Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Dandelion Bouquet, Dandy Lions


There are a lot of bright yellow dandelions blooming in my backyard. One man's weed is sometimes another man's flower, as they say. This is the first time as an adult that I made a dandelion bouquet. How about you?

I am reading "Cultivating Delight" by Diane Ackerman and after I picked my bouquet I read what she wrote about these plants. The French thought the serrated leaves look like the teeth of a lion and called them "dents de lion" or teeth of the lion. The English heard this as "dandelion". She wrote that she sees home owners patrolling their lawns like serial killers, hunting for dandelions to kill. She thought of holding up a sign "Dandelions are flowers too" but decided not to, in accordance with the first rule of friendly gardening "Mind your own garden."

When I was in grade school, maybe about 9 years old, I loved my teacher. I lived close to school so my friend and I walked to school. One day I was a few minutes late to school because I stopped to pick a fabulous golden dandelion bouquet for teacher. She was charmed by the bouquet and as I recall, she did not mark me tardy that day.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Sigrid Nunez, Anne Tyler and Edmund Crispin: A Perfect Trio of Novels

 Did you ever read three books in a row that you liked very much and read quickly? That happened to me recently. Often I read excellent books but rather slowly. The three I found to be page turners are Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler, The Friend by Sigrid Nunez and Buried for Pleasure by Edmund Crispin. 


Breathing Lessons centers around Maggie and her husband Ira in a 24 hour period. They attend a funeral in the morning and pay a surprise visit to their ex-daughter-in-law and grandchild age 7 in the afternoon. Maggie is a force of nature, she is known for trying to fix and change people and hopeless situations, sometimes with disastrous results.


My favorite of this trio of books is The Friend by Sigrid Nunex. I had not read any books written by this author so was delighted to find this book so refreshing and interesting. It is about a woman writing in the first person and the dog Apollo, a Great Dane dog she is stuck with, and her relationship as a dear male friend of many years to Apollo's owner. Apollo is wonderful. Nunez writes perceptively as the main character thinks while watching dogs play: You know nothing of envy. No yearnings or nostalgia. No regrets. You really are a different species.


I had not read any of the Gervase Fen mysteries by Edmund Crispin, and Buried for Pleasure              was fun to read. Fen is a light hearted Oxford Don and amateur detective and there are 10 books in this series. Fen was bored with his routine of teaching and decided to run for MP in a small rural area. During his campaign he works to solve several murders and mysteries, and starts to hope he will lose the election. Fen's quips and thoughts are entertaining.

If you have found some great books to read let me know about them.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Happy Birthday and Freya Stark, Romantic Traveller on Camel and Horseback

 This is happy me, celebrating my birthday from Wednesday to Wednesday. See the two bouquets from my sons, the yellow orchid and pink cup that says Best Mom? Saturday they treated me to dinner at our favorite restaurant that we walk to from my house. On one Wednesday two friends treated me to lunch and on the next Wednesday another friend treated me. Such good people.

Do you love Freya Stark, woman adventurer in the Middle East? She explored on camels and riding horses in tough conditions in the desert in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. She had great spirits and endured danger and heat and thrived and lived to be 100, from 1893-1993. I like the romantic inscription in my used copy: "March 2003 Juanita, another book to inspire our travels. Your passion for me and for travel inspires my own life. Love Joaquin." I would like to meet Juanita and Joaquin.

The last photo lists the books Freya Stark wrote. Some memorable titles: The Valley of the Assassins, Letters from Syria, The Minaret of Djam, Dust in the Lion's Paw and many more.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Old Gnarly Radishes, South African Flowers and American Tableware

Are these old radishes frightening? They were left in my garden over the winter and are gigantic.

The above photo of Leucospermum from my garden was taken the day I picked them. The next photo shows the blooms about 10 days after picking.

Above are leucospermum flowers from my two garden bushes. They need sun and rather dry conditions and are from South Africa. The flowers last a long time, several weeks, in a bouquet.

It is sad to me to see entire industries disappear from the USA. Factories provide good jobs and help our economy be strong. Many countries face this same situation as manufacturing is dominated by communist China. The above beautiful tableware is made by the only remaining USA tableware manufacturer. I like to support them and bought a set of stainless steel highest quality silverware for my table. I chose the Annapolis design, they offer many designs. If you are interested visit I am not connected with them but I am praising them. Here is the link: Liberty Tabletop

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Shakespeare's Gardens and My Two African Market Baskets


Do you have an African market basket? I think they are beautiful in form and in function. The one with my gardening books in it I bought from my neighbor. He immigrated to the USA from Ghana and is married to my neighbor. He imported about 30 baskets from Ghana to sell at a yard sale. The red basket is from Togo and I bought it at World Market and it holds papers for recycling.

I have a special basket made in Africa that holds some of my garden picture books. "Shakespeare's Gardens" is a favorite book. The first photo shows the gardens and the birthplace and childhood home of Shakespeare. Decades ago my hubby and I toured Stratford-upon-Avon, saw a play in the old theater and visited a few homes related to The Bard. Shakespeare lived and worked there for most of his 52 years. The book is written by Jackie Bennett with photographs by Andrew Lawson.

In reading this book I was stunned and saddened to learn that Shakespeare's grand and final home "New Place" was torn down in 1759 because the current owner couldn't stand the sight seers and because of some sort of legal squabble. All that remains is the handsome gardens. Towns people were outraged when New Place was demolished and hounded the man out of town. That is a harsh loss to the world of literature and gardens and admirers of Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote 20 plays during his time as owner of New Place.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter

 Here are two cards with Easter greetings.

Yes, Christ was crucified and rose from the dead, and he offers eternal life in heaven to all who say yes to him and become Jesus followers. That is the best gift offered to anyone ever. The certainty of seeing our loved ones again in heaven and being ever joyful there.

Thank you Monica for this adorable bunny card that flew to me all the way from Sweden. And now we all know how to say Happy Easter in Swedish, Glad Pask.

My sons and I attended church today, saw many baptisms, about 8, and we cheered for each person as they were submerged in water and committed to follow Jesus. Then we went to my house and had an Easter feast. A very good day. Best wishes to all of you no matter your religious views.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Pretty Painting from Swedish Book, Large Heart Stone, Camelias

Here is a heart stone displayed at the school a block from my house, and I include Bounce to show the size of the stone, it is quite large. Plus I include Bounce because he is Bounce!


The painting above is from a Swedish children's book and it was sent to me as a postcard from blog friend Monica at Beyond the Lone Islands The painting touches my heart, it speaks of longing and of goodbyes. The boy is holding a goose and saying goodbye. The book is "The Wonderful Adventures of Nils" by Selma Lagerlof. 

Above are camellia flowers from my camellia bush blooming in March It survived the neighbor's tree falling right above it.