Lunch by the Dee River

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While Mark was visiting Ellesmere College we went to meet some of our friend’s friends for lunch.  We went to a beautiful place right on the Dee River, at a border town with Wales.  That’s why the road signs and menu are all written in Welsh too.  So I guess we can say that we visited another country while in England, right?

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A beautiful place.

DSC_0233-smallAnd we got to meet three lovely ladies.

DSC_0231-small DSC_0229-small DSC_0228-small DSC_0234-smallHad some great food as a bonus.

DSC_0227-small DSC_0237-smallOh… and a lovely view too.

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Passed these buildings was the parking lot and fields.

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Before heading home we stopped by the river to splash a little. 

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That’s where we were sitting earlier having our lunch. What a sight.  Beautifully wonderful.


Posted in England, Food, Summer, travels | Leave a comment

last (two) weeks…


The last two weeks has been busy and really fun at the same time.  With summer ending, we had guests, lots of happening in the kitchen and the garden, and getting our new routines set up.


… we had a special guest.  We played.  The kids played their games with Glendie and she played Scrabble with me every night, and we all played together other games.  We went to the river.  We canned.  We pickled.  We talked.  We sewed.  We listened.  We laughed.  Oh what a bunch of days!  A fun visit.  Thanks Glendie for everything!



… cleaned, cleaned and cleaned.  The living room, the dining room, the bedrooms, the drawers, the basement (a little), the curtains… getting ready.  But not everything is put back together.  We are slowly getting ready.

… I found this picture of Mt Hood that I really like at the thrift store.  And now I think I know where to put it.


… I sewed and knitted some too.

canned, lots of produce!  It feels good to see the shelves all lined up with different colors of foods. Love it! (I started a list of foods Put Up this year, on the side bar.  It’s been fun to have it in a list like that, besides the beautiful colors lining our shelves.)

cooked too.

… have seen lots of playing everywhere.  I know the weather will turn and so will the playing.  For now, I am enjoying what I see and find spread all around.



… thoroughly enjoyed the rain we had one day and the cloudy days last weekend.  And enjoyed somewhat the high temperatures of this week as well, but wishing we could be hanging out at a creek or a lake all day though.

… we watched another movie last night with some friends in our backyard.  I really enjoyed it.  We’ll have to do a few more before it starts to rain.


… we did go to the river one of the days, while most of the kids were in school.  We are still enjoying the last of the summer days, swimming around.

… Mark’s grandma is celebrating 95 years old this month.  I really wish we could be closer to her.  It would be so special to celebrate with her.

… Lucas started Fall Ball.  Baseball playing in the fall, a first for him and us.  He had three practices this week and is so excited to be learning new things and playing baseball for a little while longer.

… we spent some time with our nephew who has lived out of town up until now.  We are catching up in lots of playing.


There were breakfast shared, and dinners and lunches, and capes being made…

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So many things to catch up with in these past 3 years.  Oh my.

DSC_0003-smallWelcome home.

… I found this link… oh my.  It seems old.  Seems from very long time ago. That makes me feel very old… was I in high school listening to Soda Estéreo! Man… time goes by really fast.

Oh and this one… brings back so many memories.  I think I had my hair like that too.  It was the late eighties… totally cool!  Right?

… enjoyed eating two kinds of grapes given by two different neighbors.  I do love grapes, and it’s so nice to be given such a delicious sweet treat.  Can’t wait for ours to start producing! (In few years, I think.)

… have loved seeing Mark and Siena come in from their trip to the garden with arms full of vegetables.  Cucumbers, zucchinis, eggplants, tomatoes, basil, lovage, peppers… oh such a treat!

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… we picked the unit we’ll start with this week.  We are back to formal homeschooling days and with our new activities and classes.  We are excited to get started.

… read about Nicanor Parra’s celebrating 100 years of age.


And to celebrate I’d like to share the poem that was read in  Chile last Friday, on his 100th birthday, throughout the country in celebration.  El Hombre Imaginario (The Imaginary Man.)

El hombre imaginario
vive en una mansión imaginaria 
rodeada de árboles imaginarios 
a la orilla de un río imaginario

De los muros que son imaginarios 
penden antiguos cuadros imaginarios 
irreparables grietas imaginarias 
que representan hechos imaginarios 
ocurridos en mundos imaginarios 
en lugares y tiempos imaginarios

Todas las tardes tardes imaginarias 
sube las escaleras imaginarias 
y se asoma al balcón imaginario 
a mirar el paisaje imaginario 
que consiste en un valle imaginario 
circundado de cerros imaginarios

Sombras imaginarias
vienen por el camino imaginario
entonando canciones imaginarias 
a la muerte del sol imaginario

Y en las noches de luna imaginaria 
sueña con la mujer imaginaria 
que le brindó su amor imaginario 
vuelve a sentir ese mismo dolor 
ese mismo placer imaginario 
y vuelve a palpitar 
el corazón del hombre imaginario.

—Nicanor Parra.

image53e50c9c3f8bc7.42067244A poet, a physicist, a mathematician, one of the most influential poets in Latin America.  Happy 100th Birthday.

The imaginary man
Lives in an imaginary mansion
Surrounded by imaginary trees
At the banks of an imaginary river.

From the walls that are imaginary
Hang old, imaginary paintings
Unmendable, imaginary cracks
Representing imaginary events
That happened on imaginary worlds
On imaginary places and times.

Every afternoon, imaginary afternoons
He climbs the imaginary stairs
And he looks through the imaginary balcony
To look the imaginary landscape
That’s formed by an imaginary valley
Surrounded by imaginary mountains.

Imaginary shadows
Come by the imaginary road
Singing imaginary songs
By the death of the imaginary sun.

And on the nights of imaginary moon
He dreams of the imaginary woman
That gave him her imaginary love
And he feels the same pain again
The same imaginary pleasure
And it beats again
The heart of the imaginary man.

— Nicanor Parra

Pictures obtained from the internet.

Pictures obtained from the internet.

I should be so lucky to live to 100.

Posted in right now, Summer | Leave a comment

this week in my kitchen :: blog hop

Our kitchen this past week has been a busy one.  Lots of making and putting up but not everything got its picture taken.

Following Heather’s blog hop (from Beauty That Moves) with what’s been happening at our home.

“A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home.”       — Heather

DSC_0040-small DSC_0046-smallLucas went to a friend’s house for a sleep over and came back with the “best sandwich he’s ever tried” recipe, and yes, it was so good!

DSC_0047-small DSC_0041-smallCorn is in season now.  I love corn on the cob.

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The garden is producing like crazy.  I think this is the best year we’ve ever had.  Everything is growing amazingly.  Now, we are in putting up mode.  Drying, canning, freezing, eating, trying all of them. 


DSC_0079-small DSC_0081-small DSC_0082-small DSC_0088-small DSC_0044-smallGherkins ready to try fermenting..

DSC_0043-small DSC_0084-smallAnd canned as well.

DSC_0074-smallSiena and Lucas requested to can pickled garlic.  We’ve never made them before, but I figured we could do them like the dill pickles we’ve done before and also found a different recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. We’ll see how they turned out.

DSC_0076-smallThank goodness we had some help too!

DSC_0078-small DSC_0085-smallThey look pretty!

DSC_0083-smallYes, lots of canning.  Lots.  You can see our running list of food put up this season.  It’s looking good!

DSC_0071-smallLoads of tomatoes from our garden.  I think more than 40 pounds this summer.

DSC_0036-smallOut kitchen is a busy space these days.

DSC_0037-smallSo is the compost bin.

DSC_0042-small DSC_0038-small DSC_0049-smallThe kids are grown enough that they can help us get the canning going.  With Glendie visiting and helping us can the peaches this year, I think it has been the easiest canning event we’ve had in the last 13 years.  (Thank you so much Glendie!)DSC_0053-smallJar after jar, filled with delicious beautiful foods.

DSC_0058-smallEveryone was helping in the best way they could.

DSC_0061-small DSC_0073-smallUntil we saw all these jars lined up.  Tomato sauce, tomatoes, peaches, pickled beets, pickles, garlic, pesto… so many delicious foods ready to be eaten when the weather doesn’t allow us pick from our garden.  The freezer and these jars are what we will reach for, come the cold winter months.  There will be a little bit of sunshine in our table and some beautiful memories of canning and time spent together.

DSC_0006-smallAt the end of the day, we are tired.  My hands are dried.  My shoulders weigh and are a little sore these days.  But how nice it is to see our shelves ad freezer stocked, of all different colors. I know these will be enjoyed by my family and friends in the coming months.

And this evening, we celebrated the beginning of our new days, with the chocolate zucchini cake I’ve made before.  Because there’s always a good reason for a cake.  Right?


Posted in family, Food, home, right now | 6 Comments

getting ready

Yes, we are getting ready for the cooler days, that move us in a little more.


Our summers are spent outside from breakfast to dinner and after that too.  Sometimes even before breakfast (which are not very early) we are outside cleaning, getting the clothes, or picking apples.  And of course, after dinner there is still time for playing, catching up with friends, running around, starting a fire and watching movies.  Oh summer, how much fun it is.



But I do need to say that fall is my favorite time of the year.  So colorful, in a different way than spring is with all its flowers starting to bloom.  Autumn is the time we start anew.  A new school year for all of us.  New dreams, new goals, new classes, new skills, new plans, new books, new students (for Mark), new lots of things.  And it feels like a great beginning in our lives.


And so does our home.


With new beginnings we also need to start fresh around the house.  Clean shelves, taking out games and books we no longer need.  Leaving space for the new that is to start.



And because the colder days are coming our way, we need to ready our home, our spaces for spending more time indoors.  And I love the feeling of this tradition of sorts, the deep cleaning and purging of things we no longer need.

DSC_0013-small DSC_0015-smallI found this poster by Nikki McClure at the thrift store for few cents this weekend, and besides the ones we have in our bedroom, feels so appropriate for what’s to come.  We are getting ready to resume our fall activities, with a new year ahead of us. It feels good.


Posted in autumn, family, home, Summer, traditions | 2 Comments

Ellesmere College, England


Ellesmere College is a private (that is independent, but it’s called “public” in England) high school. It is where our friend used to work, and where Mark visited for a day while we were in England.

Ros organized a visit for Mark to the school with a physics teacher.  So Mark got to hang out with him for a whole day, visiting the school, different science classes, attend physics class, have lunch at the school, and check out a school somewhere other than home.

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He had fun.  One of the great moments of that day, was in the morning, at their assembly, while he was sitting down listening, when he saw a kid he thought he had met in his classroom when he was teaching in India, three years ago.  He thought about it, and didn’t give it much thought.  Right?  What were the chances…

Until after the assembly this student came to Mark and said Hello.  Yup!  That was the same student he had in his physics class at Scindia School (in Gwalior, India) three years ago.  To say the least, they were both shocked to have met again randomly in a foreign country for both of them, half the world across from their own home.  What a treat it was.  Though Ellesmere College has students visit from Scindia periodically, it is pretty lucky for Mark that he would get to see an old student of his from his short stay as a visiting teacher in India.  It all makes the world seem so small.

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DSC_0279-smallA beautiful campus.  The buildings, oh my.  I wish I could have seen them without these scaffoldings.  But even so… beautiful!

DSC_0282-small DSC_0281-smallPracticing Cricket.  We were planning on going to see a game the following day, but it was rained out. So it’s going to have to be on our next trip.


Posted in England, friends, global, India, travels | Leave a comment

The Canals : Waterways in England


On our third day with our friends Mac and Ros, we went for a walk to see the beautiful English countryside.  We went to Ellesmere.  I wrote a little about it yesterday.

DSC_0026-smallThis is a canal.  The Shropshire Union Canal.  These are man-made channels for water, built around 1790’s, with a huge importance for the commerce of the country.  It runs south, eastward.

DSC_0030-small DSC_0024-small DSC_0031-smallThere were no boasts available to try an adventure in these waters, so we’ll have to try it at another time.

DSC_0033-small DSC_0034-small DSC_0035-small DSC_0032-small DSC_0038-small DSC_0036-small DSC_0037-small DSC_0043-smallI think Lucas and Siena would have liked to have gone swimming, but we decided not to do it this time.

DSC_0044-small DSC_0047-smallOne of the boats was selling candy and snacks.

DSC_0048-small DSC_0049-small DSC_0039-small DSC_0050-small DSC_0053-smallSome of these boats are for rent, some are private homes.

DSC_0054-small DSC_0051-smallA place to tie the boats.

DSC_0055-small DSC_0058-small DSC_0059-small DSC_0060-smallThis one, has solar panels.  We saw solar panels in lots of homes and places.  I think there were more than I see here at home in the Pacific Northwest of the US.

DSC_0061-small DSC_0062-small DSC_0056-small DSC_0063-smallA beautiful town in the countryside.  If you are enjoying our trip, there is more to come.  We don’t want to forget!

Posted in England, family, friends, Summer, travels | Leave a comment

Ellesmere, Shropshire


A market town, like Wem, Ellesmere is in the northern part of Shropshire.  It has the largest natural mere (lake) outside the Lake District, without a natural flow of water into it.  And we went for a walk. 



Ellesmere doesn’t have a mall.  It’s a small town, of just over 3,000 people, northwest of Wem, and just few minutes from Wales.  A small with Medieval streets, Georgian homes and half timbered buildings.



You can see the new homes being built.



But the old ones are predominant.  And how I love those buildings.  Beautiful homes.

DSC_0067-small DSC_0070-small DSC_0066-small DSC_0071-small DSC_0072-small DSC_0073-small DSC_0069-small DSC_0074-small DSC_0075-small DSC_0076-small DSC_0079-small DSC_0082-small DSC_0077-smallDidn’t try these Fish and Chips here, but we did have some somewhere else.

DSC_0087-small DSC_0080-small DSC_0084-small DSC_0083-small DSC_0086-small DSC_0089-smallI love seeing the recycling, no matter where we are.


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A walk can’t get any better than this.  Can’t it?

Posted in England, friends, history + geography, Summer, travels | Leave a comment