I noticed yesterday that the alder buds are pinking up and there are leaves on some hopeful branches on the rose bushes. The pink rose by the steps had one really, badly damaged rose right through Yule, and now it has 3 pink buds. One of the cinquefoils, that’s more protected than the others, still has flowers.
There are towhees on the feeder. Tempus re-filled it the other day, but the racoons don’t seem to have noticed. The jays have been working at it, steadily.
Yesterday was a pretty busy day, doing mostly house and computer chores. I did a full backup on the shop computer and then dumped several old back-ups. Laundry and some necessary mending were most of the rest of my chores, although I did some pick-up-&-put-away, as well. Tempus and I talked about how to reorganize the kitchen to accommodate the toaster oven that we were gifted with a while back. Tempus worked on his computer, too, and did quite a bit of kitchen cleaning.
Late in the day I made a chicken noodle soup, mostly from scratch, although I did throw in the flavor packets from the ramen noodles that I used. I started with cooking chicken breasts with dill and salt, chopped some celery and added that, then added frozen mixed vegetables, some water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and onion and finally the noodles. I strained the solids before I got to the noodles and I’m storing all of it separately, since the noodles get soggy so quickly. What I’m going to do is to cook noodles in the broth the way I did last night, but cook them fresh, and put the solids on top.
I got Tempus to set up a kolach (KO – lahch) dough in the bread-maker. It was a trial run on this dough and it turned out to be light and tasty and not sweet at all, just like kolache should be! I made what Babicka called, “smirkase” (SMIRK – ah – sah) filling, which is brown-sugar-sweetened ricotta cheese with golden raisins and nutmeg and then sprinkled them with powdered sugar. Tempus and I ate 4 of them last night. There are 8 in a pan and I’m going to do up the other half of the dough today, as kolacki, which means “little kolach”, 1/2 size. Iow the recipes makes 24 full-size or 48 1/2 size.
This kind of pastry is what I ate as a kid. There’s enough sugar for them to be tasty, but they’re not sticky-sweet, more of a bread with additions than something like a Danish. Hospitality to my family meant that when you were visiting you were made to sit down with “kafe a kolac” (KAH – veh ah KO – lahch), coffee and kolach, (milk, if you were a kid). Any get-together required platters of kolach and all the teti (TEH – tee), the aunties, vied to see who could make the prettiest, tastiest, most regular, etc. We would all sit down and nibble and dunk the kolach into our beverages (and I hated washing the cups after, especially if they sat a while!)
They can be filled with anything from this kind of cheese filling, to povidla (a prune jam), to mak (a poppyseed filling), to bacon and eggs, plus all kinds of other things. I’ve made them with orange marmalade and one of the teti, (I think it was Cousin Anne, if I remember rightly) had a specialty of an 1/2 fresh strawberry, embedded in strawberry jam. Another cousin experimented with jalapenos and there was a sardine, mustard and cottage cheese one that some of the strecki (STRAYCH – key), the uncles, liked. Some of the Czech-American recipes are more like cookies, now.
Babicka would have been thrilled with this bread-maker recipe. One of the things that she mourned was her ability to make fresh bread, but her hands wouldn’t take the kneading as she got older. I can sympathise with that! I did it for her for quite a while, but didn’t always have time. Kolache don’t take much kneading, so she could keep up with that, and now that I have this recipe I can probably make what she called, “twisters”, too. Those were the same dough, rolled out flat, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and raisins, flipped over on itself and cut into strips that were twisted and allowed to rise.
So that’s on today’s agenda. We haven’t gone shopping, yet. I think Tempus is still hoping that this lawn-mower deal will go through and he can shop in Florence. I have a bit more computer house-keeping to do and I want to start packing up the Yule things, get the tablecloths washed, etc. I’m hoping that I’m going to have time to write a little, too, and to see whether I can hook my Wave keyboard up to this laptop.
Today is the 123rd anniversary of the birth of Karel Čapek (d. 1938), Czech novelist, short-story writer, playwright, essayist; born in Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now in the Czech Republic). He wrote R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), in which the word ‘robot’ first appeared and the play Ze života hmyzu (Life Among the Insects) which Grandma and I saw when in Prague. More here: http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/book/jan9.html and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karel_Capek
I have a personal “funny” associated with that play. It’s a satire, as is much of Capek’s work, comparing different types of societies to different insects. I was having no trouble with the vocabulary, but Grandma was missing some of the more adult colloquialisms that she never learned, having been working hard at learning English as her second language at the same age that I learned Czech as mine…and learned it from lurking under the dining table while the teti were chatting. They usually forgot I was there….. So we got to the part of the play where a butterfly throws herself on her back with her legs in the air and yells, “Oh, somebody f*** me!” There was a titter from the audience and then Grandma said loudly, in English and the too-loud tones of the hearing-impaired, “WHAT did she say?” The audience roared….. It took me 3 tries to explain what had happened, later, but Grandma howled with laughter once she realized what she had said.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is in Hecate’s Brooch. Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 1/11 at 11:44am. Hecate’s Brooch – 3-5 days before New Moon – Best time for Releasing Rituals. It’s the last few days before the new moon, the time of Hecate’s Brooch. This is the time that if you’re going to throw something out, or sweep the floors, or take stuff to Good Will, do it! Rid yourself of negativity and begin the letting go process. Phase ends on 1/10 at 2:44am.
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree Month of Beth Birch Dec 24 – Jan 20
Runic half-month of Eoh 12/28-1/11 Represents the dead, and the yew tree, sacred to Winter shamanism. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books
Runic half-month of Peorth, 1/13-1/27. Feast of Brewing, Druidic Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar.
©2012 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Beth Birch Dec 24 – Jan 20 Beith – (BEH), birch – The silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is the most common tree birch in much of Europe. It grows up to 30 m (100 feet) high, but is more often found in spreading clumps on sandy soils. It is one of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is cut; this is probably a large part of its symbolic connection with new beginnings. It is cultivated in North America, often under the name of weeping birch. The common birch (B. pubescens Ehrh.) is almost as widespread as the silver birch, but grows primarily on acid or peaty soils. It can reach 20 m (65 feet) in height. Birches are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae). Curtis Clark
Beth – Birch – Ogam letter correspondences –
Meaning: New Beginnings; Changes; Purification.
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible W 9 Low 3:34 AM 3.1 7:51 AM Rise 5:37 AM 12 9 High 9:37 AM 9.2 4:56 PM Set 3:03 PM 9 Low 4:50 PM -1.1 9 High 11:20 PM 6.9
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.
~ There are such beings as vampires, some of us have evidence that they exist. Even had we not the proof of our own unhappy experience, the teachings and the records of the past give proof enough for sane peoples. – Bram Stoker (1847-1912) English novelist
~ There are two sides to every question. – Protagoras
~ There is Brendan Foster, by himself, with 20,000 people. – David Coleman
~ There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. – Celia Thaxter
From heaven, the starry spheres, the void, you will receive, continually, hundreds of impressions. Why do I say impressions? I mean; the direct vision of God. – Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
Magick – Imbolc Recipes
Cheddar Dill Scones – From: email@example.com (Sandra)
2 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 Cup butter or margarine
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 Cup half-and-half
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl combine all ingredients EXCEPT butter, eggs and half-and-half. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in eggs and half-and-half just until moistened. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth (1 min.). Divide dough in half; roll each half into 8″ circle. Cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges. Place 1″ apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Irish Herb Scones – Source: Vera Gewanter, “A Passion for Vegetables” from http://www.unc.edu/~reddeer/recipe/rec_mabon.html#herbscone
1/2 pound Mealy potatoes
4 Tablespoons Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Oil
2 Tablespoons Chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon Dried dill
1/4 teaspoon Savory
1/4 teaspoon Marjoram
1/4 teaspoon Powdered sage
Oil for frying
Boil or bake the potatoes, then pass through a foodmill. Mix the flour, salt, oil & herbs with the potatoes. On a floured board, roll this dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Cut into triangles 3 or 4 inches wide.
Fry in very hot oil on both sides until light golden.
Fruited Oat Scones – From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Behrens) – Source: Quaker Oat pamphlet received in mail
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups Quaker Oats (Quick or Old Fashioned, uncooked)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tblsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/3 cup margarine
6 oz. pkg (1 1/3 cups) diced dried mixed fruit
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon (a dash, I’ll use more next time)
Heat oven to 375 deg F. Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in fruit. Add combined milk and eggs, mixing just until moistened. Shape dough to form a ball. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead gently 6 times. On lightly greased cookie sheet, pat out dough to form 8-inch circle. With sharp knife, score round into 12 wedges.; sprinkle with combined sugar and cinnamon. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Break apart; serve warm. Makes 1 scone with as many wedges as you scored.
Braided Brigid Bread
2 tblsp. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegatable oil
1 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, passed throuh garlic press
1/2 tsp. each dried oregano, thyme, and basil
4 tblsp. tomato paste
5-6 cups unbleached flour
1 egg yolk, beaten
Dissolve the yeast in warm water sprinkled with the pinch of sugar. Combine the milk, egg, sugar, oil, salt, garlic, and herbs in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, place the tomato paste and add water until it reaches the 1/2 cup point. Pour into the milk mixture and stir well. Add the yeast mixture. Begin adding flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough can no longer be stirred. Turn out onto a floured boardand knead, continuing to add flour the keep the dough barely dry. This is a loose and soft dough, so be careful how much flour you add. Don’t let it get stiff! Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it over to coat both sides. Let it rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour. Then, punch it down. cut the dough in half, divide each half into thirds, then roll into thick coils. Braid three coils into a loaf and pinch the ends together. Set on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the other three coils. When the loaves have doubled in size, paint all surfaces with the egg yolk and bake for 35 minutes in a preheated 375 degrees oven, or until the internal temperature of bread measures 200 degrees.