Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Surprises Are All Around Us

      Celebrating Easter is a sure sign that spring has arrived or is just around the corner.

  Of course, the signs of spring are already all around us; Singing birds, flowering trees, and longer, warmer days. This brings us outside to enjoy the mild weather for walks around the neighborhood or parks, gardening, going to the ball fields, or simply to soak up the warm sunshine.

  Spring is also a time of new life. The local farms are full of newborn calves, lambs, and fuzzy chicks. And here on the edge of the forest, the wildlings are being born, too. Watching a doe with her spotted fawn picking their way through a field of wildflowers, or a family of raccoons peering down from the trees, is a tender testament to the season. Baby birds, squirrels, and ducklings tug at even the toughest heart strings.  

  Sights like these are one of the reasons I am a country gal at heart. One of the first sights Hubby and I saw when we were deciding whether or not to move to our little piece of paradise was a field of cow elk, new calves by their sides, with Mount Rainier looming in the distance. It was love at first sight.

 Once in a while we get to see something really special, like the family of skunks crossing the gravel road that we live on, tails held high, all in a row. Or the mother bear I saw last spring in the woods behind the house, with her tiny, teddy bear cub. I wisely kept my distance.

  Early one beautiful spring morning, a few years ago, I was in my kitchen enjoying a second cup of coffee after Hubby left for work, when I heard my two big dogs barking and went out to investigate. Was I ever upset when I saw that they had chased a neighbor cat up the big Hemlock tree about 20 feet from the house.  I told those bad dogs to ‘go lay down’ and then tried to coax that poor, terrified cat down from the branch just above my head.

  I should have remembered my glasses, but even without them I could see that cat had an unusually thick tail tucked tightly around him and seemed to be on the large side, but I attributed it to the thick, fluffy, buff colored fur I could see on his underside. His large whiskered face was turned away from me, so I soothingly told him that everything would be alright and he didn’t have to worry about those big, bad dogs anymore and he could come on down now.

  He turned around to look at me and his tail came down, all three feet of it, and all at once I realized I was sympathizing with a half grown cougar! But like all babies, he was lapping up all that sympathy and looking at me like he was the most pitiful creature on earth, with big, sad, golden eyes and ears hanging down in a dejected sort of way.

  I don’t remember how I got back into the house. I vaguely remember floating backwards, calling the dogs along with me, all the while talking soothingly to our little guest while I tried not to hyperventilate.

  It took me quite a while to recover and peek back out the door, but by then baby cougar was gone. I shudder to think of what mama might have been doing while all that was going on. I’m sure if she made a move, my faithful companions would have disobeyed orders.

  Now, I never leave the house without my glasses. And I always let the dogs go first.  Because you never know what sweet little baby you might see this time of year, if you just take a closer look. 


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Monday, March 28, 2016

Time for Tea

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you had 
a lovely and blessed Easter Holiday.

Thank you for all your Easter wishes
and lovely thoughts.

It means so much to me. 

I have had a quiet start to the week, 
and wanted to share a cup of tea with you, 
while making some garden plans. 

These lovely roses and lilies are 
from my sweet daughter, Jennie. 

I've put away the Easter decorations, 
tidied up the house, and now it's time for tea. 

Come join me - I have 
a little surprise to show you! 

A lovely tea set. 

I joined Stephanie's tea-cup exchange 
through her blog, The Enchanting Rose
and this sweet tea-set was sent to me from 
Marilyn who blogs at Delights of the Heart

A charming tea towel and herbal teas 
were also part of this generous gift. 

This is my first tea-cup exchange
and I'm so glad I joined. 

Thank you so much, Marilyn! 

When washing the tea-set, in preparation for tea, 
I happened to notice that each piece 
had a beautiful quote on 'Love' underneath!

 I baked some simple 'Cream Scones' 
to enjoy with my tea.

Here is the recipe: 

'Cream Scones' 

2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold butter, cut in pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream 
reserving more if dough is dry
and for top. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper

In lg bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt,
whisking well. 
Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture
until mixture resembles course crumbs. 
Add the cream, stirring and patting together with hands. 
If mixture seems dry, add more cream, one tbsp at a time. 

Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead 3-4 times. 
Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. 

Cut with a round biscuit cutter 
and place on baking sheet 2" apart. 
Brush tops with a little cream. 
Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. 

Bake approximately 10 minutes or until edges 
are light golden brown and toothpick 
inserted in center comes out clean. 

I like mine with a little butter
 and blackberry jam :) 

So does Kai, apparently! 

I chose the Peppermint tea today. 
This tea is from the Pacific Northwest
(where I live), although I have never seen it before. 

It was so wonderfully rich and delicious. 
The packet describes it as 'A great after dinner treat, 
midday breath freshener or car rear-view mirror dangler'! 

I will be sending for more at 

While sipping and nibbling, I enjoyed 
garden planning with some lovely books.

These were written in the 1980's with wonderful illustrations. 

A joy to read. 

I've kept garden journals for many years. 

My latest entry - flower arrangements 
by Lady Butchart, in Victoria B.C. 
copied from Lorrie's lovely blog, Fabric Paper Thread
where she has done a post about The Butchart Gardens.

My sweet sis-in-law, Teresa,
gifted me with the pretty paper weight
made with real flowers.

Another sweet SIL, Donna gifted me with this
precious volume, dated 1912.

I grew up and met Ramblin' Man
in New England where his
sisters still live.

It's been very cool today,
with brief moments of sunshine,
as I gaze out the glass doors.

The forecast is for sunshine and warmth
the rest of the week, so I am preparing
to spend my time in the gardens.

My tea and scone was delicious,
and I enjoyed my little break
with you, my friends,
(and Whitey Bear and Kai :)

There are few hours in life more
agreeable than the hour dedicated to the
ceremony known as afternoon tea.

- Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady -


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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Baskets of Love

Hello, Dear Friends, 
as we celebrate spring and the Easter Holiday, 
I would like to share some sweet baskets 
to make you smile, 

Little baskets of Love <3

This porcelain basket holds 
a fragrant bouquet of Sweet Box
from my garden. 

Sweet Box is a lovely, evergreen shrub
that blooms in early spring with 
an intense fragrance that fills the garden. 

Here you can see it blooming just 
beyond the deck from my living room window. 

There are 4 of them blooming the length of the deck, 
filling the air with scent whenever we step outside. 

On the wall, a sweet paper basket of eggs. 

A framed greeting card from my daughter, Heather. 

My painted terra-cotta basket on the mantel, 
full of (dried) roses from Ramblin' Man :)

Miss Flopsy with her basket of flowers. 

 A basket of strawberries 
on the kitchen windowsill
won't last long! 

Two baskets grace the entry table. 

The hand-painted (real blown) eggs and ceramic box
 are from my daughters. 

The basket is vintage. 

These eggs are children's sidewalk chalk! 

I love their dusty colors. 

This little card was given to my 
Dear Mother, years ago, by me. 

I found it in her things.....
She'll be gone 5 years this week.

This was her bookshelf. 

It was plain wood, so I painted it 
this beachy blue with two colors.

You can see how I did it Here .

These ceramic baskets are new this year.

I made some up for favors last weekend
when we celebrated Ramblin' Man's birthday
with the family.

The tulle wrapped favors were from my daughter, Heather
with fruity hand soap and candy inside.

A large basket holds last fall's hydrangeas
at the foot of the stairs.

Doorstop baskets.

Baskets with vintage embroidered linens
in my sewing room.

Charming little baskets from the past.

A tiny basket next to my music box flower cart.

I inherited my Mother's Limoges collection.

This little basket was one of them.

Inside, a sweet surprise.

They were sweet gifts to her from my Father.

I have several.

Here's two more springtime selections.

The egg holds a perfume bottle.

Sweet, treasured tokens of love.

I'll leave you with one last basket.

Wishes for a Happy Easter-Tide
Dear friends!

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