Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day of Spring

Happy Vernal Equinox, y'all!

It feels special, doesn't it! Here in Jeff City, we're getting the warmest weather we've had this year, and this also marks the first time we've had our windows open constantly for more than twenty-four hours.

The "young people" across from us on Broadway had an impromptu bongo-drums jam session on their front porch this evening, and though it was rather loud, I make exceptions for my "noise complaints" when the music is acoustic, homemade. (And is completely finished by 10 p.m.!) Live, real music doesn't annoy me the way recorded sound systems--boom cars and boom houses--do.

Birds all over the place today--grackles, mourning and Eurasian collared doves, cardinals, jays, titmice, chickadees, house sparrows, juncos, downy woodpeckers, starlings--have I left any out? Oh, yeah: Robins! Gosh, they were busy.

And we saw Beth again today--our local woodchuck, recently emerged from hibernation. Squirrels are about, too, of course. And the garter snakes are awake again, sliding through our patchy grass. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Per our custom, we planted pansies by our front doors today, in a small commemoration of my Grandma S's birthday (she would have been 106 tomorrow)--but mainly because the first day of spring is the perfect time for planting them.

I've noticed that whoever's currently living in the house she was born in, across the street from us, has been putting some work into the yard. Real work. Hallelujah! That poor house has had a series of low-life tenants ever since the death of its longtime owner a few years ago. Fortunately, not all tenants are low-lifes. I think maybe we've got a good'un this time around.

Well, what else can I tell you about? I haven't been doing much that's really "bloggable," since I can't drive. Soon, however, I'll be able to collect more stories than what's going on in the yard and neighborhood. By this time next week, hopefully, I'll be out of this cast and back in the driver's seat!

And now that you've read this far, I'll reward you with this fun YouTube by Manjula Jain, a gracious Indian lady living in the United States who has a wonderful series of videos demonstrating how to cook vegetarian Indian food. She's an excellent cooking teacher!

I highly recommend her YouTube site as well as her own website, If you had an Indian mom to teach you how to cook, she would be a lot like Manjula, I'll bet.

Here's her video for making rotis, or chapatis, which are a whole-wheat flatbread very similar to Mexican flour tortillas. I've heard they're pretty tricky to make and take a lot of practice, but Manjula makes it look simple. I love the way she makes them puff up! It is like watching a magician at work. Enjoy!

By the way: the word she uses to greet her viewers at the beginning of each video is Namaste, which means "I bow to you"--a common greeting in India and Nepal. This form of saying "hi" expresses respect tinged with a reverence for the divine aspects within all of us.


Terri said...

Another JC blogger here! I love your spring tradition, how it celebrates both spring and your grandmother's birthday. I, too, am a homemade music fan. Did you know that the 21st is also Missouri Bird Appreciation Day? I think you did your part!

Julianna Schroeder said...

Thanks, Terri! It's good to meet you! I didn't know there was an official Bird Appreciation Day--is it an Audubon Society event?

Honestly, around here, EVERY day is bird appreciation day!

Birds, flowers, springtime--it does wonders for this winter-weary heart.