Tuesday, May 4, 2021



Welcome to the month of May.

"May is white clouds behind pine trees/

Puffed out and marching upon a blue sky,

May is much sun through small leaves/

May is soft earth/

and apple blossoms,/

and windows open to a south wind.

May is a full light wind of lilacs."

Amy Lowell

The lilac is one 
of my most favorite flowers.  
I love everything about them. 
 If I could, I would wish
 to be surrounded by lilacs 
my whole life long. 
 My farthest away memory
 is of my great-grandmother, Susie,
 standing in the doorway
 of her Victorian farmhouse
 with a lilac bush
 in full bloom beside her...

"A faint smell of lilac filled the air,
There was always lilac in this part of town,
Where there were grandmothers, 
there was always lilacs."

Laura Miller

When we lived in Santa Cruz, 
our neighbors from across the street 
gave us a small off shoot
 of their lilac bush. 
 We planted it
 in a corner of the garden
 and it thrived.  
When we moved to the Cottage 
we took a piece of it with us, 
although everyone said 
that it couldn't be transplanted, 
and it thrived here also.

 of how it was trimmed (or wasn't)
 throughout the years,
 it was always beautiful and fragrant.  
This bush has been here at the Cottage 
for close to 30 years 
and a good 20 years in Santa Cruz before.

  This bush and I 
have always had an endearing relationship 
up to about two years ago.  
When the first tiny buds appeared 
on the slender stems, 
I couldn't wait to pick a big bouquet 
and bring all of its glory into the house. 
 It was a sad day
 when I realized that,
 in close quarters,
 the scent was overwhelming to me
 and I could not endure it.

The last Cottage lilacs in the guest room
 Today, I have taken a chance, 
and for just a little while,
 I brought an antique pitcher
 full of lavender blooms
 into the Cottage 
to share with you, 
along with some words that I found
 that convey their beauty
 to the poets in all of us.

"You are the smell of all summers,
 the love of wives and small children. 
 You are brighter than apples, 
sweeter than tulips."

Amy Lowell

"Now that the lilacs are in bloom, 
she has a bowl of lilacs in her room".

T.S. Eliot

"The lilacs stood close 
to Elizabeth's window,/ 
all purple with bloom.../
 but a wind is stirring the lilac blossoms,/
 and a wonderful sweetness
 came floating in."

Mary E. Wilkins
"The Message of Flowers", 1905

"A pewter bowl of lilacs in the room/
 seem to him to weigh 
and change the gloom."

William Faulkner

"If you have a garden and a library
You have everything you need."

Marcus Tullius Cicero

"Just now,
 the lilac is in bloom/
 all before my little room."

Rupert Brooke
"The Old Vicarage"

In the Language of Flowers:
The first emotion of love.

I love the colors 
of the flowers and the walls together 
along with the shape
 of the oval frame
 behind it...

...and its elegance
 against a rustic background...

...but lilacs and blue skies...
it doesn't get much better
 than that!

I am so sorry,
 for myself as much as
 for everyone else, 
that this beautiful flower,
 with its vibrant colors and sweet scent,
 has to be removed 
out to the front porch. 
 It still is my most favorite
 but I will have to be content
 with its beauty
 only in passing.

"The smell of moist earth and lilacs
Hung in the air
Like wisps of the past
Hints of the future."

Margaret Millar

"To be overcome 
by the fragrance of flowers
 is a delectable form 
of defeat."

Beverly Nichols

"In the dooryard
 Fronting an old farm house
Near the white wash'd palings
Stood the lilac bush tall growing
With heart shaped leaves
 of rich green."

Walt Whitman

Have a wonderful week 
and take in the beauty
 of the lilac 
in springtime.


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Tuesday, April 27, 2021


I was looking out the kitchen window

 the other day 

and seeing the Lady Banks rose

 coming to life.

  It was rather one sided, 

tucked back in a corner, 

and it reminded me somewhat of

 how it has been for the past year,

 always waiting to see what was coming, 

always waiting to see what was happening just around the corner. 

 Would we be able to stay healthy, 

would the vaccine be available and when, 

would Main Street businesses stay afloat

 or would the doors close? 

 All of these questions seemed to be waiting just around the corner. 


Those were hard questions to answer 

and it took time, too much time, 

but the light at the end

 is beginning to shine through. 

Things are starting to open up,

 masks are not being required

 in some outdoor circumstances. 

 If these are good plans only time will tell. 

 What is most important now

 is that we get our vaccinations. 

 I have been trying to be a voice

 for what I think is right for me

 but that might not always be

 right for someone else. 

There are a lot of 

different opinions out there,

 and we all have to do 

what is right for ourselves. 

 Some think after you are vaccinated 

that you are safe 

and don't need any other precautions.

 I think differently

 and when a small county such as I live in

 has three times more cases

 than they did the day before,

 I find that discouraging. 

This is the last

 I will speak on the subject

 except to say I hope

 that everyone gets vaccinated 

and that thinking about 

your fellow human beings

 becomes first and foremost

 in your hearts and minds.

Every spring, 

just after the first small miracle

 of life starts to sprout, 

I have hopes that the garden will 

come back to life 

and at the same time,

 I really doubt that it will.  

Even though our winter normally

 isn't a harsh one

 it still does unthinkable things

 to the garden.  

I have always maintained

 that our garden 

grows in spite of us

 not because of us 

and I try to blame it all on winter

 but then miracles do happen 

and I can clearly see

 around the corners.

I have a "gardener"

 that is very proficient 

with a pair of clippers! 

 No matter what the time of year is 

if, to his eyes, 

something looks out of place, 

when in doubt, chop it off! 

 I, on the other hand, 

tend to love to live under jungle conditions, 

so I don't like to trim, 

but then that always shows 

at the most inopportune times,

 so I complain how we should have

 trimmed at the right time,

 and that sends that "certain gardener"

 looking for his clippers, 

which nine times out of ten, 

he can't find 

but it is that tenth time

 that is the killer.  


 in spite of us, not because of us!

We only had one clump of daffodils 

that came up this year.  

It must be those pesky squirrels!

  In order to preserve the occasion,

 I tried to dry them. 

 Actually, they didn't do too badly

 although this one, above,

 was the prettiest. 

 They will be tucked 

into a wreath someplace 

come next spring.

I would like to thank you  all 

for your kind comments about the books

 in last week's post. 

 It seemed to bring back good memories

 to a lot of you 

and I am so glad. 

 I mentioned that we also got visits

 door to door from 

other types of salesmen.

  We bought a vacuum cleaner,

 I can't remember the brand, 

but it was a cannister type 

with a little top that unscrewed 

where you could put a rag,

 soaked with your choice of 

something that smelled good

 and as you vacuumed 

the scent was everywhere. 

 My personal favorite was eucalyptus oil. 

 It brought back memories 

of when I had a cold 

and my mom put a pan of water,

 with a bit of eucalyptus oil in it

 on the wood stove 

and then I had to stand over the pan 

with a towel over my head.  

It was supposed to make breathing easier and it did. 

 It also made me feel loved and

 well taken care of. 

 I remember when the salesman came

 to the house and we paid him.  

We were contacted by the company wanting us to pay for the vacuum. 

They later found out that the salesman

 sold these vacuums and 

then absconded with the money! 

 Another purchase was

 Life Time pots and pans. 

The salesman came to the house, 

where we had invited a few friends over, 

and he cooked us a whole, delicious meal.  

We sold quite a few sets for him

and after 50 years, 

we are still using three of the pans 

to this day.

The Captain was gifted this tree  

when he retired from the school district.

  After the last storm 

we noticed that it was leaning badly 

so we called a tree professional

 and he said it needed to come out 

before we had another storm.

  We were concerned 

that it might fall into the street.  

Although it was tall,

 it wasn't very big around,

 but when the trunk and the bigger limbs

 hit the ground,

 it shook the whole property.

It took them only about 1 1/2 hours

 to cut it down 

and run all the branches

 through their chipper.

 They left the yard cleaner

 than they found it. 

 Now, we need to clean the corner up, 

and we have a special piece

 to replace the tree.

These are 

the neighborhood wisteria trees. 

 The one on the back left

 and the tallest middle one

 belong to two different neighbors. 

 The one in the foreground 

and the one far right 

is our bush that overlooks

 the Secret Garden...

...but this is all we can see of it 

from the screened porch.

  Aw, the Wonderful World of Wisterias.

Well, life has turned a few corners since I started this post. 

 We drove to Santa Cruz to attend a memorial service for our sister-in-law. 

 It was held in a large tent 

on church grounds, 

three sides were closed 

with one big end open. 

 It was considered an outside gathering. 

 It was a wonderful remembrance of her 

and our niece and nephews 

did such a wonderful job 

of taking care of her and their dad.  

We got to see and hug our kids,

 whom we haven't seen in a year. 

 We came right back home

 after the service 

and now, I guess,

 you can say 

we have taken more baby steps

 towards getting around

 the corners

 that are yet to come.

Have a wonderful week.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021



When I first started blogging,

 one of my posts was about books

 from my mother's library (here)

that are now in mine. 

 I don't know how old 

some of these books are

 although she had

 marked 1948 in one of them, 

I just know that 

my mom was an avid reader 

and as far back as memory serves,

 I can see her sitting in her favorite chair,

 a book opened on her lap 

with a bobby pin marking her place.  

I think I have inherited that trait,

 although the coming of the age of television

 has dampened my indulgence somewhat.

In those days, before computers,

 there were only a few ways

 that a person could 

find out pertinent information. 

 There were trips to the library,

 there was the teacher in the classroom,

 and there were your elders

 whose minds held much of the information

 that you needed to know.  

Of course, it depended on 

what kind of books you had access to 

and what kind of information 

you got from them.  

My mom's books were mostly fiction, 

romantic novels probably written

 for women's eyes only.

 There wasn't too much knowledge

 to be gained from them

 if a school paper was due.

  For those kinds of projects 

there were encyclopedias

 and that is where this story plays out.

Back in the day, 

and I can remember as far back 

as my elementary school years, 

there were jobs that fell into

 the category of "sales".  

These were not sales

 as we know them now

 in Home Depot and places like that 

but sales that were made, 

in person,

 between you and the salesman 

from your very own living room couch.  

There were numerous products 

sold this way

 and one of the biggest and most expensive 

were books 

that were touted as must haves

 for your child's education.  

The Book of Knowledge

 was one of the most well known.

My parents spent time on the couch

 deciding which set of books to buy

 so that myself, my sister and brother,

 could have a well rounded education,

 and when certain information 

in those books became outdated,

 there was always the "annual" 

you could purchase at the end of a year, 

to bring it all up to speed. 

In the above photo 

you see my Dad 

with many of their purchases 

in the bookshelves behind him. 

The Book of Knowledge, in red covers,

 on the very top shelf.

When the Captain and I

 started our family, 

we also were inundated 

with these door-to-door visits. 

Looking back

It seemed as though

 those times were the forerunner

 to today's robo-calls. 

 We did buy a set of books

 (and a vacuum cleaner and pots and pans, but that is a story for another time) 

that are still lined up on 

Tami and Tim's book shelves, 

left with them so Jake 

could have access to 

the knowledge of the world. 

 Of course, by that time, 

computers were here 

and no one has ever looked back.

When my parents left their home, 

I was the recipient of the

 Collier's Encyclopedia set.  

This set was published in 1921.

  I don't know

 when my parents purchased this set 

but it probably was in 

the late 20's or early 30's. 

 It had been a part of their library 

as long as I can remember,

way before any of those salesmen

 that I was aware of 

had knocked on the door. 

 Although I never thought about it then, 

the reason I chose 

to bring the set home with me 

was because of the covers and bindings which appeared to be 

hand tooled leather

 in a rich warm butterscotch coloring.  

They are a very impressive set of books,

 but then, as my parents before me, 

I placed them on the

 very top of the bookshelf 

where they couldn't be seen to advantage 

or to be read, for that matter.

One day, it dawned on me

 that they could be a 

beautiful part of the decor

 at the Cottage,

 so we brought them down, 

dusted and oiled the covers, 

and now they grace the parlor mantel. 

 The covers and text

 are still in pristine condition 

but the spines are darkened 

from being exposed

 over a period of what

 could be close to 100 years.

The end pages are done

in a beautiful

gold, mottled marblelized effect.

I think the salesman

that sold them to my parents

would be surprised

that not only were they a teaching tool

(obviously, but I don't ever remember using them)

but an elegant decoration as well.

I wonder if any of you 

remember the days

 when door-to-door salesmen, 

as they were known,

 trudged up to your home's front door, 

pedaling heavy books 

so that you might become 

a world's scholar?

Stay Smart

Stay Well

Get Your Vaccines

Wear Your Mask


Right after writing this post, 
we happened to see the sweetest movie
 on Amazon Prime called
 The Bookshop.

"When we read a story we inhabit it.
  The cover of a book is like the roof and four walls of a house. 
 More than anything else in the world,
 I love the moment when you finish a book
 and the story keeps playing like a dream in your head."

These were the words of a young widow
 who follows her lifelong dream
 of opening a bookshop in a 1950 English town.

We enjoyed this movie so much
 and thought you might too.

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