10 January 2008

Swamps, shoots and soups!

Well, this is bordering on the ridiculous. Just a couple of days ago, we had snow everywhere. Then the big melt came along, starting on Tuesday, I think it was. Happily, there's been no rain to speak of, just mild temperatures and wind. Lots of wind. Enough to make waves in this pond. Oh, wait. That's not a pond. That's part of the southeast side of the yard. It always gets wet there just because of the lay of the land and assorted springs and so on, but this is a bit much.

It's been kind of neat to see the plants emerge from their immense white blankets, although taking photos in this wind has been a bit problematic. I talked in my article on favourite shrubs about liking evergreens for their winter colour, and here's a good example; we have 'Rheingold', 'Sunkist' and 'Sherwood Frost' thujas; 'Blue Star' juniper; 'Heatherbun' chamaecyparis; another gold-green juniper of unknown name, a weeping hemlock, two native pines, some heaths and heathers, several rugosa roses, and my Metasequoia, all contributing various colours and lots of texture to the scene. Actually, in this shot the ericas and callunas are still hidden under the snow; today they've emerged but it's even windier and I didn't linger to take their photos.

The bark of the dawn redwood, or metasequoia, is one of the features of this tree I like best; you need winter weather, when the needles have dropped, to see it to its best detail, like this.

I know we're still a few days from Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, but this brave little erysimum made me chuckle. I last saw it around Christmas, before the big dumps of snow buried it; but now it's emerged and though a little wan, it looks like it's still trying to flower. It's a hero in my books.

Here's a great promise of spring-to-come; my 'Diane' hamamelis is covered with buds, which look like little brown toes; I don't expect it to flower before mid-late March, although it could be later. I WILL resist the urge to cut off a twig or two and force them indoors...I will...the shrub isn't big enough yet...must be strong...

I've whined here before, and on other blogger's sites, about my ongoing trials and tribulations with hellebores. This one is planted under 'Diane' hamamelis, and oh, look...it doesn't look too bad! The foliage is nice and green, and a closer look showed me buds. Wow! Maybe this year...mustn't get my hopes up too far...and I'm going to mulch it as soon as the wind goes down, because it's supposed to go cold here in a day or two, and we know we'll have much more snow...but just maybe, this is the year I'll get a hellebore to flower for me. Hope springs eternal...

Well, enough of all that wind and wet. Let's go make something good to eat. One of the things I'm working on as we do the quest for what's wrong with my help, is eating well. Now, I've been bored with cooking for a long time, due to a LSS who is less than adventurous about new flavours. But I'm determined to feel better, and am eliminating some things like pre-fab anything, and cooking from scratch. One of my inspirations is my friend Charmian Christie's blog, where she waxes eloquent about food, both in terms of fun things about it and also provides some awesome recipes. This pot simmering on my propane stove is her Simple Scottish red lentil soup, which is a fab recipe. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I varied it slightly, adding ginger and Madras curry paste, and grating sweet potato in along with the one carrot that was left in the fridge. Time for a veggie run, obviously! Go and visit Charmian's blog--I especially like it when she has a little rant about something like 'organic pancake blasters' or overly ungainly appliances.

I know some of you love to cook, and occasionally share recipes on your blogs; I know also there are all kinds of recipe websites and blogs out there, so I won't suggest we start a recipe exchange as such. I AM looking for some interesting recipe sites like Charmian's, and am also always on the lookout for high fibre, low-meat recipes; we aren't vegetarian, but we are cutting down on the amount of meat we eat, and looking for inspirations is always important.

Of course, it's also important to get adequate rest and stay warm when regaining healthy lifestyles--or maintaining them. Simon Q, a professional slipper-sleeper, demonstrates the proper technique for preventing overtiredness on windy stormy winter days. Sheepskin and fleece lined slippers and a woodstove aren't compulsory tools, but they do help.
I can feel a nap coming on just watching him.


  1. Hi, my name is Claudia, I'm Italian and I don't speak english very well but I want to tell you that your blog is beautiful.compliments.

  2. Jodi: How quickly things change! Your backyard river is very pretty! Love soup! Try this web site:http://www.theslowcook.blogspot.com/

  3. The Erysimum is my hero too. Nothing even looks like it is going to bloom in my garden yet. I will have a look at the forsythia tomorrow. It might be budding.

    It is good that a Hellebore is going to act nice and possibly give you a blossom this spring.

    I got a good meatless 'Sweet potato Soup' recipe from someones blog not long ago. If you would like it I could email it if you would rather. It is simple and tasty. I have served it to picky eaters and they liked it. I have passed it on to others that like it too.

    Y-a-w-n...blame Simon Q and all that talk about sleep...I am ready for a long winter's nap.

  4. My thing is, if you name your "pond" you'll begin to think of it differently. Something like Bloomin' Pond, Snark Sea, Boomerang Bayou, Rowdy River or DeLong Lake.

  5. Jodi, I don't cook much but I make a pretty good Turkey-Pumpkin chili. Google it to find the recipe. It sounds odd, but has lots of good stuff in it!

    Looking forward to your bloom day post...

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  6. Thanks for the kind word about my blog. I fully approve of you adapting the soup and think your additions are nothing short of inspired. I must try them.

    Love the photography, by the way!

    Keep snapping!

  7. Lots of water from melting here too, Jodi, plus lots of rain. We've had some flooding and yesterday I drove through just about the highest flood water I dare to.

    I really don't enjoy cooking. Gotta do it now and then though, because well, we have to eat!

  8. Wow Jodi, suddenly you have a pond. I like Delong Lake, it has a nice ring to it. ;-)

    Soup, wonderful soup! It's such a great comfort food, don't you think? Especially when you live where you do where it gets pretty cold. Oh that icy wind, I feel for you, as I know how bad that can be. Brrrrrrrr

    I'm glad to read that you have decided to go for a healthier diet. Good food is such a wonderful medicine for our bodies! I'm going to check that recipe out, I can always do with one more recipe for soup.

    Vita is our champion slipper-sleeper, she could give Simon Q a run for his money. ;-)

    Have a lovely weekend!

  9. January flowers are so nice, especially when unexpected, but I can really get going on the topic of soup and cooking.

    The NY Times featured a red lentil soup recipe just this week that sounded good.

    If you're cooking with Madras curry paste, maybe you like Indian food? If so, Nupur's One Hot Stove is an excellent blog and she frequently links to many more good blogs in her posts. She's vegetarian, BTW, and dabbles in cuisines other than Indian.

  10. I know it will get cold again pretty soon and then it will be BORSCHT season! mmmmmm! Your soup was the most beautiful color - why do I love orange so much? The dawn redwood is gorgeous too (mmmm orange!)

  11. The photos are lovely -- I particularly like the "swamp". I remember, when I was a little girl, I used to love finding such pools of water because they were always so magical when they froze. My own little "skating ponds", if you will. :) And the soup looks simply delicious!

  12. Yolanda Elisabet is a hoot! "Delong Lake" - LOL! I hope your Hellebore blooms. It looks like it's going to be a banner Hellebore year here. They're the kind of plant that requires lots of patience at 1st, then they pretty much take care of themselves.

  13. I trying to improve my diet too. I have a fascination with diet and nutrition and love to read about it, I just sometimes, well, most of the time lack the discipline to put knowledge into practice. I'm trying to do better. I've been eating more raw foods, eliminating processed foods, and cutting back on meat and breads and drinking more hot tea rather than coffee, (only because I have to have lots of cream and sugar in coffee and I drink too much of it).

    Keep at it, Jodi. I agree with YE, healthy nutritious food is the best medicine for the body.

  14. Hi all and welcome to my funny farm...
    Claudia, Welcome! Your English is certainly better than my Italian, and I'm glad you like my blog.

    Lisa, you've reminded me I must go look at our forsythia--I whacked it back to very short before the house-painting began, and have ignored it since. The soup recipe sounds great and I'll email you shortly.

    Jim, you are HILARIOUS! The pond has now sunk back into the ground, but I expect we'll see it reappear several times over the next couple months. Maybe I should call it Brigadoon Pond, the way it comes and goes?

    Carol, I'm not sure about pumpkin anything, but I'll go have a look! As for bloom day...well, we'll see. The cyclamen and phael are still in bloom, but perishin' little else.

    Hey Charm; just finished the last of that soup...now I'm on to other things. Keep on creating!

    Kylee, I hope the waters have receded by now. I'm quite fascinated by the way I'm rediscovering that I don't hate cooking. More on that anon.

    Yolanda, I do have a REAL pond, full of cattails and sedges and reeds and lots of pond life...I much prefer it to this temporary lake, which has receded for now. Simon accepts Vita's slippersleeping challenge, only his parents are both wearing their slippers right now, so he's consoling himself by making a tent of a blanket and napping there!

    Kris, Borscht sounds yummy to me! Orange is a warm comforting colour, I think that's why we like it. My friend and novelist Ami McKay's writing studio is painted a bright orange and I think it's one of the best rooms I've ever been in.

    Nancy, I remember those miniature ponds of childhood too! NOw I'm afraid to step on them lest I go flying through the air--and it's not the flying, it's that sudden stop at the end that worries me...

    MMD, if my hellebore croaks, I'll console myself by enjoying yours, and others who are succesful with them.

    Robin, I'm with you on the eliminating processed foods as well as coffee--and I think it's making a difference here. And I'm having fun with the meals I'm making from this one cookbook. It makes it easier to keep at it when the results are good and even my longsuffering fussbudget is enjoying the meals!


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