Monday, December 25, 2023

Quote du jour/Call the Midwife - 2023 Christmas special

 Again, Vanessa Redgrave's voice.

We would give children anything at Christmas, their passing fancies or their heart's desires, their frenzied crazes or the things they yearn for. We want to fill their hands because it fills our hearts. That is the secret of grownups everywhere.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Cher & Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) | Christmas in R...

This is SO great. November 29th THIS year! 60 years ago, Cher sang backup to Darlene Love! 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Movies for the Holidays

 Usually in late November and in all of December, I watch our DVDs of Thanksgiving and Christmas movies. But this has been a different last few months, which I have yet to write about, and I've found myself watching new-to-me holiday movies on Netflix. And they have done me a world of good. So far, I have watched Holiday in the Wild, Christmas on Mistletoe Farm, and A Castle For Christmas. Each one could be described as "schmaltzy" but you know what - they have been just the ticket for me. Escape? Yes, definitely. Enjoyable? Absolutely. Predictable? Well, yes, but still. 
I loved all three of them, in different ways. And I highly recommend them.

PS I just remembered the one I love most of all. Dash and Lily. Absolutely delightful. Bookish, great sights of NYC, and two wonderful characters. The rest of the cast is special, too. Very well-written series.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

The Christmas tree

 Margaret, Matthew, and Hazel brought us our tree yesterday. They have done this for the past few years, and we are so grateful. They get it from a local Christmas tree farm.

Last evening I thought how lovely the tree is, unadorned and waiting for the lights and ornaments. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Heavy Heavy - Go Down River (Live in Chicago)

Until (if?) I find my writing self again, I’ll post something from a newish band whose work I love. You may read more about them here. I delight in their sound which is reminiscent of older times, but also fresh and new. It is music that makes me feel uplifted and cheery. In the bio they make reference to some bands I love. "Peter Green - era Fleetwood Mac (my favorite period of that band), The Rolling Stones, British Invasion pop acts like The Hollies, and folk-blues Delaney and Bonnie." The last one is a group I was wild about, but they aren’t mentioned much anymore. I even bought Bonnie Bramlett’s album after Delaney died, and one by their daughter Bekka. And there were so many great British Invasion groups that I still listen to and get great joy from.


Sunday, October 1, 2023

Me and Miss Marple

 I've just ILLed Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd because I began reading a terrific post and saved it for a later time because I wanted to read the book before reading the blog post. 

I was very struck right at the beginning because Miss Marple has been stopped in her tracks because of the ramifications of older age. I checked the publication date, and it is 1962 when Agatha was 72, three years younger than me. She was likely beginning to feel some of those things that seem to happen around 70. 

Miss Marple has been warned off gardening by her doctor who comes by three times a week (think of that!), so she sits and looks out the window. She is resentful of the person she has hired to do the work, because he doesn't do that work. He is busy with his own garden. 

And then she ponders:

One had to face the fact: St. Mary Mead was not the place it had been. You could blame the war (both the wars) or the younger generation, or women going out to work, or the atom bomb, or just the Government - but what one really meant was the simple fact that one was growing old. Miss Marple, who was a very sensible old lady, knew that quite well. It was just that, in a queer way, she felt it more in St. Mary Mead, because it had been her home for so long.

She goes on to note the changes that have come, and the one in particular - a "glittering new supermarket - anathema to the elderly ladies of St. Mary Mead".

"Packets of things one's never even heard of," exclaimed Miss Hartnell. "All those great packets of breakfast cereal instead of cooking a child a proper breakfast of bacon and eggs. And you're expected to take a basket yourself and go round looking for things - it takes a quarter of an hour sometimes to find what one wants - and usually made up in inconvenient sizes, too much or too little. And then a long queue waiting to pay as you go out. Most tiring."

I have always rather prided myself on being "modern" and accepting the world as it is, not the way it was in the "old days". But as I read the above in The Mirror Crack'd, I found it a bit too close for comfort. I have found myself bemoaning a bit about some trends that upset me. I, being a health food hippie from way back, am dismayed by how much candy and junk food children eat now. I have to keep such thoughts inside instead of passing them along to anyone because times do change, and of course, may well change back, but this is the new generation, not mine. The mothers and fathers do a lot of things way better than I did. Kids are busier than mine were. There are more activities available. It all feels too much to me, but I am also not in my thirties or forties. Seventy-five is much slower and quieter than my younger self. And I shall strive to be that "sensible old lady" like Jane Marple.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

My thoughts on the Rex Stout books many years ago

 Before blogging, there were email groups online that I belonged to that talked about books. I have kept all my emails to those groups, and just came across the following, written about Champagne For One. The words are just what I would still say, and they were written in May 2006 a few months before I began my blog. The second words are from 2003.

I am so enjoying my visits to Wolfe and Archie as I read them all again in publication order, though as I have said, they really don't have to be read that way. 

I go on and on to anyone who'll listen about the greatness of the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin books.  Some in the series are stellar, like this one, and others not so perfect, but I don't really look at them individually.  They are all of a piece about the life.  It's like checking in to see what Wolfe and Archie are up to.  I love the old familiar words and descriptions of how many steps up to the door of the old brownstone, what Archie is having for breakfast, how the office is arranged, what Wolfe is reading, and of course the mystery he must work on to pay for his gourmet food and his thousands of orchids.  Wonderful, wonderful books.

 I love the way Archie repeats details in each book, in case the reader is on his
first Nero Wolfe story.  "I climbed the seven steps up to the old
brownstone".  "Cramer sat in the red chair".   I love the house
descriptions.  The plots are really secondary.  Each book is a portion of
the lives of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.  I think between the Stout
books, and P.G. Wodehouse books, I really could survive without any other
reading material.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Diana Krall - Autumn In New York (Official Video)

The sun went into Libra at 2:50 am today so it is now autumn. And here is Diana Krall singing and playing piano so very beautifully to help celebrate the season. Such a great video, too.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Today's poem by WH Auden

I am currently watching The Last Detective on Britbox. A character called Mod played by the late Sean Hughes quoted the last two lines of this poem. It is the eighth of Auden's Twelve Songs - April 1936. 

At Last the Secret is Outby 

At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end,
The delicious story is ripe to tell to tell to the intimate friend;
Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire;
still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never smoke without fire.

Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,
Under the look of fatigue the attack of migraine and the sigh
There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.

For the clear voice suddenly singing, high up in the convent wall,
The scent of the elder bushes, the sporting prints in the hall,
The croquet matches in summer, the handshake, the cough, the kiss,
There is always a wicked secret, a private reason for this.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Come Monday - Jimmy Buffett

We have a radio in the barn, and it is set to an independent radio station in Montpelier, Vermont. There is a daily segment of what is called 33 1/3, when the DJ plays a cut from a record. Because it was Labor Day Weekend, the DJ played Jimmy Buffett's Come Monday. The DJ said it is the best song about traveling and missing your loved ones. It had been a while since I'd heard it, and I was so, so happy. I have been a fan for as long as he has been recording. And I have a delightful, and really unexplainable Jimmy Buffett story. In 1980, we flew to Houston to be Godparents to my childhood friend's baby daughter. We got off the plane, and my friend's husband asked what we would like to do in Houston. The words popped right out of my mouth, "see Jimmy Buffett". He said that there was a show. We got tickets, and saw the most wonderful concert. It was the first show I had been to that sold cocktails, obviously margaritas!

Why on earth would I have said that? Who knows, but it sure was amazing. 

I'm quite sure that the DJ played the song on September 1. And so very sadly, he died that night. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Quote du jour - Shaun Bythell

 I've just finished Shaun Bythell's second book in his Diary of a Bookseller series, and I loved it so  much! 

Toward the end, the internet was down because of a storm and he started reading a book.

"This is more like the old days, before the tyranny of the Internet, and it was an enormous pleasure to spend the entire day reading, with a few interruptions."

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Quote du jour - from Wodehouse to Stout

I have just finished re-reading Some Buried Caesar, book 6 in the Nero Wolfe series by Rex Stout. After it ended there was, on the Kindle version, a 1969 letter from P.G. Wodehouse to Rex Stout upon reading this book for the second time. The letter is actually a copy of the typewritten one. Be still my reader's heart - to think of two of my most favorite writers actually being friends, and respecting one another's work.

"What a good story Buried Caesar is. I had read it before, of course, but had completely forgotten what happened after the adventure with the bull. I find I can re-read Rex Stout indefinitely, which shows the importance of atmosphere."

Atmosphere is what I recall when I think of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. The house, "the old brownstone on West 35th Street", I feel I know as well as my own. When I walk through the door, it is a bit like coming home. And the places visited when Wolfe has to leave, which he abhors doing! I, too, had forgotten all the details in Some Buried Caesar, but the bull in the field was as clear in my mind as could be.

                                                             Rex Stout


                                                P.G. Wodehouse


Sunday, August 20, 2023

Chickens, and ...

 The ... in the blog title means roosters!! Only once in all the years of getting chickens has there been a rooster. I may have mentioned that we gave it away to a fellow, after warning him that he was not kindly toward the kids. He was fine with that, until the rooster went after his daughters. The man shot the rooster. 

The chicken people always warn buyers that they aim for just hens, if that is what the customer orders, but there is always a 10% chance of roosters. 10% of 18 is 1.8, and we have 2! We began to notice maybe a week ago that a couple had red combs. Female Speckled Sussex do not have any red on their heads. Well, this morning, Tom went into the barn early and sure enough a rooster crowed! We are actually quite excited. The Sussex is a mellow breed so fingers crossed the roosters will be as well. 

See those red combs!

The dividing wire between the young Sussex and the older Dominiques will stay up until the little ones are about the same size.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Anniversary Brownies


You can see these are not called "anniversary brownies". I call them that because today I made them for Margaret and Matthew for a belated anniversary of the date they got together, and the date they got engaged. I have probably noted over the years that they had known each other practically their whole lives though not in a romantic way. But one evening they re-met at a party, and the rest, so they say, is history. Matt wanted to give her a ring on the date they met, but Margaret had to work so he asked her the next day. 

I made a recipe out of a book I've used before here. I put in softened butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla and no nuts.

The brownies tasted very delicious, but looked quite a mess!

I have a feeling about what the problem is. I've recently been reading about how baking pans aren't all the same sizes. A 7x11 or a 9x13 may not be exactly those dimensions. I have had a few problems since I bought these stainless steel pans after the "glass breaking episode". I need to measure all the ones I have and see about getting new ones if they aren't right. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Other breakfasts (of more famous people than I!)

I came upon this in my current print book which I just adore, and thought it went well with my last post.

 Breakfast at Charleston

'Vanessa [Stephen Bell] presided in the dining room, the magnetic centre of all our thoughts and activities. At breakfast she was always down first, and sat for some time alone, enjoying her solitude. She had dressed and washed quietly, almost secretively, and would be in her habitual place on the far side of the round table, looking with dreamy reflectiveness at the still-life in the centre, or out of the window at the pond and the weather.... Now, as she ate a piece of buttered toast with coarse salt and held a steaming cup in long, straight be-ringed fingers, she considered her letters, absorbed the temper of the day, and braced herself to meet its demands....

'Duncan [Grant] sometimes overslept, in which case someone would ask me to play a particularly irritating little Écossaise by Beethoven on the piano directly underneath his room. Eventually he would enter the dining room, growling his dislike of the "beastly tune", ruffling his hair through his fingers and blowing his nose on a large red bandanna. Insouciant and natural, every day he peeled an orange, ate porridge and drank coffee with fresh appreciation, almost as though he had never done it before, conscious perhaps that each new day was a miracle that might not be repeated. For him, objects seemed alive, never simply things, just as repeated actions never bored him but became a source of reiterated pleasure. After wishing everyone good morning and hitching up his trousers, which were tied round his waist with an old red tie, he would squat to help himself to porridge, kept hot on a low trivet in front of the fire, and tell us about his dreams - often very amusing - or about the book which, tradition has it, he absorbed by putting under his pillow.'

                Angelica Garnett, Deceived with Kindness, 1984

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Today's picture - breakfast


Because Tom and I get up at different times, I eat my breakfast alone. It is a little oasis for me. I am not much a creature of routine, but this meal is the same every day: my toasted homemade bread, plain yogurt with fruit (blueberries and cherry plums today), coffee, orange juice, and water. And my book. I got a terrific new book holder, and I happily read quietly for that time. The rest of the day is filled with something different each day, but this remains the same and I love it.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Today's song - I'm Old Fashioned

In honor of the wonderful Tony Bennett, one of my favorites.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Pretty in pink

Rosa rugosa and Queen of the Prairie

Queen of the Prairie, also known as Meadowsweet


Friday, July 7, 2023



That bush to the right of the chairs is a honeysuckle, and we have seen birds flying out of it and back to it. Not sure what they were, but this is a banner year for nesting birds here at Windy Poplars Farm. The voices we recognize are catbirds, phoebes, wrens, swallows, robins, and our beloved whippoorwill. Not only are they nesting here, but they are closer to the house and more visible. Out tiny bushes and trees have gotten taller and really filled out, making them appealing to the birds. You can see in this yard rosa rugosas, lilacs, another honeysuckle, and out of the picture on the left are more lilacs. It is a little heaven. 

And then across the road are many more. Hazelnuts planted when Hazel was born, lilacs, Korean lilacs in honor of our Korean born kids, forsythia, ornamental apple, a small plum, 2 locusts which have popped up, and our remaining maple. All happily welcoming birds to nest or just stop for a while. 

Not sure why the photos are blurry. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Some words from The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

 I hope that some of my English blogging friends will see this post, and tell me what they think.

In 1971 Helene Hanff finally made it to England after corresponding with the London bookstore, Marks & Co. at 84, Charing Cross Road since 1949. She ordered books that she could not get in New York City. This is written about in 84, Charing Cross Road, one of my very favorite books which I read again recently.

Her book about visiting London is called The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, and in it she says something about the English that I found interesting, and wonder what others will think. Well, she didn't say it, a man named Ken Ellis of the London Reader's Digest told her. 

Ken explained to me why everybody over here hates the new money. It has to do with the Englishman's need to be different. The decimal system is much simpler than the old ha'penny-tupenny-guinea-tenner-tanner system, but the old money was theirs; no other country had it and nobody else could understand it. He said they hate entering the Common Market for the same reason. They don't want to be part-of-Europe, they want to be separate, different, set apart. He illustrated this by quoting an old headline which has become a cliché joke over here. During a spell of bad weather when the whole island was enveloped in fog, one English newspaper headline read: FOG ISOLATES CONTINENT.

So what do you think? Particularly in light of Brexit.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

And now it is summer!

 At 10:58 this morning in the eastern US, the sun entered Cancer and summer began!

We have had the slowest, wettest, coolest spring in ages! The trees opened and blossomed at the usual time, but the plants have just waited patiently, more patiently than I!, for sunshine. I have written my tale o' woe about our plants, and it continued. The second planting of tomato plants look awful after waiting to go into the ground. The cukes we planted are all dead. The squash is hanging on. A couple of planted tomatoes "might" make it. And the basil looks pretty sickly. Just too cool, with way too little sun. The past few days the sun has COME BACK, and the flowers are happy, happy. The local farmers, both vegetable and flower, have had a hard time. Everything's late, but all should be fine now. Picked up strawberries today. 

For supper I'll be making the first strawberry shortcake of the season.

Just before I wrote this post, I read the following in The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. Helene Hanff says:

"... every time I eat strawberries here [in England] I think of the English clergyman who remarked:
'Doubtless God could have made a better berry than the strawberry and doubtless God never did.' "

Monday, June 19, 2023

Quote du jour from Keeping The Faith

 In the wonderful movie Keeping The Faith, Anne Bancroft says:

"Our Lady's Bedstraw, the most poetic herb."

I am wild about this plant. It grows all over Windy Poplars Farm and I keep it all. I'm sure some see it as a weed, but I think it is wonderful. I've read that it was (is?) put in the mattresses of women in labor. I just love that.

This is growing between two terrace steps!

And this among the daylilies.

Friday, June 16, 2023


I don't think I wrote about the chicks we got last spring. Because we still had quite a few from five years before that, we got only 10.  

Our chickens have always had daily free access to the outdoors from the barn, but until a few years ago, they never ventured outside the pasture fence. They started getting through that fence and coming across the lawn. I even put up a sign that said "chicken crossing". 

Here are a couple of them in mid-July 2020.

We never feared predators because none have ever been around; the very occasional coyote, but never near the barn.

This spring something got all but three chickens. There were no distress noises. There was no sign of attack anywhere. We just don't know whether the killer was from the sky or the earth. I am amazed that Nebby the donkey who is very protective didn't raise an alarm. Perhaps she was out further in the pasture. We'll never know. 

We decided to get some more because three chickens don't provide too many eggs. We've gotten from 1-3 a day since the disappearance. 

The Dominiques which we've always had were not available, so we got Speckled Sussex. While the Dominique is considered America's first breed, the Sussex has a long history in England and came to this country around 100 years ago. It was a Roman breed way back. 

They were born on Wednesday, and we picked them up at the Post Office yesterday!

And today

We ordered 15, but they always include some extras in case any die on the way, which happily we've never had happen, so our total is 18, and with the 3 in the barn, 21 chickens! So out of sadness, something good and joyful has come. They are so adorable. Sussex chickens are supposed to be quite docile and friendly with people. 
Tom has moved the original three into a stall that cannot be gotten into by predators, and is working on a new big, big stall for all of them. They will not be going out. They will have all the mod-cons, as the British say. Perhaps in another year, he will build a run outside their home covered completely so they will be safe. No more wandering chickens. 

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Quote du jour/Call The Midwife - Season 12, episode one, last words

 As spoken by Vanessa Redgrave:

"We are more enmeshed in others' lives than we imagine. We are all somebody's memory, someone's joy or their regret. We are the weavers of each other's cloth, the keepers of our fellow travelers in time. 

Change is not a threat. It is a chance, and if we embrace it, we can begin again."

I wanted to put up a picture of Vanessa but wasn't sure about rights, so I decided not to. If you go here, you may see a very recent one.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Eight years ago today!

 I can't believe it was eight years ago today that we got our Lucy. There is a post here

She is the kindest dog I've ever known. She doesn't know what anger is. I think this is a Labrador trait. She loves everyone, especially Matthew, our son-in-law. She goes wild when he comes. I have always thought he may remind her of the man where she lived before we got her. She was sort-of a rescue dog because the couple had brought her back to the breeder. That is a trait of the good breeder. They will take a dog back, with no questions. 

Lucy was nearing nine months old when we got her. She had a lot of anxiety from the unhappy family situation she came from. Apparently, they both worked all the time, and Lucy was in a cage during those hours. I think I am remembering it right that the woman said it was her or the dog! I probably would have chosen the dog!

She needed a lot of exercise, and we finally came upon using Matt and Margaret's wheeler to go up the hill with Lucy running next to it. That did it! She became much calmer. 

She adores cats and they love her. I'm pretty sure my Gemma and Maisy think that she is just another person. They'll go up to her and nuzzle if they are hungry. They snuggle up on Lucy's bed.

You may remember that on my birthday two years ago we found out that Lucy had diabetes. I wrote about it here. After weeks of working out the proper dose of insulin, we have settled into a routine where Tom gives her a shot twice a day, and she has been just fine. I am so thankful. I was sure we were going to lose her early on.

I just took this. Her favorite activity. You "may" see some hair on the rug. Serious shedding season for Lucy!

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Today's picture/Woodstove in June

 In reference to yesterday's poem. We did not have a frost but it is plenty cold.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Today's poem by David Budbill

 This is the third poem I've posted by Vermont poet David Budbill. The others are here, and here. Both are from 2007, so you may not have even seen them! Oh, what a wonderful poet he was. 

What Is June, Anyway?

After three weeks of hot weather and drought,
we've had a week of cold and rain,
just the way it ought to be here in the north,
in June, a fire going in the woodstove
all day long, so you can go outside in the cold
and rain anytime and smell 
the wood smoke in the air.

This is the way I love it. This is why
I came here almost
fifty years ago. What is June, anyway
without cold and rain
and a fire going in the stove all day?

David Budbill 
(June 13, 1940 - September 25, 2016)

I was going to put this up on the first of June, but we were indeed having hot weather and drought. I thought I'd wait until the inevitable cold spell. Well, it is today! We had a lovely 1/2 inch of rain yesterday evening, and today it is windy and cold. Most of the weather reports are saying we won't have a frost, but the one I trust the most is over the border in Vermont, and they are saying 35-45 degrees overnight. That is too close for comfort for me! We'll cover the  Zephyr squash and a couple tomatoes that have been planted but we are holding off on planting anymore today. After tonight the temps are warmer.

It makes me so happy that Mr. Budbill moved to Vermont and loved it just as entirely as the natives of that state and my New Hampshire love it. We take the weather we get without (much) complaining. 

Point of fact, I was actually born in Vermont but lived there only four months before my folks moved over here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Pruning Basil

 I think I've mentioned that I always pronounce basil in the English way because the first time I ever heard the word was on Fawlty Towers. Isn't that unbelievable? That show was in the 1970s. The only herb I'd heard of was parsley, the curly garnish that no one ever ate. How very far we have come.

Anyhow, my basil plants didn't make it this year, so I bought some starts at the Co-op from a local, organic farm. They have grown tremendously under the lights. I kept reading that I should prune them, but you all know how hard that is to do when your plants are big and healthy. I went to my favorite YouTube gardener, MIgardener. His name is Luke and he is the dearest person, as well as offering a ton of information. This is the video I watched. Afterward, I went right out to the kitchen, and did what I needed to do. Here are my before and after photographs.

They should really take off now and be nice and bushy rather than leggy. Quite a difference. And a side benefit is I used some of the cuttings to make the first pesto of the season! My recipe is here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Spring CSA flowers, and a Farm and Garden report

 This year's spring CSA flowers came from the woman who lives maybe ten minutes away. I love getting them in the spring, when I am so hungry for the sight of them. We did have lovely daffodils, but a whole swath did not come up. 

We've actually had some disheartening problems. Many flowers did not come back. The gorgeous cleome and amaranth in the big garden didn't appear. We had to replant all the started tomato seeds because we tried something new in watering, and they got waterlogged. We've dug up areas of the patio and terrace gardens and plan to put some vegetables close to the house, hoping to fool the dear deeries. I still have to get some serious supports to thwart them.

I had taken some chances and planted some zone 4 plants, hoping they might work, but after coming back one year, they did not appear this spring. I guess global warming has missed us for now. So that is one of the reasons that our flower gardens are a bit bare. The daylilies never, ever let us down. They cheerfully come up before anything else, those green, green leaves just calling out "spring"!

Anyhow, I have huge basil plants (bought from a local farmer), medium sized tomatoes, and some lettuce under the grow-lights, and we are finally getting some warmer weather. Some years spring is a little slower coming than others.

And here are the four weeks of the wonderful, wonderful CSA flowers beginning May 4.

Each week there are two bouquets, and I usually put them all together for a couple days, and then separate into smaller vases. This week the small bouquet was full of poppies, and I put them into their own containers right away. I adore poppies but they do not last long. They are the strongest lesson from flowers - to fully appreciate them every moment because they are here and gone by.

Now, you'll see the dirty windows (and window sills)! I will clean them when the screens go on. It just hasn't been warm enough for them yet.

So, what do you know?! An actual blog post from me. 

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Today's picture and Quote du jour - Moonlight

 Last evening as I went up to bed, the (full) moonlight was streaming in the windows, and I thought about Emily's line in the Thornton Wilder play, Our Town. I don't seem to have a copy in the house, and couldn't find the whole play online. I did find the quote, but hoped to get more context. I think she was doing her homework, and maybe talking to her boyfriend out the window. But I could be way off.

"My, isn't the moonlight terrible"

This was taken with no flash at 10:24 pm.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Jan Morris on being 90 years old

I am currently reading Jan Morris' book, In My Mind's Eye: A Thought Diary, published in 2018. It begins on Day 1, and continues through Day 188, in 2017 when she turned 91. I went searching for a video of her at this time in her life, and here it is.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Today's picture/Daffs and turks



How I love the first daffodils. 

We've had some quite warm days, and more cool/cold days. Typical April.

The hen turkeys are off sitting on eggs somewhere, but there are up to six toms who are around most days.

And no picture ( I don't feel comfortable putting up pictures of other people's kids or grandkids) but I am a great-aunt for the first time! Tom's sister's son's baby. So this little girl is a second cousin to my grandchildren. 

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Monday, March 20, 2023

Changing yet again!

 A few years ago, I posted about washing dishes by hand. You may read it here. It was really fine, and even better, it was fun for quite a long time. 

Then, in the past few months, I kind of found myself not baking as much, and even making less complicated suppers so there wouldn't be so many dishes to wash. I also got weary of almost always having dishes on the counters; either waiting to be washed or sitting on towels, drying. I made a couple noises about wanting a dishwasher but then decided that it was fine hand washing. Was there a tipping point? Yes. The dishes weren't as clean as I liked them, even though I spent a long time washing them. I also got annoyed at having to soak everything for ages so it wouldn't be so difficult to wash them.

We got one at Lowe's, and it was delivered by two moving men - one of whom carried it in on his shoulder!

I am very, very happy with it. One of my gripes when I used one before was that it ran for so long. I now just use the one hour setting, and it works every single time. Sometimes it is very full, and others not so much, but I don't feel badly because it is just an hour. I'm delighted! I'm already doing what I wrote above that I had cut down on - baking and more complicated suppers. 

Monday, March 6, 2023

Quote du jour - On re-reading

 I've searched around some, and it seems that both re-read and reread are acceptable now. I have been eliminating the hyphen just because it seems easier. But I find I don't like the look of reread, so I guess I'm going to go with the hyphen from now on.

However you spell it, I am having the best reading time reading books over again. I mostly don't remember the whole story, but I have flashes of recognition sometimes. I kind of got started on this scheme because I didn't want to keep spending money on Kindle books. I am happy to buy a book that I can see; a book I can put on a shelf and look through anytime I want. I just can't do that with a Kindle. I am in high praise of the device because it is how I get to sleep and go back to sleep at night. Years and years ago, I read by lamplight. Then I had audiobooks on tape. Then I tried one of those itty-bitty lights. They were all distracting in terms of sleep, except for the books on tape. I gave those up when they went to CDs or phone. That was too much work for me in my sleepy state. And then the Kindle came along. It was perfection. But I've decided to read what I haven't read yet or re-read the books I have. And what a delightful experience it is. Just now I'm zooming through the Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman.

I wondered if there were quotes about this subject, and I found some great ones. 

Robertson Davies: "A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight."

(To quote a word from one of my favorite books - The Diary of a Provincial Lady)
Query: Am I in maturity or old age?

Anne Fadiman: "The reader who plucks a book from her shelf only once is as deprived as the listener who, after attending a single performance of a Beethoven symphony never hears it again."

Italo Calvino: "A classic is a book which with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading."

Garry Fitchett: "Rereading the works of a favorite author and, once again, learning something new shows me they are not done with me yet."

Lauren Groff: "The greatest texts, I think, first dazzle, then with careful rereading they instruct.  I have learned from Virginia Woolf more than I even know how to articulate."

Susan Sontag: "Most of my reading is rereading."

and last, but definitely not least - 

C.S. Lewis: "An unliterary man may be defined as one who reads books only once ... We do not enjoy a story fully on the first reading. Not till the curiosity, the sheer narrative lust,  has been given its sop and laid asleep are we at leisure to savour the real beauties.  Till then, it is like wasting great wine on a ravenous natural thirst which merely wants cold wetness."

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Quote du jour/from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

 In a letter, a woman writes to another:

"Excuse my unburdening myself. My worries travel about my head on their well-worn path, and it is a relief to put them on paper."

Isn't that a perfect description of worrying. I love "well-worn path".

I am rereading this wonderful book, and I think I love it even more than last time. I wrote about it here, in 2008!!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Today's picture

 The old one and the young ones

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Traveling Wilburys - Handle With Care (Official Video)

On our shared birthday, here is George when he was part of The Traveling Wilburys. Much loved and much missed by so many.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Quote du jour/From Call the Midwife

 Sister Monica Joan:

"When I was a novice, I found Lent the hardest season. Not for the hardship of self-sacrifice - that I willingly embraced - but for the absence of nature's beauty in the chapel. I always found it an invaluable aid to spiritual labour. But then I encountered a passage that gave great illumination. It is not the penance that we choose which is pleasing to God... it is the setting aside of ego and the submission to His will."

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Noah Kahan - Stick Season (Official Music Video)

I love this song, and this man's work. My nephew actually met him a while ago. They went to the same camp as kids.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

What I Learned From TV - February 9

 An explanation here.

"90% of onions are consumed in their country of origin. There's hardly any international trade in onions." 
Lance Stater in Detectorists 

"The sense of smell is the only sense that is fully formed in the fetus. And it's your most dominant sense until you're about ten years old, when your vision takes over."
Gardeners' World - an almost blind woman who works with trees said this

"When Coleridge's infant son was dreaming, he'd show him the moon." [I think meaning, having a bad dream]
Peter Pascoe in Dalziel and Pascoe

"Focusing on me is why I started gardening. My shrink says it's a way to tune everybody out and hear the universe. I know it sounds "hippie" but doesn't that sound nice? Hearing the universe."
A woman patient in New Amsterdam

"There are those who would say that a life devoted to food - cooking it, eating it, writing about it, even dreaming about it is a frivolous life, an indulgent life. I would disagree. If we do not care what we eat, we do not care for ourselves, and if we don't care for ourselves how can we care for others?"
An introduction to a book by Hilary Smallwood, a fictional character who writes cookbooks in Pie in the Sky

"I hate telephones. It was much better when people had to do everything by letter."

And that's it for this installment. You really should see all the post-its I have! I am gradually entering them into a beautiful moleskin notebook. And when I do, I pick out some to bring to the blog. And incidentally, we moved the television back into the living room. It is colder, but it seems more fitting in there.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

White Mountains of New Hampshire

My blogging friend Dewena told me that there was a little movie on CBS about my home area and I found it on YouTube!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Quote du jour - Josephine Nuese

 “Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with a dream.” 

Josephine Nuese, 1901-1974, American gardener and author of The Country Garden, 1970

These words are so very true! My head is full of ideas, and I spend a lot of time looking at catalogues. I am just happy they still come in the mail. Some of them I don't even order from, but this year I feel like I should just as a little thank you for the pleasure I get from looking through them. 

I had declared that I wouldn't have to buy any seeds for this summer because there are still a lot left from last year. More fool me. My head is full of tomatoes, again. After months of eating them fresh, and then using the sauce I made from them, I am again bereft of tomatoes. I've begun thinking of having just a basil, garlic, and tomato garden but then I see a new climbing zucchini, and some varieties of tomato I just must try. And the packets of scallions that didn't get planted last year. And then I think the garden should be doubled! 

So yes, I am indeed dreaming in January.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

What I Learned From TV - January 26

From 2014-2017, I wrote a few posts on What I Learned From TV. 
This is the introduction I always began with.

Each time I do a post about What I Learned From TV, I’ll begin with the explanation from the first posting:

Now that my kids are grown, and Tom has retired, I’ve been able to go back to my natural sleep pattern which is to stay up late and get up late. Tom’s natural rhythm is just the opposite. So, he’s the lark and I’m the owl. 

And what this owl does in the late hours is watch television- not in the traditional way but through Hulu, Netflix, TunnelBear, and Acorn TV. Most of the shows are British, though I am a great fan of a few American television shows, and have been watching some from other countries now that we have TunnelBear. Some of these shows Tom will watch in the mornings, but some of them are all mine. So, when I hear a great quote from a show I know he’s not going to watch, I’ll leave him little post-it notes near the computer keyboard. I had a notion this morning to begin a new ‘letter topic’ called What I Learned From TV so I can put up some virtual post-its for you to read and, hopefully, enjoy. Some are funny, some are educational, some are wise.

I no longer have Hulu, and we stopped TunnelBear when we found out it is rather illegal to watch British shows that way! We do still have Acorn, along with Britbox, Netflix, PBS, and Prime, and my many DVDs .

But I haven't done a TV post since 2017, so I thought it time that I bring back the topic.  I keep pen and paper next to my "TV chair" and I jot things down that interest me. The other day, I cleared out a desk drawer that had myriad post-it notes with those jottings. 

Because it has been so long, many of the quotes are not from shows I am currently watching.

I did once have a television like the one in the picture above, but nowadays this is the scene (currently watching the excellent New Amsterdam on Netflix):

With talk of oil and electric prices going up, we decided some months ago to put the TV in the kitchen where the wood stove is so I didn't have to turn up the heat in the living room when I watch television in the evenings. We have liked it so much that we probably won't move it back when the weather gets warmer. 

Without further ado:

I don't know where this came from but it is quite amazing. I am one of them.

"In 1967, never before had so many Americans been under 25. There were over 90 million of them, nearly half the population."

Being a watcher of older British television shows, I have noticed a lot of griping about two particular subjects - the National Health Service, and the European Union. Here is one from Dalziel in Dalziel and Pascoe

"Do they sell toffee hammers anymore? No, probably banned by those clowns in Brussels." 1996 show.

"GPS is just another way for the government to keep an eye on me." US televison show The Finder. This said by a man who buries his money because he doesn't trust banks.

From Darby and Joan

Joan says, "I never saw the appeal of sunrises. They're just like sunsets only bloody early." Those could be my words!

From Nadiya Hussain on one of her marvelous cooking shows:

"Oh, my God, mashed potato is my favorite thing in the whole wide world."
"I would rather have a baby than make soufflé."

I'll end this entry with a few quotes from Horace Rumpole in Rumpole of the Bailey.

"Who was it who said that Wagner's music is not as bad as it sounds?"

Upon hearing someone collapsed while jogging. "I've always said that exercise is the short cut to the cemetery"

"No pleasure on earth is worth sacrificing for the sake of five extra years in the geriatric ward in the sunset old people's hospital in Weston-Super-Mare."

Monday, January 16, 2023

Happy Birthday - Stevie Wonder

 The campaign for a federal holiday in Martin Luther King's honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later on January 20, 1986. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000. 

 Stevie's album with this song on it came out in 1980. 

 "Happy Birthday" 

 You know it doesn't make much sense 
There ought to be a law against 
Anyone who takes offense 
At a day in your celebration 
'Cause we all know in our minds 
That there ought to be a time 
That we can set aside 
To show just how much we love you 
And I'm sure you would agree 
What could fit more perfectly 
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be 

 Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you
 Happy birthday Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday 

 I just never understood
 How a man who died for good 
Could not have a day that would
 Be set aside for his recognition 
Because it should never be 
Just because some cannot see 
The dream as clear as he 
that they should make it become an illusion
 And we all know everything 
That he stood for time will bring
 For in peace our hearts will sing 
Thanks to Martin Luther King 

 Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you 
Happy birthday Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday 

 Why has there never been a holiday 
Where peace is celebrated all throughout the world 
 The time is overdue 
For people like me and you 
Who know the way to truth 
Is love and unity to all God's children 
It should be a great event 
And the whole day should be spent
 In full remembrance 
Of those who lived and died for the oneness of all people 
So let us all begin
 We know that love can win
 Let it out don't hold it in
 Sing it loud as you can 

 Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday 
Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday 
Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday
 Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you Happy birthday 
Happy birthday Happy birthday Happy birthday Ooh yeah Happy birthday 

 We know the key to unity of all people 
Is in the dream that you had so long ago 
That lives in all of the hearts of people 
That believe in unity 
We'll make the dream become a reality 
I know we will Because our hearts tell us so