Thursday, May 29, 2014


The Lilies are in bloom.
Their colors are a delight, their scent, heavenly.








The Lily

The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threat'ning horn:
While the Lily white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
William Blake
28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827 / London

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You Missed A Spot

I'm not quite sure when I first became aware of my "clean windows" obsession..
I have a suspicion it started somewhere in my childhood, having the prestigious job of cleaning my grandma's windows standing barefoot on her English oak dining table, and working with a chamois leather until my arms ached.
She liked to clean the windows at night, her theory was, "You can see the streaks better , when the sun goes down"...

One of the standards in an English household, are clean windows.
We obsess about them, neighbours fall out over them, you are judged by them.
Woe be the housewife who has dirty windows......

The window cleaner used to come around weekly, and clean the outside of the windows. There were window cleaners in every neighborhood of every town in England. The homeowner themselves, usually cleaned the insides, unless the job was too difficult.
It was always about pride.....we British seem to hang our hat's on that one.

It seems I continued my "must clean the windows" one -woman campaign , as soon as my suitcase was unpacked in Colorado. One of the first items I bought at the local K. Mart store was a nice leather chamois cloth, Windex and soft cotton towels.

Cleaning the windows on the inside, was not a problem, but I had never been introduced to "storm windows", or "screened windows". I understood the need, but wondered how American housewives cleaned the windows weekly, when it took so much time in removing the screens first.
It wasn't too much time before I realized it was an impossible goal. Too heavy, too cumbersome, too time-consuming......forget it.

I still clean windows regularly. Maybe not all at once, (we have 25 windows in this house) but they all get a "lick and a promise", before a season passes.

These days we have those "new type" windows that you can pull inside the house and clean...except it's not quite that simple.
I tend to end up wrestling with the bloomin things, and then have to wack 'em back into the tracks to get them back in the frame. I have this feeling one day they won't go back in, and I'll be left with holes and NO

My grandma Ciss used to tell me " Take care of the corners, the middle will look after itself ."

To this day, I cannot clean a window, without hearing her whispering that little saying into my ear. I always smile and give the corners an extra little rub.
I have innocently enough, passed this obsession along to my daughter....... *grin*.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

All Creatures Great And Small

" Robust and portly gentleman Wood frog with his own  pad, looking for lady companionship "

"Igor" has returned to the pond, summoning any eligible female within earshot with his amorous calls.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lovely Lavender

If I could choose but one plant in my garden it would be lavender.
One whiff of it's subtle fragrance, and I'm whisked back to my childhood and memories of my grandma's favorite Yardley's English Lavender toiletries.
Legend tells us that lavender was brought to England by the Romans. It was a highly valued plant due to it's healing, soothing and insect repelling properties.
Lavender oil was also used for massage.

The Lady of the Manor used lavender for culinary and medicinal purposes, and kept a still -room for preparation for use by family and staff.
Victorian ladies enjoyed lavender, turning their faces towards the sweet scent and inhaling it to calm their fluttering hearts.

A member of the mint family, and cousin to rosemary, lavender can be used like rosemary in many dishes.
The flowers, can be dried and tied in bunches, laying them in linen closets, or tucking them in dried flower arrangements and scattering sprigs wherever you choose.
A gentle shake or a fond pet of the plant releases the fragrance from early spring to frost.

" here's your sweet lavender
sixteen sprigs a penny
that you'll find my ladies
will smell as sweet as any "

~ The Lavender Seller's Cry, London, England 1900

Friday, May 16, 2014

Color Comes To Town

The Perennials have been slow to return, after the late freeze in April.
Better late than never.
The Goldfinches will soon be devouring the seeds of this Tickseed.
It makes happy little birds.


Window boxes have been planted.
Mama's flowers (small bearded penstemon) are happy in their new spot.

Heirloom Iris the Tennessee State Flower

Fetthemme Sedum  lived happily in the pot all winter.

It's lovely to see color returning to the garden.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spring Rain

The world is wet today
luxurious, damp, drenched
drops hug the leaves,
anoint the still budded lilac blossoms
before their blooming
rich purple and plum
made richer by their watery skin
New leaves under the weight
droplets heavy, hanging
bowing the white pine needles
undersides exposed to drink
drink in the morning
hushed in the rain
temperature near the dewpoint
sprouts of just planted flowers
eager from the parched soil
new puddles bloom too
on the ground, the driveway
collect and gather
without the smell of summer rain yet
tears splash and spread
silent shimmers, heralds, messengers
in the spring rain.

~A Spring Rain : Raymond J. Foss

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Oliver Love

I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed.
These things, to me, are expressions of love.

~ James Herriot

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rock On

My Rocking-Chair

When I am old and worse for wear
I want to buy a rocking-chair,
And set it on a porch where shine
The stars of morning-glory vine;
With just beyond, a gleam of grass,
A shady street where people pass;
And some who come with time to spare,
To yarn beside my rocking-chair.
Then I will light my corn-cob pipe
And dose and dream and rarely gripe.
My morning paper on my knee
I won't allow to worry me.
For if I know the latest news
Is bad,--to read it I'll refuse,
Since I have always tried to see
The side of life that clicks with glee.

And looking back with days nigh done,
I feel I've had a heap of fun.
Of course I guess that more or less
It's you yourself make happiness
And if your needs are small and few,
Like me you may be happy too:
And end up with a hope, a prayer,
A chuckle in a rocking-chair.

~Robert William Service

Friday, May 2, 2014

Blackberry Winter

We've been having a cold spell for the past several days.
Old-timers in the South know this as Blackberry Winter, which mainly describes a brief period of cold weather that coincides with the time the blackberries are in bloom.

The birds are busy nesting, and visiting the feeders throughout the day.
Consuming copious amounts of their special suet and seed concoction, diligently prepared by the First Sergeant.
The Woodpeckers have become his new BFF's.



And we've had a rare and welcomed visitor to the feeders.
A Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, on his migration home to Canada.

Have a safe journey little friend.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Days

"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