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

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

Hello Friends!

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

Donna Baker

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I bought this sign at the flea market years ago. I thought it kind of funny at the time. I couldn't imagine why or what this poster meant. Some time later, I read that it was posted in the rail yards of America. I guess trains hump sometimes and it is verboten to do so. Whatever...

Sunday, July 26, 2009


All's quiet on the home front this weekend. Hubby's gone and had the place to myself. Thought I'd show you my garden. It is just about kaput for the season. Corn has produced with a few rows of vegetables left to gather.

The watermelon has taken over and is climbing over everything. Supposedly, you need lots of heat and dry weather to produce a sweet melon. We'll just see.

Here is one of the little gobbits. (I made that word up for those of you inclined to look it up.)

This is corn I grew from some seed my daughter bought from the Cherokee Nation. It is the progeny from corn brought by the Cherokee Indians on the Trail of Tears. I have had to cover some of the corn cobs with netting to keep out the varmints though not the #^*@ corn worms. I do hate to spray insecticides on anything we eat. I did try a nibble and it wasn't like the sweet corn I grow for us to eat. It wasn't sweet and was very starchy and the kernels were tough. I guess it would probably be good for drying and making masa or corn meal for cakes and/or bread etc.

Good Grief! I am growing the Great Pumpkin this year. I bought some Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds. They say pumpkins take a lot from the soil; they are heavy feeders and need lots of nutrients. So, I planted mine in the compost pile. We'll just see who grows a big one this year. I've seen growers that carve out the huge behemoths and sail in them in a regatta they have each year. Somewhere in the northeast. I don't know why they are able to grow them so big up there. Just like Martha Stewart's puffball fungi that gets the size of soccer balls. In a week or so, I'll carve my granddaughter's name on it. It will scab over and as it grows, so too will the name.

PS ~ On the right side of my blog is the followers widget. It has somehow gone blank and my sweet tens of followers have gone missing. Does anyone out there know how to get my followers back?

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Some time ago, I showed this little garden area on my patio. I have now broken enough blue and white dishes to finish the edging. What I didn't point out was a particular piece of statuary.

I used to shop at a flea market and always went first to a man by the door from Missouri. One time, he had an old pineapple urn and this deer, which I now believe to be a lamb. It weighs a ton and seems to have a copper lining of some sort. The cement has old marbles and stones in it. Someone painted a dark brown over it at some point. Its eyes are glass; the pupils vertical like a goats eyes would be. Hence, the lamb....I think the lamb of God perhaps. You know where I'm going with this. I had asked the man from Missouri if he knew anything about it. He didn't. So instead of a garden statue, I believe it to be a statue that once sat atop a grave. Now, I know several years ago, there was talk in the business about not buying old grave markers or stones, but this was purchased before that time and I didn't know what it was.

Nevertheless, three letters are carved at the base between its feet. I sure hope L I Z doesn't mind that it's in my little garden. I'll take care of the lamb.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Around here, the garden this year has not been plentiful. Must have been the cool, wet spring. Or maybe, my soil needs something. Next year, I'm having the extension test it. Can you imagine how our ancestors depended on their crops coming in good enough to feed their families throughout the rest of the year? What they must have gone through. Great Grandma Merriott remembered her father carrying buckets of water from the creek to water his vegetable garden and feed his eight kids. She said when he would come in each evening, he would be shaking all over from the strenuous exercise. Sounds impossible, yet he lived to be 97. No AC, no water hoses, or tillers...
I have gotten a small crop of pinto beans this summer. Most people would leave these to dry, then store them in jars. I have a secret for all of you green bean lovers. The pinto bean makes the best green beans. Period. They are meaty and just have no rivals. You do have to string them and if you wait too long to pick them or let them get too large, they will be tough. Cook them till tender and I didn't say this, since I don't eat mammals, but with some bacon and a little of the grease, you'll be in green bean heaven. Oh, by the way, after too much rain this spring and rain as rare as hen's teeth this summer, we got a good drenching this morning. The peas, gourds, pumpkins and melons will be happy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

More Collectibles

Thought I'd show you around part of my bedroom. Those of you who collect any and everything, you know who you are, might like looking at these pics. On the right hand side of the pic, I have some miniature mounted animal heads - better than the real ones anyway. I used to look for these at shows and flea markets. Don't have a clue why. They were usually sold in gift shops at the National Parks etc., probably from the 40's and 50's. Some of them were metal and some were plaster or a mix of both.

This and the following pic are larger. I even have one that is about 12" and is metal, on a coat rack.

These are antique beads (not the spider web) that I draped on an old chandelier.

When I remodeled my bedroom, I put in slate floors. They are beautiful and have blues and oranges and grays. I have even found many fossils of plants embedded in them. The tiles are room temperature and very comfortable. I don't know if it is because the room is on the south side of the house or not. On the other side of the house, I have ceramic tile and it is cold! The rest of the house has wood floors which are very comfortable. My husband likes carpet, but little by little, I've replaced all the flooring and no carpet. If you have pets, or have ever seen under the carpet that has been around for years, you would never have carpet again. At least, I won't.
Just thought you might like a look. Next time, I'll open the cabinets.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Well, it's that time again; all your hard work has paid off and it's time to gather up all the season's produce for next winter. I have posted about my canning before so you can type in pickles and get the recipe for my dills. Yes, these are the same dills that were chosen to appear in Smith and Hawken's Community Gardener's Cookbook. Okay, so big deal. But, may I say these are the best dill pickles you will ever eat. Guaranteed!
Found one I missed this evening. It is very easy to do. I always overplant which makes them harder to find. This one was about 5 inches long which is a perfect size for pickling.

I filled my basket up with pickling cucumbers last evening (and a couple of fairy eggplants). Don't use salad type cucumbers as they won't turn out the same.

The alum makes them extra crunchy, but a fresh grape leaf will do the trick too. Always use fresh - garlic, dill and the cukes. It looks so much prettier in the jar. It is okay to use dried peppers.

Here is the finished product. It'll be ready in about a month - it takes that long for the flavors to meld. Crunchy, sour and salty with a tiny bite from the pepper. These are stored in the refrigerator and will be just as good a year from now as they will be in a month. None better!

These dill pickles are easy to make. I have sold them at shows, flea markets, and just by word of mouth. I have had many past customers call and ask for them and finally have quite a following. I would like to start a business selling these and other pickles as well as jellies and jams. I have had many say they would love to market them for me, but I fear taking on too much debt. I researched one guy who sold pickles through supermarkets. He didn't even have to grow the pickles, nor can them. A factory did that for him. So I guess all he did was to market them to grocers. I would like to do that too. Farmer's Markets are good, but to really sell the product you would have to be in many markets. I just don't know where to start. I don't have a business head, and I'm not sure I want one.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


There was an ill wind blowing today; it was a weird Wednesday. We had rain which we rarely have in July and August and the temperatures remained in the 80s instead of the hundreds. The dogs started barking and the ground began to shake when two swimmers took off across the yard.
Weird is more fun than sweet sometimes, right? Needless to say, this one is for my bloggy mannequin lovers out there. Think I'll start a Weird Wednesday. Any takers out there?

Sunday, July 5, 2009


It's never too late for dessert, is it? Well, here is one you are sure to love - a strawberry and blueberry tart. The blackberries weren't ripe yet and in different parts of the world, I'm sure there are other berries you could substitute. This tart is wonderful as it is, but if you want it lighter, omit the cream cheese layer and use a graham cracker crust or thin pie crust. Whatever your little hearts desire. This dessert begins with a thick cookie type crust and on top of that, a layer of sweetened cream cheese. Top that with the berry mixture and whipped cream; well it's really a diet dessert, don't you agree?



Melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter. Mix with 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 cup slivered almonds. Press into a round tart pan or 9 x 13 rectangular pan. Bake 15 min. at 375 degrees until lightly golden brown. Don't overcook.

Cream Cheese Layer

Mix 8 oz. of cream cheese and 1 cup of powdered sugar. (It will look like the consistency of icing). Spread on cooled crust.

Berry Topping

3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 TBS. cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 3 oz. box of strawberry gelatin (small box)
1-2 quarts of washed and drained strawberries (depending on how tall you want the pie)
1 pint blueberries
whipped cream for serving

Cook sugar, water, cornstarch and salt until moderately thick and clear. Dissolve strawberry gelatin in hot mixture. Place strawberries and blueberries in a bowl. While still hot, pour gelatin mixture over the berries. Pour over the baked crust/cream cheese layer. Place in refrigerator until set - a few hours is best. Serve with whipped cream.

Simply delicious on a hot summer day!