Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mince pies with hairdo's or...Mince Pies Royale!

And here I am again sitting by the wood stove humming away with all the pups and kitten getting toasty by the fire, the wind howling and the snow flying writing up my Christmas treat! I have already eaten about 7 of these delights and am ready to eat more....and so goes the Holidays!!!
The recipe is a combination of 3 parts...instant mincemeat a la David Lebovitz , pastry a la Martha and hairdo a la "Christmas Feasts from History" by Lorna J Sass....and off we jolly well!!

INSTANT, VEGETARIAN, 'FRESH' MINCEMEAT...should be made at least one day in advance for flavours to meld. I am calling this ‘fresh’ mincemeat, meaning you don’t have to wait months for it to be ready as with your ordinary or garden variety mincemeat. This recipe is ready after one day and better after three…so make it today and Bob’s your uncle for Friday!! Also this is a vegetarian variety so no shredding of suet which can be a little off putting to say the very least!!

1 cup (135g) coarsely chopped raisins, dark or golden

½ cup candied peel…orange or lemon or both

¼ cup brandy but I used whiskey as that is all I had in the house and it tasted just fine!!

2 teaspoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons sugar…again dark or light

1 teaspoon of cardomom

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

½ teaspoon of mace
(I differed my spices from David’s recipe which called for ½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon of cloves…I am not a fan of cloves as a flavouring and I think cardamom works really well with the lemon flavour)

1 grated crunchy apple…I use Pink Lady which is a big fave of mine.

This is really hard…mix everything together and put it in a jar. Allow to stand for one to three days, don‘t put in the fridge, the flavours marry better at room temp. This mincemeat is meant to be used quickly.

That’s it for the mincemeat!!! for the pastry, it's the same one I always use from Martha which works like a charm, stays crispy under duress and has a lovely meltiness.


1 1/4 cups of white flour

 2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick (4ozs) butter I always use salted, VERY cold

1/8 to 1/4 cup ice cold water
1. Sift the flour

2. Grate the butter into the flour.

3. Gently work butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal.

4. Add some of the water and test to see if it comes together, if not keep adding water until the dough will squush into a non-sticky ball.

5. Put into the fridge to rest for at least one hour.

6. Take the pastry out of the fridge, allow to warm little, roll out nice and thin, then line 6 muffin tins with a round of pastry each, I had pastry left over so I just keep going 'til I ran out...made some cute smaller versions.

Next make the hairdo goo:
3 egg whites at room temperature

4 tablespoons sugar

1. Whisk egg whites until fluffy and stiff

2. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time until stiff and glossy

To ASSEMBLE the pies:
1lb (454g) of ‘fresh’ mincemeat, that should be the amount you made

¼ cup (2oz, 56g) of clarified butter (melt butter and skim off white solids that float to the top)

3 egg yolks

1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. In a bowl combine the mincemeat with the 3 egg yolks and clarified butter, mix well.

3. Spoon into the prepared pastry shells.

4. Bake for about 20 mins. until the pastry starts to golden slightly.

5. Remove from oven and pipe prepared meringue onto pies.

6. Bake again for another 20-25 minutes until meringues are nicely browned.

7. Allow to cool before eating, these pies taste best at room temperature. They are neither too sweet nor too tart, they are certainly nothing like as cloying or toothachingly sweet as mass produced ones and with the 'fresh' mincemeat they have a nice brightness that I really enjoy.
HAPPY BAKING!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow, elves and glitter glue!!

Yes children it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Maine. Last night we had our first real snowfall. I have to admit I am still really excited about the first snowfall and I love sitting by the wood burning stove with all the pups and the kitten around watching the snow fall from the leaden skies, kettle on the boil, cookies in the oven...really that was me yesterday!! I can't wait for the snow plough to come by with it's huge lights blasting through the swirling snow, James thinks I look like I'm about 8 years old peering out the window to see the it go's very exciting! The very first time we experienced a snow plough here in Maine we thought a plane was landing on the road...they are huge and seem like something from 'The Polar Express'
Here is the field across the street in all it's winter glory.
...and the woods beside the house...aren't the lines on the trees wonderful? They are so perfect and, if the temperature is just right, they slowly peel off down the length of the tree.
Now what do you think the image in the middle of the picture looks like?? Does it resemble one of the little guys below. Cute little snow caps on annoying burrs, or should I say Brrrrrr's...tee hee
These two above are waiting patiently for you-know-what...keep toasty little guys!!
A couple of years ago I spent a few days in winter just before Christmas making my own tree ornaments, here are two that I still have, I had a grand old time with paperboard, old colour copies of my work and glitter glue, WHICH I is such fantastic stuff, never a, I could happily cover everything with glitter glue if I had my way....I make the dogs and James a little nervous when I start eyeballing them with a tube in my hand!! I shall be getting the glitter glue out any day now to have some more fun making ornaments for this year.
And finally "What happened to Hallowe'en?" Our little pumpkin is not so thrilled with the snow as we!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A neighbourhood reprieve and Quince Frangipane Tart for Thanksgiving!

'Ello, 'Ello!!!
YEA!!! These beauties were saved from the table this Thanksgiving by my lovely neighbour Rita, she was planning on having them for dinner but decided they were just too friendly and gorgeous to say "goodbye" to....good on ya Rita, they are a lovely rafter or gang (correct group name!) of turkey's.... just look at those faces!! Their colours are, blue and red...very handsome...
...and below is one of their witty and ever so sweetly noisy companions, they make a little trilling sound...a guinea fowl, aren't their faces adorable...they really do look like clowns with serious stage make-up and funny little hair do's.
In celebration of their reprieve I made a quince frangipane's rather like the Bakewell tart I did a while ago, in fact VERY like it with basically the addition of grated quince. I actually found these quince at Hannaford's. They were incredibly underripe...very green... but they did have a good smell which apparently is indicative of the possibility that they may indeed ripen. I waited until they were as yellow as I think they were ever going to get, and they smelled quite fragrantly of pineapple. Quince must be cooked in order to be eaten, they are mealy and astringent when raw, if you poach them they turn a delicate pink.

Here is the recipe:

Tart shell from Martha, a pate brisee...extremely reliable, very good, stays crisp, I've added more sugar than the recipe says and it's a good addition. The recipe here is for one 8-9" shallow pie but I made two small tarts with the same amount.

1 1/4 cups of white flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick (4ozs) butter I always use salted, VERY cold
1/8 to 1/4 cup ice cold water

1. Sift the flour

2. Grate the butter into the flour.

3. Gently work butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal.

4. Add some of the water and test to see if it comes together, if not keep adding water until the dough will squush into a non-sticky ball.

5. Put into the fridge to rest whilst you make the filling.

The frangipane:
3 1/2 ozs almonds, toasted

3 1/2 ozs butter softened

1 3/4 ozs white flour unbleached

3 1/2 ozs white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract/essence

2 ripe quince - peeled, cored and grated

Some apricot preserves....the amount depends on your tastebuds


1. When the almonds have cooled after toasting grind them either in a coffee grinder in small batches with some of the flour in each batch to stop the nuts becoming oily or do all the almonds and all the flour in a food processor until fine.

2. Add the sugar and extracts.

3. Mix in the softened butter very well.

4. Add the beaten eggs and mix.

5. Mix in the grated quince and set mixture aside.

NEXT: Roll out the pastry and line your chosen case/s - dock/prick small holes in the pastry with a fork  so it doesn't puff up during baking, line with some parchment paper and fill with beans or pie weights - blind/pre-bake the pieshell for about 12 minutes in a 400F oven.

Allow the pieshell to cool and spread the desired amount of apricot preserves over the bottom...I like just a smattering to give a little tang to the may have more if you like, I give you permission to do so!! Tee hee.

NOW: Spread the frangipane on top of the preserves and spread evenly.

Bake in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes or until the whole top of the tart is golden brown and the mixture is obviously set.

Allow the tart to cool, it definitely tastes best at room temperature.

The quince adds a very unusual but not strange delicate, almost perfumey taste to the tart...something you haven't quite tasted before but yet it is somehow familiar. Well worth hunting around for this odd combination of apple and pear shaped fruit, which are only available at this time of the year.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flowers to remind me...

It's about that time of the year here in Maine when you start to get that sinking feeling about how long it's going to be before you see flowers again in your yard...oh my goodness, we are talking about next May!! So I thought I would cheer myself up by showing you, and me!, some images I recently formatted for my newish online greetings card store. This pansy is my favourite I have to admit. I originally painted this in watercolour for my business card but decided to rescan it and try it out on a stark black background and here is the result.
Then we have an orange tulip I originally painted for Andrea by Sadek to be used on porcelain dessert plates and can see a picture of the mugs down below.....
The happy morning glory....
...a stately yellow bearded iris
and finally a luscious tea rose.
Here are the mugs by Sadek and below a large cake plate and slice to match. You'll notice I didn't use the purple pansy from the mug grouping...I much prefer the pink pansy at the top of the looks happier!!

I have to admit I do like these misty, mellow days of Fall but HEY, here's to next Spring!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Irish Christmas Cake - Ciste Nollag

And so the Christmas Cake odyssey begins...the ingredients are gathered in one place and now they must be strategically arranged and manipulated into a faboo Crimbly Cake the likes of which you have never seen, especially so if you have only ever encountered those doorstops with bright red dye #5 glace cherries, never mind the green ones...but we digress....
Lucie says "This is hard work, don't let anyone fool you, making a Christmas Cake is a feat of strength no one should underestimate!!

Christmas Cake - Ciste Nollag from “Irish Traditional Food” by Theodora FitzGibbon

This ideally should be made at least one month in advance in order for the flavours to marry and meld and let the cake mature in it’s little, actually not so little if you make the full recipe...I only made half the recipe for each cake you see pictured here!!... air tight tin. Many people in the UK use this also as their wedding cake...we are more inclined to fruit cakes in Blighty than our cousins in the US!!

This is a family recipe dating from 1860, it is a very rich and toothy fruitcake

Firstly assemble the following ingredients the night before you are baking the cake:

8oz raisins

8oz sultanas or white raisins

4oz currants

2oz dried tart cherries

3oz chopped candied peel (I made mine from scratch because the flavour is so much better...but you can purchase this if you want to skip that arduous step!!)

2oz chopped, dried apricots

2 oz chopped walnuts

Lucie and I proceeded with the dried fruit in two different ways. I mixed all the above ingredients together in a big glass bowl and then covered this mound of dried delights with a combination of strong brewed black tea and apple cider, you can use either or, or both together as I did, totaling about 3 cups (UK 24 fl ozs) of liquid and allow the fruit to soak up the will be surprised at how much the fruit expands, I know I was. Lucie on the other hand mixed all her fruit together, put it in a baking tin, covered it with foil and placed it in a very low oven for a few hours until it expanded and was somewhat sticky. Leave the fruit to soak overnight or cool down after the warming according to which way you went.....of course the soaking makes the cake much moister and, we found out, MUCH larger!!!

3oz soft brown sugar

3oz white sugar

6oz butter room temperature

3 large, room temp. eggs whisked together

8oz sifted all purpose white flour
2oz ground almonds

½ teaspoon mixed spice/allspice

½ rounded teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

grated rind and juice of 1 orange

2 tablespoons whiskey, rum or brandy (optional)

Prepare the cake tin: Because I did half the recipe BUT soaked the fruit I used a 10" shallow cake pan and Lucie used a 6" tall cake pan, remember mine turned out a lot larger because of the fruit soaking episode!! Anyways...choose your tin, grease liberally with butter and then line the bottom and sides with cut-to-size parchment, then grease the parchment and reline with another set of cut-to-size parchment.....lining the tins really helps cut down on the possibility of the cakes burning on the outside...also cut a piece of parchment and grease to put on the top of the cake as it bakes. Those little dahlingks are in the oven for quite some time.

Heat the oven to 350F

1. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.

2. Add the whisked eggs bit by bit beating well between each addition...there’s a good likelihood the mix will curdle near the final not worry about this the flour and other ingredients will help rectify this situation!

3. FOLD in sifted flour, spices, ground almonds, fruit juices, zests and salt until well blended but don’t work it too hard, beat it or mix too long as it will, indeed, make the cake hard!!

4. Add the prepared fruits and walnuts gradually, and the alcohol if you choose to add it, of course I made mine with Irish whiskey!!...this starts to get to be hard work but it is good for you...and remember the harder you work, the more calories you burn, the more cake you can eat!!!

5. Put the cake mix into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula then loosely cover with the greased parchment round.

6. Set cake on middle rack in the oven.

7. After half an hour reduce the heat to 275 and cook for 1 1/2 hours

8. Now start checking the cake about every 20 minutes for doneness...a skewer inserted should come out clean and the cake should smell great and look baked.....if you need the top to brown more take off the parchment on top, if you think the cake is browning too much lower the heat...this is a very undefinable process but if you are used to making cakes you’ll have the feel for when the cake is should be browned nicely and the skewer should be clean, although if you pass through a wet raisin that may fool you into thinking it isn’t done so check in a couple of places.

My cake took a total of about 3 hours but yours could well be longer or shorter than that.

When the cake is ready remove from the oven, leave in the baking tin and pour over 2 more tablespoons of the assigned alcohol. Take out of the tin after about 30 minutes and then allow to cool on a rack until completely COLD!!! cannot put it into the tin unless it has no heat in it at all or the cake will get clammy and yucky.

9. Wrap in parchment paper before secreting it into it’s safe and happy airtight tin...this is a must to keep the cake from molding, also keep the tin in a cool, dark place.

About a week before Christmas we will be covering our Crimbly cakes with marzipan and Royal wait with bated breath for that post!!!

Off you pop now and bake your cake!!

My cake has already started to darken as it ages and smells just divine!!
Here are the cakes before they enter the confines of the warm and toasty oven...
...and here they are after they have cooled and are ready to be loaded into their cozy tins.
James and I drove to Lewiston yesterday and here is a photo of the weather conditions on the way's snowing, it's November...what is going on!!!...well it is Maine I suppose and it does seem appropriate that the ground should be covered with snow today as I post my Christmas Cake recipe.
I like snow!! I am sitting by the wood stove...Harry the kitten is on the chair behind me, Freddie the Bassett is on a big pillow by the fire, Bunny the Beagle is on her settle and Eleanor the Mutt (half Beagle/half French Bulldog!) is lounging blissfully by the fire after getting too hot being underneath the stove for a while!!
Above here is my new design for the Greetings Card Store and it will be up on the Cafe Press store hopefully later today!!

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pie Pumpkin Custard Pies for Hallowe'en!!

Yum, here is a well lighted close up of the finished creamy, deliciousness of a fruity, spice spiked, vanilla infused pumpkin bowl of divinity!!
...and here is the uncooked pumpkin custard 'pie' before she heads off into the oven for a nice, warm bake...nestled in her little padding of aluminium foil to keep her steady as she blows!!

THE RECIPE (again from an ancient copy of British Country Living)

1 6" pie pumpkin, halved and cleaned
soft salted butter...a large pat (like me)
2 large eggs whisked together
10 fl oz US (½ pt UK) heavy/double cream
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon...more if you like I am not a big fan of cinnamon
½ teaspoon at least of freshly grated nutmeg...I do really like nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract
1 teaspoon almond essence/extract
2 heaped tablespoons chopped crystalized ginger
2 heaped tablespoons candied orange peel...(I did my own and added lemon juice to the water and sugar when it was boiling down...tasted great)
2 heaped tablespoons currants
3 heaped tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons of rum if you like, then it's like baked eggnog with fruit added in!...I didn’t use it because I don’t have any rum!!

1. Heat oven to 400F
2. Mix together in a jug, ready to pour, the cream, eggs, sugar, spices, ginger, candied peel, currants, other words everything but the pumpkins and butter...let it sit a while to steep the flavours.
3. Slather the cut and cleaned pumpkins with the soft butter and sprinkle sugar over the rims...then slash the insides of the pumpkins criss-crossedy, sit them in crumpled up pieces of aluminium foil in a baking pan/on a cookie sheet so you can keep them level - basically make a 'nest' of foil for them to sit securely in.
4. Put the EMPTY pumpkin halves in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and place a on a level surface - pour in the custard and spoon in the solids from the bottom of the jug but do not overfill - the custard expands a little when baking, if you have extra put into a ramekin and bake in a bain marie/water bath.
6. If you like grate more fresh nutmeg over the custards.
7. Bake again for about another 20-25 minutes until the custard is almost completely set...I find the custard is so much smoother if you remove it from the oven when it still jiggles a tiny bit in the will continue to cook as it cools...if you catch it just right, which hooray I did, this custard is as smooth as the divine creme brulee I used to eat at Dean and Deluca in NY!!!
8. Allow to cool till just warm.
9. WOW...mine turned out really light, smooth and beautifully flavoured...bon chance with yours!!! little pumpkin custard already made some new friends!!
Oh no!!! Who is that tapping on the window on this perfect Hallowe'en night in Maine??? Still blustery, balmy, full moon...doesn't get any better than this!! 

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Happy All Hallow's Eve!!

from the dead centre of Belfast, Maine!!It's the perfect Fall Halloween day here today in little ole Belfast...blustery, windy, warm, leaves tumbling around, slightly misty...a delicious day to go trick o' treating ...I'll be making Pumpkin Custards later today and will post asap, ie today, for your delictation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I've started taking pictures of the beautiful Autumn landscape and I can't stop!!

Here is a picture of Camden, Maine. A lovely little village on Penobscot Bay. A few years ago a friend of mine was over from Blighty and when we drove through Camden she said (and here I am dating myself dreadfully) "Wow this reminds me of Peyton Place" ...sure enough a couple of weeks later I find out IT IS Peyton Place...they did indeed set the series here!! Isn't this a delicious Main street looking up onto Mount Battie...which by the way has a big star on the top at Christmas of my favourtie things. I saw the star picture in Down East magazine many moons ago and thought to myself "I want to live there" and here I am driving back and forth past it now and again...Belfast is about 20 miles further up the Bay!!
Another pic in Camden in front of the Church on Main Street.
Belfast cemetery again...the colours are deepening...YEA!!! no power lines, another good thing about photographing in a graveyard!!
General gorgeous treeness......
The foliage has been very much in the yellow (a beautiful glowing yellow, not acidy at all), burnt-orange, umber, ochre palette this season...not much pink or red but still absolutely amazing......I am awe struck by some of the trees I see, they just leave me breathless....thanks Mother Nature, good show!!

Here is a dusk picture of the field in front of our house...not a great pic in terms of light, but very atmospheric I think....
...and finally a view from the top of Blueberry Hill next to our house as dusk falls and the colours seem to literally start to glow...honestly it's just like being in a Maxfield Parrish painting, I kid you not!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"An apple pie without some cheese is like a hug without a squeeze!"

Here are some of the ingredients for a Lancashire Apple Pie that I made for Great Maine Apple Day which was, admittedly, yesterday October 24th...BUT maybe I bought my apples yesterday and I am continuing the celebration today?? Possible right?

Here is the list of Maine ingredients: 

Apples...Blue Pearmain, Fireside and Winesap...don't know the orchard names, sorry! 

Organic apple cider from The Apple Farm, Fairfield, Maine

Kate's Butter, Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Sonnental Dairy raw milk cheese, Buggy Whip extra sharp cheddar, Smyrna, Maine

Egg yolk, Bowden's, Waldoboro

anything else is from out of state

THE RECIPE, from a very old issue of the best magazine in the universe...British Country basically a Brit version of the French tarte tatin, an upside down apple tart... made with a cheese pastry crust for a delicious counterpoint...ta dah!! 

Pie filling:
1 1/4 lbs assorted sweet and tart, hard, preferably local, apples cut into slices

finely grated zest of one lemon, preferably Meyer

2 oz butter

2 oz sugar

4 fl oz apple cider (apple juice for Brits!)

6 oz white, unbleached flour

3 oz butter

3 oz freshly grated hard cheese of your choice...I like extra sharp cheddar but you can use whatever you think your tastebuds would like so long as it is of a similar texture and hardness to cheddar.

pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter...say it with me “I always use salted butter cos I like the taste”

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of cold water

1 tablespoon of sugar

(For US/UK weight conversions etc please visit Sue Pallett's website where all will be revealed)

Make the pastry first so it can rest for a while in the fridgerdator...that’s what I call it and I’m sticking to it!

1. Sift flour, salt, sugar together and then blend in the butter until the mix resembles ground almonds...I really like the process of baking so I do everything by hand...if you are not doing it in a processor I suggest putting the butter in the freezer for a while before you start making the pastry and then grate the butter into the flour mix so there is less hand working and the pastry doesn’t warm want to keep it as cold as possible.

2. Stir in the grated cheese.

3. Then stir in the egg/water and gently bind together with your hands.....basically just very gently squush it together until it forms a ball...

4. Wrap, I don't like plastic wrap so I wrap mine in parchment paper, the ball of dough and put it in the fridgerdator for at least an hour - the longer the better - the colder it gets the better the flakiness.

Assemble the filling:
1. Grease heartily a 8-81/2" glass pie dish with lovely butter.

2. Peel, core and slice the apples...I do all this in a bowl of cold, lemoned water so the apples don’t turn brown before I use them, I keep the slices in the lemon water 'til I need them and then drain them before use and shake out in a colander so they aren’t watery.

3. Melt butter, sugar and apple cider in a pan together and heat til bubbling...reduce by about 2/3 thirds 'til it is nice and syrupy.

4. Cool syrup somewhat then pour into the base of the pie dish.

5. Pile in the apples somewhat evenly and press down...they shouldn’t be too high....

6. Roll out the cooled pastry to a circle just bigger then your pie dish and lay over the apples.

7. Press down on the apples and even up the edge...poke holes in the top to let out the steam and keep the pastry crisp.

8. Bake on a lipped case the juices flow a 400F oven for about 40 minutes until the pastry is evenly browned and glorious.

I used a glass pie dish so I could see how the apples were...they did look like there was a lot of juice bubbling in there but it didn’t turn out to be so much in the end, I think the heat made it expand and look like more than it actually was.

9.THE TRICKY PART, where it can all go awry!!
Let the pie cool for a while...I left it about 15 minutes, then put an appropriately large enough plate over the pastry, take a deep breath and invert the pie onto the plate...I was very happy mine came out very easily and looked quite nice, I have seen Joolia do this and the whole thing feel apart all over the place...I think it depends on how your apples stand up to the pressure..if they are fluffy, mushy apples they’ll just turn to apple sauce, that’s why you need to start with nice, crispy hard varieties.
The pie fresh from the oven...
The pie sliced and served naked...really it is kind of an apple pizza isn't it? The apples were perfectly cooked, retained their tang and shape, were nicely sweet and a great complement to the very cheesy, savoury and crumbly crust.
Do give it a try...and here for autumn is a poem to contemplate whilst you eat your
Lancashire Apple Pie

John Keats (1785-1821)

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o’erbrimme’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while they hook
Spares the next swath and all its twin-ed flower;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with a patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the sounds of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, - thou hast thy music too,
While barr-ed clouds bloom the soft dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

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