Thursday 25 March 2010

The first warm day . . .

The first warm day . . . oh lovely phrase

After the dreary winter days,
To wake one morning with a start,
And know deep down within your heart,
That Spring has blossomed overnight,
With all her shining lamps a-light.

The sun's bright warmth on earth and sky,
A little warm wind going by;
To look and find a rub of green,
Poking it's nose up through a screen
Of matter grass and sodden ground,
With triumph like a bugle sound.

The first warm day . . . how hearts are stirred,
How sweetly flows the spoken word
In happy greeting to a friend;
Above the road the tall trees bend,
Like ladies at a royal tea
Bowing before great company.

A thousand hearts rejoice and sing,
To greet the first warm day of spring.

~Edna Jaques

One of my favourite Canadian Poets has to be Edna Jacques. I am not sure how well she is known, but I have loved her for a long time. When I was growing up my mother had an old Fireside Book of poetry and amongst it's pages were several poems of Edna's which I loved to read, and still do. Edna Jacques has been dead for many years now, having passed away in 1978, but her poetry lives on . . .

This specific verse I picked out of the 1977 Fireside Book of David Hope that I picked up for a pound at a yard sale up in the Lake District when we were holidaying there several years ago. As soon as I saw it, I had to have it. It brought back so many memories of the hours I spent as a child reading my mother's book of poems. Oh yes, I must have been an odd child indeed!

Most of our lives is now sitting around the cottage in brown cardboard boxes. It is getting quite difficult to maneuvre our way about the place without bumping into one! There is not a lot left to pack now, except for some clothing and a few odds and sodds.

I'm afraid that what is left now for me to cook is also probably going to be highly uninteresting as well, as most of my spices and condiments are now also packed away . . . we have kept out a few tins of beans and such, so it looks like we will be having a few beans on toast nights and some soup suppers. There probably won't be any recipes on here much, unless I move some over from my old Marie's Muses page, which I might well do.

Oh how pretty the birds are singing this morning . . . the dawn chorus. Right now I can hear the song thrush as she sings, her beautiful voice ringing out above the tree tops of our garden, whilst over in the orchard I can hear the cries of crows cawing . . . a robin trills in the rose bush next to the kitchen window, and sparrows and blackbirds join in with their lovely songs as well. Altogether it is a beautiful sound, it is as if they are praising God for this new day that has dawned. I know there are birds in the city, but there won't be as many as what there have been here. I shall miss their morning wake up call. Oh how lovely it has been, and how blessed we have been to be able to hear it for these past 7 years . . .

Some of you have noted the small change I made to my header. I will not be changing the name of my page. Oak Cottage is so very well known and it is a name that I have paid money to keep over these years, having registered this domain as my very own . . . so I made a subtle change to the header . . .


Oak Cottage is indeed much more than a place . . . it is a state of mind and heart, and it can live anywhere. It can live with you and with me in any place we find ourselves aboding. It is a sense of peace and of love. It is having faith and trusting in the Lord. It is caring for others and finding joy in the simple things of life. It is choosing to live with the cup half full instead of half empty, and in finding small blessings scattered through each and every day of your life.

It will not disappear, for I carry it with me wherever I go. I am glad for that.

Here are some tasty cookies that will have you coming back for just . . . one . . . more!! Yes, they are incredibly moreish!!!

*White Chocolate Dipped Gingernuts*
Makes 24

What could be better than a delicious, crunchy homemade gingernut biscuit??? Why, a delicious, crunchy homemade gingernut biscuit dipped in chocolate!!!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 TBS ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS finely minced candied ginger

1 further cup of sugar (to roll the cookies in)

White Chocolate Dip:
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 tsp butter

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Set aside.

Cream together the sugar and the butter until fluffy and well mixed. Beat iin the egg and the molasses. Whisk together the flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir this into the creamed mixture, mixing it in well. Stir in the candied ginger.

Place the further cup of sugar into a small bowl. Pinch off pieces of cookie dough the size of a walnut and roll into balls between the palms of your hand. Drop them into the bowl of sugar and coat them well. Place onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches of space between the balls. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until done. They will look all crackly and be firm to the touch. Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Melt the chocolate chips together with the butter over low heat. Cover a wire rack with some wax paper or baking paper. Dip each gingernut into the melted chocolate halfway, shaking any excess off. Place on the wax paper to allow the chocolate to set and harden. Scrummy!!


Over on The English Kitchen this morning??? A delicious Java Cooked Brisket. Oh, my, but this was good!


  1. Beautiful poem, beautiful thoughts, beautiful cookies, beautiful friend! Thanks for sharing all of them with us!

    I'm so glad you're not changing your name--I love it--and I love the change you DID make--perfect!

    I love gingerbread, and these look amazing! Sorry you're down to bare bones there, but soon you will be back to "normal"!

    Much love to you, dear friend--many hugs and good wishes sent your way tonight!

  2. A little bit of sunshine and warmth do a lot to improve my attitude. There is much to be said after a harsh winter and most of it is in thankfulness from me. I'm so thankful for Spring this year. I imagine you are quite ready now to move on. Memories are often a blessing and you are fortunate to have had the 7 years at the cottage.

  3. Marie you always make me smile. I loved today's post. You are correct that you carry Oak Cottage in you heart and can be there whenever you desire.

    Love, love and even more love.

  4. Good morning, Dear Marie! I wasn't aware of your national poet Edna Jacques before... she has a beautiful way with words and expression--I will have to look up more on her! :o) I do love the new addition to your banner, and gentle is suggest that home is place of heart and mind. Living far from my native place, I have come through the years that home can be anywhere, the physical place is not so important was where the sense of home rests in one's heart. :o) So you are carrying home wherever you & Todd go--and now that will be Chester! I an imagine the slight chaos with boxes, bundles and such around...LOL! Just waiting now for the big moving day, 'eh? LOVE the cookies today. I've been craving something sweet now I'm feeling better from this cold. Perhaps I'll bake this weekend! Any chance we may get to chat before you leave? Hope so. LOVE YOU HEAPS, my sister-friend!! OXOX ((BIG HUGS))

  5. I think your new header says it all. Home is a state of mind, a place of comfort and goodness and nurturing and Oak Cottage will always be that because you are the creator of it.

    I am looking forward to your new adventure in Chester. Can't wait to see what unfolds and the blessings you will receive. Your departure must be getting close now! Good luck!

  6. Loved the poem thank you for sharing. There can never be too much beauty in the world- people should share things like that more often. :)

  7. Oh how I hate to hurry up and wait. When all is ready it's just time to move on. Thank goodness God moves with us! blessings,marlene

  8. I hope everything is better for you!

  9. Nice poem and thoughts!! Hey, I love beans and we eat lots of them!! I even find I crave beans at times. Soups are my favorite--I usually make a big pot and have it for lunch for days ;-)

    nannykim at Spindlecottage at

  10. I loved the poem and the addition to your header. It’s very true that “home” is so much more than the walls that surround us ~ it’s the heart inside of us and I have to say, you have a very beautiful heart! I enjoy your posts very much and always find they uplift my spirits, so I thank you for sharing your words, and your heart, with us. :)

  11. Marie, I haven't commented in quite a while, but I have been reading and keeping up with your major life changes. You are right that Oak Cottage is a state of mind and you have made it possible for all of us to visit it. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. My sister is actually visiting in Chester until next Friday. They just arrived earlier today (Thursday)after traveling Wednesday night into Thursday all the way from TN. She sent me an email saying that she was feeling tired and grumpy by the time they arrived at the train station in Chester. But when they walked out of the station, she said it was like something out of a fairy tale! I bet it will be a wonderful place for your Oak Cottage state of mind to dwell. So your fairy tale is far from over, it is just taking a turn down a different road! Sorry for such a long comment, but I have been meaning to write you for a while and it all came out this evening!


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