Author Archives: wordsfromanneli

About wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

Scones

Some people call these tasty biscuits “scones,” to rhyme with “bones.” I prefer to call them scones to rhyme with “prawns.”

I found out today why they are called scones (my way). It must be because as soon as they are out of the oven, someone “absconds” with them.

They are very easy to make if you have a food processor to mix the butter with the flour. The old pastry blender method is just too much work.

I did a post about scones two years ago, which you can visit if you like: https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/10/31/scones/

Since then I have made many batches of scones and have stopped looking at the recipe.

Some changes?

I only use the baking soda if I add a squeeze of lemon.

I use two eggs if I have them to spare, rather than only one. One time I completely forgot to put the eggs in and they still turned out okay. The biscuit is very forgiving that way.

You can add grated cheese instead of currants. Probably there are a lot of things you could add if you wanted (chopped nuts, dried cranberries, raisins), but preferably not all in one batch.

One thing you don’t want to do is handle the dough too much. It makes the biscuits tougher if you do.

I will repeat the recipe here, but you can substitute and change things without fear of doing too much damage. One change I like is to use a lot of sour cream and less milk, but it depends what’s in the fridge that day.

Scones

All the dry ingredients go into the food processor:

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda (if using a squeeze of lemon for flavour)

3 Tbsp. sugar (optional)

Then add about 3/4 cup of butter and pulse the food processor until the butter is cut into the flour mixture evenly.

In a measuring cup, stir an egg  with a fork, or use two eggs, but reserve some of the egg white to mix with a drop of milk for a wash on top of the batter before putting it in the oven. Add enough milk to make a cup. At this point I also add, as part of that one cup of liquid, whatever I have on hand – yogurt, sour cream, or a squeeze of lemon or lime – just to get the baking soda working well. You may have to add a drop more liquid if you use sour cream or yogurt.

Pour in the liquid and give it a few pulses, add a handful of currants (or whatever you’ve decided on), and pulse again. You don’t want to mash the dried fruit so this goes in last and is just barely mixed in.

Pat the dough together and flatten it on a buttered cookie sheet. More directions are given in my previous post (use the link given earlier in the post).

Today’s scones baked at 400 degrees for about 26 minutes.

But I still wonder … who absconded with that scone that is missing in the photo?

 

 

 

The Wild Winds Weep

The wild winds weep

And the night is a-cold

Come hither, Sleep,

And my griefs unfold.

I wish I could claim this poem as my own creation, but I can’t. It is from a poem called “Mad Song,” by William Blake.

I was quite taken by this poem when I wrote my first novel of a coastal drama in which the wild weather played a significant role. That is why I used “The Wind Weeps” as my title.

I’m not trying to persuade you to click on the book cover image at the side for the free download of that book, but if you do, remember book two, “Reckoning Tide.”

It’s just that today the weather is so wild. The wind is crying out there,  whipping up the waves, just as it is in parts of my book.

Driving past Point Holmes on my way home from shopping, I stopped to take a few pictures. I had to hang onto the car door tightly so it wouldn’t rip off. A torn rotator cuff on a person is painful, but on a car door it would be  expensive  – so, also painful in a way.

It takes  a good stiff wind to give these waves foaming, frothy tops. In the photo below you can see a smooth line near the bottom of the picture. That is the paved boat launch ramp. No one is using it today for obvious reasons. No way I’d want to be tossing around in a small boat out there.

Even the little songbirds were looking for shelter. They swarmed in small clouds to and from the beach. Some flew in to land on the rocks and logs, but my photo doesn’t show the tiny birds well. I enlarged the photo to have a look (as you may be able to do by clicking on it), and I counted at least twelve small birds. It’s a tough time for them.

Those mountains in the distance should be clear and sharp. It is only around noon, but the sky is dark and full of raindrops flying sideways so the far shore is fuzzy and the mountains just a haze.

It’s too stormy out there for me. I think Emma has the right idea.

DSCN9323

Apple of my Eye

I was disappointed to read that “apple of my eye” probably refers to the pupil of my eye. It has been used in many Biblical quotations, usually in connection with protecting someone. For example, in Psalm 17:8 7:8: “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings”.

I prefer to think of the expression as meaning someone you like very much.
“She’s the apple of my eye.

As I peeled many, many apples, the wheels turned in my head.

“What a silly expression! Do I want to be the apple in someone’s eye? How dumb is that?”

But old expressions are often like that, and the meaning changes over the centuries.

Luckily, the apple hasn’t changed much. It is still tasty enough to tempt anyone to risk being tossed out of the Garden of Eden.

In my little garden, far from Eden quality, I have lots of apples. Too many to eat all at once, even after sharing many with friends (without tossing them out of the garden).

It is time though, to do something with the last of the apple harvest. I have enough frozen apples, and I’ve eaten all I want for the moment. I can only bake so much before we have to go to Weight Watchers. So what to do?

Last week we had friends over for a visit and they brought us apples they had dried in slices. The light came on in my dull head. Didn’t I have a dehydrator in my pantry? I hauled it out and got busy.

The dehydrator has five trays that sit over a little heater and fan.  Load the trays with fruit, stack them, put the lid on, open the vent on top, plug in the dehydrator, and then go read a book while they dry (for several hours). You might want to choose a nice long book like “War and Peace” or “Gone With the Wind.” It takes a while.

I peeled my apples, but it’s not necessary. Personal choice. As the bottom tray had some dried  apple pieces ready, I took them out and put them into a bowl and re-filled the empty space on the trays with some banana slices.  I suppose you can try drying just about anything. Herbs from the garden, for example.

The dried fruit makes a delicious and healthy snack when it’s done.

West Coast Travels

At the end of the fishing season this past summer, the Captain was ready to head home.  A new phase of the adventure begins with the rising sun.

Along the way home, he stops to check out this little building. You would never guess that inside this shack is a pleasant surprise.  A cemented enclosure fills with warm water through a  pipe from hotsprings behind the cabin. Step inside and have a soak to take the ache out of your bones.

The falls at the head of Lowe Inlet splash relentlessly. Except for the odd raven chuckling in the treetops, the rush and gurgle of the water are the only sounds. If you think you might want to try casting a dry fly towards a coho, be sure to take your bear spray with you – just in case.

 Need a warm cabin for drying out those wet clothes? This Fisheries cabin at Lowe Inlet, aptly named the Lowe Budget Hotel,  is very cozy after the Captain has spent some time trying his luck fishing in the cold mist of the falls. 

He remembers to follow the rules about the woodstove, posted on the wall. Don’t want to risk burning the cabin down.

Almost there. Running the boat down Grenville Channel.  Beautiful trip but there’s no place like home.

Meanwhile at home, I’ve been writing, and thinking about my fictitious character, Andrea, who has had an experience that seems bizarre at first. But in truth, this has happened to other women who have ventured out to the coast.

How did a city girl like her became trapped in an isolated cabin on this remote coast? Will she ever escape this lonely place where she must live with a man who is mentally deranged?

You can download The Wind Weeps (FREE), and then you can find out the conclusion in a sequel, Reckoning Tide, that is only $2.99. When did you last get so much enjoyment and entertainment for such a small price?

Why not get them both today at amazon.com or amazon.ca and smashwords.com?

You can find them all with supporting reviews at my website www.anneli-purchase.com

The Curse of the Camisoles

My mother-in-law had a box of my novels delivered to her place  while I was away in Montana. When I got home, I got the Captain to collect it and bring it home.

I was looking for scraps of paper to start a fire in the woodstove and noticed some tissue paper on the box of books. Might as well burn that. It would be perfect for starting the kindling.

That evening, m-i-l phoned and said she had sent two camisoles over for me to fix for her.

“Oh? I didn’t see any camisoles,” I told her. 

“They were wrapped in tissue paper.”

A heat wave swept over me, hotter than the fire I had made with the tissue paper. Could I really have burned those camisoles? Wouldn’t I have noticed that something was inside the paper?  I looked all over the house for camisoles wrapped in tissue paper and finally phoned m-i-l back. 

“I must have made a fire with them when I was burning papers. But I don’t know how I wouldn’t have noticed them.”

“Well … they’re very thin …,” she said. “But don’t worry about it.”

About a week later, my m-i-l phoned. “Guess what I found? Wrapped in tissue paper between two blouses in my dresser drawer.” 

We both laughed with relief. She’s nearly 97 and is allowed to have a senior moment now and then. But my laughing stopped short when I realized, Oh no. Now I still have to do the sewing repairs. 

Okay, well bring them over when you come for supper next time. DON’T wrap them in tissue paper. Just throw them into a plastic bag. Then I won’t try to make a fire with them.”

And that is what she did. She put them in a plastic bag and I had them in my hand the day she came over for supper.  I was very busy getting the meal on the table and putting food  away into the fridge.

The next day, the cursed camisoles were nowhere to be found.

I searched the house thoroughly three times from top to bottom. No camisoles anywhere and I had no excuse to have a senior moment.

Two days ago,  I took my m-i-l shopping, and bought her two new camisoles.

This morning, the Captain was making a sandwich and called out to me, “ANNELI! Guess what I found.”

“No idea. What?”

“I was looking for lettuce to put on my sandwich, and you know how you always wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag? Well, just come and see.”

One bag has lettuce in it, and the other has … you guessed it … two camisoles.

And as much as I was relieved to find the cursed things, the next thought that popped into my mind was, Arrrgh…. Now I have to repair them after all.

I have decided to do that, and then quietly put them into m-i-l’s Christmas stocking (wrapped in tissue paper, the way she likes it).

The Holly and the Maple

No, it’s not “The Holly and the Ivy,” but close enough. I noticed that the maple’s leaves got hung up on the holly tree below it, and the muse tickled the keyboard once again.

The maple sheds a coat that weaves

And floats towards the ground,

Hanging up on prickly leaves

Of holly all around.

 

The holly says, “I thank you, dear,

I’m shivering with cold.

When winter nights are chill and clear

Your leaves my warmth will hold.

 

And decorated, too, am I

Just like a Christmas tree.

My berries red will catch the eye

And all will look at me.

 

But you, dear maple, what of you?

Your scrawny arms are chill.

There’s nothing more that you can do.

So pray for you, I will.

 

Be steadfast through the winter gale,

Be tough as you can be,

Till new green leaves your arms regale

With pride and majesty.”

 

 

 

 

Will You Be My Chum?

We have five species of salmon on the Pacific coast. Some, like the chinook, sockeye, and coho are highly prized. The other two, pink and chum, are also delicious when they are in their prime. The pink has softer flesh and is good in a barbecue or steamed, smoked, or canned, while the chum is mostly used for canning and smoking. It is also being used for its roe.

After spending four years in the ocean, the chums will swim up a river to spawn. On their way from the ocean to the river,  chums go through  dramatic changes in the shape of their body. The head features change so the jaws are more curved and pronounced, the males growing teeth that serve them in their aggression and dominance over other males. This toothy look has earned them the nickname “dog salmon.”

The flesh also begins to break down, enabling patches of fungus to grow on the skin.

Here is one that has those patches all over its body. What was once a silvery salmon is now looking more like a barely living fish cadaver.

The chums make their way upstream, often in pairs. The female lays her eggs in a gravel bed and the male fertilizes them. Then, exhausted from their long journey, they waste away and die, littering the banks of the river and getting hung up on rocks and log jams.

Of course, in nature, not much goes to waste. Usually the eagles occupy these trees that overlook the river, but now they are the resting place for seagulls who have gorged themselves on the stinking flesh of the chum salmon.

There they are at the dinner table on the far left side of the stream.

On the opposite shore, to my disgust, I see fishermen throwing lures into the river in hopes of snagging the dying, putrid chums which are too exhausted to take the bait anymore.  A month ago, some of these chums might  still have made a tasty meal, but now? If you don’t want to eat carrion, why torture these dying fish?   Fishing, is a fine sport, but this???  This has nothing more to do with fishing. I don’t know what to make of it. Words fail me!

Below is a 13-second video of the salmon on the other side of the bridge from which these pictures were taken. The chums are most likely already spawned out but are still going through the motions until they exhaust themselves. You may notice that most of them are paired up. The noise in the video is, unfortunately, made by the cars going by on the bridge behind me.