"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

Friday, June 24, 2016

Oh My Aching Feet

I would love to show you more of my flowers, but decided to throw you a curve instead.  Kind of like Brexit??? Don't get me wrong.  I don't know if the leaving is good or bad, but the stock market right now is making me think it wasn't such a good thing, but what do I know. Anyway...

If you are old enough, you will remember going to the shoe store (where we used to have to buy shoes) and climbing up the steps on this machine to get a possibly lethal dose of - RADIATION?

These shoe fitting fluoroscope machines were actually built in the early 1900's, but they became commonplace after the war in the forties.  Every shoe store had one.  It was fun to see the X-rays of your foot bones and the more times you did it the more radiation you received.  So, if you were a little brat like me, you kept climbing up on it.

It became known that people were being given extreme radiation exposure; the doses had large variations between the machines.  Bone cancers and genetic effects were being logged and by 1953, the US FDA banned them, but some were still in use as late as 1970.

A college physics professor of mine told me if I had used one, I should be monitored for cancer.

I saw a restoration show in 2012 and they tested one of these machines for radiation before they started to tear it down.  The meter reading was off the charts.

Just thought you might like to know this little factoid.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


I've been thinking of others' posts about being away from home, whether from illness, vacation or necessity.

I am a homebody.  Even at the new house, it has become my home and I find such peace here; don't go many places unless shopping and such.

Though I love the thought of traveling and watch many travel shows (and I am fascinated with Mt. Everest and why anyone would want to climb it), but when I do travel, I usually find myself counting the days and longing for home.  I posted this prose before and thought about it this morning.  I think I heard it on Call The Midwife.

"Home is not simply a mark upon a map any more than a river is just water.

It is a place at the center of a compass from which every arrow radiates and where the heart is fixed.

It is a force that forever draws us back; shores us up.

For where the home is, there lies hope, and the future waits

and everything is possible."

Thursday, June 16, 2016


"Summertime......and the livin' is easy" - unless you live where I live.  It is blisteringly hot this week.  We were spoiled by a late, cool and wet spring and we are now paying the price.  I think yesterday, we were the hottest in the nation according to the heat index and with the humidity, it is steaming.  The news was showing eggs frying on the street.  I can function outdoors when the temperatures are in the 80's, but not in the high 90's.

It will be a two shower day and right now, I am fiddling around thinking of things I need to do indoors.  I planted this morning and fed the waterfowl which left me dripping in sweat and dirty.  So, I'm clean and drinking a glass of Bigelow's raspberry, hibiscus and rose tea.  Won't be able to drink hot drinks until fall.

I don't even want to go back to the plant store and/or get out to run errands.  How did they live before air conditioning?  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Smokebush Tree

I was driving in the city the other day and saw this smokebush tree.  I have never seen this color before.  It is called Royal Purple.  

It is lovely and I'd love to have one, but alas, no room.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Haiku Duck

This is what I woke to at the city house last week.  They were all splashing and diving in my little goldfish pond.  I loved the moment.  In the next, the weenies barked and the mother flew over the edge and onto the lower lawn, quacking loudly to her brood to follow her. It is an eight foot drop and I thought, oh no, there wasn't any way, but all nine babies hopped onto the rocks and leapt over the edge in free fall.

If you remember, her eggs were snatched by something in the spirea bush.  Another mother lost her entire brood in one day.  Like the travails of Jemima Puddle-Duck, nature and farm life can be cruel sometimes, a fact Beatrix Potter herself observed.  This mallard mother is a good one and seems to be caring for them.  She brings them back many times a day.  So, I've named her Haiku.  Why? I don't know.

I don't really understand haiku poetry, but do appreciate the ability to be succinct; say what needs to be said in as few words as possible.  

Here are a couple of haikus for you.

In the sharing 
of simple pleasures
we become closer still.

Sitting by the lake
watching the ducks swim about
comfort in nature.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Lily, Lily, Rose

A favorite plein air painting by John Singer Sargent, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.  He painted this at the same time every evening over a two year period. The carnations have come and gone, but right now, lilies reign supreme at the city house.

I am impressed that the former owner planted perennials in succession so the blooms just keep coming.  I am filling in with annuals then need to mulch.  The only lily I can identify is the calla lily.  Can't wait to see what the others that haven't opened look like.

Okay, here is a rose.  She planted the same kind around the house.  I think they might be Drift roses or something like that.  I've already deadheaded them once.  Not a sign of blackspot.  At the farm, I've tried every rose and they all get blackspot, whether I spray or not.

Don't have a clue what this large plant is.  At first I thought it ghastly, but it is growing on me.  I hate to admit it, but I do not like large blooms, as on poinsettia plants, Bird of Paradise, glads, hibiscus... But, 
I do love moon flowers, roses and hydrangeas, so never mind.  

I read a funny story once about Truman Capote opening his apartment door to an armload of poinsettia plants.  He shut the door and said that he didn't even want to know who would send a plant like that.  Since they are for sale around my birthday, I get loads of them.  Some even sprayed with glitter.  I've finally gotten family to stop buying them for me.

This is what I shall be doing today.  Braiding onions and pickling the ones that don't have a stem.  Happy day to all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Weed Or Not

I listened to many of you and abstained from pulling up plants I did not know about.  It is hard when they are small and not identifiable. This beauty is a moon flower and has a lovely scent, but even better, it blooms throughout the summer and early fall.  Nearly the size of a plate, the large plant is covered in these flowers that only open at night.  I took this shot on a cloudy, early morn.  It is also called Angel's Trumpet.

I don't know what this shrub is, but there are several in the gardens and it is very pretty.

This little garden is off the patio next  to my bedroom on the upper level of the back yard.  There is about an 8 foot drop down to the lower level of yard and gardens that slopes down to the lake.  I have to be careful not to roll down the slope.

Remember those teeny goslings a couple of months ago?

What big babies they have become.  Nearly as large as their parents though they still have downy patches. Eat like little goats.  Quite friendly and unafraid, though I'd prefer they stay in the lake and not on my lawn.

These small doves come to eat seed on my windowsills and are very friendly.  All the wildlife seem to be used to humans, unlike their country counterparts. Many kinds of birds.

And here are my new pretties.  The garden center said they were chimes.  What?  Glass balls?  I only bought one, but had to go back the next day for two more.  Rule of threes?  Odd numbers more pleasing or the symmetry?  Can't remember.

Off the subject, but since I always tell you I never learn, well, I passed on this large zeppelin though it pained me to do so.  It is only the second one I have ever seen and I have always wanted one.  They would only come down 10% and I choked at the price.  So, maybe I shouldn't pat myself on the back.  I would have bought it for the right price.  Sigh.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Porch Sitting

You might like to hear this song whilst imagining me sitting on the porch.  And no, it isn't me playing my ukulele just a good porch sitting song.

I have had porches these last decades, but none were covered.  This one is covered and has a ceiling fan and I can tell you, I spend much of my time at the city house communing with nature and watching the lake and garden happenings from my back porch.  Just my favorite spot.  The house was  intentionally situated closer
 to the lake so the neighbors aren't easily visible.

Whereas front porches were mandatory in the past, it seems back porches are used more often now.

I went out the other morning early, with just shorts and a tee shirt, no bra as who would be around this early.  With my trusty spade and plants, I began digging holes.  HELLO!
Yes, a neighbor caught me outside unawares.  I have met them once and hadn't even brushed my hair. That never happens in the country where one can walk around naked if so inclined.

Some time later in the day, I still hadn't showered as I wanted to finish dirty work in the garage and outside, so I crept out front around the side of the house to dig up two tomato plants I decided to re-locate.  Bent over and looking like hell, HELLO!  Out in the open and nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.  I tried to cover up the front of my bust with dirt and plants in hand.  Sigh.

Guess this will be me in a few years.  Not much privacy in the city, but I sure do love my porch.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

West Wind

There is a west wind today.  Love its gentle breezes. It looks like it is snowing outside.  I counted 12 cottonwood trees around our little lake.  Why would they plant those in the city?  I've always heard they should only be planted in the country which is in evidence this week.  There are two huge ones in our backyard. The pips are floating everywhere, in the lake, the gardens and yards and we'll have to pull the housing off the air conditioner to hose it out of there.    

In Greek mythology, Zephyrus was the bringer of the west wind (usually a gentle breeze).  So unusual in OK as the wind is legend here.  

I always sang the song They Call The Wind Mariah to my babies when they were small.  It was part of my repertoire to get them to sleep at nap and bedtime. Written by Alan J. Lerner, it was a cowboy kind of song; gold prospectors longing and wistful for home.  Also sang Where Does The Wind Come From.  It's another campfire song and I was a Camp Fire Girl once.  Guess that is where the tunes came from.

This little leaf bract contains a millionbillion tiny cotton bolls, each holding a seed.

Enjoy your mother's day weekend.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Theory Of Donnativity

Morning has broken.  I am become philosophic.  Problem is, I can't remember, which is funny - kind of.  Since the short term memory is the first to go, I don't know why I can scarcely remember the long ago Theory Of Donnativity.  That's what my kids deemed it.

It had something to do with all of our interconnectedness - like a web.  About how change is good: the unknown being fresh and new as opposed to the known, which is stale and old.  Stasis.

Now I know some of you cling to what is known (or as I used to tell my children, that it would be a boring world if we were all alike).  My own husband simply cannot deal with change; cleaves to the past with all his being.  I, on the other hand, eschew the past, only want to see what's to come as I move forward in life.  I don't know why I am like that.  I associate it with my curiosity, but that is just my take.  Whatever....

So, I took this picture on the patio one morning.  The remembrance of that theory came up (or I should say the inability to remember it).  None of it really matters anyway.  So, I looked up some quotes about spiderwebs.  Seems like many of the great writers were interested in spiderwebs too.  Virginia Woolf.  Henry James.  Who'd a thunk?  Here were a few of my favorites.

Man did not weave the web of life.
He is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Chief Seattle

"'Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it.  I've never done anything for you.'
'You have been my friend', replied Charlotte.  'That in itself is a tremendous thing.'"

Charlotte's Web

"O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive".

Sir Walter Scott

"Poetry is a fresh morning spider-web
telling a story of moonlit hours 
of weaving and waiting during a night."

Carl Sandburg

Hope this first day of May is a splendid one for you.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bed Saga

I told you I never learn.  After the bed of my dreams was shipped back, I have gone without one.  Until I saw this one at Soft Surroundings.  The 'Burgundy' headboard would solve the mattress and box springs problem and was a better deal.  Or, so I thought.  I've been a long time customer of SS and love them.  

So, I ordered and waited for the second shipping company to deal with.  They brought it, but would not bring it in the house, unlike the full set up by Anthropologie.  This weighed 111 lbs and the box was HUGE.  My husband and I dragged it in the house.  I moved everything and took down the pictures etc. and pulled the bed away from the wall.  Put it all back in place and left for awhile.

Upon return, the entire house reeked with the most horrendous petroleum, chemical smell.  I was worried there might have even been pesticide emitting toxic fumes.  WTF?  For the next four days I had to leave my outside bedroom door open, even at night.  My sister came to visit and narrowed it down to the stain on the decoration on the headboard.

Throughout the next several days, I was on the phone and computer with the Customer Care and Quality Assurance people.  Was this made in China, I asked (no, Indonesia).  They had never heard of such a thing. I tried and tried to explain to several different reps about this; that I was worried about the toxicity to me and my weenies who sleep with me.  Something that strong and chemical smelling must not be healthy.  I kid you not: I have never smelled anything this strong.  I could smell it in other rooms.

One guy said he'd credit me $30. back to my account.  No!  Another said $175. No!  I finally said to send another bed (that does't stink) and take this one back when they deliver the new one.  The next day, a lady from CC called and said she'd credit back more.  Because of all the hassle, I agreed - that and during all this my husband held a t-bar while his friend hammered it in the ground.  Yes he did - smashed his finger with a sledge hammer.  Bones were sticking out and pulverized and he won't be able to do much for a long while, but that's another story. 

 I am going to use a matte varnish to paint over the stained part to hopefully cover the smell, which has lessened, but is still there.  Especially since my head is next to it when sleeping.  

Anyway...  This princess needs to stick peas up her nose when she goes to bed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

City Doings

I've been at the city house.  Planting and pulling weeds.  Many flowers blooming.  

The goslings are growing.  Seven remain and their parents are diligent.  They even chased Emmy, the weenie, but Sister, brave weenie, chased them back into the water.  Many different water fowl are trying to find nesting places in our backyard, but weenies keeping after them.  I fear several might start laying when we leave.  Anyway...

There are many large clumps of iris; both bearded and these single ones.  I have never seen these or planted this kind before.  The greenery is much more plentiful and they are covered in blooms.  Peonies, roses, freesia, iris and geraniums - too many to name, are bursting forth.  It is gorgeous.

After losing her eggs to varmints, the little mallard had a clutch of 12 babies hatch.  She is rearing them alone and not as diligent as the geese with her offspring.  Seven remain.  

Besides gardening and tending to my booth, Nonna has been tending to her grand babies.  Penny Lane is drawing on the patio with chalk and very proud of  it.

Bella and Ollie stayed the night and are washing all the dirt off in Nonna's bath.  Bubbles everywhere.  They loved it.

But, here comes trouble.  Dangerous series of weather events setting up this evening for a large tornado outbreak and baseball sized hail.  My flowers will be decimated.  My truck and husband's car can't both fit in the garage (don't ask), so as his car is smaller and newer,  it will go in the garage.  

Schools have closed in the event of a large tornado supercell. They don't want everyone out driving which is dangerous when the traffic backs up (aka sitting ducks).  All conditions are ripe for a bad day.  I have seen some storm chaser trucks with radar, etc. out driving or parked, waiting to go.  I just hope it happens before dark if it is coming.  Keeping fingers crossed for everyone and every thing in its path.  I have never known anyone whose house has been hit by a tornado, but have known those with damage to their roof from hail.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I'm Turning Japanese

As the song says...  I love oriental pottery.  Japanese, Korean and Chinese are personal favs with such a long, rich history.  How did they come up with the glazes and techniques so long ago?  

Anyway.  It's your head tilted not my picture.  I was rummaging through boxes of old pottery that I have not previously sold and has been packed away so long, I forgot it was there.  I came across this large vase with markings on the bottom, the only one I could make out was Nippon.  The Nippon (Japan's name) mark was used from 1891 - 1921.

I love this vase and have decided to keep it.  Fuji is a favorite of mine and the landscape goes around the entire vase.  The other vases are old and marked cheaply - some English, Spanish and I don't know what.  Pottery is kind of like jewelry and silver; there are just too many marks to look up.  I hope they sell as they are all very old and in good condition.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Not For All The Tea In...

Kansas?  I was going through boxes looking for stuff to sell and came across this basket.

Seems that the Green Tea that has been all the rage for the past few years was also popular at the turn of the century.  The label says extra fancy green tea, produced and packaged in Japan for the H. D. Lee Mercantile Co.

It holds about 8 ounces and has 35 cents written in pencil on it.  Can't believe the basket, grosgrain ribbon and label plus the tea for 35 cents which must have been a lot in its day.

All the way from Japan, up the mighty Mississippi River to Kansas.  Who knew?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Trouble In Paradise


As tax day draws nigh, those of us whom support the masses, get our tax forms - books really as there are more than 6500 tax codes - ready to send our hard earned money to an unfair and gluttonous, tax wasting government that is in free fall if you've been following the upcoming election spectacle.

No wonder the nuts have come out.  People are sick and tired of the waste and supporting all those whom would rather live off the handouts than work.  Generations have been spawned that live off the taxpayers/government.

And, here is something for thought.  Your entire working career, your check is taxed, insurance withdrawn, social security deducted, etc.  There usually isn't enough left of that check to live on so more and more people work more than one job to make ends meet.

Naive that we were, we didn't know that once you start getting your social security check that you've payed toward your entire working life,  the government taxes it again and deducts their cut and it is the same with Medicare.  They tax it and take a cut of it and in our state, they are going to cut benefits even more.  By 25%.  Most doctors won't be able to accept Medicare anymore and they are talking about hospitals and nursing homes closing.  Child services will be slashed.

I can't think of anything sadder than the elderly having to work two jobs to be able to live off the paltry check they end up with.  But, don't let the government know you are working extra jobs as they'll deduct even more from Social Security checks. And good luck finding a doctor that will accept Medicare as payment.

What is to come of it all?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spring In The City

I was sitting on my bench next to the bottle tree, when what swam up to me?  I was shocked - didn't expect it.  Cutest ever.  I tossed them some bread and pellets and Mom and Dad showed the goslings how to eat it.  I always feed the water fowl, turtles and fish when I am here at the city house 
and they all come for the feast.

Mom and Dad both cared for the littles and one scolded the weenies barking at them.  My grandkids will be by soon and I can't wait to let the geese swim up and surprise them. They'll be tickled.  But, oh no!  Here comes trouble. A loud splash. A huge fish.  Now what am I going to do?  Jump in and wrestle the disgusting leviathan???

Couldn't get this little whale to pose so I did what I could.  A huge catfish showed up, mouth gaping, skimming the water for pellets.  If you've never seen one, they are ugly with large whiskers/feelers - look like an alien and can grow to more than 100 lbs.

Here is a rear shot of the head and barbed whiskers of this submariner.  It made a large splash and wake and my heart stopped as I thought it grabbed a gosling.  I quickly did a head count and Mom and Dad were keeping the babies between them pretty close.  I even saw one of the parents peck at the catfish which quickly disappeared under the water.  It wasn't going to miss out on its feeding though and after the geese swam off, the turtles and catfish cleaned up the rest of the meal.
Oh nature, do I now have to worry about the turtles and catfish eating the babies while they feed?

Now what?  Oh no.  Miss Runner Duck has come ashore in the bottom yard with her new mate.  The weenies won't allow it and thankfully didn't notice.  

She is looking for a place to nest while her drake waits in the foreground beside the tulips. 
The little mallard nest full of blue eggs has disappeared.  I can only surmise that a snake ate the eggs. 

 Wish Miss Runner would find another plot to build her nest.  She has nested here previously; this was her home before it was mine.  I just don't want the drama of duck versus weenies, turtles, snakes and catfish.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Spring At The Farm

Or, maybe the title should be just pooting around the farm, trying to find ways to keep from doing what I should be doing.  Like cleaning up antiques.  Antiques are dirty business - stored away in the barn and covered in dirt and dust. Add pricing to that and ugh...

So I decided to go looking for morel mushrooms.  They are only around for a week or two at Easter.  Every year I traipse through our fifty acre wood, right where they are supposed to grow - amongst the Mayapples growing by downed and decaying trees.  

I have never found one.  Nada. The deer or other animals must get to them first.  I did see a patch of grass neatly cropped off by a set of teeth and little holes dug in the dirt.  And I got two ticks on my thigh for my trouble.

Mayapples begin their growth in February, not May.  They stand about 12 inches high off the woodland floor.

They produce a flower with a sort of mild citrusy honeysuckle scent.

Then comes the apple.  It will grow to about nickel size.  I watched a program where three young men were on a campout.  They gathered the fruit from Mayapples, cut them up and along with sugar and cream, they put the mixture in a can.  They put that can inside a larger coffee can with salt and ice and taped the whole thing up.  After playing kick the can for a while, they opened it all up and voila, Mayapple ice cream.  I thought that was very clever.

Though I found no morels, I picked up these tree galls.  Wasps sting trees and the tree produces galls. I don't know what for.  Interesting part is that the galls used to be made into a sepia colored ink that was used by Abraham Lincoln and many others.  In the Outlander books, the author talked of making ink from tree galls.

Beside the Mayapples, this tiny flower, about the size of forget-me-nots covers the lawns here first thing in spring.  And since I am wont to do so, here is one of my favorite stanzas from a poem by Wordsworth - Ode.  And sorry to him for explaining in parentheses one of his words.

"Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears,
To me the meanest (smallest) flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

I can do many things trying not to do that which I should be doing.