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 -


  1. I was pleased to find your latest post when I looked at your blog, I must have had a sixth sense that you had written one! Your pansies look so cheery with their smiley faces in so many different colours. We've also had weeks of dry sunny weather, such a treat to see the blue sky and undisturbed blossom. I like the colour of your chalk paint, the cupboards will look so different when they are done. Take care. x

  2. What a lovely post, choc-a-block full of good things to read and see, you are certainly keeping busy.
    Your pansies are so colourful and cheerful, in fact all of your blooms are.
    Hope your second vaccination goes well.

    Take care, my good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  3. As another introvert, I loved your quotes! What a lovely post all together. Spring is my most favorite time of year.

  4. Love the blog and flower photos and comments, Karen! We do live in a beautiful area for Springtime blessings. ❤

  5. Karen, your Pansies are blooming beautifully. I love the yellow and purple colors. They seem to go together. I didn't know they represent "thoughts." That is just right for these times, as we have many thoughts on our minds right now. The Thrushes must be a delight to see in the bushes. I love that soft pink color of Roses you have. It's the prettiest color. The tin cans you spray painted are charming, and I like the old rose design. I see you have changed your kitchen colors to green. It's nice that you change the colors for different seasons and holidays. That cinnamon raisin bread looks so good, and with a dab of butter, even better. ; ) You did a wonderful job on the bookshelves, and how special that they belonged to your Mom and Dad. I still have my Mom's desk sitting in the porch area, and want to do something with it. Maybe paint it white? Oh, those deer are such a beautiful sight. It's so special that you saw them in your front yard. Your post was delightful today, Karen, and I wanted to tell you that I saw your last post too with the sweet picture of you and your husband. I remember seeing that picture before. Well, it's warming up here in the mountains, but the last couple days it's been cold and rained a bit. I am enjoying this mountain life, and I know why you appreciate it as well.

    I hope you have happy Spring days, Karen, and it's always nice to visit with you.


    1. ***the quote, "it's important to get out of the house occasionally," made me laugh. Sounds like me. ; )

  6. Hello Dear Friend,
    I always love catching up with you in these fun posts! Your flowers look beautiful and I especially loved the part where your hubby thought they were roses and was so excited for you. That's so sweet. 😍 I already copied the biscuit recipe - perfect for summer berries ahead! Mmmmm. I can't wait to see how the library turns out! I love the book cases and I really love what you're doing to them. I know what you mean about getting comfy to just stay in and be recluses. Lol I'm so jealous your trees are flowering already and you have all that green. Spring always takes forever over here! 😆
    Blessings to you. Stay well! xoxo

  7. Greetings Karen, your pansies are just lovely, wonderful yard pictures and post.

    Hugs diane

  8. I enjoyed looking at the photos of your pretty flowers Karen. It's the perfect time for gardening, reading books, doing your bookshelf, and baking. Enjoy the spring time Karen and thanks for the blog visit.

  9. Another wonderful post, so full of life's precious little moments. I haven't thought of spring as the smileiest season but can now see it clearly. And I'm giving the Buttermilk Strawberry Shortcakes a try, they look lovely.

  10. I love your purple and yellow pansies they are my favorite. The house down the street from us has a Camellia bush and hubby and I were trying to figure out what flower that was :) Strawberry shortcake sounds good, our strawberries should be ready for picking in May.
    I love what you have done with the bookshelves, I bet it will be nice to get to your books.

  11. The language of flowers is a most beautiful thing. Spring is truly showing off there, Karen. So many sweet pansies and violas to drink in. How I would love to sit in your homely and beautiful kitchen and enjoy your cooking and a cup of tea. Each time I see your kitchen I am reminded how in love I am with that stove of yours. =) I am always amazed as to the distances little birds fly to migrate. How lovely these sweet creatures make their home with you. This introvert has loved wandering through your beautiful and gentle post today, lovely Karen.

  12. Hello sweet friend! Pansies always make me think of the old Disney movie "Alice in Wonderland". I keep waiting for them to sing to me! ♥ Such beautiful flowers and your baked goods look delicious. I will have to try the buttermilk shortbread biscuits. When I first say the picture of the deer (my eyes are so bad!) and I thought they were chimpanzees. It took me a moment to realize they were deer. I'm glad they were deer. Chimpanzees would have been fun to watch swinging on your deck but not so much fun to clean up after! Love love your introvert thoughts and quotes. That is me to a TEE! And we are getting another puppy too! much love, Gina xo

  13. Always so nice visiting your lovely blog! Full of inspiration, great pictures and beautiful flowers...
    Pansies is a favourite in the Springtime :)
    Love from Titti

  14. i must admit that i loved this post, the pansies, the views of nature...the deer. i must also admit that my favorite part was not the time spent in you kitchen, which it usually is, but rather the humor about being an introvert. i too, in many ways, have been preparing for this my entire doorbell never rings and i kind of like it. the hubs and i have been having so much fun we were reluctant to tell everyone we are vaccinated!!

    i must say i am very impressed with your knowledge of flowers and being able to identify them!!

    and what a way to end any day!!

  15. I loved seeing all your pretty pansies, and your outdoor plants and flowers, Karen. You’re ambitious in doing all that painting and baking. How nice to know that you’re baking with a sourdough starter, too. I am part introvert, but still like to get out with friends, although I could relate to the cancelled plans quote! I am quite happy being at home for the most part. Happy Mother’s Day week and thank you for your sweet visit to my blog. 😘

  16. Oh spring is laughing in her full form in your area dear Karen :)

    i don't have words to say thank you for what you shared here,it just made my day and transformed my mood :) oh thank you so much for sharing ENCHANTING BEAUTY around you my friend!
    views from your drive are also heavenly indeed :)
    how nice you are painting your book shelves ,novels you are reading sound intriguing !
    i enjoyed humor about introvert ,i agree as an introvert this pandemic has changed my vies about socialization ,i would be less hesitant for joining crow now i guess
    more blessings to you and family!

  17. Oh I love Spring so much. It's just behind Autumn for me! I enjoy all these blooming flowers, especially elderberry. It smells so sweet! Sometimes I bring home some elderberry flowers just to be able to wake up in this amazing scent. One day, when I'll have my own land, I'll definitely plant it close to the home.

    Oh.. cinnamon bread! I would love to try a bit, but due to my health problems I can no longer eat cakes or sweet bakery a lot :( I'll miss it, but I have to get used to it.

    These fawns are cute. Maybe try to build some feeder for them. I've recently met some boars while walking around on the sea side (during my last 2-days trip). They've been looking for some food. I was surprosed, because they didn't even care about people spending time there. I was feeding them with fresh apples :) That was so nice to watch them from small distance.

    I'm an introvert too, but to be honest - all these limitations tire me. I'm not really into gathering or meeting many people, but I love to go to the coffee shop - with my closes ones or even alone to read some books, write sth, crochet etc. I also love travelling (which is impossible). I enjoy concerts. Also I miss theatre and cinema. I miss being free and not under any control. I hope everything will just return to be the same as it was before the covid.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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