Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Perfectly Useless Afternoon....

 "If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live." (Lin Yutang (1895-1976)

                        If you find yourself stopping at the side of the road, on that perfectly useless day, jsut to take a photo of  shimmering light on water, then you have a every reason to be pleased.
 If you find yourself talking to  cats  as they snooze on the porch, then you are reaching your goal of  achieving uselessness and it is absolutely  the perfect thing to do.
          If you find yourself counting grapes as they hang from the vine................

              Or ripping apart sweet peas to make potpourri, for no reason at all, but that it seems like a good idea, then you are approaching perfect uselessness, and it's a good thing.
 If you find yourself standing in the sun, humming  your favourite songs, and watching the sweet peas bloom, wondering when you can pick them to make potpourri, then it is a perfect afternoon.
           If you can see Cordelia sitting of so perfectly perfect, while the bees hum around her , then the day is almost complete. "I loafe and invite my soul......" (Walt Whitman 1819-1992)

          And if the sun  glimmers just a little too much, and the afternoon wans, then it is ultimately the perfect day of uselessness, and you  have noticed it and have stood still for a moment in time, savouring it. "Like all cats, he dreamed. Like all cats, he hunted in the perpetual twilight of the shadowlands, perfecting his skills in a world that demanded the utmost in timing and concentration."(C.S. Friedman).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Work

I've been reading again ( really must stop that....especially since there are apples to be picked) And it seemed appropriate to the day. A poem by Richard Le Gallienne "I Meant to do my Work Today"
 (baby Varied Thrush)
I meant to do my work today, but a brown bird sang in the apple tree...
      .....and a butterfly flitted across the field......
                          ............and all the leaves were calling me.
                              And the wind went sighing over the land.............
                                             Tossing the grasses to and fro...............
                           .....And a ranbow held out its shining hand...............
                                   So what could I do, but laugh and go?
 ( Verbascum)
                          (Can always pick apples tomorrow....................)

Friday, July 25, 2014


WALNUT SLICE ( Fits an 8 inch pan. I double this for 9x13 and freeze it in slices)
  My mother would make this every summer. Only in the summer, for the most part. For company. For us. Just to have. She always put orange peel on top.  This is the first summer I have made this since she's been gone, which is about 26 years. I have no idea why I haven't before now. Reminds me of sitting in the shade of the trees with kindred spirits, reveling in the yumminess of the walnut slice. As you can see, Spencer is snoozing through the enitre process.....
WALNUT SLICE ( Fits an 8 inch pan. I double this for 9x13 and freeze it in slices)

1 ¼ cups flour, ½ cup margarine, 1/3 cup brown sugar
(Combine till crumbly. Press into foil lined ungreased pan)
 Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.

2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract,1 ¼ cups brown sugar, 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts, 1 tsp flour, ½ tsp baking powder, pinch salt.
(Combine all. Pour over baked bottom layer)

 ( Bo and Bunny...observers.....)
 Bake for about 25 minutes till light brown and a knife inserted into layer is not ooey gooey. Should be the consistency of pecan pie. Cool.

( Not Spencer. A look a like)
1 ½ cups icing sugar, ¼ cup soft margarine, 1 ½ tbsp. milk or water, vanilla extract or orange extract, whatever you like best.  Combine.
Plop on top of slice.  Can be frozen as is, or cut into slices and frozen between layers of wax paper. Freezes very well.

( Sleepy Smokey)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


 I thought they had disappeared. But they're back. A family, or more than one family, of Cooper's Hawks. I don't think they ever left. They have a particular screech that's very distinctive. I've heard it all year. As they hunt. I guess I wasn't paying attention.
         The cats have been paying attention. Well,. more paying attention to a new cat that has been coming and going. A little too big for Hawks to grab. 

                                         Soft ears. Soft paws. Too big for hawks.   Definitely.
              Cooper's Hawks sit on the roof tops. Twizzling their heads around. Watching. Hunting for pigeons, rats, small birds. They are fast. Swift. Quiet.

               Cooper's hawks are fairly small.Yes, it's up there. Difficult to find, they tend to stand out when sitting on the neighbours rooftop. I hope they don't think I'm peering into their windows......

                               Fog in the morning doesn't seem to deter them. They're brave. They shriek when they hunt. Kind of mournful in the fog.
  The Hawks live 12-20 years, and seem to have made a comeback in urban areas, as well as in the forest. They make nests in pines. I've heard the eagles trying to attack their nests. The hawks scare them off. Fierce things. They have no fear.
 They are crow sized, for the most part....well, the size of a raven, I would say. Their yellow clawed feet stand out. The cats watch them. Probalby think they are big fuzzy flying toys.

                           Wingspan is from 2'4" to 2'10". Best visible from spring to October, but  they tend to come around in February I've noticed. Named after William Cooper, a scientist from New York, whose son started the Cooper Ornithological Society.
     Early in the 20th century these little hawks were hunted mercilessly  and shot at random. Now they are making a comeback.
  In the 1990's they were  listed as endangered, in some parts of the states.

                    They don't eat cats. Or dogs. Or slugs. Contrary to popular belief. 
                       They DO go after pigeons. I watched them  swoop on a pile of pigeons strutting about the yard. Too fast for the camera.  It was over in a second. Too fast to even believe they had  come down from the roof.
  And then they return to their perch. Quiet again. Plotting their next move.  Swooping in the sunset. I think they like to  just soar on the wind. I've see them romp with their youngsters in the sky. Chasing each other. I'd swear they were playing. Just savouring the moments in the sky. Just having fun...

Monday, July 21, 2014


"What a lovely surprise to discover how un-lonely being alone can be." (E. Burstyn 1932)

                                                                 "Don't hurry, don't worry.
                                                              You're only here for a short visit.
                                                                         So be sure to stop and smell the flowers."
                                                                                           (Walter Hagen, 1892-1969)
        (Smokey does his balancing act for Spencer)
"If cats ruled the world: Dogs would have to curtsey or bow when a cat went past.....Cream would be available on tap. Their human would be in attendance at all times. Mice would be available in a variety of tastes. Rain would be abolished." (L. MacFarlane)

"There are only two ways to live your life.                       (Spencer, Smokey's brother, watches)
                    One is as though nothing is a miracle.
                                       The other is as though everything is a miracle." ( Albert Einstein )
(Sweet peas tower in the background,
                                                                                                  Woo Hoo!)
                      "All cats like being the focus of attention " (P. Gray)

                                  " It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich." (Bernhardt)

"Do not linger to gather flowers to keep them, but walk on,
                           for flowers will keep themselves blooming all your way." (Tagore)

                      Good to be quiet on Monday...............Good to stop and just be....