Thursday, 29 May 2014

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
April 4, 1928 - May 28, 2014
Poet, Novelist, Actress
Gone....but will never be forgotten

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, USA.
An excellent author and poet, she published seven autobiographies, novels and several poetry books.
I especially loved reading her books of inspiration and devotion.
Her first autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" was the first step to her international recognition and acclaim.
A recount of her life up to the age of 16....a story of how her parents abandoned her, being raped by her mother's boyfriend, becoming homeless and living life as a teenage mother.
This was only the beginning of her illustrious writing career.  Her mastery of literature was her forte.
"I want to write so well that a person is 30 or 40 pages in a book of mine ... before she realizes she's reading," Angelou once said.

She had many treasured friends like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Oprah Winfrey......those of us left will miss her voice.


Maya Angelou: In her own words 

Here is her obituary in this CNN report.

Caged Bird 

By Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind   

and floats downstream   

till the current ends

and dips his wing

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and   

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   

with a fearful trill   

of things unknown   

but longed for still   

and his tune is heard   

on the distant hill   

for the caged bird   

sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn

and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   

so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   

with a fearful trill   

of things unknown   

but longed for still   

and his tune is heard   

on the distant hill   

for the caged bird   

sings of freedom.

May she rest in peace.

Monday, 26 May 2014

The weekend

So how was your weekend?  Hope you had a good one.
Mine was filled with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.....things that needed to be done were done, and things that I had no clue I'd be doing were also done.
During the week, the Master of the house was given a bath and a worm treatment, so he was not on the weekend agenda of things to do.  I did find one flea on him, so it's time to give the garden a pesticide spray.

The drought that we have been having has everywhere dry dry dry, and no matter how much you water the plants, they still look parched.....even some of the so-called drought-loving plants.
One plant that is still holding its own is the white crape myrtle.
Yeah, I know I still haven't planted it into the garden after all this time, but as soon as we get some rain, it will have a new home.

A dear friend had given me a small cerasee bush seedling...a plant that is used for internal cleansing....I potted it up and pampered it and it was growing really nicely......even started to flower......
.....then it started looking quite stressed.....the heat and the dry amount of watering could quench its thirst, it died an agonising death.
I guess I will continue to buy the teabags in the supermarket.

On Saturday, there was another Grow your Own Food Expo, and this time I came away with okra, bok choy and salad mix seedlings.
Brazen sat on the wall and watched me carefully as I transplanted the seedlings into the garden bed.....I hope he doesn't get any stupid ideas.
See how the soil looks dry and cracked even though it had been watered earlier in the morning. It's okay to grow your own food, but then your water bill makes a jump upwards like mine did last just can't win.

Saturday afternoon found me out front weeding in between the rice fern and the's taking a while for the rice fern to fill in because of the drought so I won't post a photo as yet.

In the morning I had attended a few garage sales, and came home with new treasures....two lovely glass pitchers for my tea party collection next year....I now have enough.

I am not a hoarder, and I just can't deal with stuff, stuff, stuff everywhere.   I stuck to my mantra..."Something in means something out", and so I spent Sunday spring cleaning my wardrobe.   Getting rid of unworn clothing means someone else will have "new" clothes after they are donated to The Salvation Army.

Surprise! Surprise! Some dear friends came by to visit in the evening, and the house was filled with laughter and good cheer....what better way to end the weekend?

A fulfilling weekend indeed.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Cou Cou

Here in Barbados, our national dish is Cou Cou and Flying Fish.  If you have never had a taste of this delicacy then you are indeed missing out on a palette sensation.
It has been rated at Number 3 on the National Geographic's Top Ten National Dishes in the World.
CouCou is a dish made with yellow cornmeal and finely chopped okras.  It is a recipe  that was brought to the island by African slaves.  Not everyone can make cou takes some doing but with a little patience and determination it can be achieved.

Image borrowed from the internet
Cornmeal Cou Cou

In the other islands, cou cou is known as fungi and it is more or less a firm polenta with seasonings.

The recipe for cou cou requires that the ingredients be stirred continuously until it is smooth and melts like butter in the mouth.

I still remember as a child my Mum hulked over a pot of cornmeal cou cou stirring in a frenzy to avoid lumps forming with her "cou cou stick."
The cou cou stick is made of wood and resembles a small paddle and makes it easier to stir the cou cou in the pot.
Mum would then place the cou cou into a buttered bowl and roll it around to form a ball.... this was the old traditional way of serving cou cou.

I had never tried my hand at making cou cou, not only because it seemed quite a bit of hard work, but also due to the fact that I am allergic to corn.  However, daughter dear loves it, so I was determined to at least find an easier way for her sake.
During a conversation with one of my dear friends a couple of days ago, she informed me that she had found the easy way of making the dish.
My ears immediately pricked up at her revelation, and I asked her for her recipe.
The trick it seemed was to soak the corn meal in room temperature water was that easy...I would never have guessed that in a million years. I decided to experiment.

 Corn Meal and Okras

 Cut okras into fine pieces

I steamed my okras in water in the microwave...a quick process. 
 Put about a cup of corn meal in a pot and cover with water (room temperature) and leave to soak for about 10 minutes.

 Add a little salt to taste.
 Add a teaspoon of Bajan seasoning and a teaspoon of peppersauce and about three tablespoons of butter.

 Turn the heat on a low setting and use a wooden spoon (cou cou stick) to stir.

Add the okras in the water a bit at a time to the cou cou mixture as you stir.  If you find that lumps are beginning to form as you are stirring, lift the pot off the stove, add more okra water and stir vigorously until the lumps are no more.
Stir and stir and stir until a nice soft blended fluffy texture is achieved.

A small portion of Cou cou
.......just enough for daughter dear.
I had a taste.....smooth and buttery.
We also use breadfruit, yam or green bananas to make cou cou if we so desire and accompany with any fish stew/sauce.

 Barbados is known as the "Land of the Flying Fish", named after the plentiful flying fish (Etinurdichthys Affinis ) that surround our warm tropical waters. These fish actually "fly" by using their fins to propel themselves when moving in the water, sometimes bursting out the water at speeds of 55kmph. They are beautiful to see when they emerge from the water with their large pectoral fins outstretched and the light hits their shimmery blue black colour....this allows them to glide mid-air for a considerable distance above the surface of the water. This is their natural defense from predators.
Flying fish info here.

Today I did not have frozen flying fish on hand so I made a salt fish stew instead which was just as tasty.

I purchase salt fish bits in a package from the supermarket.

I added the remaining okras to the salt fish stew.

Steamed a few okras and pumpkin pieces on the side.
Out to the garden to gather a few fresh lettuce leaves for my salad....and......Tadaaaah!!
No Cou Cou for me, but Potato Balls, Salt fish stew, steamed veggies and fresh lettuce leaves.
It was good.....oh yes, daughter dear enjoyed her lunch too.

Here is an easy Cou Cou and Flying Fish recipe.

Today is the second anniversary for my blog, what better way to celebrate than trying something new....just like how I tried something new by joining the Blogland family two years ago...what a great ride it has been thus far...thanks to all of you.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


Hiya, it's me on security patrol.
Do you see how lovely Mum's lettuce is growing? Personally I don't get why she's so enamoured with this green stuff....looks like bush to me, but she likes it.  She enjoys a salad every day with that stuff mixed with other greens and some other stuff she calls salad dressing.
Anywayyyyyy.......Brazen and company love lettuce too, so I'm on security patrol to make sure they don't rob Mum of her prized lettuce.
 Come on Mum, how do you expect me to chase Brazen if you have the gate closed?
 That's better....thanks.
I'm heading outside now.....
.....for a little sunshine to keep my healthy glow.
I can keep a close eye on that Brazen monkey from here far better.
Did someone say, "Security!!!"

Saturday, 17 May 2014


Dawn......a new day breaks as the sky becomes brighter chasing the last remnants of night away.

Look who was up and about before me this morning.....

.....jumping on to his favourite branch

...and clambering out to the very end

....before settling down comfortably ........ chattering away to welcome a new day.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The flock is complete again

When I awoke this morning, a gorgeous full moon was just about to set below the horizon.
 It had an orange-y  glow to it that did not bother to show up in this photo.
For me, it's so good to welcome the day from its inception.....watching the moon go to sleep and admiring the sun waking up to another day....the perfect start to my day.

What else is there to report?

Well daughter dear has now returned from her trip.  The master of the house was very happy to see her again.
After many head rubs and ear tickles, he was satisfied that she had indeed returned to him and that she had not forgotten what he liked in the petting department.
His flock is now complete again.....he is happy. 

I prepared one of her favourite meals to welcome her back home.
Linguine with Cheese-stuffed meatballs
She was happy too...and as she put it, "Gosh Mum, it's so good to be home again." 
I know that feeling only too well.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day!!

"All that I am, 
Or hope to be,
I owe to my Angel Mother."  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Wishing all the wonderful mothers everywhere the best day ever!!!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Saturday lunch snack

Saturday is usually a quick-snack day, no time for cooking lunch at all, because I'm out and about on my Saturday jaunt.
Today I ventured all the way to Speightstown in the north of the island to run my errands.
On the way back home, I made a pit-stop to purchase fish cakes (fried seasoned cod fish balls) from a friendly vendor raising funds for her church's restoration.  She makes the best tasting fishcakes and cassava pone and sweetbread and positions herself outside the church door to sell her delicacies.
I had the hankering for a subby, and I figured a fishcake subby would go down well.
After my purchase of three fishcakes (one for you know who), I headed home to prepare my snack.
As I started to gather all my ingredients I realised that I had forgotten to purchase some lettuce.
Then a light bulb went off in my head...."You crazy girl, you have lettuce growing right outside...."
Yes, believe it or not, those small seedlings that were planted just two weeks ago are maturing in leaps in bounds.

Photo from a couple of days ago
Headed outdoors and plucked a few lettuce leaves for my sandwich.....aahhhh the joy of growing your own food.

The beginning of a great tasting snack
Yummy.....yum..... yum

Friday, 9 May 2014

THE Kite

Now that the Easter holidays are over and the kids have returned to the classroom, I thought that the skies would have been empty of all kites, which is usually the norm.
One solitary kite remained airborne flying noisily over my house making it hard for me to fall asleep peacefully at night.
I've talked about these noisy kites before  here and here.....they are left staked out during the night......a nuisance of disturbance, flying high in the night breezes, while the owner enjoys a nice peaceful sleep.
Who would have thought that a cheap homemade kite made from recycled plastic shopping bags, strips of wood and discarded pieces of cloth remnants could make such a God-forsaken noise in the sky invading my poor ears?
How I wished that it would "pop" from its tether and go sailing off into the unknown.
Upon returning home yesterday after visiting my friend, I was pleasantly surprised to see what appeared to be a tangled mass atop my garage deck.
Could it be that my prayers had been answered?
Closer inspection revealed that it was indeed a "popped kite."
It looked like THE kite that had been breaking up my night sleep for the past few weeks.

Now normally when a kite goes astray, the kids chase it as it falls to the ground no matter how far away it lands.  I too as a child had those days when we would give chase to a kite in trouble, and traverse several neighbourhoods until we tracked it down.
My mum never allowed us to leave our kites out at night though. 
We had to bring our kites in with us whenever we came home from flying our kites.
Look at the underbelly of this beast of a kite.
Look at the size of the "bull" wonder it created a hell of a noise in the sky.
No measly scraps of wood for the frame but good strong pieces of what appears to be a hard wood. No white glue to hold this sucker together either but solid nails and screws.

I stored it in the garage, and hustled inside.  There were no enquiries on its kids came a-calling asking for its whereabouts....thank goodness.
I'm not sure I would have given it back had caused me enough stress.
Guess what?
Last night as I turned into bed, the night sky was quiet...quiet....quiet.....with the exception of a few crickets chirping away in the garden....I was asleep in no time.....a nice peaceful sleep that was uninterrupted during the night.
Karma at it's best.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Couldn't resist....

......taking these lovely photos while visiting a friend on the south coast today.

A nice bright sunny day with lots of waves at the beach.

A variety of choices for sailing the blue waters.

Blue skies.......
.......with scuttling clouds

....hurrying across the sky to some other unknown destination.

Located by a popular beach bar...the tourists frequent here morning, noon and night.
Every one is a comedian on the island it old log washed up on the beach late last year turned into a beach scarecrow by the local beach bums....complete with hat, glasses and a dress.

"No sitting on Boat".....who wants to sit when you could be sailing into the blue yonder?
Sea bathing or relaxing on the shore, it was a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors.
I did not want to leave it behind....but I had to.....maybe some other day.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Tea Party Decorations - Twig Tree

It was time again for my yearly Tea Party and Swap, an event where I invite all my girlfriends over for an afternoon of swapping unwanted items along with a scrumptious afternoon tea.
This year, I wanted to change up my table decor, and I came up with a few new ideas after looking around online.
I also knew that I wanted to use three colours this, turquoise and fuschia.
I had always wanted to make a twig tree decoration for my kitchen counter top to decorate at Christmas, but I had never got around to it.  It was time to take care of this long-awaited project.
Outside the property are several wild trees and shrubs which I had recently cut back. I gathered a few of the dead twigs and got to work.
Wild twigs

A tin of white spray paint came in very handy for the job.
I don't care very much for the fumes from spray painting though, and I'm much more comfortable with a paintbrush in my hand anyway.

Resorted to the paintbrush method and I was finished in no time. I preferred the coverage using this method way better.

All finished and ready to assemble.

 First I needed a steady base.  I couldn't find a small oblong vase....I used one of my glass loaf baking dishes instead.
Using a sharp kitchen knife, I trimmed the floral styrofoam block to fit inside, and taped it securely to the dish.

Now it was time to decorate.

I had a small decorative floral air freshener, which I dismantled and re-purposed for my project.

Next came some cute little butterflies which had all the colours that I lovely.

With a reel of monofilament line I made the flower decorations so they could hang on the tree.

 Then attached the butterflies and some pink grass at the base...and voila!!

A pretty table centrepiece....a twig tree worthy of gracing the tea party buffet table.(*)
(*) see previous post.

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