Monday, January 23, 2012


Birds' Nests

The summer nests uncovered by autumn wind.
Some torn, others dislodged, all dark.
Everyone sees them: low or high in tree,
Or hedge, or single bush, they hang like a mark.

Since there's no need of eyes to see them with
I cannot help a little shame
That I missed most, even at eye's level, till
The leaves blew off and made the seeing no game.

'Tis a light pang. I like to see the nests
Still in their places, now first known,
At home and by far roads. Boys knew them not,
Whatever jays and squirrels may have done.

And most I like the winter nests deep-hid
That leaves and berries fell into;
Once a dormouse dined there on hazel-nuts,
And grass and goose-grass seeds found soil and grew.

~ Edward Thomas (1878-1917 / London / England)

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Gentle Giant

"The tree which moves some to tears of joy,
Is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.
Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see
Nature at all.
But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself."

~ William Blake, 1799, The Letters

Photo taken at The Hermitage: Home of President Andrew Jackson, Nashville, Tennessee.

Click image to see the pheasant in the wood

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Days

I'm beginning to get cabin fever, and as the sun shone ever so slighty today, I decided to spend time cleaning the potting shed.

Putting things back in their place.

Wiping away winter dust.

Hanging dried roses from shelves.

"Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do - or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so."

~Stanley Crawford

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Batten Down The Hatches

Tornado season is once again upon us.
The Tennessee Valley endured a sleepless night of horrendous winds, today was filled with much of the same, tornado sirens, trees uprooted, and roofs blown off.

Thankfully there was no loss of life.
The morning mists settled over the drenched landscape, a serene yet eerily silent mirage, showing little sign of earlier ruination.

Oliver thought it best to watch all the mayhem from indoors.

We reached a balmy 65 degrees here today, not your typical January weather.
Late afternoon the wild turkeys came a trotting, since the young poults are now grown, the flock has grown to forty six.
There seems to be a lot of flapping wings and flaring tails, in an effort to show dominance amongst the males.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Favorite Paintings


I have a love for old Victorian paintings, in particular paintings that depict scenes of children with their pets in playful settings.
The popular work of English artist Sir Arthur Elsley ( 1860-1952 ) being one of my most favorites.

All of his paintings feature children with animals, dogs, horses, kittens and puppies, and are true to life situations.

His works were so popular during his lifetime that many of his paintings were reproduced as prints, and were often used in calendars, advertisements, books and magazines.

Hard Pressed Time To Get Up

A Helping Hand

Wait A Minute

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Silent And Soft

Out of the bosom of the air,
Out of the cloudfolds of her garment shaken,
Over the woodlands, brown and bare
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

~~By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.~~

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

'Til They're Clean And Sparkly

For the past several days the weather has been fairly mild, but damp.
This morning it was so foggy, the mailbox wasn't even visible.

Days such as these I get the urge to stay inside and accomplish a little spring cleaning, and so before noon I found myself up to my elbows in sudsy water, and Brasso cleaner.

Shelf-pottery and knick-knacks were bathed, copper and silverware shined.

I know, it is the depth of winter, but that's how I work, either I'm a little behind or a little in front of schedule, nevertheless I give myself a pat on the back for simply making the effort.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Silence

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the
landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it - the whole story doesn't show."

~ Andrew Wyeth

Friday, January 6, 2012

Downton Abbey Season 2

Downton Abbey returns Sunday evening with an all-star cast to season two of Julian Fellowes' Emmy Award winning drama.

Downton Abbey's Granthams and their family of servants have already weathered scoundrels, scandals, and a momentous succession crisis. But by November, 1916, the Great War has rendered everything — and everyone — changed. Even Downton Abbey itself, like its residents, has risen to the call of duty and transformed.

At the war front, life intensifies for Downton's young men in the face of untold horrors. Meanwhile, at Downton, war makes new and often unjust demands. Some rise to its call for a stiff upper lip and a useful turn, and others see change as an opportunity for either growth or exploitation. Far from the trenches, there remains no shortage of scheming, meddling, and dangerous attractions.

As other great houses crumble, a diminished Downton Abbey struggles to prevail into a new era with its residents and its honor intact.

Airing January 8, 15, 22, 29 and February 5,12, & 19 on PBS
Check local listings

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wherever You Hang Your Hat

On being removed from his Christmas-paper squat, Oliver promptly declared he had found a much cozier, albeit smaller, place to call home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winter Days

The recipe books are once again sitting snugly on their shelves, instead of being strewn about the kitchen counter tops.

I was gifted a beautiful enameled, cast-iron dutch-oven at Christmas, something I had placed on my "Wish List".
The prettiest cobalt-blue finish, and heavy as a sack of coal.
I have no idea how Father Christmas managed to squeeze it down the chimney.

My first masterpiece was a wholesome pot of navy bean, cabbage, and smoked sausage soup. Slowly simmered to perfection, and devoured with a slice or two of buttermilk cornbread.

I'm leaving the tartan tablecloth in place for a little while longer, the colors warm and inviting, giving dull Winter days, a much needed splash of vibrancy.

We had a blast of Arctic weather blow through yesterday, tonight, more of the same, although none predicted past Thursday.

Perfect weather on a late blustery afternoon for indulging in lots of tea, and enjoying a shortbread biscuit or two.

"Come along inside... We'll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place."

~ Kenneth Grahame, "The Wind in the Willows"

Monday, January 2, 2012

Time To Tidy

Oliver has taken to sleeping amongst all the Christmas wrapping paper, ribbon, and bows in the spare bedroom, and now it's time to tidy the chaos, and put everything back in it's place.
He isn't pleased, not even a tiddly-bit.