Recipes for Love

Ever holiday I find myself seated at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, sifting through a drawer of recipes. The search is as much for family recipes as it is for memories. It doesn’t take long before I find them both.

Before my Mom and Aunties passed they gifted me a few of their kitchen secrets and well-used kitchen items. There’s Busha’s (Grandma’s) hand-forged, three pronged fork. The stubby handle fits perfectly in the palm of a hand when cutting in shortening. Busha cooked on a woodstove. Any meal was a laborious monumental task. I don’t think the stove was ever cold to the touch.

I treasure Mom’s solid wood rolling pin and flour sack towels. Mom always rolled out her dough on a well floured flour sack. Thin from two generations of washings, I handle them with extreme care and use them exclusively for rolling out dough. To find one of Mom’s recipes with actual conventional measurement is not the norm. Her measurements were by feel or taste. It’s probably why Mom would call me up to come over and “watch” her make something. She would often tell me, “I’m not going to live forever. If you want to learn how to make this keep watching.” I’m glad I did so her love can nourish the next generation.

There’s Auntie Anna’s substantially cracked and chipped blue speckled enamelware pan. It must have been a favorite based on its condition. I’m so happy she held on to it and passed it on to me. Believe it or not nothing ever sticks to that pan! Auntie Anna’s cooking instructions were loud, clear and concise. Her stern direction carried over from her many years running the kitchen for the local church’s annual picnic.

Then there’s Auntie Rosie’s titanic sized cast iron frying pan. In her later years, arthritis prevented her from lifting the heavy weight. The pan than became a permanent fixture on her stove-top. Cleanup was a wipe or two with a paper towel. Still is.

I can’t forget Auntie Vickey’s delectable dessert recipes. The handwritten recipes have yellowed with age. Torn edges of the fragile paper taped together several times. The tape too has yellowed. A busy farmer’s wife, Auntie Vickey’s countertops and kitchen table held much of the overflow from her cupboards. She could make a meal fit for king in minutes!

If you haven’t guessed, I am descended from a long line of amazing Polish women that knew their way around a kitchen. Ever since I’ve been old enough to hold a  wooden spoon in my hand, they pressed me into service at some task that was age appropriate. Any gathering of the family cooks ended with a meal. Crumbs on the table were never casually wiped to the floor. Licked fingers firmly pressed the bits against the tabletop. The finger with moist crumbs attached was promptly licked clean. Ever last crumb of life’s deliciousness was savored.

The strong Polish women in my life grew up in a generation that didn’t say, “I love you,” out loud very often, if ever. Words of love may have not been shared but what they did share was the recipe’s to taste it. What else could be created in the heart of the home—the kitchen—but love?

Give and Thank

I am grateful for you!

Expressions of gratitude tap into a deep down internal force that instantaneously shifts negative energy into positive power. Having a daily gratitude practice is a wonderful way to find a positive path on any journey you are on. As they say; Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes progress.

Make ever day a happy day of giving thanks!

Anniversary Happiness

Gratitude Haiku

Thank you gratitude

Reflection of kindnesses

Everything’s a gift

September 29th was the one year anniversary of this blog. I struggle with words to communicate the depth of my gratitude to all of you that have given a moment of your attention to view or like my posts. You can’t imagine the joy I feel from those small gestures of kindness.

In the future, the posts will be more spontaneous then scheduled. Fields, family and four-legged’s keep life full. Writing posts will be more in the flow with the work demands of living close to the land. What I’ve learned from my blog journey can be summed up in this beautiful Mary Oliver quote, “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

 

Apples to Apples

Summer is drowsy.

Fall wraps a colorful shawl over her shoulders.

apple fragrance perfumes the crisp air.

In the orchard, youth’s tang has mellowed.

Tart and hard surrender.

 

Wolf River. Prairie Spy. Lodi. Zestar.

 

Bashful pink blushes streak down each apple.

Voluptuous ornaments adorn the length of each and every limb.

Branches bow as gracefully as the necks of swans.

Sweet wood bares sweet fruit.

 

McIntosh. Cortland. Red Delicious. Granny Smith

 

Teeth crush down through flesh.

Taste the juicy ripeness of a season’s end.

Running sky blue clear.

Soul sweet deep.

Wipe your chin ready.

 

Gala. Sweet Tango. Empire. Honey Crisp

MrsbusdriverladyAngie

Every year the school year begins with a new crop of little ones on my school bus—4Ker’s. They are four-year-old kindergartners filled with fear, excitement and every emotion in between. We are into the second week of school here in Wisconsin. I am beginning to see their individual personality’s blossom. There is nothing like a new clutch of four-year-olds to teach the virtues of a good sense of humor.

Usually I tell the little ones to call me, Ms. Angie or Angie. This year I have a sweet little 4K boy that insists on addressing me as, MrsbusdriverladyAngie. He is bursting with questions about the in’s and out’s of riding on a school bus. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to hear them because our conversations go something like this…

4K Boy: “Mrsbus…..driver…”

Me: “Yes?”

4K Boy: “Mrsbusdriver…”

Me: “Yes?”

4K Boy: “Mrsbusdriverlady?”

Me: “What do you need Hun?”

4K Boy: “I forgot your name.”

Me: “Angie”

4K Boy: “MrsbusdriverladyAngie.”

Me: “Yes?”

4K Boy: “I forgot my question?”

Repeat conversation every 5-10 minutes until you reach the school.

I thought he would tire of the long winded introduction by now but he shows no signs of shortening the preface to my name. He is a bright colored blossom!  It is with great honor and dignity that I have decided to accept the title of MrsbusdriverladyAngie bestowed upon me by a gusty four-year-old. Life is so much easier with a good sense of humor. When life tickles you don’t hold back the laugh.

“A sense of humor is just common sense dancing.” ~ William James

Bee Joy

The cleanup crew has arrived! Easy access to a food source doesn’t go unnoticed for long by the honeybee. After the honey extraction is complete, all the equipment and empty honey supers are set out for the bees.  I took delight in watching the bees collect every last hint of honey. I could hear and feel their joy vibrating through the air. Maybe they even felt some relief. Knowing they didn’t have to “make” all the honey that will sustain them through the cold dark days ahead.

As I sat mesmerized by ceremonial procession from frames to hive, it occurred to me that I was feeding on the bee’s joy. We have easy access to joy’s existence. It’s all around and in everything. We need only to allow the joy, imagined or real, of other beings to be ours.

Joy increases each time it’s shared. Share your sweetness. Grow joy in the world. Allow the joy of others to be yours.

 

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