Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Any Suggestions?



I'm joining the Treasure Hunt with this fine old church window I found at the Goodwill. Not much to say about it other than it is beautiful and I'm sure I'll find a use for it. For the time being I'm just going to put it away and think about what to do with something like this - Any suggestions?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Praying for the victims of Oslo


It is not appropriate to say an awful lot: sometimes less is more. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Norway, who today are facing the appalling bloody consequences of the greatest assault upon their nation since World War II. It is one terrible thing to bomb the center of governmental political power, but the assault upon the nation's innocent youth is an unspeakable crime of quite a different order of evil. Today, let us weep with those who weep, and remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dilly Dilly - Lavender

Yesterday we took a drive out west of here. Across the street from home begins beautiful farm country. The area is called "New Halvatia" because it was the area settled by Swiss immigrants in the 1800's. (Switzerland - Proper name: Swiss Federation- Confoederatio Helvetica in Latin as seen in the EU abbreviation, CH) Because Polly lived there for 5 years, she says it's a little like visiting her old home.
Last weekend was the Washington County Lavender Festival, but with all the moving and such we didn't have time to go. Yesterday we decided to take a break and so we visited two farms in the area. First we stopped, first, at a small farm that Polly is blogging about, and visited with Mary, the dear lady who makes wonderful natural products from the herbs she grows on her farm. More information on Polly's blog. I will be going back there next spring to get some herbs that I haven't found any place else. She had summer savory and borage! Two of the herbs I can never find in the spring to set out. Both favorites for summer. I love summer savory with tender little green beans. I put borage in white wine as a summer drink, or in a salad. If you aren't familiar with it, it has a slight fresh melon/cucumber taste. Polly bought some dried pink delphiniums for her pink bathroom, and some lavender lemonade mix.
Next we drove on a little farther to Helvetia Lavender Farm. They specialize in "U-Pick" Lavender in the summer and Christmas trees in the winter. There Polly picked a large basket full of various kinds of lavender.


Polly
While I waited for her to finish picking, I sat in the tent, out of the drizzle, where there was a working still. They were distilling lavender oil. The lavender flowers are put into the top container and water is boiled in the lower chamber. The steam produced when it filters through the flowers is cooled in the descending pipe to a holding pipe where the oil rises to the top of the water, which is forced out the spigot. The pure oil is collected and bottled. The perfumed water is collected and use for ironing linens or rinsing hair.

I walked around the grounds of the farm. They had planted darling "fairy gardens" in wagons and wheelbarrows. They were all different and all so pretty.



There were flowers of all kinds. Some were familiar to me like these poppies, and some of the roses, but there were lots that I had no idea what they were. Every place I looked there was some new delight.


 There is a Tea Pavilion where they serve lunch, and afternoon tea. I want to go back when I can enjoy eating in the lovely garden.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ship's Cup

When my grandfather was a young man, he was an structural engineer with the SantaFe Railroad.
My grandfather, Paul H Elgin, May 1903

He designed roundhouses.
Roundhouse, USA

Roundhouse, USA





























 Once he was sent to South Africa to supervise the building of a new roundhouse. When the project was finished, he and another fellow with whom he had become friends, traveled to England, via Palestine. The name of the ship is lost to our family history, but I have the cup he brought back. Since he died long before I was born and his wife, my grandmother, when I was only 4, I don't know much more about the trip. I do know they married shortly after his return.
My grandmother, Matilda Wetzlau Elgin

I know it isn't a tea cup, but I thought it was interesting all the same.


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Friday, July 08, 2011

Running with the Bulls - French style

This week is the famous "Running of the Bulls", know in Spanish as, encierro. The most famous running of the bulls is that of the seven-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of San Fermín in Pamplona.


















But did you know they also have a version of this Spanish tradition in France? Here in Provence the event is much smaller and just more - well, French! Les Cowboys are rather fetching, too, in their colorful Provençal shirts. They are the REAL thing.



Thursday, July 07, 2011

Les cerises sont mûres*

 Last year Mimi, my friend from Bry-sur-Marne, France, and I visited our mutual friends in Montana. We were there during the cherry season. What fun we had picking and eating all the cherries we could ever want. Mimi made a Clafoutis for us all to enjoy. When she returned home, she sent me this kitchen towel with the recipe for Clafoutis aux Cerises. There is really nothing equivalent in American or British cooking that I have ever known. It is a lovely dish for tea or dessert. I have put the approximate amounts. They are not exact, but they work well. After all, how many dear French ladies had measuring scales or cups in the olden times? And still they produced delicious cherry perfection!!!
*The cherries are ripe

Mimi and Leland picking cherries


This year my dear friend here in Oregon shared these beauties with me from her trees. She called to say they were ripe and if we didn't pick them soon the birds would have them all. So I hopped it over on the double and picked a huge bowl full. I will freeze some and have shared some with my daughters, who love them as much as I do. So, here is the recipe for the classic French Clafoutis. (you can make it with other fruit, such as apricots, but you really can't beat cherries - in my estimation)
Clafoutis aux Cerises
Pour 4 personnes"
-4 oeufs
-125 g de sucre semoule
-125 g de lait entier
-125g de crème fleurette
-300gde cerises
-pour le coulis
150 g de cerises, 25 g de sucre et 50 g d'eau
Mélangez énergiquement les oeufs et le sucre avec un fouet;
Ajoutez le lait et la crème bouillants, tout en remuant.
Dans un plat de cuisson beurré, disposez les cerises équeutées 
et dénoyautées, puis versez dessus le mélange d'oeufs et de lait.
Faites cuire le clafoutis aux cerises 30 minutes à 180 degrés;
Pendant la cuisson préparex le coulis de cerises; faites 
bouillir les cerises dénoyautées avec l'eau et le sucre,
pendant 10 minutes.
Passez le tout au travers d'un tamis en pressan avec 1 cuillère
pour récupérer un maximum de jus.
Dégustez le clafoutis, encore um peu tiède, avec le coulis de cerises tiède.

Serves 4

-4 eggs
-125g caster sugar  (½ cup)
-125g whole milk (½ cup)
-125g whipping cream (½ cup)
300g
Cherries (1 ⅓ cups)

for the sauce:
150g Cherries, 25g sugar, and 50g water
(⅔ cups Cherries, ⅓ cup sugar, and ½ cup water)
 

Mix vigorously eggs and sugar with a whisk;
Add the boiling milk and cream, stirring.
In a buttered baking dish, arrange the stemmed
and pitted cherries, then add the egg mixture and milk.
Cook the cherry clafoutis 30 minutes at 180℃ degrees c or 350℉;
While it bakes, prepare the sauce;
boil pitted cherries with water and sugar,
for 10 minutes.
Pass the whole through a sieve by pressing with a spoon
to pick up juice.

Enjoy the clafoutis, while still lukewarm, with warm cherry sauce.

(Not exact measurements, but close enough to work!)

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