"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

Friday, August 26, 2016

Turtle Time

If you have followed my blog for long, you know I am Mother Nature; feed just about all creatures.  Gammera and his wife remain at the farm pond, though I have thought about bringing them to the city lake.  You'll have to type in Snapping Turtle at the top left of the page to see posts of Gammera.  Anyway, the lake we have out back is full of water turtles.  They line up on rocks or land or logs to sun during the day.  As you can see, I still don't know how to crop my photos or anything relating to pictures.

They have terrific eyesight and jump into the water when you get too near them, but always arrive before the fish when there is food in the mix as they are quite the scavengers of the waterways. Won't be long before they dig down in the mud and hibernate till spring. Some of these guys are as big around as a peach basket.  Others not so much.  This smaller one decided to swim over to watch me watch him.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Last Of Summer

Okra is the last vegetable left in the garden.  It loves the dry and heat and comes on like gangbusters. Of African origin, it can be eaten many ways.  Lately, I see it salted and dried whole in containers, but I've yet to try it.

I have deep southern roots; my mother and her family were from Louisiana.  Where I live now, okra is mostly dredged in cornmeal and flour and fried.  Farther 'down south' it is eaten stewed with tomatoes or in my favorite dish, Gumbo.

I slice it and put it in a freezer bag and toss it in the freezer.  Some dredge it in their favorite mixture then freeze it to fry later.  This Gumbo recipe is the real deal, straight from New Orleans.  I make so much of it, I freeze what is left for later and it is just as good as the day I made it.  So here it is.

New Orleans Gumbo

Make a roux with bacon grease and flour.  I use about 1/2 cup grease to 1 cup flour.  You want to cook the roux till it is golden to amber in color and the consistency of gravy.  ADD 2 lbs. of sliced okra and cook down for about 15 minutes.

ADD    2-3 cups of chopped onions
1 cup chopped green
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 TB. minced garlic

Cook 10 minutes more then ADD 1 1/2cups chopped tomatoes

ADD 2 quarts cold water.  Mix ingredients.  ADD 1 whole chicken that has been boiled and pulled from the bones.

ADD seasonings:
3 whole bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
5 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 TBS. lemon juice
10 whole allspice
8 whole cloves
1 tsp. mace

Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for one hour.  Stir from time to time and stir bottom of pan to keep from scorching.  At the end of the hour, add another 1/2 quart of water and a package of sliced polska kielbasa or your favorite kind of sausage.  Cook 15 minutes more and serve over your favorite rice.

POINTER'S - I've used the water that I cooked the chicken in or added chicken bouillon to the brew.  I don't like chomping on the cloves and allspice so I use it ground up. And, since I rarely measure, certainly adjust the spices to your taste.  I usually use more than the recipe calls for.  I've also added shrimp and crab at the last few minutes of cooking.  I don't think you can mess this recipe up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


I found this book from the 30's at the antique mall.  If you know anything about me, my dogs are the joy of my life, my shadows, love me as much as I love them; I could go on and on.

Evidently, Lucy Dawson (Mac) drew dogs then did their poses in pastel.  She even mentioned doing work for Princess Elizabeth and her beloved Corgis.

This book is one of three dog books that were published, I believe.  

This Westie is Timothy.  She writes about how the dogs reacted to her drawing them and their behaviors.

Another Timothy, Lucy said he was a six month old at this sitting and could often be found at Battersea Park.  Such a cute book.  Loved her descriptions of the dogs and their sittings for her portraits.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Uptown Funk Redux

Now, here's one for us oldersters, or should I say, the original hipsters...

Uptown Funk

I downloaded this video for the grandkids, but found another version we oldsters might like even better. Only problem is I can't figure out how to get them both on this one post.  So stay tuned for the next version in a bit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


When I bought the city house, if you remember, I had lists of things that it had to have - three car garage, large lot, all hardwood floors and tile, no upstairs
 and on and on.  It all went out the window when I found this house.

I could live with the NO lists except for one thing.  The kitchen, the study and this powder room were a burgundyish red.  I'm like a bull when I see red.  I like whites and creams (the rest of the house) and pastels, not deep jewel tones.  These had to be painted before I moved in.  All except for this powder room.  There wasn't time to redo it and personally, picking wallpaper is so difficult for me.  It is overwhelming.  Just too much of it to look at.

I'm tempted to just paint over it so I don't have to look at it.  I see wallpaper in magazines that I like, but gah...  It is unbelievably expensive and even though this powder room is small, it has six walls to match up.  Believe it or not, large prints look good in small rooms.  I love Laura Ashley prints and so many others.  But, I also love the Martinique pattern that is famous from the early 1900's and designed specifically for the Beverly Hills Hotel.  I don't know why I like it, I just do.  See below.

I also like newer patterns as in the one below.

I won't bore you with more pictures as there are probably a thousand different patterns I like.  I think interior decorating would be such a hard job. If only I could open the door and poof - all bought and hung and beautiful.  Sigh.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sometimes You're The Windshield, Sometimes You're The Bug

Here is a great singer/songwriter to go with this post.

I came home to the farm this week and what did I find?  In preparation of re-doing the deck, my husband decided to 'trim the hedge', a job I have always done.  I planted these boxwoods more than twenty years ago and they were huge.  Imagine my shock at seeing this and it looks so much worse than this picture. 

My God, I told him.  Did you use a chainsaw?  No he said, the hedge trimmer, though our trimmer wouldn't cut through a twig larger than a 1/4inch and some of these are two inches in diameter.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  

You can see through them and I doubt they will ever grow back on the house side.  He said they were all dead inside and I told him they always are; they grow from the outside.

In thirty years, I would have had a beautiful landscape of plants and gardens - that is if it were not for the husband's weed eater, herbicides and burning.  At the city house he is not to touch anything as I have hired a garden and lawn crew.  I still haven't figured out the watering system, but will, somehow.

The refrigerator is on the fritz too.  The new ones now are expensive and computerized.  The ice maker and filtered water system has gone out and I don't know who I'll find to fix it at the farm.  

My husband catches raccoons and opossums in a cage as they eat all the animals' feed.  I've asked him not to do it in the garage or patio as it makes such a mess when they try to get out.  He caught a skunk.  My patio still stinks whenever I walk out the door.

Me, I'm heading back to the city soon.  It is not fun keeping up two houses.