Sunday, 1 June 2008

Sunday Morning This and That and Salad Days . . .

"The Best is never over,
The best has never gone,
There's always something lovely
to keep you struggling on;
There's always compensation
For every cross you bear,
A secret consolation
Hidden well somewhere.
Ends are new beginnings
As one day you will see;
The best is never over,
The best is yet to be."
~author unknown

I found this lovely little poem yesterday and thought it was too lovely not to share. How very true it is. If you look hard enough there's always something wonderful, some small blessing to take from every day . . . a tiny gem, a treasure, no matter how horrible you may think your day has been, or how much it has rained . . . for after the rain comes the sunshine and, if we're lucky, a rainbow as well.

We were standing upstairs last night looking out over the orchard, and in a little corner of the garden we counted, not one or two baby rabbits . . . but four sitting in the garden quietly eating leaves that have fallen off the trees in the past few days rain. One was over by the hedge, and he was standing up on his tippie toes to reach the tender shoots of the honey suckle that grows and winds it's way through the hedgerow's thick leaves. It put me in mind of Peter and Flopsie and Mopsie. They were so cute to watch, as they slowly hopped here and there in the early evening sunshine. It helped me to get over the minor annoyance I had felt earlier when I had discovered that something had eaten all the leaves from half of our alysum plants . . .

I just happened to look out yesterday afternoon and I saw a Jack Daw sitting on the wall. They have always fascinated me. I know that crows and the like are not the most desireable birds to encourage, but all of nature serves a purpose in a variety of ways. These birds are so very intelligent and can be easily tamed. When I was a girl, there was a lad in the neighborhood who had two tamed crows, and they used to come and visit my mom every day for a treat of bread and peanut butter. They once chased me down the street as I was riding my bicycle, terrifying the wits out of me as they swooped down on me, over and over again . . . naughty things! I am quite sure they knew exactly what they were doing and had a great laugh over it, and my hysteria, in a very "crow like" fashion!

It was such a beautiful day yesterday. You just cannot beat England on a sunny day. After all the rain we'd had the week before, it was wonderful to get out and about and do some work in the garden. Todd busied himself with tying the roses that grow by the back doorway up, as they were hanging down and resting on the roof of our car. It was lovely though, being able to stand beneath them and look up at the sky through all the lovely blossoms hanging down, a beautiful sea of red and white . . . yes, there are white ones as well . . .

He also got all the corn which we had planted in buckets thinned out. He had planted about 5 seeds in each bucket, and it was becoming quite clear that we can only really have one or two in each. They are getting quite tall now, and are up about a good five or six inches. I am really hoping that, come August, I will be able to enjoy a lovely feast of delicious sweet North American Corn on the Cob with butter. They do have corn over here, but it's not sweet like the corn we have back home, and I have really missed it. My friend Linda so very generously posted me the seeds last winter. It will be interesting to see if this corn tastes the same as it did back home, or if it tastes different due to the difference in soil and climate over here in England. Hopefully it will be an experiment with a most delicious result!

Jess enjoyed the sunny day as well. She is a funny dog. She really only likes to be outside if we are with her, although, just of late, I have noticed that, if we have a sunny warm day, she will take herself out to the drive and lays there basking in the sunshine . . . always noting that the doorway to the cottage is within her sight. She is not one to wander far . . .

I, myself, spent a few hours doing some art work that I have been commissioned to do. I really am enjoying having re-discovered my artist's skills and painting again. I had not done any for a number of years, and hadn't realized just how much I was missing it. I am not sure that I am really any good at it, but I do enjoy it, and that's what counts! I often find myself wondering that might have been had I gone to art school like I had desired to upon finishing my high school education . . . it's never too late to find out I guess. After all, Agatha Christie never started to write her novels until she was in her fifties, and they do say life begins at fifty!

It was such a nice day, I decided to make a lovely salad for our lunch that we enjoyed outside at the picnic table under our big green garden umbrella. I like the warmer days when we can linger in the garden with each other over a tasty salad, our only music the birdsong in the bushes and the busy hum of the bumble bees as they peruse the lavender that grows beneath our kitchen window . . .

*Ham, Cheese and Nectarine Salad*
Serves 4

I like to buy a thick slice of ham from the deli counter to use in this delicious salad. Ham, fruit and cheese . . . that's a mighty tasty combination!

1 romaine lettuce (cos), trimmed and torn
1 cazrton of salad cress, trimmed
2 nectarines, stones removed and cut into thin wedges
4 ounces of edam cheese, rind removed and cut into sticks
4 ounces of thick sliced ham, cut into sticks
3 TBS olive oil
1 TBS white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 TBS good quality mayonnaise
1 tsp clear honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss the lettuce, cress, nectarines and ham together in a large salad bowl.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and season them to taste with some salt and black pepper.

Toss the salad with some of the dressing just before serving. Divide amongst four plates and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.


  1. I can't wait to try this salad. It looks wonderful. Do you take the beautiful pictures on your post? They always are so pretty.

    Have a good day tomorrow.(Sunday). Our Mindy and her family and the missionaries are coming for dinner. (On fast Sunday anything tastes great.) Now that I've found your blog I will always have something good to fix.

    We are having lovely weather also. I plan to have us eat out in the patio. I'd better get to bed... Church is early and I still have things to do for Young womens. Take Care

  2. How lovely that you got to enjoy he sun yesterday. I did too, it was the perfect day to go to the races in York, but today it's raining cats and dogs here up North again.

  3. I love the picture! That's so cute. I don't know how you deal with so much rain. I'd go crazy. If it rains for a week here I fall into a depression. I need lots of sunshine!

    Oohh, I got a new song for you. Look at the lyrics. I think you'll adore it. "Pocket full of sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield.

  4. We have been having some very nice sunshine here too. Lovely post as always, Marie! Are you going to put that picture, the one of the little girl and the moon on Etsy?? I love it and would like a print of it. Wonderful salad, too!

    XO Raquel

  5. I LOVE crows! Their intelligence just astounds me!

    That salad sounds yummy! Perfect for summer!
    (I'd be much obliged if you sent that rain my way. eesh....the heat here is killing me!)


  6. That is one nice looking salad you made there Marie!

  7. Marie, I'm so happy to hear the corn is growing. I think it will do fine. You climate is much like ours here in western Washington. And I believe that particular variety is special for wetter, cooler climates (that would be the damp, cool Pacific Northwest). I believe buttery corn on the cob is in your future. Linda in WA

  8. Finally I can arrive here!! To be Sunday I was so busy you know, many things. But now I place at the oven a salmon and I come here (Here is Lunch time)
    Marie the salad look lovely. But I want to ask you how you take these lovely pictures of the birds??? and so close.
    I live at countryside too but when I find a lovely bird, the three dogs run and the birds plane of course!!
    There is a grey day without sun (we are at Atumn) but come here is how a sunshine.
    Im choose some pictures of antique Porchs here, I love thi idea of the Porch. To all of you have a lovely rest of Sunday.xxGloria

  9. Another post that leaves me excited about our move to England. Although Jason just mentioned that the weather in Leeds today is rainy & 55F. Not quite the loveliness you've had.

    I've a silly soon-to-be immigrant question: is popping corn available in stores? I know movie cinemas have it, but will I need to special order it?

  10. A ham and cheese nectarine salad sounds really good!

  11. What a beautiful post, from your painting, to the poem and salad. I just love your quotes from Presidents Hinckley and Kimball, too. What a lovely site!

  12. Hi - The photo of the Jack Daw is stunning - v nice. And there's Jess! I am so happy to see that puppy, and oh is she beautiful! Glad to hear you are enjoying painting - I like the girl sitting on the moon. So, you are commissionable? Hmm...may have to put in a request. Btw, that salad looks awesome! Would love to try it. Happy Sunday, Marie.

  13. (Obviously) I am so behind and can't wait to see what you did with the sweet corn. :)



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