Stuffed Ambercup Squash with Champagne

The last day of September has arrived. Golden afternoon sun moves into the long shadows of the fir trees outside her window. Leaving the bed with its crumpled woolen throw and Barbara Kingsolver’s Orange Prize The Lacuna, she climbs the shallow steps up to the kitchen and looks at the orange Ambercup squash on the counter. She hadn’t planned to cook this harvest poster vegetable yet but there are shallots in the wicker basket beside it. She muses about the great handfuls of parsley in her kitchen garden. Then there is that beautiful plump sage over by the fence. Of course it will need some thyme and just a bit of rosemary. By now she has put on her oversized apron and garden clogs and is out in the potager gathering the herbs.

“We are having stuffed squash with shallots, apples and pumpkin seeds” she shouts up to where her husband is working on securing another deer fence at the back of the yard.

He straightens up with a grin that reaches right to the back of his soft brown eyes. He knows that she knows that squash is his favourite food. She grins back.

With a fist full of herbs she is back at the kitchen counter. There is only one way to safely take the head off of a squash. It is with a large heavy cleaver. If hitting the cleaver with the back of her hand doesn’t slice the tough hide of the squash, she resorts to using the rubber mallet from the tool shed to pound it through. This method has never failed her. Today no rubber mallet is necessary.

With the insides of the squash composted, she is ready to make the house smell like savory heaven. She is sure there is a garlic clove over in the garlic holder. Yes, there it is. Butter, lots of butter – well, first a little olive oil is drizzled into the well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. The garlic, shallots and herbs are chopped and ready. A few slices of that heavy multi-grain bread filled with seeds cubed will do nicely. Two small this-year Macintosh apples are sliced and added unpeeled. She eats three pieces of their tart flesh before they make it into the mix. Fresh ground nutmeg and some of that fresh ground allspice too.  Now let’s see… a few pumpkin seeds, maybe a handful. Finally some sea salt and pepper ground with wrist snapping vigor.

“That about does it,” she mutters to the kitchen wall.

Hanging up her apron she remembers wine. She has forgotten to buy wine.

Well, there are a couple of small bottles of champagne chilled that she was given by a friend in August for her birthday. Squash with champagne it will be.

Stuffed and the lid pinned on with large tooth picks, she places the squash on an old pie plate with a bit of water in the bottom and a piece of tinfoil loosely over top. The oven has been warmed to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and the timer is set for an hour even though she knows it will likely take a bit longer.

She thinks that maybe she should write out the recipe but what would she say? Seize a medium sized winter squash and a few shallots. Then keep adding ingredients until you find that you have closed the oven door. Done!

Sprout Question: Can you share your creative recipe?

Best of the weekend to you!

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Everything from Soup to Nuts

We are not to the bottom of the barrel quite yet but we are definitely down to everything from soup to nuts. It looks like we are in for a stretch of rain. I am going away for the weekend and need to deliver a package of art inventory to our local décor story and catch the noon ferry to Victoria. I still need to post and pack. So I have a choice between an image of a water-logged log or this awesome spicy eggplant soup served with heavy spelt bread and almond hazelnut butter. I thought you would prefer the soup.

Spicy Eggplant Soup

5-7 cups organic vegetable stock

2 carrots, diced

1 small onion diced

2 small locally grown organic eggplants or one normal size cubed

2 tablespoons grated gingerroot (I used homemade blackberry ginger chutney because I had no gingerroot)

1 clove of garlic (can use two… we are just light on garlic)

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes just pick from the garden (or organic canned if out of season)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (up to 1/2 cup if you like cilantro)

1 teaspoon cumin

pepper and kosher sea salt

In large pot saute carrots onion, eggplant, ginger and garlic over medium heat in a few tablespoons of vegetable stock adding more stock if needed until onions are done. Stir in remaining stock, tomatoes, cumin and pepper; cover and bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until it is done. Add cilantro and sea salt to taste. Let sit while preparing heavy toasted spelt bread smeared with almond hazelnut butter.

This recipe has been adapted from p. 122 of Cooking Vegetarian: Healthy,Delicious and Easy Vegetarian Cuisine by Vesanto Melina, R.D. and Joseph Forest (published 1996 MacMullan Canada). The original recipe has two potatoes diced in as well and offers the option of saute with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetabel stock.

It has been the most fabulous week here on Creative Potager. I thank you for your comments, for sharing this creativity site with others and even for taking the time to drop by and lurk in the corners. I shall be back with a new post again on Monday. Best of the weekend to you!

Sprout Question: When is your next day off from your regular creative practice?

p.s. I also chose the related links special for us as well so you might want to take a look.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

dahlias from a friend

Grown in her garden, these dahlias were picked and packed and brought by ferry to my art opening. I love how you can only see one face of a dahlia at a time. They seem to turn just slightly to give each large bloom a chance to shine. When I look at this image I remember how my friend came with her sleeping bag and a tent to stay in the camp ground because it was the only accommodation where she could stay for just one night and bring her beautiful big dogs. I remember how she sometimes says that “getting old is not for wimps” and that the wind came up that evening along active pass. She said she wouldn’t have missed my party for anything. I believe her.

Today is the ninth anniversary of the day David and I met. We are fortunate in our love, our family, and our friendships. I re-gift these dahlias from our friend, now as a photograph rendered in oils, to David. Happy anniversary my love.

Sprout Question: How can the many blossoms of your creativity come together in one bouquet?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Beauty in Death

“Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen.” Minor White

View and purchase full resolution image here.

The arbutus leaves have died from drought not because it is fall. Arbutus leaves stay green all year except for those that are lost from the heat of summer. These leaves remind me of words from those left behind: “She looks so beautiful now that death has released the pain of disease from her face.”

Sprout Question: Where have you witnessed beauty in death?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

In the Canada thistle patch

Purple blooms that turn into fluff heads.

View and purchase full resolution image here.

Thickly standing tall their prickly presence daring you to come close.

Blowing in the wind

View and purchase full resolution image here.

The Canada thistle is beautiful and it has a specific purpose in creating healthy soil by being one of the first plants to grow and creating nutrients for others to follow. Here is an article “Bye bye Canada Thistle” that tells the story.

Sprout Question: What have you creatively reclaimed, recognizing its inherent beauty and purpose?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Catching Fall

Even though it is a holiday Monday here in Canada and in the U.S.A., I am ready to resume my Monday to Friday posting schedule with more frequent and shorter posts. Today it is raining. The soft soaking kind of calm that leaves us reaching for our book and putting on a pot of homemade soup. Yesterday, the sun was out but the shade cool as we saw the beginning of the leaves falling.

Warm browns traced the edges of summer.

View full resolution and purchase catching fall here.

This week I will post images about catching fall as it sashays through on every breeze.

Sprout Question: Where is your focus right now?

P.S. The opening of Sea, Land and Time was a wonderful success with two large prints and one medium print selling along with cards and calendars. Plus, I had an offer to have my cards and calendars in a local décor store and possibly photograph prints as well. We shall see. Of course, two oil paintings had sold as part of the presales for the show. The best part is that we all had a great time. Family, friends and colleagues came from away. New friends, colleagues and acquaintances from Mayne Island came by and several helped with the opening. It was fabulous! Wish you could have been there.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

August Mist

Today, Tuesday August 10th, is one year since David had his stroke. He has almost completely recovered – so much so that you may not notice the difference from before and after. There are little things he is still working on. But aren’t we all? I give thanks for the continued gift of his company, his love and his full engagement in life.

Sunday. I walk alone.

Through the mist flies a great blue heron over the quiet sea. Time reaches into infinity and wraps us in the moment…

 

View and purchase full resolution image here.

A driftwood stump waits for the next tide to continue its journey. Fog and misty rain keeps us both company.

 

View and purchase full resolution image here.

 Meditative careful steps along the shore as hushed resilience springs forth.

 

View and purchase full resolution image here.

It is morning, in the misty rain on the west coast of Canada.

Low tide.

Humid.

August.

Sunday.

Sprout Question: What are you noticing today?

Note: Creative Potager has a new page Artist Biography and yesterday I posted an announcement for my solo exhibition “SEA, LAND AND TIME.” Please share both as appropriate.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

A trip to the high desert property

Where to begin. On Friday July 30, 2010, I left Mayne Island for a visit to Oroville Washington and out into the high desert. I was invited on a camping trip for the long weekend to come and see the 20 acres that my son, daughter-in-law, David’s daughter and three other friends had purchased last year. I am excited. It will be a five hour drive from Vancouver but I had heard so much about how it was the home of the rattle snake. And how it looked and felt like Clint Eastwood would ride over the hill any moment. And about how it hardly ever rained.

Well, I didn’t get to see a rattle snake. We  tried to  ensure that didn’t happen as we climbed up the dry cliff side. I didn’t get to see Clint Eastwood – but I thought I might from the looks of the hills. And it did rain – both evenings. The thunderstorms were glorious and refreshing after the heat of the day.

Here is a quick snippet of what it was like as the waves of hot air brushed my skin in the early morning sun. The light is more yellow orange than usual because of smoke in the air, likely from forest fires started by lightening.

Just around this bend…

Is the property a good part of which is an amazing bluff…

and here is the other end of the bluff…

can you smell the sagebrush I’m standing in?

What else I wonder might we see somewhere near a grove of small poplar trees?

Oh my what do we have here?

A wild turkey hen and over here is one of her four chicks…

We won’t go any closer as these fellows are still very small.  The grasses and drying flowers are particularly beautiful.

Later in the morning we climb part of the way up the cliff side. This is where I am most worried I might see a rattle snake. My son assures me that it was too early in the day. He advises that I step on the logs and rocks, not over them, so the snake will hear and feel the vibration of my foot steps. After all the snake doesn’t want to see me either.

There is a spring that comes out part way down the hill and it still has a small pool of water for the birds. Even so, I was surprised to see this colourful fellow on the branch of a ponderosa pine…

It is a western tanager. Though fairly common they are a bit shy so this is only the second time I have seen one.

My apologies for being late getting the post up today. I had some computer trouble and then it was time for lunch. As you can see we had a marvelous trip. I will do another post a little later of just the rolling hills and grasses. Next time I go, I hope to bring you photos taken from the top of the bluff. We shall see.

Special thanks for having me along go out to…

My son Kris, eating sunflower seeds while the ants pack the shells away as fast as they hit the ground.

My daughter-in-law Tina, who doesn’t know I took this photo while she was cooking up one of her many outstanding dishes made with fresh vegetables and lots of herbs and spices.

My step-daughter Anya, soaking up the cooler late afternoon sun.

My grandson Arrow,

who was also my photo-shooting partner.

Sprout Question: How do you release your creative expectation and remain open to possibility?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Squishy hug of thanks WORDPRESS

Thank you WORDPRESS for your user-friendly interchange and freely hosting blogs that can become small virtual communities such as Creative Potager has become. A big squishy, passionate hug is coming your way through cyberspace!

As of this hour today the wordpress Creative Potager blog has met a new milestone. Since its first post, on Dec 27 2009, the Creative Potager blog has published 102 posts and 1,605 comments AND (drum roll please) has had over 12,000 views. I am doing the happy dance (ta, ta, ta) all around the social networks with friends, casual acquaintances and passionate lurkers who are Creative Potager regulars.

Thank you especially to those who regularly respond to the Sprout Question that accompanies each post. Thank you to all of you who comment above and beyond the Sprout Question.  Thank you to all readers who lurk in the shadows. Your views are counted. You are part of the Creative Potager community.

My life and creativity is richer because of each and every one of you. Thank you, thank you thank you.

May the sun continue to rise, in all its glory, over our creative inspiration.

I decided we need a little visual toe-tapping to help us celebrate offered up by Andy the Daft Hermit from the Black Bus in the Highlands of Scotland. The music starts about 30 seconds in so wait for it and enjoy Andy’s photography video…

With much humble appreciation.

Terrill:)

Sprout Question: If WORDPRESS is the host and Creative Potager the post, who are you?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Whole Body Creativity

There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot in the sun.”

– Pablo Picasso

What does it mean to use your whole body in your creativity? The answer is likely related to your awareness and ability to converge all the information from your five senses. For example in the image above, I wanted you to hear the waves. I hope just for a moment you can smell the sea and feel the sand under your feet with a soft breeze on your cheek. I want you to experience a moment of play and confidence through the Canada goose strutting in the waves.

What you don’t know is that this goose just chased a sea otter back into the sea. I am not sure what the scrap was about but it was fascinating hear and to watch.

However my photos are poor. I was too far away and I couldn’t get close enough fast enough. Yet, I somehow wanted to catch that excitement and triumph with the goose, and the waves and the sunlight. The goose in the shallow waves is my attempt to turn a yellow spot into the sun.

Sprout Question: Tell me about a yellow spot you have turned into the sun?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada