Sunday, January 31, 2010


The rain will be back tomorrow,
so a walk to the beach was in order today
while the sun still shines.

Its turns up all kinds of treasures

The winter storms have tossed piles of debris onto the beach

Some of the debris is unwanted...

and sometimes I wonder how the sea creatures
bear the piles of stuff that gets dumped into their home.

I love the path to our beach
Its lined with aromatic Rosemary shrubs

Amongst the blue flowers
are these little "honey pots"
happily humming up a busy day.

...a stray feather makes itself into a lovely ornament

Well camouflaged,
this little pretty hides in the grasses and suns itself.

It only takes a few minutes on the beach,
to melt away the stresses of life.

I could just stay on the beach forever...

What would it be like to
not have to go to work,
pay the bills,
clean the house...

Would I get tired of just listening to the waves?
I can't imagine that I would

Did you get to take a walk this weekend?
down a neighborhood street
or a wooded trail
in a park,
or at the beach...

No matter where you walk,
nature is always there to offer its treasures

Can a leopard change his spots?

(photo credits -

Can a man change his stars?

Do I really have a choice?

Aren't these the biggest questions of all?

.. and ultimately what hope rests on?

~just think'n~

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gypsy Friends

We have some dear friends who are true gypsies
They popped in for an overnight stay last night.

We've been friends for about many years,
...raised our kids together,
and have stayed in touch forever.

They've been sailing for years,
and have made Australia their home-away-from -home for the past 8.
They started out by learning to sail on a small lake
near the town where we all lived.
They both went back to college and became nurses
in order to support themselves wherever their travels took them.
As they honed their sailing skills,
they gradually expanded the distances.
Before long, they had sailed from California to Hawaii,
then down the west coast of South America
through the islands
and on to Australia.

They own this (pic above) large beautiful catamaran
and have made Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia
their homebase
...until now.

We've enjoyed years of receiving emails, photos and
amazing tales of travel from them.

A few years ago, they took a kitty on board,
who they named Pooterhead
(go figure... where do we get these names! LOL)

This cat loved living on the boat
and learned to swim from boat to land and back.

A few years ago some other friends and I talked
Shirlee into writing a book of their tales of travel.
We've been working together on the book ever since.

Well, its almost done...

To publish the book
is dream that will hopefully be fulfilled one day!

So they popped in last night after flying in to Los Angeles.
They're moving back to the States for now.
Shirlee's parents need her help for awhile.
Sadly, they are selling their boat and staying ashore indefinitely...
but one day they plan to buy a new boat
and sail down the East Coast of the US,
and on down to South America.

We had hoped to vacation with them in Australia one day

...but the years rolled by and one thing or another always came up...
or maybe we allowed it to.

Sadly for us, it looks like our opportunity has escaped us...

for now.

I so admire their gypsy-ness...
You wouldn't believe the tales they have to tell,
and I love hearing them

...but I am also so much an earth person.
I need a home place, a garden and a solid spot on earth,
but I can kinda live a gypsy life vicariously through them,

...because I know their gypsy blood
will not allow them to stay land-bound for long.

And one day we will join them for an adventure!


After seeing this little button on Dzintra's blog,
and then following the link to Heidi's blog to read about it...

A Sew-in sounds too inviting to ignore.
I'm making this new outfit for Sophie,
and a sew-in will give me a boost to get it done!
I can always use an extra incentive...
So I'm joining the February Sew-in


Monday, January 25, 2010

El Nino

Before winter, the meteorologists said we were in for an
El Nino winter.

For us it means that we will have a warmer and wetter year.
Well, El Nino finally showed up last week.

Last week's storms took out all our communications
for a few days...
No TV, phones or Internet...

...which left plenty of time to think in quiet.

At first I felt cut off.
Then I got to thinking...
When we were first married,
we lived out of town by 3o miles or so...

We only had one TV channel,
no Internet,
and we even had a party line on our phone.
Anyone remember those days?

So, what to do with all the techno-free time?

Watch the storms roll in off the sea
Dream up plans for Valentines Day

~It was actually quite nice~

The storms gave us a break over the weekend, so we took stock of the damages. The whole neighborhood was doing the same. Our neighbors were burning fallen branches and debris, and as the fire burned everyone stood around for a neighborhood chat. What fun!

Sadly, we realized that one of our avocado trees had been damaged at the roots by the high winds and rain. It was lifting up on one side and leaning toward the back corner of the house.We had no choice... It had to come down. I really hated cutting that tree down. It was healthy and producing (even though we couldn't reach the fruit), and trees are such special things. This one was meant to be pollination for its partner... ):

Later, toward evening...
after the fire died down a bit,
the kids brought out the hot dogs and marshmellows for roasting.

~Its great to have good neighbors around us~

When the tree came down,
all the avocados came with it.
I now have two large baskets full,
and have been giving them away to neighbors and friends.

Soon, when they have all ripened,
it will be guacamole time!

Other damage was done to part of our back fence...
smashed by falling limbs.

It may look like just an old mossy fence,
but under that moss was lovely redwood.

We've already had about 12 inches of rain over the past week
and the soil is saturated, but more is due to come in this evening and tomorrow.
We're always thankful for rain,
and if the communications go out again,
I've got another book to read~

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh Stormy

Three of four storms that are lined up out in the Pacific
have hit us.
One left to go...

Yesterday lightening and thunder...
so big that it almost felt like an earthquake!
We have this hug Redwood tree in front of the house.
You can see it on the right in this picture.

The lightening was amazing!
For about an hour it was one streak after another

I hope hope hope its strong enough to withstand the
60mph wind gusts we've been getting!

In the back yard,
a whole trunk of a falling Cyprus tree has smashed our fence

Naked looking Avocado trees,
and a yard filled with piles of torn off branches.

At one point we were getting 2 inches of rain an hour

One more storm is slated to come in tomorrow morning,
but after that, hopefully we'll get a break.

We need the rain, but this amount all at once
has caused power outages, flooding, and mudslides
in our area.

So far, we still have our power...
"knock on wood!"

A big clean up will be in order when the sun comes out!


Meanwhile, I had a chance between storms
to go to the fabric store and buy this fun mix of fabrics.

Years ago, when my boys were little
I made matching sailor outfits for them...
proof that I can sew IF inspired to.

My problem:
one mistake, or need to rip a seam,
and the garment is likely end up abandoned.

I really must work on "patience"
Hopefully I can make this easy little pattern for my Sophia,
without having to fix mistakes!

One remaining pumpkin gets a shower on the back porch

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Waiting for spring...

Here I sit,
waiting for spring...

Feathered friends are busy eating to stay warm.

The old broom and bucket wait to be used

The old bench waits to be meditated upon

Traces of last year's Agapanthus stand bare

The nut trees drink up the rain

A last remaining pumpkin of last year's harvest sports a hole...

maybe a mouse house?

This week's weather forecast is for rain, rain, rain.

The prediction - wind, flooding and possible mudslides.

We need the rain...
so I'll sit inside and wait where its warm,
... thankful for the rain.
That ensures a good start for my bit o'earth.

What are you doing while waiting the up-coming season?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cook- up with Dzintra

~Bonjour mes amis~

Its time for another cook-up with Dzintra over at Queen of the Armchair! For those who might not know, Dzintra and I enjoy sharing cook-ups! Its a sort of Julie and Julia thing ...without Julie or Julia... just us (: What fun we've had! If you care to join in... please do! Pick your recipes and have a go! Link to us, and make it a party~

BTW, I saw the movie "Julie and Julia" over the holidays and loved it! If you haven't seen it yet... I don't think you would even have to love cooking to enjoy this fun and heart warming movie.

Dzintra is the real chef here! She has completed a Cookery Course at TAFE (which I would love to do one day too) Check out her cooking blog at My Dolce Vita . I love to cook, but have never done much other than cook for my family. Somehow as we chatted via email, we realized our shared love of cooking and a good Food Magazine from the Great Down Under by Donna Hay... so one thing lead to another, and when Dzintra suggested we do a cook-up, I loved the idea! The rest is history. Its been so much fun that we've continued... even if there are some long stretches of time between them.

It takes a surprising amount of time and dexterity to juggle food and a camera at the same time! During each cook-up, I find myself racing between stove, oven, sink and the camera... while trying to keep from smooshing food all over it... and keeping the food on schedule at the same time! DH thinks its hilarious to watch, but doesn't have a word of complaint when the food is brought to the table!

Usually we try to choose our menu from the most current issue. I've had a subscription to Donna Hay, but I didn't get it renewed before it ran out, so haven't received the most current issue yet. I decided to choose a few recipes from past issues for this cook-up.

So here it is, the menu for Cook-up with Dzintra #3:

The recipe for Avocado Egg Salad,
came from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
Next time I'll use one of Donna Hay's great salad recipes,
but this one was delicious too.

Smoky Beef Rib Eye Roast
from DH issue #45, pg 112

This recipe started with a delicious rub that includes
lemon zest, sumac (not the poison kind. I had only
heard of the poison kind before, so had never used this before!)

both hot and smoked paprika,
Rib Eye Cutlet (which I couldn't get, so
I went with a roast instead)

and whole roasted garlic on the side.

This rich tangy recipe was delicious,
and a huge hit with DH and sons!

Pumpkin and Mascarpone Risoto
from DH issue #32, pg 104

The risoto was a hearty complimentary side to
the rich flavors of the Beef Rib Eye.
I had pumpkins left over from my fall garden... it was a perfect fit!

Sour Lemon Cake
from DH issue #44, pg 142

(Dzintra, one note of interest - I made this gluten-free!
I just exchanged the flour with my gluten-free flour,
and voila, it turned out great!
DH and boys didn't even notice!)

served with

Jackson-Triggs Vidal Icewine
from the Niagra Penensula

which I learned of from Susan
at Miss Maddie's

Thank you Susan!
This was a most exquisite sweet dessert wine that
offered a rich silky finish to our dinner.
I believe DH and this wine are new best friends!

~Bon appetite mes amis~

Friday, January 8, 2010

Blissful Weekend at last

After a hectic week
This weekend I plan to:

Walk - down to the breakers

Sit - on the beach

Listen - to the waves and wildlife

Stare - at the big water

Poke - around tide pools

Look - for the coveted lovely Purple Sailor

(I've only found them once in all the years we've lived here)
This little treasure is a floater,
and due to the light weight
and the very fragile nature of this shell not many
perfect specimens are in collections)
up to 1 1/2" (4 cm.)

Wait - for sunset


I'm always mesmerized by the waves

What is it about water?

...especially moving, tumbling, crashing water.

It has a way of washing away the everyday stresses
and replacing it with peace.


I plan to surprise Hubby with a home cooked meal...

After being gone from home on business,
its what he looks forward to.

This weekend will be my next cook-up
with my friend Dzintra over at
~Queen of the Armchair~

A perfect addition to this cook-up
will be this lovely small prize!

~Icewine from the Niagra Peninsula~
My friend Susan, at Miss Maddie's
posted about this lovely dessert wine last weekend.

It looked so inviting that I had to ask her to tell me more.
She did, and I ordered a bottle.
I was so surprised that it arrived in one day.
I can't wait to taste it.


For those of you who requested it...
a 100th Post Thank-you & Give-away
is finally in the mail


What will you be doing this weekend?
~I hope it brings you what you wish for~