Monday, February 25, 2019

What About Love by A.M.Westerling

February is the month of Valentine’s Day and love. By now, another February 14th has come and gone but it’s got me to thinking. There are many kinds of love other than – cue the violins and enter Cupid - romantic love for a partner. We love other people in different ways. There’s the love between a mother and her children. The love good friends have for each other. The love we have for siblings and other family members, even the furry ones like my grand dogs, Tilly and Arlow.

But we can love inanimate things as well. A beautiful sunset. A walk on the beach. A favorite sweater. A good book. Then of course there’s the love of good food and I am firmly in that camp. Cooking to my mind combines a number of loves – love of preparing the food itself, love of good healthy eating, even the love of exercise because cooking usually means a lot of standing and walking around. I also love decorating the table because it’s all part of the experience. And in the end, the reward – sitting down to eat with cherished family and/or friends surrounded by a cloud of love. A while ago, one of my boys commented on the fact that most of our family pictures are of us sitting at the dinner table. I rest my case. 

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but I think women appreciate fine food as well. In Barkerville Beginnings, one afternoon Harrison buys Rose and Hannah fresh bannock with huckleberry jam and they have a picnic beside the creek. I came across this bannock recipe and thought you might enjoy it. I've never tried making bannock, let me know how it turns out!


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Measure flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir to mix.
  2. Pour melted butter and water over flour mixture. Stir with fork to make a ball.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently about 10 times. Pat into a flat circle 3/4" to 1" thick.
  4. Cook in a greased frying pan over medium heat, allowing about 15 minues for each side. Use two lifters for easy turning. May also be baked on a greased baking sheet at 350° F (175° C) for 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of:

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Snow Goose Time

Every year the geese pass over in great numbers because I live in the Atlantic flyway. When I was small, my dad made a big deal out of the Canadas, because at that time, DDT had nearly killed them off. This is hard to believe now, of course, as the Canadas are seen as a golf course/corporate campus pest.  

In those days, though, the sound of their haunting voices would bring Daddy out of the house with his little girl in tow. He’d tell me another extinction story, the one about the Passenger Pigeons, although the last representative of that family had died a decade before he was born. These birds had gone from a population of perhaps 5 Billion to none in fifty years.

“Men still live who, in their youth, remember pigeons; trees still live who, in their youth, were shaken by a living wind. But a few decades hence only the oldest oaks will remember, and at long last only the hills will know.”
—Aldo Leopold, “On a Monument to the Pigeon,” 1947, from Audubon online
The goose represented wilderness as they flew and called in the truncated V arrangements typical of the early ‘50’s. Where were they going, I wondered. “To the North, to the shores of the Bering Sea, way up north in Canada.” The magical destination was now named--a world as mythical to a small American child as the Back of the North Wind.

The snow geese were a revelation and a delight to a transplant to central Pennsylvania. I remember the first time I saw them, just a few flying over our home, in the sunlight that follows a February snow squall. Light gleamed on their bodies against a blue sky. In a moment of late winter quiet—no trains, planes, snow blowers--I heard their high voices, sweet and whispery compared to the brash honks of their Canada relatives.
The magic of white geese with their black tipped wings reminded me of other mythologies—like those European stories upon which the Swan Lake ballet is based. The sight of them set off thoughts of enchanted princesses and frozen lakes and -- magic!
The snow geese that come through here have a rest-stop fairly close, in Middlecreek. I'd been there in the summer, on long bicycle rides. Once, though, I'd driven out in February and had been lucky enough to find a great host of migrants already there. 

I was simply blown away by the sight and the sound of so much avian beauty, some rising in clouds while others, dumping air beneath their wings like fighter pilots, landed in open water. There were snow geese flying and snow goose swimming and snow geese resting upon the ice. In one small outlet, like royalty keeping to themselves, were the elegant Swans.

Like a child, I could look up and imagine myself rising from the earth and flying off with them, joining the storm of wings. I'd find my place among relations, get in line and cruise across mountains and forests. I'd forget the past and the future and just be in today--the next patch of green, the next drink of water, delighting in the strength and power of my wings! 
This flight of fancy ended abruptly when an eagle cannoned into the cloud of geese and took one of the beautiful creatures. For an instant, seeing a limp neck dangling in his claws--a creature that just seconds ago had been full of life--I was stunned. That's when I remembered the rest of a goose's--or any wild creature's life--suffering through storms, the fox in the night, the insatiable men hidden in the reeds.

 Coming home from a friend's house last Sunday as the sun went down behind low clouds, I could hear the Canada's calling in the last quarter mile. Overhead sailed great Vs of travelers. Others were landing, in the littered cornfield behind a row of old houses. When drivers in front suddenly turned in. I followed them, and sure enough, from a back alley, I could see snow geese, a great army, taking a break, looking around, talking to one another, here before sundown. 

 I had the pleasure of seeing them up close--just for a few minutes. It didn't take the wise old leaders long to figure out that there were too many people here. Soon, too soon, they lifted up again and moved on north, in the direction of larger and more isolated fields. For the brief time it took for the great cloud to arise, I was a kid again, imagining that if I wished hard enough, I could grow wings and travel with them, looking down upon the wonders of our Mother Earth.

~~Juliet Waldron

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Opposites attract? Can an Englishwoman and Acadian Fall in Love?

February is considered the month of love due to Valentine's Day. The old saying is that opposites attract, but is it true?

In my Canadian Historical Brides novel On a Stormy Primeval Shore, I bring two people together from different cultures who meet in the strangest of ways. Amelia is an Englishwoman fresh off the boat in a wild country, the just formed province of New Brunswick in 1784. She's come there at the father's behest to marry one of his officers at Fort Howe.

However, she is repulsed by the rude man, who treats her like a pity-project, and refuses to marry him. Deciding to stay, she struggles to form her own life in herbal medicine in a burgeoning country.

Gilbert, a trader, is an Acadian, descendant from the original French settlers when that area was known as New France. The Acadians hate the English after these invaders swept in, murdered the French, and took possession of what would become Canada.

He had no intention of courting an English miss, but fate was against him. Will more be in store for these star-crossed people?

Read the excerpt:

 A growl startled her. Turning, Amelia gasped. Out of the trees lumbered a large, snarling black bear. The animal’s fluid grace belied the menace in his glare. Saliva dripped from the creature’s mouth when it bared sharp teeth. Fear shot through her like arrows.

Louise froze, eyes bulging. Amelia instinctively stepped back. Her foot found no purchase. She slipped, tumbling down the short embankment, rocks poking into her flesh. Her gloves were ripped off as she groped. She landed with a thunk in the marshy soil next to the stream. She struggled to rise amid her tangle of skirt and petticoats. Hips and knees aching, her hands smarted, scraped and embedded with pebbles, but she scrambled to her feet to scuttle up the hill with muddy fingers to help Louise.

She wanted to call out to the girl, but that might attract the bear. Nearing the crest, dirt dislodged above her, sifting down on her face and scalp. Amelia blinked up, her pulse hammering. She heard movement, footsteps.

A large man with a black beard, wearing buckskin clothing and a leather hat, stood at the top of the slope. He aimed a musket in the direction of the bear. The animal growled louder.

"Don’t move, either of you, mes jeune femmes," he commanded in a French accent.

Gilbert prepared to fire. Sors d’ici!” The bear swiped again, knocking the musket from his hands. Claws scraped his right arm. He hissed at the scratching of his flesh, the pain radiating up to his shoulder. The animal snapped at him, teeth close.

Gilbert ducked, just missing a bite from those teeth, his face sprayed with saliva. He reached for the musket, his breath harsh.
The young woman (Amelia) crawled to her feet. She screamed like a lunatic, but it sounded more from anger than fear.
                                                                         * * *
The handsome Gilbert, a man about to be pushed off his land by greedy Loyalists, will be impressed by a woman who screams at bears. A most unsuitable courtship has begun.
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Diane Scott Lewis grew up in California, traveled the world with the navy, edited for magazines and an on-line publisher. She lives with her husband in Pennsylvania.

Friday, February 1, 2019

February, the month of Love by Nancy M Bell

Find out more about Landmark Roses and my other books by clicking on the cover.

February is the depths of winter here on the Canadian prairies. One of my friends in Cornwall, across the pond, recently posted a photo of the snowdrops currently blooming in her garden. My world is full of frost encrusted trees, building, fences and long grasses bent under the weight of the hoar frost left by the ice fog of the past couple of days.

Valentines Day is the bright spot of February. It's lovely to receive cards and messages of love and good will at this time of year. It breaks up the cold dark days of winter. Although the hours of daylight have been slowly increasing since the Winter Solstice we still have a long way to go before Spring Equinox when the hours of light and dark are equal and we embark on the long joyful ride toward the Summer Solstice and longest day. When I was in grade school back in the 1960's it was a tradition that on Valentine's Day every student in the class brought Valentines for the other students. The day before we would create big paper pouches which we decorated and taped to the front of our desks. Then on Valentine's Day after lunch everyone would move around the room and deposit their cards into the pouches. Some would write who it was from while others would leave it as a secret. Even in those younger days it was always exciting to try and guess if one of the secret Valentines was from the boy I currently had a crush on. Of course, I never found out for sure, but I did keep certain Valentines for a number of years, in fact I probably still have a few tucked away in my grade school keepsake book. Those were all the rage in the 1960's and early '70s. My mom bought ours from the Regal catalogue. There was a pouch for each school year where you wrote down the year, the school, teacher, friends etc and then into the pouch went things from that year, birthday cards, pictures, report cards etc.

These days Valentine's Day is pretty low key. Earlier in our marriage, it was an occasion to go out for a fancy dinner, this slowly wound down as the time went on. Now, maybe I might get a card- this would be a highlight LOL- or he might remember to wish me Happy Valentine's Day without me nudging him. After this many years I guess it doesn't really matter. The romance is in the everyday living now not in the expensive celebration of traditional holidays.

I wish you a Happy February, Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Life!