...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sabath Rest...the way the small live

One more visit with Ann VosKamp before we move on down the garden trail.  Today's topic: humility.

C. S. Lewis said he was "surprised by joy"  Perhaps there is no way to discover joy but as surprise?
The way the small live. Every day.
Yes, the small even have a biblical nomenclature.  Doesn't God call them the humble?
The humble live surprised.  The humble live by joy.
I am ear and Jesus whispers to the surprised, "God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth." (Matthew 5:5).  The humble are the laid-low and bowed ones, the surprised ones with hands open to receive whatever He gives.
He hands them the earth.
The earth.
But is it any wonder?  That word humility itself comes from the Latin root humus--the kind of earth that grows good crops.  God gives the earth to the humus-people, the humble ones.  Humility is that good humus that grows gratitude that yields abundant joy.
--Ann VosKamp, 1000 Gifts

May we all be humus-souled, and may we encompass the whole earth.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Garden Tending When You Are Away

I received the follow text from my 16-year-old son, who was tending my garden while I was away from home for a few days earlier this summer:

"One of the plants on the jungle gym thing keeps turning yellow even though we're watering it for like 30 minutes.  Should we just water it even more??"

He was referring to the snow peas that were growing up a trellis in my garden. I failed to tell him that their natural life span was basically finished for the season.  My causing him that undue stress put me in mind of the fact that there is a certain protocol for having someone else tend your garden when you take a vacation this time of year.  Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you're planning time away from your "crop" load.

  • Give it a good feeding before you leave, as well as any insect and fungal treatments required so your garden sitter doesn't have to attend to these.
  • Make hoses and sprinklers, watering cans, etc. easy to access for the work needed.
  • Have your sitter take any produce that comes ripe while he or she is tending your garden.  Produce left to get over-large signals the plant that its life cycle is complete, and it will produce less in the future.
  • Offer a specific watering schedule (how long to water and how often) that is familiar to your plants, but expect to have to accept some differences if your routine doesn't fit your waterer's availability exactly.

Finally, consider offering your own services as a garden tender.  It is a rewarding favor to offer a traveling friend. 

Happy wandering!

Bonus linkhttp://gardening.about.com/od/gardenmaintenance/tp/Watering-Plants-While-On-Vacation.htm

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sabbath Rest: Grandma's Apron, Revisited

"How do you open the eyes to see how to take the daily, domestic, workday vortex and invert it into the dome of an everyday cathedral?"  Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts

I'll tell you one how you do it...

Remember this post: http://suburbansettler.blogspot.com/2011/12/grandmas-apron.html

and this one?

For several years now, I've participated in this little private game God started with me.  He gives me a special gift for say a birthday or a traditional gifting holiday, and my part is simply to recognize it and express my thanks.  One year, it was cherry blossoms everywhere--even decorating the cake--for my birthday.  Another it was a music box that suddenly played of its own accord--which it had never done before and hasn't done since.  These are the gifts I receive.

This past Christmas, I perceived that I was to look for an apron.
But, it didn't come at Christmas.
I tried to help it along.  I asked for one, and received one...which was nice, but it didn't come with a "that's the one" feel to it.  I apologized for trying to arrange my own gift.

But then in April, when the apron-impression had been chalked up as a misfire, I went to preview a tea parlor as a place for my knitting club to visit on field trip. (A visit we later did make.)

On a lark, I responded to a help wanted sign in that tea parlor's window.  I got the job, and by early June, I was serving tea there part time!  As work goes, it is beautifully suited to my temperament, my schedule, and my ambition level for the time being. 

Still, it took a while for me to realize the significance and send the Divine Gift-giver His official thank you. 
Finally, one day, it  hit me.  As I walked in the door and turned to the "uniform rack" I realized just what it was I that I wore every day there: an apron.

I finally got my "that's the one" feeling.  Not a misfire after all, but rather another beautiful intangible to put in my eternal treasure box.

May you also find your "everyday cathedral" in life!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sabbath Rest: On Waiting

 Few things in life work so consistently well in teaching the discipline of waiting like gardening.  Today, I read a devotional on waiting as an element of prayer.  My past week had elements of waiting that made this particular reading a rich one.  I thought it a good one for sharing:

Is waiting the worst thing about the life of prayer?
Sometimes it is both the worst and the best.

Say we have put in our request for something and the answer is slow.  We suspect we have come up against celestial bureaucracy.  Anyhow we have to wait. 

We hate to admit that we are deepened by this waiting.  Waiting makes us strong.  We thought we were frivolous, impatient people, bent on self-gratification.  Slowly, we grasp what we are made of.  Patience sharpens and refines us.  We endure.  We live on a deeper level.

 We serve by waiting, as Milton says of the angels.  We are glad of our parts in the chorus, spear-carriers.  "They also serve who only stand and wait."  (John Milton, sonnet "On His Blindness.")
--Emilie Griffin's Doors into Prayer
May the waiting in all our prayers be so fruitful.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Flashback Cookbook: Bread Pudding

This is the time of year when this sort of physical activity:
...is the norm, leaving many of us with room to consume a few more calories.
Meaning, we can turn to our grandmas' cookbooks like this vintage one, ones full of recipes in which starch and fat are not quite the pariah ingredients that they are in many modern cookbooks.
So if you're throwing dietary caution to the wind and eating just for the sheer joy of it, here's a humble recipe for you.  I baked mine in round tiered cake pans, using the small one for the pudding and a larger one for the inch of water surround that most bread pudding and custard recipes require.

2 slightly beaten eggs
2 1/4 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups day-old bread cubes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins (or chocolate chips, as I made it here)
Combine the eggs, vanilla, milk, cinnamon, and salt; stir in the bread cubes.  Stir in brown sugar and raisins.  Pour in a large shallow pan sitting in a larger pan on oven rack.  Add water to the larger pan to 1 inch deep.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife tests clean halfway between center and edge.

I added chocolate sprinkles to the top, too. 
Many people don't really like bread pudding because they think it too bland, but that blandness is the very thing that makes it a great foundation for a lot of creative add-ins or add-ons.  (Can you envision a rich creamy glaze over the top of this one?)

Happy old school baking!