"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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Progress


Oh, my aching back.  After siphoning this putrid swill down my throat, you'll remember, I drained the goldfish pond at the city house.


To this.  I was shocked how much the gopher dug from the ground and deposited in my pond.





Ta daa.  I filled up three blue storage containers with the slimy, stinky muck and mud.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  Can't wait to get it cleaned out and another siphon then the filter and fish.  Yay!  I wasn't shouting yay while doing all the work though.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Garden Love


I found these two flats of ground covers.  From chartreuse to sage greens and purples; I don't even know how many different kinds of plants there are.  The instructions say you can lay down the whole sheets or cut them up into 5 inch squares to put down. They are growing on a layer of coir, or coconut husks. I wish I had room on the walls (brick) as I can see them as a vertical garden.

Supposedly, you can fill in areas or even put out in the lawn as they can be mowed over.  I am such a sucker for new things and am trying to figure out where to put them.  I just love these.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sometimes You're The Windshield

Sometimes you're the bug.


Be still my beating heart.  It's spring!  My favorite time of year.  I've been holding back at the nurseries.  Only planting perennials and bulbs and nothing that will freeze.  

I've shown you the photo of the goldfish pond where gophers dumped their tunnel detritus.  Their tunnels are all under the rocks so I can't lay traps properly.  I can't even move some of the rocks.  Now, big rats have taken over the tunnels.  I caught one, but cookies, peanut butter, gummy bears and cheese don't tempt them. And yes, those rat traps hurt. The bird feeders have all been moved to the edge of the lake.

So, I went to the hardware store and bought clear tubing, so I could see when the water was coming near my guzzle. Who knew siphoning came so fast?  And, you have to suck hard. Yes, you guessed it.  The bacterial, amoebic fecal filled filthy swill went down my throat several times.  I wish I had a picture of me holding the tubing down in the water and over the 8 foot drop trying to drain it.  I got air in it several times and I had to start all over.



To my horror, those little menaces dumped a load of dirt that nearly fills half the goldfish pond.  It would fill a wheelbarrow, which I don't have at the city house.  Aye yay yay.  And those cute little rats watched me the whole time.  This time, I'm the bug.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

King Cake - A Little Late


I was told this little old pottery face is what was used in a King Cake.  The beholder of the slice with the face embedded, was bestowed luck or something.  Maybe they didn't have to give up anything for lent and hopefully, didn't crack a tooth.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Shamrocks


Okay, so they aren't green, but I did buy some green ones too.  These purple shamrocks are huge and I am going to plant them today.  What better day to plant them than on a warm, sunny St. Patrick's Day?

It is a big holiday in the US too.  They dye rivers green and have parades and celebrations.  I read that one of the things they do is drowning the shamrock, which is putting one in the bottom of a glass and filling it with beer or whiskey.  

The grandkids have gone to the farm for the weekend with their Poppa T. and took green clothing with them so they wouldn't get pinched.

I've heard Ireland is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  I named my first child, Erin.

Erin go bragh.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wildfire


My rant - never mind.  But, the ranchers that burn off rangeland for their cattle, really piss me off.  So much wildlife and plant life dies in these fires.  Plus, they always get out of control.

We got a call that our mountain was on fire and nearing the cabin.  Of course, we were both in the city, so dealing with the forestry service and local volunteer fire departments by phone is frustrating to say the least.  

They rarely get into trouble for burning, but I have seen the aftermath, and many lizards, turtles and ground nesting birds' nests are killed and destroyed.  Now, multiply that by the wildlife that is killed when they start cutting hay.  Sometimes, depending on the rain, they do it several times during the summer.  

I quit eating red meat for five years in protest.  Guess I need to start drinking/using nut milks.  Eventually, maybe their practices will change, but I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Freckles


Freckles.  Caused from exposure to UV-B radiation.  If you are a fellow freckled person, I doubt you were enamored of them when you were a child.

I was fair-skinned, had dark brown hair and light blue eyes.  I even won a contest for the most freckles at a fishing contest when young (mortified.) I usually had zinc oxide on my nose as it always got burned.  I'm waiting for it to fall off.  People wanted a tan when I was growing up - no one used sunscreen.  I burned after about 15 minutes.

Every freckle is a friend I'd hear - no they were not.  I tried a freckle cream; it did not work.  Not only were they on my face, my legs and arms are covered with them - even today.

Now, they are calling them liver spots.  Ick.  But, I have found a way to get rid of the most heinous ones.  Freeze Off, the same liquid nitrogen aerosol the dermatologists use, takes them off.  They now like to take them off with a laser (quite a bit more expensive), which will cause you to walk around with scabs all over the back of your hands, but I am not a happy camper with liver spots on my hands. Period.

Addendum ~ I just read a Harper's Baazar magazine yesterday and it seems that the models walking the catwalk are painting freckles on their faces.  Will wonders never cease?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

To Mail Or Not


I found these old envelopes and postcards from the seventies.  Thought I would put them in my booth, but I'd probably never see them again if I do that. 

I try not to bring up politics, so if you love the Republican party - even with him at the helm - 
just click off this post.  I think I mentioned my own husband and my daughter-in-law voted for him.  She was talking (this weekend) about how the mainstream media lied all the time.  I held my tongue, though I wanted to say, yeah, Fox News and the National Enquirer.

Anyway, I thought about sending one of these to the White House, signed by the ghost of Richard Nixon no less, to tell that man, he better get out while he can still hold his head up, though I know he wouldn't get it.

I don't even know if the Watergate Hotel still stands.  What would likeminded people write to that man?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Nests and Eggs


Don't know why I am thinking about nests and eggs this morning.  Must be those darn goose babies from last year. They are out on my porch, quite large now and crapping on the sidewalk and patio and honking.  The minute the drapes go open, they swim over and climb the steps.  They actually peck on the windows and look through them. I put a little fencing across the back yard next to the lake, but there are a few spaces they can still get in.  Worse, I saw them picking at my tiger lily shoots coming up.  They also like the seeds from the bird feeders that are dropped.  It's always something.  

By the way, during the move, I dropped and broke this sculpture of my hand.


This is a study of mockingbirds I did.  If you remember, I used to climb the tallest trees to look into nests and see the babies and eggs.


I do miss my chickens, especially the ones that were like pets.  But, I really miss the eggs.


I know I've told you this before so humor me.  Indians learned to make baskets from watching the birds' build their nests.  I love that.  Here is one I made.





Little hummingbird nest.  They'll return the first of April, so have your feeders ready.





The mallard eggs in my bush last spring.  As you can see I am thinking about spring.  On the back porch yesterday, I watched a starling going into the birdhouse the sparrows use.  The sparrows have been making trips for stuff to build their nest and the starling was going in and removing it all and flying away with it.  Mother Nature doesn't like that.  Me and my weenies are getting ready to go chase the geese away.  Better put my pants on first.  This ain't the farm.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Winter That Wasn't


Though it might not be over yet, I think the end of winter is nigh.  Yay!  Spring is my favorite season. Only a few daffodils are open, but I'll take them.  Today I am planting more seeds in peat pots, though I haven't had good results with that.  They either have a damping off or aren't warm enough or something.  Going to try again anyway.  I found these teeny tomato seeds about the size of pearls that I had a few years ago. They are a bite bursting with flavor.  I hope some of them grow.  

I bought two raised beds for the city house.  They are waist high and I put them on either side of the house to see which one gets more sun.  Vegetables need at least 6 hours of sun per day.  There isn't anywhere else here for vegetables, so I'm giving it a shot.

This weekend I bought the weenies a pup stroller and we used it this morning.  They were too nervous to enjoy it, but hopefully will as we do it more often.  At least it got me out for a walk.  I've spent the winter being a slug and I hope to change that.  

Hope this week finds you out in the garden with lots of sunshine.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Born A Brat


Nature or nurture - that is the question.  Methinks it is both, but I tend to lean a little more towards nature, though of course, nurture is critical too.  Cognitive dissonance. "Children aren't born bad," my husband says.  But, is there truth in the old term, the bad seed?

I don't know the answers,  but look at that little oppositional brat to the right.  The personality already forming - a non-conformist or perhaps, a free-spirit?  Always fighting against something; swimming upstream, walked different paths and did not follow or lead, because I did not care what others did.  Rebel without a cause?

I wish I had not been like that.  Wish I were not an introvert.  I was a wild child.  Roamed the countryside and neighborhoods, quiet and observant.  My business, as an adult, was Wild Child Designs.  There is hope for those children.  They can succeed in life, but woe to the parents that must deal with them.



Monday, February 20, 2017

It's A New Day


The old saw, nothing new under the sun, isn't true.  

Gone are the days of holding on to a tree and giving birth.  Today, they paint a painting with your placenta.  They then freeze dry it and grind it up and put it into capsules.  The bottle looks like something you'd purchase at the drug store.  Supposedly, it helps with nursing, postpartum depression and, whatever...

It is a different world we live in - a new day and age.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts


I think I'm going to have to get a frog gig to catch a gopher.  Notice the pile of dirt at the bottom of picture.  It has slung dirt that now fills about a third of my goldfish pond.  

Some of these rocks where it resides are too heavy to move.  I can't get the little devil out.  He is happy to keep digging.  I've tried the sonic beeper to run him off.  Didn't work.  I bought some traps - can't figure out how to use them.  The old trap I used at the farm worked wonderful.  Caught them every time.  I'd resort to poison, but I'm afraid the weenies would get into it. As per the advice from an old-timer, I tried a stick of Juicy Fruit gum, both chewed and unchewed - didn't work.

But, I am desperate.  This little sucker has burrowed down eight feet to the lower yard and has a giant hill built around my Nandina bush that has so many stalks from the ground up, I can't get anywhere close to it.  And, this bush is many years old and I don't want to lose it.

Today, as a last resort, I am going to use one of those gasser things that you light and stick in the hole.  Never tried one, so don't know how that is going to work.  I just hope he comes out of that hole choking and I am going to choke him some more.  They are cute so I feel kind of bad, but I am going to have to drain this pond and shovel out all the dirt, so he's not that cute.  

  Don't know what else to do.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Starlings


The north winds are howling today.  I finally got the leaf and limb cleanup crew to come today and I doubt they'll come due to this blow.  It is literally howling.  Wouldn't you know.

The starlings have arrived and are fighting over the suet cakes.  Must be their favorite meal. Though their vocalizations are not as pretty as a songbird's call, I don't mind theirs'.


I took these pictures last year at the farm.  They were everywhere.  It is something to see how they lift off at the same time; a rare treat to see their murmurations.


Spring is coming, though I can't tell today.  The bulbs are finally peeking up through the earth.  I had to water, since the ground was so dry.  The ground needs rain, but I didn't say that.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

New Book


Took the grandkids to Barnes and Noble yesterday.  They love to go there not only for the books, but also the toys.  I do love to spoil them.  I bought several foreign magazines and a new book, drum roll, not this one.  I bought A MAN CALLED OVE on a fellow blogger's recommendation.  Thank you Terra.

I worry I am getting dementia.  Oftentimes, I can't remember the title nor the author of the books I am reading.  Perhaps I need to start reading during the day instead of in bed at night.  Maybe I chose the wrong books for me - forgettable.  The pile of books I couldn't finish, as opposed to the ones I did, is larger.  Last time at the bookstore, I grabbed a pile of Alice Hoffman's books. I used to like her writing and there is always a little magic.  Her latest, okay.  I'm on one of hers that was popular.  It's okay.

So, I'm reading two at once.  ATLAS OBSCURA is entertaining.  Lots of unknown places one has never been to.  Who knew?

Friday, February 3, 2017

A House

I know I shouldn't covet things, but I love this house.


I've fallen in love with modern houses. I've always loved those Palm Springs mid-century modern ones, but there aren't that many around.  Nowadays, they are building new modern ones.


My pictures are terrible, but when you walk in the front door, you see right through to the back of the house.  This stone counter is so long.  Sink and cooktop, plus seating and under the counter dishwasher drawers, freezer drawers and refrigerated drawers. I didn't download these in the right order so humor me.



Halfway down the house is a gorgeous outdoor seating area.  I don't know how I missed the potted trees to the side.  That wall of water is turned off for the winter, but spectacular when on.  All these doors slide open.



I love floating staircases. And as you can see, the walls are covered in the most fabulous stone.


It is polished just on the one side.  I love it.  It's everywhere.


This is looking back toward the front door with three more rooms off to the right.  The doorbell is funny.  When you push it, you can hear large dogs barking. Very clever.


One of the great things about this house is all of the built in cabinets.  Hidden refrigerator and freezer.  Upstairs, which I haven't shown, has all white built in cabinets.  I die.


Another angle.



This is out the back doors.  A pool was going in, but the pool men never got to it, so it was cancelled. Loss for the pool company.



But wait, here comes another of my favorites.  I die for this dining room table.  It is huge and I love the style.  Very modern base and look.  Notice the chandelier?  It is BIG.  I just love it.


I just had to include this old movie poster, which is the largest one I have ever seen.


So here is that fabulous chandelier.  It is a show stopper.


This is a smaller version (still large) in the master bedroom closet.  Sigh.  And, I haven't shown you the master bedroom and the upstairs rooms which are beautiful.

I told my friend when she bought this house, that when I die, I want to go to her house and not to worry if she hears me knocking around.  Well, I'll have to find another place to go.

After three years, she has decided to sell it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ivan Day

I have posted about Ivan Day before.  He is an English food historian and professional chef, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of food.  In his latest post at Food History Jottings, foodhistorjottings.blogspot.com, he writes about one my favorite subjects.  I too collect old food moulds, but none as old as these. I am always just amazed when he posts.  It isn't often enough for me. Hurry on over to see his latest.


Here you'll see some of Ivan's collection of antique moulds.


One of his jellies from a macedoine mould.  How gorgeous is this?



Isn't this Belgravia jelly incredible?  I've never seen anyone with the knowledge this man has of all things culinary.  He's been on the BBC and I've seen him on PBS.  Mr. Day is legend in food history.



Monday, January 30, 2017

What A Week

Some things will never change.  Comforting in these times.  I won't bore you with all that happened last week, but when I saw a call on my phone from middle daughter, I thought, oh no, I hope she hasn't gone into labor.  All three of her children have been early, so not such a huge surprise, but the timing was off - for last week anyway.


Cady named the newest member of our family after herself.  I'm going to call her Little Cady for now.



Isobel and Oliver are very happy and will be a lot of help.  

What I didn't mention is that there were many problems with this pregnancy.  The placenta was in a bad position and genetics tests were bad.  There was a one in 16 chance of Down's Syndrome and four other genetic abnormalities.  All is perfect, so our family is very happy with our new little bundle of joy.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wearable Art Redux


As per some of your requests, here are a few of the other necklaces I found at the farm.  It was good to see what I had left as I noticed something.  A lot of the ones that sold were paintings strung with pearls.  All different sizes and colors.  There were none left. This one was a favorite - the one in jade I told you about.




When my son was young, I always bought him red boots to wear.  They were the cutest.  I did a series of red boot paintings.  Can't find red ones anymore for the grandkids.


All the little bird nests sold except for this one.  I liked the sunset with the evening star.



At the clasps of some necklaces, I added little silver charms.  The little cowboy hat went on a boot painting, etc.

It is funny about the jewelry.  Coming from a woman that doesn't wear any jewelry except a pair of earrings - studs for winter and a little gold disc for summer.  I like it on others, but just would feel weird wearing jewelry.  Another quirk.


And finally, for those of you that aren't interested in jewelry (and I promise never to speak of it again) here is what's going to the booth today. My original copy of Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones.  I'm a Stone's girl instead of the Beatles, whatever that says about me.






Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wearable Art


I found a few of my necklaces.  For scale, the larger paintings are about an inch and the smaller ones about a half inch.  I just finished vacuuming the house and mopping the floors and don't feel like running errands yet.  So I dug around in my old jewelry box supplies.  I haven't made any in years.


This lone tree is painted in gouache and I can't remember what the beads were.  The prices depended on the frames, whether or not the materials were in gold or silver and the cost of the beads and pearls and/or semi-precious stones.  The larger the silver chain links, for instance, the more it costs, etc.  I do have one in jade that turned out pretty, but it must be at the farm.  


This still life of white hydrangeas is made with tiger eye beads, but this isn't in real gold.  I only did some earrings in 14k gold as they were pricey, even before the price of gold went up.

Some were even more detailed than these, so you can imagine how one stroke can change the entire painting.  I did enjoy it, but didn't have the right market to sell them.  That, and back then, it was very hard to find frames that weren't outrageous.  I wanted to make some wooden ones, like tiny framed oil paintings, then gild them, but they were much too intensive and the price would have gone up considerably. Today, there are tons of frames to choose from.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.