Monday, August 24, 2015

Gratitude Monday--GadZukes!

The zucchini pictured below came to us courtesy Mike's mom. She had given us many of them this year including one that makes this entree look meager.
I am grateful for the zukes and for the bounty of the garden in general.
The zucchini pictured below measured 30 cm (12 in. in the Old Tongue). My husband carved it into a pair of fine boats for our eating pleasure.
We ate the one topped with cheese and I froze the other one for a later day when garden fresh is but a fond memory.

A regulation -sized zucchini was added for perspective.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gratitude Monday --Juiced

Our crabapple trees produced well this year. I'm certainly grateful for that.
I don't use them myself, but my husband does. Each year he picks them, and then boils and strains them for crabapple juice.
The juice goes on his morning oats.
I am grateful for the trees, for the use of their produce, and for my husband doing all the work. I would, but I don't have to.
I am especially grateful for that.

He was mostly done for the day when I took this picture.
It took him all day Sunday. He has another few gallons of apples to process.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Gratitude Monday -- Unbaked Edition

I wanted brownies, but it was too hot to bake.
Instead I began experimenting with rolled oats mixed into coconut oil with molassess, cane syrup, and coconut.
And I liked it.
It took out the craving nicely without heating up the house. In a hot, dry summer, that's important.
I was grateful for having done it and liked it enough to play around with the basic premise. I've added goji berries, raisins, peanut butter, vanilla, sea salt, walnuts, and pecans in various versions.
They're all good.
But the raw rolled oats took its toll. I  had half -expected it as years ago I used to soak oats overnight in cranberry juice for breakfast. I made various versions of it and loved it, but I got nasty stomach pains, fevers, I lost weight, and it wasn't good.
I thought it might be the raw oats so stopped eating it and the tummy troubles magically disappeared.
I'd hoped the oats would cook enough in the hot oil, but I was out of luck.
Giving up on the uncooked chocolate goodness was out of the question so I made a batch omitting the oats and cranking up the coconut.
It was very good and I was content for a short while.
Then it occurred to me to cook the oats and see what happens. So yesterday I made one serving size of porridge with goji berries and raisins and as it cooled I threw together the other constituents of the squares except peanut butter.
I am so grateful I did.
My Chocolate Porridge Squares are filling, satisfying, and they are really quite healthy.
I will have to make the peanut butter version soon.
Science demands it.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Gratitude Monday --Mountain Feasts Edition

Jasper and Banff National Parks are a short, easy drive from my home in Rocky Mountain House.

Highway 11, a.k.a. The David Thompson Highway, passes through Rocky on its way to join Highway 93, a.k.a. the Columbia Icefields Parkway.
The parkway is the portion of Highway 93 through the two parks beginning at Jasper townsite and ending at the Trans-Canada near Lake Louise.
It's about a two hour drive west from my house to Saskatchewan Crossing. That's where #11 meets #93.
The mountains begin about an hour west of Rocky.
It's fairly easy to go out for a hike, or a drive.  I am so grateful I get to live here and that we have enough sense to get out and enjoy the mountains as we can.
This year we've been picnicking, too.
They are simple affairs: gluten free bread or crackers, cheese, sausage, water, Coca-Cola, but with the sight of the mountains and the spicing of the fresh air, they are feasts.

This photo taken by Mike on Saturday is at a scenic stop just south of Saskatchewan Crossing in Banff National Park.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Photo-Finish Friday-- The Waiter

The noble whiskey jack  rests above picnickers awaiting its chance to swoop down and steal their lunch.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gratitude Monday --The Veggies- In-Law

We've been eating garden veggies lately and they are wonderful.
Both my husband's parents grow gardens and they are very good about sharing the bounty with us.
Recently we've had new potatoes from his mom along with zucchini, onions, even cucumber.
His dad has given us tomatoes and lettuce and for the last several years he has provided us with beets and carrots. He has supplied us with potatoes almost year-round.
Further, he keeps chickens and has kept us in eggs for the past several years.
We grow a few things here, too, and I am grateful for it. We have spices mostly along with a few vegetables, but it is the produce from the in-laws' gardens for which I am grateful.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Strange Encounter, A Wanting Memory

One of my earliest memories takes place in our barn. It was built when I was about two and I do recall one scene of it being built. It was a great place, 100 feet long north to south with the north end the closest to the house, 26 feet high at its peak with a huge hayloft.
But this memory takes place when I was three.
I was in the barn one afternoon. I went there often whether anyone else was there or not because it was a great place.
I am standing by the north end near a door to a room dad had intended to use for a chop bin. It had a window that was a simple opening like a door. It remained closed.
The boards on the barn wall are bare though in my mind I see whitewash. I think there was some partial paint, but I don't know.

What I do know is I was not alone.

Standing in front of me is a tall being. I get the feeling of female, but I honestly cannot say. She has high cheekbones, pale skin, and is wearing a white robe with wide sleeves. Out the sleeve end is a thin arm ending in slender, long fingers.
Her pale skin, and in my memory the white robe she wears, glows white gold.
She reaches past me, above my head. In her hand she holds a thick grease pencil, such as we used to mark the pigs that were ready for market.
She is drawing on the boards by the door to the never-used room.
 I am agitated. I do not want this.
The memory ends with me saying, "You don't have to do that. I'll remember."
I have the feeling I used to see this being often.
I have not seen her since that day and neither have I ever forgotten that scene.
And neither have I forgotten what she drew on the barn wall. I used to see it when I went in the barn. It scared me.

She drew a clown.

I was terrified to walk by it as I knew it would jump out and get me.
If I went in the barn with dad I made sure he was between the clown and me.
If I went in alone and dad was in the barn I edged as close as possible to the opposite side. I kept my  eyes on the clown.
If there was no one in the barn and I wanted to go up to the hayloft to sit in the sun, as I often did, I walked around outside to the south end of the barn where the stairs were. I would not go past that clown by myself.

He, I get the feeling of male from it, did not always appear.
I recall one day walking in the barn, seeing him, and wondering "Why doesn't daddy paint over that clown?"
I made up my mind to ask him to do it. I walked perhaps 30 feet to where dad was cleaning out a pig pen and forgot.
I'd remember from time to time, but never in time to ask him to do it.
I have photos of where I think the clown ought to be.
There is only bare board.

I told the family once about it and it was suggested it was a dream.
It happened.
It is real.
I have never forgotten the being who used to visit me when I was very young. One day she told me she could not come to me anymore. She left the clown for me to remember.
I wish I remembered what it meant.

I may have written about this before. If so, I apologize for the repeat.