Outside my window-
Spring is on its way; the quiet of winter is passing and the air is alive with hopeful bird sound. Black strings of Canada geese and white flashes of Tundra Swans make their way north. Song birds are getting excited and chatter noisily about. Resident Birder reports 207 gulls, 110 swan/goose species (too far away to id), 185 icterids, 1705 Canadian geese, and 143 tundra swans.
I'm hearing- Folks gathered in front of the fireplace conversing.
I'm wearing- A tweedy wool skirt and a red wool cardigan.
I'm thankful for- An excellent retreat day at our church this past weekend. It was a silent retreat for the women, while the men will have their turn next weekend.
From the kitchen-
This Tea Brack from King Arthur (aka Irish Freckle Bread) is becoming a favorite this Lent. Moist, dense and nutritious, it's made with lots of dried fruits which give it a pleasant sweetness. Mary Rose makes these, pretty much following the recipe. She makes two at a time, and the rounds keep nicely in cookie tins. Lacking currants she used a combination of raisins, dates, prunes and apricots for the fruits, and about 3/4 cup of honey instead of sugar for a double recipe. Very good with tea, add a bite of cheese and an orange and you have a little lunch.
Tomorrow we shall have Welsh Cakes for St. David's Day (but no leeks in our hats).
In the learning house -
On Washington's Birthday we had Washington pie for tea...(Tasha Tudor's A Time to Keep)
We reckoned that 'Washington pie' consisted of any good thing with cherries thus we enjoyed these almond scented cherry topped squares. I read aloud the Address of the Catholics of the United States to George Washington by the first American Bishop, John Carroll, along with Washington's reply in which he thanks the Catholics for their service (you can read both at that link, the address to Washington is at the bottom). More about Washington's relations with Catholics here and Bishop Carroll's eloquent eulogy for Washington here.
We remain on a bit of a George Washington trail, with all the old familiar picture books out in circulation: D'Aulaire's George Washington, George Washington A Picture Book Biography, When Washington Crossed the Delaware, A Birthday for General Washington, George Washington - A Discovery Book, Buttons for General Washington, The Story of Mount Vernon, Silver for General Washington, and the new old favorite, Meet George Washington.
Best of all, I am reading aloud The Life of George Washington for Children by E. Cecil from 1859. We have a very old and delicate copy that we acquired from my mother-in-law's collection. "This little book has been written with the hope of giving American children some knowledge of Washington's character. Great pains have been taken to make it accurate, and to avoid the use of long words; but it is not possible to render all the complications and responsibilities of Washington's public career perfectly plain to children. Enough, however, is accomplished if they can enter into the spirit of his life, and gain something of that loyalty to his memory which every American should feel."
It is very interesting, with lots of quotes and excerpts from letters and such making it seem authentic in its accuracy, and despite its claim to 'avoid long words' it is naturally written with far richer language than the sort of things produced for children nowadays. We are enjoying it greatly.
Living the Liturgical Year - We're almost halfway through Lent! Laetare Sunday is just around the corner, with Passiontide to follow.
We are Creating -
Lydia is making springtime and saintly goods for the shop,
while Josiah has starting turning dip pens.
I am planning -
Our seeds have arrived from St. Clare Heirloom Seeds which specializes in open pollinated seeds. Their seeds are always of excellent quality and of course we are happy to support a Catholic family business. My little garden helper is very excited to get started with the indoor sowing while we plot and make plans for what we'll do outdoors when the weather warms up. (more on my seed starting methods here)
I use clementine boxes to keep my seeds organized, one for flowers and one for vegetables. I glued in little pieces of slats to make sections to keep things neat and tidy; here in the veggie box I have seeds to start indoors, seeds to direct sow, and herbs.
A picture thought-
We ladies came home from the retreat on Saturday to a living room that looked like this-
A good time was had by all.
Hope your week is off to a good start! We survived February, whoo hoo! Happy Leap Day!
PS You can read about the Bissextile Day, a sort of 'liturgical leap day', here.