"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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Quakes, Tornadoes and Fish Kills, Oh My

All that, and more.  My beautiful summer garden is on the wane and I check each day to see what is still faring well.

The echinacea is fodder for the birds now.  The orioles certainly do like those pin sharp seeds and that is all they are getting as I had to stop feeding the birds due to the rats.

Love black-eyed Susans.  They return each year like gangbusters.

Though the phlox are losing many petals, they still smell wonderful and the butterflies love them.

These flowers grow all over.  I haven't a clue what they are.  The first year I pulled them all up and saw one I had missed had snapdragon-like flowers climbing up the stalk.  They also come in many different colors, so I left them all this year.

So, summer is hurrying by.  It has been a strange one.  Oh, by the way, in the past week, there have been 1500 earthquakes (fracking.)  A fairly strong tornado passed within blocks of my first child's house and did quite a lot of damage.  Buildings destroyed and trees down and people hurt at 1:30am. Sirens didn't even go off.  Daughter's house was spared though only five blocks away. The tornado stayed on the ground for seven miles. It is only the third tornado in August since 1950 in Tulsa.  Seems it was caused by unseasonably cooler temps.  I'm not complaining about the cooler temps as August here is usually miserably hot, in triple digits.  Global warming? Climate change?

Oh yes, and the fish kill on the lake.  I saw a dead fish off my dock.  Then another and another.  Over about two days, every fish in our lake was floating.  Small fry and huge fish as long as my arm.  Everywhere.  Hundreds.  The smell was horrid. The wildlife department came out and tested.  Seems the perfect storm of events occurred.  Low oxygen levels, number of waterfowl and high temperatures and whatever else, caused it.  I doubt there are any left.  At least the turtles and waterfowl weren't affected.  It was terrible.

Sunday, August 6, 2017


I love history (with the exception of political science.) I didn't love it in junior high school, but find it so fascinating now. Love geography too which is very much entwined with history.

I have been reading about the Library of Alexandria.  So much on the web about it.  The history of the world was stored there on papyrus.  Great scientific works, writer's writings, maps of early earth, astrological data and theory, art and works from the greatest minds of all time. One historian wrote the great flood happened 430,000 years ago.  Much of the early writings, which eventually became the bible and qua ran and torah, were lost in the destruction of the library. Mind boggling what all was lost.  

This is an early depiction of Sappho. Most of the nine volumes of her writings were lost in the conflagration.

Just a few scraps remain.  Not only a genius, her writings/poems were legend and she put it to music - the original Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro.

The writing that remains, speaks volumes.  I loved this line she wrote.

"Although they are/only breath,
words/ which I command/
are immortal".

And I just had to add a couple more pictures.  Hmmmmm....... I can't quit.

Just unimaginable.

What remains.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dew Drop In

I got nothing.  Except these.  I've told you about my slight aversion to large, tropical flowers.  I don't know why.  The hibiscus are coming out next year.  They simply take up all the room in the little garden outside of my bedroom.  They do not delight me.  I am thinking of replacing them with miniature roses.  
This plant is growing on me.  Each flower is striking in its color scheme.  I think I'll let it stay.

We are in the hot and dry part of summer.  Haven't had rain for a long time.  With it too hot to enjoy being outside during the day, I am surprised to see dew in the mornings.  The dew point makes it hotter during the day.

Still fighting the rats.  They will not touch the poison in the locked feeders.  I have just about given up.  One has crawled up into my raised planter and tunneled around.  Just about killed all of my vegetables.  It has even been eating my teeny tomatoes.  I set a trap in it, but it didn't take the bait.
But the days march on.  Summer is flying by and the grands are not happy about having four more weeks before school starts.  Son moved back last week and is nearby.  We found out they are having a little boy near Christmas.  I think they are shocked as they were sure it was another little girl. Nevertheless, they will be thrilled when he gets here.

Hope your summer is going swimmingly.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Lily Dale

Or another place I'll never go to.  Lily Dale, NY, City Of Light, birthed the Spiritualist movement in the 1800's.  I heard about Lily Dale a long time ago and it piqued my interest.

Those wacky Victorians, without television nor computers or iPhones took to soothsayers, crystal balls and ghosties.  

Of course, if they went to Lily Dale, they didn't need to communicate with modern day conveniences.

Here is the former tree where mystical things happened.  It became a stump and today is a fenced off cement platform.  

Lily Dale was a popular destination, as it is today.  About 250 year round residents live in cute Victorian houses.  Today, it is inhabited by mystics, mediums and clairvoyants.  In summer, they open their community to thousands of visitors for readings and shopping, programs etc.  Famous psychics and even Deepak Chopra has spoken there.  Signs hang on the doors when the mediums are taking customers.

Before you scoff, here is one story.  Lucille Ball, who lived nearby in Jamestown, went for readings as did many other famous people.  While still young she was told she would meet a Cuban man and become a famous comedian one day.

Residents must go through rigorous testing and study for two years before they are allowed to practice in Lily Dale.  Wouldn't it be fun to visit with them? Many 'speak' to the spirits around you and give you messages from beyond.  One woman spoke of a childhood friend speaking to her from an unseen spirit world.

Myself, I think I'd rather hear about other things, like past lives and future events rather than spirits hovering around me.  There is lots of info on the net about Lily Dale.  Have a look if you are interested.  I find it fascinating, but will never go to western NY.  Too many other places I'd choose, but probably won't ever get to see either.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mother Nature

I am Mother Nature - interested in any and everything, but nature is far and above all else.  I have a robin and a young squirrel that have befriended me.  Every evening, the robin comes and sits on the fence near me.  All day long this squirrel comes.  I can even call him now and he comes.

Of course, the weenies come running and chase him off whenever they see him, but he comes right back, peeking around the plants and such, stays only about two feet away.

He'll go off a little way, then come right back.

He looks in my windows and makes noises if I'm in the house.  I was on the dock feeding the geese and turtles and looked down and he was a foot away from me.  I had the fleeting thought that he's getting pretty fearless; a vision of him jumping in my hair or face with those little cat-like claws and had to shoo him back.  

I finally figured why the robin comes in the evening.  He's looking for some pecans too.  I threw a few pieces down and he immediately jumped down and ate them up.  Just hope Squirrely doesn't bite the hand that feeds him.  

PS ~ I have been grabbed and bitten by a squirrel before and the claws and teeth hurt.  It bit my fingernail too.

Monday, July 10, 2017

You Dirty Rat

No, it's not about Trump.  I don't want to compliment him.

Still trying to catch rats.  I've spent over $100. trying to put a dent in the rat populations around the city house.  I had field rats the cats would bring in at the farm, but never anything like this. These are tunnelers and climbers and evidently, friendly little shits.  And, by the way, I read they like that too.  I never had to pick up after the dogs at the farm, but it is nearly on a daily basis in the city.  Geez Louise.

This little machine is supposed to electrocute them.  Haven't gotten one.  I'm thinking about taking it back since it was $50.00.  I'll believe anything.  Seems the varmints are phobic about new things.  Problem is, I don't want to leave it on during the day as my weenies might get their noses fried.  I finally purchased two more enclosed units with poison and placed them around the sides of the house past the fence, so the weenies can't get to it.  I'm nearly out of options.  I'll check the feeders in a couple of days to see if they have eaten any of the bait.  These little critters are pretty smart.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Done For Another Year

Went to the farm for the fourth.  Such a different year in weather.  Lots of rain, but we did get in a bonfire and fireworks.  I stayed in the house with baby and didn't get pictures of the display.  The fields were full of purple loosestrife, but just a few wild plums and blackberries this year.

Since Bella and I drove the Ranger through the garage wall, knocking it off the concrete slab, the littles have had to be happy driving the lawn mowers around the place.  It seems to appease them, though they are always asking Nonna to drive them around the farm.

Ollie caught the first fish; it is always a competition, especially if one gets a bass and the other doesn't.

And, Oliver almost caught the biggest fish when I saw him looking and tugging for his hook and bait.  Ollie STOP.

Sweet Wonder Woman, Bella, is still at the age where she doesn't care about her hair or dress.  I asked her if she was wearing deodorant or a bra yet.  She was rather insulted.

The kids built teepees with leftover bois d'arc posts, also known as Osage Orange.  During the old west days, settlers used bois d'arc wood for fencing in cattle and many of the trees still grow along fence lines.  Speaking of cattle, my husband got two young heifers to fatten up for fall sale.  They were only there one week before cattle rustlers cut the fence in three places.  Problem was, the young cows are so spooky, the rustlers couldn't rustle them.  We found them nearly two miles down the road  days later.

Though rain was threatening and the fishing wasn't very good because of all the rain, the grandkids had a good time.  Even bigfoot couldn't dampen the little's time at the farm.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Hollyhocks And Rat Catching

I've never had Hollyhocks before so I should be grateful.  To the naked eye, these look black.  My iPhone camera found some color.  This is not a color I would have chosen, but it's what I ended up with. Whatever.

Now, I need some advice from my English friends.  In the states, we all covet an English garden.  My take is that for the most part, it is mass plantings and correct me if I am wrong.  I am thrilled with mine, except for one thing.  Besides the gophers and moles, I am now over-run with Norway rats.  Gray with rounded noses, shorter tail and ears and not as large as brown rats, they are adorable, and very friendly I might add.  I have had to move the bird feeders down next to the lake.  The rats eat the seed and try to climb the poles and jump from tree limbs etc.

I have fed birds for forty years.  It is a joy.  Google says I have to get rid of bird feeders and clear out all foliage.  WTF?  I quit filling the feeders, but I'm not mowing/clearing out my gardens.  I've thought about a bb gun, tried traps and even went to buy a humane trap.  I couldn't kill them up close and looking at me.  Poisons are out because of the dogs.  

They've had three cases of plague next-door in New Mexico and with all these rats....  What to do?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What The Heck

I thought I had uploaded/downloaded a video before, but tried everything thrice to get it to work.  Seems like 1 minute and 6 seconds is too long to add to blogger.  

Anyway.... I watched this second hatch of sparrows leave the nest yesterday.  Mom and Dad both joined in to coax them out.  Kind of like potty training - exasperating for them.

This was the last one.  So much cheeping and calling from the family, it finally decided to fly.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Big Small

It is lily time at the city house.  I don't know what these are, but they are HUGE.  At least 9 inches across.  So pretty.  Flowers are amazing.

Perfect for this small porcelain wise man.  Though I don't think you can see it, there were droplets of honeydew inside the flower.  I tasted it.  Sweet. Wonder what lily ice cream would taste like.

This tiny colander is full of pearl sized tomatoes.  Those cookie cutters are the child-sized ones.  I waited for two years to find these teensy tomato seeds.  A burst of flavor.

When I was a child, I would have died with all the miniature things they have today.  Smalls just enchant me.  Happy days...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Lake

Each morning is about the same.  After coffee and such, I head outside to look about.  My flowers are really taking off now.  The heat and dry season began this week.

My coneflowers and phlox have started blooming.  Love them both.

I feed the birds and waterfowl.  They are usually waiting for me.  The ducks, geese, turtles and fish get a 27% protein mini-chunk dog kibble.  This rather large red-earred slider, along with different sized friends, never miss a feeding.  They make me laugh.

Turtles are pretty smart and have wonderful eyesight.

The baby Canada geese are nearly as large as their parents now.  Only a small tuft of fluff left on the back of their heads.  The turtles get close to them and I've seen the geese warn them away and even peck at them.  It's a free for all.

So, this is how my mornings go.  Just hanging out back, sitting' on the dock, wasting time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Showing Photographs

Guess who came to visit Nonna this weekend?  Penny Lane, in all her hippy headband glory.
She'll be moving close in July.  Son (her Dad) just finished his internship and will receive his Ph.D.
It has been a long hard winding road and we are so proud of him.
One more year of a post-doc and his little family is over the hump.  And, new baby sibling for Penny is coming before Christmas. 

Notice, she is beginning to dislike posing for pictures.  Precious twos.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Vase

I cut some calla lilies for the vase I bought, but just didn't want to cut more.  It would be really pretty with three in each pocket, but this was all I could do.  She still makes me smile.

Friday, June 9, 2017

I Got Nothin'

Except for this.  It is a magazine I've purchased from time to time.  Thick, nice paper and once in awhile, it occasionally speaks to me: I think I'm a little old for it actually.

I have always had an affinity for windows.  Bought and sold many antique ones and painted them on canvas.  I love the crackled paint, but could never live with it.  I think heebie jeebies; hold my nose kind of thing.  Love to buy and sell primitives, but don't usually put them in my house.  

This really spoke to me though.  I think is was written for me (though I'm old enough to know I'm not going to change the world.) But, there is hope for the problem child.  And, like Candide, I'm off to tend my garden.
Have a wonderful, magical weekend.