"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, December 28, 2016

Auld Lang Syne

The decorations are stored away.  The process snowballed, but it is finished. We did have a nice Christmas celebration, but I like to clean up before the new year arrives. 

 I am finishing the planting of bulbs.  Yes, not done with that job.  Our fall was so late without a freeze, I kept waiting for my porch flowerbed to die off so I could clean it out and plant the bulbs.  Last year tulips - this year grape hyacinths, snowdrops, ranunculus and many alliums.  We have hardly had any rain and the ground so hard, I think I'll have to water the bed.  Of course I didn't wear gloves and blistered my palms before I realized it. I have been getting coffee grounds from Starbucks to scatter on top of the bed to discourage the squirrels and enhance the soil.

I haven't made any resolutions for the new year.  Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.  Sometimes they work and oftentimes they don't. One year I taught myself to knit.  I usually don't celebrate, nor wait up until midnight.

Anyway, I thought I'd show you this beautiful cup.  My friends across the pond might be able to tell me what they would have drunk from it.  It is huge and I doubt they would have filled it with coffee, but would they have had such a large cup of tea?  I think it would have gotten cold before you could finish it.  It must hold at least two cups.  

I love blue and white pottery and the saying on it too.  The back and front also have beautiful scenes.

So, I guess my new year's resolution might just include a spiced tea and a cursory think of times gone past, and sing the little poem/song Auld Lang Syne.

PS ~ I found that it is a Roland and Marsellus wassail cup or mush cup.  That's is all I'm going to find out as it is mind-numbing looking at all those maker's marks.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happiest Holidays

Though most of my tree collection is old, this little Japanese tree with the tiny paper cranes is a favorite.  

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy our daily or weekly visits.  Though we've never met, I have gained so much from our friendships.  I hope each and every one of you have the best holidays ever and I look forward to the new year and sharing our lives with each other.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Silver And Gold

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  I have one gift left to buy and then the baking and candy making.  But, if you are going to use nonpareils or dragees on your holiday baking, think about my tooth crown first.  These little goodies are like little rocks.

I called my dentist's son yesterday, to glue my crown back on, and he had had an emergency appendectomy the night before.  So, put in perspective, I'll take the crown mishap. 

By the way, the silver dragees now cost nearly $17.00 a bottle, say non-edible on the directions, but look oh so pretty atop the confections.  With only a few days left to get ready for Christmas, my friends are taking me out today to celebrate my birthday.  Love my friends.  We've been together for over thirty years now.  True gifts - the best kind.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Old Man Winter

Winter is not for sissies.  We had a mini blizzard yesterday; just a dusting of snow, but I thought the wind would blow my roof off.  The snow was blowing sideways.  It is so cold outside this morning, I am not going to go out to take a picture of snow on this little Christmas decoration.

It got down to 3 degrees last night; it hasn't been that cold since 1983. The lake out back is frozen over.  When I raised the blinds this morning, the ducks came in for a landing and slid around like ice skaters.

 I stayed holed up in the house and there were many car wrecks on the highways.  I worry when it gets this cold - about the water lines freezing and bursting, the animals - everything.  Those brave souls that live up north must be made of stronger stuff than I am.

I made my first batch of peanut brittle yesterday for Christmas and guess what happened?  It pulled a tooth crown right off.  Now, I have to see if I can find a dentist to cement it back on as I'm not going back to the farm until after the holidays.  If I can't find a dentist in the city to do it, I guess I'll superglue it back on.  An expensive piece of candy. Aye yay yay! And, I'm not through shopping, wrapping and baking for Christmas.


Friday, December 16, 2016


As Christmas approaches, I need to remember those whom defend our countries and can't be with their loved ones during the holidays.  After all that is going on in the world, I think I'll re-post this for the men and women that have given so much.  This song, I'm Dreaming Of Home, is from the movie JOYEUX NOEL, if you haven't seen it, the movie is one not to miss. It is based on a true story.

On December 24th, 1914, during World War I, in the trenches, amidst the carnage, the Scottish, French and German forces called a truce to celebrate Christmas together.  This old Scottish hymn is sung in the movie by the Scottish soldiers.  Here, a precious rendition by a French boys' choir, but you can hear the beautiful song from the movie soundtrack on youtube with some of the original footage of the time. 

L'Hymn des Fraternises
(I'm Dreaming of Home)

I hear the mountain birds
the sound of rivers singing
a song I've often heard
It calls to me now
so clear and so loud
I stand where I am
and forever I'm dreaming of home.
I feel so alone
I'm dreaming of home.

It's carried in the air
the breeze of early morning
I see the land so fair
My heart opens wide
There's sadness inside
I stand where I am
and forever I'm dreaming of home
I feel so alone
I'm dreaming of home.

This is no foreign sky
I see no foreign light
but far away am I
From some peaceful land
I'm longing to stand
a hand in my hand and
forever I'm dreaming of home
I feel so alone
I'm dreaming of home.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

For The Little Ones

It used to take a week or more to decorate at the farm when the kids were growing up.  The trees, the spiral staircase, outside - I even cut various sizes of lace paper doilies into snowflakes and glued them on the front and back windows.  That was the most beautiful part. I have two closets full of Christmas decorations, many antique, that my kids don't want as it is not their style or they don't have room for.  Wish I had had the forethought to go through them and sell them in my booth.  Here are the little dolly ice skates I bought recently.

But, I am become Scrooge.  I didn't decorate after they grew up as they didn't come to the farm and I didn't want to haul out all of the stuff and put it back up.  Too much trouble.  We had to go to the city so Santa would come and visit and I just did a minimal job at our other city house for the grandkids.

Last year I found these birch trees from Restoration Hardware.  Already lit and easy, with brown paper packages tied up with string.

I have house collections, trees too, and a Snowman collection I couldn't find room for, so maybe another year.  I did put out a few on this table and you'll notice the baby skis and child's skis along with the ice skates I recently found.

So, I had this old wood tree-shaped store display I brought up to the city to sell in my booth.  I thought I probably wouldn't find anything else like it and used it to display my Christmas village.  Didn't have to spread the village out and it went perfectly there.  All the little people and things were quickly removed by my baby granddaughter, Penny Lane.  She had a ball with it.

So maybe, I have not become such a Scrooge.  If not for the grand babies, I still wouldn't decorate, but just for them, I am.  Now, I've got to start baking and candy making and shopping for presents too.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Citrus Is Coming To Town

The citrus is tucked away for the winter.  I'll worry about them the entire time.  I heat the greenhouse with a propane heater and backup electric heater, but alas, the propane will run out and/or a terrible bout of cold will descend, and they will get nipped (or even worse).  And that is with me tending it.  With my husband watching over it, well, I am definitely worried this winter.  The plants are my pride and joy.

My cup runneth over this year with my tangerines.  I just sent my last one with my baby granddaughter, Penny Lane.  She was here for the weekend and loved them.  They are just the sweetest ever.  So good.

These are some of my oranges.  They are turning early this year.  Well, I guess not.

Some of my ruby red grapefruit.  

My Buddha's Hand citron.  The oldest known cultivated citron, the smell is of heaven.  Truly a perfume like no other.  It is used for the rind and candied.

And of course, this is always a result of the move.  Twice a year, it causes quite a row with my husband.  He throws a hissy fit moving them.  They do have large, long thorns and I planted them in large pots.  Hey, I thought more fruits, but the plants grew very large and heavy and we have to use a hand truck to move them.  I didn't know.  I asked a local nursery if they wanted the huge ones and they said no.  I couldn't believe it.  My ponderosa lemon is from stock that was from a 150 year old tree.

But, the reward is great.  This one didn't get far.  Truly sweet as tangerine honey.  And, if I get a chance to find someone to build a custom greenhouse at the city house, most, but the largest trees, will be coming with me.

I need to add that most of my stock came from Logee's Greenhouse in Connecticut.  They are a huge nursery and you should check out their catalog or go online.  They have so much.  Last year I grew ginger and turmeric.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Autumn Has Arrived

Autumn has come about a month late.  Maybe a little more.  Climate change deniers have an agenda; whether man-made or natural, it is here.  It was in the fifties with a strong wind and misting rain.  Good weather for a drive.  I wish the photos were better and the color was more intense than my phone camera could take.

I have so many beautiful pics I don't want to bore you, so I am showing just a few.

This tree was stunning, just play like I cropped out the car roof.

We decided to drive by the Philbrook Museum, but low and behold, I could not get very good shots.  This house was owned by the Phillips family, of Phillips Oil fame, and I'm told they only lived there about a year or so, then donated it to the city of Tulsa, which turned it into a museum.  This house is two stories and goes on for blocks.  I cannot imagine living in such a big house.  It has stained glass windows and is really very pretty.  It is on several acres, about twenty, and the grounds were gorgeous.  Giant oaks and formal gardens.  

There were many entrances, but we didn't get out to go inside.  We'll save that for another day.

The fencing and gates around the property were pretty.

The best part though, was shopping at an outdoor mall with my daughter and granddaughter Isobel.
There are animated little displays around the mall, even a cute Santa cottage with dutch doors and Mr. And Mrs. Claus.  We didn't go on Black Friday, but on Sunday and what luck - barely any shoppers there.  I'd better get busy as I've only just started shopping for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

To Bathe Or Not To Bathe

I've been living at the city house for a year now.  For two reasons, I had never taken a bath in this tub.

First of all, it is so much easier and quicker to hop into the shower.  This tub is about 5 x 6 feet and a spa tub big enough for three people.  Now, I've never been to a spa, nor have I ever had a massage.  The thought of lying naked on a table with a stranger rubbing me - well, it's not going to happen.

So, the other evening I thought I would take my first bath.  I gathered everything I could remember (shampoo etc.), put my phone next to the tub, made a drink (it was wretched, sweet and syrupy) and as a last thought, turned off the lights even though the window is frosted.  I feared the neighbors might see my silhouette in the window.

Just about everything that could have gone wrong did.  I had put some lavender/chamomile bath salts in the tub (very slippery, cause it sounds better than slimy) and added bubble bath just for fun. When the bubbles covered the little round blowholes, I started pushing and turning buttons.  Nothing seemed to work then finally, an explosion of bubbles and water from the ceiling to the cabinets and walls, mirrors and floors. What a mess.

I used to take long baths in a soaking tub at the farm.  I don't know how I did it.  This tub is basically on the floor and the bottom is hard.  I wasn't feeling it.  It was boring. Next, the sun dropped like a rock and it began to get dark.  Fast.  I did have a nightlight on but it was hard to see.  That was the last straw, then it hit me, how to get out.  There was nothing I could put my feet against to get out.  Bubbles all over me.  I'd wipe my hands and no bubbles would come off.  Glue bubbles.  So I decided to drain the tub.  Bubbles still wouldn't come off.  

I thought about calling 911 and asking for women firefighters to come help me out of this tub, but didn't.  I thought of sliding over the side like a seal, but feared breaking my neck.  

I finally got out, but I don't think I'll be taking a bath in this tub for a long time, if ever.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Oliver Sacks

I've just finished reading ON THE MOVE and GRATITUDE by Oliver Sacks.  I enjoyed them immensely.  The first, an autobiography and the second he wrote after his terminal diagnosis.

What a privilege for a glimpse into this man's life - the kind of man rarer than rare; a bright star in the sky inhabited by other incredible people circling his orbit.  Sacks was kind and empathic, with a profound curiosity and deep love of the world around him.  Though we have lost his genius, we still have thousands of his writings and studies. In one line in the book, he told of a visit with an old friend and described it as, "the flowering of the moment".  I'll never forget his happy soul.

 In this new age of Dumb and Dumber, it was a pleasure to know about him.  The old book at the top is OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens.  It is very old and its pages brown and brittle.  I bought it for $3. at the mall as a gift for my grandson Oliver.  I think I'll have to have his mother read it to him as he isn't called Ollie the Destroyer for nothing.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Help And Hope

This is something I found again not long ago.  Though it was popular in the sixties, it was actually written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann.  

If you are like me, it will take a long time to move beyond this election - our dreams dashed.  Hope this might help.


Go placidly amidst the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others
even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of years;
gracefully surrender the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield
you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

America's Arab Spring

Half of Americans wanted change.  

We saw how that worked in country after country in the Middle East. 

I am deeply ashamed that a fascist like Trump has become President Of The United States of Amerika.

Fuck you Trump. Fuck you. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sitting Ducks

Nineteen - 19 - quakes this past week, all due to fracking.  Last night was a big one.  It shook much longer and harder than last weeks'. I kept waiting for it to stop shaking, the noise and popping and cracking.  

After the one last week, the Corporation Commission shut down 37 disposal wells near the quake site (there are thousands) and shut down drill sites within a 6 mile radius.  

This quake happened in Cushing, where a major pipeline runs and the Keystone Pipeline from Canada was going to hook up on its path to the Gulf.  They also store about 10% of the US stores of crude oil in Cushing.  Major spot.  There, the electricity went out when the shaking began.  Partial, old buildings collapsed and they are assessing the damage today.  Glad winter hasn't arrived yet.

I don't know what the Corp. Comm. will do after this larger one.  As I mentioned before, the industry slipped this by us.  We had no idea what fracking entailed nor the results of it.  I don't think we could have stopped them anyway as our state's economy depends on the oil and gas industry.  Civil services, education and on and on are hurting from the collapse of gas prices.

Meanwhile Boo the cat, wanted out of the house.  All the animals were aware of the quake.  He's been in the city for nearly 3 weeks as he was sick and needed attending.  He's an outdoor cat, but I've been too afraid to let him outside as he isn't familiar with the territory and might get lost.  He is going home tomorrow.  He has clawed up the edges of my new powder blue modern sofa and OMG the cat box thing has been horrible.

Though we've not had a freeze yet, the cottonwood leaves are falling - all over the lawn and flower beds. Last week I had to catch a rat.  This week, a gopher has made a hill next to my goldfish pond and the sand has sifted in the pond.  That, and the filter/pump froze up.  I, who can tell the difference between a flat or phillips head screw driver, but that is it, had to take the whole filter and motor apart to clean out all the sludge and matter.  Even with tweezers.  Aye yay yay.  

Oh how I wish I was the Queen or at least could afford assistants.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Found these little dolly ice skates to decorate for Christmas.  They had another pair a little bit larger, but I figured I didn't need two pairs.  Then again, when am I ever going to see them again?

It is a dreamy Saturday; a perfect day outside.  The little flock of sparrows born this spring in the birdhouses, are still together (isn't that something) and are feeding just out the window on the porch. They have made quite a mess with all the seed, but that is all right. 
The geese offspring are still with their parents as are the duck siblings.  Who knew they would stay together so long?
They are all waiting for me to come feed them; they even come in the mornings when they see the shades rise.  

I tend to live in the moment, not in the past, and yet, I love old things.  Go figure.

Friday, November 4, 2016


I voted today.  I've never been so affected by a campaign before.  

If you think this is just about America, it is not.  One only has to think of FDR to know this concerns the whole world [our Earth].

I voted by absentee ballot.  I had planned to go back to the farm next Tuesday, but my husband is going to have a surgical procedure Monday and can't travel for 24 hours.  I've been messing with this thing all week, calling here and there.  The ballot arrived with a long list of do's and don'ts; I had to go find a notary republic to notarize the thing before I mailed it.  I was going to overnight it, but the post office assured me it would arrive at the County Election Board by Monday.  

God help us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

And Another Quake

I couldn't sleep last night and was in bed reading.  About 11:30, I heard what sounded like a strong wind outside my bedroom door which moved around the house and went down the other side.  The cat looked up and I knew what was happening within a second.  Cracking and popping.  The last one was a 5.8.  This one was a 4.5.  I don't know if this crack was there before or not.  

Remember, very few in Oklahoma have earthquake insurance.  It is too high and the deductibles are 20%.  

Damn frackers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Lady Of The Lake

Another holiday, come and gone.  At the farm, we never had a trick or treater.  So different in the city.

I fixed up this booger and hoped it wouldn't scare the little kids too much.  I had a storyline to go with her.  I even bought dried duck and chicken feet at the pet store (they look so gross.)

With a few gallons of candy, I waited and waited.  I was shocked by how late they began to arrive.
I had planned on taking pictures of the littles, but opening the door, trying to keep a biting weenie and cat back, holding the tub of candy, it turned out I didn't get a single pic.  At times it felt like the zombies from The Walking Dead, with arms outstretched, all coming to the candy tub at once.  I don't remember when I stopped trick or treating, but I was surprised how many kids were in their teens.  They said they had heard there would be clowns on the prowl that night.  Evidently, scarier than my Lady. 

I had planned to tell the older kids about the lady that crawls crab-like, out of the huge culverts that drain into the lake; a labyrinth that runs under the streets, to get the bad kids that throw rocks and sticks at the waterfowl in the lake.  The dry duck feet were for those kids.  Didn't even get to tell my tale.

I served up full sized candy bars and large boxes of candy too.  One teenaged treater even hugged and kissed me.  I thought I would discourage the tricksters as I have had to yell twice at kids chasing the babies and throwing rocks at the geese and ducks.  But, instead, I think the trick was on me; I started something and may be mobbed next year.

I haven't been to the farm in more than two weeks and my husband arrived this morning with a large box.  It was full of bills, catalogs and magazines.  Not how I wanted to start my day.  It felt like a belated trick.

Hope your first of November will be a good one.  I shopped yesterday and all the Christmas decorations are out in the stores.  What happened to autumn?  We haven't had it here yet; it has been very warm and windy.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

Scary Recipe

Here's a scary recipe, courtesy Honey Boo Boo - her family's favorite passgedi.

Let me know if it's any good.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday Sunday

What a fall we've had.  Warm and dry.  Very few leaves have started to turn as evidenced by this weeping willow over the  lake.  I certainly hope it doesn't bode for a hard winter.  When I got up this morning, it was clear, then a fog rolled in.  Unusual.  It is cooler though today.

I planted a small pencil holly this morning. I love that they keep their tall narrow shape and do so without any pampering.  The glass wind chimes I hung this summer were taken down and packed away for next spring.  This wreath on the patio was coming down too, but I spied Jenny Wren perched on it - checking it out.  They love to overnight in little pockets and just as I expected, she hopped right into the middle hole, so I'll probably leave it up for her this winter.

I can't remember if I showed you this book.  I ordered it from Barnes and Noble.  Supposed to be a southern novel, in the vein of Faulkner and others.  The author is from Montana??  How can you be a southern writer from Montana?  It was worth the read, which for me is a thumbs up.  I think you know from past reviews, I like books you can't put down - want my head to explode and I'm more often than not disappointed.

Since I have found so few books of fiction that take my breath away, I've been looking for more non-fiction books.  I hope some of these will take me down a new path.  Does anyone know a good biography of Eleanor Roosevelt and also Theodore Roosevelt?  

I just finished binge watching House Of Cards last night.  Boy, can I pick em - and at the same time of the coming election. Will have to find another series to start watching.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Superstitious Wishes

I have saved many of our annual wishbones from Thanksgivings past.  Why?  I don't know.

Guess you could make a sculpture or art piece from them.

Or perhaps, display them in a pretty tableau - maybe even paint them with gold leafing, though I prefer the natural bone.

Well, I wondered how the wish part came about.  The wishbone is a furcula, or 'little fork' in Latin.  In the 1400's, it was used as a method of divination.  A goose's wishbone was dried overnight after a feast of some kind.  The elder studied it the next morning and would predict whether the winter would be severe or mild, dry or wet.  It was also an object of superstition used by warriors on whether or not to wage wars and carried as talismans.

All good, but I wanted to know where the wish came in.  As you know, the persons hold on to the furcula (I like wishbone better) and the one receiving the larger part makes the wish.  This practice developed in the 17th century and at the time was called a merrythought.  

I'd hate to pull apart an ostrich's furcula.  Ick.

Obviously, it is a rainy day here.  I guess I am pretty superstitious, the yin of wishes. The number thirteen - well I never schedule anything on that date.  I'm sure there are many more that give me pause, but I can't think of any right now.

Do you have any superstitions?  I'd like to know.