"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

Monday, December 12, 2011


I've posted about dragees before, so type in dragees in the upper corner to find out more about them.  Once, I could only find the silver ones of my childhood, but now I think they make all sizes and colors.  I love them during cookie baking and decorating, but they really aren't so toothsome to bite into.  Anyway, you'll find my recipe for sugar cookies by digging into my past blogs.  Again, upper corner.  Hey, I'm still recovering so I'm borrowing from the old stash. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Flu Who?

Here's a story.  There is this lady who hardly ever gets sick - never even gotten a flu shot.  A friend developed Guillaume Barre Syndrome after a flu shot, so she decides never to get one.  Then she gets bit by a flu bug and 15 days later is still having symptoms (mouth is raw, can't hear).  She was so sick in fact, twice, she thought she was minutes away from death.  She watched the news, certain they would come across the screen with an announcement that an epidemic had begun with a new terrible strain of flu.  No such pronouncements.  Ebola or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever thrown in with this new strain...  Moral of this story, she will be getting an annual flu shot from now on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


You know those things from ages past, tucked away, like these tiny gloves.  Brings to mind one of my favorite passages from Wordsworth's ODE.  It's not verbatim - I don't want to go look it up.

"what though the radiance which was once so bright, be taken now forever from my sight.  And though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, we will grieve not, rather, find strength in what remains behind.  In the primal sympathy, what having been must ever be.  In the soothing thoughts that spring forth out of human suffering.  In faith that looks through death, and in the years that bring the philosophic mind."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Last Hurrah

I make no bones about it.  I don't like winter and a cold wind is howling tonight. Winters in Oklahoma are hard and frigid. Last winter, Oklahoma recorded its coldest temperature ever at 29 degrees below zero.  I'd much rather be at the beach. Okay, the summers are hotter than you know where; our temperatures were the highest on record this summer at over 115 degrees.  There were terrible wildfires and we are still in extreme drought conditions.  In fact, our state has had crazy weather of late.  Just yesterday, Oklahoma had tornadoes, flooding rains, snow and earthquakes.  Yes, we are having quite a lot of earthquakes.  We've had small ones before; usually they aren't even noticeable.  Three in the last three days have been noticeable.  I never hope to be an earthquake stronger than the 5.7 one Saturday night.  It took me a minute to figure out what it was.  The roar was the first thing I noticed.  I thought a jet was going to crash into my house.  I never knew an earthquake made noise.  I heard today that the roaring was sound waves emanating from the earth.  Who knew?  Then the house started shaking.  I could even hear and feel it as it moved away.  Weirdest thing I've ever encountered.  Made the hair stand on end.  I don't know how anyone could make it outside during an earthquake.  I sat there mesmerized; an earthquake was the last thing I could have imagined.  I'm not superstitious, don't believe in the messianic end times soothsayers, but something strange is going on. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You Can't Take Me Anywhere

Well, it's almost all Hallows Eve, or Halloween as we like to call it.  This is the scariest thing I could come up with (or it could be my parrot Birdie trying to pluck my eye out as I work on this blog).  During our 10 day trip to Paris this spring, we forayed two hours east of Paris, in the Loire Valley, and went to Chartres and Chambourg.  I really enjoyed this and heartily recommend spending a day or two around there to see how they live outside of Paris.  Tiny towns, or villages, dot the countryside in a patchwork mosaic of planted fields. Many of the homeowners also had large gardens.  I will show more of Chartres later, though I can't remember whether many of the pics are Chartres or Chambourg, but this old window was definitely in Chambourg.  Of course, you're not supposed to open the windows, so what did I do, yes, as my friends scattered, I had to lift the beautiful old latch and open the window.  Just inches away, on the sill, was this little bat.  It looked up at me and followed me with its eyes.  I looked up to see if it had fallen from the roof line, but saw no others.  Since bats aren't out during the daylight hours, I surmised it must be sick.  Rabies?!! Sorry little bat, I wish I could help you but I'm outta here.  I  took my photo, then gently closed the window.  See what you miss when you always follow the rules.  BOO!

Ryuichi Sakamoto - The Wuthering Heights(Trio World Tour 96)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oldest Paris Church

This large silver-rimmed shell holds holy water in the oldest church in Paris, St-Germain-des-Pres.  Originating in 542 when most of Paris was still swampy, it was mostly burned down during the French Revolution by the mobs.  Remarkably, it was heavily restored in the 19 century and looks beautiful today.  A powerful Benedictine Abbey in its day, it was built by the Merovingian ruler, King Childebert, to house holy relics.  You can tell it is a much older church; beautiful original painted columns and walls retain original symbols painted in wonderful colors.  I love this photo.  St-Germain-des-Pres, given its age, has seen many great and horrific moments in Parisian history, but is worth a visit.   One famous tomb includes that of Rene Descartes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cipher This!

As is often the case, I have to figure how to do things myself.  Frustrating, yes.  Knitting, painting, sculpting, sewing, carving, writing, cooking/baking...I would much rather have someone show me how.  It would save much trial and error, research, etc. I want to make my own cipher to use on my prints/artworks.  After several hours of attempting the smallest of workings and carvings, I had to drive to the city/crafts store yet again, for more supplies and another third attempt. I am the poster child for learning from mistakes.  I know I'll finally get one, but this journey is not more fun than the destination.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

And Then There Were Two

Can you believe it?  Another huge mouth to feed!  This brown girl showed up last month.  She left her pastures and crossed a fence and eighty acres to get here.  Guess she was lonely and hungry too by the look of her ribs.  I expect this animal cruelty from our neighbors, but not from her owner, who is a school superintendent of a rural school system.  

Hosannah no likey brown girl - has to share her feed now.

You better not bite my knee!

Hosannah thinks that's hilarious.

She finally decides to lie down though when I moved an inch, she popped right back up just in case I might have hidden some graham crackers from her.

To all my dear blog friends that haven't had comments from me, I am still not able to comment on some of your blogs, but am reading and enjoying them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Times Gone By

I found this old cookbook in the cabinet recently and looked through it.  Printed in 1932, some of the recipes are more than 100 years old.  I loved the recipes, two of which are Dimples and Nun's Sigh.  The author, Mary Moore Bremer, states in her forward, "The negro woman, who reigned in the kitchen, had inherited from her ancestors in Africa, as well as in America, a knowledge of cookery and herbs that made her skill look like magic."  In another section, she writes, "Many of these recipes were written before calorie counting became a world sport, but when a little colored delivery boy asked," "Missus, is dis reducin' or increasin' bread?" " I knew it was time to put in some whole wheat recipes for those who do reduce."  It is amazing to me that back in the early days of the 20th century, and in New Orleans, no less, people were dieting and counting calories. 

Another part of the book gives recipes for cocktails and spirits.  Seems drinking alcoholic beverages in New Orleans had rules which were to be strictly followed at mealtimes. Even the size and shape of glassware had to be correct for measuring amounts and just because (a pony is one ounce and a gill is four ounces.)   "Delmonico's chef, Charles Ranhoffer, believed wine was to be the intellectual part of the meal, which must be served in correct order and at the proper temperatures, though preference must be given to taste and the effect on health as he believes that certain tastes go with certain temperaments: The sanguine natures feel the want of light wines such as Champagne; the phlegmatic love the warm wines from Languedoc and Fontignon; gloomy dispositions crave sweet Spanish, Italian and Burgundy; while the billious require something stimplating like Bordeaux which is easily digested and leaves the mouth clear and the head free."  The rule for formal dinners was observed thusly: 
Sauterne or other white wine with the oysters.
Dry sherry with clear soup.
Sherry or Madeira with turtle soup.
Champagne with entrees.
Claret with salads.
Bordeau with game.
Claret with roast.
Burgundy with dessert.
Brandy, Liqueurs, Cognac or Pousse Cafe followed the coffee.

This book is charming and I wish I could have visited the New Orleans of long ago.  My mother left home at fifteen, and without shoes, walked to New Orleans, where she worked and lived until she met my father who was stationed there and in the Navy.  We never knew this story until after her death at forty when her sister told me. 

After seven weeks, my new knee is healing and I am finally able to get back to normal.  Glad to be back!

Sunday, July 31, 2011


In times long past, I used to go to summer camp.  Every evening we'd go up the mountain and sit around a camp fire.  Upon our descent, we would sing vespers.  "Day is done.  Gone the sun...."  I have great memories (but mostly about how homesick I was).  Nevertheless, here is a sunset at our Peaceable Hill Farm.

I won't be posting for a couple of weeks, but I will be reading all your blogs.  I am having my knee replaced this week.  At seventeen, I had knee surgery and I've needed a new one for nearly twenty years.  So, hope all of you get rain and cooler temps.  This week, it is supposed to climb to 110 degrees around here. 

And may I mention, I have been having trouble commenting on some of your blogs and have no idea how to correct the problem.  Any info will be appreciated.  Stay cool and well.

Monday, July 18, 2011

California Dreamin'

We grow em big here at our Peaceable Hill Farm.  Actually, without rain since April and 105 degrees for the past several weeks, not much is growing.  I spend my days and nights watering; vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, shrubs, potted plants and on and on...  I fear I will be losing many plantings due to this hellish heat.  I think my 15 year old hydrangeas are dead.  And, back to the berries.  They dried up before we could pick the wild ones.  Next time La Nina and her damn weather pattern is coming our way for the summer, I will be packing it up and heading to the California coast. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sculpture at the Louvre

This was such a monumental and beautiful piece.  Ancient of days. Something mythological.

Green Mansions

Growing up, my father had a radio station and as a courtesy, we had a movie pass.  I saw nearly every movie that came out.  This movie, starring Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins was one of the stinkers.  Imagine my young mind watching Butterfield 8, etc. and going "Huh?"  Nonetheless, Audrey's husband, Mel Ferrer, directed this movie, which was considered a huge flop.  Released in 1959, Audrey played Rima, the jungle girl.  The movie was adapted from a very sucessful book by WH Hudson and though the book sounds interesting, the movie was not.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Berry Odd

This is a fallow year on the farm for berries.  We usually get tens of gallons of blackberries by July 4th.  This year, we got nothin'!  We had a record freeze this winter and our thornless berries were killed back to the ground.  Even the wild blackberries are slim and none.  Our early heat (102 degrees today) coupled with no rain since April have left us with tiny berries not worth the effort to pick.  So, to market, to market, here we come.  I posted this dessert once before.  It has a buttery cookie bottom with a cream cheese layer on top of that.  The berries finish it and of course,  a dollop of whipped cream on top. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mile High Apple Pie

Since it is much too hot to bake, I'll share this apple pie I made last fall.  Secrets to a good apple pie?  Granny Smith apples, lemon juice, dotted with butter and light brown sugar gives it the most flavor.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Breathtaking Sculpture At The Louvre

Though I love the two dimension art at the Louvre, I was especially drawn to the 3D sculpture hall.  Just walked around, awed by the works in marble.  When you sculpt with clay, you can mold it by adding the clay or taking it away.  After drying the clay, you can then carve into it. I can not imagine working with stone and a chisel and making this look so beautiful.  Don't remember her name nor the artist's name, but she was stunning, and hardly anyone was around.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Do You Know The Way?

Parlez vous Francais you crow? Just a little? Um, mon French is non bien. Okay. Ou est how to get to the original Chanel shop? The one with Madame Coco's apartment upstairs?
That far? Taxi...

The original Chanel store was quite the shopping experience. Upon entering, I thought maybe I had stepped into an 80's Devo video. Two dapper guards stood on either side of the door. Gorgeous gray suits, white shirt and black ties with mirrored shades. Are you looking at me monsieur? In fact, double guards were posted in hallways and all rooms throughout the store. Very clean lines and spaces. I didn't see anyone trying on the size 0 clothes; they must have been spirited off to the hinterlands by the sales associates. No matter. It was more fun watching the other buyers than looking at the merchandise. I knew the prices without bothering to look. Oh well, perhaps I would go ogle a pair of flats. What the heck? 750euros? A thousand bucks for a pair of flats? Not in this lifetime bebe. We went on to the joailliere room. While waiting my turn for a look, I surreptitiously watched a twenty-something, spiky haired Asian girl in feathered boots, hotpants and a polar bear coat. She was piling her loot on the counter. A giant black purse, (more than 12000 euros) some scarves and shoes, and scads of necklaces were all I could see. Hummmp...

After being taken to a small, private, inner room where payments were made, I left the Chanel flagship store with earrings for my daughters. Nothing to crow about and, nothing for me! As we left the store, the Asian girl in the fur walked past with nothing in her hands. What? Where were all of her bags? "Oh," said our friend, "they have it all sent over to their hotel."
Hint for the day while shopping the designer stores in gay Paris ~ il est good to be Asian as they seemed to be the only ones doing all the power shopping.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fruits de Paris

The Antiques and Ham Fair in Paris had these beautiful candied and dried fruits just sitting out in baskets. Didn't try them but they looked wonderful. I came upon these meringues while window shopping in St. Germain des Pres. I cannot get meringues like these anywhere I know of, but I've always wanted to try a Pavlova. A new trend in restaurants is to 'deconstruct' food, (originally called playing with your food?). Methinks an Eton Mess is just a deconstructed Pavlova. I think I would rather have the Pavlova for the aesthetics with a sprinkling of these various fruits to gild the lily.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Parisian Poulet

Grilling out for the holidays? Mmmmm! Chicken. Don't know about you, but I think I would pass on fowl if this is what I had to choose from at the market. There were feathers, legs, faces and feet, not to mention the head, like it was sleeping with its comb still on. Small birds, ducks and geese and rabbit too. Everything was not wrapped in plastic like our pre-packaged meats from the store. Some birds wore stamps or decals of some kind; my guess is it was to tell you where they came from. I am sure they were more flavorful than what we get at Wal Mart, but I just can't do the whole animal thing. I've never eaten one of my chickens (nor bunnies, turkeys or animals, oh my). They have names and as it is, I can barely choke down one of the eggs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Over Paris

Here's the zeppelin we parachuted out of somewhere over Paris. Okay, just kidding...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Les Deux Magots

Croque Monsieur?

Open faced sandwich?

Fois Grahahaas with shaved jambone?

Dessert? But of course!

In Paris, we stayed in the 6th arrondisement, St. Germain-des-Pres. There, we drank and dined with ghosts of the great writers, surrealists, existentialists and artists of the time. Les Deux Magots opened in 1813 and was named after a popular play of the day, The Two Magots of China. Not only was LDM the headquarters of the surrealist and existentialist movements, Max Ernst and Picasso and other greats painted and talked and wrote etc. John Paul Satre, along with Simone de Beauvoir, took their tea there each morning and he would write for hours. Hemingway was another regular. The two large Magots still grace the cafe walls. ( And, it is after 1:30 am and a bird is out my back door singing a plaintiff song and my peacock is honking his head off out somewhere in the night. Go figure.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Louvre Visit

Went to the Louvre. Breathtaking art. Happened upon this large, gorgeous canvas. What was the lady doing to the doves? Pulling them apart or instigating copulation? ??? Adjusted my glasses and saw the wooden plaque, Venus, from the 1500's. Frames are art at the Louvre. Unbelievable works. While we did see lots of paintings, this time I got to see more sculpture. I will share more of it later.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Parisian Street Fair

I love monkeys and this big one wanted to come home with me. I couldn't afford him anyway and feared I'd have to buy him an extra seat.

We happened along a sidestreet full of tents with antiques and decided to stop and shop. Loved all these old toys. The prices were only slightly better than the Ham Fair, but great stuff.

I loved these wooden painted animals and made home with a few of them. At 7 euros apiece, they seemed like a deal considering almost every other thing we had seen in Paris.

I love old molds but have many so I passed these up.

And what , pray tell, was this old sign lying in the street outside of the tent? "Is it for sale," I ask. I love old signs and she said, "Oui, 70euros." Oh but of course I had to have it. Pretty heavy and big but I was absolutely sure it would fit in my luggage.

My new find, my sign with the trefoil corners, was going to fit perfectly - until the night before I left Paris. I had brought two large hard sided suitcases. But, the sign wouldn't fit. I was about to go looking for a sledge hammer, but I finally got the 4 corners wedged/bent upwards. The security people left a note in my bag that they had checked it out. Nevertheless, it hangs in my kitchen and I am very happy with my Paris cafe sign.