Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I ended up at the Farmer's Market this weekend during an intermittent sun break. I have to say all of the mystery we've had this spring about whether that golden orb would peek out or not has created a situation around here; I appreciate it's light and warmth even more when it finally shows itself. Bright patches of blue in between squalls are glorious and cause for conversation and celebration. Rays reflect off water droplets and intensify both colors and the urge to be outside. So during my visit to the market I felt surrounded by lively, happy and thankful people all out doing just what I was doing. Shopping the offerings of the week. Feeling somewhat giddy that what they were there for came with a side of sunshine.

Maybe it was the welcome light or that I've had a couple things to celebrate myself lately, but the display of cupcakes under one of the tents proved irresistible.  I thought what drew me in was the fun I could have with my camera. Gems of cake collected under domed glass. Shiny footed cake plates. Handmade signs. Lilacs. However, after taking a few photos and after almost too much deliberation, I decided to treat myself.  A toast to the official start of summer! To nurturing sunshine! To the good things in life ......in the form of luscious chocolate cake topped with peanut butter frosting.


Hope you have a wonderful week,

Friday, May 27, 2011

To Begin. To Start.

I have a few places that I consider among my favorites to be. Locations that are peaceful. That I connect with to the core. Jubilee Farm is one of those for me. When the boys were young we were CSA members and used to drive out every Friday to pick up a box of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers grown right there on the farm. The experience was much more than loading it all into our car. More than carting home what would end up in our refrigerator or on our table for the coming week. It was a relationship with the farmer who grew them. An opportunity for me to learn......and to teach the boys...... how our food was grown and where it came from. My boys are now choosing and purchasing most of their own food. I hope they remember those Friday afternoons at the farm. I hope they made a difference.

These photos are from an impromptu visit there a couple of days ago. Little snippets of beginnings. Of what will become available in the weeks and months ahead. I plan to visit a few more times this summer and am considering becoming a member again. It's been a few years since I've been out there, but just to show you how it works, Farmer Erick still recognized me. He graciously welcomed me and my camera and allowed me to wander about and take it all in.

On another note, an essay that I wrote, titled Commencement, was published today at www.mamalode.com .  It is about milestones and moving on. About endings and beginnings. I hope you'll take a minute to read it. While you're at it, take a few moments to peruse Mamalode and what it's all about as well. It is a quality on line and print publication "for the whole mother".  I've really enjoyed getting to know it! 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.......


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


This weekend I was able to reconnect with a group of women I went to college with.  I keep in touch with three or four of them regularly. There are a few with whom the connection is made only during the holiday season or when I unexpectedly run into them out and about. There are those that, since our paths just don’t seem to cross, only a planned gathering such as this brings us together.  
When it’s time, about every year or two, word ripples out. Each of us keeps in touch with a slightly different combination of those who we all know, and so the natural planners or the keepers of the email list send out an invite along with the request to ‘pass it on’. I love that I’m not quite sure just who will show up. That there are both women I know will be there and those I hope will be. That there are ones I didn't expect to see and have wondered about. That occasionally, unexpected bonds are strengthened; deeper connections forged.
I wonder if any of us could have foreseen regular gatherings like this so many years ago. If there was a  passing thought way back when that spending four years in the same space would have us continuing to meet up this many years later. We’re not all the same age and each one of us moved in and out of that time differently. The paths our lives have taken are unique, collectively however, we have a piece of shared history. Something in common. Experiences that anchor.
The evening was warm and vibrant and noisy: Laughter and the inevitable retelling of old tales co-mingled with the significant stuff of thirty-five years of living. There were surprise endings to some of the stories, but nothing new involving the intelligence, grace, humor and strength of each individual. I could have told you that way back when.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rhubarb Pie

I made a Rhubarb Pie this morning. I've been meaning to make one all week at the request of one of my sons, but happened to catch a nasty bug that's been making the rounds. This morning I felt much better so went out to the garden for the first rhubarb pick of the season.  I added a few blackberries to make up the volume when there wasn't quite enough. I wonder how this combination will work?  I'm kind of a purist when it comes to rhubarb and typically don't like any other fruit added to it. 

I'm not sure if I can name a favorite pie....but if I had to, this one would surely be in the running. I just love Rhubarb Pie! My boys like it, too. When they were much younger they hoped there would be one waiting in my parents kitchen when went to visit. There often was. In fact, the plants in our garden are transplants from their yard. I remember moving into that house at age nine where they grew, and still do, in a patch by the shed.  I was a little fascinated and nervous when my mom cooked some up one day. I had never seen or heard of it before, but she knew what to do. I've been a big fan ever since.

Just curious: When it comes to making pie crust, do you mix by hand or with the food processor? I used the food processor for this crust. I think the pastry is easier to roll out, but find the ones mixed by hand flakier. And truthfully, I choose flaky over ease of rolling. My husband can attest to this as it's the one thing I hope for/comment on if we decide to order a slice in a restaurant. I think he thinks I'm a little high maintenance in this regard......but really......a flaky crust adds so much to the overall pie eating experience......

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Favorite Place

There is a favorite place I love to go.  A place that alternately relaxes and energizes me. Where I become lost in thought. Encouraged. This weekend I had the chance to spend time there again, along the banks of the Clark Fork in Missoula. I love to look beyond the river at the university. To soak in the endless possibilities of being engaged in its presence. The current of hard work and direction cross over the water. The opportunity of those who just-aren’t-sure infects me. It is the kind of multi-leveled, multi-sensory atmosphere that those who are committed to learning create. 

We were in Missoula to be with our sons. One celebrated the transition from full time student to building a life there….at least for a while.  We helped another pack up and move home for the summer. The third took a few days to hang out with us before exploring his options after his own graduation last week.    

Will they put their degrees to use? Will they choose a job according to what their diploma says they studied? I’m not sure and it doesn’t necessarily matter to me.  My own degree is in Microbiology and Public Health. I worked for years in a field that was directly related….and then for years doing something else entirely.  I do, however, use what I learned every day, in everything I do and with a perspective that I may not have had otherwise.  I know that I ask different questions, dig deeper, and I hope the same thing for my boys: That they continue to want to learn.  

Along the way, we’ve heard the typical complaint questioning the necessity of taking one class or another. ‘I’ll never use this......’, to which I encourage ‘Tell me what you think in a few years.’ I enjoy art, music, history, writing, photography, cooking and travel. I have raised three kids with my husband. I can truthfully say at this point that, although I may not have wanted to take every class that was required, I do appreciate the time I spent exposed to them. They all apply….those classes that at one time I thought would not be useful.  

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of spending time looking across the moving water of the Clark Fork. It is running high……higher than I've seen it yet…….and was a little frightening in its swift transport of logs and entire trees.  This weekend instead of normally crisp, blue green whitecaps, water thundered past in softer waves, muddy and brown from churning and heaving. From collecting the input of small streams along the way. A flood watch is currently in effect and it all depends on the weather and how fast the northern Rocky Mountain snow pack melts.  Most times I find the river serene but this time it rumbled. Its rush and noise lulled me to sleep at night, but while I watched above its banks in the daytime, I was fully awake.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Only So Many Minutes in A Day......

Yesterday I returned to my previous post and added a favorite recipe for Banana Bread.  I originally meant to include it, but didn't seem to have time that day. I also spent a few minutes updating my recipe page by linking ones I've included so far with their posts. You can now click on each one and it will easily lead you where you want to go.

Getting both of these things accomplished were simply  functions of time......or lack of it at the moment that I needed it. Or thought I needed it. They might not seem like huge things or of great importance but they made a difference. Getting to them made something I started feel finished and complete.....and to me, that feels good. 

Today I had lunch at a favorite restaurant with my family, followed by dessert.  Afterward we walked into a bookstore and I saw this peaceful banner strung the width of the ceiling. In a few minutes we'll head out for a hike. Making time for good food, important people in my life and almost any activity out of doors makes me feel good too.

I sincerely wish you a wonderful, peaceful and satisfying weekend!

Warmly, Margaret

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Banana Bread

Don't you love that bananas no longer suited for eating fresh make the best bread? How walnuts that are toasted at high heat give off a fragrance and a flavor that wasn't there before? That you can mix a few everyday ingredients together and they will make your house smell wonderful for a couple of hours? That actually, banana bread tastes better if you don't eat it right away? Simplicity. Patience. It makes for a good day.

I use the recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. It takes butter, buttermilk and vanilla, and is the same one that my mom uses. Banana bread was one of the treats I came home to when I was growing up, smelling its presence before my hand turned the doorknob. I remember being told two things: 'I had some overripe bananas I didn't want to waste' and 'let it cool before you cut into it'.

At our house slices of banana bread end up on the table for breakfast or for dessert. Personally, my favorite way to eat it is spread with butter or cream cheese. When the boys were younger I sent it to school with them in their lunches or for a snack, and later, shipped it to them while they were away at college. It keeps well, freezes well, travels well and gets better with age. Definitely on my list of perfect foods.

Banana Bread -
from Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Edition (with directions edited a little by me.)

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas - about 4 medium
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of two loaf pans.
Beat sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, except nuts. Stir until just moistened. Stir in nuts.
Bake for about an hour or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes then remove from pans. Cool completely before slicing.
Wrap tightly. Keep at room temperature for four days or refrigerated for ten.

A few things:
**Toast walnuts for about 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven, Cool before chopping and using.
**I have been know to add chocolate chips.
**I use four smaller loaf pans instead of 2 larger ones. I find this size easier to store, slice and give away.
**If the top looks perfect but the inside isn't finished yet, lay a piece of foil over the tops and bake for a few more minutes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

So Much More.....

One of the most amazing things you can do as a parent is to watch your child accomplish a goal they've set for themselves. To offer help along the way. To sit back and watch and be supportive.

 Sometimes they surprise you.......When what you think they set out to do is actually so much more.

Have a wonderful weekend,


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Farmer's Market

We spent some time on Saturday at the Issaquah Farmer's Market. It was so lively and cheerful! I think customers and vendors alike were happy to be out and about; excited about a little sunshine and for all of the possibilities that will show up under the white tents within the next few weeks. I love the earthy color and feel of the vegetables, and how some of them were presented in beautiful bouquets just like the flowers.  And at this time of year it seemed that the bunches and tubs of blooms went on for ever.  I always have to stop and remember how much food we will actually be able to use and not to buy too much!

On a different note, a friend of mine posted this quote on facebook yesterday and I really liked it, so I will share it with you:

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hope that you have a wonderful week,

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