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Monday Book Review: “Country Matters,” “Back in the Garden with Dulcy,” “The Gardener,” “Rocket’s Mighty Words” and “Listen!”

December 16th, 2013

Two grown-up books and several kid books today:

First up: Michael Korda’s classic, “Country Matters.” I love the heck out of this book. “Have no fear, Roe is here!” I read this when it first came out, at my Mom’s recommendation, and we’ve both re-read it several times. It’s wiping away tears funny, especially if you love animals, old houses, and are surrounded by people who have “boundary issues.”

Speaking of comedy, this leads us to the best garden writer in the world… one Dulcy Mahar and the new book, “Back in the Garden with Dulcy” (Carpe Diem Books, Portland, Ore., $22.95, 262 pages). She was a lovely woman (we both wrote for The Oregonian, and I worked with her husband, Ted, too), she was just a delight, and in addition to being a gifted gardener, she was funny, funny girl when she wrote about her Portland garden. (I was lucky enough to tour it once and it was awe-inspiring, really. It’s a lovely space over in the Garthwick neighborhood.) I just started reading this book, which is mainly a collection of her newspaper columns and includes a touching memoir by Ted. My friend (and my former editor) Peggy McMullen wrote the foreword. I miss Dulcy’s writing every week and am glad to have this book, a sweet reminder of a sweet, classy lady.

It only makes sense to review the children’s book “The Gardener” next (Sunburst, Farrar Straus Giroux, 1997). It was written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small. The pair also created “The Library” and “The Money Tree,” which are both so good. This Caldecott Honor book is a quietly powerful book that I like to read with my students, especially when we’re dreaming about community gardens. It’s set in 1935, and tells the story of Lydia Grace Finch, who travels to live with an uncle due to family circumstances. It’s a good one for struggling readers, too. The text is written as letters, and the illustrations are elegant and “grown up.”

The Rocket series, written by Tad Hills, is pretty adorable and just right for the littlest readers. (Schwartz & Wade Books, New York, 2013, $10.99, unpaged.) Rocket is an eager pup who really wants to learn to read. The illustrations are colorful and sweet, and the main character is appealing.

“Listen!” by Stephanie Tolan (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, New York, 2006, $16.89, 197 pages) would be a good choice for kids who are struggling with loss. (Anyone who loves a good dog story will love this one, as well.) The author wrote another favorite of mine, “Surviving the Applewhites,” which you might want to check out, too. “Listen!” is a tale of a girl who has recently lost her mother, and is spending her summer mostly alone, trying to tame a feral dog, was another quiet book that turned out to be quite moving. “Love cannot be forced, love cannot be coaxed and teased. It comes out of Heaven, unasked and unsought.” — Pearl Buck

The Nancy Drew titles I included just because I wanted to. (Grosset & Dunlap, New York, $5.99, various lengths, generally around 180 pages.) Did you know that’s who I was named for? Allegedly.

The End.

“Great oaks from little acorns grow” — Latin proverb

Christmas Robin

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

QOTD

November 30th, 2013

“No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.” ― Assata Shakur

Gleneden Sunset

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

qotd/pic of the day

November 25th, 2013

“My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea/And the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Gleneden Sunset

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

almost winter

November 24th, 2013

Frost on Wood

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

oh hallo, poor neglected blog.

November 5th, 2013

here’s a picture for you:

Gleneden sunset

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Now I need to work-out/shower/sleep, ah, the glamorous life.

xo

wm

day off…

October 11th, 2013

…means I need to clean the house. I don’t wanna. What’s new with you, Internets?

Daisy with mites

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

total focus

October 4th, 2013

heron

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

dog days

September 13th, 2013

Black eyed Susans

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Tuesday Recipe Club: Zucchini Bread, Zucchini Lasagna, Feta-Parsley Green Beans and Irish Champ

August 27th, 2013

strawberry

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Doesn’t that look good? I’ll have to go pick some strawberries for dinner. (We planted some everbearings and get three crops a season from them. Who knew berries grew this way?)

Hello, dumplings. What’s up? My husband and daughter are finally back from London, and I owe them some delicious home cooking. They ate out at plenty of delicious restaurants in London, but nothing says lovin’ like something I have forgotten about and burned, just in time for dinner. On the menu:

* Irish Champ, a la Jamie Oliver (edited later to say: will make this tomorrow; ran out of time)

* Leftover Zucchini Lasagna, which is just my regular lasagna recipe, with planks of zucchini subbed for the pasta. Have I never run my lasagna recipe here? Hmm. Well, here’s Carmela Soprano’s recipe. And here’s my recipe for Manicotti. (Edited to say: No one likes the zucchini lasagna but me, apparently. Wacky Boy had a waffle with real maple syrup; Steve and Wacky Girl and I had Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato Sandwiches on homemade bread. Fake (vegetarian!) bacon bits = vegetarian BLT. And fresh tomatoes from garden! Rock on.)

* Green Bean Salad (from Food & Family)
500 g green beans topped, tailed and halved
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
50g feta cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the prepared green beans. Cook until al dente, tender enough to bite through but still crisp. Drain and cool under cold tap for a few seconds. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving add crumbled feta cheese and finely chopped parsley. (Edited to say: Awesome recipe, thanks, Kit!) (Also, my daughter made a huge green salad, with diced celery and green onions, grated carrots and red-leaf lettuce. Really perfect.)

and…
* Zucchini Bread! (I use my Dear Late Granny’s Banana Bread recipe and sub zucchini.)

(We have baseball bat-sized squash in the garden, am attempting to use some of it up.) (Edited to say: Pawned off one of the zucchinis on my friend. She promptly wielded it like a bat and started laughing. I’m all, I know, right? I made three (3) loaves of zucchini bread. Found some white chocolate chips, Wacky Girl said, Add ‘em! so I did. Oh. Yum. So good. ps if anyone uses the Zucchini Bread recipe from Dear Late Granny’s cookbook, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon is good, 3 is kind of a lot; add 3 cups of zucchini, not 2. That’s all! ta-ta for now.)

xo and happy Tuesday, also, bon appetit!

wm

ahhhhhh… Herbal Iced Tea and a summer day

August 22nd, 2013

Private dock

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

This is one of my favorite photos of the Tualatin River — can’t wait to get out and canoe some more.

Trying to kick coffee/black tea. New delight:

Herbal Iced Tea

4 bags Passion Fruit herbal tea
2 bags ginger tea
A couple splashes lemon juice
3 cinnamon sticks

Put in a big jar, cover with cold water, leave out for sun tea.

xo

wm

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