Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's 3 o'clock Somewhere

A teapot has always reminded me of a house. There's the lid for a roof, and the spout is the chimney. The handle, the trunk of the tree that shades the house in summer. And inside, life-affirming tea. This is my first teapot in awhile, and its slab built with a scalloped crown and seam up the side. The Tea loving lady on the front holds a red polka dotted cup in one hand and a forget me not in the other. A bee buzzes at the top of the handle. And dears, this teapot holds a generous amount of your choice of rose hip, mint or Earl Grey.

Tea that helps the head and heart
Tea medicates most every part
Tea rejuvinates the very old
and warms the hands of those who're cold
Jonker of Amsterdam. 1676
Reclusive, ellusive,
wandering nightly,
unprickle the charms
you've rolled up so tightly.
This domed piece could hold a nice stack of shortbread. That's what always brings oohs and aahs here at the treehouse. The base of the dome is made to look like a tree trunk, adorned with woodland plants and bugs. The top has Mr. Pricklepin for a pull.
Here's my shortbread recipie:
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut in 1/2" pieces
1/2 t. vanilla
2 C. flour**
Mix sugar and salt, and cut in butter with pastry cutter or food processor til smooth.
Add flour and blend til crumbly. Roll in ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1/2 hour
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Divide dough in half and press each half in a 9 inch diameter pie plate., score the top into wedges and add fork tine marks if you like.
Bake 30 minutes. Rotate, and bake another 20-30 minutes longer, until pale golden.
Cool in pie plate at least ten minutes. Remove and cut into wedges.
Now for chocolate adoring personages, melt 1/2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips in a pan resting in a pan of simmering water, (so the chocolate doesnt' get nasty and burnt) add 2T. cream and blend. Dip the tip of the shortbread wedge in the melted chocolate.
**I've read that if you substitue 1/2 c. cornstarch for the Flour , in other words,
1 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 c. cornstarch, it makes a very flakey cookie. I'm going to try it next time
and I'll report back on the results.
Don't forget, Jacques and Julia are on PBS today at 4:30 PST

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Remembrance cups

its you whatever a moon has
always meant
and whatever a sun will always
sing is you

A wedding deserves a token of affection to celebrate eternal love, but sometimes the nicest things happen all in a rush and no invites have gone out. And you want to remember.

Like the fall when a rare bird landed so close to you , you could see its heart beat beneath it's feathers. Or the moment when your baby said her first word. (This yellow butterfly cup says 'flutterby' on the reverse.)

Mr. Pricklepins. I remember the first time I saw a hedgehog. They are so small!

all the pretty birds dive into
the heart of the sky
all the fish climb through
the mind of the sea
Have you ever seen a bird's nest in your very own garden? This nest piece is actually more like a bowl. It would hold a nice portion of granola, (very nesty) or vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. Maybe even a little whipped cream.

Or seen a fox dash across a clearing, his white tipped tail all lit up like a candle?
The reverse reads;
joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
Thank you for checking in to see my new cups. Let's light the fire now and put the kettle on.
all poetry courtesy of e.e. cummings

Friday, September 11, 2009

Greencoat Squirrell and Little Red, Part 2

Greencoat and a few of his cronies stood beneath the pines, having a confab.
"She's always been inpetuous" said Bunny Two Shoes, "And there's that tendency to linger and pick boquets." Songbird bobbed his head and sang a sweet air.
Mouse stood very straight and raised her voice. "We're coming with you, Greenie! There's strength in numbers!
Greencoat wondered how much strength a mouse posessed, but was glad of the company. They headed out, with songbird as their scout, searching from the sky, every hollow and rotten stump for danger in the form of a Wolf.
At the cottage, Red found the front door stuck, so she entered through the back. Her nose wrinkled at the smell of turnips and moldy potatoes.

"I'm here, gram!" she called.

"Alright, dear." Gram's voice echoed through the timbered cottage.

Red stoked the fire, and set the kettle on. She placed fresh rosemary on the hob and cranked open windows, then uncorked the port and carried a tot into Gram's bedroom. 'This will liven her up.' she decided.

Gram wolfed it right down. "I'm famished, dear, do I smell egg? And may I have more of that scrumptious cordial?" Gram's bonnet covered most of her face, but Red saw alot of brown. Perhaps she'd been working in the garden?
"Yes, there's egg and Greencoat Squirrel has made your favorite cake." A thump rattled the front door. "There he is now."
When Red opened the door, she saw it had been jammed shut with an ebony walking stick.

Squirrel sniffed.

"Smells badgerish in here."

"Gram's awfully peckish," said Red, "And you know how much she adores squirrel stew. I wouldn't get too close today." Squirrel blanched and set the cake down.

The band of woodland animals peered through the window, watching and waiting. As Red carried the tea tray to Gram, the animals crept inside.

Red and Gram each had their own special cup. So when Gram grabbed Red's cup, and then began to slurp and belch noisily, without uttering a word of Grace, Red jumped up.

"You are an interloper! Where's my Gram!" Her friends tumbled in the room.

Bunny Two Shoes yanked off the bonnet and gasped, "You're not even a wolf", he said , "You're just a smelly old fox!" Mouse lobbed a walnut at fox's head and he yelped. "Crikey, that hurt!"
Fox sprang up and bounded past them and out the front door. While they gaped at his exit, Gram entered throught the back with an apronful of mushrooms. "Oh, grandaughter, you've brought your lovely friends. Let's all have tea!"
Later, a fox could be seen, leering, as he sauntered through the glen with an ebony walking stick.
He cradled a bottle tenderly in his arm. A bottle of Elderberry Port!

The end of the first official Pinewood Tale
I hope you enjoyed the adventure!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Greencoat Squirrel and Little Red, A Pinewood Tale

Squirrel's pecan cake trembled in his paws. "Please, Red, don't take the path through the Oaks. The Pine wood will be safer." he said. "I smell Him out there."
Red sniffed the crisp autumn air. "Oh, poot." she said, "All I smell is Watercress and fresh earth. Besides, my way's shorter." She adjusted the bottle in the crook of her arm. "This elderberry wine is like lugging a cannonball around, not to mention what else is in my basket."
"Devonshire cream?" asked Squirrel, "And ginger scones?"
Red nodded. "And hard boiled goose egg, too." She kissed his cheek. "I'll have tea ready when you get to Grams, and remember, no sampling the cake!" She tripped off to the oak glen, while Squirrel took the safer path.

Neither one of them saw the long snouted face that peered at them through the hedgerow. He drooled profusely, and there shone a strange, golden gleam in his eye.

As the glen turned into the Oak wood, Red walked more briskly. She stopped for a handfull of fresh rosemary, and felt sure someone was watching her. She turned back, but only saw a rabbit in a yellow vest, sipping tea from a red polka dotted cup. She waved a hello, and hurried on.

Soon she came to Gram's cottage. Smoke puffed from the chimney. How snug it would be!
She crunched over pine needles and turned the knob, thinking surley, no one had ever been as hungry as she!
Most certainly to be continued........

Animals who garden

Animals who garden
Donkey with green paw