The power of more voices

Our chorus has had a sudden addition of altos, sopranos, tenors, and at least one extra bass. And so, even though we’re struggling with learning the Spring concert music… there is more sound.

But there are also more interpretations of what a dotted eighth rest is when a piece is marked in 6/8 time. Eventually it will all lock into place, but for now there’s a bit of untamed sounds hooting in places that should be silent as we learn the new stuff (including a version of Shenandoah that is lovely, but with very challenging discordant bits [Link to Mormon Tabernacle Choir of one arrangement, and to another by University of Richmond from 1971]). I’ve put both links up to the different versions of the song, because they’re both lovely.

Knitting: Teenie preemie baby beanie

tpbbUsing the last of the Flusi das Socken Monster yarn, I created a little baby beanie. Rav Link here. This was a satisfying and short project, with yarn-overs to give a lacy pattern. The picture closest to color is here, but I think I’ll have to wait until a sunny day and a better camera to take this picture with the help of Mrs. Bannister.

The pattern is out of my own imagination, with the yarn-overs chosen in clusters of 3 (one yarn over on a row being joined by 2 yarn overs above it, to make a sort of trefoil).

Reading: Martins from Mary Priestley’s Book of Birds

… walked round the place, and up and down the towpath, along which spread a faint mist from the river, and still saw nothing of my birds. Then from the barn came a single swallow, and flew steeply up into the sky. I followed its flight with my eyes, and suddenly saw why I had failed to find the martins. They were all up there in the blue, circling round in company with some barn-swallows and chimney-swifts, from which I could just distinguish them at the height they were flying. The sun had not yet risen where I stood on the solid earth; but he already reached the birds high above my head. And as the earth spun and the sun’s rays approached its surface, the birds sank with them, twittering all the time….” — Reprinted in Book of Birds  — extract from Bird-Watching and Bird Behavior by Julian Huxley.

This reminds me of the summer cottage in Lake Webster. We used to watch the purple martins swirl around their martin house, out near the dock, coming back in the evenings. As we get ready for some more winter weather, it’s lovely to think of summers of the past.

The hellebores of Cylburn Arboretum are blooming

Lovely things…

Hellebores in the small garden, underneath evergreens

Hellebores in the small garden, underneath evergreens

Yes, the day was a little bit chilly and windy. But we got out of the house, got to sniff the blooming witch hazel, and searched for crocuses and snowdrops in the grass. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, I hope winter is easing a bit for you, and you get to see some of the excitement of spring soon.

Knitting: Miami vice socks

Crockett and Tubbs’ wardrobe (from the 80’s show, not from the remake/movie), have nothing on these….

miamivice

I knit up a small pair of Adult Socks by Deirdre Wallace using Regia Flusi das Socken Monster yarn (1800 zottel), and dubbed the pair “Miami Vice sunrise“. These will go in for a soak, then once they’re dry, they get stored in the gifting drawer for later on in the year. It’s taken me a little under 6 months to knit these, mostly because certain holidays (that I thought would be the deadline) and then family moving, and other family events got in the way. Interestingly enough, these socks are the right width in front for me, but too long, with a somewhat different heel from the one I normally do, even though they’re “small”. The recipient has slightly larger hands, so I’m guessing… and if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. When I named them, I almost called them “Tequilla sunrise”.

Reading: Owls in winter — from Mary Priestley’s A Book of Birds

While cold and sharp and shining sheer Orion’s dagger pricks my ear, Under an old fir’s grizzled cowl,

Big with his drowsy wide surprise

Wakens the hunched and pawky owl

And blinks his big moon-marvellous eyes…

Excerpt from the lovely poem “Too-Hoo” by James Mackereth. A Book of Birds is filled with notes about bird behavior, snippets of poems, extracts from people’s diaries, and lovely wood engravings by C.F. Tunnicliffe. Some of the diary entries quoted, about hunting, or eating pickled auks, aren’t my cup of tea. But the poetry is charming, the illustrations are lovely, and my copy has a little penciled note for my Uncle from his little sister “A very happy birthday — lots of love…” The perfect thing to read while anticipating spring, especially now that the robins have come back to the backyard, and we can hear small birds in the bramble bushes.

The importance of pie crust

I’m not sure if it was Erma Bombeck or the 1965 version of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook or my mom* who taught me this, but:

If you make enough dough for a double crust pie, and you only use one of the crusts for your custard pie, flatten the rest into a disk and freeze it for later.

Tasty, quick quiche

Tasty, quick quiche

Today, the pie dough I froze in November was used to make a quiche. Our neighborhood has been hit by more drenching ice, sleet, and freezing rain, so there was no hope of catching a quick dinner at a local restaurant. Luckily we had enough eggs, milk, asparagus, mushrooms and cheddar. Along with a loaf of bread bought during the buy one, get one half off sale on Sunday after the last storm.

To everyone on the east coast: hang tight. I’ve heard a rumor that Spring is around the corner.

*It probably was Mom. She was a dietitian with a streak of practicality. Wrap the pastry well, in a double wrap of plastic wrap or wax paper, and put it in a plastic freezer bag.


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