Posts Tagged ‘Saints’

Maiden of Michaelmas

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

This year my daughter is in 9th grade, and at her school it is, according to custom, the 9th grade girls who, garbed in long gowns and flower crowns, will tame the fierce dragon at the school’s Michaelmas festival this week. In honor of this event, I made for the first time a bread maiden to accompany our dragon bread. Perhaps it will become a new household tradition.

If you would like to make your own, here is the recipe I use (on last September’s post). I used 1-1/2 times the recipe for the two figures, which are about 14″ high. Happy Michaelmas, everyone!

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Mothers Day

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

CapitolHillGarden

On my way back from the Library of Congress one morning, it was such a beautiful day that I took my time strolling through Capitol Hill, and I came across this mysterious garden—completely fenced, with no apparent connection to any of the surrounding houses, and bearing no sign, yet obviously cared for.

Often I carry my sketchbook without taking the opportunity to use it, but this time I justified my delayed return in order to sketch a subject so suitable to the season. Happy Mothers Day, all you Blessed Mothers everywhere, past, present, and to come!

Blessing of the Animals

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and in many places this is commemorated with an annual Blessing of the Animals in local churches. But Fluffy, Fido, and Goldie will have to wait until the weekend. Washington National Cathedral holds its ceremony on Sunday, October 7th, at 2:30 pm, on the west steps. In Woodley Park (our neighborhood) there is a choice between the front lawn of All Souls Episcopal Church on Saturday, October 6th at 3 pm, and St. Thomas Apostle at 10:30 am (where there will also be coffee and donuts for the people and treats for the animals). A Google search will undoubtedly reveal a blessing near you.

StFrancisBasta

Today is also the birthday of writer and humorist Roy Blount, Jr., author of several books suitable for this day (as well as many other books on a wide variety of subjects): I Am Puppy, Hear Me Yap: The Ages of Dog; I Am the Cat, Don’t Forget That: Feline Expressions; Am I Pig Enough for You Yet?: Voices of the Barnyard; and If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs. He is also a contributor to Unleashed: Poems by Writers’ Dogs, a gift for anyone who loves both dogs and poetry.

For a sketch, a riddle, and a mini-bio of Blount, please see Language Lover.

Dragon-Baking

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Today is the feast of Michaelmas, on which we acknowledge and resolve to transform our Inner Dragons, an ongoing and elusive undertaking that is refreshed by this annual reminder. And it helps to dress ourselves and our table in red, and for breakfast to dine upon freshly baked dragon bread with honey and cider and apples from the Saturday farmers market.

Here is the recipe I use for Dragon Bread. It’s a modification of “Arkansas Hot Rolls,” one I clipped from The Washington Post at the time of Bill Clinton’s first inauguration, a recipe to which we now refer as “Bill’s Buns.” (Now, there’s a fellow who has wrestled impressively with his inner dragons.) Next year I resolve to photograph and post the steps for shaping the dough. The one pictured below is about 18” wide, making enough to share with neighbors.

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Dragon Bread

3/4 cup butter
1 cup scalded milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold water
2 T dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3 cups whole-wheat flour
More flour as needed

Combine butter and scalded milk and stir until butter is melted. Combine beaten eggs, brown sugar and salt and beat in the cold water.

Soften yeast in the lukewarm water. Combine the three mixtures and then add HALF the flour. Stir well and let this sponge rise about 45 minutes. Then stir down and add the rest of the flour and knead well about ten minutes, adding small handfuls of flour if necessary if the dough is very sticky. (This varies depending upon kind of flour and humidity.) Place in a LARGE bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise for about 2 hours.

Then shape it into a dragon (see directions for this in September 2013)—or into anything you like!—and place it on a buttered baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, with plenty of room around it for a final rising. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for about 50 minutes total. BUT you must do this in stages, covering the crisping brown edges with aluminum foil starting at about 20 minutes, to prevent them from burning. Serve with butter and honey.

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St. Anthony’s Day

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

StAnthonyDetail

Recently I misplaced, or lost, or had stolen when I was looking the other way, a small purse containing the usual basics: driver’s license, credit card, bank card, etc. Most of the items can be replaced without a lot of trouble, except for the irreplaceable sweet message from my daughter age four, and a co-op card that was a gift from my mom (I just like seeing it and thinking of her).

Well, I completely forgot about St. Anthony, and instead put my faith in the DC Department of Motor Vehicles. No wonder the purse hasn’t turned up. If you don’t know about St. Anthony, please see Something’s Lost That Can’t Be Found.

Éirinn Go Brách

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

The table is dressed in green, as we will be shortly; a pan of soda bread is about to go into the oven; and the Chieftains, John McCormack, and Tommy O’Sullivan CDs will be a-playin’. What day is it?

(Click on it if you wish to see it larger)

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CakeSprinklesSimone

The Dream

Monday, January 16th, 2012

All over the United States today, citizens are taking up one-day service projects (which will sometimes result in longer-term commitment) inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to compassion and justice. What a refreshing alternative to our customary observation of a national holiday: shopping the sales.

This is a detail of an entry in my daughter’s second grade homeschooling block, Saints, Heroes, and Heroines. For the rest of the entry, please see Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLKingDetai

CakePolkaDotsDylan

Double Anniversary

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

On this day in 1870, caricaturist Thomas Nast first used the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic party. For a Democratic donkey comic, please see March On.

And today is the actual birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), whose accomplishments and contributions we celebrate tomorrow. More on Dr. King in the Thomas Nast post, as well as tomorrow, on his national holiday.

DonkeyJourneyDetail

Let Me Sow Love

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

In honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, I post this painting of a view of his native town, along with the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, which expresses yearning for a kind of inner transformation difficult to achieve even over the course of a lifetime, but is worth regular inspirational revisiting. A baby step is at least a step.

Today is also the feast day, that is to say birthday, of writer and humorist Roy Blount, Jr. I don’t know if wild birds and hungry wolves eat tamely out of his hand, but dogs do. For a sketch, a riddle, and a mini-bio, please see Language Lover.

PinkStonesAssisi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Michaelmas/Rosh Hashanah

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

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This year two festivals of autumn fall upon the same day: Michaelmas, the feast of the dragon-conquering St. Michael the Archangel, and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. And appropriately so, since both, although from different spiritual traditions, call for reflection upon and atonement for our deeds and misdeeds of the past year and a courageous awakening to our innermost thoughts. The days now grow shorter, and as we head into winter we plan consciously to nurture the light within.

So in our family we honor the season ecumenically, if perhaps sacrilegiously, and don red garments, blow our tofu horn, say special verses and blessings to help us reflect, and share apples dipped in honey and challah baked in the shape of a dragon. A light-filled MichaelmHashanah to you.

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