Wednesday 26 October 2011

Bees, anger and other things . . .

Pleasant words
are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24

A few days ago a Tractor Trailer Truck transporting 25 million honey bees over turned on a major thoroughfare outside of St George Utah, snarling up traffic for miles and miles . . . and unleashing it's swarming, stinging payload into the immediate area. One can only imagine the chaos involved. I know what it is like on a motorway over here when there is an accident. It can create a tailback on the motor way for a great many miles, but when 24 milllion honey bees are also involved . . . well, the thought just boggles my mind. What a scary and dangerous situation that must have been for everyone concerned! I do hope that they have been able to round up all those bees!

Over here a great harbinger of spring is the bumble Bee and our garden is always filled with them in the spring and summer . . . and with their cousin, the honey bee, although thankfully not 25 million and thankfully not all at once! I am totally fascinated with the life of bees. In the darkness of the hive and in the light of day, these industrious little souls go about their work with a steadfast devotion that is hard to comprehend! Each has a job to do and they do it well, which is a lesson and example we could all take something from!

There is something else though, about the honeybee, which can also teach us an important lesson. Did you know that when a honeybee stings someone, the sting is always fatal to the bee???

How very much like us that is . . . when we respond angrily and hurtfully to those who have wronged us. Our natural instinct is to want to hurt them back. We may want to sting them with anygry words and hurtful actions. The truth is that in doing so . . . we often do much more damage to ourselves than we manage to inflict upon them . . . and like the honeybee, bring death to any friendship or relationship which may be involved.

Would it not be better to take a few breaths and ask ourselves what would the Saviour do??? And then . . . when the answer comes, do just that.

Be you all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brothers, be pitiful, be courteous;
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing . . . but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9

I believe we will be blessed for doing so. That is the promise after all!

We had our new washing machine delivered yesterday and Todd hooked it up and we gave it a go. What a mistake! Obviously there was a very good reason that it was marked down as much as it was. Even sitting on it, Todd could not keep it from jumping across the kitchen when it was doing it's final spin. We were both trying to hold it down and it still managed to gouge two holes in the floor . . . we have never seen anything like it. It was quite frightening. Needless to say, not quite normal and so we went back to the shop and told them we want them to come and pick it up. It is not the washing machine for us, no matter how cheap it may be. Something essential is obviously missing. Seriously, it was terrifying!! So much for dent and scratch! They will be picking it up tomorrow and then perhaps we can look for something that doesn't sound like a jet taking off, or carry us about the room!

I did another little painting yesterday afternoon.

How often have we wanted to give someone we care about the moon and the stars, well . . . now you can! I was not sure if I really liked it that much when I was done, but I am kind of warming to it now.

I am off to the Doctor this morning. Wish me luck. I hope that the news is good news, and nothing to be concerned about. I have my fingers crossed!

Here's a delicious salad that makes a great side dish to most anything. If you don't want to go to the bother or expense of cooking artichoked from start . . . then do feel free to substitute a good quality tinned or jarred artichokes. Just drain them really well and pat dry. Frozen would also be good, Just cook and then pat dry. I just adore artichokes. Can you believe I had never tasted one before I moved over here??? I know! How strange is that!!

*Charlotte Potato and Artichoke Salad*
Serves 6 to 8
Printable Recipe

This is a delicious lemon and oil dressed potato salad with a bit of a mediterranean flavour to it.

2 3/4 pounds of charlotte potatoes (Or any waxy
salad potato variety)
1 lemon halved
4 large artichokes
1 2/3 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
6 whole peppercorns
6 coriander seeds
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
3 green spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
2 handfuls of cherry plum tomatoes, halved
15 black brine cured black olives, such as kalamata or Nicois, pitted and chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, finely sliced into chiffonade
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 TBS Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 20 minutes or so. Drain well. Cool and then peel as soon as you can handle them. Cut into halves.

Halfway fill a large bowl with cold water. Squeeze in the juice from half of the lemon. Cut the second lemon half in half. Cut off the stem from 1 artichoke and rub the exposed area with the cut side of a lemon piece. Starting from the base of the artichoke, bend each leaf backward and snap off where the leaf breaks naturally. Continue to do this until the light green leaves are exposed. Using a small sharp knife, cut off all the dark green areas. This is the artichoke heart. Cut the heart into quarters. Rub all cut surfaces with the lemon. Cut out the choke and pink inner leaves from each section and discard. Place the artichoke heart sections in the water with the lemon juice. Cut off top two inches of artichoke. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.

Combine the 1 2/3 cup of the water, olive oil, wine, peppercorns, coriander and thyme in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Drain the artichokes and add to the saucepan. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and cool. Cut into slices

Mix the potatoes, artichoke slices, red onion slices, spring onion, tomatoes, olives and basil in a large bowl, tossing gently to blend well.

Whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the salad and mix gently together. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cooking in The English Kitchen today a delicious Pumpkin and Chard Gratin!

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