Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mondays with Pigeon : : The Bookstore Cafe

Mondays were Father's day off, which made Mondays a day for family. Pigeon was glad when they were all at home together. It meant that he got twice as many cuddles and had twice as many people to play and blow razz-berries with. And when Father was home, Pigeon could lie in his arms instead of the crib when Mother needed both arms, elbows, and all ten fingers to get something done. It also meant that they all would probably go somewhere exciting together, to a place full of kitsch, and people, and the clanging of spoons on glass. This Monday, they went to a place full of books.

Mummy and Daddy used to come here on dates, Mother whispered. Around them quiet people bent over stacks of good things to read, their hands wrapped around steaming paper cups that smelled like mornings at Pigeon's house. The three of them waded through a sea of tables and chairs to a glass counter full of little cookies and cakes. A brownie and a small coffee, Mother said to Father, looking down into the glass. Pigeon knew that word. Coffee. It went with the smell he'd recognized.

At their table, Pigeon stood in Mother's lap and explored the place with shining eyes. Soon Father joined them, bringing cups and plates full of delicious-smelling things that Pigeon wanted to eat, but couldn't. First you must grow teeth, Mother said. Pigeon smacked his lips and watched her bite into a fudgy brownie. Father had an apple tart.

Mother took Pigeon for a walk through the stacks and towers of books, walls of shiny spines splashed with words which people stared at with scrunched-up noses. They came to a cheerful space filled with soft, bright colors and happy children. Here were some of the same books that Mother read to Pigeon at home! There were also many more than that. Pigeon thought he might like to have one of each. In the end, Mother picked a book full of birds and one about a curious little monkey named George.

Back at their table, Pigeon ran his hand over the glossy yellow cover and chattered at the pictures of the little ape, who apparently liked to wiggle as much as Pigeon did. Mother read to him for a little while, then took him for another walk. Though he fought and fought, Pigeon couldn't stop his eyes from closing. Soon he drifted off into a dream. It was hard not to feel cozy in a place full of books, surrounded by the people he loved...

Friday, January 27, 2012

{this moment} : : winter reading

Pigeon's Mom loves this tradition begun by Amanda of Soulemama:
"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."
We'd love to share your moment, too! Leave a link in the comments below. Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pigeon's Pond

For the first time in a long while, Pigeon slept later than his mother did. When he woke, she was already showered and dressed, with her coffee made and his milk warmed. The blind next to their morning chair was open, and down on the pond another furry friend was munching his breakfast on a thin ledge of ice. Mother decided he must be a muskrat and not a beaver, because beavers were supposedly much too big to perch on a membrane of frozen water without causing it to crack. Pigeon finished his milk long before the creature gave up his nibbling, and was fast asleep when the animal slipped back down into the gray water and swam across to his den of branches and twigs on the other side of the pond. Mother was sorry not to have her camera close by before he disappeared.

Pigeon was lucky to live in this place, where so much wildlife paraded about right outside his window. There were two pairs of ducks--four feathery friends who floated leisurely around the pond's marshy edge and fished together in the mornings; gaggles of geese that came and went in a flurry of feathers, black and gray; the muskrat, who swam through the water without nearly a ripple; and the coyote who visited when food was scarce.

There were many other sorts of small birds, and no doubt fish and frogs that Pigeon hadn't met yet. And there was mother's favorite, the stately, slate-colored heron who came out whenever it rained. He'd turn his head slowly on his long, thin neck, lifting his knobby-kneed legs out of the water one at a time to step gingerly through the marsh, stabbing the surface with a bayonet beak.

It surprised Mother that so many creatures stayed by the pond in winter, especially the birds. When spring came, Pigeon could visit the water's edge, listen for peepers, and look at the muskrat's den up close. For now they would simply watch from their window, snuggled safe in their chair, waiting and warming each other through the final thaw and the gradual greening of the earth.

Friday, January 20, 2012

{this moment} : : Bundled and Striped

Pigeon's mom loves this tradition begun by Amanda of Soulemama:
"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Friday, January 13, 2012

{this moment} : : surrender

Pigeon's mom loves this tradition begun by Amanda of Soulemama:

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pumpkin Bread for Pigeon : : A Recipe for a Snowy Day

Pigeon watches the snow

Pigeon sat in front of the patio door windows under a fuzzy blanket as white as the world outside. On the other side of the glass, a million flakes of snow swirled down onto the lawn, filling in the gaps between the blades of grass with bright softness. It blew across the patio in billowy tendrils and melted into the pond beyond the bare willow branches. Winter had finally returned.

The house was filled with delicious sounds and smells. Behind him, Pigeon's mother twirled about the kitchen as fast as the snowflakes outside. Drawers spun open, cupboards banged, spoons clinked and clanked against iron pots and glass bowls. The usual scent of morning coffee mixed with the smell of fresh bacon sizzling in the oven. Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove tickled Pigeon's nose as little canisters were popped open around a bowl full of flour.

Today we will have pumpkin bread, Mother said, putting a stick of butter near the stove to soften. Mother always felt like baking when there was snow.

a hungry visitor
Outside between the pond and the scant brush hills a stranger hunted for a meal of his own. Pigeon didn't quite know what to make of the furry-coated creature; he only knew that he was glad to be indoors, warm and dry by his mother's side, where there was always enough to eat.

The sweeping, swirling flakes made Pigeon's eyes drowsy, and soon he was ready for a nap. He let out a few coos and cries to let Mother know, and before long he was snuggled in her lap in their chair by the window. The house was quiet again, and very still. The only sounds were the gentle hiss of their breathing between the heaving gusts of wind across the chimney, the quiet music of their day as the world was painted white.


: : Pigeon's Pumpkin Bread : :

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup each walnuts and/or dried cranberries (but only if you want to, or have them around)

To make:

Grease a 9" loaf pan and set oven to 350 (F). Combine Flour, sodas, salt, and spices in a small bowl. Stir vanilla into milk in a measuring cup. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy in a separate bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in pumpkin puree until combined.Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture, until smooth. Stir in fruit and nuts, if using. Pour batter into greased pan and bake until fully set in the  center, about 60-70 minutes.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year for Pigeon

It was a vary rainy New Year's Day. Pigeon lay snug in his mother's lap, listening to raindrops soak the windows. There was no snow on the long, green grass outside. Bare brown branches danced in the wind that blew across the chimney like breath over a bottle. It made a noise like music in the fireplace. Someday you will make music of your own, Mother said, kissing his forehead.

Pigeon wondered what else he would do someday. Would he stand up and walk, tall as a tree, like Father? Would he drink hot coffee from a wide, stout mug, like Mother?

Perhaps he would twirl and dance on his toes or kick a ball in the grass, like his cousins.

Maybe he would stir chocolate chips into bowls full of batter, or paint icing onto jack-o-lantern cookies with his aunts.

Would he visit the ocean and dig in the sand with Grammy ? Dip his toes in the frothy edges of waves? Would he ride in an old-fashioned car with his Grampy? Slurp ice cream in mounds as big as himself with a spoon?

Pigeon would have his first birthday when leaves once again decked the branches with gold. By then this new year would almost be over. This will be a busy year for you, little one, Mother said. You will have so much to learn and see and do.

But Pigeon didn't hear her, for he was sound asleep. For now, all he had to do was snuggle, and coo, and doze, and dream, and suck up all the love that fell upon him like the rain that soaked the windows on that rainy New Year's Day.