Archive for July, 2009

July 30, 2009

The Cherry Orchard

P1010018All Russia is our orchard. The earth is so wide, so beautiful, so full of wonderful places. [Pause]. Just think, Anya. Your grandfather, your great-grandfather and all your ancestors owned serfs, they owned human souls. Don’t you see that from every cherry-tree in the orchard, from every leaf and every trunk, men and women are gazing at you? if we’re to start living in the present isn’t it abundantly clear that we’ve first got to redeem our past and make a clean break with it? And we can only redeem it by suffering and getting down to real work for a change. ~ by Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

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It’s a beautiful thing when literature and life collide! When you leave your every day routine, step into the unfamiliar and purpose to experience the moment, life enlarges and expands.

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Last week, I found an ad for one weekend only of pick your own cherries (and currants) at a local orchard, and was determined to wedge it into our scheduled weekend. One of my favorite books is French Woman Don’t Get Fat.  In her book Mireille Guiliano reveals the beauty of the French culture.  She writes about her childhood home and various types of fruit her family grew, harvested and preserved. Food is respected and fruit is treasured in French homes and hearts. Her book has inspired me to get in touch with my French-side (yes, I’m part French). Now, I make my own bread, yogurt and have preserved fruits and veggies for years.

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My lovely mother joined us for this adventure in the cherry orchard. I love to pick fruit on so many levels. With so many references to fruit, the Bible literally comes alive. The fruit itself has a unique beauty that inspires the artist in me. The joy of watching generations of people experience the same child-like wonder fills my heart.  And the thoughts of cherry pies sans metal cans and high fructose corn syrup, spurs me on despite the occasion cloud burst.

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For me the most amazing part was what I alluded to earlier, the literary experience.  The majority of the people who had travelled for miles and miles to pluck buckets of cherries were Russian immigrants.  They brought everyone from Grandpas to little tots and in between – beautiful teen girls and polite young men in their twenties and thirties.  Every generation joined in the effort to provide their family with the cherries that culture so delights in. For me, it was like I stepped into the backdrop of the Russian play, The Cherry Orchard. I’m a huge fan of Russian literature and just inhaled the moment so precious and lovely.  The beautiful morning, the melodious sound of Russian spoke by natives, the joy in their eyes, the little old man who climbed the cherry tree to get the ones just out of reach – I captured it all in my mind’s eye and treasured it all my heart.

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Not only do my jars of currant jam for tea and scones and cherries frozen for Valentine’s Day pies represent “getting down to real work,” they will be a tasty reminder of my morning in The Cherry Orchard.

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And then we’d send the dried cherries off in carts to Moscow and Kharkov. And money! And the dried cherries were soft, juicy, sweet, and nicely scented. . . They knew the way. . . . ~ by Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

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Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:17

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July 24, 2009

Forrest’s Frugal Friday: Cantaloupe

Bayfield09.001My little Forrest is a true-blue, science-guy. He’s the kind of kid who’s room is filled with aquariums, miscellaneous specimens and collections. He loves studying and learning about animals from furry ferrets to darling dragons (Rocky, the bearded dragon, actually lives in MY kitchen). From Biology to Botany, he’s an avid gardener as well.

Rocky the Kitchen Dragon

Rocky the Kitchen Dragon

This spring after eating a cantaloupe, Forrest decided he wanted to grow his own so he saved the seeds. We put the seeds in a baggie with a moist paper towel for propagation. Soon, he had a bagful of cantaloupe sprouts (he could’ve planted a field!).

Bayfield09.002He carefully planted the heartier sprouts in a milk carton. When the plants matured, he transplanted them into Grandma and Grandpa’s garden. Now, he’s in the garden whenever he gets the chance weeding, watering and hoeing his precious cantaloupe plants.

From a tasty cantaloupe snack one spring afternoon, Forrest now has 3 hearty plants with multiple flowers on each. If the weather permits, he could have a dozen cantaloupe. More importantly, my 7 year old has learned the frugality, wisdom and reward of seed saving.

Happy Frugal Friday!!

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. Genesis 1:1

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July 10, 2009

Frugal Friday: Pannekoekens

pannekoeken-all_sign1Pannekoeken Huis restaurants gained popularity in the Twin Cities when I was in high school. A visit was not only a treat, but also an event. These delicious Dutch pancakes were individually made to order. When they were perfectly baked and risen, the waitress complete in traditional Dutch dress would run them to your table with shouts of: “Pannekoeken, pannekoeken!” in an attempt to arrive before the pannekoekens fell. Dining was an entertaining experience, but eating those amazing pannekoekens was divine – Mmmmmmm!

The chain of restaurants came and went, but the fond memories remain. Somewhere along the way, I was able to get a recipe for these Dutch wonders and have been making them for my little sweeties for years. (no, I don’t run around shouting, “Pannekoeken, pannekoeken!”)100_0171

A few years ago, I discovered that a few Pannekoeken Huis’ had reopened. My sons absolutely love Dutch pancakes so we took our them for a birthday treat. Alas, some things are better remembered. The pannekoekens were smaller, not as tasty and at about $8 a piece – expensive! 

Let’s see the ingredients for 6 pannekoekens is: 3 cups of flour, 3 cups of milk, a dozen eggs, 6 tablespoons butter = cheaper than one $8 Dutch pancake

Gourmet, international breakfast at home – now that’s frugal! Happy Frugal Friday!!P1010086Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Psalm 100:1

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July 1, 2009

Summer Soup

Finally, it’s SUMMER!  Time for flip-flops and soaking up the sun. Time for spicy grilled foods and summer salads. But, apparently someone didn’t get the memo because it’s 61 degrees outside and I’m freezing – brrrrrrr! I need something to warm me from the inside out – SOUP! I’ve found it’s nearly to impossible to make a small batch of homemade soup. Usually, I make a big pot full and freeze smaller containers. Today, I’m pulling out some tomato soup from my freezer for a little summer heat. Bon Appetit!100_0114

100_0118“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.” Proverbs 30:24-25