A New Direction
As so often happens once we get busy doing the work, things change. My spring image will not be a bird or a flower, but a feather. Next step: adding color. Watch for the final version tomorrow!
Sights and Sounds of Spring
Starting with the January 2016 Calendar of Days, I designed a new format and create an illustration that represents the month. What to draw for the March calendar? St. Patrick's Day clover? That was my first idea, but I'm leaning toward spring ideas, something that's more universal. Flowers and birds. but I can only use one. These are early sketches. Watch for Tuesday's unveiling.
A Man and His Dog
AT THE LIBRARY: Travels With Charley
John Steinbeck’s travelogue of his 1960 journey across the United States in a small camper alongside his dog, Charley. Although Steinbeck was well known by the time he took the trip, he was confident that most people wouldn’t recognize him. And they didn’t . . . just a man and his dog traveling down the road.
This is a Calendar of Days post, it’s Library Lovers’ month.
How Much Do You Know?
Its nearly two full months now with daily posts here at Assembly of Grand Pursuits. And that means there's plenty of material for a quizzical: our very own crossword jumble.
All the clues come from our posts. Some you'll be able to answer whether or not you've read a lot of the posts, others will be specific to stories, interviews, and commentary that you'll find only at Assembly of Grand Pursuits.
Coming in March . . . your new Calendar of Days, and the latest quizzical! If you're not already a member of our mailing list, sign-up. Because a life with pursuits is a more interesting life.
ENGLAND 1915 — War War I is unfolding, and Winston Churchill, 40 years old, a member of the Cabinet, and the War Council, finds himself with “great anxiety and no means of relieving it.”
No relief until one Sunday when he experiments with a children’s paint-box. The next day buying his own "colours, an easel, and a canvas."
It was then, he says, "painting came to my rescue in a most trying time.” It would be the beginning of a pastime that would last more than 40 years.
I discovered Churchill’s invitation to the joy of painting this afternoon at Yes Books on Congress Street, in Portland, Maine . . . worth a stop if you’re in the area. Going into Yes Books was a Julia Cameron-inspired artist date, always an invitation to explore.
Painting as a Pastime
An instructive and inspiring invitation to the joy of painting
Winston S. Churchill
(The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill, K.G., O.M., C.H., M.P.)
Cornerstone Library, New York
This post could lead to more interesting topics:
- who was Winston Churchill?
- painting as a pastime
- an artist date defined
In A Pickle Over Marmalade
Researching today's post, I've found the second (maybe!) of two projects for my Always a Project in Progress feature coming in March: marmalade. My plan is to announce and start two projects in March and post as I go along. I'd love to have you work alongside, too.
Winter brings oranges, and an opportunity to try a bit of canning again.
I made marmalade once before with not-so-good results, so this will be my second attempt.
In the meantime, I wanted to post a recipe for bread and butter refrigerator pickles . . . refrigerator pickles have a shorter shelf life (you've got to eat them within a month), and that makes them quicker and easier to make. These I've made a number of times with good results. And refrigerator pickles are a good introduction to canning because they eliminate one big step: boiling the jars after you fill them.
Of course it would be nice to have cukes from the garden, but if you'd like the bright flavor of bread and butter pickles mid-winter, fresh from the grocery store are a good substitute.
Bread and Butter Refrigerator Pickles
Yield: 6 16-ounce jars
6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
(about 2 pounds or 8-10 cucumbers)
2 cups thinly sliced onion
3 cups white vinegar
1-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
(these are a bit spicy, cut back if desired)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Six wide-mouth canning jars (16 0z.) and rings with new lids (run everything through the dishwasher or clean with hot soapy water before you begin).
Alternately layer cucumber slices and onion in jars, filling and pressing lightly as you go, distribute evenly in all six jars.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and put in the refrigerator at least 4 days before eating. Up-end jars daily to distribute liquid. Keep refrigerated.
Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Adapted from www.myrecipes.com Easy
This is a Calendar of Days Post: Canned Food Day
Delivering the Undeliverable
Writing to David: Postmark Nashville (again)
I sent my brother a package for his birthday, and using the tracking number and email alerts, I could see where it had been from the moment it left my hands. The day, the time, the location. From Portland, Maine, to Jersey City, New Jersey, to Memphis, Tennessee, and finally to Nashville. Very exciting.
But then the tracking status update at 11:27 a.m. from Nashville listed the package, “Undeliverable as Addressed.” Undeliverable. But it's so close, the package was at the post office, just blocks from my brother.
Undeliverable? Hold on.
Hold the package. He can come get it. Oh, don't send it all the way back to Maine.
I found a phone number for the local post office, and after three calls that ended with a busy signal, I tried again. It rang through, and David answered.
I explained the situation and David asked for the tracking number and offered to look for the package. He found it! (Whew.) Offered to try delivering it again. (Not sure that's a good idea.) Or, he said, my brother could stop by for pick-up. (Yes! Let’s do that.)
David delivered the “undeliverable.” He was kind and helpful when he might have dismissed me, might have said there were too many packages to go pawing through, might have said it may or may not be in the building. But he didn’t, he looked for the package, and he found it.
Thank you David.
I Yam a Sweet Potato
I Yam What I Yam
Just weeks ago I was talking with a friend about baking sweet potatoes, and she mentioned that she loves to bake them, and I said I do, too. She said she and her husband enjoy them, “but I can’t believe he doesn’t eat the skin.”
Eat the skin? “I don’t eat it either,” I said.
Why not? It just never occurred to me. I love to eat the skin of a baked russet, but a sweet potato? Well, I gave it a try, and it’s delicious (and packed with vitamins and nutrients).
Savory and sweet, the sweet potato is also found in recipes for biscuits, pie, pound cake, and waffles.
Here’s a link to get you started with some recipes.
I wondered if yams are something different . . . turns out they are sweet potatoes, just one variety of the colorful tuber. Sweet!
This is a Calendar of Days post: Cook a Sweet Potato Day
Experimenting With Color