Sunday, February 11, 2018

February 12th, 2018

A special Remembrance

Among other things I remember V-J Day and the end of World War 2,
and how we celebrated it.

Almost 73 years ago, and we had been married not quite three months.

I was at a friend's beach house, looking after her children
when I heard what sounded like a locomotive
roaring down the winding road that led from the highway
to the beach.

I shaded my eyes, and around the corner came our sporty yellow roadster,
(with rumble seat)
carrying two sporty looking Airforce officers
who had attached a locomotive whistle
to the exhaust of the sporty yellow car
(with wire wheels)

in celebration!!

Here is Charles, standing by the roadster that day
smiling happily.

He and his friend, a boy he had grown up with
and who had enlisted with him on the same day
in 1942
toured the town,
whistle blowing,

And at the same time
grieving for the brothers
who lay buried in Europe
and would never be there to celebrate.


Charles would have celebrated his 94th birthday today.

He lived his 88 years with enthusiasm
and commitment.
A full, rich and generous life
contributing so much during his time on earth.

And setting such a particularly fine example....

A man who 'Stayed the Course'

We miss him dearly and remember him with a precious love.

my love and tender support

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Potatoes Anna (Pommes Anna)

Our children are most kind to me in the most surprising and practical ways.

Since their beloved father died I have never been allowed to feel lonely or neglected (well, sometimes at nights the longing leaves me rather bereft.....)  However, they do all the loving and comforting things that we would hope most children do for their widowed parent.  Tall sons change light bulbs, fix water problems, visit and converse, sometimes on the most amazing topics which the younger generation seems to understand better than I.  They take me for rides along country roads where the meadowlarks sing and the wild grasses grow, and sometimes up into the mountains where the eagle flies!  My phone is no stranger to their daily calls - our youngest son now understands the workings of the eight shaft loom as well as I do, after he came out of the North to put it together for me.

And they keep me supplied with goodies, - so it was not surprising when our youngest daughter told me she was making Potatoes Anna to take to a friend's dinner, and asked if I would like to have a small portion!!!

Oh, Potatoes Anna - how I love them, and what memories they contain in their buttery goodness.

I was introduced to Potato Anna early in my culinary career when we moved
to Cawston and joined with other veterans in establishing orchards
on the Cawston Bench.

Alex was one of these veterans.
A little bit older than the average age of these men
and quite a bit more sophisticated.

Not a sharp end soldier, but someone involved in other military aspects.

He first became Charles' friend, and then a welcome friend to all our family.

An intelligent man, and extremely well educated.
he broadened our lives in many ways.

A Master bridge player, he improved our skills
at the game and we spent many happy hours around the bridge table.

Very knowledgeable about Music it was he who encouraged
me to hone my musical skills (such as they were)
on one showy piece that would be a standby
should I find myself having to play unexpectedly...
and so I practised the "Pathetic" until
I could play it passably well and with some confidence!!!!

Well versed in the elegance of cooking,
he introduced us to a marvelous Baked Salmon recipe,
to Cherries Jubilee,
a fabulous apple pie recipe,
and, of course

*Potatoes Anna!!

Who would have known that the lowly potato could be so fashionable,
and delicious...

To make Potatoes Anna you need a nice deep pan
or a heavy iron frying pan.

Using a sharp knife slice about three or four potatoes thinly
(about 1/8th of an inch - not paper thin)
Don't dip in water, - you need the starch to bind the potato slices together.
Butter the pan, generously, and arrange the slices in concentric circles.
Season the first layer with a little salt,
drizzle with melted butter,
and then repeat until you have three layers..
Tuck a bit more butter in around the edges 
and season again with salt.

Put a lid on the pan and bake for about twenty minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Remove the lid, and bake another 25 or so minutes,
until the tops are golden and crispy.

Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the pan.
Place a serving plate over the top
and flip the whole delicious concoction on to the plate.

If you wish the crispy potatoes to be on the top
repeat with another plate
and then cut into wedges to serve.

Absolutely marvelous with that Salmon recipe I spoke about earlier....

Just the thought of this lovely dish brings back wonderful memories of Alex, of our time on the
Cawston Bench, of the friends we entertained with the great recipes he shared, how easy it was to get those beautiful salmon from our First Nation friends, fresh from the Fraser River, and oh, - just all sorts of sweet and poignant feelings!!

Alex married a few years after we all planted our orchards and created a community, and his wife,
Elizabeth, became one of our dearest friends.

*Pomme Anna recipe dates from Napoleon's time..
named after one of the lovely ladies of the Court

Sunday, February 04, 2018

February 5th, 2018

Once I had a friend - a War Bride from Lancashire who married a Cawston Lad and came here, to British Columbia, as did many other War Brides who were dazzled by Canadian Fellows.

She lived in the village and I lived on the "Bench" where Charles and I were establishing an orchard and bringing up all those lovely children.

We were both Anglicans.  She was here before me, and when I arrived she took me under her wing and introduced me to the village, the church and the adjoining town.  She also re-introduced me to the Jelly Roll, which a friend of my mother's used to make but which I had never tackled.

It was her Piece de Resistance..

She made the most marvelous Lemon Curd filling for those light and wonderful concoctions that she baked in a 10x15 inch pan, turned out on to a clean towel covered with icing sugar. slathered it with that lovely lemony sauce and then rolled it up tight and waited for exclamations of appreciation.

Which I must admit were many, - it became her trade mark, - that and her fondness for "Knees up Mother Brown" at Saturday night parties!!!

Today, when I was looking for a recipe for Potatoes Anna, I found in an old book a wonderful recipe for a Lemon Jelly Roll, and the years faded away and I was young, and she was young, and our husbands and families were young, and the world was a wonderful place.

Tomorrow, or the next time I write here, I will tell you about Potatoes Anna and the sweet and exotic friend who taught me how to make this enticing dish...

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Oh, today I ventured outside!!


Finally the snow lies diminished 

and the icy spots are easy to avoid.

I put on my gardening coat

and a pair of clogs, -

grabbed my 'stick'

and slipped through the side garden gate

to where the birdseed is stored.

What a treat!!

Both for me and the birds,

(although my son-in-law has been keeping them well fed, I'm

sure they would be glad to see my familiar face again).

That done I moved along the fence line

to where a small mound of snow lay,

covering the new clematis I planted last summer

and the Lenten Roses!!

A few delicate white blossoms poked

through the snow,

and I used my cane to move more of the broad

green leaves and sweet white petals

into what may possibly be sunshine if the clouds clear away.

Yesterday I was struggling with a difficult linen and fine cotton warp..

Today I might even take a book out into the sunshine

(if the sun deigns to favour us!!)

and dream of spring....

violets, the first crocus, some little white snowdrops!!

and I am awash in memories of chubby hands and bouquets

shyly offered, -

the first yellow spring blooms,

and the years when we were all young and life was still to be lived.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

bygone times

I have been going through old pictures today,
looking for one in particular,
but finding many others that bring back memories or stir my curiosity about
days gone by...

One cannot guarantee that recollections and stories told
will be perfectly recalled,
or that they will correspond in every small detail
with the recollections of others dear to me.

I have been reading dire things about the reliability of memory,
and things that have been passed on to me have made the journey
through many a brain, but surely pictures do not lie
and they represent a sweet and common heritage.

Here is a picture taken on my great-grandfather's porch
shortly before my grandparents left Ontario for the West.

Clustered on the porch is a great aunt and her little one,
my grandparents, my father, an aunt and an uncle.

My great grandfather occupies the rocker.
The handsome fellow leaning nonchalantly against the post is another uncle,
and to the far right my two aunts
who died in the 1918 flu epidemic.

If this was a farewell visit I can imagine the poignancy of saying goodbye.

I don't know exactly the relationship of the two young girls sitting on the steps,
but the most interesting thing about the girl who sits on the bottom most step
is that she looks exactly like our granddaughter, at the same age,
born almost a hundred years later.

Our lives are all woven together,
and the pattern repeats itself randomly,
to add richness to the tapestry.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Confined to Barracks

The 10th day of January, 2018

And I am Confined to Barracks!!

Having spent the first forty years of my married life

as a farmer's wife

on a Veteran's Project.

I found my vocabulary changed considerably,

and I adopted many a military phrase, --

like being thoroughly Brassed Off

that I am in the midst of a

(situation normal, all fouled up)
ladies' more elegant interpretation

in that I am Confined to Barracks on account of

the snow and ice that has put my family in a Flap

that I might Fold Up and Hit the Deck!!

This would never have happened Yonks
(a long time ago)

when I was the one who was in a Flap because it was

quite possible the rascals were AWOL

and I had to do Bed Checks every night!!!

Ah well, times change...

but as much as I appreciate their concern

I do yearn for a little freedom to be

out and about......

Small patches of blue sky right now and soon

the sun will be peaking over the mountain top,

and maybe I will take my lunch out to the porch and dream

about what all the little bulbs are doing,

under that ice and snow that limits old ladies

from going sledding and skiing!

Or even to the grocery store....(whinging..)

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Sunny Side Up

I had a pancake left over from last night's supper, and for breakfast this morning I decided to have it with an egg, and a rasher of bacon...

and then I decided that I would cook the egg sunny side up, as my mother used to do when I was a child.  

(here is a 'stock image' but you get the picture....nothing lavish)

A foggy morning, and it seemed to call for something that had a little brightness to it!!

As a matter of fact, I am inclined to prefer my whole life, "sunny side up", 
remembering the good things, rather than the sorrowful or agonizing, 
or just plain irritating events
 that continue to pop up along with joy and pleasant times.

It makes life more enjoyable 
to be a Blue bird
rather than an Eeyore

(and I have run into my share of "dark cloud" people
over the years..)

How about you?  How do you greet a gloomy day?

Do you cherish happy memories?

.....or is life full of regrets and annoyances

and melancholy?

Here is Pharrell Williams to help release

your serotonin, your dopamine, and your endorphins!!!!

Be happy!!!