Many times over many years I've eaten fish freshly caught and cooked: pickeral from Lake Nipissing in North Bay, Ontario, on evening fishing family jaunts, the fish cleaned and fileted by my father, cooked by my mother in a bit of butter, enjoyed by us all; bass from Lake Muskoka, in Gravenhurst, from the dock near our house; smelts caught by my brother's wife's father Pat, prepared by her mother Cristina; some kind of fish taken from the ocean of Caye Caulker in Belize and barbequed on the shore. They are delicious memories.
Yesterday the fish came from the freezer, Atlantic salmon, farmed, bought fresh in a small grocery store here on the west coast, on Vancouver Island, popped into the freezer as soon as I got home. Well, there was some similarity of store-freezer -frying-pan. Some. One does what one must in between times.
And yes - the farmed versus wild salmon issue. Atlantic salmon is my very favourite salmon. Spring salmon is second. Atlantic salmon is only available on the Pacific Ocean side of the country (as far as I know - let me know if I am mis-informed, please!) in a farmed state. I dither at the fish counter. At times I decide not. This time - yes.
Here is what I did. I put some vegetable oil in the cast iron skillet and while it was heating a handful of small early potatoes got cut into pieces and tossed lowered gently (they still hissed and spattered) into the hot oil. Then they were covered with a lid and when they started to be brownly fragrant I stirred them around a bit and put the frozen salmon steak on top of them, put the lid back over. Made a salad and then peered in at the fish and potatoes. The salmon was pink and bubbly; the potatoes cooked and crisp. Potatoes got put onto a plate, the fish got turned over, put onto the bottom of the hot cast iron pan and cooked just until a bit crisp. Some lime juice from a lime. Some coarse salt. Al fresco with the lazy sounds birds make in late afternoon.
Today is the first full-ingredient summer day - sun, heat, kids off school, tourists, doors and windows wide, people everywhere outdoors especially patios. I got back into my sun-baked car after the usual enjoyable session at the Knit'n'Cafe and was driving along with car windows open and setting on cool and fan on - and thought - "What ever happened to side vent windows on cars?' Gills, so to speak. The little windows that swivelled so you could direct them directly on a person and get such a refreshing breeze. Natural air. Not air that has to be directed to the inside of a car via a noisy fan and then does a rather dusty and inefficient job of cooling. I suddenly remembered them. Cut my eyes to where it would be in the car if it was there. Put up my flat palm in a semblance. Caused a stranger to suddenly wave back at me. Put both hands back on the wheel. Sighed.
These characters live outdoors year round in the garden so each spring they get lined up and touched-up. Acrylic paint and permanent markers are used
There are definitely characters - have their own personalities - and each one is named. They will be placed amongst the vegetables or the flowers, perhaps on a table, tucked into a nook, catch the eye and make one smile.
There is the front view of the sun disappearing over the horizon and that is spectacular and breath-taking. Then there is the back view, as shown here, with its edge-of-shawl-light-and-colour draping and dragging and drifting across the land.
That's the tip of the cherry tree in the bottom right corner, full of cherries, yellow and red cherries. Birds are in full attendance, robins in the daytime and starlings more in the late afternoon. I got out a rake and pulled down a branch and picked a couple of cherries. They are not quite ripe! Those birds are harvesting semi-ripe cherries! Likely because if they wait until they are ripe, there will not be any left. I ate mine too.
Men's ties are fascinating
- in themselves, in their history.They
are often bought as gifts; there seem to be no cheap ties!Much thought usuallygoes into their selection: match an
outfit;match an occasion;match a personality.I have been collecting ties over many years;
wool, silk, cotton, polyester...woven, handmade, painted...pristine to ragbag
candidate.When I acquire them at
garage sales the comment heard over and over is "I don't need to wear a
tie any more - I'm retired." And then usually a wistful glance at the pile
of ties.These twenty-two ties
represent the leap from 'business' to 'leisure'.I joined them together with French knots and then knit them using
my arms as the knitting needles.During
this process of arm knitting came the thought of a neck hug and the hugger
becoming a human tie, for a moment, and easing the transition.
I am generally a cat person and specifically a dog person, that is, I like most cats immediately but have to get to know a dog. This is Bombay, the neighbour's cat, who visits daily and has made a nest-like spot for herself in a hollow of grass.
At times she will, as cats do, take advantage of a human head being at her level (like when I am leaning down to examine something closely in the garden) to push her face up as close as she can, as if trying to really understand this species that uses only two appendages to walk and, mysteriously, leaves a perfectly good home each day to go elsewhere, although she does approve of the boxes of nibbles that come back with me and the books from the library have interesting smells.
When she approaches thusly I stare back and grin and she narrows her eyes in the cat equivalent. It reminds me of waking up and having a child staring me awake. It reminds me of a succession of cats across a number of years who learned that, if staring at a sleeping human did not bring about a response, a moist, warm nose pushed into an ear would.
The happenstance aspect of natural habitat gardening has a wait and watch, look and see participation approach to nature, human and otherwise.
It plays with Nature and delights in the unexpected.
It can occur in an established garden or from a lawn or on a bare patch of earth which does not remain bare for long, this nature-abhoring-a-vacuum being the reason happenstance gardening is so dynamic and fascinating.
The above photo is what happened when an area with an azalea, hydrangea, outlined with a variegated ground cover, planted with spring bulbs of tulip and daffodil, was left to to grow.
This is what it looked like in the early spring with the tulips and daffs, some grape hyacinth, perky dandelions, dainty white tiny flowers and, I think, a dock plant.
Now it has buttercup, a foxglove, butter'n'eggs, forget-me-not, and two plants unknown to me. It also has a sapling hazelnut tree (there are two large ones twenty feet away). It is lush and beautiful.
A silver gazing ball that became hidden in the abundance has had the ground cover gently pushed back so it can glow again.
What will happen next? I don't know. I look forward to finding out.
In the past, when I have let an ordinary lawn grow into a meadow, between five and nine different types of grass grew. And then it flowered.
This is a raised garden bed in the back garden where last year I grew potatoes, nasturtium and I forget what else. The nasturtium are back and a potato plant and something that looks like it might be cauliflower and in the corner is a tomato. I've put in two cultivated seedling tomatoes and a groundcherry (thanks, Barb!), a cleome flower (reminds me of southern Ontario where I was born) and a scarlet runner bean growing along with a clove of garlic that sprouted. The everbearing strawberries are ripening, one at a time, just right for snacking. That bare earth, visible now, will be covered soon. The bindweed I will pull out but the rest will get a prolonged viewing.
The narrow space between house and fence is filled - and filling! - with plants that thrive in the dry, east-facing location and I love to walk it each day and see what is happening. If I miss a day or two the changes are astounding and I almost expect to hear a chorus of "Surprise! Surprise!"
These bits and pieces on the floor had me looking this way and that to see what had caused them - and then I looked up......
This is the moebius cowl I knit last autumn using elastic bands as the yarn, wondering what it would be like to knit with elastic bands, wondering what the item would be like. It was an adventure and a challenge. Slow knitting, knitting with awareness, focusing on each stitch because elastic is so - well, gripping!
I started out knitting wristbands for dearly loved family members who shall not be named here but one of whom told me their cat ate the wristband. A little more tone of regret when that piece of information was shared would have been welcomed. Okay, I was amused as well.
The cowl pleases me - it has substance and movement of its own when worn; it is more wearable art than an everyday accessory so it hangs on the wall. Then I noticed the 'sheddings' and looked more closely at the cowl.
Wow. Can you see how it is disintegrating? Click on the photo to enlarge it. I find that fascinating. It wasn't in sun which I would have expected to break down elastic with its light and heat; it was (still is!) in the path of the wind through the house so I guess it is drying out. Neat. It will be on view in the Fernwood Art Stroll this weekend and then hung back on the doorway where the breeze trots by when I open doors and windows. I look forward to watching further happenings.