Friday, October 29, 2010

fall crop

This is the view from my office window.
The neighbors across the street pulled out the raspberries and have planted fall rye to replenish the soil and keep the soil from heading our direction once the northeast winds start to blow.
The window is not eye level.
The bungalow has old style windows that force one to stretch ones neck while seated.
That is just as well since it is nearly the only exercise I've seen this week.

My other most likely forms of exercise have been refilling my mug. .
and walking to the refrigerator to see which leftovers I can disguise for dinner.
It seems so ironic that our meals are either feast . . on days that the camera is needed to photograph the food. .
or famine leftovers on days when the camera is not needed.

That's the way it goes.

I did take a break this afternoon when I realized my recipe is scheduled for Saturday and it hadn't been made yet.
I made it. . .we licked the pot clean with our afternoon cup of coffee and I'm back here in the office again.

Can you guess what the recipe will be?

All for now. .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the book works

These days. ..
I am often found here in my cozy little office. .
my screen split down the middle between two documents. .
and my notebook open to a third application.

The manuscript has left for a testing of making sense. .
and now has come back from it's visit to the editor and thus the revisions of the edits and the questions that need to be clarified are underway.

Just to give you a brief idea of how the book is developing I thought I would give you a simple timeline of what has happened so far.

Once the decision was made to go ahead with the book called Mennonite Girls Can Cook. .
I asked Judy and Anneliese to become my right and left arms.
Together we decided which recipes we wanted most to include in this book.
We made a very long list and then whittled it down to a compilation of recipes that we feel should be in every Mennonite and beginner cookbook.

We delegated the recipes around to the other girls from the blog. .
and then we all set to work to think through our recipes. . .testing. .writing. .and photographing them.
This all took place during the spring and summer with the final recipes being completed early September.

As they came in through google documents. .
I put them into folders and their pictures were uploaded onto various albums that the design team will then be able to download and insert into the final manuscript.

While Anneliese and Judy were doing the first set of edits I was making a map of the book.
Every recipe has it's spot and has numbers coinciding from the map to the folder to the album.
Judy and Anneliese each read over all the recipes checking for obvious errors and then I did a third round before beginning to compile them all into one manuscript.

On October 1st it was sent to the publisher and we all took a bit of a breather.
Then. .
Amy our publisher sent it on to the first round of professional edits.

A month has passed. . with parts of the manuscript coming back and then being sent off again. .
and now I am at the stage of receiving the recipe edits.

So . . .
currently. .I am reading through the recipes once again . .
emailing the girls with questions regarding their recipes. .
and then making my notes in green as opposed the the red that had been sent to me.

It is just the most fascinating process.
We have learned an enormous amount in the past few months and we've all agreed that we would never attempt to self publish a cookbook and are thankful that we had the good sense to not even try.

For those of you that have asked the hows and whats. .
I hope this fills in the details for you a bit.
I can't imagine how we would have accomplished what we've done without all ten girls doing their part.
Things will be a bit quieter here on my personal blog. 
During the next month I plan to post three times a week.
I'll be back to full postings the beginning of December.

So. .there you have it..

All for now. .

Monday, October 25, 2010

when she's hot. .she's hot. .but when she's not. .she's not.

On Thursday morning my beautifully risen pumpkin challah lay on the counter top slowly deflating.
Where does an oven go when it refuses to get hot?
It goes on the porch for time out.
Poor thing, didn't even have a front door exit ..
but I felt the least I could do to respect her thirteen years of service . .
was to turn her back to avoid eye contact with the new oven coming in the front door.

We had tried...
oh yes we had.
Thinking it was simply an element problem. .
we took the cold element into the m*ytag shop to have it tested.
It seemed that the element was fine and upon testing her other faculties. .
she was deemed to be worth more in parts than in whole.

My beloved declared me to be a mennonite woman no longer able to cook and sent me to town to scope out new models that would in fact make my cooking easier.

I came home with reports of new ovens with double ovens. .
"we'll go have a look"  .. he said. .
And we did.
The brand new model on the floor not yet 24 hours old. .
sold to the man with the mennonite wife who could not cook.

As soon as the boys in blue left. .
The new oven and I got acquainted over some apple pie.
I pulled the deflated pumpkin challah out of the refrigerator.  .
gave it a good massage. .and reworked the braid and voila. .
in my new convection oven. .
it suddenly rose to levels I had not imagined.

It was a good day here in the bungalow. .

Friday, October 22, 2010

the annual ride

The Victorian Salvia's still so beautiful ..
left for their annual fall ride.

They held their heads high.  .
though they were a bit put off that they were yanked with their roots  . .
and unceremoniously loaded into their convertible for the short but memorable annual ride to the compost pile.

All for now. .

Thursday, October 21, 2010

pulling and cutting back

Date days are not always about lounging and leaving the farmyard in search of entertainment.
Occasionally we take advantage of the time together to tackle garden work and such.
About a month ago I was tempted to begin cutting back perenials because the rain seemed like it might last through fall .. .
but it stopped and I'm glad we gave Autumn 2010 a chance to shine.

We've had such beautiful weather here in the south west corner of Canada but if predictions come true. .
we're in for the worst winter in my lifetime.

The little birds seem to know something is coming because there is not one bird to be seen. .
aside from the crows. .but they don't seriously count.

The leaves are still relatively green on our tulip tree. .
and as I stood beneath our oak tree.  .I hardly saw one acorn. .
I wonder what it means.

We decided. .
that it is much more pleasant to pull annuals and cut back perennials in T-shirts and shorts with the strains of songs of our dating years keeping us in tune in the background. .
than the other option of waiting till we have no choice but to do the  pulling and cutting in jackets and jeans.

I've worked with slimy half frozen impatients and begonias before. .and have decided that I'd rather be an early bird like the rest of them. 

So the photos here today are the before. ..and OH. .how different it all looked when we were done.
Today the forecast is for sunshine. .and after that. . it looks like rain is on it's way.

All for now. .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

last garden bouquet of 2010

The last bouquet of the season is usually picked for Thanksgiving dinner.
The roses were still blooming so wonderfully and the last buds were brought in to finish opening.
The sedum that is green during the summer turns soft plum in autumn.
The climbing hydrangea adds texture and the bronze elements that match the tablecloth.
The white hydrangea has taken on a ivory hue.

Home grown  . .simple and basically free.

It's nearly two weeks since I picked the flowers.
Yesterday I took one more photo of the arrangement.
The roses have finished . .
so I'll take those out ..
fill the jug with more sedum. .
and hydrangea.

Home grown and . ..
Still free. .

Are you still picking flowers from your garden?
Which flowers are you picking?

All for now ..

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

broth art

I was making turkey broth last week.
After the carcass was well simmered. .
I removed the bones and left the broth to cool so I could refrigerate it and take off the fat before adding vegetables and rice.

I came back to put it in the refrigerator. .
and though I know it would not be classified as beautiful art. .
I did think it had a rather interesting design.
I was going to dismiss it as . . .oh ..weird. .
but then thought of you and though I have not one speck of interesting news for you today ..
I thought I could draw you over to read my post by the title alone.

You are a sporting lot.
You come. and go. .
but you always come back.

I thought perhaps I could invite you to take a closer look at your broth art next time you are simmering up a carcass.
If you have interesting broth art. .
do tell.

all for now. .

Monday, October 18, 2010

colorful stones ..then and now

I really cherish the bits of jewellery my mom left for me.
I wear her engagement ring on my pinkie finger . .and her golden wedding ring on my other pinkie finger.
Though she passed away 15 years ago. .there is rarely a day that goes by when I don't have at least a fleeting thought about her.
Some of the pieces that I have displayed for you over their wedding photo are items that were handed down to her.
The name brooch Tienchen.  .was my grandmother's.  She died when I was two years old.
I don't remember her at all.. .
but have been told many times that she held me on her lap and rocked me knowing that her time on earth was short.  I think about that once in awhile when I hold my two year old grands.

Most of the other things.  .
have histories that I do not know about but I hold them dear since they meant something to her.
They were carefully put away and came to me when she passed away.
The butterfly brooch has always been one of my favorites.
Colored stones.  .
arranged rather attractively. .
some would say gaudy . .
but I say. . .
"it was my mom's".
I've worn it often and have recently felt inclined to pin it on my sweaters again.

Several weeks ago I was shopping with my girls. .
and while they browsed the racks. .
Little miss muffet and I wandered throughout the store.  .
looking for pretty things.
It struck me how similar this really inexpensive brooch was to my butterfly at home.
I mentioned it to her.  .
and told her that someday she might have a pretty little butterfly with stones like that.

The locket that my mom wears around her neck in her wedding picture. .
is often around my neck.
I am requested to open it often.
They know already who they will find inside.
It's Grammie's mommy and daddy.

All for now . .

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lynn Canyon

Ninety nine years ago .. .617 acres of North Vancouver was dedicated to be a park.
Lynn Canyon was created by God as a plaque at the entrace to the suspension bridge says. .
"the hand of man could never duplicate".

The bridge is 50 meters above Lynn Canyon and spans 48 meters.
It officially opened in 1912.

On Wednesday when our ferry arrived back at the mainland we saw the signs to Lynn Canyon and all agreed that it had been quite some time since we had visited the park and walked across the bridge.

It has changed considerably over the years.
Where there was once mucky trails  and boulders down to the water,
there is now heavy timbered steps to keep the footing safe.

It is most handy hiking with pals. .
Cameras are passed back and forth.
I highly recommend finding friends who enjoy the same activities as you do.

The maple leaves are rapidly finding their place of rest on the ground and made for a beautiful contrast with the green water.

Did I mention the stairs?
Oh yes. . .this walk is for those that don't mind a bit of heart pumping while chatting with friends.

The trail winds throughout the majestic old growth forest.

They were not slower. . .
they just had more to talk about. 

The park is free. .
and the loop trail is clearly marked.

Bring water.

all for now 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Double date on the double bike

Yesterday morning..
swung by our place and we loaded all our bikes into the back of the truck and headed to the city.

We travelled through North Vancouver to the Horseshoe bay ferry terminal were we purchased tickets for a twenty minute ferry ride to Bowen Island.

We parked our bikes . . .
on the Queen of Capilano . .

 . .stopped at the coffee bar and then relaxed for the quick sail across the ocean waters.

Once across . .
we toured the island . .
both on the bikes . .
and off the bikes.
On the bikes happened most often when we were going down hiles ..
Off the bikes. . happened during the many trips back up the hills.

I definately had the better end of the stick.
I do my fair share of pedaling at the back of the bike.

They almost had a tandem bike .. they put a good deal of effort into aligning their tires.

We stopped at a lake . .
and stood beneath the small dam.

It is a great little island to visit . .
and we were so glad we saved this outing for fall with school in session. .
we had the trails to ourselves.

We found a bike park that likely has never seen a bike like ours.

We tried their jumps.

We took pictures. .
lots of them.

I did my fair share of photography from the back of the bike.

Judy. ..did her fair share too. .
always wondering when her battery would give it's last bit of juice.

We found a perfect little restaraunt. .
on the recommendation of a local.
It was plenty warm enough to eat outside.

After lunch we found more trails.  .

since we had heard that icecream was at the top of the hill.

Eventually we had to find our ferry ride home.

I can never resist a British Columbia flag.

We found our coffee shop on the ferry once more.

We arrived back at Horseshoe Bay in time to see a ferry loading for Nanaimo.

All days are not this perfect .  .but I sure wouldn't mind if they were.

Have I mentioned how much I love autumn?

With a few hours to spare. .
we made one more stop. .
and I'll load of those pictures tomorrow.

all for now..