I woke up really early this morning. The sun was just beginning to rise, fog swirled above the marsh in our back yard. I took our dog out so she could do her morning buisness. She is an old girl, just turned sixteen in March. Sometimes she can't hold it all night- but last night she did, which is always a pleasant surprise.
She trotted halfway down the hill, and balanced on her weak back legs to squat. I don't know why she does that. She could walk five more steps and be in the flat yard, but she chooses to challenge her balance and brace herself on the steepest part of the small hill. Maybe its just because she can't possibly hold it one more second, or maybe it's one of those weird “dog-routine” things she has developed. She used to kick her hind legs to “cover up” her business, doing a funny little kick-hop that always made me giggle at her, but she doesn't do that any more. Her legs are getting too weak. She looks at me instead, kind of appologetically, like “I know I am supposed to cover that up, but I just can't. Sorry...” and does her crooked run down the rest of the hill into the yard. Of course it isn't really a run, more of a meander. She meanders, usually sideways. She is a funny dog. A really good dog.
I let her walk around the yard for a few minutes, sniffing things that must smell like other animals and little woodland creatures. I am sure she smells the rabbit that lives under our holly bush, and the deer that frequent our garden. I love our yard in the early morning. The birds chirp quietly, knowing that the rest of the world is still sleeping. The fog clings to the marsh this time of year. It looks mystic and ancient, transporting our house and garden, me and our lab into a time long forgotten. The sun starts to catch the dew on the baby grass growing, on the pastures and horse paddocks behind our house. I often wonder what our house, our property, must have looked like two hundred and thirty years ago, when it was new. I think it must have looked a lot like this. The fog hasn't changed, the dewey spring mornings are constant.
I tip-toed over to the forcithia bush that grows on our patio, under our bedroom window. A mother cardinal has been sitting on three little white speckled eggs for a few weeks, but now I could see little pink babies in the nest. They felt me bump the bush gently, and open mouths shot up, waiting for their breakfast. I smiled to myself and quietly backed away. I know that mama bird is watching me from a branch above the house, and I certainly don't want to make her nervous.
I ran down the moss covered steps to the back yard and scooped our dog up in my arms and carried her to the back door. She has a hard time walking up hills, and she no longer does the stairs, so we carry her. I don't think she was quite finished sniffing around the rhodedendron, but I didn't want to make those babies wait on their breakfast.
I always look forward to these misty spring mornings. The kind of mornings that make me want to channel the Bronte sisters, long capes, warm pots of tea, hand written letters, freshly picked flowers from long walks in the woods. I found myself thinking about breakfast. What could I make to compliment such a beautiful spring morning?
Apricot and ginger scones, naturally. With tea. Have a very Bronte spring.
• Apricot Ginger Scones •
makes 8 scones
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in to chunks
• 1 cup heavy cream plus 2 tablespoons for brushing
• 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
• 1/3 cup chopped dried ginger
Preheat oven to 400F.
Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Cut the butter in with your hands, or a pastry cutter, until butter is pea sized.
Toss in the apricots and ginger, and mix until coated with flour.
Make a well in the center of the dry mixture, and pour in the cream. Mix until fully incorporated. You should be able to pick up the dough once all are mixed together.
Press dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Shape in to a disk, and cut in to 8 pieces, like a pie.
Place pieces on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Brush with the extra cream.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool before glazing.
• Ginger Glaze •
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 3 tablespoons cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, until no lumps are visible. The glaze should run off of a spoon in ribbons. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a few drops of cream- but be careful, a little liquid goes a very long way with powdered sugar!
Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over the scones. Allow to harden for 20 minutes.
Listening to: Orchard House Main Title (from the Little Women soundtrack…my favorite ever) by Thomas Newman