Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Earth Laughs in Flowers


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are finding reasons to smile

as we travel through time to enjoy the gift of another sweet springtime. 

Flowers always lift my spirits, and in this day and age 

we need all the spirit-lifting we can possibly find!

Pansies always make me smile :) 

In the Victorian language of flowers, Pansies represent 'thoughts'. 

Trimming faded blooms make lovely potpourri. 

Thinking of you, Dear Friends. 

My Pansies want to meet you.


Pansies have their own sweet personalities, don't they? 

We've had a long stretch of beautiful, sunny weather which 
has brought with it abundant blooms. 
I started this tangle of Forsythia below the deck 
from cuttings years ago. 

Forsythia: Anticipation

Sweet Box: Sarcococca Confusa

The Sweet Box and Juddi Viburnum just beyond the deck 
fill the air with a perfume so strong that it can be 
almost overpowering at times. 

"I must own that I would do almost anything, 
and grow almost anything, for the sake of a fragrance."

- Reginald Farrer -
'In a Yorkshire Garden' (1909)

A pair of Swainson's Thrushes have set up housekeeping 
in the the sweetly scented thicket. 
We are thrilled to have them. 

According to my Washington State field guide, they prefer nesting in shrubs
and are hard to see because they stay on the ground in thick vegetation. 
They feed on insects and fruit and migrate all the way to Mexico, 
Central and South America! 

We have no cats living with us for the last few years, since our girl, Maggie, 
who lived 18 years, passed on, and so we now have a new variety of 
 birds nesting near the house. 

The camellia along the walkway is so bright and cheery. 

Ramblin' Man came rushing in one day last week to tell me 
the 'roses' were blooming! I ran out to see, and 
now he knows the difference between camellia and roses :) 

I planted this camellia about 10 years ago from a gallon 
container. It took all this time to grow to about 2 ft. tall. 
Last year it had its first bloom. This year it has 6 or 7.  

Red and pink camellias together symbolize 'romantic love'. 

I spray-painted and decoupaged some tin cans 
with photo-copied vintage seed packets. 

They make sweet, rustic vases and planters.
So perfect for an outdoor table. 
Or a kitchen window-sill.

I found an old-fashioned recipe for buttermilk shortcakes. 

They are so good and freeze nicely if you only want one or two at a time. 

Buttermilk Strawberry Shortcakes

Makes 8 or 9 biscuits
Bake @ 425 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into
small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 quart strawberries, hulled and diced
1/4 cup sugar

Mix prepared strawberries with sugar and mash 
to release juices. Set aside. 

To prepare biscuits:
Combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and baking soda
in a large bowl. 
Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until 
mixture is crumbly. 
Make a well in the center. 
Combine buttermilk and vanilla and stir 
into flour mixture just until ball forms. 

Knead gently on floured surface 5 or 6 times. 
Pat to 3/4 inch thickness. 
Cut into 3 inch rounds. 
Place rounds on baking sheet and 
lightly brush with 1 tablespoon milk 
and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. 

Bake in 425 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden. 
Cool on rack, slightly. 
Split biscuits in half horizontally and serve warm 
with sugared strawberries and whipped cream. 

Clean up. 

There's something satisfying about a pile of clean bowlies. 

I baked my first loaf of sourdough cinnamon-raisin bread, too. 
The Mr. nearly set the toaster on fire with slices of these, 
as they were too loosely rolled. 
Live and learn, but it was soooo good. 
I'll definitely make it again. 
But not too often. 
I need to watch my waistline.

I found the recipe in my new sourdough book.

It has basic recipes for everything from scones to crackers 
to different kinds of bread. 
Simple and easy, which is what I like. 

I've been painting the bookshelves that I 
inherited from my Mom and Dad for the new library 
we've been working on. 
I applied primer as a first coat, then chalk paint 
in gray, and in this photo I am applying 
antiquing glaze and wiping it off with a rag. You can see 
that I haven't glazed the doors yet. 

I still need to add a coat of clear sealer over all. 
I was going to use the chalk-paint wax, but after reading 
the toxic ingredient list, I decided to use 
antiquing glaze and a water-based sealer. 

This is what they looked like. Charming and rustic, 
but with our home already so rustic, I wanted 
to give them a bit of French flair. 

I can't wait to have a place for all of my beloved books
boxed up in storage. 

Since we're on the subject of books, here are two I just read. 
'Rough Beauty' is a memoir of a woman and her dog, 
 which takes place in the mountains 
of Colorado.
'Cottage by the Sea' is a novel which 
takes place in my own Washington State. 
Both books focus on overcoming tragedy and 
finding life's sweetness once again. 

Something we are all trying to do these days.  

One evening a couple of weeks ago we had this trio of visitors. 
A Mother and her two half-grown fawns. 
You can see that she is painfully thin and I 
felt a twinge of regret when Kai chased them away. 
(Although they were browsing in my gardens)
I do hope that she has recovered her health by now
with all the spring offerings. 
Motherhood is hard work and requires a lot of sacrifice.

"Nature abhors a garden."

- Michael Pollan - 
'Second Nature' (1991)

Speaking of Kai....

I gave him a bath on the deck one beautiful, warm day
 and it triggered his spring shedding. 

I brushed out a whole shopping bag full of  wooly undercoat! 
I am starting to think we might be ready to find him
a new companion after losing Whitey Bear in December. 
I'd love to get another American Eskimo, but we shall see. 
We want to find a rescue. 

Some pretty scenes on my drive home from the grocery store.


We are finally getting our second dose of the Moderna vaccine 
next week. 
Our County is experiencing another surge in Covid cases and 
our governor is contemplating rolling us back to level 1 lock-down. 

It must be so frustrating to govern the ungovernable. 


It's going to be difficult to get back to whatever we define as 'normal'. 
I am a true-blue introvert and reluctant to mingle anyway, 
(unless it's a flea market :)
but without the push to do so, I feel like I could become 
a bona-fide recluse. 

Before Ramblin' Man retired, we regularly 
 attended countless company parties, award ceremonies, 
business trips, company picnics, etc. My own inclination is to avoid 
those types of things, as I detest small-talk and social climbing, 
but it did serve to bring me out of my shell. 

But now that I am in my comfort zone of hanging out at home
 with my Bestie, (and my Beastie)  I will be very reluctant to 
venture out and socialize once more. 

The day to day connection with humanity is something 
that is easily taken for granted until suddenly it is gone.
We are fortunate to have a large and loving family, 
but I think of those who must feel so isolated and alone 
during this time. 

A little introvert humor:

"If you're an introvert, you know the glorious relief of cancelled plans."

"When people speak more words in 20 minutes than I speak in a day, I get really uncomfortable."

'It's important to get out of the house occasionally to remind yourself why you don't go out."

CDC: "To prevent coronavirus stay home, avoid physical contact and don't go into large crowds".
Introverts: "I've been preparing for this moment my entire life."

Magnolia: Dignity and Perseverance. 
Something we all need right now. 

Narcissus: Egotism
Not an admirable trait. 

Purple hyacinth: Sorrow
For all those we've lost. 

Forget-Me-Not: True Love

Periwinkle: Early Friendship
For my new blog friends. 

I'll leave you with some pretty native blooms. 
Salmon-berry blossoms. 

Pink Current. 
The hummingbirds love these. 

Choke cherry. 
Bee heaven. 

"We may see on a spring day in one place more beauty in a wood
than in any garden."

-William Robinson -
'The Garden Beautiful' (1907)

Mt. Rainier at the end of a beautiful day. 

"Those who want Happiness must stoop to find it;
it is a flower that grows in every vale."

-William Blake -

"We can't cure the world of sorrows
but we can choose to live in joy."

- Joseph Campbell -

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