Wednesday, September 29, 2010

visual harvest

I stalk tomatoes, sneak up on green beans.  I maneuver a lens through foliage, careful not to spook the cucumbers.  Zoom.  Focus.  Click. In their native habitat, vegetables grow shyly, hiding in dappled sun and green shade.  I always harvest twice:  with a camera, then with a knife.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

seen on a Sunday afternoon walk in the forest

The arbutus are peeling.  They're shedding layers of bark, baring their skins to the fall wind with dramatic audacity.  It's a declaration in brown, rust and apple green.  Will they regret this gesture a month from now when the forest canopy lies dead on the ground and the winter rain dizzles monotonously?  Will they shiver?
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

still growing

We're more than half way through September and my garden is still growing slowly, persistently.  The beans will go into a fresh pasta dish tonight, and the tomatoes and cucumbers will become Greek salad.

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Friday, September 17, 2010


We visit the Fireweed Retreat every year to help our friends -- the owners -- with their spring cleanup.  We anticipate the day because we know that we'll be clearing brush or building a rock wall along side someone we haven't seen in a while, and that whatever B barbecues for lunch will be delicious.  The place is intended to give rest to weary pastors and missionaries, but somehow we always leave the Fireweed covered in mud with soar muscles.   But we're refreshed too -- deeply content and quiet after a day outdoors.

Last weekend our friends treated us to a stay at their beautiful property, no labour required.  Friday evening slipped away silently as we sprawled on the floor before the fire, reading.  So when Saturday morning dawned, grey and misty but without rain, it was time to explore anew the fields and forests of Fireweed.

Our friends are fond of the many benches tucked here and there throughout the property, so we set out to find, and photograph, them all.  Here G tests the comfort of an old church pew behind the work shed.  I imagine that one day it will be placed before a vista or in a shady corner like the other benches.

I question the integrity of this swing every year.  To date no necks have been broken and my scruples are never enough to keep me from launching myself into the air.  I love the friendly creaking of branches overhead and the swoosh of dry grass at the bottom of each pass.

Hornets have taken up residence in the radiator of this old farm tractor.  We linger long enough for a photo, then move on.

At the end of summer grass is dry and noisy.  This is the view from a bench where we stopped to listen to it converse with the wind . . .

. . .  and noticed a white spider's web inside a curled head of grass.  As always, we left the Fireweed refreshed, content, and quiet, but this time without soar muscles.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Roasted Garlic Spread

Sorry no picture.  I served this dip at my sister's recent bridal shower and requests for the recipe are still pouring in from all sides.  Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Spread
(Little Book of Holiday Appetizers, Oxmoore House, Inc., 1996)

1 large head garlic, unpeeled
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (8-ounce) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

Peel outer skin from garlic, leaving head intact.  Place garlic in a small baking pan; drizzle with oil.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350.  Remove cover, and bake 8 to 10 additional minutes or until garlic is soft.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Remove and discard the papery skin from garlic.  Scoop out garlic pulp with a small spoon.

Beat cream cheese and butter at high speed until light and fluffy.  Add garlic and salt; beat until blended.  Stir in chives.  Store spread in refrigerator.  Serve over warm slices of french bread.

Yield:  11/4 cup.

That's the recipe.  I use the food processor.  I also like to up the "2 Tbsp minced chives" to a fist-full of mixed herbs from the garden.  This gives the spread a brighter flavour and a pretty green tint.