Sunday, April 22, 2018

Blooming in the Vineyards

Wine is like rain: when it falls on the mire it but makes it fouler,
but when it strikes the good soil wakes it to beauty and bloom.
John Milton Hay, American statesman and poet (1838–1905)

Memories of last weekend's ice storm and our long winter dissolved with the blooming colours that greeted The Three Winos in the vintners' shops as we wandered the trail of Twenty Valley's Get Fresh passport programme. What a cheery welcome we received at our first stop, Good Earth Food and Wine Co., where we enjoyed its spring-fresh Riesling along with a Spring Scallion, Pea and Ricotta Quiche.

While I won't make a habit of pairing my vintage with candy, the burst of sweet colour at Creekside Estate Winery was irresistible.

Perhaps the tastiest pairing was the Spicy Thai Shrimp Bites that accompanied Di Profio Wines' Kitchen Zinc. The vintner's blend of everything but the kitchen sink is a personal favourite. We have promised ourselves to put the passport's recipe book to good use this summer and recreate this scene on Bro's patio. And we certainly look forward to sharing today's experience with our fourth companion oenophile who inspired our memorable foray among Niagara wineries a fortnight ago.

It seems that Twenty Valley wineries consistently aspire to present ever more superlative food pairings. I won't be shucking oysters at home but I certainly enjoyed Redstone Winery's East Coast Oyster with Mango and Tarragon Mignonette.

I was certainly blooming yesterday and can't wait to see what's on the menu today. Stayed tuned for an update. :-)

7 pm Update

With evidence of spring bursting out of the ground, the bees and oenophiles alike were feeling quite chipper today.

The crocuses bloomed at the soon-to-be-former Mike Weir Winery. The Three Winos took a detour from the passport route to sit on the balcony and toast our favourite view over vineyards to Lake Ontario before the winery's doors close at the end of the month. We will watch to see what happens next at this spectacular site.

The passport programme always offers a surprise or two. This year, we were pleasantly surprised by Rosewood Estates Winery's "Locked & Loaded White" that was paired with Onion Bhaji and Chana Masala. Both were delicious and brought out the best in each other!

We knew we would enjoy Sue-Ann Staff's Fancy Farm Girl Flamboyant Red but what thrilled our taste buds was its pairing with a Mexican S'more. The marshmallow included a hint of cinnamon while the dark chocolate was perked up with cinnamon and crushed chilies.

The Tawse pairing of an arancini with a sparkling rose was dressed up with a spring-like bottled bouquet and fairy lights. The temperatures today reached a lovely 17 C. My spirits rose too thanks to the camaraderie and another fantastic Get Fresh event.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Comforting Hymns

Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.
Plato, Greek philosopher (424—348 BC)

I take much comfort from Sunday worship: from the scripture readings, the sermon, the songs, and the community. Something will touch an inner chord, perhaps one strung too tightly or one that has been silent too long, and I am taken by surprise by an unexpected visceral or cerebral response which can be cathartic or stimulating.

Hymns have the power to soothe and inspire. As Plato perceived, their rhythm and harmony transports meaningful lyrics deep within. Today's hymn reminded that there is eternal light and love. Their confirmation inspires hope during gray times.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Music's Lessons

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.
Plato, Greek philosopher (424-348 BC)

The lulling sonance created by Julia Seager-Scott with her Italian baroque triple harp and Gaelic harp (a clarsach) relaxed me from all concerns of this realm into a higher, peaceful plane. I closed my eyes and let my mind be soothed by the gentle music. Wise old Plato might say that my soul's character was enriched by the music -- and I would agree. That such intimate concerts by high calibre artists can be enjoyed for a mere $15 is a blessing. Realizing that I need to educate my soul with more of Julia's harp and clarsach, I bought her CD.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Ethereal Companion

Sun dogs and moon dogs are beautiful accents to a winter day or night as the rainbow is to a showery Summer day.
Hal Borland, American author, journalist and naturalist (1900-1978) in Sundial of the Seasons

Trekking westward across country on the top level of a doubledecker bus provided a spectacular view of a radiant sun dog. Even the dirty window only added to the magic of the view. Here was my ethereal companion for the journey.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Piecing the Puzzle

You are a piece of the puzzle in someone else's life. You may never know where you fit, but others will fill the holes in their lives with pieces of you.

My home is a mess and it's S-I-L's fault. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

With the seasonal festivities having ebbed and a few days off from work, I planned to clean house today; instead, I have spent the day in my pj's engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle that S-I-L picked out for me for Christmas. It's a beautiful Venetian scene that looks so similar to a favourite canal-side trattoria in La Serenissima. In real life and in the puzzle image I love the multiple layers of textures, so I'm hooked and only a minimal amount of housework got done.

Several times over the day I have sworn that the puzzle manufacturer had purposefully left out a piece just to drive me crazy. Yet, with a bit of patience each 'missing' piece has been found and put in its place to help me complete the big picture. I am figuring that there is a moral here that I am to learn. So housework can wait. ;-)

I am pleased to report that after 67 hours and 15 cups of coffee the puzzle is complete. There were no missing pieces -- after I gave the carpet a shake to find the 1000th one to be put in its place. I now face the dilemma of what to do with it. I could put it back in the box and create an annual post-Christmas tradition. Time will tell.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day Rest

Rest and be thankful.
William Wadsworth

Boxing Day has been a day of rest for which I am thankful. Cat, too, seemed well pleased to be curled up with Mom on the sofa. My return to the ol' homestead this afternoon scored a box full of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, turnip, and brussels sprouts. A veritable feast that might just include a piece of pie or two. ;-)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

It’s sharing your gifts, not purchasing gifts;
It’s not wrapping presents, its being present
and wrapping your arms around the ones you love;
It’s not getting Christmas cards out on time,
It’s sending any card, anytime, at the right time;
It’s not having the biggest and best Christmas light display,
It’s displaying the Christ light that comes from your heart;
It’s not Santa coming down the chimney,
It’s Jesus coming down from heaven,
and giving us the gifts of hope, peace, joy,  love and eternal life.

Family gathered at the old homestead to share the joy of Christmas.

A thick blanket of snow covered my hometown on Christmas eve. While driving was a bit tricky, the snow hushed the sounds of the city and smoothed over all the jagged edges into soft focus.

Earlier the children performed the ancient pageant. A young family and their newborn played the lead roles. As little voices sang Away in the Manager and a family in a forward pew entwined arms, tears glistened my cheek.

It's been a wonderful Christmas. My hope is that all my kind readers feel embraced - now and always - even in solitary times.

Merry Christmas!