"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, May 27, 2015

Sunny Day

Sunny sky sleeps in the mornin', it doesn't know when to rise...

From a James Taylor song.  I love him.  I heard yesterday that there will be a new James Taylor channel on Sirius radio.  

So far so good today.  It is a sunny day. I just want to soak up the rays (and hopefully some of the water will dry up).  Like Texas, we have had non-stop rain since March and more is forecast for the rest of the week.  I have been trying to fill sink holes in and around my garden.  Will have to go find rocks along the side of a road today.  Formally, this part of Oklahoma was coal mining country and I have a fear of sink holes.  They do occur around here.  

I need to go outside.  The songbirds are doing their best vocalizations and the crows I posted about, well, perhaps I started something that I might regret.  They have figured out that I live in this house and call me regularly now.  Woke me this morning.  Waiting for their food.  I have discovered where in the woods they have a nest. Sometimes they bring their friends.  Did you know a group of crows is called a murder of crows?  Wonder who came up with that term... 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Days In A Life

Do you ever wonder what really goes on behind the scenes of our blogging buddies?  I mean, no one wants to hear us drone on about our bone spurs, or dark depression and anxiety disorders.  Right?  But, how many beautiful bouquets and finely decorated tableaux can we look at?  
Case in point - my good blogging friend, Jo, a Brit in TN, posted such a beautiful blog about strawberries.  Well, mine are mush this year because of non-stop, flooding rains.  Who wants to look at that?  And, Sister, my weenie, got in the middle of them yesterday and pooped.  I don't know if I can possibly go looking for any now.  Fertilizer perhaps?  Now that would be a positive way to look at things.  I haven't reached my maximum level for beauty though.  I might if I were to start doing Pinterest.

Please, don't all of you jump ship on me yet.  I am pretty hopeless, er, I am still hopeful.  I do not like technology; need an assistant to handle all of it.  It is so frustrating to me.  Nevertheless, I have had this camera for two years, maybe three.  Different lenses and is an SLR which I used to love before the digital days.  So what's the problem?  I just got it out for the first time today.  I simply do not want to read about it and fiddle with it.  Picture me with my head bowed in shame, but, I am going to fiddle with it today.  If I put things away in a cabinet or drawer, I forget about them (okay, I think about them occasionally), but the alternative is leaving it sitting around and I don't like a messy house.

Same thing with my art supplies.  The only place with enough light to work in my house is the dining room table.  It will become covered with paints and brushes, papers et al, and looks so messy.  I have had it all put away since the fall, but am going to get it all back out and start to paint and create again.  Hopeful huh?

Okay, I'll get off the subject.  I call this statue my booger.  I bought it from a small local shop.  It was made by an African American goat herder in a nearby town.  Probably made from an oak tree; it has goat bones for teeth.  

It has a two sided face, four arms and four feet, nostrils and not sure what other carvings are.  Maybe eyes or ears.

Arms and fingers.

Feet and toes.

A look inside one of his gaping mouths.  It is very heavy; must have been awfully hard to carve.  Was it a way to pass the time or a shamanic creation?  I looked at some other tribal African art and saw some similar horned creatures.  Could the creator have remembered something from a long ago culture?  Had an epiphany from somewhere out there?  I bought it for $5.00 and an old, broken harpsichord.  It must have taken the artist a long time to carve it. And, I do so love folk art.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Michael Franks - Down in Brazil

Let me try this again.  Whew.  Sometimes I find it impossible to get things to work right on this blog.  
In the 70's, I found a great songwriter/musician - Michael Franks.  I just love his sound and voice.  If you don't listen to any other songs of his,listen to this one and Antonio's Song.  I tried to get a commercial free copy, but alas, could not figure out how to get one without it.  His albums/cds, whatever, are superb.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Water World

Morning has broken.  The farm where I live is a watery world.  We haven't had this much rain in a long time.  So much, in fact, some roads are closed or washed out, even major highways.  It simply will not stop raining long enough to dry out.  Water stands in the fields.  There is no way I could get in my garden to plant veggies which should have been planted a month ago.  The strawberries are mush.  Did I tell you I dislike rain?  Always, I need sunny days.  The frogs and water lilies are happy though.  Can't believe I made it outside before the lily fully opened.

I have herbs to plant and lots of lavender.

Even my little apple tree that has born its first fruits this spring, is dying from all the rain and wet.  I watch it daily as more leaves turn brown.

Well, here is something that might interest you though I should have taken a better shot at a different angle.  The iris on the left are from plants more than 100 years old.  Merely 12 inches high.  The one on the right is nearly 2 feet higher.  Hybridization I guess.  

The left plants came from an old mountainside homestead.  The log cabin has long since rotted away, though the rock foundation remains.  I heard to look for flowers blooming around the old home to find where the front of the house had been.  This site had previously been in Indian Territory and I wonder where the iris and jonquils might have come from.  My guess is that they came in bulbs, across the country in a covered wagon, from the eastern part of the United States; a sweet reminder for immigrants of their homeland.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jess Pie

I made my first chess pie for my niece Lauren.  She loves them.  A true southern pie, it must have cornmeal in the filling to be called a chess pie.  History is, it was called jess pie, then with the advent of pie chests, chest pie.  Somewhere on it became Chess Pie.  It really was good and after it cools, just melts in your mouth.  Here's the recipe I used.

Browned Butter Chess Pie

6 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook butter in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often (5 to 6 minutes) until butter just begins to turn brown.  Remove from heat.  Whisk together eggs, lemon juice and vanilla till smooth.  Add sugar then cornmeal, flour and salt and stir.  Whisk in browned butter.  Pour mixture into piecrust of your choice.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is lightly browned.  Cool on wire rack.

As an experienced pie baker, I tweaked the recipe.  It had some rigamarole about pre-baking the crust with pie weights for a time which I did not do.  Also, I doubled the filling recipe and used slightly more butter.  For my piecrust, I use both butter and shortening.  It turned out perfect.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

World Naked Gardening Day

  Yes, it is that time again.  A favorite holiday it would seem since I seem to get so many views of this post.  So, what the heck.  Here it comes around again, for old times sake.

The first Saturday in May is World Naked Gardening Day. No kidding. Yes, yours truly used to often garden in the buff in her younger days.  That free spirit Edna St. Vincent Millay also used to garden and weed in the nude at her beloved Steepletop estate in New York.  Known for her wild ways, she famously wrote, "My candle burns at both ends."  I just love her.

Alas, after a bout with skin cancer and my aging skin and body, I no longer garden without clothing and a hat.  It is much cooler without them though.  Oh, and yes, I got caught several times gardening nude. I either ran like a linebacker back to the house or grabbed a workshirt hanging on the tomato cages nearby.  Oddly, I wasn't mortified nor embarrassed. I was pissed - usually confronted the interlopers to let them know that I knew they saw me.  Mind you, I live on a farm and do not abide those who show up unannounced.  Nevertheless, happy Naked Gardening Day this weekend.