Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fruits of Autumn..

Dahlias and Squash

Sunset  colors...

Beautiful Pear Shaped Squash

Pinkest Pink Dahlia...

We have been blessed with a very mild Autumn thus far, perhaps that's why there are so many gorgeous Dahlias still available at the markets... They come is such exquisite colors, my favorites  come in shades of sunset...  

I realize that Autumn is my favorite time of year for colors..., golds, coppers, purples, magenta, oranges, reds.. warm, rich, passionate colors that make me feel blessed to have eyes to see the riot of color that surrounds us.

To Autumn
~ By William Blake

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

The narrow bud opens to her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brow of morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hill fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Word To My Younger Self...

My first still life in oils - tomatoes...

If I could go back in time to say..., when I was twelve years old, and if I could have an opportunity to give the young Neinah  some serious words of advice before leaving her childhood behind and embarking on her adult life...  I would tell her...

Don't let anyone, (including any naysayer voices that might be programmed in your head,) tell you  that you should never try something new unless you know you'll be brilliant at it... Ha! such as,  you're not a runner ( ha! you've got two legs right?) you can't  write (ha! you've got a lot of conversation and big thoughts going on in that head of your's..,? well.. learn to put it down on paper... - or write a blog...:)  You can't paint... (ha! you've got two eyes..., two hands, 10 fingers.. what are you waiting for, an act from God???)  Get on, get on and do it, try it..., whatever it is that calls to you, go for it,   don't ever worry about not having "the goods," "the wit," "the intelligence," "the endurance".. etc... etc... Its not important... What IS important,  is the ability to open your heart then open your mouth and  say one very important life altering word.....,  "YES!"

Its taken me almost 50 years to realize that I don't need anyones permission to do try my hand at something new, to follow my dreams and allow them to become reality...  I do not need to worry anymore about doing things to please someone else, oh yes,  and being perfect (immediately) at any new task or skill (if not stop immediately and feel useless... - no thanks)  I am truly ok with not being a Zola Budd, Virginia Woolf or Georgia O'keiffe.  I am happy with being me... WOW... such a huge revelation!!!  

When I do all the fun stuff from exactly this place of "FUN"..., and for the right and true reason - that of experiencing the sheer and utterly wonderful JOY of it all,  then it all works out as if by magic!

So to anyone out there who may have stifled dreams and desires... its never too late... give yourself permission and leap into the J-O-Y...


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October Sky In The Morning...

Some mornings just rush by in a blur..., breakfasts to make, school lunches to pack, one girl needing a ride to the ferry, another girl a ride to her grade school... 

This morning was a lot like that, but as I paused to wash dishes at the sink,  I looked out the kitchen window, through the trees and out across the water towards the east...

 Fog was rising like steam off the bay and the sun was beginning to rise,,, making for a mesmerizing view..., using my new camera I tried to capture the exquisite light and drama of the morning...

Even in the frenzy its good to take a moment or two.... and breath....

Here's a lovely Mary Oliver poem about early morning..., such a gifted poet... (I've yet to read a poem by Mary Oliver that I don't love!)  Hope you enjoy it too...

Why I Wake Early
 ~ Mary Oliver

Hello sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields 
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety - 

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light - 
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Comfort Food...

I haven't blogged for several days now, I've been feeling a lot tired and under the weather (I think that saying "under the weather" must surely have been written about the general malaise a body feels with the departure of summer and seeing ahead to the oncoming six months of gloom without much sun...)

So..., to cheer myself up, I get busy in the kitchen..., and think about what to cook for the family that will be hearty, tasty and good for us.....( by the way..., the creepy crawlies on the squash are not real.. they are  characters I bring out at this time of year to put us in the mood for one of our favorite holidays... Halloween - more on that sooooooon!)

Fall Squash Soup

When the weather turns cool, it seems like soup making is a given...
Below is a recipe for Squash Soup, its tasty, warming, savory and put together in no time.


3 tbsp. Olive Oil ( or 3 tbsp. butter)
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 medium apple, such as Granny Smith
1 large Squash (I used butternut) cut in half, seeded and
baked till tender and skin pulls away from flesh easily.
1 Cup of Apple Cider
8 cups of Vegetable or Chicken Broth
1 Teaspoon of Curry Powder
Salt & Pepper

Chop the shallots and garlic cloves, heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pan and saute till transparent.
Peel, core and chop the apples and saute along with the shallots and garlic and cook till tender (about 5 minutes.)

Cut the baked squash into cubes and add to the pan, along with apple cider, broth and curry powder.

Simmer till the squash cubes have softened completely and melted into the broth ( approx. 20 minutes.) Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

At this point I take a hand blender (or carefully pour into my Vitamixer,) and blend till smooth and creamy.

To make it extra yummy, chop some sage into slivers and saute in butter or oil till crispy, or try chopped  turkey bacon, or a dollop of sour cream ( if your diet allows...).., crispy croutons.... mmmm you name the toppings..... and serve with hot, crispy garlic bread....mmmmmmmmm...

.... Voila!...., a pot of hot and tasty soup that comforts and satisfies...