It has not reached a temperature above freezing for six days. One night it broke the low recored set in 1895. It dropped to minus 11. The old recored was minus 6. While a lot of the rest of Texas had no power, where I lived had only rotating short blackouts occasionally. At my house, there has been no outage. Not only has it been cold but also snowing. The last two says shout out winter beauty. The first few photos I took yesterday. Then it snowed another 3-4 inches and I took more photos this morning.
I live where weather extremes prevail. Yesterday it was nearly 70, today 60, and in a few days it will drop to 9, yes, 9, with a windchill way below zero. In the meantime, I dream of spring flowers, renewal, transformation. I scrolled through old flower photos and decided to share a few. Drink a glass of wine, dream spring dreams, dance.
Cold, windless morning
Sounds of silence
Most 2020 goodbyes ring with epithets on the horrors of 2020. I object. 2020 brought bad, yes, mainly due to Covid 19’s effects on the lives of masses. It also enlightened us:
-staying home makes cleaner air.
-staying home increases home gardening and thus healthier eating.
-staying home leads to a slower, more thoughtful life, to extra time with family.
-staying home reconnects us with ourselves.
2020 lead to positives that have nothing to do with Covid 19:
-increased awareness and concern for the lives of others different from ourselves.
-increased awareness that discrimination and brutality among our police exists and we need to fix it.
-increased awareness of the ever growing income gaps in our society.
Covid 19 did bring:
-an increased awareness of the impacts of any pandemic and that we must prepare ourselves because there will be more.
-an increased appreciation of essential workers and their roles in our everyday lives.
-an increased appreciation for nurses and doctors and other health care workers.
Spring will come,
flowers will bloom,
birds will sing.
Yesterday, I heard Bishop Michael Curry speak on national news. I will close with one sentence which remains with me:
“Love is a commitment to the Common Good.”
Some years I do a lot of baking. Not so much this one because not going to see so many people because of Covid. Today I baked anyway, made pumpkin bread using Mom’s recipe. Many go out and buy new appliances. Not I. In this photo you will see the electric mixer my parents gave me decades ago. Yes, it looks a bit used and rough; it still works perfectly–metal, not plastic, but not heavy like the popular brands now.
Mom always baked her pumpkin bread in cans like this and gave some for presents. One can is just plain pumpkin bread, the other two have chopped walnuts. Mom’s recipe is on page ten in the cookbook, “You’re Gonna Eat That!?” I alter it a bit and here is the general way to make it:
Sift 3 cups flour with 1 tsp cinnamon–I used cinnamon from Ethiopia, 1 tsp grated nutmeg, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda. Set aside. Mix 2 cups sugar with 1 cup oil–I used avocado, add 3 beaten eggs and mix in the mixer until thoroughly blended. Add 1 tsp vanilla and a couple drops of clove essential oil. Add I small can pumpkin; mix. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Blend thoroughly. At this point I spooned the mixture into one of the cans. Then I added a cup of chopped walnuts to the rest and spooned that mixture into the remaining two cans. Bake at 325 for an hour or until tester comes out clean. Cool on rack and remove from the coffee tins.
Tomorrow I will make Mom’s pumpkin pie also in the memoir/cookbook.
Happy Holidays to all of you!!!
My travels have not only enlightened me personally, but also enabled me to create recipes from my food adventures around the world. Due to the recommendations of friends and family worldwide, I created a cookbook/memoir with stories and recipes. Len Leatherwood, new President of the Story Circle Network, says, “This is a cookbook after my own heart, filled with a wide range of healthy recipes from several cultures that will add flavor, color, and variety to any table.” Jennifer Archer, award winning writer and editor elaborated further, “A feast for the senses…combines colorful stories, poems, and mouth-watering recipes that inspire readers to experience new places, new tastes…from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Scandinavia, and America.”
This would make a great Christmas present for foodies and people who want worldwide food adventures. It can be ordered online from: http://www.dreamcatcherbooks.com and go to Angel Books.
Recipes for the food in the photos above are included in the book. More food photos follow:
Lemon pasta with mixed salad topped with grated asiago cheese.
Many of the recipes feature berbere, a spice used in Ethiopian cooking. The book also includes four different recipes for salmon and many vegetarian and vegan recipes using spices from around the world.
My family and I took a quick road trip to California and back over the Thanksgiving break. Why now in the time of Covid? Grandson is applying to colleges in CA and needed to see what he could. We did stay in hotels, picked them carefully, did not use any services–most are currently not available anyway. You put used towels, etc. in the hall, go to the main desk to pick up more yourself, etc. It was fine. For meals we did takeout and ate at the hotel. Twice we did eat at a restaurant outside where there was no one near. It was possible because it was not cold. I took a few photos which follow.
Near the UPS store in San Luis Obispo.
At the University of San Francisco, one of the few places where we were able to get out of the car and walk around.
This and the following several photos were taken among the redwoods at Muir Woods. This is how we spent Thanksgiving Day.
On the way out or in, depending on which way you go, you can see the Painted Desert. Guess I caught my own shadow in this one.
It is an hour or so boat ride from Sorrento to Capri. Although not very crowded in November, apparently it is tourist heaven in the summer. The lower town contains many of the world’s major high end stores. This time of year most remained closed. Even though I am not a big fan of touristy destinations, I thoroughly enjoyed our day on Capri. I doubt I would like it so much in high season.
I took all the above photos while strolling along the walkway shown in the third photo. Beauty lay everywhere I looked.
Last November I spent a little over a week in Italy. We spent only 1/2 day in Rome then drove to Sorrento where we stayed for a week. From there we wandered down the Amalfi Coast, over to Naples, Pompeii, and Capri. Want to avoid the summer heat and crowds? Go in November. Yes, it is chilly and sometimes rainy with big storms at night. Nevertheless, you can really see what people do who live there and avoid masses of tourists. Here are some of my favorite photos:
The above photos taken in Rome. The following were taken in Sorrento.
To share beauty and adventure, this past week two friends challenged me to share photos every day for ten days. This is day four. I decided to share some of the photos planned for day four here. The first three days included photos I took in Ethiopia and Italy (where I was this time last year). Today from this venue I will share photos of Costa Rica, a country I have visited twice, once when it was summer here and several years later during Christmas break in the US. Perhaps I will continue the challenge this way, sharing from my blog, but for today here are some of my favorite places in Costa Rica.