Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stressed ?

Oliver has mastered the art of relaxation to purrfection.

We should all take lessons ........

Monday, May 30, 2011

Land Of The Free Because Of The Brave

They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
~Francis Marion Crawford

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lest We Forget

"Your silent tents of green We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been, The memory shall be ours."

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

~ Laurence Binyon: For the Fallen 1914

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May Blossoms

"It was the month of May, the month when the foliage of herbs and trees is most freshly green, when buds ripened and blossoms appear in their fragrance and loveliness.

And the month when lovers, subject to the same force which reawakens the plants, feel their hearts open again, recall past trysts and past vows, and moments of tenderness, and yearn for a renewal of the magical awareness which is love."

~ Sir Thomas Malory, La Morte d'Arthur

Bicycle basket filling out nicely

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.

~Chinese Proverb

A new garden statue drying in the sun

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Caught Cat-Napping

Who among us hasn't envied a cat's ability to ignore the cares of daily life and to relax completely?
~Karen Brademeyer

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Glory Of The Garden

Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You will find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all;
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dungpits and the tanks:
The rollers, carts and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.

And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows:
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:--"Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.

There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick.
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.

Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!

Rudyard Kipling, 1911

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Walk in The Woods

Now is the time of the illuminated woods.......
when every leaf glows like a tiny lamp.

~ John Burroughs

Oak trees come out of acorns, no matter how unlikely that seems.
An acorn is just a tree's way back into the ground.
For another try.
Another trip through.
One life for another.

~Shirley Ann Grau

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blooms Despite Gloom

We haven't seen the sun in the past four or five days, he's been hidden behind rain clouds.
It's an unusual time of the year weather-wise, because May in the south means sunshine, and last night the temperatures dipped into the forties.

Despite the cooler days, and lack of sunshine, the flowers are beginning to bloom.

Antique climbing rose

Japanese Water Iris

Peter Rabbit keeping and eye on the pond

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


God has three beautiful new angels in his care.
Three bright young men who tragically lost their lives in an automobile accident earlier last week.
Vibrant, and carefree, they were sons, grandchildren, brothers, friends, and sweethearts.
Their families and classmates said their goodbyes today, our town is in mourning.

A poem begins as a lump in the throat,
a sense of wrong,
a homesickness,
a love sickness.
~ Robert Frost

I HAVE known the silence of the stars and of the sea,
And the silence of the city when it pauses,
And the silence of a man and a maid,
And the silence for which music alone finds the word,
And the silence of the woods before the winds of spring begin,
And the silence of the sick
When their eyes roam about the room.
And I ask: For the depths
Of what use is language?
A beast of the field moans a few times
When death takes its young.
And we are voiceless in the presence of realities—
We cannot speak.

~ Edgar Lee Masters 1869

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home-Thoughts From Abroad

Oh to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark! where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower-
Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower.

Home thoughts from Abroad ~ Robert Browning 1812-1889

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blackberry Winter

We've been having a cold spell the past several days.
Old-timers in the South know this as Blackberry Winter, or Dogwood Winter, which mainly describes a brief period of cold weather that coincides with the time the blackberries are in bloom, or the dogwoods are blooming, (typically in early to mid May).

Despite the colder temperatures, several days of rain, and plagues of cicadas, the flowers seem to be flourishing.

The First Sergeant spent the entire day, hammering and sawing, huffing and puffing.
When it was all finished he called me outside to take a look.

A new planting bed, re purposed out of the split cedar fence posts bought last summer, and now the perfect home for this years Morning Glory plants, and others.

The birds are all snuggled away in their nests

We seem to have lost Igor the frog.
Sadly, nary a sighting of him in the last three days.

I can only hope his mating calls have been returned by a lady frog, and he'll return to the pond with his new family hopping behind.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday 13th : Return Of The 13 Year Cicadas

If you live in the Middle Tennessee area you'll undoubtedly notice there's been a loud buzzing noise outside.
The ear-deafening drones of the 13 year cicadas have returned, and for the next four to five weeks, they'll be everywhere.

Cicadas live on tree roots underground for 13 years and generally arrive in the world by crawling up a tree trunk in their immature or nymph form. They crawl out of their shells, which get left behind on flowers and patio furniture, and initially have a creamy white, almost ghostly appearance, within days, they will completely morph into flying adults.

The noise, which is the mating call done by the males, should begin to increase, perhaps this week, as more cicadas emerge from the ground.

These unhandsomely creatures are not harmful, just so long as you don't mind them in your hair, on the lawn furniture, plants or anywhere else outside, however younger trees, and pets who eat too many of them, are susceptible to problems.

Cover up the potato salad if you plan on having an outside picnic in May !

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nature's Little Lanterns

Most people know about fireflies, cute little flying beetles with bottoms that light up at dusk to facilitate one task all life forms are driven to accomplish – reproduction.

In Middle Tennessee, our fireflies (lightning bugs) come out once the sun is well below the horizon and produce a bright yellow green light that blinks on and off in the gathering night.

Sitting outside in the warm night air, we watched as the darkness of the woods was lit by the twinkling lights and mating rituals of the Lightning Bugs, or Fireflies as known to non-Southerners, meeting and creating beautiful luminescence together.

Close your eyes and think back to the long hot summers of childhood.
Playing outside until late in the evening, sitting on the front porch eating ice-cold watermelon slices, listening to the crickets chirp, and the tree frogs sing.
Remember catching Lightning Bugs and keeping them in a Mason jar ?
They glowed beside you all night long sitting on your night table....
Innocence and childhood going hand in hand.

We cannot recapture our childhood, but we can still enjoy the magic of the Lightning Bugs, nature's living lanterns............

An Iris Blessing

The Tennessee State Flower

May your blooms be floriferous and in good form,
Distinctive, with good substance, flare, and airborne,
With standards and falls that endure, never torn.
May you display many buds and blooms sublime,
In graceful proportion on strong stalks each day,
Gently floating above the fans and the fray.
May you too reach toward the moon and stars,
Bloom after bloom, many seasons in the sun,
Enjoying your life, health, and each loved one,
Until your 'living days are artfully done.

~ Georgia Gudykunst

Monday, May 9, 2011

Treading Water

We enjoyed a glorious Spring day here in the Tennessee Valley for Mother's Day.
Mother Nature graced up with her very best, and it was such a delight to spend the day pottering around the garden.

We planted and cleaned up around the pond, taking care not to disturb Igor, who has become quite accustomed to our presence, and no longer plops in the pond, when he sees us coming.

Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, the 13 year Cicadas are serenading.

Cold, wet leaves
Floating on moss-colored water
And the croaking of frogs -
Cracked bell-notes in the twilight
~ The Pond, Amy Lowell

A new Japanese water Iris in bloom " Holden's Child"

I hope your day was just as special.