söndag 30 november 2008

It's easier to quote poets than to read them.
0000000000 Allison Barrows

This morning I had one more quotation to check for my calendar — it was by Cowper and I was quite sure that it wasn't correct quoted. I thought it would take me at the most fifteen minutes. How wrong I was! I started with our own bookcases — I found that we have quite a few poems by Cowper, but not "The Winter Evening" which I was looking for. Next source to try was Internet — there are more links than anybody can read in a lifetime about William Cowper so it took a while before I found a site with his poems. Just click on the title and the poem pops up — all poems but the one I wanted. The site was faulty. Finally I found another link that took me to the poem. All those guys who wrote poetry in the mid and late sixteenth century seemed to have been extremely eloquent — I think the poem was ten pages long so it took some more time before I found what I was looking for.
As always when I look up things — whether on-line or in books — I get sidetracked. Today I found Arthur's Classic Novels, an excellent place to find e-books.

Then I had to find out who Beilby Porteus was. I found this quotation by him

One murder made a villain,
Millions, a hero.
and felt I wanted to know the man behind the words.

Just when I was about to finish my research I saw the name Isaac Bickerstaffe. Before yesterday it wouldn't had caught my interest — but I started to read Mary Ann Shaffer's "The Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" yesterday and had to find out more about him, or actually them.

The planned fifteen minutes research has taken most of the day. I still have some letters to write — one of them will take some time as I'm stuck in the middle of a sentence I need to translate — I simply can't make it into good English....

Today's window

Morning Solitude, painting by Piet Bekaert, 1939-2000

I still have window pictures that I'd like to show but I have decided to take a break from windows so this will be the last window in a while.
Every year I make an Advent calendar for my friends — or rather a daily mail during Advent. Some years ago I made one with books as a theme — I thought I'd share it with you on my blog this year.
Books are so much more than the pleasure of reading — books are beautiful, books beautify your home, books give you security and many memories. Not only memories of what you have read but also of a friend who has given you a certain book — or recommend it — or the memory of when and where I read a book for the first time — memories of discussing books and in a few cases the memory of an author.
I have chosen a text from a book for every day — I won't motivate my choice — and some days the text is very long.
There are Scandinavian authors I would like to share with you, but not many of them are translated into English and since I neither have the energy nor the skill to translate them, most of the texts are from books originally written in English.Some of you have asked what lucka (plural luckor) means — in this case it means shutter, the windows on an Advent calendar. So in a way I'll continue the daily windows.

You asked me where I generally lived. In my
workshop in the morning and always in the
library in the evening. Books are companions
even if you don’t open them.
000000000000000000 Disraeli, August 1878

lördag 29 november 2008

Today's windows

Sunshine, painting by Lady Laura Teresa Alma-Tadema, 1852-1909

fredag 28 november 2008

Kinesisk kaka

From "The Goody-Naughty Book" by Sarah Cory Rippey

Barbara asked if I had the recipe for the cake in the header. I haven't made this cake in the last years and don't even remember if I liked it or not. The recipe is my own and has nothing to do with China — but it needed a name and since we used the Chinese china the first time I made it, it got that name.


¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
75 g shortening

Reserve ¼ cup of crumbs.
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp anise
¼ tsp nutmeg
to remaining crumbs.

½ cup buttermilk
1 egg
and mix until blended.
Spoon the batter into a greased a 9-inch square pan.

Mix the reserved crumbs with
1/3 cup cashew nuts
and sprinkle on top of cake.
Bake for 30 minutes at 190˚C (375˚F

You find a conversion calendar here.

Today's window

Waiting By The Window, painting by Carl Vilhelm Holsoe, 1863-1935

torsdag 27 november 2008

Today's window

At the Window, painting by William Merritt Chase, 1849-1916

onsdag 26 november 2008


illustration by Marguerite Davis
"Let's go down then, if we agree," said the old man, and followed close behind her. Going up to the fireplace, he pushed the big kettle aside and reached for a smaller one that was suspended on a chain. Then sitting down on a three-legged stool, he kindled a bright fire. When the kettle was boiling, the old man put a large piece of cheese on a long iron fork, and held it over the fire, turning it to and fro, till it was golden-brown on all sides.
From "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri

It has been such a gray and dull day that we decided to cheer us up by having raclette for dinner. We can't get the right kind of cheese in our small town but I have found that it freezes well. Every time I go to town I buy some, slice and freeze it.

Today's window

At The Window, painting by Conrad Kiesel, (1846-1921)

tisdag 25 november 2008

Today's window

The Window Blind, painting by Joseph Rodefer de Camp, 1858-1923

måndag 24 november 2008

Amusing translation

After some head-banging and foul language I've got help from a fellow blogger to add the translation gadget to my blogs. So if you want to see what I've written in my Swedish blogs you can get a so-called translation. Unfortunately it is very hard to understand the new text.

Today's window

Painting by Solveig Rudström

söndag 23 november 2008

Soup weather

Of soup and love, the first is best.
0000000 Spanish Proverb
I've tried several different recipes for lentil soup but I always return to my old recipe from one of Frances Moore Lappé's cookbooks. Simple and tasty - what more can you ask for.
I think "Diet for a Small Planet" was published in 1971, at that time you were rather obsessed with proteins and the first half of the book deals with how to combine food to get all protein you need. But there are some good recipes and I have a few that I use quite often.

My darling who doesn't enjoy soup is not so happy with the winter weather. He has started to use the indoor facilities and complains a lot about the cold weather. Watching birds from the window seat is not as much fun as hunting so after a while he goes back to sleep.

Today's window

Interior, painting by Gustave Caillebotte, 1848-1894

lördag 22 november 2008

Sitting by the fire

Skymningsglöden, painting by Björn Ahlgrensson

Firelight will not let you read fine stories but it's warm and you won't see the dust on the floor.
0000000000000000000000 Irish Proverb

Today's window

Window Washer by Norman Rockwell, 1894-1978

fredag 21 november 2008

Today's window

The Goldfish Bowl, painting by Wilfred de Glehn, 1870-1951

torsdag 20 november 2008

A sunny day

The Bullfinch

I saw upon a winter's day
A bullfinch on a hedgerow spray;
He piped one note.
And since the countryside was mute,
As pure as rain I heard the flute
Of that small throat.

He picked a rotting willow-seed;
He whistled, in his joy to feed,
A whole sweet stave.
His sloe-black head, how shining sleek,
How strong his blunted sooty beak,
His eyes, how brave.

Then boldly down he came to drink
Out of a roadside puddle's brink,
Sp coral-breasted, sturdy, merry,
That I forgave him plum and cherry
Nipped in the bud.

00000000000000by Betty Hughes

I can't find any information about Betty Hughes — anybody knows how she was (is)?
The beautiful bullfinches are coming out of the woods to get fed but it is hard to get close enough to get a decent photo of them.

I spent a good part of this gorgeous day outside, while waiting for a guy to come and pick up my rotary cultivator and snow blower I looked for a Christmas tree — and found one. So the day before Christmas Eve I'll go out to get it.
Both the snow blower and the cultivator are too heavy for me to handle instead I will get a smaller snow blower so I can clear a path from the door to the garage. We have a "snowman" who plows our driveway so I don't have to think of that.

It looks as a moose has got into the raspberry hedges. I found two of the 2 m high poles on the ground and the wires are tangled. I hope the poor animal didn't get hurt. I need to repair it and afterwards I better hang something on the wires — which won't show when it is dark but I think the moose usually move in the wee hours when they hopefully will notice things hanging from the wires.

It was lovely to spend time outside even if it meant that nothing got done inside. And the copper cauldron is full with wood now.

Today's window

Window Shopping, painting by Everett Shinn, 1876-1953

onsdag 19 november 2008

Today's window

A Girl at a Window, painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606-1669

tisdag 18 november 2008


It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.
0000000000000 Maxim 469
00000000000Publicus Syrus
000000000000(first century B.C.)

If that is true all my plans are excellent — things seldom turns out as I meant them to. Yesterday I started the day full of good intentions; I should pay my bills, write some letters that I'd put off far too long, work on the Advent calendar and hopefully answers mails.
A friend called early in the day — she was about to order tea and wanted my opinion. Such an important subject as tea can't be dismissed too glibly.

After dinner (remember, I live in a rural area where dinner is an early affair) I ended up listening to the radio. There are so many interesting programs; unfortunately it is impossible to do any important writing or reading at the same time as you listen.

When the sandmand urged me to head upstairs to join him I hadn't done a fraction of all I had planned. This means I have no problem to fill my day today.

Today's window

Villa Akleja, painting by Johan Axel Gustav Andersson (JAG Acke), 1859-1924

Today's window

Balcony in Venice, Refections of Frari Church, by Bruno Zupan, b. 1939

måndag 17 november 2008

Today's window

Sainte Marie Madeleine, 1676, by Gauchelet

söndag 16 november 2008


Poetry is the achievement of the
synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
0000000000000000Carl Sandburg

My friends brought this hyacinth last Friday — tonight I took this picture of it but not until afterwards did I think of how well this quotation goes with the photo. There are no biscuits in the picture but the book is Dana Rigg's "So to the Land — An Anthology of Countryside Poetry".

This was what I was looking for:

He has hanged himself — the Sun.
He dangles
A scarecrow in thin air.

He is dead for love — the Sun
He who in forest tangles
Wooed all things fair.

That great lover — the Sun
Now spangles
The wood with blood-stains.

He has hanged himself — the Sun.
How thin he dangles
In these gray rains!

00000000F. W. Harvey, 1888-1957

Today's window

Amour d'enfance, painting by Claude Lazar

lördag 15 november 2008

Today's window

A Lady Watering a Plant by a Window, painting by Alfred Broge (1870-1955)

fredag 14 november 2008

An uneventful day in my life

Woke to another gray-fuzzy day. I had to go to the pharmacy after breakfast as I forgot that last time I went shopping. Last night when I reached for a bag of fluids to start the IV I realized that the box was empty. I try to shop once a week or not even that often — but as I had no choice today I decided to do some grocery shopping besides going to the pharmacy, hoping that I don't have to go again until the end of next week.

Shopping (any kind of shopping) is not on my list of favorite things to do — but I chuckled when I saw this turnip-rump. Something for the vegetarian's Christmas party?
Back home we spent a long time at the kitchen table having tea and "smörgås" (open sandwiches) by candlelight, talking about shoes and ships.

I finished the 50 Christmas cards that have to be sent abroad — and decided that the Swedish ones can wait another week. Then I spent at least an hour looking for a blog I'd like to return to — but couldn't find it so I gave up and tried to decide which draft for color & weave I like the best. I have signed up for a color & weave swap in a weaving group I belong to.

I meant to look for a recipe where I can use the cream that soon will be to old for anything but the sink. Any suggestions?

It is already evening and all the things I meant to do but never got to, have to wait until another day. I'll finish my book and listen to music (Johann Melchior Molter for the moment) until it is time to go to bed.

Today's window

The morning room, 1916, by Patrick William Adam, 1854-1929

torsdag 13 november 2008

Today's window

I fönstret (At the Window) painting by Åke Göransson, 1902-1942

onsdag 12 november 2008

I’m grateful for a simple life

Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke.
Born about 1555. Died 1621. Buried at Salisbury Cathedral.
Painted probably by Marc Gheeraedts.

Aren't you happy we don't have to dress like this every morning? I do feel sloppy when I look at her — but not sloppy enough to do something about it.
The picture comes from "Chats on Old Lace and Needlework" by Emily Leigh Lowes (First Impression 1908).

Original patterns designed by vinciola.
I enjoy lacemaking — but I'm the kind of boring person who can't see the point of making things I have no use for so lace are not on top of my list for things I want to make. But it it is nice to look at the pictures when you too tired to read or do anything that requires that you use your brain.

Today's window

Morning Glories, 1873, by Winslow Homer, 1836-1910

tisdag 11 november 2008

A vacation of sorts

Illustration by Ingrid Vang Nyman
Pippi Långstrump (Longstocking) found it highly unfair that she didn't have school holidays like Tommy and Annika so she decided to start school to get time off at Easter, Christmas and summer.
I don't do much so I don't think I deserve vacation — but even when you don't deserve things you might need it. So I have decided to take a few days off from some of the musts and only do what I want to do. I will continue to neglect my friends for some days and not answer all the e-mails that give me a bad conscience.Soon enough it will be necessary to finish the Christmas cards and my Advent calendar. But for the moment I will read "The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern" by Lilian Jackson Brown and heat leftovers for dinner.

Today's window

Study for the Dining Room, circa 1886, by Paul Signac, 1863-1935

måndag 10 november 2008

Today's window

Morgengruß by Carl Ludwig Becker

söndag 9 november 2008

If Only

If Only ——

If only dinner cooked itself,
And groceries grew upon the shelf;
If children did as they were told,
And never had a cough or cold;
And washed their hands, and wiped their
And never tore their Sunday suits,
But always tidied up the floor,
Nor once forgot to shut the door.
If John remembered not to throw
His papers on the ground. And oh!
If he would put his pipes away,
And shake the ashes on the tray
Instead of on the floor close by;
And always spread his towel to dry,
And hung his hat upon the peg,
And never had bones in his leg.
Then, there's another thing. If Jane
Would put the matches back again
Just where she found them, it would be
A save of time to her and me.
And if she never did forget
To put the dustbin out; nor yet
Contrive to gossip with the baker,
Nor need ten thunderbolts to wake her.
Ahem! If wishes all came true,
I don't know what I'd find to do,
Because if no one made a mess
There'd be no need of cleanliness.
And things might work so blissfully,
In time — who knows? — they'd not need
And this being so, I fancy whether
I'll go on keeping things together.
000000000Fay Inchfawn
(The Verse-Book Of A Homely Woman)

Saturday with Gutenberg

"Of what is she dreaming?
Of long nights lit with orange lanterns,
Of wine-cups and compliments and kisses of the two-sword men."
"Japanese Prints" by John Gould Fletcher is a thin book — if an e-book can be thin — it has only 96 pages and a short preface. But this is a book to read slowly to take pleasure in one picture and one verse at a time.
Little Will Shakespeare was going homeward through the dusk from Gammer Gurton's fireside. He had no timorous fears, not he. He would walk proudly and deliberately as becomes a man. Men are not afraid. Yet Gammer had told of strange happenings at her home. A magpie had flown screaming over the roof, the butter would not come in the churn, an' a strange cat had slipped out afore the maid at daybreak—a cat without a tail, Gammer said—

Little Will quickened his pace.

Dusk falls early these December days, and Willy Shakespeare scurrying along the street is only five, and although men are not afraid yet——

I have no idea of who George Madden Martin (1866-1936) was — but I this book from 1916 about Willy Shakespeare seem to be fiction written for children.
I'm a tad doubtful about the good with this kind of books, as I know from my own experience that children tend to believe that stories like this tells the absolute truth.
"'An' I shall be a player, too' ... says Willy Shakespeare"

"The dog saw me off."

Edith Nesbit being one of may favorite authors — and loving cats and dogs I simply had to download "Pussy and Doggie Tales" by E. Nesbit from 1899.

Another favorite author is Hilaire Belloc so among my Saturday finds are three of his books.
Bad Child's Book of Beasts", "More Beasts (For Worse Children)" and "More Peers Verses". I have seen them all before but not with these illustrations by Ian Basil Gawaine Temple, Lord. Blackwood.

The Vulture

The Vulture eats between his meals,
And that's the reason why

He very, very rarely feels
As well as you and I.

His eye is dull,
his head is bald,
His neck is growing thinner.
Oh! what a lesson for us all
To only eat at dinner!


I read all of Sarah Chauncey Woolsey's (Susan Coolidge) Katy-books as a child but nothing else by her. Yesterday I found "A Little Country Girl" which I intend to start with this afternoon.
The books are:
"Japanese Prints" by John Gould Fletcher
"A Warwickshire Lad, The Story of the Boyhood of William Shakespeare" by George Madden Martin (1866-1936)
"Pussy and Doggie Tales"by Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)
"Bad Child's Book of Beasts", "More Beasts (For Worse Children)", "More Peers Verses " by Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)
"A Little Country Girls" by Susan Coolidge (1835-1905