"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

Sunday, February 7, 2016

To Know Or Not To Know

Oh good grief!  I have always prided myself in the knowledge of medicine: I used to read medical books for fun, and in fact,  early on, wanted to be an internist. Anyway, cut to the chase.  Do you want to know the answers to medical questions regarding your health?  The queen of anxiety ought to know better.

In regard to my recent heart referral, I thought maybe I should know a little of what's going on in there.  Wrong. The reader in the posts' picture should have her eyes open wide after reading the page; bugged out as mine were last night.

I decided to look up entropy last night and watched a Khan Academy video on the subject.  Too technical though I got the disorder part spiraling into chaos (as I did also after reading all that stuff.)  So, next, I typed in entropy in relation to heart disease which took me to a site with scientific articles I think must have been for the professionals.  Still too much information so I hit on PVC's, which I have, and OMG.  They can lead to cardiomyopathy (no one ever said a word about that), then, I clicked on diabetic cardiomyopathy and shit.....  

I have decided I am of the ilk that doesn't want to know what is going on down in that chaotic closed environment.  Jeez.  It's enough to give me a heart attack.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

To Be Or Not To Be

Sometimes, things come and go, as in my beautiful bed I ordered from Anthropologie.  They sent a gray bed; I ordered an ivory one.  It is still beautiful, but for the cost of an arm and a leg I think I should get what I ordered.  That, and it gave me the excuse to get my money back.  Just too much to spend on a bed I've decided.

See, I'm not the kind to return things: I usually keep it instead of going through the hassle of a return. Not this bed though.  First, wrong color, second, it is slatted and can only use the top mattress.  The use of a bottom box springs leaves the headboard nearly covered up when the pillows are added and I still need new pillows.  At the footboard end, the bed sticks up too high if both mattress and box springs are used. The delivery man said, Señora, you need a bungbid.  A what, I asked.  A bunyaup he said.  It went on and I finally gave up trying to figure out what he was saying.

It was beautiful though.

 I found these two night tables at a decorator's assignment store and just loved them.

With a drawer and a cabinet on spindle legs, it had glass inserts atop old velvet where I could put an old Rolling Stones concert stub and antique postcards.  Just love these night stands.

I still have not put hardly anything up on the walls.  Vexing.  I think the strangest thing about moving to a new house, is how most of the stuff you have doesn't work anymore. This large old trumeau mirror that I've had for a long time just doesn't fit anywhere in the new house.  The picture at the top is chickens scratching around in barn hay.

This large dressing mirror, though it matches the bedroom perfectly, doesn't fit, literally.  It sticks out about a foot from the wall because of its legs/footing.  With one wall all windows, there isn't room for such a large piece. As I said, vexing. 

Nevertheless, the bed went back and after the initial angst, I don't regret the decision. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Old Ollie

Today was dress up like an old person day at Ollie's school.  He's telling kids to "get out of my yard".  My daughter says he walked in to school with a shaky leg and was really playing it up.  They painted Cool Old Dude on his cup and that is a pill carrier in his front pocket and he has a wadded up cross word puzzle in his back pocket. He loves being a ham and I wish I could see him trying to sit still in class all day.  My sweet six year old Ollie.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I have posted before that you have to drag me kicking and screaming to the doctor.  Infantile behavior I know.  I do the necessary checkups and tests, and I take all my medications religiously, but I don't like to.

After the fall, filled with too much stress; my husband's chronic/serious illnesses and hospitalizations while moving from one house to another back to back, then the holidays and just life, I have neglected some health issues.

That pain, in my back between my shoulder blades radiating around my side, was due to packing and  moving, carrying around bales of hay and feed bags.  At least that is what I wanted it to be.  And that was back in October.  Then just the feeling that something isn't ticking like it's supposed to; something just doesn't seem right.  Vague symptoms to sweep under the rug with crossed fingers.

So, I finally got tired of worrying about it (remember I have an anxiety disorder so worrying is my middle name and impossible for me not to.)  I have some time this week and went to see my internist yesterday.  She did an EKG and said she was concerned and was referring me to a cardiologist in the city at the Heart Institute.  She said they will be doing lots of tests.  Just the thought of it all is going to give me a heart attack.

I will share the journey with you, just so you won't wait if you are having symptoms, and February, coincidentally, is Heart Health month.  Childlike, I am sure nothing is wrong and hoping that all of this is just in my head and due to stress.  I hate having to go through it all, but it could be worse.  My family still needs me and would be heartbroken. And, like I said, I ain't going gently...

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Snips And Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Woke up.  Got out of bed...  Early morning sunlight in the city.  My weenies won't let me sleep here.  They wake me far too early (yesterday at 4:30 am.)  I just choked on my last swallow of cafe au lait and spewed it across the couch.  Need to shower, but I am putting it off as I don't like to get wet early in the morning.  Go figure.  Need to post and put off running around town to do errands.  

I ordered this display table because hey, I like to display my treasures and have to bring more to the city when I have room.  I look like the Beverly Hillbillies when I come up here.  My truck is loaded and tied down with stuff for the city house and my antique booth.  Can't wait to finish.  I am too old for this and can hardly climb up into the back of my truck to retrieve stuff nor lift it.
One thing I am having trouble with is putting things up on the walls.  Have to have more hands for correct spacing etc., but that's another story, so I keep putting it off and don't want to make unnecessary holes in the walls either.

So, little treasures, like a shorebird skull with a piece of lead shot in its head (Weaver and I don't like people shooting birds.)  An old Franklin Roosevelt presidential run pin - they don't make them like 
him anymore.  There's an old postcard from near where I grew up. A rattlesnake tail, a gourd shaman necklace containing my babies' teeth, herbs and secret things and a Joni Mitchell concert ticket from the seventies.  I guess I am more like the snips and snails lot than sugar and spice. 
 Okay, up and at em.  Can't put the day off any longer.  And, I raked the front lawn yesterday and have a catch in my side today to thank for it.  Raking sucks and I have the back yard and beds to do today.  The wind was blowing more leaves away from my piles than I picked up.  Think it will be windy today too, but a warm sunny day.  Can't beat that.
Hope your weekend is a treasure.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Follow Me

I have been reading others' blogs that I follow and they are reporting losing followers.  Must be something going on as last night, I lost five followers.  Didn't like my last Gather post?  I don't think that would offend anyone nor bore them silly.

Seems the developers at Blogger are rewriting the followers gadget.  If your followers are not following through the Google Friend Connect Gadget, they are gone.  

I understand little of blogging, even after more than 600 posts.  So, let me just give you a link to someone's blog who can explain this much better than I ever could.  Hope this works.  Miss Smarty Pants I am not.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Well, I Never

I am at the city house this week and perusing the aisles at my local Barnes and Noble bookstore, a stop I always make when coming to the city.  I spied this periodical because of the title and thumbed through it.  Wow.  A cookbook that starts out with the launch in 1977 of the time capsule aboard the Voyager spaceship into deep interstellar space in hopes that one day another civilization might find it and know of earth and its inhabitants.  Natural history, geology, space, oceans, pot-feuled trips to the tune of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon to Stravinsky, origins of species, whew!  Sounds like the kind of cookbook I would write - unable to stick to topic and going from one thing to another.

How about a recipe for a Coconut Lychee Aquarium?  Gelatin, coconut milk with lychee juice and other ingredients; you use a syringe to add the things into the bowl shaped jello dish.  Gorgeous and tasty I am sure.

Beautiful; it just blows my mind.

How about an Encyclopedia of Nuts Bar with Chia Pudding for dessert.  Notice the snakeskin in the bottom righthand corner of the page.  I have them and vertebra from water moccasins.  So me.

Perhaps you'd like to try this bread which sounds and looks delicious.  It even has its own haiku.

Beauty, old as time.
Fossil's senior citizen,
Round and round it goes.

(Kind of like the recent post about Joni Mitchell's song The Circle Game.)

I put this in there because it is so me.  I have many nests like this.  They also have cocktail recipes like Quicksand Cocktail.

I added this picture because it is one of many gorgeous photos in the book; this one of crystals which I like to collect.  One of the recipes is Crystal Shrimp Dumplings which really are clear. From Lunar Pear Clafoutis (which does look like a pock-marked moon) to a Butterflied Chicken Diorama recipe, I kid you not, this book should have been aboard the Voyager.  So full of essays and the aforementioned topics and recipes.  On the last page of the book is a beautiful essay that begins:

Book Forgive Everything

First there's stellar wind.  A single star, like the pale hair of a girl.  The dim universe plucked with light...

This gorgeous, original book is out there.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Living Things

Outside this morning with the dogs, listening to birdsong and a woodpecker and a far off flock of Canada geese when I heard a strange sound.  Something like a street sweeper, though it is Sunday and they don't do that in the country anyway.  So, I decided it must be an oil or gas well letting off pressure.  The trees that wreath our home throw sounds and it was hard to tell where it was coming from.  I looked north as the sound came closer and saw a great flock of blackbirds flying toward me.  I downloaded this photo of a starling mumuration from google as my camera can not do a decent job (perhaps the camerawoman too.)

They were everywhere in the trees - up and down searching for food and startling I guess.

It was a thrill to watch them.

Startling starlings.  

I carried Midge out for a lie in the sun.  She didn't acknowledge the birds.  I have been giving her syringes of chicken broth mixed with cat food and water.  She won't eat and has gotten considerably weaker.  I've done all I can.  She did get better after the transfusion, but I can't keep doing them.  The medications have made no difference.  I am going to take her in the morning to the vet.  It is time.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Jello, Jelly, Gelee

For your reading pleasure on a cold Saturday morning.  As I've posted before, Ivan Day is a culinary wizard.  Historian, teacher, television and movies; they all come to him.  If you will go to the right side of my blog, you can click on his site and read for days.  His collections of antique eating/cooking implements is museum worthy.  Type in punch bowls.  It's all great.

My personal favorite, this Macedoine.  You can see a sideways slice on his blog.

Can you imagine?  This Belgrave jelly is just wonderful and you can see the beautiful old copper mold on his blog.

An Alexander Cross Jelly.  Sigh.

Here is another Macedoine.  I wonder if I can find a lost Haribo gummy bear in my pantry.

Oh well, maybe in honor of the nonexistent snow we're supposed to have this day, I'll attempt this salad with whipped egg whites atop rosemary for snow.  I think this was an Italian salad served to the English during the Grand Tour.  Now, I know where the two hour meals came from.  It was one of the things that surprised me traveling abroad.  In the US, meals are usually not long affairs and in other countries they take a long time.  I actually got tired of eating out while abroad for that very reason.

When we stayed in The Belgravia Hotel in London, a little lady was seated next to my daughters and me.  She was a dead ringer for the Queen Mother.  My throat was raw and I spent most of the trip coughing.  I started a coughing fit over a lovely Pavlova.  I was terribly embarrassed, but couldn't do a thing about it short of the Heimlich maneuver.  I couldn't run out as there was a long hallway before you could reach the lobby.  I'll not share what happened next - TMI - but I think the Queen Mum thought I was a heathen.

Happy Saturday.  I'll do anything not to do the things I am supposed to do, like pricing antiques, harvesting lemons, cleaning the house...

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Circle Game

Perhaps you could listen to this song whilst reading this post...   I was riding through the fields today with the weenies on the ATV.  Looked at the brambles (wild blackberries) that have grown up on the backside of our fifty acre wood.  They'll need to be brush-hogged or they will take over the field; create a thicket akin to a hedgerow that can't be mown down.  Driving alongside the woods, I looked where the mayapples will be growing soon.  Next to those, the morel mushrooms grow for about a week around easter, but though I have looked and looked, I have never found one.  I think the deer and wild creatures find them first.

Since we don't ranch or have cattle, pine trees have been growing up across the fields and I like that very much.  A beauty to behold.  Ranchers would never allow them as they would shade out pasture grasses and plants to feed their animals.  

I stopped by the ponds and cast a few slices of bread upon the waters, but no feeding fish.  It was warm so I thought perhaps a few takers would come to the surface.  The turtles I so love are asleep on the shore under the mud holes they have dug.

The birds are singing loudly today and one I couldn't identify louder than most.  I walked in that direction, trying to see it, but it moved farther away and I never did catch a glimpse.  I have found a lost parakeet and love bird before on the farm, so I wanted to make sure it wasn't another lost bird.  Of course, the crows had to caw annoyingly loud about my goings on. How anyone ever sneaks up on anything is a mystery to me.  I think maybe the unknown bird might have been from the woodpecker family.  Just a guess.

While I looked about the place, this song came to mind. I chose this version because it lists the lyrics. Joni Mitchell is a songwriter that comes around only once in a lifetime.  She had an aneurysm some months ago.  I haven't heard how she is doing or her prognosis. Sad. But, the seasons do go round and round and I can do nothing to slow them down.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

La Chat

Midge the cat.  She is lying in a patch of morning light, peeping at me to see what the heck I'm doing.  Better not be anymore syringes of chicken broth and meds.  I got her to eat a few teensy bites of raw chicken liver from my finger.  

I came home from Christmas holidays and quickly surveyed the animals.  Midge and Teddy would usually be the first ones there.  No Midge.  Unpacked, etc.  Still no Midge.  Went to look for her and found her curled up in her bed in the garage.  Not a good sign.

Midge is the fattest and furriest animal of the lot.  Her fur is legend.  If you remember, I had a feral cat colony at the barn and fed and kept them on birth control for three years...  Five of them that were spayed etc. lived up at the house and came and went through the doggie door.  I tried everything, even once putting tin foil on all the countertops, trying to dissuade the cats from leaving dirt they roll in and cat hair all over the house.  Clothes, furniture and even in my mouth.  Finally, the doggie door was closed and the cats relegated to a life outdoors.

On New Year's day, I called the vet, but it was closed.  I put her on antibiotics for three days until Monday morning when I took her to the vet.  Checkup and tested for feline leukemia (neg) and given a long acting antibiotic shot.  Wed. morn she was worse instead of better.  Went back to vet.

She was in bad shape.  IV fluids, other meds and kept getting worse.  Her red blood cell levels extremely low.  Finally, a blood transfusion as a last resort.

Here she is curled up with Sister.  After a week at the vet, still on meds, she is not much better - weak and hardly eating nor drinking.  Went from healthy? to near death in two weeks.  

Midge isn't a cuddly cat.  Her mother's name is Mean Mom, who misses her terribly outside. If Midge wants contact, she'll usually just walk by my leg for a tiny swipe against it and I might get a swipe down her back.  It has to be her initiating the touch.  I love her anyway as I do all my animals (even Mean Mom who tried to scratch my eyes out once and slapped my glasses off.)  I'm not sure Midge is going to make it.  I certainly don't want to prolong the inevitable, if that's the case with Midge.  Maybe a false neg test, microplasmosis (I think that's what they called it), or infectious disease.  If that were the case, I would think all the antibiotics would have begun to work.

Meanwhile, I am stuck at the farm, caring for her and don't know what next week will bring.  I hate the worrying - makes my heart palpitate, so I try to keep busy.  Don't want to have to take her back to the vet to board her.  Some animals are not meant to be caged and I know Midge was miserable that week (even though the vet said at one point she was pretty loopy and out of it.)  I never board my animals as I know it is too stressful for them and me.

Oh Midge.  I don't want to lose her.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Who'd A Thunk

Citrus is ready to be plucked from my trees at the farm.  Small crop this year resulting from a deep freeze in the greenhouse last winter when the propane ran out.  I feared all my plants had died, but they survived though the crop output was affected.

Maldon Sea Salt from across the ocean and citrus rind from a greenhouse in Oklahoma combined to make a condiment for...  I rarely cook anymore.  May have to give this to my daughter, the cook.  I am amazed at global commerce in this day and age.  Wonder if they will be eating Solyent Green in fifty years?

It will be sunny and 60 degrees today.  I'll be all smiles.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rare As Hen's Teeth

I doesn't happen often.  Some people are as rare as hen's teeth and I have to share this modern day Tasha Tudor with you.  Jeri Landers is a true renaissance woman; she can do most anything.  On her farm, along with her animals and keen observations of creatures great and small, Jeri creates, paints, writes and designs her own books and animals and so much more.  She is also an expert at scherenschnitte, the lost art of paper cutting.  Jeri also sews, gardens and designs such beautiful tableaux, well, you will just have to go to her blog hopalonghollowgazette.blogspot.com to see, read, and be inspired by her creativity. 

Above is Esther, a starling Jeri raised.  I was so moved by the story of Esther, I just had to buy her when I saw her at Jeri's site.  Esther is a pinkeep and here, she sits at my desk in my city house watching the birds come and go at my bird feeders. 

Pippity Squeaky is a caroling mouse.  You must know that mice do sing.  Jeri designs and makes the animals all herself, with lace and bonnets and little vests and capes...  Pippity is singing on my shelves of whites and creams.  I just treasure her.

All Jeri's creatures come from her award winning books.  She cards and uses her own wool from her own flock, I could go on and on. I can't do Jeri justice.  You will just have to go visit her site and spend time reading posts old and new.  Jeri is the real deal; she's one of a kind.

Is there anything Jeri can't do?  She told me recently, she can't cook.  With all her work, artwork and shows around the country, I bet she just doesn't have the time. Go have fun and see what all this superwoman does.  See the most beautiful Christmas tree I've ever seen with all her creations. Go.
And, I forget to tell you about her exquisite paper gardens under glass domes.  Just another of her beautiful creations.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


 I wonder if the marketers that made this ad thought about the word windbag?  I would look up the etymology of the word, but I don't care that much. I just loved the page and have kept it for years.  

 I've been rifling through all the detritus and junk that piles up around here, tidily I might add.  Anyway, after more than a year and a half wait, I got a booth at an Antique Mall in Tulsa.  Nate Berkus and some other couple with an HGTV show shopped there.  Movies shot in the state also shop there and that is why the wait is so long for a booth plus they get a lot of traffic.

I have had booths before and do not enjoy it, but I have to get rid of stuff that has accumulated over the years, as I have posted about here. 

Which brings me back to the post. This scrap of paper is why I have too much stuff (though it doesn't take up much room tacked to a bulletin board - oh excuse me.  That is old fashioned.  I meant an idea board or a mood board.  I am a magpie you see. But I just loved this sentiment.   

Friday, January 1, 2016

Long Ago And Faraway

Could this ancient artifact actually be a form of communication in the 20th century?  I don't even remember coming across one of these.  A redneck version of texting perhaps?  And yet, this is the way people used to message each other, tacked up on doors across the country. 

This little beauty has leather for hinges and a hand carved latch to keep the note from blowing away.  The maker even made a little gravel shingled roof for it.

Kind of makes one nostalgic for a sweeter time: where a handshake sealed the deal, manners were the norm and hearth and home was your sanctuary; neighbors all knew one another; formed a community around friends and family...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Winter's Day

I am making a New Year's resolution.  Yes, I aim to cut out sweets in my diet, nothing profound, but at my age, this is a near impossibility; this brain is hardwired for sweets.  I am going to try anyway as I never learn.  Not a great feat to start out a new year, but it is something to strive for, however trivial.

On this snowy day, I am become philosophic; remembering a piece of literature I always return to.  Alexander Pope's ESSAY ON MAN was a seminal work in his time and much acclaimed, and, it is profound. The theme being, "what is, is right."  My main go to line though is (not verbatim), we are all part of the chain, whereby one part is broken, the whole will fall.  It is so timely today.  As an aside, another favorite writer/philosopher of mine, Voltaire, wrote CANDIDE (another fav) as a satirical response to Pope's ESSAY ON MAN (and his "what is, is right" theme.)

In the recently read JUST KIDS, Patti Smith writes about her mother's oft quoted maxim, (not verbatim), that what is happening on New Year's Day, so goes the rest of the year.  Well hey, I am going to be busy, painting and reading on New Year's Day (and eschewing sweets just in case that old saw is true.)  Here is more from Alexander Pope's ESSAY ON MAN.  It is worth a study/read again.

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Hoping 2016 is filled with goodness and light for all of you.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


I have overindulged during the holidays.  It is the sweets that I cannot turn down.  No willpower whatsoever.  If the kids don't take this all home, it's going in the trash tomorrow.  It is the only way to keep it out of my mouth.  This piggy has a New Year's resolution.  No sugar/sweets.  Wish me luck.

Christmas Day was in the 70's and today, it is like a hurricane out and near freezing.  I don't ever think I've seen rains like this.  10 inches last I heard.  Winds gusting to 44 mph. Just wretched weather.  My weenies won't go outside it is so bad.

Besides overindulging, I have to tell you how the Christmas holidays started.  Not with all the presents that still needed wrapping and all the food to prepare, but with a fire truck outside the city house and a fireman banging on my door.  Me, standing naked as a jaybird, dripping wet from the shower, ADT on the line and the police calling too.  Damn smoke detectors with battery problems.  And, that was just the start.  I won't bore you with the rest, but I do hope the New Year brings us all better days.

FYI - we did have a good Christmas, were all together.  That was enough for me.  Didn't need any gifts; my family was gift enough.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays

Well, it wouldn't be the holidays without the dragees.  These hard, shiny balls just make desserts special.  They will top a red velvet cake.  With white buttercream icing, the silver dragees make the cake sparkle.  Supposedly not edible for the silver, they are really unpleasantly hard to eat anyway.  

The square jar from the 40's or 50's was probably a quarter (notice the tiny holes on the top.)  The bottle on the right, which I had to search for high and low as they aren't available at most stores now, and they still say not edible, cost a whopping $17.00 today.  Wonder what they will cost in another couple of decades or so?  

Nevertheless, hope all my friends in the blogging world have the happiest holidays.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Food Prep Has Begun

This candy, peanut brittle, is a family favorite at Christmas.  It is good, and easy.  I use a microwave recipe.  No thermometer hanging in it and hard ball stage mess.  I even have a recipe now for pudding in the microwave.  I love it because I don't have to stand over the pot, stirring constantly, for what seems like an hour.

One batch down and two more to go.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Citron Redux

Puttered around in the greenhouse today.  My citrus collection has been neglected; the trees don't look well.  After Christmas I will have to harvest and baby them with a good dose of fertilizer.  They got too cold.  Hmmmm.  

But, I did get three large Buddha's Hand citrons.  They smell of heaven.  Citrusy, but with a sweet perfume.  Nothing I have ever smelled compares.  

These beauty challenged whoppers are used for candied fruit.  The rind is stripped and candied.  It is also eaten boiled in a sugar syrup as sucket, I believe an old English treat.  They even had silver sucket forks to eat this delicacy.  It is also used in Israel in a ceremony called Sukot.  Whatever, I'm not eating it.  I'd rather eat a Snickers.

If you want to read a really interesting post about foods of yesteryear, please go to the right side of my blog and click on Food History Jottings.  Ivan Day's blog is absolutely the most incredible blog I have ever come across.  If he hasn't been already, he should be knighted by The Queen. His latest post is about the Grand Tours during the 1800's and the reactions of the English travelers to foreign foods.  Sparrow soup Madame?  Macaroni and cheese stuffed suckling pig?  It is so interesting.  He doesn't post often so have a look.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Happy Day To Me

Well, today I turned somewhere north of thirty.  If you remember, I tried using my first crop of limes to make a limoncello.  I have tried it with lemons, but never limes.

Only the skin of the fruit is used in the making.

Add the rinds to the strongest grain alcohol on the planet and place in a dark cupboard for weeks or months.

It turned out beautiful.  Limoncello, when the syrup is added, turns cloudy, opaque.  Not so with the lime one.

This stuff will literally kill you if you drink too much of it, though that would be impossible I think. Surely the liver would fail and the imbiber become comatose before they could drink very much of it. I took one tiny sip and that is it.  It almost brought me to my knees.  I felt the heat go down my throat and all the way down my esophagus.  So much for a little drinky winky on my birthday.  Oh my heaven and stars.  I am saving this for cough medicine or the flu.