Tuesday, August 31, 2021



There is a shortage of real sunshine around here 

as the skies are filled with smoke,

so we are moving into the sitting room to find more shining sunflowers. 

 My sweet Captain trekked to the store,

 mask in place, to pick me up a couple of the real things.

.  Placed in a salt glazed crock

 along with some greens from the garden

 and they bring a smile to our faces

 which is greatly needed these days.

I ordered four more of 

the "cheap" pillows from Amazon.  

Sometimes cheap is a good thing and sometimes not so much. 

 They were actually pretty ugly 

and not exactly what I expected. 

 No worries, 

just turn them over and stencil something else on the back.  

Blue and white checks saved the day on two of them,

 and two more have their sights set on black and white checks. 

 Just a little something extra 

for a cheap price.

Our Covid counts 

keep going up 

and to the ones who are making it happen,

 I have a small reminder 

for you here.

I don't know if we are in dress rehearsals for the real thing,

 but this is the second time in two weeks 

that we have been close to evacuating. 

 This last one, the Bennett Fire,

 was very close 

and they stopped the evacuation line just two roads over from us. 

 Before, I had just almost reached the point

 of loading up a box with the essentials 

should it become necessary, 

but this time I actually did do it. 

 The box now sits in the corner of 

the dining room,

 waiting for a reality,

 which we hope never comes

I am still resting my back

 and found a couple of canvas squares sitting around 

and I thought it would be fun to paint some little quilt squares. 

 I doubt that anyone seriously making a quilt would use these colors

 but they seemed to compliment the painting on display.  

I made another that will go up

 when fall gets here.

Speaking of fall, 

it cannot come too soon.  

We usually get a bit of rain,

 just in time when the trees are turning, 

so that the colors don't last as long as I would like, 

and I complain about that a lot, 

but I will take it this year,

 if it will stop the chance of more fires.


Remember when I finished
 this paint by number painting last year? 
 I didn't think 
the original, large flower
 in center of painting, (left bottom corner),
 was to my liking. 
 I tried to make it more appealing 
and after numerous tries,
 I came up with the (right bottom corner). 
 This year, I tried again
 and finally came up with this one (top). 
 It is a little better, I think!

I made a bolognese sauce recipe 

from Kim

 at Exquisitely Unremarkable (here)

 I followed her instructions to a T

 and it was undeniably delicious. 

 We will eat it for three nights

 and I can't wait until the next two. 

 I went old-school,

 and I do mean oooooold school, 

with the side dish. 

 My grandmother, and then my mom, 

made what they called Spanish Beans 

and they always served jello salad along side. 

 I remember them saying 

that it was good with

 anything having a tomato base and I agree. 

 It is so refreshing

 especially in hot weather. 

 I use lime jello and add

 a can of fruit cocktail to the first layer

 and cottage cheese, mixed with

 a little mayo, in the second. 

 Before you roll your eyes 

you should try it. 

 Sometimes it just feels good 

to go back, and beyond,

 to the good old-fashioned days. 

 Just ask any grandma!

More Shining Sunflower Days

 to you all.


Sharing today with:

Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda

Tuesday, August 24, 2021



Although smoke and Covid 

remain a constant, 

there are some small changes 

to our little world

 here at the Cottage.

The weather has become

 less of a problem.  

The heat has turned down a notch

 and that means the fans 

can be put away for the time being.

  However, there are no doubts 

that they will come back out again 

before summer is over.

The Shining of Sunflowers continue

 to make their way into the decor.  

This week the parlor is on display,

 but only to a very small degree. 

 I am trying to use only what I have on hand so there isn't a plethora

 of items to choose from.

  I did find out, however, 

that the heat was the main reason 

for my lack of energy,

 and not laziness,

 as I had feared!

Cooler temps

 made me want to do a 

deep cleaning of the parlor

 but the bending and moving 

jump started my back issues again 

so don't know

 how much further I will get.

The smoke is really strong today

 but nothing compared

 to the fires and storms 

going on elsewhere.

An exciting update on Jacenda's job search:

She got an interview with a hospital

in Eureka, CA (Humboldt County). 

She actually accepted 

but was not committed until a certain date.

 Then she got another interview 

and was hired 

at San Francisco VA Hospital. 

It is a new grad nurse position,

 nursing and training

 in all hospital units for a year, 

then choosing her preferred unit. 

She has a certain 

amount of time to accept. 


she has another interview with UCSF, 

which is her dream job,

 so if she is hired 

then everything will change again. 

We are so proud of her

 and wish her all the luck

 in finding her perfect job 

and I will let you know 

how it plays out.

Our TV critic for this week is 


one of Tami's and Tim's furry kids.  

He watched Netflix's "Penguin Town", 

a well done documentary series 

about a yearly migration of penguins

 to a town in South Africa.

  He couldn't wait to call

 Grandpa and Grandma

 and tell us:

"All paws up for this one".

Happy Sunflower Days to all of you.


Sharing today with:

Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda

Tuesday, August 17, 2021



This has been a slowly moving summer 

at the Cottage.

  It has been so hot

 that at more times than not,

 the order of the day is 

to just sit still and don't move

 any more than can be helped. 

 It has come to the point that 

I, myself, have wondered

 if it all is just an excuse 

for laziness or a mode of survival. 

 Nevertheless, whatever the reason, 

it is what it is

 and nothing much is getting done.

  Back in the wintertime,

 which seems so long ago,

 we could hardly wait until 

the "weather improved" 

so we could get started on 

so many projects that needed doing

 but, here we sit, 

with nothing much to show for the time,

 and the clock is ticking.

The last few days 

when we look out the window, 

the skies have been clear

 and we can open the doors

 when evening comes

 to let some of the hotter air out, 

but this morning the smoke is back

 and the skies are gray again.  

The River fire closest to us is gone, 

but the Dixie fire in Plumas County

 is still burning and turning into 

the largest and longest fire

 in the state's history.

Wherever there is a fire,

 the smoke seems to travel 

all across the US,

so I guess it is not surprising

 that we are still having it here.

 I really want to thank you all for your support and concerns.

I, like most others,

 tend to divide up the months and designate different forms of decorations

 for different times. 

We are now in the middle of August

 and, by my calendar,

 the time between now 

and the end of September or there about

 is for a Shining of Sunflowers.  

Throughout this post,

 I will show you how my first attempt

 of taking the plunge is going. 

 I suppose it is fitting 

that I start with the entry. 

 It not only is the first room that is seen upon coming into the Cottage but,

 I have a sneaking suspicion, 

that because it is the smallest space

 it takes less energy to accomplish.

I showed you a few weeks ago 

that I had ordered this bright wreath but just couldn't use it until 

the weather cooled down. 

 But, as I said, the clock is ticking,

 and if I waited to use it before

 we had some cooler weather, 

we might likely be into next spring...

...so here it is with the addition of a few sunflowers.

Whew, that was a big effort!!

 so I didn't add much else to accompany it.

  A beautiful little lantern that I picked up at Hobby Lobby 

during the days when I could go to Hobby Lobby (or anyplace else) 

along with a little dish

 painted with autumn fruit.  

When autumn actually does arrive 

just a few sprinklings of 

pumpkins and leaves 

will make the scene complete


And, just because, there aren't enough projects that need to be started, 

we now have another one

 raise its ugly head.  

We saw this sight the first time a couple of years ago.  

While we were down visiting the kids, something messed with

 the front garden fountain 

and tipped it over. 

 We could not figure out how it had happened for the life of us,

 but the Captain put it back together.  

A while later we spotted a huge raccoon sitting in the fountain one night 

and knew that was 

the answer to our mystery.  

Now, two nights ago, we found it again

 in the prone position,

 so we are assuming that

 the same thing happened. 

 Here we go again.

Our Covid cases, and deaths, 

are adding up here

 by leaps and bounds.

  On our NextDoor website

 one person posted, asking if anyone knew of someplace he could go

 to get a rapid Covid test

 that didn't cost too much? 

 He was planning to 

fly to Hawaii in a few days

 and needed proof 

that he didn't have Covid. 

 You Stupid Idiot! 

 Just get vaccinated and it wouldn't be a problem just to show 

your proof of vaccination.  

By the looks of things

 you all have more than a few stupid idiots in your part of the world too. 

 I am over it all.

  As the days go by,

 I am becoming more disgusted 

by the way this public health hazard

 is being turned into a sort of game,

 and I am losing faith 

in some of my fellow human beings.

 It seems very similar

 to a game of Russian Roulette 

and no one knows who is holding the gun. 

 In some circles that is called murder. 

This whole situation is turning me into

 someone I don't want to be

 and I will not let that happen. 

I will continue on to live my best life

 and hope that you all can do the same.    


Happy Shining Sunflower Days to all.


Sharing today with:

Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda

Tuesday, August 10, 2021



Smoky skies surround the Secret Garden on Friday

There are more beautiful places on Planet Earth than not. 

 One of the most beautiful,

 if I may be so bold,

 is California, where we live. 

 But, as in all things good,

 there is the possibility of hidden evils

 and California's 

claim to fame, at this moment, 

is forest fires.

From the kitchen window, 9 AM, Friday

Last Wednesday, 

we were comfortably partaking 

of one of our favorite pastimes, 

watching TV,

 when we noticed

 through partially drawn blinds,

 a menacing sky. 

 We commented on

 how different it looked, 

wondering if there might be

 a thunder storm brewing,

 and then went back to our movie. 

 A few moments later 

our next door neighbor called 

and asked if we were

 ready to evacuate! 


Same view as above, 12 noon

It is hard for me

 to explain the feeling of fear,

 but we all know what it feels like 

when our body first responds to it. 


The River Fire first started in a campground near the town of Colfax.  

At the point that we heard about it,

 that town was under 

mandatory evacuation orders.

 ( Those orders have since been lifted).

Where the fire started, just over the other side of those trees 

in far right background. 

Photo taken from our front porch.

As the crow flies,

 we are not much more than 

a half hour drive from Colfax. 

 The conditions were slightly windy 

and we had no idea 

which way the fire was moving.  

The only thing we had heard 

at that point was

 the time it had started, where it started and that it was fast moving. 

 In a matter of just a short time,

 it had burned 1000 acres.

  It was a scary thought 

to go to bed that night, 

although from all accounts, 

we were not included

 in any evacuation orders.

Looking out side kitchen window across street

We awoke on Thursday morning

 to blue skies over the Cottage 

and only a slight amount of smoke

 could be seen in the distance. 

 We were breathing easy as we had just watched on Netflix

 the documentary pertaining to 

the Paradise, California, Camp fire 

from last year 

and had seen how these things 

can change in an instant.

Across street from our front porch

However, Friday morning 

was a different story. 

 Although the fire continues to burn,

 we still remain safe

 and so grateful and thankful,

 but we are being consumed by

 the worst invasion of smoke

 that we have seen so far. 

 The Cottage is an old house, 

and when we did the renovations 

over 30 years ago,

 we wanted to keep 

what was "original" to the structure

 as much as possible. 

 We did not replace most of the windows and we did not tear out 

most of the outside walls, 

therefore there are walls 

that do not have any insulation.  

We have been keeping the doors closed 

as much as possible, 

but the fumes from the smoke

 have invaded our space

 and, frankly, 

it is a bit uncomfortable.

(In the whole scheme of things,
 we can do uncomfortable).

The sun leaves an orange glow over the Secret Garden

Our thoughts are with those 

that are truly affected by all the fires.

  As of Saturday,

 the fire had consumed 2600 acres 

with 88 structures lost and 30% contained.

  Thankfully so far 

there are no lives lost,

 only 3 injuries reported, 

none serious, with one of them

 being a firefighter.  

This part of the country 

and these beautiful forests

 are a draw for people and their animals.  

I can't even imagine 

how horrible it would be

 to have your life and property 

threatened in this way 

and how to deal with it.

The sun, a ball of fire, in the sky
 viewed from the dining room, 8 AM, Saturday

Stay safe everyone and take care. 

 There are threats to the lives

 that we all lead, 

at times and in one way or another, 

and we have to be so careful.


Better times ahead!


As of yesterday, 

the fire was 68% contained

 with 2,617 acres burned. 

 A huge thank you 

to all the firefighters 

who fought, and are still fighting,

the area's wildfires.

Sharing today with: 

Love Your Creativity at Life and Linda