"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, May 31, 2009

Merci Beaucoup!

I've really gotten into French Country furniture/decorating lately. Back in my day, they called it French Provincial. I guess I like it because they love the painted furniture thing with distressed surfaces and the colors are great. There is a store in Tulsa that has a lot of dealers of French stuff. I think they have it shipped over the pond in crates. Therefore, the prices are a bit stifling (which means I can't afford it.) Since I'm a bird nut, I love this grouping of old prints. This is only about half the wall as my camera couldn't get the other half.

Though the setting is way too formal for my tastes, I did love this chair.

I also love this settee, minus the chair pillows and pad.

The scale of the furniture pieces are massive. I would love to pull out all these textiles and look at them, but then, I'd have to run. The ones that I like were too expensive. Isn't $330. a lot for a full/queen bedspread? Maybe, I'm just cheap.

Another massive piece of furniture, with very expensive french pottery. I can't remember the name on them, but they must have been made with diamond dust. I don't know why the pic is leaning. I must have been standing on one foot.

Finally, I covet these chairs; I can't tell you how badly I want them. They look antique. The splats look hand carved and the checked pillows are filled with down. These chairs are slightly over sized and you sink in them. No, I don't really have a place for them but I'll find one. The price is high but maybe I can talk her down, though I'm sure they would still be too high. I don't understand me sometimes. On the one hand, I think I have to start getting rid of stuff and then I'll spy something like these chairs.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I'd like to introduce our new in laws. Kent and Debbie are the proud parents of our soon to be daughter-in-law, Katie. She and our son Parker will be married in August. We couldn't have picked a better daughter-in-law. Katie and Debbie and Kent are from far western Oklahoma; couldn't be farther across the state from us. In fact, they live out in the big sky part of Oklahoma, the panhandle in fact, no man's land I've heard it called. In reality, it's God's country, totally different from our part of the state and I look forward to going out there some day soon. Antelope, pheasants, mesas and fields of wheat as far as the eye can see. Our new in-laws are wheat farmers. Generations of their family have been farming there; growing wheat for the world's tables.
They don't get to leave the farm often, but when they do, Kent and Debbie head off on Kent's BMW motorcycle. These things are very upscale now. His has GPS and their helmets looked like something out of Terminator. The bike didn't even have a bug splat on it. After stopping by to meet us, they headed off to tour Arkansas.
It's nice to gain a new daughter-in-law, but it's even better to gain a new family.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm known among my family and friends for my cherry pie. It is one of the first things I learned to cook. My friend Janis taught me how. There is really only one secret and it has to be followed. It's the cherries. You MUST use tart pie cherries. It makes all the difference. Not a filling or sweet cherries or a combination of cherries. Only tart cherries.
Start with the crust. For the flakiest crust, you must use a lot of fat. Cut 1 1/4 cup of shortening into 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 tsp. salt. Then add 7-8 tbs. of water (sometimes I use more). Dough will be a little sticky. That is why I use so much flour to roll out the dough. Divide into 2 discs.

I roll out one crust (this is a 10" crust) and place it into the bottom of the pie pan. Then, I mix up the filling. To two cans of tart pie cherries, add 1 3/4 - 2 c. sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. almond extract. (You can add less cinnamon and almond extract if you want). Mix all together and pour into crust. Dot with two to three tablespoons of butter.

Roll out top crust. Cut into what ever size strips you want. Be creative and make fancy edges, make wide strips etc. I start with two strips; they make a cross in the center. Then I work outward, lifting strips to make a basket weave. Roll edges inward around pie and crimp. Again, this is a place to get creative with the edges. Sometimes, I sprinkle a large grain sanding sugar on top. Bake in a 325 - 350 degree oven for about an hour. You just want to make sure the center is a solid not a liquid.

Voila. Pie. Cherry pie. I have a Cuisinart ice cream machine and made a vanilla ice cream to go with it (kind of gilding the lily).

Sunday, May 24, 2009


This was the most colorful rainbow I have ever seen. I quickly pulled over to snap a pic and it was already fading. The colors were almost florescent. You could follow the orange at the right end of it into the trees; the leaves behind it were washed in orange. It was also the lowest rainbow I have ever seen. There was a larger second rainbow higher in the sky, but it wasn't complete, nor was the color as bright. I wish my pic would have shown how beautiful this one was.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Totem Poles

I have this collection of totem poles. Some old, some new, most native American and I can't believe how dusty they are. Up high on a piece of furniture, they are hard to reach and well, just there, collecting dust.

This one is on the floor and about 6' tall. It is carved wood, but I'm sure it isn't Native American. Purely decorative.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I'm in Tulsa and my daughter started having labor pains today. The due date is still a month away, but the first baby came a month early so that would not be too unusual. This is a crib I bought for Izzy and kept her in it when I babysat her. She quickly grew out of it though, but it will come in handy for little boy.
I also bought this little Windsor chair and iron bed for Izzy, but she isn't interested in them yet. They are so little and cute.

This is a little pew I bought, but ditto, Izzy doesn't care to sit on it. She's a handful at 20 months and is rarely still long enough to sit. I guess I like them more than she does.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Folk Art

These two little tables are smoking tables. I have had several over time though these two are the only ones I have left. These smoking tables were made by itinerant travelers working their way across America. Much like tramp art boxes, frames and even furniture, these bent wood pieces were the makers' bread and butter; often they were done in exchange for food and boarding. It has been said that gypsies and African Americans also fashioned these. The use of silver paint, usually for accents, was common. This paint was called haint blue paint, supposedly to ward off evil spirits and ghosts. The one in the top photo has gold paint accents which I have never seen before. If you look closely, it is also painted with a dark stain to imitate a faux wood grain finish. There is usually a pipe rest and this one even has a little road on top. The bottom smoking stand has been painted which you don't find very often. The roof has a painted robin on it. It too has a pipe stand and often you will find a handle on the top to carry the stand easily from one place to the other.

Monday, May 18, 2009


This is a young Alligator Snapping Turtle making his way from the creek across the field to a small pond. It is probably several years old, but a young one since they can live over a hundred and fifty years. This one is about 18 inches from head to tail. Its tail alone is about 6" long with stegosaurus-like plates along it. Its head is massive; as big around as my wrist and extends out a whopping 6". It is also very wary. Its eyes rotated like a chameleon's and watched my every move. I stood still, but as long as I was close or moved an inch, it wouldn't move. I must have waited 45 minutes for these shots. Notice the sharp edges at the tail end of his shell.

When I backed away it began to move again. I had to hide behind a red cedar.

I am lying on the ground to get these shots hoping I wasn't being eaten up by chiggers. I did get three ticks. What I do for you guys.

He quickly went under and watched me; froze in that position. Snapping turtles can weigh over 200 pounds. Can you imagine? I tried to pick up one once (a little bigger than this one) and though I'm not afraid of much anything, I jumped back pretty fast when it turned around in an instant. They can move like lightning unlike the slower box turtles. They also let out a low hiss or growl - much like the sound an alligator makes. I'm quite sure this one could bite toes and fingers off. They are so cute when they are hatchlings, but really ugly when they get big.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Antique Cookbook

On April 28th, 1796, the Connecticut District Court granted Amelia Simmons a copyright for her forty-seven page AMERICAN COOKERY, considered to be the first American-authored cookbook. Although its recipes were inspired by English fare, they called for ingredients not commonly used in Britain, such as the American staple cornmeal.

Simmons offered readers a tip on where to catch the best-tasting fish; "Of all freshwater fish, there are none that require, or so well afford haste in cookery, as the Salmon Trout. They are best caught under a fall or cataract. From what philosophical circumstance it is yet unsettled, yet true it is that at the foot of a fall the waters are much colder than at the head. Trout choose those waters. If taken from them and hurried into dress they are generally good and take rank in point of superiority of flavor."

I would love to peruse this old cookbook. I love to look at old cookbooks; many of the recipes are forerunners of foods we eat today, but I bet they don't taste as good now as back then. Vegetables, fruits, and even meat and grains just don't taste like they did in times past. Nevertheless, I have a recipe for you from a ranch in West Texas in the 1800's. Pies and cobblers were common food back then; whatever was leftover was stretched by putting it all in a pie. Back then, they were often eaten for breakfast. Must have originated from the British pasties or hand pies. I love pie!!!!!!!! This recipe is for the crust. You'll have to be creative and fill it with whatever you love.

Cobbler/Pie Crust

1/2 pound (1 cup) butter
1/4 pound (1/2 cup) sugar
1/2 pound (2 cups) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (for pie, leave out)
1/4 pound rice flour or cornstarch

Cream butter and sugar together. Add flour, rice flour and baking powder. Knead all together. If the dough feels soft, add a little more flour and rice flour. Roll out and put atop fruit cobbler. Bake at 300 degrees until brown.

I have made this atop a blackberry filling and it makes a very good crust.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Forgotten English

VERBARIAN - an inventor or coiner of words.

I used to make up words for the kids. I could always make a grumpy teen aged girl smile when I'd lean over and whisper a made up word in her ear. Mung. I would say the word and draw the syllables out. Faht, said in a regal tone. That one always worked on child number two. I saw a book by Benjamin Franklin in Border's once titled FART PROUDLY. Then there is Goby, pronounced gobbie, meaning large or huge. And on and on.

You'll notice today I have no pic. That is because my #*!! Hughes satellite system is on the fritz again. Yes, I do cuss once in a while. Anyway, I just paid $125. 2 weeks ago for a service call and now they have to come out again. Of course, it's not the "same problem" so I have to pay again. Monday will be the earliest they can come. Sometimes it doesn't pay to live in the country. When I go to Tulsa, the internet connection is instantaneous. Here, I can go do some chores while I wait to upload etc. Okay, I got that out of my system. Do any of you have any questions? I'll make Thursday a question and answer day.

So, today class, I'll tell you a wee bit about William Shakespeare. In his plays, old Bill coined hundreds of expressions, such as: eventful (from As You Like It), be-all and end-all(Macbeth). How about laughable(The Merchant of Venice), or hobnob(Twelfth Night). Gnarled (Measure for Measure), flawed (King Lear) and no, he didn't know me. Negotiate (Much Ado About Nothing), pageantry (Pericles) and lastly quarrelsome (The Taming of the Shrew). Old Bill probably even invented verbarian.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Doggie Dish

Here is a plate I found recently at the flea market. It's a piece of Royal Doulton and has the prettiest water-colored washes on it. Of course I love all things dog, so this little Scottie made the plate jump into my hands.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rain, rain go away!

Its been raining cats and dogs. I planted my vegetable garden last week and I'll bet I'm going to have to replant. Oh woe is me... Notice my husband is putting up fencing around the garden this year to keep out the deer.
This little end plot is all cool season crops; I got them in before the rains came. Onion, spinach, leeks, Swiss chard and turnip greens are doing well, as is asparagus.

Oh my poor corn....

Well, the rain did bring out this little guy. He's about 2 1/2 - 3" long and is swimming around in a puddle in my driveway. Very cute! The pictures are reversed but you get the idea.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I love this oil painting on canvas board of a rooster overseeing his hens eating scratch. It is an older piece; Picassoesque if you will and I think they had to have drawn this out before painting because it would have been too complex to paint otherwise. I never used to like 'modern art', but have become a big fan in the past few years.If you click on the painting, you can see the signature and date. Does anyone know if I made a great buy; enough to sell the farm and get a facelift, boob job (from a DD down to an A cup) and a tummy tuck? OR, maybe meet and take all my bloggy friends on a trip around the world? And then when we get back, have enough left to start an animal sanctuary and zoo? My life would be complete.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Again, here is an essay from the little book, JUST BE GLAD. As I said in an earlier post, this book was written in 1907 by Charles F. Raymond.

A Desire

May we grow. May our present by happy, and may the future be one of steady progress.
May we achieve.
May we lay in wait for opportunity, and recognize it when it passes.
May we spend much time on the foundations.
May we realize the majesty of the "I will."
May we understand that that which is worth having costs time, costs labor, and sometimes blood.
May we prepare for each day as a warrior who goes to battle, and may we greet it with a smile, yet with determination.
Give us ability, the ability of stability.
May we stick. May we grow.
May we cease comparing ourselves with those who are weak. Let us rather seek comparison with the giants of the land.
Then, when we see how very small we are, let us grow some more.
May we grow in manliness. May we trust.
May we do our best and leave it to Omnipotence, knowing that there is no chance.
Give us grit. Give us grace. Give us gumption.
Help us to get up early in the morning. Help us to work late at night.
Help us if necessary, to get dirty at our work, gracefully.
Keep us from being proud.
He was born in a manger.
Make us worthy to have a friend.
Let us hold our friendships sacred.
As we turn down the light each night, may we say "Now I have made some one just a little happier, I have made a child glad. I made mother smile, and my wife is pleased for I told her that I appreciate her. May we have some little memory to mark the day.
May we remember kindness.
May we be kind not for reward, but for the love of it.
May we greet each morn with the thought "I am mortal."
Make us successful.
Make us wise, and if it be Thy Will, make us great and rich and valiant.
But above all, make us humble.
He was born in a manger.
It might have taken place in a palace.
The angels did not rap up the nobles to let them know about it. God plays no favorites. There were no reserved seats to hear the chorus rehearsed in the skies 1907 years ago, for the shepherds heard the song.
So let us be humble to-night, to-morrow and throughout this pilgrimage until the very end.

There is a homily at the end of each essay as follows:

Nature reminds us that the dog will wag its tail, the cat will sing and the horse will neigh as we approach if we are only kind to them.
They do not forget kindness, and that is more than some of us can say.