Sunday, May 15, 2022

Today's poem by James Russell Lowell

To The Dandelion 
by James Russell Lowell
(February 22, 1819-August 12, 1891)

Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
First pledge of blithesome May,
Which children pluck, and, full of pride uphold,
High-hearted buccaneers, o'erjoyed that they
An Eldorado in the grass have found,
Which not the rich earth's ample round
May match in wealth, thou art more dear to me
Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be.

Gold such as thine ne'er drew the Spanish prow
Through the primeval hush of Indian seas,
Nor wrinkled the lean brow
Of age, to rob the lover's heart of ease;
'Tis the Spring's largess, which she scatters now
To rich and poor alike, with lavish hand,
Though most hearts never understand
To take it at God's value, but pass by
The offered wealth with unrewarded eye.

Thou art my tropics and mine Italy;
To look at thee unlocks a warmer clime;
The eyes thou givest me
Are in the heart, and heed not space or time:
Not in mid June the golden-cuirassed bee
Feels a more summer-like warm ravishment
In the white lily's breezy tent,
His fragrant Sybaris, than I, when first
From the dark green thy yellow circles burst.

Then think I of deep shadows on the grass,
Of meadows where in sun the cattle graze,
Where, as the breezes pass,
The gleaming rushes lean a thousand ways,
Of leaves that slumber in a cloudy mass,
Or whiten in the wind, of waters blue
That from the distance sparkle through
Some woodland gap, and of a sky above,
Where one white cloud like a stray lamb doth move.

My childhood's earliest thoughts are linked with thee;
The sight of thee calls back the robin's song,
Who, from the dark old tree
Beside the door, sang clearly all day long,
And I, secure in childish piety,
Listened as if I heard an angel sing
With news from heaven, which he could bring
Fresh every day to my untainted ears
When birds and flowers and I were happy peers.

How like a prodigal doth nature seem,
When thou, for all thy gold, so common art!
Thou teachest me to deem
More sacredly of every human heart,
Since each reflects in joy its scanty gleam
Of heaven, and could some wondrous secret show,
Did we but pay the love we owe,
And with a child's undoubting wisdom look
On all these living pages of God's book.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Horse Race

I don't believe that there is any sport on earth that tops the Triple Crown horse races. I won't spoil it for you, but if you haven't seen the Kentucky Derby race this year, you can watch it on you tube. I don't think that I have ever seen a more exciting race in my life. I feel lucky to be alive!

Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Kinks - "Waterloo Sunset"

The Kinks page I follow on Instagram says that today is the 55th anniversary of the achingly lovely "Waterloo Sunset". In the video, they are performing on a German TV show in June of 1967. The music critic Robert Christgau once said that it is "the most beautiful song in the English language"!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

First flowers in the spring flower CSA

 This year we ordered another spring flower CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) from the woman who lives in our town. You may read about her from last year, here. She just recently had a baby girl, and is still doing as much as she can on the flower farm, with the help of her husband. She is skipping the farmers' market this year, and "just" doing the weddings which are lined up! Wonder woman, indeed.

Anyhow, the first spring CSA bouquet was available today. Almost all tulips, and three poppies. 

And a few minutes later, they opened!

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Kitchen life

 I feel there is a kind of perfection in starting the vegetable and flower plants in the kitchen. After all, this is the room where most of them will end up - as flowers on the windowsill or vegetables being cooked and eaten.  

We put a drop cloth on the kitchen table when we are planting seeds, or transplanting when they have grown too large for their pots. The big lights are set up in front of a south-facing window with a heat register underneath, and the woodstove a few steps away. This heat has been just perfect for the growing plants. We also have smaller lights on two counters. The kitchen is pretty much "remodeled" for these weeks, but it makes me happy just walking in and seeing all the green. 

Here are some pictures. They aren't awfully good photographs with all that fluorescent light, but I took a few with the lights off as well. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Monday, April 4, 2022

Quote du jour/Paul Simon

 I've always loved the entire song "April Come She Will", and I thought I'd use the first part as a quote du jour.

April come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain

This is sure the way it is around here. And in snow country it is the melting snow that swells those streams and rivers. 

I just played the Sounds of Silence album the other day. It is just excellent.You may listen to the song here:

Friday, April 1, 2022

Today's poem by Ogden Nash

As I opened my Susan Branch calendar to April, this delightful poem appeared.

Praise the spells & bless
the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden,
April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel,
Tender, rowdy;
April soft in 
flowered languor,
April cold with
sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true -
I love April, I love you.

"Always Marry an April Girl"
Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Quote du jour/E.B. White

The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow. Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.
E.B. White, "Hot Weather," One Man's Meat, 1944

And now there seems a chance that there just may be no more changing the time on the clocks! 

Tomorrow at 11:33 am, the sun enters Aries and we are officially in spring! 

This is what the last day of winter looked like today at Windy Poplars Farm

Friday, February 11, 2022

Quote du jour - Chris Packham


Whilst we face our own troubling times, let wildlife be the solace, the hope, the inspiration for us all.

Chris Packham
Winterwatch 2022

These words mean so much to me because they are an expression of what I feel. The virus goes on, and I still don't go out much. My window is indeed my window to the world, and through it I see such wonders. Pictures are from the past few months.

The first partridge which has ever come into the yard, and she (Tom calls her "Miss Partridge") isn't a bit shy. I put this on instagram and called it, "all creatures great and small". 

This year the mother deeries and two babies who were around all summer came to their driveway dining table, along with 8 of their buddies.

The wild turkeys on their way to the stream for a drink of water before they fly up to their roosts for the night. 

They are also not shy. They come up on the terrace, and up the kitchen steps. 

Tractor Supply is happy to see Tom walk through the door.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Today's song - "Giving You Away" / Lukas Nelson and Promise Of The Real

Music still gettin' me through the never-ending pandemic. This is a perfect father and daughter song at a wedding. Makes me cry. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Calendar of Crime - January / The Nine Tailors

For my January book. I chose 4. - the New Year's category. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers begins with Lord Peter Wimsey and his manservant Bunter going off the wintry road into a ditch.They walk until they come to Fenchurch St. Paul.

It was past four o'clock and New Year's Eve; the snow that had fallen all day gave back a glimmering greyness to a sky like lead.

I bought a lovely used copy years ago. I have been meaning to read it in January, prompted to do so by Gladys Taber whose housemate Jill read it every year in that month. From Stillmeadow Sampler:

Jill, of course, reads Dorothy L. Sayers' The Nine Tailors again, although she almost knows it by heart now.

And from Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge, concerning which one book to take to a tropical island:

Jill would take Dorothy L. Sayers' The Nine Tailors and just reread it every few days.

I enjoyed the small parts of the book which focused on a dotty vicar and his long-suffering and much-loved wife. However, I simply cannot say that I liked the book. The main subject is campanology, which is bell-ringing. Sayers is clearly very knowledgeable on the subject, but this reader could not understand it at all! I felt like I was reading an unknown language. And the locale was so dismal and depressing that I couldn't stand being there, even if in the pages of a book! The villagers for the most part seemed as miserable as the locale.

I watched The Nine Tailors many years ago, and my memory of it is that I just didn't get what was going on. I felt sure that if I read the book, all would become clear. But, no. The book is well-thought of, and highly praised, but I  cannot add my voice to the throng.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Quote du jour / Vita Sackville-West

 "The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer.  Minute by minute they lengthen out.  It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change.  It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour."

Vita Sackville-West 
Here she is at Sissinghurst in 1960

This is so true! Every day it is lighter longer. Tom keeps a weather journal, and says we are gaining about two minutes of daylight per day. The night doesn't come boom! now. There is a real twilight time. And as of January 19 at 9:39 pm, one third of winter is past.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Dean Street Press - free Kindle books

 I have mentioned the wonderful Dean Street Press before, but I don't think I told you that they offer a "free Kindle e-book of the week". Isn't that the most marvelous thing!

You may go here to see what is offered each week. I am delighted to have just gotten the 2016 biography of Noel Coward!

Addendum: I read about 120 pages, and while it was pleasant enough, I must say I got a little bored and quit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

As Time Goes By

 I saw on instagram that the first episode of As Time Goes By premiered on January 12, 1992. 30 years!! I can hardly believe it. My children turned 10 and 7 that year. 

I decided I would start watching it all over again beginning tonight. I own the boxed set, and have watched many times. I have a note that the last time was 2017. 

Long time readers will remember Mrs Bale making many appearances, and I am thinking she might again this year. She has her own letter topic on the sidebar, with 80 entries!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Today's poem by Susan Moorhead

Back in 2016, I posted two poems by Susan Moorhead, a woman I "met" via blogging. She no longer writes her blog but it is still up so you may visit here. I have remained in touch with her via instagram. This poem is from her 2021 book.

                                                                      Common Wonders

In a dark time, when I became lost, the feelings
for everyone I had loved and for everything that once
held meaning left. Light of any kind was missing
down at the bottom amid the skeleton fish and nameless
things. I stayed lost until some lift of grace willed me 
back. When I returned, it was the smallest of things

that held my hand. The play of colors in a quilt, flavor
of a neighbor's offering of soup and bread. Green outside
the windows. The first thrashing thunderstorm, lightning
brash in the sky. The quilt wrapped around me. I felt
the rhythm of the hours, clockwork steady, as I stumbled

back from grief where time does not exist. People want
to find a lesson in everything, but what is the takeaway
of sorrow? I could say it was the resilience of my heart,
the will to rise that carried me, but no. It was the small
wonders revealed, moment after moment. Every bird flying,

each slowly whirling cloud, the scatters of light spilling
through tree branches, the hush in the yard as evening fell.
Noticing these small graces allowed the terrible rift in me
to mend. One evening, reading to my child, I heard tenderness
in my voice replace the rote dutiful tone that grief had
assigned me. I felt the ache of love return, common, wonderful.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

2022 Book Facts

January - 7

by women 6
by men 1

print - 2
Kindle - 5

years - 
1930s - 2
1950s - 1
1960s - 1
1970s - 1
2000-2009 1
2010-2019 - 1

genres - 
fiction - 3
nonfiction - 1
mystery - 3

Tom's 2022 Reads

January - 3

1. Reykjavik Nights - a prequel to the Erlendur series
by Arnaldur Indridason
translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Crabb
mystery 2012
finished 1/9/22

2. WBCN and the American Revolution
How a Radio Station Defined Politics, Counterculture, and Rock and Roll
by Bill Lichtenstein
nonfiction 2021
finished 1/18/22

3. The Long Haul
by Finn Murphy
nonfiction 2017
finished 1/29/22

March - 1

4. The Smoke Hunter
by Jacquelyn Bensob
fiction 2016
finished 3/29/22

May -1

5. The Cold Dish - book 1 in the Longmire series
by Craig Johnson
mystery 2005
finished 5/4/22

Books Read in 2022

 January - 7

1. The Woods in Winter
by Stella Gibbons
fiction 1970
finished 1/2/22

2. The Crime at the 'Noah's Ark'
by Molly Thynne
mystery 1931
finished 1/15/22

3. The House on the Cliff
by D.E. Stevenson
fiction 1966
finished 1/21/22

4. The Nine Tailors - book 11 in the Lord Peter Wimsey series 
by Dorothy Leigh Sayers
mystery 1934
finished 1/24/22

5. I Still Dream About You
by Fannie Flagg
fiction 2010
library book
finished 1/26/22

6. The Tender Bar
by J.R. Moehringer
nonfiction 2005
finished 1/30/22

7. 4.50 From Paddington - book 7 in the Miss Marple series
by Agatha Christie
mystery 1957
finished 1/31/22

February - 4*

8, Displacement
by Kiku Hughes
graphic novel 2020
finished 2/8/22

9. The Murder on the Enriqueta
by Molly Thynne
mystery 1929
finished 2/9/22

10. Dead in the Morning - book 1 in Patrick Grant series
by Margaret Yorke
mystery 1970
finished 2/13/22

11. The Draycott Murder Mystery*
by Molly Thynne
mystery 1928
read in 2021 after May 19, but didn't write it down, so am
counting it here

March - 5

12. The Cape Cod Mystery - book 1 in the Asey Mayo series
by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
mystery 1931
finished 3/3/2022

13. Somebody I used to know
by Wendy Mitchell
nonfiction 2018
finished 3/3/22

14. Beginning with a Bash - book 1 in the Leonidas Witherall series 
by Alice Tilton (a pen name for this series of Phoebe Atwood Taylor)
mystery 1937
finished 3/15/22

15. What I wish people knew about dementia
by Wendy Mitchell
nonfiction 2022
finished 3/19/22

16. Heads You Lose - book 1 in the Inspector Cockrill series
by Christianna Brand
mystery 1941
finished 3/24/22

April - 4

17. Provence,1970
M.F.K. Fisher,
Julia Child,
James Beard,
and The Reinvention of American Taste
by Luke Barr
nonfiction 2013
finished 4/8/22

18. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax - book 1 in the Mrs. Pollifax series
by Dorothy Gilman
mystery 1966
finished 4/10/22

19. Susan Settles Down
by Molly Clavering (as B. Mollett)
fiction 1936
finished 4/18/22

20. Miracles on Maple Hill
by Virginia Sorenson
children's fiction 1956
finished 4/22/22

May - 

21. Break from Nuala - book 10 in the Inspector De Silva series
by Harriet Steel
mystery 2022
finished 5/2/22

22. France Is A Feast
The Photographic Journey of Paul And Julia Child
by Alex Prud'Homme and Katie Pratt
nonfiction 2017
finished 5/16/22