The Changing Seasons, November 2018

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New growth, grapevine. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Time’s a strange thing. It is defined by its measurement, objective and increasingly precise. Yet even as we observe the system, we experience time in our own unique and subjective ways.

I think about this every month as I begin to write my Changing Seasons post, aware that I experience the passing of different months in very different ways. Indeed I would say I’ve experienced November as almost outside of time, anchored by neither nature nor culture.

In my garden, plants seem to be flourishing, but not in dramatic ways. Blossom has given way to fruit but none of it is ripe. About the only thing that’s noticeably grown is the grape vine.

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It never bears fruit, but in the words of 10cc “it hides an ugly stain (alright, fence) that’s lying there”. Image: Su Leslie 2018

In all the years we’ve lived here, the vine has never produced grapes. Its utility lies instead in covering — at least for a few months a year — a particularly ugly fence.

I am a utility gardener, and while I appreciate the masking properties of the vine, I want more from it. In one of those moments which, in a movie would carry ominous soundtrack warnings, I thought it might be fun to try cooking with the vine leaves.

Fondly imagining some tasty little herby halloumi parcels, I set off across the lawn with my secateurs.

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Fresh vine leaves. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Online, I found lots of advice on blanching the leaves for preserving, and lots of recipes using preserved leaves — but not a lot on using blanched leaves more or less straight away.

With our little vine I can’t really harvest enough leaves to be worth preserving — and besides I wanted to cook NOW.

“NOW” has proved to be a very fluid term. It took me the better part of a day to figure out a combination of blanching, soaking and simmering that would render fibrous leaves edible, turning a quick snack into an edible marathon medal.

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Blanched, soaked, simmered; topped with a slice of halloumi and fresh herbs. Good to go. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The parcels themselves are pretty quick to make. I added my new favourite herb combination of oregano and lemon thyme, and cooked them in a lightly oiled skillet for a few minutes on each side.

 

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Halloumi-stuffed vine leaves with quick-pickled red onion and pomegranate seeds. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The verdict: the dish worked quite well. The pickled onions and pomegranate seeds balanced the salty cheese and I liked the background taste of the herbs. The leaves were ok; still a bit chewy and fibrous, and I wouldn’t serve them to guests.

The idea of garden to table living is incredibly appealing to me, and is indeed what I am aiming for eventually. In that context, the time spent fiddling about cooking leaves doesn’t feel wasted, and I’m not disappointed in the final outcome. I have discovered reserves of patience and tenacity I don’t always think I have, and learned quite a lot about a food I’ve only ever eaten in restaurants and as a take-away.

When I look back on my November, I realise I have spent a great deal of it on projects like this; learning and practicing skills that haven’t necessarily produced the kind of results I would want to photograph, but have changed me for the better.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Update

Little Pieces of MeChanging of the Season — November 2018 and Changing of the Season — November 2018 (Riding Edition)

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

 

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: macro

Dandelion clock. Close-up shot on green background. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Stackables and Pixlr.

Dandelion clock. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Stackables and Pixlr.

Who can resist a dandelion clock?

For a long time, I didn’t make the connection between the name given to these seed heads, and the game I played as a child — blowing on the filaments to see how many puffs it would take to dislodge them all. The number of puffs told the time.

I was a terribly serious and terribly logical child and suspect that, had I known, I would have regarded the notion with incredulity. Er, where’s the second hand?

Yesterday, when I noticed a single dandelion amongst the kikuyu and paspalum rampant in our lawn, I resisted the temptation to play the game. Instead I captured a few shots in situ, then took it inside to set against a dark background.

Dandelion clock. Black & white shot. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Stackables and Pixlr.

Dandelion clock. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed, Stackables and Pixlr.

Dandelion clock. Black and white shot; low contrast. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed, Stackables and Pixlr.

Dandelion clock. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed, Stackables and Pixlr.

Reversed-out black and white shot of dandelion clock. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed, Stackables and Pixlr.

And in reverse. Dandelion clock. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed, Stackables and Pixlr.

While I quite like the complexity of the seed head revealed in the first black and white shot, I’m definitely more drawn to the simpler, more delicate third and fourth images. What do you think?

And for a post about time, childhood and simplicity, this song by the late Jim Croce seemed perfect.

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The more things change … “

 

Father and baby son sitting on Katana motorbike. Image: Su Leslie, 1999

The Big T and our boy-child, Jan 1999 on the beloved Katana. Image: Su Leslie

Father and teenage son on Katana motorcycle. Su Leslie, 2016

Before you know it! Re-creating the shot isn’t as easy when the boy-child is almost as tall as his father, and less willing to play “hands on head”. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Nothing makes me quite so aware of time passing as looking at old photos; especially photos of my child. Is it really almost 18 years since I give birth to a tiny, skinny boy with a shock of red hair? Has 17 years truly passed since we first sat him on his dad’s motorbike?

The answers of course are “yes, and “yes”.

The boy-child will be 18 in a few weeks. He is to all intents and purposes an adult. He has a job he loves, owns a car he bought with his own savings (NOT a motorbike — he never really got bike-fever thankfully), and is proving to be a level-headed, generous, compassionate and independent human being.

In the Great Clean-Out that is part of the preparation for selling our house, I’ve found boxes and boxes of the boy-child’s stuff; toys, books, games, keepsakes. And what I’ve noticed is that those objects which hold the strongest memories for me are not the most recent acquisitions, but those from the very beginning of our life as a family, when time stretched in ways we’d never imagined, and our child’s age was measured in days and weeks, rather than years.

How can it be that I can recall every hour of his first few days, and yet 18 years have flown by?

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge.

10 things Tuesday: the perfect morning

Early morning at Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park, Nelson, New Zealand.

Early morning at Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park, Nelson, New Zealand.

Life is particularly manic at the moment and I find myself longing for a morning that isn’t full of obligation. My desires are fairly simple:

1. An early walk by water, preferably where I can watch either the sunrise or mist clearing for the day.

The sun rising over Larkings Landing, Beach Haven, Auckland. From Hobsonville Point.

The sun rising over Larkings Landing, Beach Haven, Auckland. From Hobsonville Point.

2. A well-made latte, no froth.

3. A croissant; crisp and slightly warm.

4. Some peaches; preferably Golden Queen .

Golden queen peaches; my perfect breakfast.

Golden queen peaches; my perfect breakfast.

5. A copy of The Guardian, or the Observer.

6. A comfortable chair.

7. The sun on my face.

8. Knowing the boy-child is ok (though not necessarily present)

9. The Big T, who understands companionable silence (definitely present).

10. An empty page in my calendar so that I can enjoy all of the above.

 

Here are some other “10 Things” posts I’ve enjoyed. You might too.

http://innocentnomad.com/2013/10/04/10-things-i-am-most-looking-forward-to-in-melbourne/

http://supposedtobewriting.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/10-things-i-believe/

http://picturesandpennythoughts.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/10-things/

http://tenthingsihate.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/10-things-about-me/

http://unheimlichblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/10-things-combined/

http://marthainafewwords.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/10-things-i-want-to-do-before-i-die/

http://alittlefishfacingthebigpond.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/10-things-i-love-about-living-in-london/

 

 

An unusual point of view

I'm holding a photo I took of my son, aged 2 sitting in my bedroom. I'm standing in the same spot, while my son - now 15 - takes the photo. Continuity and change.

I’m holding a photo I took of my son, aged 2 sitting in my bedroom. I’m standing in the same spot, while my son – now 15 – takes the photo.
Continuity and change.

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge theme is unusual point of view.

Here are some other posts you may like:

http://samapictures.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/weekly-photo-challenge-an-unusual-pov/

http://annethroop.com/2013/09/08/weekly-photo-challenge-an-unususl-pov/

http://retireediary.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/weekly-photo-challenge-unusual-pov/

9-8-13 Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV (#2)

http://amcnabb.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/weekly-photo-challenge-an-unusual-pov/

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV

http://chrisbreebaart.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/weekly-photo-challenge-b4-retouch-an-unusual-pov-paris-la-defense/

http://laraelkhoury.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/weekly-photo-challenge-an-unusual-pov/

http://mywordwall.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/wpc-an-unusual-pov/

http://memoriesaremadeofthisblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/weekly-photo-challenge-different-point-of-view/

http://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/weekly-photo-challenge-unusual-pov/

Framing the Foreground

http://tvortravels.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/weekly-photo-challenge-an-unusual-pov/