Lily

Did you know there are many varieties of lilies?  A friend brought this lily to my garden last year just before it was about to bloom. Somehow the conditions weren’t right for the bloom to last very long so I have been waiting anxiously for it to bloom again this year, so I could take its picture for posterity. The  long-hoped-for rain  arrived the day the lily tried to bloom. Would I be lucky enough to see the flowers this year? Not only did it bloom, but it graced my garden with three blossoms. I see that the first to bloom is already a little “rough around the edges” but the other two are still fresh. Notice the dark pollen on the stamens? Then please read the poem below the photo and tell me if this has ever happened to you.

Dainty lily blooms a while,

When she does it makes you smile.

But if you invade her space

Staring right into her face,

In her bloom your nose you poke,

Be prepared for Lily’s  joke.

Those who sniff her sometimes pay.

Pollen on their nose will stay.

Friends of Tom Sawyer

Where were they when I needed them? I had extra brushes ready too…. Turned out I had to  paint the deck railing and spindles all by myself.

But for next time, I’ll be better prepared. I’ve refreshed my memory on how to get help with painting by reading part of chapter two of Tom Sawyer, by Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain. He published this in 1876 and I’m sure Tom’s method would still work today.

Here is a short excerpt (there is much more that is interesting in the rest of the chapter, but I had to make the cut somewhere):

“Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?”

Tom wheeled suddenly and said:

“Why, it’s you, Ben! I warn’t noticing.”

“Say – I’m going in a-swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther work – wouldn’t you? Course you would!”

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:

“What do you call work?”

“Why, ain’t that work?”

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:

“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.

“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth – stepped back to note the effect – added a touch here and there – criticised the effect again – Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

Tom considered, was about to consent; but he altered his mind:

“No – no – I reckon it wouldn’t hardly do, Ben. You see, Aunt Polly’s awful particular about this fence – right here on the street, you know – but if it was the back fence I wouldn’t mind and she wouldn’t. Yes, she’s awful particular about this fence; it’s got to be done very careful; I reckon there ain’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done.”

“No – is that so? Oh come, now – lemme, just try. Only just a little – I’d let you, if you was me, Tom.”

“Ben, I’d like to, but Aunt Polly – well, Jim wanted to do it, but she wouldn’t let him; Sid wanted to do it, and she wouldn’t let Sid. Now don’t you see how I’m fixed? If you was to tackle this fence and anything was to happen to it – ”

“Oh, shucks, I’ll be just as careful. Now lemme try. Say – I’ll give you the core of my apple.”

“Well, here – No, Ben, now don’t. I’m afeard – ”

“I’ll give you all of it!”

Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart. 

*****

And so it began, and before long, Tom had a string of boys begging him to let them have a turn. Wish I’d been as wily as Tom. Well … next time the deck railing needs work, I’ll invite my friends over while I’m painting.

Hazards of the Job

My phone has been cutting out in the middle of conversations. Today the phone man was coming to check it out. I remembered then  that the yew tree we had planted to hide the phone wiring box had become rather overgrown and the poor phone man would need a machete to get in there. The picture below was taken AFTER I did a fast trimming job on the yew. It’s still about a foot higher than it should be.

But behind it, on the wall, you can see the phone connection box,and a surprise!

Just look at all the work some poor bird did to make a nest. So many trips carrying mouthfuls of leaves, grass, twigs, and soil. The location was perfect. Hidden, out of direct sun and wind, and up off the ground, this nest was safe and dry. I have no idea what kind of bird nested here, but it had to be something smaller than a robin.

If you look carefully at the bottom of the phone box just under the black wire, you will see why I could never be a phone repair person. I’m glad I didn’t see this eight-legged fellow, even though he’s dead and dried out, until after I had done the trimming of the yew tree.

Having to push your way to a phone box, through all kinds of brush and dead critters, is just one of the hazards of the job. My phone repairman was good about having to fight a few cobwebs today. Very brave of him to come out still smiling.

Every Day is a Gift

Every day on this earth is a gift. How lucky we are to see the sun rise. On some of those long rainy stretches, I  feel that we are lucky to see the sun at all.

Do you have goals for each day? Something you want to achieve before day’s end?

Why not set yourself some achievable goals for the day?

And when the day ends, what have we accomplished? Do you feel good about reaching your goals?

Why not set some more goals for tomorrow?

In the evening when they’re done, take a load off your feet and relax. Maybe you like to read? I do. I read until my eyes close and then I drift off into dreamland.

Need a good book? Try some bargain entertainment by yours truly. The book covers are pictured at the left side of the page. Just click on the images. If you want west coast drama and suspense with a bit of romance, try The Wind Weeps and then its sequel Reckoning Tide.

If you want something with a Mexican setting, follow Sylvia to Baja as she tries to escape her old life and lands in a love affair with complications. Lots of drama and suspense in Orion’s Gift.

For a love triangle in a time of war, although it’s not a war story, try Julia’s Violinist. You will love Julia.

The books are marked down for the month of July in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Did you know that if you don’t have a Kindle, you can order e-books in other formats from smashwords.com?

A Party, You Say?

Yes, wake up Mr.Raccoon. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday party. Imagine! 150 years!

But I’m so cozy up in the crook of this big tree. Will I have to come down to join the party? I saw a dog down there on the ground.

C’mon down, Rocky. We can play party games.

Don’t worry about Emma. She can’t climb. You can watch the celebrations from the safety of your tree. Just enjoy the wonders of living in this great country. Smile, be happy, be grateful.

Well, if you put it that way, of course. I can have my own little party up here in the tree. Plenty of room on this raccoon tree rest. So let’s get the party rolling. Sorry, Emma. I don’t like playing tag with dogs, but would ya bring me a beer, eh? And Happy Canada Day!

 

Lincoln the Delinquent

 

Linc! Lincoln! Where are you? … Folks, have you seen my baby?

 

Shh! Don’t move!

Lincoln, you little rascal. Is that you?

Uh-oh…. Busted!

DSCN8596

Heh-heh, I think I can outrun the old lady.

 

Searchin’ for my baby squirrel,

Lookin’ o’er de whole wide worl’.

Lincoln! Lincoln! Where are you?

See the trials you put me through.

Askin’ every dame and gent,

“Do y’all know where delinquent?”

Easy Sponge Cake

Sponge Cake

 

1 c. cake flour (sifted 3 times?) – all purpose will do too.

4 eggs, separated

1 c. sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice + water to make 1/4 cup            

lemon rind

* You can substitute 1/4 c. of coffee and flavouring or other liquid (for the lemon juice and rind) to change the flavour.

 

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt      

 

 

  • Preheat oven to 350 *
  • Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colour.
  • Add sugar a bit at a time while continuing to beat.
  • Add lemon water (with rind) alternately with flour, ending with flour.
  • Mix well.

 

  • Beat egg whites until almost stiff
  • Have baking powder and salt ready to add to egg whites.
  • Add them and continue to beat until very stiff.

       

  • Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.
  • Pour into ungreased tube pan.

       

  • Bake at 350* for 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Check after 40 minutes and possibly turn off oven for last 5 minutes.
  • Invert cake pan to cool.

       

       *****

I usually get the flour sifted and ready to use, the lemons (or limes or oranges) pressed so I have my 1/4 cup of liquid ready, and I have the 4 eggs separated (yolks into the mixing bowl and whites into a measuring cup – any cup or bowl will do).

I also set aside the baking powder and salt in a small bowl, ready to add to the egg whites later on.

So first I mix the egg yolks and add the cup of sugar very gradually while the mixer is whipping up the yolks and making them paler and creamy.

Into the egg yolk and sugar mixture, add the lemon juice and the flour, alternating and mixing between additions. Then pour the mixture into a fairly large bowl.

Wash out the mixing bowl and the beater and make sure the bowl is cold so the egg whites get stiff easier. When the egg whites are nearly stiff, add the baking powder and salt and finish beating to make sure the whites are stiff.

Put the egg white mixture onto the batter you made earlier and carefully fold the whites into the batter. Do not stir or you’ll ruin the air bubbles and the cake will not stay high and fluffy.Using a spatula, cut down the side (or the middle) of the batter and fold it over itself repeatedly until the batter is foamy and there are no clumps of egg white showing anymore.

Spoon or pour it into the tube pan (don’t grease the pan) and bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes.

When the cake is done, turn it upside down on something that the top of the tube will rest on (I use a tin from my canister set) so the cake can cool quickly and to stop it from collapsing onto itself.

DSCN8543

When the cake is cool, run a knife along the outside edge of the cake and around the center tube to loosen the cake. Holding the pan upside down give it a sharp rap on a cutting board and it should come out of the pan.

Now you can cut it into slices to eat with berries and ice cream or whipped cream, or you can cut it horizontally to fill it with your favourite filling and add some of the filling on top. I like a pineapple/lemon filling sprinkled with coconut.

After you’ve made a few of these, you’ll be able to get a cake into the oven in 15 minutes. Easy and guaranteed to be good!