Saturday, March 23, 2019

It's time to shake up a little dust and clean off my pottery shelves before our home is overtaken by it, especially now that pollen season is officially here.  It's a task I actually look forward to if I'm not too busy otherwise. 

Pottery found its way into our home easily over the years, ever since my husband and I first visited one of my all-time favorite places to covet what is not mine, Mark of the Potter.  

Mark of the Potter is on the Soque River north of here in what used to be a mill for grinding wheat and corn.  The old wooden boards and river rocks that are still used for display look right at home alongside clay pots and soup bowls.  We bought our first set of mugs there on our first visit, and never looked back. 

Pottery 1

Pottery 2

I met a neighbor years ago when I was newly married whose kitchen shelves were lined with wonderful pottery bowls and mugs and plates, not store-bought dishes like I had. I was 20 years old and had never seen or even dreamed of such a thing.  She was a music major and was calm and poised even when her children misbehaved, which wasn't often.  "This must be what professors and writers are like," I thought, "and music majors."

What made it even more inspiring was that she said the pottery pieces were her mother's work.  Her mother was a potter!  

Oh my. . . "I hope someday I can have pottery too," I told myself.  

That was a long time ago, and yes I have pottery of my own--much pottery of my own, in fact. 

In 2003 our daughter opened a small potter's studio, first in our garage, then in her own home, and began lining the shelves and selling her work.  It was a dream I never imagined.  Most of what you see in these pictures is her work, and needless to say, our supply of earthenware grew by leaps and bounds.  

That's why when a mug or bowl comes out of the dishwasher, or gets dusty on the shelf, I don't mind cleaning it or putting it away.  The pleasant ritual seems new every time.  

My neighbor's three boys grew up to have positions of importance, one with the government, the other two in the corporate world.  As far as I know,  she did not follow in her mother's footsteps to become a potter--that legacy was left to me and my family.  I do suppose, however, that she still has her mother's pottery on open shelves in whatever kitchen she's in now, and enjoys a bowl of homemade soup from time to time, much like I do.  I hope so.

So if you come to visit us here at Rabbit Hill, we'll serve you vegetable soup in one of our best bowls, and we can talk about matters of importance like music and art.  I'll even get out my two favorite goblets, the speckled tan ones with the red rims. 

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"You can't have everything.  Where would you put it?"

Stephen Wright, comedian

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Pickled Eggs

* * * * *

Everyone get out your cans of beets, it's time to pickle eggs again!

Now, I know that some of you have been dragging your feet on trying these little purple guys, but it's time to throw caution to the wind and see what all the excitement is about, don't you think?  

That's better.

I made this year's first batch of pickled eggs a few days ago, put them in a glass jar and sat them on an upper shelf in the refrigerator so I could admire the show, as I do every year, usually around the first of spring.

My mother taught me as a child to enjoy the surprise of cutting into the outer white of a hardboiled egg, turned purple with beat juice, sugar, and vinegar; then uncover the bright yellow center.  Nice! The taste was always good too, better than perhaps the name implies.  Don't let the name scare you, in other words.  

About four years ago I was curious about where this recipe came from since I had never heard of anyone else who made it or who had even tasted it--ever  I found out it's an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe and not quite as obscure as I thought. 

As important as all that sounds, not everyone, I have to say, looks forward to my pickled eggs as much as I do.  In fact, it's more of an amusement to my family and even to my most loyal friends.  

Yes, it's that bad.

But that's OK--the better to eat them all, I say.  Tomorrow's breakfast?  Toast and pickled egg.  Maybe pickled egg and crackers with cheese dip for lunch.  

If I get lots of folks asking for the recipe, I'll post it here. watching.  You won't want to miss it.  

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Purple, yet happy.  

Alyssa, Age 8

from her poem "Purple"

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Fresh Bread

It's the last of March, and time is good for a new batch of fresh-baked bread.  I used to make the best bread you could find.  It was light, tender, golden, and made our home smell like an italian bakery.  

That was what it used to be like, and this picture is, alas, from the past.  

Something evil has happened to my bread, and nowadays it comes out of the oven flat and thick every time.  It's been...well, I've lost count of the years I've had failed bread. Six maybe? Seven?

I've been over every inch of every sorry crust to find the villian, none of it helpful.  Let me just say,  when I took today's batch out of the oven, and turned it out on the wire rack to cool, then looked at the four little rectangles, two inches tall, I heard a small voice say to me, "Tell me again why you're doing this?" 

I got this beautiful creature of a plant several days ago.  It's a maidenhair fern, and happens to be one of my favorite plants.  The leaves are light and, well, fern-like, and are lined along a narrow black stem--just beautiful.  

I found it dried up and gone one afternoon about four days after I bought it.  No note, no explanation, just gone.  I still look at it every time I go out the backdoor in a pitiful show of hope for life somewhere in it.  

Some days you just can't shake the little monkeys on your back.  It's almost April--shouldn't things be greening up and full of sunshine?  Yes, they should.  Yes. 

Maidenhair Fern

But life is full of lumps through and through, and I'm not in charge of as much as I might like.  So I do the next good thing.  One day I'll make real bread again.  I'll find another maidenhair fern too, thank you very much, that is happy here in our fair home.  A fair fern in a maiden home, along with rounded loaves of bread cooling in the breezes of April.  

There now.  No more monkeyshines. 

See you over the fence in April,

The Head Rabbit

Go hear to read the latest good news in April.