Many voices

I love that I am now a Lector in my church, Emmanuel Episcopal. I love it because I have experience in public speaking and it is one way I can serve my fellow parishioners. I am told I am very good at it. I hope so. But I also enjoy the other unique voices that read our lectionary week to week. One of my favorites is a soft spoken retired nurse whose sing song delivery brings to mind lullabyes and bedside hand holding. Very soothing! Another is an attorney whose years before judges and juries have made his langorous Southern drawl particularly powerful … especially so since I know that he struggles for air when reading from his wheelchair.

This post is a way to acknowledge the many voices we hear … that we should hear … that we do hear … every day. They may not be OUR voice or even one we feel comfortable with, but they are nonetheless powerful and important to our daily lives, and our daily walk with God. Some are voices we want to turn away from, but which the Lord compels us to listen to. And, when called, to reprove. Or forgive. Or enjoin. Or share. But, always, to listen and love. Blessings.

Matthew Stew

I am totally with Michael Pollan on the sensuality of having a pot of something aromatic and delicious cooking all day. This is heightened, I think, when the weather is particularly nasty — a huge snow storm or, as today, the push off from Hurricane Matthew. So I took my usual African Peanut Stew recipe and revised it somewhat to accommodate what I had in my fridge. The result is awesome and will have you daydreaming while it slowly stews for hours in the other room.

Matthew Stew

Sirloin Chunks (I am using approximately 1 pound) cut in 1″ cubes, sauteed on high heat in a dutch oven (preferably a cast iron one) in olive oil with two large bay leaves and a teaspoon of salt and fresh ground pepper until the meat is browned.

Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and sautee one onion and some celery stalk, finely diced. A minute or two later add two cloves of smashed minced garlic. To that, after a minute, add fresh roughly chopped ripe tomato and chopped collard greens. After a minute, return the beef & bay leaves to the mix. Add about a quart of water. Cover and simmer for an hour or so.

Add Chunky Peanut Butter to thicken sauce (I use the same organic brand I use in my Lucky Like Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits). Taste and correct seasoning if necessary, cover and simmer until meat is falling apart. Then it is ready. Enjoy!



Spring Has Sprung .. the grass has riz


I wonder where my schedule is! Seriously, we go from blizzard to Spring pretty darn fast here in the Piedmont NC! It’s been 80+ this week and I am scrambling to get starts in the ground, knowing that we could still experience a late frost. ALL my time is devoted to gardening right now. When I’m not gardening, I’m thinking about it. I am planning what to put in tomorrow, and how best to utilize my shrinking garden. Since I brought my four Buff Orpington beauties into my life, my garden has shrunk substantially. I now can only utilize about half the garden I used to … the girls get the rest, either by design (they need the space) or cuisine (they eat anything edible left open to them). I don’t mind. I have wonderful pop-up garden toppers for my six raised beds, so that is where my strawberries, greens, and other veggies go.

Last year I devised tomato cages that defied my girls long enough to grow the tomatoes tall enough so that they survived and prospered. My dilemma this year is that I need to rotate, and I have little room to do that in. So I am getting creative in the “mixed garden” style. Putting rhubarb among my herb bed (transferred outside the girls’ compound because rhubarb leaves are poisonous); and horseradish next to the roses, which they leave alone.

Everything is greening up now to my delight. My oakleaf hydrangea is leafing out; my much desired Bartzella peony has popped through; my blueberries are loaded with bee-attracting blossoms, despite the girls’ having nipped the bottom branches clean. My dwarf cherry, newly potted, will blossom soon.

Inside, I have had mixed and delayed germination on some old tomato and pepper seeds I wanted to propagate. Because so many of my prior suppliers have been gobbled up by Monsanto, making them undesirable for future supply, I am trying to germinate some old seeds from prior years so that I can offer these wonderful varieties free of GMOs, and organically grown. However, I purchased a new germination system which I do not have complete faith in. I followed the instructions and got about 20% germination. So I threw out the instructions, took off the cover, added some organic fertilization solution, and now things are starting to pop. Thank Goodness! Some Springs you just need to push it!

I hope your Spring is going well. Please blog and let me know how you are faring.