Tuesday, 12 July 2011

It is a mid july afternoon, quiet and stillness reigns.  The sky is slowly fading into darkness.  This is happening later now than just a week ago.  Although the air is cold and frost was thick this morning, this change in the timing of day to night promises spring. 
frost at 8.15, it disappeared soon after
  Magnolia trees are covered in buds that stand up from their bare branches like candles on a Christmas tree.   The wisteria vine is covered in buds. 
After a week of hideous winds, today has been one of those perfect winter days that would be quite easy to live with for the whole of the season.  Despite the cold, the sky was a cloudless blue all day.  The sun actually warmed you if you stood in it long enough and the ever so slight breeze did no more than ruffle your scarf.

This afternoon I walked in the main park and took photographs of the promises of spring, the light that was lingering well after 5pm, the leaves still in piles on the ground under the trees,  the moon  ¾ full and shining benignly down from a still blue sky.  People were walking their dogs, walking themselves, walking home from work, a few were jogging industriously.

Despite many trees reaching upward with bare arms, the beauty in their stucture is wonderful.  I've always loved winter and the differences in nature.  Seeing the sculptural aspect of trees without their leaves gives them a whole new level of beauty. 
I loved the way this patch of light went straight to the tree
The light that spreads across the landscape, highlighting the greens, is exquisite.  Photos cannot really translate this adequately.  The whole feel of the air combined with the diminishing light is almost magical. 
There were beautiful camellias, iceberg roses not yet cut back for their winter pruning, jonquils, irises, violets all beginning to bloom and give that promise of spring. The garden beds are planted out ready for the coming spring and some of these flowers are already popping up little flower heads.  Violas, petunias, the odd marigold.  How brave they are in the face of the cold we have had. 

So far we have had a winter that is reminiscent of sort we had 20 years ago, came in right at the beginning of the season, preceded by an autumn that was also crisp, cool and invigorating. 

see the moon peaking through the upper branches

light quickly sinking

As much as I will appreciate the warmer weather when it comes, I am trying to enjoy the special beauties that winter brings.  All the seasons have their saving grace no matter how we view them individually.  Try and enjoy what they offer. Life goes quickly enough without wishing it away because we don't like the weather.

Savour each day, till next time


Monday, 11 July 2011

Lost and found

Well today has been an interesting sort of day.  apart from being freezing cold with a strong icy wind as well to bring down the chill factor, I cannot find my car keys. 

red tips of my nandina
This doesn't usually happen to me.  Generally my keys go straight into my bag as soon as I am out of the car.  I came home yesterday just after 1pm, dumped all the paraphernalia I had onto the benches/floor and did not go out again. 
So, where did I put the keys this particular time?  who knows, certainly not me at this moment. 

I had a few errands to run this morning, important not urgent, but did need to be done today.  Having searched in every place I can think of, logical and illogical, for the missing keys I remain stumped.
The upside is that my kitchen has had a good clean and I was able to organise things in my fridge that needed sorting out.  Lemons to be grated, squeezed and  the juice frozen, apples peeled and stewed.  Chicken poached and liquid used for stock.
As I have ladies coming over tonight I wanted to make pumpkin scones.  I tried these for the first time last week and they were given the nod of approval from my son.  They were really delicious with butter and lemon butter.  Overkill maybe, but good all the same.

One good thing about not having keys was being forced to stay inside and do all those little things you keep putting off.  Of course the jobs I needed to do that required a car, still have to be done and that happened with the aid of a friend.  Thank goodness for friends, how poor our life would be without them. 

ready to play ladies
Some of them are coming over tonight and I like to get out my nice cups and the silver teapot, put the goodies on nice plates and play ladies.  Actually didn't use the silver teapot this time.

This pumpkin scone recipe is from gourmet traveller website.  Never having made them I was surprised that the butter and icing sugar was creamed and egg yolks added.  Not common for scones. Regardless, the texture was light and moist without being too cake like and my friends thought they were yummy!

Look at the gorgeous color of this dough
The other good thing at the end of the day, okay it was only 4pm, was that I DID find the car keys, whilst talking on the phone and walking through my steps the day before.  Tucked into the quilt at the end of the bed in a neat little pocket so that they didn't make a jingle when I searched the bed during the day.
What a relief!!
I have also made a more secure arrangement for my keys when I come home so that I don't have another day like today. The wind I have no control over unfortunately.


1 cup mashed pumpkin - I used Kent
40 gms butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
300gms self raising flour
1/2 tspn nutmeg
1 egg yolk

*cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy
*add egg yolk and mix together
*fold in cool mashed pumpkin with a wooden spoon
*fold in flour and nutmeg
* turn dough onto floured surface
*dough will be sticky
*knead dough with plenty of flour to prevent sticking
*when dough has come together form a disc about 2cm thick
*cut out with whatever size cutter you prefer
*brush with milk
*bake in a hot oven - 200dg - for 10-15 minutes