Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Welcoming Home Begins in the Garden ~ The Joy of Living Like Peasants

"Eating, and hospitality in general, is a communion, and any meal worth attending by yourself is improved by the multitudes of those with whom it is shared."
~Jesse Browner*

See the hovering hummingbird- when an object is as useful as it is beautiful, the sum is more than its parts. 

A hummingbird feeder is just a lonely objet d'art unless these littlest of angels beat their little wings 79 times per second to refuel for their life's mission as fairy-sized acrobats.  

The blown glass feeder used to have a bent tube hanging down from it. Fill it,  within a day, it dripped dry. Good for clothes: not for feeders. 

To turn it into a communion station for hummers, the first issue to address was dripping- out. Armstrong's Garden Center sold replacement parts such as the stopper- style reservoir shown in the picture above. It was a bit larger than the fitting: but a little shaving of the rubber-like substance with a very sharp pocket knife - the retrofit perfectly tailored the pieces. 

 Meyer Lemon is a fort to migrating hummingbirds

Only problem, the hummingbirds still weren't tempted.  My goal is to have them gather around the garden like the multitudes coming to hear Jesus deliver The Sermon on the Mount. 

'Sermon on the Mount' on the north wall of the Sistine Chapel by Cossimo Rosselli, 
That was the day 5,000 were fed from 5 barley loaves and a couple little fishies. 

I believe in miracles. But I am not Jesus. The feeder needed better advertising. 

I have read that these little territorial birds who zip through the sky like Tinkerbell  aren't attracted to scent. 

Kumquat and tabebuia 
Yet, recorded in years of observation: when the side yard is redolent with the scents of citrus fruits and flowers- you hear hummingbirds chattering within the branches. They sound like they are as crowded as crows in a certain Alfred Hitchcock movie

Product Details

What would happen if I dropped in a bit of rose extract? 

The answer: Magic. 

The recipe - you won't need to write it down. It is simply

1/4 to/2 cup Baker's Sugar**

2 Cups Water 
A few drops Rose Extract 

Stir. Pour. Stand Back.  Enjoy. 

(l-r) Reno and Tahoe, faithful companions to us and each other 
But man cannot live for birds alone. We are nicer people now that we we are ruled by our dogs.

Our forever puppies live for company coming. It means they'll  be our early warning system, heralding the arrival of anyone or anything as close as the sidewalk across the street. Then they'll protect us if those entering are foes, not friends. Then they'll get to show off all their nifty tricks in exchange for treats. 

If wine is served before a meal, cheeses and salami soften the impact of wine before the meal
Not the human kind. 

The platter was to share with Bill. A visitor from out of state.  Someone who had once been an important part of my husband's daily work life. 

The menu was planned to match the weather and what is left in the neglected wine stock. Perhaps hardest was keeping to ingredients available without leaving Diamond Bar: no one moves to Diamond Bar for the shopping.

  A decade had past since the three of us had broken bread together. It was like yesterday. 

 The moment the door was opened when our guest arrived, the bounty of Ina Garten's Beef Bourguinon  announced itself. This was the first time for this version of a main dish perfect for a rare chilly evening in Southern California. I was a bit concerned that a whole bottle of Pinot Noir and a half cup of cognac might be too rich. I needn't have been.

Dinner was served.

Warm Country bread was pulled from the oven, fresh butter spooned into little side bowls such as used for condiments.  

To perform as counterpoint to the richness of the main course, a bed of butter lettuce was piled  high with dried cherries, glazed pecans, pieces of pear and shavings of Parmesan cheese. Balsamic dressing drizzled sparkling sweetness to the tongue. 

Mounded on each person's main plate was a hill of potatoes whipped with real butter and rich cream. As ladles turning over the contents from the pot to the plates indented and flowed over the potatoes, it was  easy to be thankful.  

A vintage Singer Sewing cabinet makes self-serve effortlessly glamorous.
Once upon a time, this meal was derided as peasant food. Nowadays,  a meal such as this is a sign of love. 

As we are commanded by our Lord, in John 13:34 "To love one another." we should make time to live more like peasants. Gardening, cooking and eating together. 

Until we meet again, Thank YOU for all YOU do to make the world more beautiful!

Jesse Browner is an American author. The quote is courtesy of

**Baker's sugar is recommended  because it dissolves quicker and stays clear longer- but regular granulated sugar is also fine. 


  1. Looked and sounded like a marvalous dinner! Love the pup's picture! xo

  2. Wonderful dinner! If I'm not mistaken Ina is the Barefoot Contessa. Love her.
    I have to hand it to you to cook and entertain at home. Such a nice and friendly thing to do. The only cooking I do for company is for my family when they come to visit.

    John just put out our Hummer feeders. Within a day it was empty so he will need to put out the second one OR the huge one.

    Good blog with lots of interesting subjects!

    XO Trisha

  3. What a warm welcome you make for your beloveds. From the hummers to those pampered puppies to Bill :-) Everything speaks of a warm hug.

    Hope you haven't lost too many of those beautiful things in the shaking our world got in the last 24 hours. Looking forward to reading about it soon.


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