Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter in a nutshell and an Art Opening

Easter is a strange time of year.  It is the celebration of spring and renewal, and while it is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year, this feast is marked by rabbits, newly hatched chicks, eggs, and chocolate.   The term Easter dates back well over a millennia wherein the Germanic "Ēostre month" (April), was named after the goddess Ēostre of Anglo-Saxon paganism.  Throw in a few lambs, a turkey dinner (possibly ham), a long weekend, sugar addled children and a touch of necromancy… and Voila! You have Easter in a nutshell.

But regardless of how one celebrates, or why – there is something about the post Easter world that is fresh and new and full of possibilities.  I think it might have something to do with the natural world and the beginnings of the buds on the bare tree branches,  the small green shoots pushing their way through the soil and embarking on their tentative journey toward the lushness of summer.  

As for myself… I’ve been again inspired, and this time… I’m Opening my own art show.  It will be at the local Sushi restaurant.  An exhibition of my newest works, and an exploration in colour and light.  On the 29th of May between 1 and 5 I hope to host an opening that will showcase a collection of orginal art work.  I am excited about this opportunity.  I am not unknown in this town, but nor am I an accomplished artist here.

Please wish me the best.  And if you are willing, able, or live close enough, please come out to support me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.

Maybe it’s something about being pregnant a primal nesting instinct, or an imbalance of hormone that manifests itself as temporary insanity.... but whatever it is...  Saturday DH set out in the boat to spend the day getting pounded by the waves, and waiting for the fish to bite...  all this in order to provide fish for the freezer at a cost much higher (factoring in gas, gear, and boat maintenance) than simply purchasing it from the fish plant.  While going through this ritual of provision, I was overcome with the unusual urge to make bread....   yup. Bread! 
Did I mention I never, never make bread.  I like bread... in fact I like bread so much I don’t keep it in the house... for fear I’d eat nothing else.  I deliberately lived without a toaster for 3 years just to keep the bread at a distance...  Saturday I got out the flour and yeast....  Olive & Oregano bread... from scratch.

The yeast foamed.. and the smell reminded me of my childhood.  I made the well in the flour and stirred in the onions, olives and oregano...  I kneaded (maybe a tiny bit too much), I used more utensils that I thought I owned...  I made a nest to help keep the ball of dough warm and waited for it to rise.... and waited, and cleaned up every single dough clogged item in my kitchen...and waited... I provided a bit of heat...  and waited..
I punched it down...  it had risen more than I thought it had...

Into the oven.. and the fisherman came home with fresh fish from the sea (I didn’t ask what he spent on gas).  Fresh fish chowder for dinner... my domestic skills never cease to amaze me nor does the pile of dirty dishes.

The bread... well... if you ever get the insane urge to make bread from scratch ... may I advise you to purchase new yeast... and beware of over kneading .  Or maybe the best advice I can give is to curl up in a little ball and breathe deeply until the whim passes.

As for me.. .heavy as that loaf was I ate it anyway... fresh, steaming warm from the oven and slathered in butter...
...and as for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.

Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!  ~James Beard
(click on image for larger and more readable recipe)

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I have the third load of laundry in the washing machine,  my 3 bathrooms are if not gleaming like something out of a Mr. Clean commercial at least passably tidy and smelling faintly of whatever chemical they put in “Green Works” cleaning products.  I have an empty dishwasher and fresh linen on the beds.  There is a blob of hamburger thawing in my sink which will eventually resemble something we will call dinner.  The dog is laying in a patch of sunlight on the carpet, pleasantly tired after the 5km frolic we went on this morning.  Or rather, I walked a brisk 5 km,  and she ran to the edge of my sight and back again to my side over and over and over and over.  That being said if I suggested going out again she would happily bound along with the energy of a puppy.

As for me.. It is mid afternoon and I’m ready to take a break.  I sit in the warmth of the few stray rays of sunlight that have found their way into my home, looking out over the quiet neighbourhood from our perch on the hill at the end of the street.

©RiverWalker Arts

“Stars are the daisies that begem The blue fields of the sky, Beheld by all, and everywhere, Bright prototypes on high.”
~ David Macbeth
When I have moments like this there is always guilt.  Guilt that I should be doing something else, something productive... I should be washing the windows.. or the dog, cleaning my closet, de-cluttering the spare room,  putting in a long run to prepare me for the race on April 10th.  Maybe I should be baking, or scrubbing out the inside of my car ( which currently has slight “ ‘eau de wet dog” odour).  There are papers that I never get time at work to read which I should take out and read.  Or maybe that nagging feeling can handle me putting all these mundane tasks aside, and maybe the guilt I have is that I have neglected craft projects that need finishing, like that partially finished dress I was making for a masquerade party happened 2 years ago.  But as I think of dragging out all that work, and I look outside I have the feeling  that this sun will only last an hour at most before the rain sets in for another week and I Should really get out and do some early spring gardening... like pulling the weeds that are choking the flower beds and strangling the crocuses.  

But for some reason all that guilt, all that should, could, ought to do .... isn’t getting done and instead I’m languishing here relaxing, my novel tucked in next to my hip on the sofa.