Thursday, December 12, 2013

Munch: Girls on a Bridge

Today is the birth anniversary of Norwegian painter and print-maker Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Now, when you read “Edvard Munch,” you probably think of his best-known work, The Scream. But how about this idyllic scene?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

To perceive freshly

When some rare northern bird like the pine grosbeak is seen thus far south in the winter, he does not suggest poverty, but dazzles us with his beauty. There is in them a warmth akin to the warmth that melts the icicle. Think of these brilliant, warm-colored, and richly warbling birds, birds of paradise, dainty-footed, downy-clad, in the midst of a New England, a Canadian winter. The woods and fields, now somewhat solitary, being deserted by their more tender summer residents, are now frequented by these rich but delicately tinted and hardy northern immigrants of the air. Here is no imperfection to be suggested. The winter, with its snow and ice, is not an evil to be corrected. It is as it was designed and made to be, for the artist has had leisure to add beauty to use. My acquaintances, angels from the north. I had a vision thus prospectively of these birds as I stood in the swamps. I saw this familiar—too familiar—fact at a different angle, and I was charmed and haunted by it. But I could only attain to be thrilled and enchanted, as by the sound of a strain of music dying away. I had seen into paradisaic regions, with the air and sky, and I was no longer wholly or merely a denizen of this vulgar earth. Yet had I hardly a foothold there. I was only sure that I was charmed, and no mistake. It was only necessary to behold thus the least fact or phenomenon, however familiar, from a hair’s breadth aside from our habitual path or routine, to be overcome, enchanted by its beauty and significance. Only what we have touched and worn is trivial,—our scurf, repetition, tradition, conformity. To perceive freshly, with fresh senses, is to be inspired. Great winter itself looked like a precious gem, reflecting rainbow colors from one angle.

—From the Journal of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), December 11, 1855.

A Bloody Stain

My response to an editorial in the New York Times on the perceived utility of guns in our society:

The bloody stain of our obsession with guns, and our passionate belief that guns are necessary tools in our everyday lives, seeps beyond human society. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Birds

Today’s snow brought the birds in to the feeders. These were all present within the space of about a half hour this afternoon:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Handy Guide to Holiday Greetings

Just in case you really, really don't know how to respond when someone wishes you well.


Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

Looking for an elegant appetizer or a tasty item for a small luncheon or summer supper? Something to impress your enemies, or delight your friends? 

This Zucchina and Ricotta Galette is worth every minute of preparation: Inside the buttery, flaky crust is a perfect balance of savory cheeses, vegetables, and flavor.

And of course, the presentation is stunning even when it doesn't come out perfectly round, such as the one I made, shown at left.

I found the recipe at my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, and made some modifications to suit my own kitchen and my own tastes, such as adding tomatoes over the top. 

Though this original zucchini version is delicious, I also like the spinach variation I devised, described at the end of the post.

Here's how to make the galette, step by step. The complete recipe is given at the end of the post.

Do try it! It's not difficult, and you will enjoy the result.

Chill a bottle of your favorite Pinot Grigio, and get started.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Visit to Topsmead

A visit to Topsmead State Forest in Connecticut, with D.

Many photos: 

To console

“Art is to console those who are broken by life.”

— Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Dutch painter

Via K

Roses by Vincent Van Gogh. Oil on canvas, 1890. National Gallery, Washington DC. Photos by Quodlibet ©2012

[click to view]

At Twilight

This is a White-throated Sparrow, foraging a last meal before darkness falls.