Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Did you notice the two !! 
after the title of this post?

 I am not just kidding around.

 Summer is in full force around here.
  We are in the high 90's and
 while that may not seem overly warm
 to a lot of you 
(I know, I read the papers)
 to us, inland towards the mountains, in northern California, 
it is about as 
hot as you can get. 
 We do have the good fortune, however, 
to not have much humidity 
along with those higher temps.

The bright and beautiful upside 
to all of this, though, 
is the sunsets that go
 along with it.

 The one, above, 
was much prettier a little earlier
 but I didn't get my camera out in time. 
 I'm sure 
that unsuspecting little bird
 on the wire
 enjoyed it.

it is a different story.  
With all the fans on,
 the doors closed and
 the shades drawn...

...any amount of sun 
only adds to the joy
 of summertime...

...and sunflowers are
 a main part of 
that joy.

Sunflowers are 
just a wonderful flower.

I wrote a post in 2014 
about the complexities of 
the sunflower. 

 It showed them as the amazing creations
 that they are.

They are great specimens 
of works of art.

Man has done a pretty good job 
of recreating them...

...sometimes it is hard 
to tell the 
faux from the real thing.

The sunflower is
 one flower that is considered 
a summer item 
as well as one that 
also shines 
in the fall.

Dried or fresh 
they are a beautiful addition
 to a garland or a wreath.

As long as I 
stay inside and 
keep cool...

...I can be thankful for 
the summertime and
 all the "sun" 
that goes
 with it.

Have a wonderful sunny week...

...and stay hydrated. 
 There are only 
certain things
 that we want to
 dry up!



Do you think 
she knows that she is a 
spot of sunshine in our lives?  
I think she does.

Spreading sunshine once again with:

Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda


Keep in Touch at Let's Add Sprinkles

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


I love walking in the garden 
anytime of the day, 
but as we walked there last evening,
 as we do with the dogs every evening
 just before bedtime,
 the old school phlox is blooming 
and it is especially beautiful 
when it glows in 
the light of the moon.

A colorful garden 
is most beautiful 
in the sunlight but 
anything white 
has such an advantage 
on a clear
 moonlit night.

I wrote a post 
back in 2013 entitled 
The Music of the Night 
and it tells of my visualization 
of a white garden at night 
set to the lyrics of 
The Phantom of the Opera.

Now, today, 
let me take you through 
the process of preserving 
the flowers that are
 at the top of my list this summer, 
the zinnia. 

I know that there are a 
few scientific ways to dry flowers,
 but what you have to know about me is: 
 I don't have the patience 
to be "scientific" 
so I almost always just 
fly by the seat of my pants! 

As I have said many times,
 our garden does not grow because of us,
 it grows in spite of us.
 Maybe that is why
 I am so excited by
 the zinnias this year.

This is the first time,
 in what seems like forever,
 that I have planted anything extra 
in the garden. 
It is mostly a 
run-a-muck experiment 
of Mother Nature's 
that totally takes care of itself.

 Another reason why 
I love the zinnias so much 
is that they remind me of
 the old fashioned cottage flowers
 that my mom
 used to grow every summer. 
 There was always 
a beautiful bouquet
 on the dining room table and
 it usually featured 
the jewel tone faces 
of the zinnias.

I have tried 
different ways to dry them 
which included:

Face up 
on the kitchen window sill.
Not totally effective
 but could be used as a filler
 if needed...

...leaving in the vase
 until the water evaporates...

...but that got me 
 but a dead zinnia.

Since the petals had all 
folded in upon themselves
 when laying on the window sill,
 that gave me an ah-ah moment 
and I thought by laying them 
face down
 might control that problem and 
it did seem to...

...so I placed them that way 
on a paper towel, 
thinking that would absorb
 more moisture and...

...here they are 
along side the three in front 
that were dried face up 
on the window sill. 

I think it worked.

 They might not be as beautiful 
as a scientifically dried 
rose or peony, or even another zinnia, but, 
let's just say 
they look interesting and 
they do hold 
onto their coloring 
very nicely either way.

I think they will fit 
into the forever fall garland perfectly. 
 I cut the stems 
because I just lay them
 on the garland and that way
 they don't become anything other 
than an easy fix. 
I imagine
 wire stems could be added if wanted.

 I also sprayed them 
with some hair spray 
for extra protection but 
they really are
 quite sturdy after drying.

I am quite pleased 
with the way 
they turned 

After a closer look, 
I think the one dried
 on the harder surface, 
might lay flatter.

 Oh my, 
don't they just 
tickle you? 
 Or do you see them
 as something that could just 
skitter across the floor 
at any moment?


I guess beauty really is
 in the eye
 of the beholder.

Since flowers 
are being stirred into 
the Cottage summer stew,
 come back next week 
when the
 sunflowers arrive.


Sharing today with:

Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda


Keep in Touch at Let's Add Sprinkles

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


I thought now 
would be a good time 
to start the drying experimentations -
 now, as the summer bouquets 
start to fade in the vase,
 let's see what will make
 the cut for the fall garland?

are always a great choice and 
look good whether their golden petals 
stay in tact or not.
 might be 
a different story...

Have any of you tried 
to dry zinnias? 
 When first layed 
on the kitchen window sill,
 they looked promising. 
 But, the next morning, not so much. 
after a more thorough examination...

...even though they kind of look 
like shriveled up spiders,
 their color stayed good
 so they might be okay 
for a small filler.

I'm leaving these blooms 
in the vase 
until the water evaporates.
  They are from the same bunch
 as the dried ones and
 are losing their bright colors but
 still look presentable.

  It's all just a matter of
 sweet experimentation.

It is a beautiful
 Sunday morning as I write this and 
we are off on a road trip that,
 will take us to 
a sweet destination.

A road lined with
 wildflowers on one side...

...and blackberry bushes
 on the other.

We are traveling down Hwy 49,
 an historic road
 that we travel often and
 one of our most happy places. 
 We only will follow it
 a very short way today
 but there will still be 
a lot of beauty 
to take in.

 wildlife intermingles with 
our lives.

There are small hamlets 
along the route 
that were a big part of the
 gold mining communities...

...and one in particular
 where we stopped 
for lunch...

...a tasty tuna salad sandwich
 mixed with apples and cheese 
along side
 fresh garden greens and cucumber slices, 
lightly drizzled with a delicious dressing.

  Because we had the dogs,
 it was too hot to eat in the car,
 probably not unlike 
it might have been underground
 in a gold mine, 
so dining on
 wooden benches on the open porch 
of the little rustic building
 was perfect.
I could almost see
 the miners sitting there 
many years ago,
 eating their meager packed lunches,
 dreading the fact
 that they had to go back to work
 under those conditions. 
 A far cry 
from our time spent 
in an air conditioned car.

  There is a lot of turmoil and hardships
 in our country now and,
 I simply cannot forget the fact
 of how lucky I am
 to be able to lead 
the life that I do.

We turn off of Hwy 49 
onto a smaller country road...

...lined with beautiful and
 well maintained orchards.
  All kinds of fruit trees
 are abundant here...

 even though we have been here before,
 it is always such a treat
 to see it all again,
 knowing what a 
sweet destination it is.

We had come for
 the Perfect Peach Pie but,
 they were all out and 
the shop keeper sold us on the idea 
that the nectarine pie
 would be just as good,
 so with pie in hand, 
we got back on
 the road to home.

The Captain agreed with her, 
but nothing can take the place of the
 Perfect Peach Pie 
in my mind
 so even though it was good,
 it was just another 
sweet experimentation for me and 
in a few weeks 
there will have to be 
another journey to
 that sweet destination...

...but, for now,
 for this weary traveler,
 being home and reunited with 
a special friend 
is the sweetest
 of all destinations.


Life and Linda 
has started up a new link party called

 and I will be joining there along with

this week.

  Hope to see you all there.