"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.