Today, May 3, is National Widows Day. Ugh. Next month sometime is International Widows Day. Global ugh.
It’s nice there’s a day for us, it’s very well intentioned, but, my gosh – ugh. I don’t want to be a widow. Of course, I have no choice about being one. (Well, I could date and possibly get married again, thereby resetting my status as a wife. But that requires dating and I’m not doing that anytime soon, possibly ever.)
I don’t want to receive a “[Happy] Widows Day” card, no matter how well-intentioned. It just cements my identity as a widow when I want to be anything but. I’m not living in denial (but maybe I am?) I know that my husband is dead and I am a widow. I am this every day, every night, day in, day out, month in, month out, year in, year out. It’s excruciating. What I want is to be me. On some random day, send me a “[Happy] You Day” card. Help me move from being identified as a widow to being known as me.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying any other widow in the universe feels as I do, so don’t not send them a condolence card, or not fix their toilet on this day or the next one because of me. I’d hate ruin a good thing for them!
All widows deserve your care, concern and thoughtfulness, but maybe ask them what they’d like first. It may not be to be reminded that they are widows two months in a row on Widows Days when they already wake up each morning trying to forget. Instead, being reminded by you any day, every day that they are still them, still loved, forgetting they are widows for the moment so they can forget too might be the gift you can give. That, and fixing their toilets…
“Now that the lilacs are in bloom She has a bowl of lilacs in her room”
~ T. S. Eliot
I love lilacs, but can’t grow them. I’ve tried. Epic fail.
Lilacs, Syringa vulgaris, planted in the correct settings are easy to grow but, if planted in the wrong climate, even the “low-chill” varieties, are impossible to grow in my experience. I have the wrong climate. So , every year, my friend Karon and I trek north to Acton, CA in Los Angeles County to the Kilcoyne Lilac Farm for a fragrant lilac day.
You can read about last year’s trip in my April 2022 article in Let’s Talk Plants! the newsletter of the San Diego Horticultural Society here –
At Kilcoyne there are dozens of different lilac varieties growing, all different colors and flower shapes and each with a slightly different lilac scent. Put a bunch together of these different lilacs and the aroma is intoxicating. A perfume that perfumer could only dream of creating.
We are glad you are here. Recently, as the world opens up for in-person meetings again after locking down, Karen gave out little jars of three different spice blends she’s developed over the last 22 years, to give as gifts to people she only had seen on Zoom ’til recently; HOY Salt-Free Popcorn Seasoning, EHF Chef’s Seedsoning and Herbes de Provence. These blends and others will be added to the EHF store in the coming year for purchase but, in the meanwhile, if you like yours, or didn’t get a gift, here’s the information so that you can make your own and ideas for how to use them.
Herbs of the Years Salt Free Popcorn Seasoning
Mix together equal parts (such as 1 tablespoon each),
dried marjoram (Herb Of The Year™ 2005)
dried thyme (Herb Of The Year™ 1997)
granulated garlic (Herb Of The Year™ 2004)
dried basil (Herb Of The Year™ 2003)
Put the blended herbs into a spice grinder and grind as needed onto freshly air popped popcorn.
Optional; Drizzle popcorn first with extra virgin olive oil, garlic or basil flavored olive oil or melted unsalted butter if desired before sprinkling with seasoning blend.
Edgehill Herb Farm’s Chef’s SEEDSONING Blend
You can easily substitute parts for the teaspoons and make more.
2 teaspoons dill seed
1 teaspoon of each of the following:
flax seed, brown
flax seed, gold
lavender florets (I know it is not a seed –what can I say? It was on the counter and it looks seed-like and tastes great!)
mustard seed, brown
mustard seed, yellow
Mix all together and store in a cool, dark place. For long-term storage, the freezer works great. (You can use “Seedsoning” straight from the freezer.) Use “Seedsoning” in or on baked goods such as yeast and quick breads, bagels and rolls, with sautéed and steamed vegetables and with meats such as chicken, pork & fish.
Powerscourt Seedsoning Bread
In Ireland, the Avoca Hand-weavers have retail locations throughout the country, not just in Avoca and one of these locations is inside the glorious Powerscourt House and Gardens. Besides beautiful hand-woven goods, the Avoca name is also known for their cafés of delicious fresh cafeteria style food at each location. This bread is my version of the multi grain & seed bread that I ate in December 2005 at the Avoca Terrace Café in Powerscourt .
6 oz. all-purpose flour, organic preferred
11 oz. stone-ground whole-wheat flour, organic preferred
2 oz. wheat bran or bulgur wheat
1 oz. wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup Edgehill Herb Farm Chef’s Seedsoning Blend plus more for the top if desired 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon molasses
1 pint milk (I use organic Low-fat—use whatever you have…)
Using a scale, weigh out the flours, bran & wheat germ into a large bowl. Add the salt, baking powder, “seedsoning” and seeds and stir everything together well. Make a well in the center and add the molasses and milk into the well. The Irish way to mix this bread is as follows; make a “crab” with your fingers on your right hand and use to mix the moist dough to be like a stiff porridge. Of course, you can also mix with a wooden spoon…Pour dough into a loaf pan that has been prepared with a greased parchment paper sling. (Note: I put more “seedsoning” on top of the loaf at this point.) Bake at 350°F for 1 hour until the loaf is well browned and sounds hollow when turned out of the pan and tapped underneath. Leave on a wire rack to cool.
Herbes de Provence Seasoning
Great w/everything including deviled eggs!
Note: All herbs are dried…
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. mint
2 tsp. lavender florets
2 tsp. orange peel
2 tsp. crushed bay leaves
3 tsp. rosemary
3 tsp. savory (summer or winter)
3 tsp. marjoram
3 tsp. thyme
Mix, store & use!
For best flavor, lightly grind or crush in mortar immediately before using.
Nigella Lawson’s Deviled Eggs Made Karen’s Way
12 large, peeled, hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 – 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 – 3 teaspoons Herbes de Provence seasoning, to taste
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika, plus more for sprinkling
sea salt flakes, to taste
a few drops Tabasco, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 – 3 tablespoons water from a freshly boiled kettle
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives and/or parsley
Halve the eggs and put the yolks in a bowl and mash the yolks. Mix into the smashed yolks, the mayo, mustard, seasonings and oil. Thin the yolk mixture with warm water and dollop the smashed yolks back into the whites. Sprinkle with paprika, chives and parsley.
It’s been yet another year! So, I’ve once again edited the one year anniversary post to say “Wow – the #dailyshotofwhiskeykitty is turning five years old!” And am reposting it.
We here at edgehillherbfarm.blog are going to celebrate!
The “we” here that I’m referring to are;
my cat, Whiskey,
my dogs, Derby and Devon
my duck, Marj(oram)
My bunny, Sprinkles
Roger, the marimo ball
and my Mom!
~ not with prizes this year but just with a big hurrah, meow, woof, cluck, quack etc., from us all this time.
For those new to me, us, this –
Here’s an explanation . . .
On November 30th, 2021 I will have posted a photo of my cat, Whiskey, on Instagram everyday for five entire years. That’s 1826 days in a row (leap year included). I never intended to do this actually everyday for two years, or three years, let alone one year, but gosh, darn it, I have!
When this exercise started years ago it was to appease my family who, unbeknownst to me, worried about me if I didn’t post something on Facebook every day. If I was doing well, and as a fairly recent widow, I was rarely doing well, but if I was faring well, I would go about my life and my day and not post anything on social media unless there was something worthy of posting, thinking this was me being “healthy”. I was unaware that my beloved family and friends were carefully watching and reading my posts from afar to gauge how I was doing. If I didn’t post something for a while they panicked and thought I was in trouble. I probably was, but that’s beside the point in this instance. I figured out this was happening after finally asking people why they were all of a sudden worried and checking up on me in droves. Once I caught on, I thought, “I know, [I’ll fix their wagon! Not my finest hour.] I’ll post a photo of my cat everyday on Instagram and share it to Twitter and Facebook, and even if I’m not doing well, my family will be happy.”
And so was born the #dailyshotofwhiskeykitty
Who knew such a small thing, done for crazy reasons, could in such a short amount of time change my life so much for the better? Not me! I just thought it was a kindness to wonderful, lovely people who needed to go worry about other things besides me for a while.
And, what a difference it has made. Five years ago I had less 200 friends on Twitter, less than 400 followers on Instagram and barely 1000 friends on Facebook. I was trying to find work that would allow me to care for my aging mother who lived at home with me at the time (she lived for a time in a nursing home, but she’s back.) Not an easy feat for an aging single gal like myself re-entering, after 25 years away from traditional employment, a modern work force. At the time I posted on social media inconsistently and haphazardly at best and just for personal pleasure. But five years ago I decided to post daily with intention and to share more than just my grieving out loud story but to also share the whole of my story; my green garden story, my flavorful kitchen story, my fragrant mixology story, my furry animals story, my big dreams story, my fun memories story, my sweet love story, my cosy home story, my only child/big family story and more . . .
The (first) year of the #dailyshotofwhiskeykitty showed me that I can be disciplined about posting, writing and working from home. That I can take good photos and tell engaging stories with them. That folks really like my work. It has made me hundreds of new friends and turned my kitty into a little cat star. It has shown my family that I am getting better and I am doing better. For real. In fact, now, if I don’t post a photo of my cat early enough in the morning my family and friends squawk and worry . . . so, I’ve learned they will worry about me no matter what I do to alleviate their concerns and frankly I love them for it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
That’s all for now!
Thanks for everything everyone! We here at Edgehill Herb Farm are looking forward to what the next 365 days will bring and sharing it with all of you.