sunshine peculiarly genial

"Autumn Glory" by Willard Metcalf
“Autumn Glory” by Willard Metcalf

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October. The sunshine is peculiarly genial; and in sheltered places, as on the side of a bank, or of a barn or house, one becomes acquainted and friendly with the sunshine. It seems to be of a kindly and homely nature. And the green grass, strewn with a few withered leaves, looks the more green and beautiful for them. In summer or spring, Nature is farther from one’s sympathies.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
(The American Note-books)

taking the trouble

“The Haymaker” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
“The Haymaker” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Acknowledging our roots changes us. It makes us feel truer. Many people are interested in their family history, an interest that comes from the fear of not having roots, of standing on emptiness. But even more important than investigating our ancestry is rediscovering the connections with those who have crossed our path.

… In that moment, I understood the importance of preserving the past. What a gaping lack of respect it is to carry on with our lives, ignoring what people who lived before us said and did, how they suffered, what they created, and even how they ate. And those who take the trouble to preserve the most creative and beautiful heritage that our predecessors left us are performing an act of kindness.

~ Piero Ferrucci
(The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life)

graceful surrender

“Girl in Yellow Dress” by Amedeo Modigliani
“Girl in Yellow Dress” by Amedeo Modigliani

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
~ Max Ehrmann
(Desiderata)

wounded planet

"Landscape with Chickens" by Auguste Durst
“Landscape with Chickens” by Auguste Durst

Earth is generous with her provisions, and her sustenance is very kind; she offers, for your table, food that requires no bloodshed and no slaughter.
~ Ovid

Honestly, I could live indefinitely on soy milk and cereal, and beans and rice. But husband Tim is a lover of great variety and hearty meals. I’m starting to realize that if I am going to have a vegetarian kitchen I am going to have to add a lot more to my repertoire to keep this guy reasonably satisfied.

Borders is or was going out of business and we found ourselves there browsing around for good deals on books. Looking over the cookbook selections I thought 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles sounded promising and started thumbing through it. It has won two awards, the Julia Child Cookbook Award and the James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence. Following my intuition about this one – sorry Dr. Ornish, but Tim was not at all thrilled with the recipes in your cookbook – I bought it and am so happy I did. So far, Tim has liked every recipe I’ve made from it! 🙂 Who knew there were so many ways to prepare eggplant? Or that eggplants and plums went well together in the same concoction?

A few days ago my friend Robin, over at Life in the Bogs, mentioned that she was becoming more of a vegetarian. I told her I was heading in the same direction and she recommended a book to me, The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted & The Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss & Long-term Health by T. Colin Campbell & Thomas M. Campbell. Well, thanks again to Kindle it didn’t take me long to finish this amazing book, which delves quite deeply into why animal protein is so unhealthy for us, even if it is humanely and organically raised. Our Western diets are primarily animal protein and this is probably the cause of many of what the authors call diseases of affluence – cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cancer, dementia, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis – the list goes on and on as he cites the China Study and many other scientific studies.

As it turns out, the diet that is good for us is also good for our little blue planet.

We plow under the habitats of other animals to grow hybrid corn that fattens our genetically engineered animals for slaughter. We make free species extinct and domestic species into bio-machines. We build cruelty into our diet.
~ Peter Singer & Jim Mason
(The Way We Eat)

It seems disingenuous for the intellectual elite of the first world to dwell on the subject of too many babies being born in the second- and third-world nations while virtually ignoring the over-population of cattle and the realities of a food chain that robs the poor of sustenance to feed the rich a steady diet of grain-fed meat.
~ Jeremy Rifkin
(Beyond Beef: The Rise & Fall of the Cattle Culture)

It’s going to take a lot of effort to become a vegan household, but I feel like I’ve got enough information now to help me keep this new commitment.

Iduna: Keeper of Apples

“Brita as Iduna” by Carl Larsson

According to Wikipedia: “In Norse mythology, Iðunn is a goddess associated with apples and youth.” Iðunn is “a keeper of apples and granter of eternal youthfulness.” (Idun, Iduna, Idunn, Ithun, Idunna)

A few words following about October and apples, which we are enjoying daily since we went apple-picking last weekend. Nothing like crunching into a juicy McIntosh fresh from the tree! An old saying keeps popping into my head: an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Now’s the time when children’s noses
All become as red as roses
And the colour of their faces
Makes me think of orchard places
Where the juicy apples grow…

~ Katherine Mansfield
(Autumn Song)

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October. The sunshine is peculiarly genial; and in sheltered places, as on the side of a bank, or of a barn or house, one becomes acquainted and friendly with the sunshine. It seems to be of a kindly and homely nature.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
(The American Note-books)

When my father was a boy growing up on a New England farm during the Great Depression, his family picked as many apples as they could and stored some of them in a barrel in the root cellar. Of course he ate as many as he could while picking them, but his parents had a rule about the ones in the barrel he found exasperating. If anyone wanted an apple later in the fall or winter, he was required to take one that was the least fresh. By the time they got to the fresher ones they had also become much less fresh! So all winter he was having to make do with eating not-so-great apples. If only he had known he might have called on Iduna to keep the apples fresher longer!

To appreciate the wild and sharp flavors of these October fruits, it is necessary that you be breathing the sharp October or November air. The outdoor air and exercise which the walker gets give a different tone to his palate, and he craves a fruit which the sedentary would call harsh and crabbed. They must be eaten in the fields, when your system is all aglow with exercise, when the frosty weather nips your fingers, the wind rattles the bare boughs or rustles the few remaining leaves, and the jay is heard screaming around. What is sour in the house a bracing walk makes sweet. Some of these apples might be labeled, “To be eaten in the wind.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Wild Fruits: Thoreau’s Rediscovered Last Manuscript)

“Apples & Leaves” by Ilya Repin