I think of mother when I see
Tall chestnut candles on a tree,
My mother always kept a light,
For us when we were out at night.
I think of her when roses shed,
Their petals on a flower bed,
Like silken dresses spread to dry,
Beneath a breathless summer sky.
The smell of new bread makes me see
The old farm house that used to be,
A place where laughter, joy and tears,
Journeyed together down the years.
White Christmas days . . . star-studded nights,
The heavens filled with Northern lights,
Warm evenings in the summer time,
An old brass cowbell's homely chime.
I think of her and all she meant,
The grace and kindliness she lent
To every common household chore;
Her welcome ever at the door,
I am so rich in memories
Of ordinary things like these.
A loaf of bread . . . a porch light on,
An old dog sleeping on the lawn.
Edna Jacques is one of my favourite Canadian Poets. My mother had a slim green volumn of her poems in the old bookcase in our living room. As a child I often took it out and read the words on it's pages . . . they were so beautiful to me . . .
When I left grew up, married and left home . . . my mother gifted me with that book. Oh how I cherished it. It disappeared during one of my many moves during the years and it was like I had lost a lifelong friend. I was able to find one in a used book shop a number of years back and it has become one of my treasures . . .
There is a handwritten inscription inside it's cover . . . it reads simply . . .
"Best wishes Grandma
Christmas . . . 1953"
It makes me wonder . . . who was Grandma. I am sure she must have been a woman, treasured by family . . . with a sweet heart for poetry. Love isn't mentioned there . . . but I can feel it when I brush my fingers across the fading ink. She was a woman blessed with all those things in life that mean the most.
This poem I have showcased here today was my mother's favourite poem in the book. She spoke of it to me . . . how it reminded her of her Grandmother's old house, the house she had been born in, and how her Grandmother had had roses growing by the back door . . . my mother has some very sweet memories of her growing up years spent in that house, and I love to listen to them . . . I have always loved to listen to them.
These are the treasures of life. The small and simple things that money just can't buy.
*Heaven and Earth Casserole*
Sweet potatoes make a change from regular potatoes. It may sound like an unusual combination to put together sweet potatoes, onions and apples, but trust me when I say they go together beautifully!!! The original recipe was called Sausage and Sweet Potato Casserole, but I changed it to Heaven and Earth, because to me it epitomizes all the best of both . . . the apples from the tops of heavily laden apple trees, and the sweet potatoes and onions from the earth, and everything in between . . .
1 pound of pork chipolata sausages (I used Cumberland)
3 cups peeled and thinly sliced raw sweet potatoes
½ cup peeled and sliced onion
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 peeled and thinly sliced apples
1 TBS packed brown sugar
¼ cup chicken stock
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/gas mark 6. Lightly grease a casserole dish and set it aside. Start browning the sausages in a heavy skillet over medium low heat.
Begin layering the vegetables in the prepared casserole dish. Start with some sweet potatoes and the apples. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Then layer on some onion. Repeat the layers until all are used up, ending with a final layer of sweet potatoes. Pour the ¼ cup of stock over all, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over top, and then put on the lid. Bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Top with the sausages and scatter the cheese evenly over top. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and beginning to turn golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving. Delicious!
In The English Kitchen today . . . Apple Butterscotch Pudding Cake.