Wednesday 26 May 2010

The Wonders of Nature . . .

I have a great fondness for flowers . . . the varieties and colours of species never cease to amaze me . . . when I look at them I often think to myself and wonder how anyone could not believe in a God when faced with such beautiful and tiny miracles . . . each one individual and breathtakingly wonderous to behold . . .

I am not much of a gardener though. Whilst I can appreciate the beauty of each blossom . . . I do not have much of a green thumb . . . nor the patience required to produce them. I do love to watch with delight on the television each year the Chelsea Flower Show though . . . and as I watch I dream of one day having a garden as beautiful as some of the ones that are shown.

One year an enterprising blackbird built it's nest in one of the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show and went on to sit on a clutch of eggs. A rule of the show is that, at the end of the show, all exhibits must be promptly cleared away.

It was heart warming to note though that on that particular year the powers that be decided that the garden with the precious nest should be left undisturbed until the eggs had hatched and the fledglings flown . . .

I was glad to see that respect for nature and God's creations was not completely dead.

We have been enjoying several nature programs which have been showing on the telly on Sunday Evenings. Each week we watch and enjoy Country File, which is a rural type of magazine program that moves around the country bringing all the wonders of the seasons to us right in the comforts of our own living rooms. This is a program that goes on for most of the year and we just love it. It's always informative and very interesting.

There is another show on at the moment as well, called Halcyon River Diaries. It follows a wildlife photographer and his family in a home that they have set up near a River . . . where they are busy observing all the life that abodes on the river and it's banks. It's completely fascinating . . . sometimes sad, and always colourful and interesting. If you have not been watching it, I highly recommend that you tune in to both of these shows. There are still two episodes of the River Diaries left to view and, even at this late date, an awful lot of entertainment left to see. We also are great lovers of the Spring Watch shows.

Our garden is just filled with lovely little sparrows and blackbirds . . . some doves and the occasional starling. We haven't seen much else here though . . . no robins to speak of . . . and no tits, which is amazing. I thought they were very common. One day we saw a Sparrow Hawk sitting on top of the hedge. No sparrows out and about that day. They kept themselves well hidden inside the greenery, but we could hear them chatting away . . . perhaps warning the others that a predator was about and it was best to stay hidden . . .

I just love the beauty and the intricacies of nature in all it's forms. Sometimes cruel . . . I cannot bear to watch that side of it. I know it is the perfect balance of things . . . but it breaks my heart to see creatures suffer or die. I must always avert my eyes . . .

I am so excited because our two friend Pat and Peter are coming to spend the day with us today. We'll give them the grand tour of Chester!! It will be so good to see them. Pat is a blogging friend that I made when we were all over on AOL Journals before AOL shut them down. She and her husband lived not too far from us down in Kent. They have a lot further to go now if they want to see us, but I am happy that they are willing to make the sacrifice and spend some time with us no matter how far away it might be. Todd is ever such a good tour guide and so I am sure they will enjoy this day through his eyes as will I. We'll probably lunch down by the River Dee in one of the pubs there, but at the end of the day we'll come back here to the house and I have an easy dinner prepared already. Just a chicken pot pie, some salad and then this tasty dessert that I made yesterday afternoon. It's one that I have had in my Big Blue Binder for ages and ages. I am sure there are lots of versions of it floating around, and I have seen it called by many names. I like to call it Refrigerator Eclair Dessert though because to me it tastes just like an Eclair . . .

*Refrigerator Eclair Dessert*
Serves 10
Printable Recipe

Amazingly enough, although this uses simple ingredients, it comes off as tasting just like a chocolate eclair! Quick and easy to make, creamy and delicious, this is one that I have had kicking around my big blue binder for eons. Everyone always loves it.

graham wafers
1 (6 serving size) package of cook and serve vanilla pudding and pie filling mix
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups whipping cream
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For the icing:
1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar
3 TBS of milk (approximately)

For the chocolate drizzle:
1 ounce of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp butter

Cook the vanilla pudding mix as directed on the package, using only 2 1/2 cups milk. Once cooked, allow to cool, stirring it from time to time.

Line a 13 by 9 inch ungreased baking pan with graham crackers, cutting them to fit in snuggly. Spread the cooked and cooled vanilla pudding over the graham crackers, covering them totally.

Whip the cream together with the 1 TBS of sugar and the vanilla, until it is stiff, being careful not to overwhip it. If you accidentally do overwhip it, you can stir in a little more cream until you get it the consistency that you want. Spread this over top of the pudding. I find this easiest to do by dolloping it all over the top in small dollops and then spreading the dollops out to meet each other. Cover the top with another layer of graham crackers, again cutting them to fit snuggly and covering the top of the whipped cream completely.

Whisk together the icing sugar and enough milk to make a fairly runny icing. Spoon and spread over top of the graham crackers, making sure they are totally covered. Melt the chocolate chips along with the butter in the microwave. (about 30 seconds on high) Drizzle this over top of the icing in a decorative manner. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight to chill.

Cut into squares to serve.

Over on The English Kitchen today . . . Potato Pizzas.


  1. Marie I wish you Todd and your guests a brilliant day. I love flowers but have a brown thumb too.

  2. Have fun with your friends today - that sounds so fun! And that dessert looks so good. I need to try to make that!

    Beautiful pictures Marie!


  3. Good Morning Marie,Yes I watch both the programs you mentioned in your post today.I too love those kind of tv shows.I loved how Daddy involves the children in his interests.I love flowers too as you might know being a gardener.I can never understand people who don't.I hope you have a wonderful day with your friends and the weather is kind to you.Safe journeys to them to and fro.It's a little dull in my part today and looks like rain.The recipies sound yummy as usual.ENJOY TODAY you deserve it.I hope Angie is much better too,if you have heard.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  4. Nature is wonderful and we are so blessed each day to take in its wonders. I love the dessert you have posted today. I'll have to try that one out soon.

  5. Hope you had a good day with your friends. That desert looks wonderful but what are Graham Crackers? and where can i buy them? i'd love to have a go at making this one.

    I sometimes watch the programmes you mentioned, have you seen the one that Alan Titchmarch is prsenting about the seasons? that very watchable too.

  6. Ooooh, that looks divinely yummy, Marie! Another one for my "Marie File"!

    One of my dreams is to someday take my daughter Chelsea to the Flower Show...I've been telling her we'd go since she was a little girl...maybe when times get a bit better!

    Hope you are having a most wonderful day with your dear friends! They are so lucky to have you as their hostess!

    Much love to you today, my friend!


  7. I hope that you have all had a truly lovely day..hope that sun is still shining it makes everything look so much better. You are actually quite lucky to have sparrows in your garden they are one of the birds that are really on the decline now we hardly see any around here now...Just a a shower of rain down here first for weeks...I do love the "smell" of the long as it dosn't last to long. The Halcyon River series is filmed down here on the Somerset Levels..
    Love Sybil xx

  8. How I love the beautiful pictures of flowers you posted today. I too love flowers and like you I don't have much of a green thumb. My mother did but I didn't seem to get that talent from her.... but I do try.
    I am glad that your blog friends are coming to visit. I wish that it were me and John. ...some day.
    I send love. I am enrolled in a series of online classes throuh Princess cruise line which has kept me very busy of late. I have taken 5 classes since we got home last week and past all the tests...but a couple only in the 75% which was barely passing. I hate to admit that but there is a lot to learn and remember and I am in a hurry to complete it all.... there... that is my excuse. After getting 2 "C" scores I did study and take notes for the other 3 classes and got in the high 90% so that is better.
    I send love. One day we are going to hop across the pond so I can hug you in person. Love, Lura

  9. Beautiful photos and thoughts, Marie! I have been sick with a bad cold today but your blog has brightened my day!

    Thanks and love,


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