"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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn


Though it is officially fall, it doesn't feel like it yet, but there are signs.  This cottonwood leaf floated by on the lake this morning.


Before I took all of your advice last year, not to pull up plants I couldn't identify, I plucked all of these umbrella like plants in the patio bed, certain they were weeds.  Well, look what they turned out to be.  Every shade of flower from fuchsia to coral and pink.  I have no clue what they are, but will remember them next year.


One last clematis blossom for the year.




Okay, my distaste for large blossomed flowers has been swayed.  I now like the cannas and the other ones are growing on me.  I'm still trying to smile at the hibiscus.



These have popped up all around this last week of summer.  Spider lilies or fairy lilies perhaps? A nice surprise nonetheless.



Mrs. Mantis, in prayer and laden with eggs, will lay them soon; I wish she could over-winter under bark, but I guess that is the way things happen.


We have had the city house for nearly a year now - have seen the gardens throughout the year. Though the garden has peaked, it has been a good year of growing.  
I planted potato vines that cascaded over the eight foot drop from the patio to the bottom yard.  The chartreuse was spectacular.   I learned that some of the coleus I planted grew too tall for this bed as it shaded out other plants and somewhat obscured the lake view. I really had nowhere to plant new things and will fit in some small bulbs and seed the beds in the spring. 
 All in all, it was a good year in the garden. I am not looking forward to that first freeze and will miss all the color, but will try to find interesting things in the winter garden.



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Oklahoma Shakes


It happened about two weeks ago.  My weenies woke me and we were on the couch in the living room.  At about 7:00am, the sound of a jet's engines began and the weenies started to bark.  Then the shaking began.  There was a whole lot of shaking going on. Unbelievable rockin' and rollin'.  A 5.8 on the Richter scale.  This time I knew what was happening.  My first thought was that it was the New Madrid Fault rupturing.   Last time that happened, it caused the mighty Mississippi River to run backwards.  The last New Madrid quake was huge (7 or more) and occurred about 100 years ago.  It is past due for a repeat and will be terrible.

Ours lasted for one minute, but seemed longer.  I jumped up and ran to the back door to see what the lake out back was doing.  It jiggled like a bowl of jello.  As the shaking slowed, I heard the sound move away to the south then vanish.  It was a trip.

I looked around the house for damage. They say look at the chimney as that will show damage first.  I'm looking for cracks in sidewalks and patios and walls etc. A couple of days later, I noticed the overlapped wood on the chimney had fallen loose. Our rooftop is steep and with varied pitches; I don't know what you call it, but we (hubby, as I would have rolled off the roof in seconds) had to borrow a ladder tall enough to get up there and screw the wood down.  Not much damage that I have found, but the town at the epicenter had lots of damage as did many houses in my city.

This quake was caused by greedy oil and gas czars, fracking our state to death.  They dispose of the chemical filled water by-products from the drilling process deep underground, which has caused Oklahoma to have more quakes than California.  A few years ago, we had two quakes.  The last two years, in the thousands.  The oil companies won't (with help from politicians and lobbyists) divulge what is in the noxious chemical mix, but groundwater and aquifers are being poisoned.  I could go on, but won't.  They did shut down some of the disposal wells, but that was after the fact.

Insurers will sell us quake insurance, not covered on homeowners policies, but the deductibles are 20% of the cost of the house.  Can you imagine?  I believe that this is just one of the reasons our country is facing such a political mess.  The masses have had enough. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Little Help From My Friends


Not such a clear pic from my iPhone, but thought this little dead moth worthy of a photo.  I think it was a female from its small antennae.  If you look on its back there is a beautiful rendition of an orchid, perhaps an iris...

BTW ~ while searching high and low for simple instructions to add a watermark to some of my art and photos (I told you I saw some of my art on Instagram) and to make it more difficult, it is a different process on the Mac than Windows. Anyway, I found a disturbing little fact I didn't know.  Where's Picasa?  Google did away with it.  I'm usually the last to know, but was unnerved by this.  Supposedly, there was a way to watermark your photos there.  And, I'm worried about losing some of my favorite photos.

Anyone know about Picasa vs. Google photo? Can you watermark art/photos on Google Photo?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

September


Older.  Wiser?  This is a favorite song from one of my all time favorite movies - Harold and Maude.  It still makes me laugh.  Long ago and far away.

And to make you laugh, I'm going to learn to play it on my ukulele.  Sunday and piddling around.  I should play it outside to make my neighbors laugh too.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Reading And Different Things


Why do I try?  I've spent the morning trying to figure out how to do different things on the computer.  Maddening.  Nothing has worked though I have googled, youtubed and bloggered.  I am about to pull my hair out. That's not funny.  Time wasted, FRUSTRATED and, I'll have to fiddle around more later as I'm done (or not done) after this post until I can get my space pleasing to my eye again.  It has been a very long time since I last changed anything.

Nevertheless, I am reading this book.  I'll not tell you about it till I finish.



Friday, August 26, 2016

Turtle Time


If you have followed my blog for long, you know I am Mother Nature; feed just about all creatures.  Gammera and his wife remain at the farm pond, though I have thought about bringing them to the city lake.  You'll have to type in Snapping Turtle at the top left of the page to see posts of Gammera.  Anyway, the lake we have out back is full of water turtles.  They line up on rocks or land or logs to sun during the day.  As you can see, I still don't know how to crop my photos or anything relating to pictures.


They have terrific eyesight and jump into the water when you get too near them, but always arrive before the fish when there is food in the mix as they are quite the scavengers of the waterways. Won't be long before they dig down in the mud and hibernate till spring. Some of these guys are as big around as a peach basket.  Others not so much.  This smaller one decided to swim over to watch me watch him.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Last Of Summer



Okra is the last vegetable left in the garden.  It loves the dry and heat and comes on like gangbusters. Of African origin, it can be eaten many ways.  Lately, I see it salted and dried whole in containers, but I've yet to try it.

I have deep southern roots; my mother and her family were from Louisiana.  Where I live now, okra is mostly dredged in cornmeal and flour and fried.  Farther 'down south' it is eaten stewed with tomatoes or in my favorite dish, Gumbo.

I slice it and put it in a freezer bag and toss it in the freezer.  Some dredge it in their favorite mixture then freeze it to fry later.  This Gumbo recipe is the real deal, straight from New Orleans.  I make so much of it, I freeze what is left for later and it is just as good as the day I made it.  So here it is.

New Orleans Gumbo

Make a roux with bacon grease and flour.  I use about 1/2 cup grease to 1 cup flour.  You want to cook the roux till it is golden to amber in color and the consistency of gravy.  ADD 2 lbs. of sliced okra and cook down for about 15 minutes.

ADD    2-3 cups of chopped onions
1 cup chopped green
scallions
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 TB. minced garlic

Cook 10 minutes more then ADD 1 1/2cups chopped tomatoes

ADD 2 quarts cold water.  Mix ingredients.  ADD 1 whole chicken that has been boiled and pulled from the bones.

ADD seasonings:
3 whole bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
5 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 TBS. lemon juice
10 whole allspice
8 whole cloves
1 tsp. mace

Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for one hour.  Stir from time to time and stir bottom of pan to keep from scorching.  At the end of the hour, add another 1/2 quart of water and a package of sliced polska kielbasa or your favorite kind of sausage.  Cook 15 minutes more and serve over your favorite rice.

POINTER'S - I've used the water that I cooked the chicken in or added chicken bouillon to the brew.  I don't like chomping on the cloves and allspice so I use it ground up. And, since I rarely measure, certainly adjust the spices to your taste.  I usually use more than the recipe calls for.  I've also added shrimp and crab at the last few minutes of cooking.  I don't think you can mess this recipe up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dogs


I found this book from the 30's at the antique mall.  If you know anything about me, my dogs are the joy of my life, my shadows, love me as much as I love them; I could go on and on.

Evidently, Lucy Dawson (Mac) drew dogs then did their poses in pastel.  She even mentioned doing work for Princess Elizabeth and her beloved Corgis.

This book is one of three dog books that were published, I believe.  


This Westie is Timothy.  She writes about how the dogs reacted to her drawing them and their behaviors.



Another Timothy, Lucy said he was a six month old at this sitting and could often be found at Battersea Park.  Such a cute book.  Loved her descriptions of the dogs and their sittings for her portraits.



Friday, August 12, 2016

Uptown Funk Redux


Now, here's one for us oldersters, or should I say, the original hipsters...

Uptown Funk


I downloaded this video for the grandkids, but found another version we oldsters might like even better. Only problem is I can't figure out how to get them both on this one post.  So stay tuned for the next version in a bit.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wallpaper


When I bought the city house, if you remember, I had lists of things that it had to have - three car garage, large lot, all hardwood floors and tile, no upstairs
 and on and on.  It all went out the window when I found this house.

I could live with the NO lists except for one thing.  The kitchen, the study and this powder room were a burgundyish red.  I'm like a bull when I see red.  I like whites and creams (the rest of the house) and pastels, not deep jewel tones.  These had to be painted before I moved in.  All except for this powder room.  There wasn't time to redo it and personally, picking wallpaper is so difficult for me.  It is overwhelming.  Just too much of it to look at.

I'm tempted to just paint over it so I don't have to look at it.  I see wallpaper in magazines that I like, but gah...  It is unbelievably expensive and even though this powder room is small, it has six walls to match up.  Believe it or not, large prints look good in small rooms.  I love Laura Ashley prints and so many others.  But, I also love the Martinique pattern that is famous from the early 1900's and designed specifically for the Beverly Hills Hotel.  I don't know why I like it, I just do.  See below.


I also like newer patterns as in the one below.



I won't bore you with more pictures as there are probably a thousand different patterns I like.  I think interior decorating would be such a hard job. If only I could open the door and poof - all bought and hung and beautiful.  Sigh.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sometimes You're The Windshield, Sometimes You're The Bug


Here is a great singer/songwriter to go with this post.


I came home to the farm this week and what did I find?  In preparation of re-doing the deck, my husband decided to 'trim the hedge', a job I have always done.  I planted these boxwoods more than twenty years ago and they were huge.  Imagine my shock at seeing this and it looks so much worse than this picture. 

My God, I told him.  Did you use a chainsaw?  No he said, the hedge trimmer, though our trimmer wouldn't cut through a twig larger than a 1/4inch and some of these are two inches in diameter.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  

You can see through them and I doubt they will ever grow back on the house side.  He said they were all dead inside and I told him they always are; they grow from the outside.

In thirty years, I would have had a beautiful landscape of plants and gardens - that is if it were not for the husband's weed eater, herbicides and burning.  At the city house he is not to touch anything as I have hired a garden and lawn crew.  I still haven't figured out the watering system, but will, somehow.

The refrigerator is on the fritz too.  The new ones now are expensive and computerized.  The ice maker and filtered water system has gone out and I don't know who I'll find to fix it at the farm.  

My husband catches raccoons and opossums in a cage as they eat all the animals' feed.  I've asked him not to do it in the garage or patio as it makes such a mess when they try to get out.  He caught a skunk.  My patio still stinks whenever I walk out the door.

Me, I'm heading back to the city soon.  It is not fun keeping up two houses.



Sunday, July 31, 2016

Seasons


When seasons begin or come to an end, I am usually out in the woods or fields, looking for the first signs of spring, etc.

August, in Oklahoma anyway, is the hottest one.  Temperatures are often in the hundreds and rain is rare.  Not my favorite kind of weather.  So, while deadheading the echinacea and phlox, (please, if anyone knows if this will encourage another flowering, let me know), I found these leaf skeletons.  There were quite a few in fact.  Perhaps, the first sign of fall?

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there
a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst 
the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.

Oliver Wendell Holmes
"The Seasons"






Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lamplight


I have been selling 30 years of antique accumulations from the farm and barn.  It is all the stuff left over from doing the Marburger Farm show in Round Top, TX.  I have only had a booth in a mall since January, so it has been a learning curve.  

First, the mall I'm in has over 300 dealers.  LOTS of stuff.  Therefore, the dollars are spread out more.  Secondly, I have noticed that the smaller stuff sells more - OK is in a recession and the choke point seems to be around $20.00.  

The booth I'm in is about 8x8 feet; not big enough for furniture and crammed to the ceiling.  I just love the booths that are spare and styled, but my thought is, if it isn't in there it won't get sold and I have to pay rent, a commission that goes to the mall and I pay all credit card fees (they don't accept checks.) It is difficult to keep it all orderly and leave room to walk around the booth freely.  It is a lot of work. I had hoped to sell out quickly so I would't have to keep it going for too long.

And oh the joys of keeping up with my stuff.  If it is missing, they encourage you to walk the entire mall to look for it.  I did that for awhile, but quickly tired of that and wait for booth owners to turn it in to the front desk and they will return it.  I have had things missing for a couple of months. I notice things that aren't mine right away, but evidently some booth owners never come in.  I now have a new appreciation for putting something down across a store when I change my mind.  It happens a lot.

Then, there is a crazy person that comes in regularly and tears through the far corners of my booth - turns it inside out.  I'd like to smack them.  No normal person would leave a booth in that condition.  In fact, I had to remove all my textiles, like quilts and rugs, as I'd find antique quilts in a heap in the middle of the floor.

I've had a few 25% off sales, but I don't really sell more during them.  How's that?  I don't know as it would make a difference to me.  Nonetheless, I haven't had a sale this month and won't for awhile.  One item, an old metal Life Savers display, brightly colored and in great condition, sat there for two months.  I marked the price up and it sold.  I am just trying to make my money back, but will take a loss if I have to.  But, some things are one of a kind, rare, and I refuse to give them away.  Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face?  It is hard to know.  The market has changed.  Whereas, large wooden English pieces were once all the rage, you can't give them away now.  Thankfully, I don't have any.  I love primitives, but now, in Tulsa anyway, they are not selling.  They still sell in TX, but I have to wait for a buyer from TX to come through.  The younger crowd don't like antiques so much anymore - they like modern and minimalism.  

So what does all this have to do with the lamp in the picture?  I saw this lamp and bought it to see if I could make money on it in the booth.  I have only bought two things to sell in this booth.  It is French, Art Nouveau from the 1890's.  Heavy painted metal, it is also a candelabra lamp.  It is beautiful, but not really my style.  I got it all priced and ready to take to my booth, then at the last minute decided not to.  Why, you say? Because I fear the customers will try and pick it up and mess it up or even worse, break it.  I thought about putting a sign up - please do not touch - but they will.  So, I sat it in the entryway and will ponder what to do with it.

It's a whole new world in antiques.  This old antique has lost her touch. Not like the days when I was into it.



Monday, July 25, 2016

Enlighten Me


I need my avid readers to enlighten me - "masterpiece" I read in the reviews.  I must have been sleep reading (or just a big dummy), but I am not going to re-read this book to try and find the masterpiece inside.  If you have read it, please talk to me and tell me about it.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Toot Toot


This is for the two or so guys that read my blog.  I know, from having a son, you like things that go vroom or putt putt along, all those endearing little sounds boys make.

I pass this little vehicle, or whatever it is, on the way to town when I'm at the farm.  It is just the oddest thing.  It reminds me of the cardboard boxes I used to climb into and turn into cars.  The days and life much simpler then.  I have never seen one driving on the road.

My friend Monique, recently went to Paris and reminded me of scenes we witnessed too while in Paris.  These smallish cars (I drive a pick-up truck) would pull up to the curbs to parallel park and would literally bump into the cars in front and in back until they wedged into a parking place.  I and my friends simply stood with our mouths gaped open; couldn't believe what we were witnessing.
If someone did that in America, they'd face stiff fines and a ticket and big insurance bills.  That is if you are lucky and don't make someone mad enough to elicit road rage.

This little vehicle is old.  The top was peeling and tattered.  I didn't want to tarry too long and couldn't get a front shot or risk being run over by traffic.  

Sorry ladies.  If only there were some pretty wildflowers growing alongside.  I'm off to can bread and butter pickles; the last thing I am canning this year.  



Is anyone having trouble with blogger?  Mine is acting up and I fully expect my blog to go poof.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summertime Slugs


This time of year, in the state where I live, it's miserable outside.  Here I am.  Just kidding.  Buzzy is feeling it too. 100 degrees in the shade turns me into a wet noodle.  Drains all strength.  I guess that is why they take siestas in Mexico.  If you don't get out when the sun comes up, you'll have to wait until midnight to do anything outside, then fight the mosquitos.  

Of one thing I am sure.  Henry James didn't come from Oklahoma.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Wild Week In The City


Hot days, but bearable on the porch.  The mother Mallard and her nine ducklings came strolling by, didn't care I was sitting on the porch after pulling weeds.  They waddled by me and hopped in the goldfish pond, diving and drinking and enjoying the water.  They have stopped up my new filter/pump, but that's another story.



They won't all fit in the pond soon.


I went to get more cracked corn as they strolled to the feeder.


The night before, a strong storm came through and knocked out the electricity for two hours.  The heat is what woke me.  Everything got a good watering though and it was nice on the porch.  Until another storm came through before noon.


You can just see it begin to rain on the lake.  Before too long, tornado sirens were going off, the wind was blowing 90 mph, rain coming in circles and sideways; I have never seen a more severe thunderstorm.  It was like a hurricane.  Tree limbs were coming down and I feared our roof was going to blow off.  The house was popping and cracking.  Lightning and thunder like I've never seen.


Unfortunately, I could not capture the degree to which it stormed.  You can see one of the neighbor's branches down and some in the water.  We had branches down in our yard, but a twenty foot long tree fell across the lake from us and floated in front of their dock.  That is, until it was swept over to our side.  I wanted to signal the neighbors to come get their tree, but didn't.  They also lost another large part of the tree in their yard.

More than a hundred thousand homes were without power for days (not us thank God as I couldn't bear that heat.) Trees are down across the southern part of the city.  Every house has some down.  Roofs were damaged and blown off, brick walls came down, fences down and a house nearby burned to the ground from lightning in minutes.  Even though the rain was drenching, the wind stoked the fire and it was consumed before the fire department arrived.  Within thirty minutes, the storm had passed.  All week, chainsaws have been cutting up trees.  Everyone with pickup trucks can haul their trees to a local pasture.  I don't know what those without a truck are going to do.  I've looked at the roof and no damage, so thankfully, we were let off lightly.  We still have a few limbs high up in the elm tree that are hanging, but I don't think there is any way to pull them down.

And, no I didn't hide in a closet, but I did stay inside.  It was pretty scary.  My little wind chime glass balls were whipping about.  One broke.  I was sorely tempted to run outside and tether it down, but was afraid I'd be struck by lightning over a twenty dollar wind chime.  



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fleur de Lis


They're everywhere!  I have planted Stella d'Oro day lilies and have a few orange ones, but I've never planted any others.  My mistake.  These orange speckled ones are some of the last of the lilies to bloom and I have been waiting and waiting to see what they were going to look like.  First of all, all blooms hang downwards, unlike all the others, and the stalks are 5 feet tall.  Then they opened.


The blooms all hang downwards like Chinese lanterns.  They are gorgeous.


And did I mention they are all huge flowers.


One of my very favorites.


They are really unbelievable.


This one had white speckles.



Isn't this one a beauty.



These are large also.


What can you say but gorgeous...


Sigh.


Okay, I lean toward pastels, but pretty just the same.


These are whoppers and I do love the deep salmon color.  And, all the lilies are planted in multiples the reason I say they are everywhere.


Finally, does any one know what those tall purple flower spires in the background are?  They look like phlox on a stem about 5 feet tall.  They are also everywhere in the garden and I just love them.  As I said in a previous post, the only thing I can squeeze in are seeds.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Well Hmm


  Who is included in this cookbook with more than 350 fellow cooks/gardeners from all fifty states?

Well, take a guess.  Alice Waters perhaps?  You'd be right. Maybe Thomas Keller too.  And moi?  My fifteen seconds of fame (I wish it had been a little more exciting than this, but then I'd be greedy, so never mind.) I did see it in the cookbook section of Barnes and Noble so that was a little kick.

A percentage of the sales of this cookbook went to benefit Second Harvest, the largest charitable organization against hunger in the U.S.

They selected my dill pickles.  I've written the recipe in a post before and these are the best you've ever tasted.  Funny thing was, when I got my copy of the book, the recipe was unrecognizable (is that literary license?).  And, they used my business name, Wild Child Designs, from my business card which had nothing to do with my pickles, for the title of the pickles.  A catchier recipe name perhaps?  Would they have been selected for inclusion if I called them Dull Pickles?  I guess they can do whatever they want in publishing.  Hmmm....


The amounts of ingredients were altered and instead of alum, they substituted grape leaves.  I've never done that.  I do grow the peppers, cukes, dill and garlic, but I have no idea how these pickles would turn out since the recipe is so different. Anyway.

My husband brought gallons of pickling cucumbers up to the city house on the fourth.  Problem is, all my jars, spices and canning equipment are at the farm plus I've been babysitting an 18 month old angel for the last couple of days.  Guess I'll be giving this bunch away.

So, come on now.  Tell me about your 15 seconds/minutes or days of fame.