Saturday, February 21, 2015

Good things

It was a long week. I wasn't feeling well, we had lots of schoolwork to do, everyone seemed a little cranky and out of sorts. I think it's the time of year; spring break is still over a month away but it feels like it should be sooner because the weather here has mostly been warm - a lot warmer than average. It's nice. But it's weird and frustrating too, like we skipped a season. I think that's what's bothering me most about this warm spell - the disorientation it has created. I found good things in the week, even though it wasn't an easy one. I'm getting better at finding those silver linings, I tell you what. My days are full and I fall into bed at night, used up but mostly happily so.


The Bear and I went to a bakery on Private Friday and were stunned to see these there. Do you know what they are? They're called kouign amann, and they are a type of pastry which originated in the Brittany region of France. We had never heard of this pastry until two weeks ago, when it was made by the contestants on The Great British Baking Show. The owners of the bakery are also fans of the show, it turns out, and they decided to make some of their own. I thought it was a delicious pastry - very buttery and only lightly sweet. We were intrigued watching the show and it was a very pleasant surprise to have the chance to try such an exotic treat for ourselves. Go try them at Swiss Alps Bakery, if you're local.


I've been admiring my Valentine's Day gift from the Bear, a set of Clover steel crochet hooks in the smallest sizes. I was planning to buy a single hook for my potholder-making, and he suggested a set. Hey, you don't have to twist my arm. I haven't tried them yet but they look pretty in my hook roll. The new hooks have caps for the ends. They're sharp! I've been using my bigger Clover hooks since November, when he gave them to me for my birthday and I'm a total convert. He appreciates good tools and he thinks I should have them too. My sweetheart!



I bought purple tulips this week when I shopped for groceries. The prices are coming down so I've been treating myself more often. I'm usually drawn to the bright pinks, reds and oranges but these cool purple ones called out to me. Do you move your flowers around the house? I get urges to see them in different places and might move them once a day. First, the living room, then the buffet in the dining room, then the kitchen table, maybe after that my dresser top. I just like to see them in a new place. They look good anywhere, and different too.


Not to be outdone, the tulips in the backyard beds are all emerging now. I've planted about 40 new ones since last year, including a Darwin hybrid mix. I can't wait to see what they look like. I'm hoping for better ones than last year's mixture provided, many of which were stumpy with weird, pulpy flowers. I'm hoping for a more classic look from this batch. I'm happy to report that my potted tulip bulbs are beginning to sprout too! It's looking good so far.


These girlies are back to laying an egg apiece almost every day. They're funny and sweet and I adore them.


And these two - well. I love them to pieces. I'm really enjoying this middle-childhood phase of life, it's my favorite so far. They're independent, playful, imaginative, active and fun!


I ordered some wildflower seeds selected for desert xeriscape gardening. I desperately want more flowers to cut for bouquets in the summer. I feel optimistic about these because the Bear tells me that they use a similar mixture on the grounds of his workplace. He says they're LUSH down there, so I have everything crossed for these. I ordered them from an Etsy shop, EarthCare Seeds. They were very affordable, shipped quickly and the seller included free heirloom kale seeds too! I've never grown greens but we'll give it a try.


These gorgeous sunny days have led to spectacular sunsets. I took this photo looking over the back wall and westward down the arroyo. Those clouds tell the truth - that's a winter sky. Warm though the afternoons may be, when night falls it still looks like winter. March is usually rougher than February; there are still storms on the horizon. I'm not done with winter yet - there are still afghan evenings ahead, baking afternoons, stews and soups, mornings of crochet and stitching in the sunny living room chair, nights spent reading beside the Bear in companionable silence.

31 comments:

  1. hope you're feeling much better soon, looking foward to seeing your wildflowers bloom, they sound lovely x

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  2. Looks like a good week. I'm glad you're feeling better and that you have such good stuff going on!

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  3. Sorry to hear that you haven't been feeling yourself, I have wondered where you were and missed you. I hope you will feel better this week. I hope that your wildflower seeds do well, it will be lovely for you to have flowers to pick! xx

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  4. I think that's a batch of very good things, apart from not feeling well, glad you're feeling better now. I love The Great British Bake Off, we've got the Comic Relief version on at the moment with celebrities attempting the bakes and it's very funny. I like your set of crochet hooks, I think your husband is very wise about having good tools, such a lovely gift.

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  5. I'm not sure what I'm drooling most over: your new hooks or the pastries!
    Living in Southern California, I totally understand feeling as though we've skipped a season and the disorientation it's causing. I have Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder (like Winter Blues, but in summertime), so this weather is wearing on me. I hope we both have a least a few more wintry evenings in the near future! :)

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  6. SO excited to see your seed assortment bloom Jennifer!! That is exciting!!! And YES I move flowers around all of the time!!! I'm starting to really look forward to the days ahead where the beans are a bit more independent....your 2 up there so adorable on their bikes!!! And that set of crochet hooks you received are so beautiful! Wishing you a lovely weekend and a fresh and creative new week next week! Can you believe March is knocking!?!? Happy day you! Nicole xo

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  7. Hope you're feeling better, those bugs are a pain this time of year! Beautiful photos, full of the hope of springtime! Looking forward to the flowers! Katie

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  8. A lovely, calm, pleasant post, my friend. I'm glad you're feeling better. You are so lucky that your chickens can run in your backyard safely. I wish ours could, but we've lost too many to predators, even in the middle of the day with people around! Your kids are adorable and I'm glad you appreciate them, so many people complain about their kids, it's sad. Enjoy the weekend!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  9. Hope you're feeling better soon. Thanks for sharing your happy moments through the week. It's been half term here - so a bit of battery re-charging, not setting the alarm and pottering around at home, but Matt has been revising so it's not been all rest! x

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  10. I'm not quite done with winter yet either. I really struggled to let it go last year, it's such a cosy, homely time. Everyone is tucked up safely together, I love it. I hope you're feeling better now, and that next week is a good one. CJ xx

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  11. Sorry you've been unwell, Jennifer. I hope you're feeling much better really soon. Beautiful photos! :o)

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  12. What a fantastic Valentine's gift - I have a few clover hooks and love them so much. Hope you're feeling better soon. x

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  13. Such a lovely thoughtful Valentines present - many happy hours of crochet to come !
    Have a good week,
    Kate xx

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  14. Many years ago we actually got to eat some of those lovely pastries on a cliff top in Brittany. It happened to be my husbands birthday and this 'set the gold standard' for birthday treats for many years to come! I hope that you soon feel properly better. Jx

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  15. What lovely colour tulips. I love having flowers indoors but I don't often treat myself. I was spoiled yesterday, I got to take one of the table centre pieces home from the wedding we attended, they look and smell amazing! I too feel as though we have only been teased with winter here in the South of England. Only a couple of light snow showers including one this morning but nothing much to lay :( Enjoy your weekend. Sharon x

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  16. That pastry looks delicious. I had never heard of it, so Googled it. There's a recipe for them on The Kitchn website - one of my favorite cooking sites - but it sounds quite complicated! Here's the link to the recipe if you're interested: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-kouign-amann-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-190760

    Love your purple tulips...one of my favorite colors and very unique for a tulip. Your sunset photo is gorgeous...looks like a painting. Hope you have a better week...here in northern IL, we're still battling the frigid cold, though today actually got up to 31 degrees which felt like a heat wave! Hubby was off work today (he works most weekends) and we were out and about a good portion of the day. Felt so good to be out since we're all "suffering" with terrible cabin fever here.

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  17. Another warm-hearted post which soothes the soul, Jennifer! I like the British Bake-off, and their Great Sewing Bee too, and those pastries look Very Delicious indeed. The purple tulips are beautiful, and so are your pretty crotchet hooks: I have never seen them with coloured handles like that, gorgeous. Always a treat to see you pretty chickens too. Thank you for posting.

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  18. I enjoyed reading your post. I hope you're feeling better. I think we all have those cranky weeks. I know if I wake up to grey skies and drizzle it makes me cranky but if there's sunshine I'll be singing round the house! Roll on Spring! X

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  19. Sorry to hear you have you have not been well, hope you are feeling more yourself now. Those pasties look lovely I bet you will back for more.............this is a post filled with such loveliness, thank you for sharing.

    I am ready for winter to be over but know that Spring is still a way off yet, it is snowing here today!

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  20. Even if you felt a little disoriented it sounds like you had a wonderful week. I love purple tulips, well I love any tulips. Hugs to you and have a wonderful Sunday.
    Meredith

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  21. I do love kouign amann and I could really do with a mouthful just now. I hope you feel better now after the weekend. Some weeks are more difficult than others and I always remind myself that the next one is surely going to be better. I do have crochet hook envy! Have a great week. x

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  22. I hope you get some more winter. Usually, by March, we're desperate for spring but it's still cool into April or May. I'm enjoying the lighter evenings though. I'm glad your tulips are sprouting - I really hope you get a good crop this year. x

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  23. Lovely lovely photos Jennifer, I always feel as if I'm really there :)
    Jillxo

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  24. Hope you're feeling better Jennifer, your week sounds and looks lovely, I love tulips too but they are quite expensive here at the moment. Your hubby has the right idea buying you crochet hooks for Valentines what a great gift. Have a lovely week. :) xx

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  25. Those tulips are gorgeous. I've seen a few tips of my tulips popping through in the garden but they''re not as afar along as the daffodils. Hope you're feeling on top form again. xxx

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  26. You have a fantastic hubby - that he bought you crochet hooks for valentine, well, that seems just superromantic to me ! Flowers, parfume, chocolate, all nice gifts but so obvious... But crochet hooks ? Now if that doesn't show that your husband really knows and loves you !

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  27. feeling envious of the warm days you are having.. we have broken the record 27 days in a row of having it being colder than average... we have had the coldest February in decades.
    that is lovely present.. sweet.
    all those plants sprouting up around you I am so ready for spring.

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  28. Wow - I love those crochet hooks!! Genuine brownie points! I know what you mean about the weather - it all seems a little out of kilter. I hadn't heard of those pastries before watching the bake off either! How wonderful that your local baker is inspired to make them!! I hope you continue to feel better too and that those seeds work wonders in your flower garden this year. Can't wait to see the results in the summer! Take care, J9 x

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  29. Seeing your tulips popping up, and looking at mine doing the same - we planted over 100 last autumn - I feel a connection across oceans ... we will both soon be enjoying the spring flowers in our gardens. And here's hoping your seeds are a resounding success too :)

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  30. Lots of good things there, Jennifer. I agree with your husband on the necessity of good tools and share your love of hens and tulips. :)

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  31. I hope your planting produces many gorgeous flowers, Jennifer! Our daffodils are blooming and today I noticed our forsythia bush is becoming golden yellow...which is disorienting in what is supposed to be the middle of our winter, but I am trying to enjoy the blossoms as they appear. It is raining as I type and mountain snow is in the forecast which is reassuring. Your purple tulips and new crochet hooks and loving Bear are precious. Thanks for posting. :-) xx

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