Friday, January 29, 2010

Pure bliss

Today I worked through my lunch so I could leave the office an hour earlier... Now I’m here, in my sanctuary: My home. Enchantment floats around me like tiny butterflies, I look out the window and I'm transported, I’m as happy as a little girl...

Why? Because it's 5:14pm and is still daylight outside…. Can you believe it!
Hurry!--my spirit sings, the garden is calling... daylight is almost over. I am certain I can hear a lark singing in the apple tree, I know this isn’t true, but I still want to believe it… and so I am hearing it. I rush to the garden, my heart racing as I go wandering its magical secret places, I tour it slowly, peering for any signs of life amongst the myriads of dead leaves; drinking in every thing I see; every detail weaved in the ground… My garden is a lovely mess.
Yeap! I never ever rake my leaves in the fall as so many gardeners faithfully do… all of those leaves and bits and pieces are mulch. They will help keep the soil moist in dry weather; they will feed the worms and serve as a protective blanket in the winter…
Earlier today, a friend mentioned how her crocuses are already peeking out in her garden, I’m looking for signs of spring in my garden, eager to see the narcissus bursting out of the ground like little white clouds, like fluttering little yellow butterflies… but I don’t see anything; not yet.
Ahhh! Soon in my soul I am saying, ahhh… of course, as I walk the garden I’m envisioning its rebirth, roses blooming, the sweet fragrance of the lilac tree intoxicating my senses with feelings of beauty and peace… I'm already envisioning the bouquets of cut flowers that I may pick… Nature’s spirit certainly knows how to move me... her touch is healing.

I want to pull the dead leaves aside and search for a sign of new life in that thick covering under the vine, but I’m afraid to get my hands in there and ruffle in the soil, for you never know what might jump up on you, or what’d be hiding in there… maybe a new fairy ring, or a pixie playing games or a gnome chanting magical hymns… That’s how enchanted my garden is...
But oh, wait! I do see something there after all… I really do! Over there, in my flower bed... can you see it! Something is growing there.... a mushroom! A huge mushroom and it certainly doesn't look eatable.... In fact, I think it is one of those mushroom-type-of-thing-that-can-so-well-be-cat-poop! Horror!

Morning loves my garden, cats can tell when they see an enchanted garden, you know… oh yes, and so, although Morning doesn’t belong here, she faithfully comes every morning just to catch those magical teeny tiny sunbeams on her nose... and play, and dance with the sparrows, which I don’t mind, really… I like to see her roaming the garden, meowing to the moon at night, but she does leave some nasty designs on the ground sometimes… I've been mistified by the last rays of the day... enchantment floats around me… what do you do when you feel happy? I cook; really, I love to flip through pages and pages of beautiful photographs of recipes and be tempted by all the assortment of colorful yummy dishes in it...

This evening I’m trying a new recipe: Pecan Tart!
By the time I finished, night through the valley had already crept in, birds had settled down in the west, and my window is now aglow against the backdrop of the silent garden—or so it seems. Little specks of magic dust are floating everywhere... they settle down ever so gently, like a golden magical veil of peace and quiet.

I am alone in the house. Mike is not here to savor a new slice of another magical evening with me, so I would have to enjoy tea by myself along with this delicious mouth-watering mini pecan tart.

The cream cheese crust is not totally done—might have to confess; too sticky, perhaps too soft... still... delicious sheer bliss under this cozy roof.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Of angels and spring fever

I have always find hope in the skies. Something glorious will be coming from there one day... the sky has gifts to give to those who believe--piercing tremendous gifts of peace and hope...

...And so, I've decided I’m going to like my new garden angel, which, truth be told, I thought him somewhat creepy at first; too ominous perhaps for my little sunny garden. But priced at only $6.99, I knew I had to bring him home with me.

“Soon,”---whispers my new angel... “Spring is almost here”—the sparrows chirp. “Have faith,”—I hear the breeze repeating as it caresses the still bare branches of our pear tree. Well, if my garden inhabitants are content to wait, so must I be too, but I tell you, it has been a long long winter already, and I so want to be out in my garden.

Ahhhh, Spring Fever: Do You Have It, Too?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Delicious window… I love to see my World through you….

...Winter is at your feet... the loneliness of it and silent garden wonder what’s beyond your white tattered sill.

I love to savor winter through this window, winter is all about cozying up in your favorite chair with a good book; it’s about rainy misty morning and longer, quiet stretches when you can savor special moments to yourself. Sitting here, by this window I've decided enchanted I step back in time and into another world every time I want. This is my daydream throne, the place where I dream about the future and reminisce the year that went by as I anticipate and get ready to welcome another spring…

From this very chair I also dream and anticipate my next visits to thrift stores and yard sales where I will surely find yet another lovely orphaned teacups to add to my collection...

Nothing makes us swoon like a teacup and saucer set, doesn’t it! And mines keep multiplying, it seems.

The endless combination of colors, design, and shapes enchant my eyes and spark the imagination to wonder who might have sipped from the same teacup I’m holding in my hand today.

The tecup I'm holding in my hand is waiting to reveal itself, to share its story. The orphaned teacup waits. I wonder who shared her secrets before me, what was her story, the story weaved in minutes, in hours, in a lifetime... All of us have our own story to tell, we're thread-barren in parts and torn, is it not the beauty of the soul?

And so, today I'm celebrating the simple things in my life that comfort the soul and give warmth to sustain my cold rainy days. What blessings are you celebrating today around your home?

If you have something to share with us on your blog, then add your link below. Just please be sure to: Link back to the house in the roses from your post so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is celebrating today!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is snowing again!

It snowed again today; a light dusting of snow soon covered the dull landscape... and now just outside the window I hear the authentic sound of winter… can you hear it?'s a jingling crackity-crickity scattering swish in the distant beyond the garden. It sounds like the breaking of a thousand tiny glasses under a thousand tiny boots. But oh I know no tiny boots can make such sounds like that. I know what it is... in that far corner. Can you see it too?

I know, I should stay inside, I should take refuge in the coziness of my home, but a force bigger than myself is pushing me forward... to go outside... to the garden. I have no other choice than obey it.

The skies have a leaden lowness to them, and the winds are chilly. As I keep walking I see trees swaying under paper-pale sky, and under my feet pure white piercing the flesh with thousand icy knives.

I’m almost certain that Barbegazi lives in my garden. I mean a troll as bleak as snow and as rigid as ice must dwell among the underground caves beneath my garden during the long cold winter months, because on certain days, on those dreary days when the sun decides to hide from us human, I can see him lurking in the garden. But is more than that… I can feel him! I am trapped in his frigid gizzards! Soon the sun will shine and burn that snow away. But first, while people are inside their cozy homes and nobody knows it, something monstrous is arising... the Troll is coming up!

Everything has turned quiet, and ominous, not a bird fluttering around the bird feeders, not a mourning dove searching the frozen ground for a spare seed.... only that dreadful sound of snow cracking under an evil foot. The huge foot print engraved in the snow is enough to send a cold chill running down my spine... I'm running, running...

Across the valley floor, up the little hill behind the garden like a stallion I go, over the field, through the garden, through the gate... unmindful of what I leave behind... Hurry! The troll is coming! Behind the Troll I see something... or someone else! A woman! A woman as ashen and horrid as the Abominable Snow Man himself rambles behind the winter troll who lives in my garden...

I can see how the stalactites around her lengthen as every droplet of water leave its mineral laden trace on the ground. She pauses for a moment contemplating the fragile shafts of sunlight that pierce the shrubbery casting multicolored shadows on the ice-covered ground. She looks fascinated by its luster, and as she extends her arm to catch the tiny rivulets of water trickling from a tree branch, like tears to the frozen land, I suddenly realized who she is... (meee!)

She is the Snow Bride!—the poor poor woman given as companion to the Abominable Snow Man by the most terrible of all terrible, the sinister Winterlord. If you would come to my garden you would think that the supernatural don’t happen here, you would only see the usual trees and shrubbery waiting patiently... waiting to be awaken from their winter slumber by our Father Sun. You will not be frightened, for only few can see these things...

 Perhaps it is because I was born as the old grandfather clock chimed midnight and the earth's circle of illumination followed the summer solstice. Perhaps I see these things because my first breath coincided with the blistering breath of summer as it came up from under the ground wrapping us into the new season, and thus, winter is our enemy. It is written on the blanket of snow where my feet sink, in the shape of wings printed on the snow, some strands of colorful dust, like fairy dust on bright summer nights, a scent... there is no words to describe my life...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Garbanzo bean soup and the coziness of home

Have I mentioned before why I so crave my home all day long while at work?

Oh, the warmth of home, the feeling of safety, the uniqueness of your heart reveled in everything you love, the coziness of a softly lighten room, the peaceful ambience and quietness that sing lullabies to the tired spirit. And then.... there is food, the chance to experiment with food and the return to my roots though the inexplicably awesome science of bud taste.

The kitchen has been waiting for my return all day long. I’ve been envisioning a tasty bowl of garbanzo soup ever since I stepped out the door this morning to another chilly day under more murky skies. And now I’m finally here, ready to materialize my dream.

Who doesn't like a bowl of soup to warm up? If you live in the South, believe me, there is nothing more satisfying under this gray silent world of ice where I live than a hearty bowl of soup after a long day at work. I love soup, not only because soup goes with the weather, but because I carry soup in my blood so to speak... the Spanish definitely love their soups, particularly in Spain, where the weather can turn chilly in September and stay that way until April. Garbanzo beans are a staple in the traditional Spanish diet and they add texture and flavor, while the vegetables provide added nutritional benefit.

Maybe the best thing about this soup is that it can be prepared in less than an hour using a pressure cooker, but if you are as hungry as I am tonight, opening a can of garbanzo beans would be sufficient. Add your spices and the flavor would the same, nutritionally speaking the benefits are the same, and you can have a delicious homemade soup in less than 30 minutes. Tonight, I’ve also made some picadillo (savory ground beef) and rice... but this is just because Spaniards love their soups with rice, and rice and picadillo are the perfect combination ever, but you can always serve your garbanzo bean soup as a main dish, accompany it with garlic toast, or whatever you want.

Here is my recipe for a yummy (canned) garbanzo bean soup. Nothing could be easier than putting together this hearty soup with seasoned garbanzo beans, rice, and tomatoes. It will warm chilly days and satisfy winter appetites.

Ingredients: Diced chorizo 1 teaspoon olive oil 3/4 cup diced onion 6 cloves of garlic, minced Bunch of diced cilantro ¼ teaspoon cumin 1/2 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine 1 cup diced red and green bell pepper 1/3 cup sliced celery 1 diced potato ½ diced zucchini 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 can low-sodium chicken broth 1 or two can/s garbanzo beans

Cook the chorizo on a Dutch oven with olive oil and place over medium-high heat until browned. Add onion and wine; cook 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Visit Susan, at Between naps on the porch for more lovely tables.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A new day

A new day begins, and as the earth turns and the sun rises, and the sky welcomes the warm rays and golden lavender hues, I make ready to join the celebration... There are noble adventures to undertake, and although the garden sleeps, there are still trees that speak and move and talk to each other at night, and under the ground are still caverns that lead to other realms...

It’s January. It is cold, and it will be several more weeks before even the earliest daffodils actually blooms... but I’m still celebrating life. The sky reminds me that life, though it might mean wretchedness and hard work, it is a pleasant thing and worth the having. I'm standing by the window looking outside. There are sparrows hopping about on the wet ground, picking up seeds and insects; it is obvious they’re oblivious to fear, or the return of the terrible Plectranthus.

Indeed, Plectranthus has kept coming to the garden all winter. His powerful eyes scan the garden as he flies and scurries among the grasses and shrubbery looking for a meal. The other day a battle took place right here, right between earth and sky. I heard a loud thumps as a little sparrow, in his haste to escape the hawk’s deadly weapons flew into the window and landed on the porch. Spotting it, the hawk swooped downward, and finally carried his meal home. 

It became rather calm and quiet then and the small birds continued trying to empty our feeders until dusk. Nature might go about forever in deep weeds and mourning if she took the trouble to lament about the weather; so I should do the same and go on smiling... smiling smiling though all morning, the rain has been pelting the windows, making our already-dark, north-facing little house almost as dark as night. 

Why should the sky not be clouded and the birds fly home hungry, because in one small house a fairy cries for the sparrows and years for the sun? P.G. Wodehouse-- "She's one of those soppy girls, riddled from head to foot with whimsy. She holds the view that the stars are God's daisy chain, that rabbits are gnomes in attendance on the Fairy Queen, and that every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born, which, as we know, is not the case. "

Thursday, January 14, 2010

We're back!

We were welcomed by a cold rain and a muddy silent garden. I miss the early sun burning the mist away, but I’m glad to be back home.

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. - Langston Hughes

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Out looking for the sun!

January: In the blue sky there is not a cloud, and if it’s cold and numbing inside the house, I can imagine how it must feel outside, in that white world beyond my window.

From the comfort of my cozy nook behind the window, I think I see something moving towards the far end of the garden... a bird? A fairy maybe? Perhaps, it is the spirit of the garden what I see, because with the movement also comes a whisper... like tiny voices, a whisper like snow dust falling from the sky. The voice I hear is like the singing of the birds in spring-time, and the murmuring of a forest brook, and the weeping of a lonely woman at a graveside, all strangely blended. I know it is the voice of Nature... it is January’s voice—melodious like all voices in Nature, yet within itself carrying all the melancholy of winter.

“Look in my eyes and see what I have to give”—said the voice; and so I go out to look...

Trees are leafless and bare, and great white icicles hung from their branches. The little garden is silent and noiseless. I admire the manicured aesthetic of snow and how the garden seems almost perfect under such purity... Several inches of fresh snow had fallen, the clouds had gone, still, all this whiteness, so pure, so calm, embraces me with cold so fierce I can barely resist. My watery eyes, transfixed by this whiteness, search the garden seeking to uncover the secrets hidden in the ice.

I walk the white puffy snow covered paths identifying the deciduous bushes, daylilies, purple snapdragons and old rose bushes sleeping under the snow. It’s amazing how the world can suddenly change before your very eyes when it snows... everything you once knew is gone. Another world emerges, changing the panorama you once knew. Even the tall pine and the dark evergreens that grow beside the fence are bent beneath their load.

The silent white snow stretch as far as the eye can reach...

...only down the little garden path there are my footprints in it.... and footprints of something else! I wonder if these footprints are those of the abominable Barbegazi, a fairy creature known to hibernate during the warmer months of the season. They come out of their burrows once the frigid waters have returned. These creature are rarely seen and usually only before a blizzard, which they enjoy very much. During the winter months nobody comes out after dark--or nobody nearly. The women who wash with water don't come, nor the men who drink, nor the children who play from morning to night during the warmer seasons. Not even the dogs of the village will creep out, because they know... Ah, the Troll, the very reason why fairies dislike winter so much... I'm almost certain, however, that those deformed footprints do not belong to the terrible Barbegazi, but to a dog named Conan the Barbarian, who decided to have some fun and follow me around.

“I have such beautiful dreams beneath you”—I talk to the snow. How white, how white and dazzling! True winter lovers worship this, and with cheery eyes they cherish the memory and the time they had with the snow, but my dreams are different.... I dream of warm sunny days and green leaves and soft buds emerging from under the brown bark, I dream of uneven meadows of black-eyed Susan and Marigold, and little singing brooks, whispering to the long grasses and white forest flowers, and among knotted swollen roots the bright-backed beetles and busy ants... 

Have I mentioned before how much fairies dislike winter, or how they cannot tolerate cold or cloudy days? Oh yes, maybe here, and here, and even here. It has nothing to do with ungratefulness, or disdain, or obliviousness towards all the beauty contained in the snow as some might think... is something deeper, something that cannot be explained with mere words to be understood. And so, as snow keep falling, and frigid air keeps singing, like little children singing a round as the shadows get long, I am off to sit in the sun for a while... There is a mist in the valley in moonlight tonight, but after tomorrow the sun will rise and burn that mist away for me...

See you soon!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Snow and freezing rain keep coming down. It is cold outside, but inside the house… coziness and warmth make a lovely contrast to the barren landscape beyond my frosted window panes.

A new year has begun; a new beginning, new resolutions linger in the January frigid air. What does the New Year represents to you? What does to you? In my little world, the New Year represents winter in full swing. The outside weather sends me inside; it urges me to create new life inside, which means cozying up my home. 

I love adding light at this time of the year, setting up a pretty lamp or some battery operated candles by the window to allow the light to be a beacon in the dark of the shelter of home for myself and others… And of course, beside the January weather, the New Year always brings in me the desire to change, and to begin anew; being in me or just around my house. 

As I have mentioned here and here and probably in many other posts before this, I love to decorate my reading room. I’ve been changing things around, shifting furniture, adding new details here and there, while at the same time reevaluating my consumption patterns. The New Year is a great time to get rid of the clutter and stuff that seems to just accumulate, all on its own, not only over the holidays, but through the year… decluttering, by the way, is one of the best remedies against physical and mental stress, and one of the best New Year resolution one can make.

I’m into the softness of yellow and baby blue these days, so I’ve added some blue accents in my reading rooms... things I already had, plus a new inexpensive Laura Ashley's bedding in an exquisite pattern of soft yellow and tiny blue flowers... The twin fitted sheet is now the new cover on my settee, and the flat sheet was made into a table topper.

The New Year is a great time to redecorate our nest, but simplifying is always one of the best resolution one can make. Get rid of the clutter and stuff that you don't use or find it necessary, and gift everything!