Monday, July 28, 2008

It's not him... It's the way I tell them

Q: Tibby, what do you call a cat who eats a whole duck?

A: A duck-filled fatty puss!

Shopping with BPG

Dear readers!

There are mere months to go until Christmas, and Blog Princess G is on the case.

Some of my favourite online shops:

Laura Wilder is a Roycroft master artisan and her work is magic:

Situated in New Mexico, here is the delightful Cranberry Press:

Mary Philpott makes her enchanting tiles at her studio in Stratford, Ontario, and - yes - I've shopped in person:

Another in-person series of purchases followed up by online shopping: Elora Soapworks' "flowers and leaves ointment" is the most wonderful lip balm and apparently fixes all sorts of skin ailments:

I go quite potty over Paine Products' balsam incense logs and hot pads, first purchased in a shop in Maine, now ordered online and inhaled. I'm addicted! I burn the little incense log in a cedar cabin burner, so similar to the one my dear Great-Aunt Leecy had from her time in Canada in the 1920s, and with which I was completely fascinated as a child. The rising column of balsam-scented smoke rises out of the little chimney. It still enchants me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

"They talked about the nature of history for hours, and it was under the impact of his deep skepticism, or materialism, that she finally completed the shift in the emphasis of her study from history to archaeology, from texts to things - convinced, in part, by his argument that texts were always just people's impressions, while objects had a certain unchangeable reality to them. Of course, the objects led directly to more impressions, and meshed with them in the mesh of proofs that any student of the past had to present in order to make a case; but to start with the tools and buildings rather than the words of the past was indeed a comfort to Budur."

From The Years of Rice and Salt, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Walk on Cherry Beach

Cherry Beach is about a 20-minute walk from my home. There is much improvement in the area to create lovely walking trails. They're doing very well so far. :)

I don't know what this little bug is but he certainly was a lovely colour.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Well, it makes ME feel young!

Here's the lowdown on the fossil:

It's a Favositid coral, from the family of Favosites. It is more commonly known as honeycomb coral (for obvious reasons) and is from the Devonian period, making it - wait for it...

380 million years old!!

Apparently, during the Devonian period, southwestern Ontario was situated just south of the equator or thereabouts. It was covered by a shallow, tropical sea... hence finding coral in such a land-locked location.

I was stunned! I sort of still am. I gather these are not uncommon, especially when the very nice scientist at the ROM failed to offer me millions of dollars for it.

Directly from the museum, we retired to a pub and toasted the fossil's age, with three pints of excellent, locally-brewed stout. The waiter was bemused.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Fossil Mystery - Part Four

My readers may remember my pondering the origins of my fossil, found somewhere in southwestern Ontario.

The mystery continued unsolved.

I measured and examined it at great length, in anticipation of having it properly identified.

So cats and kittens... here is the question of the day:

How old do you think my fossil is?

(The answer will be posted ere long.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Breakfast with BPG

No cottage visit is complete without these pancakes which are my favourites ever. They are from Pancakes A to Z by Marie Simmons (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997).

This morning, to assuage the intensity with which we miss our holiday, I made these, serving them with rashers of bacon and lashings of hot tea. I can almost hear the lake water lapping at the shore and the morning call of the loon.

"Luscious Lemon Pancakes"
(Makes 12)

3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cottage cheese
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks, flour, cottage cheese, butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter until just blended. Heat your griddle or pan until hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Brush with a thin coat of vegetable oil. For each pancake pour a 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle. Cook until the tops are covered with small bubbles and the bottoms are lightly browned. Carefully flip your pancakes. These cook quickly. Repeat with the remaining batter. You can keep the cooked ones warm in a low oven. Serve with sliced fruit if you like and maple syrup (which you can warm up if you like).

MY NOTES: We were talking after and thinking that, as little as two tablespoons of sugar is, we might even lower it to one next time, as you really hardly need it at all. But then, we don't have very sweet teeth. :) AND, of course we add maple syrup. Also, I got more than the prescribed 12 pancakes, more like 16.

The gathered ingredients:

Plus melted butter:

Little bubbles begin to form on top:

One flipped pancake:

Finished pancakes are kept warm in the oven while the bacon cooks:

Yum yum:

One more picture: Due to an "incident" with some red food colouring some while back, I can always find my spatula in my crowded second drawer down:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Magical Holiday Visitor

Sitting on the dock one day after swimming, this large dragonfly landed on the top of my book. The book is The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson and I have almost finished it after many moons of reading. I've enjoyed it (full review to come later) but I just haven't been reading much of late.

My bookmark shows a detail of Liebe (1895) by Gustav Klimt. The dragonfly seemed very taken with it, gently gnawing on the edge of the paper.

When the sun emerged from a passing cloud, his head showed a bright emerald green.

When I removed the bookmark from the book and placed it on the arm of my chair, he settled on it for a few minutes more.

From the side his little head looked almost human. It brought to mind a poster I have of the wonderful Art Nouveau exhibit I visited in Washington in 2001 at the National Gallery of Art. The image is a "corsage ornament" by Lalique and made of gold, enamel, chrysoprase, moonstones, and diamonds. It measures 9" x 10.75" with an articulated spine and wings hinged to flutter.

From the National Gallery of Art's website:

Emerging from the jaws of a chimera (part serpent, part lion) is a woman/ dragonfly. The dragonfly was an especially popular art nouveau motif, a favorite of Lalique, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Émile Gallé, all of whom would have seen examples in Japanese art. Probably its popularity in France grew after translation of a series of Japanese poems (Judith Gautier, Poëmes de la libellule [Poems of the Dragonfly], 1885).

But why this conflation of dragonfly and woman? On one level, the two are connected through language: the small iridescent blue and bronze dragonflies, called "damselflies" in English, are demoiselles (young ladies) in French. But probably of greater significance is the idea of metamorphosis. Interest in biological transformations had been spurred by Darwin's theories of evolution. Yet even this fails to offer satisfactory explanation. Here is a very different sort of metamorphosis, more psychic than physical. It reveals something of fin-de-siècle views on the nature of women - of women as an embodiment of nature, instinctual and seductive.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

I appreciated clouds:

I watched sunsets:

The food was great!

In arts and crafts I fashioned emergency eggcups out of aluminum foil:

My new best friend:

I rescued a broken waterlily:

I sat very, very still:

Photo above by J.

Very, VERY still: