, by sourcing more free food.  Today, I came upon two different plum trees, side by side, with their fruit laden branches conveniently hanging over a parking lot fence. One of the plums is a small yellow fleshed variety and the other is a delicious red skinned, red fleshed plum . I love red plums with their crunchy outer skin and firm, tart interiors. I picked a big bowl full. The problem now is that, as I am the only plum  lover in the house,  I need more mouths to eat the fruit. I wonder if the caterpillars would care for some plum when the main course of swan is finished?Plums galore

Full of plums

The colours of plumsColours plum and blue

Footnote: I wrote this post yesterday but WordPress was being angry and wouldn’t let me insert my photos,so I couldn’t publish. I haven’t counted the caterpillars this morning but I did see a monarch butterfly hovering around the plants. I wonder if it is the same mother returning to check on the progress of her offspring?

© silkannthreades

It’s a little bit magical

Remember that little bit of free fruit ?pretty plum jewels

I put it in a pot and added a little bit of unfree fruit

Apples and Lemonand simmered them together for a while. Then I strained the cooked fruit,  in my usual rough and ready manner, and mixed the juice with some brown sugarBrown sugar, rose bowland boiled the mixture for 10 minutes, and a bit, and the result was a little bit magical; a small dish of utterly delicious, delectable and delightful apple and plum jelly.  Apple and Plum Jelly

YUM, JELLY!Magical

© silkannthreades

Free Food Time © silkannthreades

On my early evening walk with the dog, I noticed that it is already time to gather free food/fruit.  Last summer I exhausted myself foraging. This season,  I will try to restrain my enthusiasm for nature’s bounty. Sigh….but I hate to see it going to waste. Even the birds can’t keep up with the summer’s offerings. Here are some red plums. red plums

CherriesWild cherries

Green plumsgreen plums

The crab apples are thriving. The crab apples on this tree are absolutely delicious. I think someone else knows about them because I have to be quick to get any once they ripen.crab apple divine

A bowl of admirable restraint…..this is all I brought home with me, though I did eat a few plums during my walk.pretty plum jewels

Some of the photos suffered from the fact that I had the camera in one hand and, in the other hand, a dog straining on his leash because he wasn’t very interested in stopping to admire fruit. Fruit, what’s that! Actually, he does like apples and pears and I know where I can find those come the season  🙂

© silkannthreades