"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sunny Day

Sunny sky sleeps in the mornin', it doesn't know when to rise...

From a James Taylor song.  I love him.  I heard yesterday that there will be a new James Taylor channel on Sirius radio.  

So far so good today.  It is a sunny day. I just want to soak up the rays (and hopefully some of the water will dry up).  Like Texas, we have had non-stop rain since March and more is forecast for the rest of the week.  I have been trying to fill sink holes in and around my garden.  Will have to go find rocks along the side of a road today.  Formally, this part of Oklahoma was coal mining country and I have a fear of sink holes.  They do occur around here.  

I need to go outside.  The songbirds are doing their best vocalizations and the crows I posted about, well, perhaps I started something that I might regret.  They have figured out that I live in this house and call me regularly now.  Woke me this morning.  Waiting for their food.  I have discovered where in the woods they have a nest. Sometimes they bring their friends.  Did you know a group of crows is called a murder of crows?  Wonder who came up with that term... 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Days In A Life

Do you ever wonder what really goes on behind the scenes of our blogging buddies?  I mean, no one wants to hear us drone on about our bone spurs, or dark depression and anxiety disorders.  Right?  But, how many beautiful bouquets and finely decorated tableaux can we look at?  
Case in point - my good blogging friend, Jo, a Brit in TN, posted such a beautiful blog about strawberries.  Well, mine are mush this year because of non-stop, flooding rains.  Who wants to look at that?  And, Sister, my weenie, got in the middle of them yesterday and pooped.  I don't know if I can possibly go looking for any now.  Fertilizer perhaps?  Now that would be a positive way to look at things.  I haven't reached my maximum level for beauty though.  I might if I were to start doing Pinterest.

Please, don't all of you jump ship on me yet.  I am pretty hopeless, er, I am still hopeful.  I do not like technology; need an assistant to handle all of it.  It is so frustrating to me.  Nevertheless, I have had this camera for two years, maybe three.  Different lenses and is an SLR which I used to love before the digital days.  So what's the problem?  I just got it out for the first time today.  I simply do not want to read about it and fiddle with it.  Picture me with my head bowed in shame, but, I am going to fiddle with it today.  If I put things away in a cabinet or drawer, I forget about them (okay, I think about them occasionally), but the alternative is leaving it sitting around and I don't like a messy house.

Same thing with my art supplies.  The only place with enough light to work in my house is the dining room table.  It will become covered with paints and brushes, papers et al, and looks so messy.  I have had it all put away since the fall, but am going to get it all back out and start to paint and create again.  Hopeful huh?

Okay, I'll get off the subject.  I call this statue my booger.  I bought it from a small local shop.  It was made by an African American goat herder in a nearby town.  Probably made from an oak tree; it has goat bones for teeth.  

It has a two sided face, four arms and four feet, nostrils and not sure what other carvings are.  Maybe eyes or ears.

Arms and fingers.

Feet and toes.

A look inside one of his gaping mouths.  It is very heavy; must have been awfully hard to carve.  Was it a way to pass the time or a shamanic creation?  I looked at some other tribal African art and saw some similar horned creatures.  Could the creator have remembered something from a long ago culture?  Had an epiphany from somewhere out there?  I bought it for $5.00 and an old, broken harpsichord.  It must have taken the artist a long time to carve it. And, I do so love folk art.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Michael Franks - Down in Brazil

Let me try this again.  Whew.  Sometimes I find it impossible to get things to work right on this blog.  
In the 70's, I found a great songwriter/musician - Michael Franks.  I just love his sound and voice.  If you don't listen to any other songs of his,listen to this one and Antonio's Song.  I tried to get a commercial free copy, but alas, could not figure out how to get one without it.  His albums/cds, whatever, are superb.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Water World

Morning has broken.  The farm where I live is a watery world.  We haven't had this much rain in a long time.  So much, in fact, some roads are closed or washed out, even major highways.  It simply will not stop raining long enough to dry out.  Water stands in the fields.  There is no way I could get in my garden to plant veggies which should have been planted a month ago.  The strawberries are mush.  Did I tell you I dislike rain?  Always, I need sunny days.  The frogs and water lilies are happy though.  Can't believe I made it outside before the lily fully opened.

I have herbs to plant and lots of lavender.

Even my little apple tree that has born its first fruits this spring, is dying from all the rain and wet.  I watch it daily as more leaves turn brown.

Well, here is something that might interest you though I should have taken a better shot at a different angle.  The iris on the left are from plants more than 100 years old.  Merely 12 inches high.  The one on the right is nearly 2 feet higher.  Hybridization I guess.  

The left plants came from an old mountainside homestead.  The log cabin has long since rotted away, though the rock foundation remains.  I heard to look for flowers blooming around the old home to find where the front of the house had been.  This site had previously been in Indian Territory and I wonder where the iris and jonquils might have come from.  My guess is that they came in bulbs, across the country in a covered wagon, from the eastern part of the United States; a sweet reminder for immigrants of their homeland.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jess Pie

I made my first chess pie for my niece Lauren.  She loves them.  A true southern pie, it must have cornmeal in the filling to be called a chess pie.  History is, it was called jess pie, then with the advent of pie chests, chest pie.  Somewhere on it became Chess Pie.  It really was good and after it cools, just melts in your mouth.  Here's the recipe I used.

Browned Butter Chess Pie

6 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook butter in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often (5 to 6 minutes) until butter just begins to turn brown.  Remove from heat.  Whisk together eggs, lemon juice and vanilla till smooth.  Add sugar then cornmeal, flour and salt and stir.  Whisk in browned butter.  Pour mixture into piecrust of your choice.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is lightly browned.  Cool on wire rack.

As an experienced pie baker, I tweaked the recipe.  It had some rigamarole about pre-baking the crust with pie weights for a time which I did not do.  Also, I doubled the filling recipe and used slightly more butter.  For my piecrust, I use both butter and shortening.  It turned out perfect.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

World Naked Gardening Day

  Yes, it is that time again.  A favorite holiday it would seem since I seem to get so many views of this post.  So, what the heck.  Here it comes around again, for old times sake.

The first Saturday in May is World Naked Gardening Day. No kidding. Yes, yours truly used to often garden in the buff in her younger days.  That free spirit Edna St. Vincent Millay also used to garden and weed in the nude at her beloved Steepletop estate in New York.  Known for her wild ways, she famously wrote, "My candle burns at both ends."  I just love her.

Alas, after a bout with skin cancer and my aging skin and body, I no longer garden without clothing and a hat.  It is much cooler without them though.  Oh, and yes, I got caught several times gardening nude. I either ran like a linebacker back to the house or grabbed a workshirt hanging on the tomato cages nearby.  Oddly, I wasn't mortified nor embarrassed. I was pissed - usually confronted the interlopers to let them know that I knew they saw me.  Mind you, I live on a farm and do not abide those who show up unannounced.  Nevertheless, happy Naked Gardening Day this weekend.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Caw Caw Cawing

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know how I love birds.  Crows in particular hold a fascination for me.  Don't know why.  Be that as it may, I've been feeding the crows lately and they are coming to eat.  There is a post in the field that I leave dog food and trinkets on.  Then, I go back home and call them, sounding like a mad lady, cawing loudly.  They come, though I wonder what they think of my poor imitation.  The above crow is carved from wood as a decoy.

Above is an oil painting I did called The Crow Picnic.

This young crow is made of paper mache and holds on to the bucking life-sized horse in my dining room.

The above is a wool wall hanging I purchased hung over a doorway.

Not matter what I did, I could not photograph this gouache I painted.  Guess it is the convex glass in the old frame.

Another old crow decoy.

A photo I took of a Parisian crow last trip to France.  Wonder if city crows are more sophisticated than my country crows?

Here is a crow feather.  Crows are supposed to be very intelligent, but this one wasn't.  He and a friend were fighting and teasing an owl in the trees out front.  Next morning, I found a dead crow on the ground where the fight took place.
Native Americans are very superstitious about crows and ravens.  The mean old woman down the lane shoots them and hangs them upside down in her trees, I guess as a way to scare crows away.

But, as I type this, a crow is cawing loudly out my backdoor, which has never happened.  Seems maybe, they are calling me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Who Is This Man?

HBO has produced a new show (well second season I think) called Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.  I taped one show.  Satirist, comedian, social conscious with a twist?  I guess he says what we Yankees cannot.  Is he British, Irish, Scottish?  I don't know.  I had a little bit of a hard time following him; not his diction, but a little too fast.  Has to get it all in I guess.  I think I'll give him another go.  Seems to be popular over here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


My sister has come for a visit this weekend.  She always expects a cherry pie (two cans of cherries cost $6.84), fresh eggs and whatever else I've canned or put up. We have to go to an expensive local restaurant she loves and she has to have a back tickle.  

Yes, she is the older sister.  You have to have one to understand.  Mind you, like being the middle child, older sisters are the queen bees in family dynamics. In fact, I rarely (every few years) get to go to her house because she won't let me bring my dogs.  But, I love her so - can't imagine life without her.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Garden Walkabout

Back home from the city to the farm.  I awoke to a cold, windy morning so I won't be doing much outside (there is really so much to do I don't know where to start).  I took one look at the fish pond, but I won't be climbing in it today.  I did finish the turkey and her poults topiary boxwoods.  But, while gawking, I saw that my old weeping Japanese maple in the foreground has, I think, died.  It had some new leaves come out on it this spring, but they have died.  I thought maybe a frost had gotten them, but nothing is returning.  It just up and died.  I can't believe it.

Noticed my clematis is starting to bloom on the patio garden fence.  Spring is moving right along without me.  I've tried to teach my husband that gardening doesn't wait for anyone, and now, I am going to have to remind myself of that.  But, it's going to have to wait till tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tadpole Poses

Ever try to get three tadpoles to pose?  Well, they won't.  I went wading in one of my farm ponds to find bullfrog tadpoles (they are as big as marbles), but found only these measly ones.  My grand kids will enjoy them anyway.
I got to thinking about a post by John Gray of Going Gently, about what made you laugh heartily as a child.  Now, I was a serious child; shy and quiet and could not remember that time.  But, I do remember the thrill of tadpoles and crayfish; climbing the tallest trees to peer into bird nests and see the little eggs.  I enjoyed the out of doors and guess I am still that child.

My goldfish have no such problems posing, though they really only want me to feed them.

This is for those whom are thinking about putting in a water garden/goldfish pond.  Be careful of the water plants you choose, especially water lilies and cat tails.  They take over.  My yearly immersion into the stinkiest, nastiest and most disgusting water is nigh.  I have to cut out half of the lilies and get the dead oak leaves out.  The plant root you don't see is as heavy and large as a meteor and I'll have to carve away at it.  That, and if you live in an area with water snakes, well, they'll just love your fish pond.
If that didn't scare you away, well, I do love to watch the gold fish and frogs and dragonflies and even the darn lilies when they bloom.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tropical Fruiting Plants

You might have heard me talk about a store out of Connecticut, called Logee's.  It is a wonderful greenhouse and garden catalog and store and I have used them many times.  In fact, I have a full greenhouse now because of them.  Nevertheless, I have been taking tumeric in capsule form for a couple of years.  It has been around for ages, but I use it for its anti-inflammatory and tumor suppression properties.  They now have the plant in their catalog.  My daughter uses the fresh tubers in her cooking, though I am not a fan of the taste and will continue it in capsule form.

I also ordered a ginger root plant.  They have sold out in the years before.  I love it pickled with sushi which is what I plan to do with my crop.  If you are interested in plant heaven, go take a look at their website, www.logees.com, better yet, request their catalog.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Way To Re-Cycle?

I have posted pics before of my little garden next to the patio.  Though the plantings change from year to year, I am going for a blue garden planted with perennials. Over time, the dishes were broken (no, I'd never) and I thought they would make a perfect edging for this narrow bed.  My husband doesn't like it, but it makes me happy.  

I love blue and white dishes.  I still have my grandmother's set, that I believe, used to come in boxes of detergent.  Though chipped and cracked, there have only been a few of those broken.  I don't think blue and white will ever go out of style.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Asparagus Is Up

The asparagus patch is up and growing once again. Supposedly, eating the first asparagus of spring brings good luck and I always pop the first spear into my mouth.  I have decided I only like it fresh, not canned or frozen.  It is easy to grow and comes back faithfully year after year. 

FYI: Medicinally, second century physician, Galen, describes asparagus as "cleansing and healing".  High in vitamins and necessary chemical compounds, it is used in Ayurvedic medicines.  Asparagus was eaten 20,000 years ago in Egypt.  Greek and Romans ate it fresh and dried it for winter use.  France's Louis XIV had special greenhouses built for growing it.  The points d'amour, or love tips, were served as a delicacy to Madame Pompadour.  It became available in the United States in 1850. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Can't Help Myself

Ordinarily, we ladies don't like double chin shots, but this one takes the cake.  My little baby bumblebee, Penny Lane, is 8 weeks old now and so adorable.  I get to see her this weekend.  Doesn't get any better.  Hope your holiday is a good one too.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


The days are glorious. It got to 84 degrees today and I seriously thought about turning on the air conditioner, but just kept the doors and windows open instead. 

Here is a tip for new gardeners out there - for what it's worth.  Some wild things need to stay wild.  Case in point, these woodland violets I transplanted a few years ago.  Though they have no scent, I thought they were pretty and put them around my goldfish pond.  They have taken over.  Spread everywhere; in cracks, beds, even around shrubs. Can't even kill them out.  That also happened with a wild rose that grows around here.  I transplanted one in my flower beds and they multiplied exponentially.  It took a few years to rid my flower beds of them.  

Stay wild and enjoy spring.  It's my favorite season.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Whether on the farm or the beach, I always look down; forever searching for treasures. Some of the things I gather are nests, many different kinds of bones and rock, leaves, shells, insects, eggs and feathers, jewelry and coins, arrowheads, driftwood and other flotsam and jetsam. Too many things to list.
 I picked up this large wasps' nest and left it sitting around, then came upon this piece of coral. I was surprised and awed by the similarities of the two. One made by an insect on land and the other made in the sea by a totally different marine creature. Pretty cool, huh?

I do use my treasured finds from time to time as inspiration.  I did a pencil drawing of this large wasps' nest when it was still attached to the limb and the larger paper part of the nest.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Death and Taxes

No beautiful spring buds today.  I have to get my taxes ready for the CPA who does our federal and state income taxes.  We have to pay a certified public accountant to prepare our taxes at great expense because of the incredulous book-sized form required to be filled out to submit said taxes (and the tax code changes every year).

We are not in the upper 1%, but we pay out the wazoo.  In the USA, we are taxed on everything; food, income, and on and on.   Though we paid taxes on income earned our entire working life, now we have to pay taxes again on the piddly social security income we receive as well as retirement benefits. Yes, taxed again.

I could go on and on.  There is no way out of it, except for all the losers and dead beats that get away with not paying; the running underclass they are called (I didn't even mention corporate America). If we did it, we'd be jailed immediately or liens attached to our homes and bank accounts and property sold at auction. What is to become of us poor taxpayers?  It's all political and that system is broken too. Taxes have probably been the downfall of all those ancient civilizations we wonder what happened to. And, yes, there really is a death tax and everything else related to that sad occurrence. What is next?  A wind tax, sun and cloud tax?  They are probably already trying to figure out a new birth tax.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Faithless Love

One of my favorite songs from way back in the 70's, written by J.D. Souther.  He has a wonderful voice and wrote many hits for stars including the Eagles, Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt. I think Linda's version was the most famous.  I found this cover by Bernadette Peters and thought it beautiful.  I still love J.D.'s version best, just his voice and acoustic guitar, but couldn't figure out how to get it on this post too.  It's on youtube or it can be purchased on itunes. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Literary Minutia

Maybe I should title this daily minutiae.  I have nothing to do today.  It is cold and muddy outside with freezing temps and a wintry mix coming in tomorrow and the next day.  I dislike going outside in this kind of weather.  

So, my day will consist of a little reading, the telly and bathing the dogs in the shower with me.  That's it.  

I have been reading this winter.  In between the Outlander series, which my sister and niece insisted I read, I read a book my son gave me for Christmas.  I had always wondered who Evangeline was (and after reading am still wondering how she became so famous) except for the fact Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this epic poem about her.

To get to the point of the post, in Evangeline, Longfellow used the word susurrus.  I had to look it up.  I noticed the word again in the Outlander series.  The author has used it 3 (now 5) times in four books of the series.  Who uses that word?  I thought there was no way it was a coincidence and finally in the fourth book of the series, the author wrote a line, "Longfellow couldn't have described it better." Touche.

Well, there are my bits of minutiae for the day.  I don't think you can use the word susurrus in winter.  There will be no whispering, murmuring nor rustling sounds outside here today, or if a tree falls in the forest...

My epitaph  ~  She Thought Too Much

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Portlandia | Microhouse | IFC

  Portlandia is such a funny program; skits with many famous actors and comedians and produced by Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live fame.  Makes me want to go to Portland, OR.

The tiny house movement is sweeping the nation and I can tell you, I'd last a day in one.  It would be fun for a playhouse for the grand children, but not my style.  The bigger the better for me.

Portlandia always makes me laugh, but then again, I have kind of a strange since of humor.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More Birds

I ordered this on etsy.  It was described as a dove.  Huh?  Be that as it may, I found something new and fun to do.  It is an app on the iphone called Waterlogue and you can purchase it for 99 cents.  I haven't gotten to experiment much with it, but I think it is going to be interesting. Everyone will become an artist with the click of a button.

This is the bird photo with Waterlogue.  I'm sure there are many things one can do with it, but as for me, I haven't a clue.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Something Nice About Winter

I promised this year I would not complain about old man winter.  I could go on and on about it negatively, but what is one to do except move to Hawaii.  There is an inch of ice on the ground and now, more inches of snow on top of it.  So, I'll say something nice about it.  

I do so love birds.  They are eating me out of house and home this winter.  I feed them sunflower hearts as there is no mess leftover nor uneaten seeds.  At one point, I counted 20 cardinals on my little apple tree.  It was a beautiful sight.  They would not cooperate for a photo though so I had to shoot what I could with my phone.  One can't be too stealthy with birds and I'm not going outside to get a good shot.  The males are all challenging each other while the females wait patiently for the orioles and chickadees to drop food from the feeders.  What else is there to do on a day like this?  It's definitely a day for bird watching.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Hallelujah - my reading list came back, knock on wood.  My blog has been so messed up for the past month and a half.  I left the farm to attend the birth of my third grandchild and when I came back it was fixed - hallelujah was the first thing that came to mind.  

The helpers at google/chrome/blogger had me stand on my head, juggling behind my back with my legs doing an Irish jig, all while clicking on every button on my computer.  We are talking literally hours and weeks of trying to get the kinks out.  Of course, it was me and my computer that was at fault due to my inexperience (technical idiot) and add-ons and filters in the ether out there in cyberspace.  For example, it took me hours to find out that the reload button was the same exact thing as refresh, which they kept telling me to do.  What and where are add-ons, filters, print screens - more hours.  I had to read tons and tons of technical stuff. The whole experience was stressful to put it nicely.  I couldn't work on it at night or I'd be up all night thinking about it.

Well, lo and behold, one morning, ping, there it all was.  Nothing they told me to do fixed it.  It just righted itself, uh huh.

I used to listen to Loudan Wainwright III (Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road) in the 80's and now his son, Rufus, is singing too.  This is my favorite version of the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah.  Some like Jeff Buckley's version better (and I used to also listen to his father, Tim Buckley, in the 80's).  K.D. Lang also does a beautiful rendition.  Look up Rufus Wainwright on youtube.  He performs with many other famous musicians.  Just love his voice.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Penny Lane

What is love?  Why, it's Penny Lane.  I have a new grand child.  She is an exact replica of her Dad at this stage.  And she is so loved.

My son says he and Penny couldn't stop crying at her birth.  Her Dad, Parker, and her mother, Katie, are so in love with her.

At 7.8 lbs, with a head full of black hair, she is perfection.  Mewls like a little kitten.  She is two days old now.  Meanwhile back, I had to return home to the farm, but I told her Dad this morning to give her a kiss for me.  Seems like only yesterday...

PS ~ And I've been singing Penny Lane for two days straight.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New Read

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  With all of the error messages I am receiving and no reading list for the past month, I am hoping I can still publish a new post on this blog.  I fully expect to wake up one morning and find that my blog doesn't exist.  
I did find a new book to read and will begin it tonight. I'll let you know if I think it's worth the money.

PS ~ I'm about half way through the book and I can tell you that the two protagonists are train wrecks.  I guess it is good if you go by the standards of money made and No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.  I didn't know about this when I bought it.  Saw the author on TV this morning and she said this was her fourth novel.  She wanted it to be in the vein of Hitchcock.  All I'm going to say is to each his own... and I'm not going to go by the NY Times bestseller list any time soon.

PS ~ I wish I had my money back.