Friday Food Waste

I threw out a few slices of forgotten cucumber. They were yellow and a bit bitter, so I didn’t give them to the dog, who loves cucumber. My girl loves most vegetables; she used to pillage the compost for scraps, which was a big nuisance if I didn’t catch her in time – stuff spread all over. Oh, well, it was as good as turning the pile.

We don’t eat out much, but we stopped for a fast food meal while driving home from the maritimes. The “large” sized beverage was about a quart, I think. I was appalled. It lasted us two days! The burgers were good, but expensive. Nicholas noted that they were quite tasty and fresh, and I answered, “They should be – they cost as much as a pub burger!” If we did that regularly, I would think it a great waste of food becaus eit was one meal for the same amount of money that should sustain us for two days. And how much waste is generated in fast food restaurants – food prepared and never sold, so it’s discarded, things overcooked or less than picture-perfect, damaged buns, fries and so on that get trashed. And what about the food that people don’t finish, and toss? Thos mammoth cups of soft drink, for instance – who ever finishes one? Sit-down restaurants aren’t any better – lots gets wasted in the kitchen and on the plate.

How do you deal with take-out and restuarant leftovers? Do you eat out regularly?

Tired of Plain Yet?

This is my newest bonnet – the custom made Wenger style that Bayley at Plain n Simple provided. I like it very much. The construction is of a plastic mesh, which makes it light and keeps it from getting too hot. The jersey fabric is also light and breezy. The ties are fabric, the same material as the bonnet.

I wear this bonnet when I go out, except for driving. It cuts back on my peripheral vision just enough to be hazardous. Remember that in a bonnet, your hearing and vision can be affected. Be careful at street crossings, driving or afoot. Even driving a buggy would be a problem if the bonnet shades your face. You need to see things as fast as the horse does, so be careful not to block your vision.

This was a major investment for me, but I expect to wear the bonnet for many years.

More Plain Dress

This is what I look like most days. Quaker brown dress, white cape and apron, black cap at home. Those are Teva sandals purchased at a thrift store for a couple of bucks.

I can get a white cap pretty grimy in no time – housecleaning, baking, dogs, childcare. So I switched to black caps most days, to save wear and tear and washing of the white ones.

Wearing Hijab

I can understand why some Christian women are attracted to hijab. It is a code for modest dress; it is attractive and allows for the wearing of colour and pattern, if one is not inclined to be Plain; for those of Eastern European or Middle-Eastern descent, it is an appropriate ethnic dress. I am of Northern stock myself. The dress of Scottish women two hundred and fifty years ago shocked the Quakers of Phildelphia when the clans started to emigrate to the New World, so that ancestral model is not one for a truly modest woman to look to. (The issue was too much free-flowing hair and way too much bosom and ankle.) A more Quakerly approach suits me, having dressed in black as a priest for several years.

I suppose one question is if Christian women should adopt hijab. I would say that strictly speaking, no, because it implies an adherence to Islam. But adopting hijab-style principles and dress would always be appropriate. The covered head and modest garment are correct in terms of Biblical teachings, as well as Christian practice for centuries.

How much is too much? Christian and Jewish women were never required to cover their faces as a religious principle; niqab is inappropriate for Christians as a spiritual discipline.  I would avoid anything that implied an ethnicity that would mislead someone. This could be an important issue in some Moslem countries. Christians should avoid dressing too native lest it lead to misunderstanding. I knew an American man who got taken in by the police for refusing to go to the mosque when he was found in the market in Arab dress, in Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, don’t dress in such a way that it would embarrrass your Moslem friends. The hijab is a sign of modesty, and a rather strict one at that. Cover from neck to ankle and past the elbow. If you are comfortable wearing pants, then the top you wear should cover down to your thighs, and be loose. The bosom should not be emphasized, nor the hips. I would avoid excessive jewelry, too; it isn’t modest to show off either wealth or fashion sense.

It is up to you to wear the hijab bonnet or simply a scarf draped to cover the hair. For those with delicate or fragile hair, the bonnet may rub too much and break your hair. It would be best to pull your hair back gently, and tie and pin the scarf rather than wearing two layers of pressure. If you have really long or thick hair, avoid the camel hump bun at the top of the head.

Make-up, if you wear it at all, is best kept natural and soft – no long lashes, obvious colours on the eyes, or china doll blush. Lipstick should be natural and light. It is not modest to draw too much attention to your features. The hijab, close to the face, already acts as a frame. Choose the fabric colour to complement your natural features, not clash.

My main concern is that while your body and hair are covered, your face is exposed to UV rays. I can’t see wearing a bonnet or large-brimmed hat with hijab, although the hat would be a good idea outdoors! A bad sunburn is dangerous, so be sure to wear a sunscreen or carry a parasol.

Those who are already wearing hijab-type dress may want to add to this, or corrct me if I’m wrong. I’d be interested to hear from you. why did you choose Eastern dress? How do other people, Christian and Moslem, react? Has it caused you problems?

Be assured that I am supportive of your decision. Modesty is always right!

Simple, Plain

I said I would try to get some photos into the blog, which for me has been a mystery. I’ve done it before, but the procedure has simply left my head.

This is what I look like in a simple white kerchief, black dress and denim apron. With the black canvas shoes, it doesn’t get much Plainer.

And that is my hair, uncovered. It hasn’tbeen trimmed in over eight years, and you can see where the grey is coming in! This is as long as it gets, just past my waist, I don’t think it looks that bad, for uncut hair.

This is the kerchief from the back. The kerchief is a triangle, hemmed on all sides. I wear it over my hear when I need to have my hair down, but usually only at home. It can also work around the neck as scarf or shawl, pinned or knotted.

I’ll have more photos of caps and bonnets in the next post.

Now what?

I don’t mean this to become a dream log, but this is in line with the “canning jars in the barn.” I dreamt about my washtubs and wringer, and how to get them fixed. Really, when I fetched the big washtubs home I found a major dent in one, and the guide on the wringer had come loose. Obviously, I don’t like this, because my brain worked on it all night. And I have a washer/dryer here – I don’t need to use the tubs!

My low tech mind is telling me to get out of the 21st century, isn’t it?

Canning Jars

I htink I have enough cannign jars for a while. I dreamt about them last night. I’d inherited a barn with a room full of old canning jars! Yes, the subconscious is trying to tell me something – like – leave that next box of free canning jars on the curb!

Lost and Found

This has nothing to do with “Amazing Grace.”

After keeping things in long-distance storage for a year, I’ve found some things are lost. I don’t know what happened to them. Was it that I didn’t move them? Were they among the things that were ruined and thrown out without an inventory? (I simply can’t go through anything moldy.) Did they get “left behind?” It doesn’t matter now – whatever they were, wherever they are, I am not chasing them down. So we will eventually need new vestments, new black capes, and new towels. I do have albs and some stoles here, and all the holy hardware – patens, chalices, cruets, and our aspergillum. So I don’t think the divine message is that we are out of ministry permanently. Maybe we are just suppose to look a little sharper this time around!

As for found – Teva sandals, running shoes, and a pair of Dala clogs, all of which I thought were gone forever. That saves some purchases, expensive ones, too, down the road!

If we are going to atttach divine messages to objects, I guess that means we have a journey ahead of us – but don’t we all?

Good Shepherds

My dog went to church today, and it isn’t St. Francis Sunday. Mother Kay used as a sermon illustration for the good shepherd. Ash is a seven year old Australian Shepherd, who used to have a job, working with our sheep. Now she tries to herd the neighbour’s cats, who just aren’t into it.

I must say that she has come a long way from the year old flibbertigibbet she was when I got her – eating my boots, chewing through power cords, breaking leashes and in general being a very bad dog. She walked into church on a lead, with Mother Kay, and that choir moved right along ahead of her. She wasn’t taking nonsense from them! If one of them had tried to break and run, she would have been right on her.

She sat at the front, calmly surveying the flock in the pews. But once she spotted me, she kept a close eye, just in case I needed her to do something important. After the sermon, she trotted down to me, lay under the pew and put her head down. She came to the altar rail at communion, and sat behind me. The parishioners hadn’t dare get out of line while she was there!

I’d say she was an excellent ilustration of how the Great shepherd of our lives turns us into faithful sheepdogs, obedient and alert, if we let Him. Honestly, I almost gave up on that dog in the first six months. But she settled down, figured out that I had her best interests in mind, and excused all my faults. (Which is a bit different from our relationship with Our Saviour. The fault is all on our side.)

I was proud of her, not in a proprietary way (I hope) but because she has fulfilled her potential as a sheepdog, and as a companion animal. She is faithful and trusting, accepting without question what she is given. It’s an excellent example to follow in Christian life!

Material Goods

We’ve been doing without for quite a long time. Partly, because we had no place to store anything, like our own furniture. Things wore out, got left behind, got ruined by water – the usual attrition, and we didn’t get more.

But last night I was able to stock up a bit on goods we will need. My friends know that I am a canning jar maven. I love to preserve and can, and old jars no longer suitable for the boiling water bath get repurposed as herb storage. When I am growing my herb collection, or wild-gathering, that can amount to many, many jars, so I don’t let canning jars get away. I never store herbs in plastic, as the essential oils and volatile elements can leach out the petroleum products. Glass is the only way to go, unless it is mullein flowers, which have to go into tin or stainless steel, or maybe very dark glass. I got over forty very old zinc rimmed jars, and half-a-dozen large new jars, with extra new lids. What a find! As my herbs and spices are kept in dark cupboards or pantries, clear glass is a good way to store them, as I can identify them by sight rather than squinting at my handwritten labels.

We also acquired a “new” kitchen table and chairs, in the country windsor style I like so much. It has leaves, so it can grow into a dining room table when needed. It’s well-made, in excellent condition, and looks so much better than the plywood workbench that had been there before. I decorated it with my pewter chamber sticks, sage green candles, and a beeswax skep candle. Very Country!

I feel so blessed to start getting household goods again. We have been given a sturdy and comfortable queen-sized bed, with a nearly-new mattress. Its only fault is that it is a walnut stain over pine, which is just not natural. So I am going to paint it white eventually. It has glass doors on the headboard for storage (But what do you store in a headboard with glass doors? We have a bag of frankincense and a jar of holy water.) I plan to get some stained glass paint and go over the doors in a quilt pattern decoration, also very country. I guess I can’t help it. I was country when country wasn’t cool.

We left a beautiful oak library table and leaded glass door hutch behind after one move. We are hoping they are still where we left them so we can re-acquire them. They need refinishing, but the oak table came from a university dorm, was probably once in its library, and although scuffed and kicked, is one of the sturdiest pieces of oak I’ve ever seen. New ones cost thousands. A little sanding, some new varnish, and it should be all aglow in no time.

I also found some jewel-tone glasses, all nice crystal, a grinder for meat or cucumbers (like my mother used for piccalili) and baking pans, as well a dark green Woolrich jacket. all in all, it was a good thrift trip, at very little cost (no cost to me, thanks to Mother Kay, who has a standing order).

The odd thing was that this morning I had a twinge of conscience. “What am I doing, acquiring worldly goods?” But, Friends, we do not live on air, nor can we shelter in the trees like birds. We have to have some furnishings. Maybe the day will come when I turn my back on the world for good and head for the monastic life and a pallet on the stone floor (assuming there is at least good beer and bread.) Nothing I have acquired has any status attached to it. It is practical stuff, suitable for Plain people, although the jewel tone glasses may be a bit edgy. And it is heartening to know that the Lord is preparing us to move ahead, giving us food for the journey, and the means to get there.