Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
At age ten, Rachel found success publishing her stories in a popular children’s magazine of her time, St. Nicholas. That success and the fact that she earned a little money from publishing inspired her to become a writer. She began college as an English major but switched to biology when she took a biology course and found her love of nature rekindled. It wasn’t until Rachel was working in her first assignment for her first job at for the United States Bureau of Fisheries that she realized that she could combine both loves. Her assignment was to write a series of radio programs on marine life called “Romance Under the Waters,” and they were so successful that she realized that through her writing she could share her knowledge of science and fascination with nature.
Sadly, none of Rachel’s poetry has survived the last one-hundred years, though there are a few rejection slips so we know that even this gifted writer experienced the agony of publishing. But Linda Lear, her biographer, found this lovely essay titled “My Favorite Recreation” published in St. Nicholas Magazine when Rachel was fifteen.
My Favorite Recreation-- by Rachel Carson
The call of the trail on that dewy May morning was too strong to withstand. The sun was barely an hour high when Pal and I set off for a day of our favorite sport with a lunch-box, a canteen, a note-book, and a camera. Your experienced woodsman will say that we were going birds’ –nesting – in the most approved fashion.
Soon our trail turned aside into deeper woodland. It wound up a gently sloping hill, carpeted with fragrant pine-needles. It was our own discovery, Pal’s and mine, and the fact gave us a thrill of exultation. It was the sort of place that awes you by its majestic silence, interrupted only by the rustling breeze and the distant tinkle of water.
Near at hand we heard the cheery “witchery, witchery,” of the Maryland yellow-throat. For half an hour we trailed him, until we came out on a sunny slope. There in some low bushes we found the nest, containing four jewel-like eggs. To the little owner’s consternation, we came close enough to snap a picture.
Countless discoveries made the day memorable: the bobwhite’s nest, tightly packed with eggs, the oriole’s aerial cradle, the frame-work of sticks which the cuckoo calls a nest, and the lichen-covered home of the humming-bird.
Late in the afternoon a penetrating “Teacher! teacher! TEACHER!” reached our ears. An oven-bird! A careful search revealed his nest, a little round ball of grass, securely hidden on the ground.
The cool of approaching night settled. The wood-thrushes trilled their golden melody. The setting sun transformed the sky into a sea of blue and gold. A vesper-sparrow sang his evening lullaby. We turned slowly homeward, gloriously tired, gloriously happy!
“My Favorite Recreation” from St. Nicholas Magazine, vol. 49 (July 1922), p. 999. Republished in Lost Woods: The Discovered Writings of Rachel Carson by Linda Lear (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1998).
***********During her career, Rachel continued to write in a way that communicates scientific knowledge in a literary style that non-scientists found compelling. She published numerous magazine articles and four books: Under the Sea Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1950), The Edge of the Sea (1955), and Silent Spring (1962). A fifth book, The Sense of Wonder, was based on an article and published in 1965 after her death. Selections from her field notebooks and public speeches collected by Linda Lear are published in Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (1998).
Probably no piece of her writing crystallizes Rachel Carson’s philosophy more than this, the closing statement from The Edge of the Sea (1955):
Contemplating the teeming life of the shore, we have an uneasy sense of the communication of some universal truth that lies just beyond our grasp. What is the message signaled by the hordes of diatoms, flashing their microscopic lights in the night sear? What truth is expressed by the legions of the barnacles, whitening the rocks with their habitations, each small creature within finding the necessities of its existence in the sweep of the surf? And what is the meaning of so tiny a being as the transparent wisp of protoplasm that is a sea lace existing for some reason inscrutable to us – a reason that demands its presence by the trillion amid the rocks and weeds of the shore? The meaning haunts and ever eludes us, and in its very pursuit we approach the ultimate mystery of Life itself.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper All-purpose flour, for dredging 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided 1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large) 1 garlic clove, minced 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 1/3 cup dry white wine 1 lemon, cut in 1/2
If you're using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you're using sea scallops, cut each 1 in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.
HERBED BASMATI RICE
1 cup uncooked long-grain (white) basmati rice (recommended: Texmati) 1 3/4 cups water 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 tablespoons minced fresh curly parsley leaves 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill leaves 1 tablespoon minced fresh scallions, white and green parts Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Combine the rice, 1 3/4 cups water, the salt, and butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low, stir once, and simmer, covered tightly, for 15 minutes. (I need to pull the pot half off the burner to keep it from boiling over.) Turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit covered for 5 minutes. Add the parsley, dill, scallions, and pepper. Fluff with a fork, and serve warm.
BLUEBERRY CREAM CHEESE TARTS
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 eggs 12 vanilla wafers 1 (21-ounce) can blueberry filling, or other pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan.
Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with blueberry filling on top, or pie filling of your choice.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Emma & Mary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Grace & Emma