Friday, May 21, 2010

A Favorite Rose ~ Rosa "Gertrude Jekyll"

Rosa "Gertrude Jekyll"

Hurray for Pink Saturday

This is one of my very favorite Roses, I've planted her in the last two gardens I've had, and she NEVER fails to bring ooh's and ah's, especially as she's the first of my roses to bloom.  After a long dreary winter, a flowering Gertrude Jekyll is a wonderful sight, and her scent is divine (one of the rosiest smelling roses that I grow.)

Gertrude Jekyll was a gifted artist before she became a garden designer in the late 1800's and early 1900's, designing over 400 gardens, one of her most famous being her home at Munstead Wood. 

 I love what she shared about one of her favorite roses "Garland Rose" with another famous British garden dignitary Graham Thomas -

 "It is well worth getting up at 4.00 a.m. on a mid-june morning to see the tender loveliness of the newly opening buds." ( This because the faint blush of the buds turns white by mid morning.) 

I love her sentiments, it reminds me that there are true treasures right under our noses if we'll just take the time to look, even if it means rising a little earlier than usual now and again...

I'll close with this sweet poem about roses by George Eliot

You love the roses - so do I.  I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush.  Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on.  They would fall as light
As Feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!

Grass Valley, Eastern Oregon...

 One Of The Views Of The Ranch, Grass Valley Oregon

Once again we are back in Grass Valley, Oregon to race at the Oregon Raceway Park.  This track is out in the middle of prairie lands, nothing but the occasional small town, usually comprised of a cluster of houses along the dusty highway, with maybe a few business here and there..  

We are far away from the "madding crowd" here.. At night there are no lights to reflect into the night sky, so the stars seem huge and very bright.  The silence is unbelievable, so quiet, I can here my own thoughts!

I arranged for us to stay at a local ranch to be near to the track, and because it sounded romantic (in a way.)  Its funny because when I booked our room, I had a "vision" of what the ranch would be like..., (Mrs Rosy cheeked, Rancher standing at the range, cooking up vittles - hearty stew, biscuits and brewing a big pot of coffee, maybe standing on the porch clanging one of those metal triangle cowboy versions of a dinner gong..., come and git it...,,,  big roaring log fire, maybe even a single deer "rack" above the river rock fireplace...,,, big comfy beds with cosy sheets and comforter...sighhhhhhh.")

So, anyway,, I think you get the gist of my VISION...  Do you ever have "visions" of what a place will be like and when you actually get to the place, ahemmm... , its different than your vision???

View Of The Ranch House Sitting Room Window

Well, our accommodations were "different" than I had imagined..  The rosy cheeked Mrs. Rancher doesn't even live at the ranch, in fact no one does.  It is an old ranch house, but you cook for yourself. Clearly its used mostly by hunters, judging by the interior decor (dozens of mounted, stuffed animals of one kind or another - deer, antelope, pheasant.. LOTS and LOTS of them,).  In fact, if you take a look at the photo above, you will get a hint of what the ranch is like. See the window filled with antlers? (even the sheets and quilt on our bed have camouflage design on them.)   

Waking up and seeing the place in the stark morning light,  and noticing how everything smelled of a  strange combination of ,,, well, I'm not sure what...maybe cigars, wood smoke,, burnt coffee, to list a few, I truly felt like a fish out of water...

It wasn't till I dressed and went outdoors did I feel different.

Stepping outside, I filled my lungs with pure air.  and there was THAT SILENCE again,  a silence FILLED with bird song  - quail, pheasant, chickadee, yellow wing blackbird, horned thrush and more that I didn't recognize...  I heard the wind in the grasses,  and the scraping of dry reeds knocking together.., gentle mooing of cows heading out to graze for the day...

It was a perfect moment..

 I took deep breath after deep breath and began to feel at home.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rewards For An Early Start...

After dinner last night, I decided to take a stroll out into the garden with my camera.  The light was so soft, creating a silky feel and texture to all the plants and flowers... I wanted to capture the feel.. I needed an inspiring photo or two to help me write my blog later in the evening... 

 I almost always write at night after everyone has been fed, read to, tucked in bed, back rubbed, neck massaged, dinner dishes cleared away...  Then when I have no more nagging thoughts about "what I should be doing, or need to get done," I can clear my mind enough to find something to say...

Out in the garden, camera primed, focused on a beautiful, climbing Rosa "Joseph's Coat," in bloom, my camera suddenly decided to run out of batteries and proceeded to close up shop for the evening! 

So, that was that, and to be quite honest, after taking a hot bubble bath, my body felt like it too had run out of batteries,  and so I decided it was time for me to go to bed... So, my blog did not get written last night as is my ritual, and I went to bed early instead...  

The benefits of calling it an early night are, that I woke bright and refreshed at 5:30 am, and instead of rolling over for a few more Zzzzzzzzzz's.., I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my quiet hour before everyone else awoke...  

I brewed a cup of tea, and grabbed my camera and headed out to the garden to photograph in the soft hazy, morning light...

My little corner of the world is so beautiful at this time... I felt like I was the only one up, till this little fellow Red-Breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) (above) swooped onto the slender trunk of the silver birch to find his breakfast..  He was very curious about me and between pecking furiously for grubs, would pause and look at me, then continue, then stop and look again..  

I felt rewarded by this morning, the light, the gentleness, the company of the bird..., the peace...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chasing Butterflies...

Meet A Friend Of Mine ~ Pale Swallowtail (Papilio Eurymedon)

Sunday morning we awoke to a beautiful sun-shiney day... the garden looking beautiful, especially this little Korean Lilac bush  (Syringa Meyeri 'Palibin') ...

We took off to view a house on Bainbridge Island, one that I thought might meet our needs.. (yes folks we are still on the house hunting quest..)

After checking it out I guess CG just "wasn't feeling it", despite the pretty view of the harbor... so, we got back in the car and headed home..

I'll be honest, I felt a bit let down, and the stress of not knowing where we are going to move to, and yet knowing we have to move SOON is really getting to me..

Its like this - I know there's a place that will be just right for us (I feel it in my gut,) but my gut is also turning cartwheels as time is ticking by..., because I don't know and have so little control, but I WANT to KNOW and I WANT to CONTROL... (this whole house selling and moving business is very illuminating about how much I like to KNOW things and how much I like to be in CONTROL!)


 This being a human being in times of stress can be very..., ... well..,,, TOUGH!

Anyway, back to my friend above... as we pulled up to our driveway after the disappointing viewing.. I dropped my purse and grabbed my camera when I spied this exquisite Pale Swallowtail butterfly getting drunk on the nectar from the lovely lilac bush...

It was a challenge as he moved every other second to a different spray of flowers.. I literally chased him through my lens again and again, at one point I even thought he was just plain teasing me, almost as if he knew  how hard I was trying to capture a clear shot of him..

 But you know, I was enthralled by his beauty and his size - and the sheer joy of watching him flit from flower to flower was a powerful tonic that took me out of my sadness and into my happy place...

It felt good to be chasing butterflies...

It felt good to let gooooooooooooooooooooooo.... even for just a few moments...

How do you de-stress?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mmmmm.. Chocolate Dripped Strawberries...

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries (with a difference..)

Here's a super delicious dessert that everyone in my family loves.

"Raw" Chocolate dipped strawberries..., made with organic cacao powder which is considered by some to be a superfood. Cacao is found to be very high in antioxidants, and minerals like zinc, copper and magnesium..

My youngest daughter is allergic to most chocolate that you find in the stores, and has fits of sneezes within seconds of putting it in her mouth..., I believe its not the chocolate that she's allergic to but all of the additives and fillers (like wax) that they add to chocolate candy to extend its shelf life.

She adores Raw chocolate dipped strawberries, and happily eats them without ever sneezing..

So, here's the recipe.. its soooo easy:)

1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/3 cup of agave syrup (or honey)
3/4 cup organic raw cacao
1 tspn vanilla essence

Fresh organic strawberries

~ In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt the oil,
adding agave and vanilla

~ When its all melted and blended, add the cacao powder and mix well

~ Carefully dip the strawberries, covering as much as you can

~ Place the strawberries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper

~ When all of the strawberries are covered, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator till your ready to eat

~ Enjoy..., bet you can't eat just one!

p.s I purchase my cacao powder at