Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The wind doth blow, and the rain does fall . . .

Oh, but the wind is blowing outside our little cottage right now and the rain is against the glass of the windows. It shall be a typical Autumn day here, much like what we have come to expect at this time of year, and Lord knows . . . the rain is needed. It rained all yesterday as well . . . and the day before.

Somehow the world doesn't seem the same when seen through the haze of rain and wind . . . it is hard to see the bright side it seems . . . it can get one a bit down, if you let it.

When the wind blows a gale, or the heavens descend upon us in a rainstorm, I try to remember the words of a poet and writer, John Ruskin. Having lived from 1819 to 1900, he had a wonderful vision and empathy with the world's changing climatic conditions. He was also a well known artist and often set himself to painting stormy scenes at his home in Coniston in the Lake District. He loved weather . . . even bad weather.

"I want you to know that sunshine is delicious and rain is refreshing," he wrote. "The wind braces up; snow is exhilarating. There is no such thing as bad weather; we just get different kinds of good weather."

What a wonderful way to look at it . . . come rain, or snow, or hail, or sleet . . . or sunshine. Each one does have it's own beauty, if we are willing to look for, it and they, each one of them, have their purposes . . . after all where would be the merit in a sunny day if . . . all we ever had was sunny days . . .

I did get a bit of time in for painting yesterday and did this delightful little girl.

Here's a glimpse of her. I'll be posting her in much closer detail over on my Blossom Times Art Blog later today. She'll be available as a Christmas card along with my others. I will be selling them in sets of 5, which you can get either all the same or mixed. I have quite a few different ones to choose from. As well, you can get a set of 5 all occasion ones with my other paintings on them, just perfect for gifts. Because they are blank inside, they make great notecards as well.

Did you know that there is a shortage of tinned pumpkin this year?? Apparently last year's pumpkin crop was a washout due to a very wet season and so there was not a lot of pumpkin to can. Normally we can buy it at our local Waitrose store, and I was looking for some recently and could find none. So then I went online to see if they had it at the American Grocery Supply site that I get certain things at. I got no joy there either. After that I did a general search on the net for it and came up with this little tidbit of news. There should be some a bit later on, but for now, it is in quite short supply, or non existant over here in the UK. Thankfully I have my little store cupboard and I have quite a few tins in there. Long about this time of year I have a craving for pumpkin things . . . like pie and cake.

Yesterday afternoon I baked this lovely pumpkin loaf. It is a recipe given to me by my ex mother in law about 32 years ago now. She always made hers plain, with no spice, but I think things are much nicer with a bit of spice added. This is lovely anyways, moist and stogged full of raisins, but with some added spice, it's even better!

*Mother In Law's Pumpkin Loaf*
Makes one loaf
Printable Recipe

This is my ex mother in law's recipe. It's deliciously moist and chock full of raisins. I added the spice, coz, well . . . I like things a bit spicy.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup tinned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup raisins

Pre-heat the oven to160*C/325*F. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin. Line with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.

Measure the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg into a bowl. Whisk together well. Set aside.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until well combined. Beat in the oil and pumpkin. Add this mixture all at once to the dry ingredients. Mix together only to moisten all. Stir in the raisins. Spread into the prepared pan.

Bake in the heated oven for 1 1/4 hours, shielding with a bit of foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Remove when nicely risen, golden brown in colour and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in a tightly covered container.

This gets even better as the days go on. We like it sliced, toasted and spread with butter for a tasty breakfast treat!

For an extra special treat I made Todd some buttery and oaty flapjacks!! Check them out on The English Kitchen.


  1. Hi Marie
    I have been gone for over eight months and have not been keeping up with blogging or my friends due to ill health. Am improving and yours is one of the first blogs I came back to. I love your posts and your pictures and your yummy recipes. I still use you apron and think of you often. I restarted my blog again today.
    Hope to be visiting every day
    love you
    catie in washington

  2. Firstly I will send some healing prayers Catieann.

    I love pumpkin cooked into breads,scones, soup and pies. I loathe it as a vegetable. I have never seen a can of pumpkin in my life. It isn't an Australian thing. Is it mashed? How much is in a can? I'd love to make that loaf.

    Enjoy the rain. Our little corner of the world is dusty and brown so when you have had enough I would happily share.

    Have a great day everyone.

  3. A tinned pumpkin shortage... OH, NO!! No, I didn't know about this. Here this weekend I was hoping to get some tinned pumpkin--hard to come by here...Oh, I hope I can get at least one tin so I can make at least one pumpkin pie this season. I just love anything with pumpkin...mmm... It was crazy with buckets of rain here yesterday, and such wind--very spooky! I looked out for you on MSN Messenger last night, but didn't see you. :o( Hope we can chat soon. But glad to see you were painting--love your new Christmas girl! I can't wait to order some of your Christmas cards. :o) Happy Day, sweet friend--LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

  4. The wind and rain are showing themselves off here today in our part of the world. Leaves and lots of other things too are blowing all over the place. I do love pumpkin and spice and pumpkin pie is one of my all time favorites. So far I've heard of no shortage here.

  5. Alas, when fall leaves are at their glory, here comes the rain . . . we're due for a rainy fall day tomorrow. It's a good time to clean cabinets and cupboards and closets!

    Love pumpkin bread (and cookies and muffins) . . . as well as pie. This is the time of year for it!

  6. I quite love rainy weather but I have noticed as I have gotten older that I need a day of sunshine mixed in now and again. It can get one down after many days of it. We have been in a drought for a few years so we would love to have some coming our way soon too.

    We spent Christmas in Edinburgh one year and then traveled all over Scotland and loved the cold rainy weather~it is invigorating. Our least favorite weather is hot!

    The pumpkin bread looks scrumptious. I am enjoying the sight of it only these days!

    Loving your sweet little girl in the painting. Talents at every turn~that is you, Marie!

    XOXO B

  7. Hi Marie,
    We are so far apart but we share the exact same weather;It is so easy to get a person down; day after day(our summer was very similar).Your stories and pictures are a reall picker upper. I have to get in the Thanksgiving spirit; my pumpking is ready bought to make a pie.
    Thank you for sharing.

  8. Hi Marie,

    I am thinking of pumpkin
    too, because Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up.

    Our local Morrison's had fresh
    pumpkins last Saturday.

    By the way, I tried Rachel Allen's
    Sweet Potato Bread recipe again, using a different size pan and changing the oven temperature and it worked out much better this time.

  9. Your little girl looks wonderful Marie.


  10. I love all your paintings! I'm so sorry--I was so busy with Mrs. Pickles and LFB and birthdays it's been nuts. I'll e-mail you this weekend!

  11. Hello dear,
    Sorry about all of the rain. As I keep asking you....SEND SOME TO US! We need it so badly. We are not on water rationing yet but we are getting close to it. I wish we could share a bit. I would gladly send you some of our sunshine...we have so much of it.

    The pumpkin bread looks delicious. I did not know there is a shortage of pumpkin this year. I have a can or two I think... I hope so because I love pumpkin treats this time of year.

    Erin says hello and sends her love. She will email you will I. Love, Lura

  12. sorry i've been missing-i was in st. george utah visiting my best friend in the world!(besides my joey of course:)

    its been raining here too and i have been loving it. the temps are actually lower too. its crazy that it actually feels like fall in texas in october. thats a rarity!

  13. Hi marie...I just love your blog, I'm adding you to my blog list if that ok. The food here looks so good and I like everything else too. I live in red rock Utah..come say hi :D (

  14. Your art work is so beautiful Marie. I just love it! What a cute little girl!

    I love the beauty of the seasons. The mountains are so beautiful here right now - it just takes my breath away every time I look at them.


  15. What a great blog you have. I'm going to have to try that pumpkin bread. Your cards are so cute.. what a talent you have. I also love the photography of the leaves. Nice job. Your blog is so rich and wonderful! Keep it up!


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