Friday, September 29, 2006

Autumn Song

Autumn Song by Margurite Kingman

The firelight glows,
The embers sigh,
We dream and
The cat and I.
The kitten purrs,
The kettle sings,
The heart remembers
Little things.

The 'little thing' in the photo is a clearwing or hummingbird moth, visiting the flowers of a butterfly bush. Thanks for sending me the photo, Bonnie.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I'll share a secret, I Google images of people's vacations. Hey! I'll never afford traveling to the places I'd like to see... so I live vicariously. But that's better than some bad habits I could have.
This is a balcony in Rome.
If you post it for everyone to see, you might find it on someone's blog, Bubbie.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Herb Gatherer

By Glenn Ward Dresbach
From Collected Poems, 1914-1948

When fragrant fires of autumn smoulder
By upland pastures for wind to blow
And grain shocks stand, row after row,
He throws a sack across his shoulder
And trudges away in the mellow glow
To gather herbs – though he is older
Than most of the old men I know.

He squints in the sun, and always follows
The spring brook where the calamus hides
And he nibbles it, and away he strides
For thyme and tansy in sunny hollows,
Then on to burdock. His faith abides
in it for bitters, in careful swallows,
When winter had chilled his old insides.

Sage and boneset – his eyes keep sighting
Out of profusion the things he would find.
Pennyroyal, horse mint – these he will bind
In neat little bundles, always righting
Some slight disorder . . . at least in his mind.
He will hang them on rafters, ready for fighting
The ills of age . . . with the years so kind!

His old cheeks flush with the autumn weather.
His old eyes shine when the quail wings sound.
A sack that smells of the air and the ground
With tang and mellowness there together
Over his shoulder! And all around
The breath of autumn! . . . I wonder whether
Gathering helps more than the herbs he found.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

so gather your rosebuds, too, girls

by Robert Herrick

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry:
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.

This poem played a role in Dead Poets Society when Robin Williams used it to inspire his students, thus...

"They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster.
They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you.

Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable?
Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils.

But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you.
Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it?
Carpe ... hear it?
Carpe ... carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary. "

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

gather your roseHIPS while ye may... and make jam

I know, it's rosebuds in the poem, and the common wisdom says gather rosehips after the first frost. (It supposedly kills any harboring insects.) But I like to pick them in the beginning of autumn, but before the frost hits, when they are ripened but still firm, like an apple. If you wait for the weather to turn you'll lose alot of them to drying up, mushiness, those little 'worms' will grow and ruin the fruit, and so on.

So I say, pick them NOW, and make jam...

Here's my Rosehip Jam recipe.

Pick some rosehips. I pick about a colander full. So you know right now, this recipe is not precise, but it works. Some say the big apple-y R. rugosa type are the best. They are big and pretty, and look like little apples... see the photo.
But this year I liked the hips from my R. glauca because it is so prolific and the hips are nice and clean of insects. Because I grow without chemicals, the R. rugosa has some little worms in many of the hips this year. Hey, I never promised you a rose garden. But the photo is pretty, isn't it.

Next, wash the hips, cut them all in half, then go through and clean out the seeds and little odd bits. Soak the cleaned hips in water (enough to cover) in the pot you will cook them in, for several hours, which will soften them.
Then when you are ready to make jam, bring the pot to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes, uncovered.
Strain the boiled water/juice into a large measuring cup. In this case I got 1 1/2 cups. Set the fruit aside, and add an equal measure of sugar (in this case, 1 1/2 cups sugar) to the liquid, and stir to dissolve it.
Boil the sugared water/juice until it thickens, stirring constantly.
Add the fruit and cook, stirring, until it is a nice jammy consistency.
Be careful not to burn it.
Your rosehip jam will be beautiful, it looks a bit like cherry jam.

Pour into clean jars and cap. Label, Store in the fridge.
In this case I got three jelly jars, filled. Here's a picture:

Sunday, September 10, 2006

just another diamond day

vashti bunyan

Saturday, September 09, 2006

being green

Friday, September 01, 2006