Cranberries

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almost harvest time
flooding of bogs in progress
floating fruit to follow

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Rituals

 

And the rituals of Fall begin in earnest
once the thermostat calls for heat.
Air conditioner vents closed,
as the furnace assumes its place of dominance
for the long months ahead.
Mums and pumpkins guard the door.
Squash and apples fill bowls on the kitchen counter.
Happens quickly and predictably.
We know it’s coming, so why the surprise?
Mornings are slow to arrive.
Open drapes frame blinking yellow
among the green in the oaks in the yard.
All but empty beach still a draw,
but sweatshirts protect against the October chill.
Blue water of summer tending towards gray.
Pumpkin carving trumping sand castle building
as the project of the day.
And so we’ll reach for fleece to ward off the chill;
bake a pie perhaps, or stir a pot of soup.
Each season has its own rituals.
In Fall, we button up and wind down.

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Bringing Sally Lunns Home

 

One of my favorite meals in Bath was at Sally Lunn’s, the home of the famous Sally Lunn Bun. This iconic brioche-like creation can be used as a base for butter and jam, (or even better, clotted cream) paired with a cup of tea. It can also be split and toasted for breakfast in place of toast. Since it has only a touch of sweetness, it can also be used as a “trencher” at the base of a savory stew. To be fair, when we saw the word “trencher” on the menu, we had to ask what it meant!

The buns at Sally Lunn’s were bigger and flatter than the ones I made at home. Not having the appropriate rings to create the authentic size, I opted to use muffin tins. The flavor and texture rang true.

There are many recipes on line for Sally Lunn Buns. I took a few ideas from other sources, but primarily followed a recipe from King Arthur Flour. The plus side to these buns is that they are basically a batter bread that doesn’t require kneading. The downside is that the dough is so sticky that you couldn’t knead it if you wanted to! But the end result is a delightful little bun with a tender crumb.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
6 TBS butter
1/4 cup sugar ( I put the sugar in a mini food processor to make it more fine, since caster sugar was recommended in some British recipes, but it’s not necessary.)
1 TBS lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
2 large eggs
1 TBS instant yeast

Method:

1. Combine the milk, butter, and sugar. Heat until lukewarm, and the butter is melted. Pour into a mixing bowl.
2. If the liquid is very hot, let it cool somewhat before continuing. Over 115-120 degrees is likely to kill the yeast.
3. Add the lemon zest, salt, 2 cups flour, eggs, and yeast. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour. Beat for an additional 3 minutes. Dough will be soft and very sticky.
5. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free space for about an hour until almost doubled in bulk.
6. You’ll need two 12 cup muffin tins even though the recipe makes only 18 buns. Lightly grease 18 of the cups.
7. Divide the dough among the 18 cups, filling each slightly more than half full.
8. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes until puffy. Pre-heat oven to 350.
9. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

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Great Britain

There were abbeys and castles,
cream teas and Scottish pasties,
daunting “full English” breakfasts.
The history and grandeur of the Roman Baths,
and the serenades of street musicians
at every turn in lovely Bath Spa.
The long climb to the awe inspiring castle
that looms over Edinburgh.
Shiny red double-decker buses
and crushing crowds of tourists.
A memorable boat ride down the Thames to Greenwich.
Othello at the re-imagined Globe.
A poignant visit to Stratford,
whose paths I walked as a student long ago.
Those paths now the stuff of pedestrian malls,
interactive presentations, and souvenir shops.
Shakespeare’s memory is alive and well,
but both Stratford and I have changed in fifty years.
The memories I will cling to
revolve around the towns of the Cotswolds.
For me, the quintessential England lives on
in the Cotswold stone of the cottages, the clusters of flowers.
and the sweet scent of lavender
that perfumes the crystal clear stream
that gently meanders through Bourton on the Water.

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Signs of Fall

Subtle signs
of change.
Newly quiet
bike path
strewn with
a delicate dusting
of leaves.
Cluster bursts
of color
on a still green surround.
Subdued sunlight
flickering

over a peaceful marsh.

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Red Boat

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lone contrarian
vivid dingy floats alone
confident and proud

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Welcome September

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Chapoquoit sunset
splendid farewell to August
welcome September

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