Friday 6 November 2009

Friday Ramblings . . . .

I set the table full of food

And here they come, my hungry brood,
All flocking down with eager haste,
And not a morsel goes to waste.
A blue tit, swift on dancing wing
Is first to find the peanut string,
And then a robin, bold and bright
Is quick to feed . . . and quick to fight!
More mannerly, a song thrust calls
To glean the fruit and fat that falls
While finches swoop with joyful speed
At any sight of sunflower seed.
A blackbird's choice is apples, sweet
Yet sparrows care not what they eat
But gorge as long as food is there
Then fly away without a care.
No "thankyou" ever comes my way
For all the meals I set each day,
But my reward is in their song . . .
I'm serenaded, all year long!
~Margaret Ingall

Oh how I love to feed the birds. We have several feeders out in out garden and we keep them filled all year long. I do believe they are the best fed birds in the UK! They get all our stale bread and baking, plus we put out several different types of seed and nuts each day.

Our reward is in the watching. Todd and I both love to watch them at the feeders. Some can be quite aggressive, like surprisingly the robins, and other's are almost shy, just flitting in and then out again.

We get nuthatches, sparrows (of course) finches, robins, blackbirds, wagtails, thrushes, tits, amongst others. They're so much fun to watch. I think last year we clocked 18 different species of birds in our garden all told.

Some are annoying . . . like the Starlings, that come in and empty your feeders in short time . . . I have to remind myself each time that they are God's creatures too and have a right to be fed as well . . . they're just so greedy and aggressive, both with each other and with the other birds.

And then there are the squirrels . . . they are quite ingenuous in their drive to empty feeders. We have had great fun figuring out ways to keep them off, and I think we finally have that nut cracked as we have not had any in a while. But there have been times when we've found them quite entertaining to watch.

Nature is so beautiful, and watching the birds is something that Todd and I have had in common from the start. The reward is in the watching, and in the lovely birdsong that we get to listen to each day. It's so wonderful to be able to have something that you love so much that you can enjoy doing together. It's like the icing on the cake!

I have to go to the Dentist today for a rather big treatment. I had been going to another Dentist, and he had made a mistake with a filling in one of my back teeth, and so now I am having to go to a new Dentist to have his mistake undone. Most annoying, but really . . . what can you do? It's expensive too, but I will be glad to have it sorted once and for all. I hate going to the Dentist. I don't mind the check ups, but I hate having to have any work done at all. It makes me incredibly nervous and anxious. I hate needles and I hate drills and I hate the vulnerable feeling that I feel when I am laying back in their chair . . . it must be difficult to be a Dentist in some ways I should think . . . and have people dislike coming to you, viewing you as one of the necessary evils in life. Fingers crossed today's visit all goes well . . .

I'm not a big fan of store bought cookies, well . . . unless you are talking about Digestive biscuits . . . those I find completely moreish, oh . . . and Tunnocks Tea Cakes, they're pretty scrummy as well. I do like homemade biscuits and cookies the best of all though. I make a lot of chocolate chip at work as well as oatmeal. They go down a real treat. I like the old fashioned kinds of cookies best of all. My mom always makes a tin of old fashioned rolled out Molasses cookies for me when I go home and they taste so good, especially with a tall glass of cold milk. I love these molasses cookies here today as well. They are old fashioned, spicy and soft. They kind of remind me of little gingerbreads. You don't have to ice them, but I like to and then I add a sprinkle of sultana raisins on top . . . just because. You could also sprinkle them with chopped nuts, or even both! Or you could just be lazy and stir them into the batter before baking. They're delicious any way you choose to do it.

*Soft Molasses Drop Cookies*
Makes about 36
Printable Recipe

These are everything a good molasses cookie should be in my opinion. Crisp on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside and faintly spicy. These smell wonderful when they are cooking. I always ice mine and top with a few sultana raisins. You don't have to do this if you don't want. They are quite lovely without it. You may also stir in a couple handfuls of raisins and chopped nuts if you wish as well.

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground powdered ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
Optional Topping:
Vanilla butter cream icing and sultanas

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Cream the shortening and the sugar together, until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and molasses. Whisk the flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt together and beat this iinto the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, only adding enough milk to give you a good dropping consistency. You don't want it too wet.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottoms and set on the tops. Remove from the oven to wire racks to cool completely before icing if desired.

No, it's not some wierd alien creature, it's Cauliflower Cheese Pot Pie! A little whimsey of mine, showing today on The English Kitchen.

PS - for those of you who asked, I'll be posting my chocolate whoopie pie recipe soon!!


  1. I look forward to the whoopy pie recipe.

    Prayers and love for the dentist. I have spent a lot of time in the dentist chair this year and I am pleased to say modern dentistry is far less agonising than the old. It is awful having to have mistakes corrected and it seems very unfair but it seems to happen far more often than one would wish.

    Take care and have a blessed day

  2. I do hope all goes well at the dentist. I'm one for not going until there is a problem and thankfully right now there is not one. We feed the birds here too and what a delight they are to watch.

  3. Hi Marie, I LOVE birds too, always have fat balls hanging up in my plum tree and it's like a traffic jam of birds! I could sit for hours watching birds in the garden. I do hope the dentist goes ok, will be thinking of u. Those cookies look fabulous. Hugs, Catherine x

  4. I too love the little birds and love to feed them. So sweet! Your recipies look good too..thanks! I feel the same way about dentists..hate it! :D

  5. Hope all goes well with your dentist trip today, Marie... sound very uncomfortable and unpleasant. Hope this new dentist will do the job right, then you won't have to go back for a long, long time...LOL! LOVE the cookies today. Digestives are really the only store-bought cookies/biscuits we buy, I prefer homemade--they just taste so much better. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I wish I had a cookie with my tea now... Taking a break from cleaning. We're having hubby's parents to dinner tomorrow... Tons to do yet! Hope to catch you for a chat on Sunday--can but hope! :o) Happy Weekend, my dear friend--LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

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  7. Hi Marie, I sure hope your dental appointment went well. I know it is not fun. I worked for over 20 years in an oral surgery office and talk about people not wanting to see you! Yikes it could get depressing, it did get depressing.

    Looking back I cannot figure how I endured it so long. Ugh! It is amazing what you to to make ends meet with a young family. But I saw many many fearful people regarding the work they were having are not alone in your dreading to go in.

    So now it is over and hopefully you are good for a long, long time!

    I wanted to let you know also that I loved your smilebox yesterday of the grounds where you live. What a dreamy place. No wonder you and your honey love to walk around and watch the birds. Your own private park awaits! Beautiful!!

  8. LOVELY post, Marie! I love my birds, too--especially the hummingbirds...I love the way their colors shimmer and change, and how amazed I am when they stop--for just a few seconds to rest on my kitchen window apple tree...

    Your poems, pictures...all so beautiful! I love coming here and reading your posts. Most of all, though, I love when you come to visit me--your kind words always just make my day. I'm so glad we've met! I often tell my family things about you, your recipes (obviously!), and other things.

    I LOVE "Wuthering Heights"! I'll be talking about that, too, I'm sure! Wasn't it just wonderful! They sure are producing such wonderful films on the classics lately--makes me so happy! Looking forward to the new "Emma" this coming winter!

    Again, Marie--thanks for everything! You're quickly becoming one of my very favorite people!

  9. I love Tunnockses too. Have you tried their snowballs? I used to like the middles in Walnut Whips too but they don't seem to put much of it in these days.

    love, Angie, xx

  10. I put the bird feeders out last week and so far I've had just a few visitors. I think there's probably still enough out and about for them since it hasn't been that cold here yet. I did see a big old blu jay circling the feeder the other day but it was too big to land and get a snack. Those cookies look so yummy. Printing out the recipe...Linda in rainy and windy Washington

  11. i HATE dental work, dental visits, everything dental! i'm sorry you have to get something fixed that wasn't done right-how frustrating!


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