Saturday, August 12, 2017

Do you know this flowering shrub? It grows wild in one spot near the pond, or at least it is wild now, although someone may have planted it long ago. It has the most heavenly fragrance. I believe it is called 'summersweet', but I am not certain.

 Someone left this lovely painted stone on one of the trail markers. We were so happy to see it.

 My front door.  Welcome! ♥

New England spider cake (recipe below).

This morning, a baby cardinal came to our garden and inspected the feeder.

It was a mostly quiet week which was just lovely. We've had a lot of out-of-town company this summer, with more on the way, so it was nice to have time to potter around the garden and walk in the woods and read and just be.

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Gloucester, I found the slim paperback book pictured above. It is a historical novella called Moss on Stone about Susannah Norwood Torrey who lived on Cape Ann in Rockport during the 19th century. The novella incorporates excerpts from a diary Susannah kept early in her marriage and reads like a memoir. I feel I owe a debt to the author Sandra Williams for introducing me to Susannah. In 'Susa' I have found someone very kindred to myself. The book is a lovely, lovely volume with beautiful illustrations by the author's artist husband, and though it is not an exciting book or a particularly compelling tale, it captures the spirit of a person and place that have captivated me. You can read more about Moss on Stone here.

In the book, Susannah and her husband make a New England spider cake for supper one evening. I had never heard of spider cake. I found a recipe for it here and made it for breakfast yesterday. It is made with cornmeal but does not have the same texture as cornbread. It reminds me of Clafoutis. It was quite good with maple syrup, but I think it would be excellent with fruit preserves, as well.

 New England Spider Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine 4 teaspoons of white vinegar in two cups of milk and set aside to sour (it helps to warm the milk slightly first).
In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of yellow cornmeal, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Whisk two eggs into the soured milk. Mix into dry ingredients and set batter aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 12 inch cast-iron skillet (I used a regular oven proof skillet). Pour in the batter. Pour 1 cup of heavy cream into the center of the batter. Slide skillet into oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is set and golden. Slice into wedges and serve warm with maple syrup or fruit preserves. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

These are my favorite months of the year: August~September~October~November. The golden, sunlight, deepening shadows, ripening fruit, showy blossoms, hum of insects and bats--I'm always happiest and most productive in late summer and fall.

Everywhere there are signs of the beautiful, holy circle, 'world without end'.

Jewel weed and goldenrod are beginning to bloom.

And the meadows are five feet tall and thrumming with life. 

Sometimes I like to leave little messages among the pebbles on the trail for people to find.

This is the first year that my pitiful little peach tree has borne fruit--there are four exquisitely blushing peaches.

For a few years, I wore my hair quite short, but for most of my life I've worn it long (for a period of twenty years I rarely had it cut.) But then, last year in March, I gave up haircuts altogether (too expensive). My hair hasn't seen scissors or a hair dryer in almost a year and a half. This is what it looks like now--my old witchy waves are back, threaded with silver.

If you want to know where I am, you can find me here: in the woods, tending my roses, swimming, exploring old towns, wading in the sea, sitting by a fire under the stars, painting messages on pebbles, searching for old postcards in the early morning light at the Flea. Perhaps where we are defines us more than anything else.

I came across this quote on Lis's blog (linked below under "West"--you must see her gorgeous nature journal!)
It’s all too easy to get stuck inside our own heads, to live out of our imagination. But the deep, honest, authentic ancestral wisdom we’re looking to reclaim is the wisdom of the land, the wisdom of place, and in order to develop that wisdom we need to get out of our heads and out onto the land.
 - Sharon Blackie, "Becoming Native to Place" from Reclaiming the Wise Woman
Yes, if you want to 'find yourself', get to know your neighborhood: the goldenrod, the birch, the little brown bat, the monarch butterfly, the lichen, the hill, the moon, the trail around the pond, the clouds and rain, the moss-covered boulder. There is much truth in knowing your place.

Need a compass? You might find these posts as inspiring as I did: