Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Quote du jour/Chris Packham

I know it is summer, but I am not finished with Springwatch yet! In the US, it is shown on BritBox. If you have even the smallest Anglophile bone in you, you will love it, and Acorn.

I just heard Chris Packham say this, and I am amazed, amazed, and knew my readers would be as well.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel have been looking at the relationship between flowers and bees. They were looking at evening primroses and they found that within 3 minutes of a bee buzzing past a primrose flower, that flower increased the sugar percentage of its nectar by 30%. So the flower was sensing that the bees were there and tempting them with more sugary nectar. They reproduced the sound of buzzing bees and they also used other buzzings which weren't bees and they found that only the bee buzzing produces this response in the flowers. So, fundamentally folks, flowers can hear bees buzzing, and respond to them. Now, I don't know about you but I love that. ... Flowers can hear bees buzzing.

Chris Packham
on Springwatch 2019

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The wonder of it all

Last evening was very special; one of those times that makes you stop and feel the richness and joy of life.

When our dearest little granddaughter Hazel came home after 2 months and 3 days in the hospital where she had been born at a day under 29 weeks, I put up a video of Natalie Merchant's "Wonder" in honor of her. (Hazel's birth story is here if you are a new reader.) I thought the words perfectly described this little wonder who had lived through such a precarious beginning.

When I heard Natalie Merchant was coming to our small town theatre, I bought tickets 4 minutes after they went on sale for Tom, Margaret, Hazel, and I! The tickets sold out in 2 hours.

Last night was the show, and as Hazel didn't last too long sitting in the seat, we all went outdoors and listened. It was the most perfect summer evening you can imagine. The place is not air-conditioned, but Natalie asked if the doors could be open, so we got to hear everything. The stage was just inside, and people occasionally walked in and watched. There was one other little girl there and she and Hazel became fast friends and had a wonderful time. They even picked petunias out of a pot and put them on the stage for Natalie. Most of the time they played in the outdoor eating area, but when I heard "Wonder" begin, I asked Hazel to come in with me and she did. Margaret told her this song means a lot to Nana. Well, you know I was crying most of the way through it. One of life's perfect, perfect moments. So thankful, so lucky, and that prayer of thankfulness is never out of my mind and heart.

And another very special thing is that in 1998, we traveled to Saratoga Springs, New York to Lilith Fair, and Natalie was one of the performers!

Margaret took a selfie of all of us before the show began.

And here is the official video of Natalie singing the song.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Quote du jour/Call the Midwife, last words, last episode of series 8

Again in the perfect voice of Vanessa Redgrave, we hear these words spoken.

Gathered together, we find our light
And each spark shifts and multiplies,
Scattering its radiance on our ordinary lives
Like everything precious, more valuable when shared.
Like every common miracle, made of the stuff of stars.
Let the light shine.
Watch for it falling on each other's faces,
Count the beams, catch them, let them be reflected back,
See the hope, see the promise.
Never hide your fears in silence.
Listen to those you cherish.
Hold them in your arms.
Let them hear your heart.
Tell your truth. Tell your story.
Tell your love.

And oh, what a season/series eight was. I rented the DVD from Netflix, and just finished.

At the end of each season I think, well that was the best, so far. I love this show so very much. I watched the extras, and Miriam Margolies said that she told everyone that she wanted to be in Call the Midwife, and she was! And another treat was seeing one of my favorite British actresses, Annette Crosbie.

When she is on-screen, it is hard to see anyone else. She is so wonderful.

When Call the Midwife finally ends, and I hope it goes on for a decade at least!, I will buy the box set of DVDs, and watch over and over again.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Mrs Bale says, "bring on the heat"

Mrs Bale is looking pretty smug these days!

If you have visited here even a few times, you know that I am a cold weather girl. I do not like hot summer weather. Last year we decided to see how it was this summer, and if there were some hot days, we would try a window air-conditioner. Pretty much all of us who live here don't much like the weather when it is over 80Âș F. with high humidity. That combination makes for "bad sleeping nights." Around about early July that weather came. We actually got two window units; one for the living room

and one for the bedroom.

And that's all it took to make the house comfortable. We turned the floor fan in the living room to face the kitchen and that blows enough of the cool, air-conditioned living room air into the kitchen to make being there very comfortable.

We don't use them every day, only on the hot, hot days, and as Robert Frost said about something entirely different, "that has made all the difference."

PS, we've just decided to get one for the room that will be the grandchildren's room when they sleep over. It is on the other side of the upstairs, and that area is very hot.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Quote du jour - Chris Packham

"We've lost 40 million birds from the UK countryside since 1970. We've lost them for all sorts of reasons - the intensification of agriculture; development, of course; over-fishing; climate change. All human related factors."

Chris Packham on
Springwatch 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Six in Six - 2019

I just read this on Cath's blog, and thought it might be fun to do.

The idea comes from a new-to-me blog called The Book Jotter. Her post about this year's Six in Six is here. She notes that a book can feature in more than one category.

1. Six authors who are new to me.

Jenni Keer. I loved her book The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker. To use one of my favorites adjectives, it was charming. It was warm-hearted, with nice people, and a wonderful intergenerational friendship.

Debbie Tung. Another literary soul-mate. I just "met" her last year, but since I read her first book in November 2018, and her second in February of this year I thought I'd include her in this category. Her two non-fiction graphic books are Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, and Book Love. I so enjoyed them both.

Christopher Huang. I read his most interesting book, A Gentlemen's Murder. These quotes were on the Amazon page, and really, they say it all. My kind of book. I really liked it.

"Huang's impressive debut will delight fans of golden age detective fiction." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

"Dorothy Sayers is alive and well and writing under the name of Christopher Huang." ―Rhys Bowen, New York Times-bestselling author of The Tuscan Child 

"A must read for fans of Anthony Horowitz, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry." ―Daryl Maxwell, Los Angeles Public Library 

Kathi Daley's The Inn at Holiday Bay: Letters in the Library, book 2 in the Holiday Bay series. I liked this very much. There's a nice write-up about the book here. I have the first in the series, and plan to read it soon.

E.C.R. Lorac - I've read Murder by Matchlight and Fire in the Thatch so far, and want more! You may read more about the author here.

Last, but definitely not least is H.Y. Hanna. I've read the prequel and five books in her Oxford Tea Room mysteries series. I can't seem to stop. As soon as I finish one, I begin the next. The books are set in my favorite place in the world, the one place I do hope to visit, Oxford England. I fell in love with this city watching Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis, and now to read about it is simply heaven. The author went to Oxford, and knows the city well. She is very prolific, and you may read more of what she has written here. I have also bought a book in another of her series, The English Cottage Garden mysteries, and will read it when I've read the next four of the Tea Room books!

2. Six authors I have read before. All beloved old friends.

Harry Kemelman - I've now read all the Rabbi Small books for the second time, and find myself wanting to spend time with him again.

Rosamunde Pilcher - I re-read Flowers in the Rain, and then thought I'd try The Shell Seekers again. Probably needless to say to Pilcher fans, I loved them both. I didn't want either book to end. I did begin September, but it didn't hold my interest so I dropped it for now.

Agnes Sligh Turnbull. I've read her Little Christmas many times, and it always touches me deeply. I need to read more of her work.

Anne Tyler. This is to be my year of Anne Tyler. I've so enjoyed her work over the years. The books I've read so far this year are on the sidebar.

John Grisham. I've never read a book by him that I didn't enjoy! This year's was Calico Joe, but hope to read more. My  blogging friend in PEI said that Grisham is "very reliable", and that is exactly how I feel.

D.E. Stevenson. I've read so many over the years, but have many more to read. This year I read Spring Magic, and so enjoyed it.

3. Six authors I read last year - but not so far this year.

Ragnar Jonasson. I really do like his Dark Iceland series.

Frances Garrood. I loved her Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles, and want to read more of this author's work.

Radha Vatsal. I really liked A Front Page Affair, book 1 in the Kitty Weeks series. An historical mystery set in 1915 New York City about a young journalist. So far there is just one more book, but I hope there will be more.

Rachel Joyce. I so loved The Music Shop. A perfect book. I would like to read more of her work.

Anthony Horowitz. I loved The Word is Murder last year, and want to read the next one called The Sentence is Murder. I also loved Magpie Murders.

George Bellairs. Wonderful writer. I read four last year. More here about him.

4. Six books from the past that led me back there.

A favorite category for me since I do love older books.

If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler. This was published in 1964, her first book. It gave such a feeling of the time. I was 16 that year, and it was so much quieter than now. Less news, fewer weather reports, no screens except television with the two stations I could get.

The two Lorac books, Murder by Matchlight and Fire in the Thatch.

Everybody Always Tells by E.R. Punshon.

Spring Magic by D.E. Stevenson. I love books set during WW II that actually take place then.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. It is quite amazing to me how different 1987 was from now. And parts of the book are set further back.

5. Six series of books read or started.

Samuel Craddock series by Terry Shames. I have almost read all the books. Love the Texas setting and the main character.

Inspector de Silva series by Harriet Steele. Love these books and read them as fast as they come out.

Holiday Bay series by Kathi Daley.

Robert Macdonald series by E.C.R. Lorac.

Rabbi Small series by Harry Kemelman.

Oxford Tea Room series by H.Y. Hanna

6. Six Favourite Places to Read.

Bed - I read only Kindle books there.

Kitchen chair by woodstove

Living room chair

Kitchen table while I eat breakfast


Terrace, where I recently put a chair in the shade, in one of my favorite spots.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Springtime at Windy Poplars - a photographic tour

This is what one of the flower gardens looked like on the day spring began, March 20.

Two days later

March 24

March 28

March 29 - plotting out the new vegetable garden, in the snow!

April 3 - sheep shearing day

April 6 - evening light

April 9 - evening light again

April 13 - signs of growth

April 20 - chickens on the lawn and crossing the road

Also April 20 - daffs we planted last fall are up!

April 22 - amazing evening sky - second picture only seconds after first one, and third seconds after that.

May 5 - forsythia. I learned it should really be pronounced with a long "I" because it is named after William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist.

May 6 - Ice Follies narcissus was a blog header picture

May 16 - viburnum up the road

May 17 - double rainbow, and our old daffs on the side lawn

May 24 - a bouquet of my plum blossoms, and lily-of-the-valley coming

May 26 - newly tilled up vegetable garden

Field violets -  were here when we came

 Thalia daffs

Bleeding heart

The patio gardens

June 7 - lilacs

June 11 - the white barn lilacs. Tom's mother gave him this for Father's Day decades ago.

Crabapple. At the top left of the picture you may see a mowing line. We are leaving half the lawn un-mowed this year. Lots of pretty wildflowers are appearing.

June 17 - Iris we transplanted into patio garden in the fall

Baptisia Australis - wild indigo

 Aquilegia, also transplanted in the fall

June 18 - on the hill out back. The wild garden, never weeded with a Lucy path through the middle. Ferns, iris, lupine.

That beautiful evening light - was a blog header. This was the last picture I took of the gardens of springtime. What a spring it was. Everything bloomed abundantly and lasted a long time. It was cool and wet, with some hot, sunny days.