drink them in

“The kitchen door opened.  Marilla looked up expecting to see Mrs. Lynde.  Anne stood before her, tall and starry-eyed, with her hands full of Mayflowers and violets.

“Anne Shirley!” exclaimed Marilla.  For once in her life she was surprised out of her reserve, she caught her girl in her arms and crushed her and her flowers against her heart, kissing the bright hair and sweet face warmly.  ‘I never looked for you till tomorrow night.  How did you get from Carmody?’

“‘Walked, dearest of Marillas.  Haven’t I done it a score of times in the Queen’s days? The mailman is to bring my trunk tomorrow; I just got homesick all at once, and came a day earlier.  And oh!  I’ve had such a lovely walk in the May twilight; I stopped by the barrens and picked these Mayflowers; I came through Violet-Vaile; it’s just a bowlful of violets now–the dear, sky-tinted things . Smell them, Marilla–drink them in.”

Marilla sniffed obligingly, but she was more interested in Anne than in drinking violets.

“Sit down child.  You must be real tired.  I’m going to get you some supper.”

“There’s a darling moonrise behind the hills tonight, Marilla, and oh, how the frogs sang me home from Carmody!  I do love the music of the frogs.  It seems bound up with all my happiest recollections of old spring evenings.  And it always reminds me of the night I came here first.  Do you remember it, Marilla?”

“Well, yes” said Marilla with emphasis.  “I’m not likely to forget it ever.”

“They used to sing so madly in the marsh and brook that year  I would listen to them at my window in the dusk, and wonder how they could seem so glad and sad at the same time.  Oh, but it’s good to be home again!  Redmond was splendid and Bolingbroke delightful–but Green Gables is HOME.”

~Spring and Anne Return to Green Gables, Anne of the Island

Grace drove us to Logee’s greenhouse last week.  It was a 52 minute drive and when we were almost there she finally asked, “WHERE is this place?”  I hadn’t told her how long she would be driving just to see if she would ever mention it.  We had a nice laugh and five minutes later hopped out of the parked car in anticipation.  I asked the woman at the counter if I could take photos and she said, “Of course!”

As I looked through the many photos this morning, after a weekend of taking Grace back to college, the old Anne quote came to my mind.  Like Anne, Grace is our own dear college girl now, and it was a deep down joy to have her home for spring break.  However, we did not experience the music of the frogs, only the falling of more and more snowflakes, and a charming “Froggy” begonia which you will see in the midst of the following pictures.

Drink them in:



mature citrus trees in the green house


triggering the fly traps. . . .



I love the look of rusty iron, cool green pot, and green plants everywhere….


another carnivorous plant


mossy terra cotta 


narrowest of stone paths







Here it is!  I took a baby “Froggy” begonia home with us.  I’ll share a piece with you eventually, mom, and anyone else who would like one.


up above our heads


….and down beneath the grates. . .plants plants everywhere.



the gardenias smelled divine




joyfully admiring an unexpected plant growing from a coconut shell







leaves that look like flowers or flowers that look like leaves?



they also smelled divine; grapefruits growing 


blossom with fruit



“Mom, this looks like the tree on Horton Hears a Who!”  link here


We took home a Kumquat plant.


one of those photos I could look at all day…….




cascade of blooms



truly stuffed with plants and a maze of narrow walkways

Grace said, “I didn’t know how much I needed this.”

and “I want to bring all the people I know here.”







“I see you”







Grace came up close to me and brushed pollen off my nose.


oh this mossy pot


bringing to mind the lanterns on Tangled


we smiled at each other over a cute couple, also wandering around, admiring the plants.  what a fabulous date idea!



holding my begonia, with my camera


Time flies in a green house, we didn’t want to leave, but Grace had other plans for the afternoon so we reluctantly said good-bye ….




…bringing home 8 new house plant babies to nurture and fuss over.


“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”  ~Frances Hodgson Burnett

church, and a walk in snow


Hello again, I just played bananagrams with Grace and won.  Now she’s going to go get dressed for the day and I have a few free moments to post a blog, although it is distracting here what with the roof dripping, dog snoring on my lap, cat sleeping, ladies cleaning, and dinner to start soon…. because it’s a recipe that takes all day.  (oven baked corned beef and vegetables).  Grace may or may not be going out with a friend for lunch.  If she doesn’t than maybe she and I will go out together.

I have to take her back to college on Saturday morning.  Has a week ever gone by so quickly?



This is a continuation from yesterday’s blog all about my visit with Joanna this past weekend.  While we were downtown, we went to the coffee shop twice; once when we were waiting for our nail appointment and secondly for a late lunch and coffee.  I had a german chocolate cupcake for dessert.  The frosting was put on top generously with an ice cream scoop (!) which made me very happy.  Joanna had a cookie bar with pear and ginger.

As we walked to the car she noticed that the church just up the sidewalk had a flag waving outside the door which said, “open for prayer”, so we went inside.  The Pastor walked in just behind us and was very welcoming.  I loved the fact that he said “Come right in!” and then vanished downstairs.  We could hear people talking and laughing and smell a yummy church meal.  We never saw him again which was refreshing because typically a pastor will gravitate toward anyone new and try hard to be friendly, which can be nice, too, but we wanted to freely explore…….


Right away we noticed and admired the homemade banners hanging from the rafters.  We stood and studied each one.


Our souls just soaked in the spiritual surroundings and I took a lot of pictures of the stained glass windows because my brother David is currently making a (small) one for his house.




There were teddy bears placed randomly in the pews which we thought was delightful.  We looked at everything, sat for a few minutes, read the historical information in the back, and took a church bulletin for our scrapbooks……

Back at home, we pulled on our snow boots and went outside.


The hens do not like to stand in the snow.  I bring them water from the pond nearby.


We walked through the woods where I showed Joanna the tree massacre from one of my boys fighting battles against them with a sharp sword/hatchet.  We grieved the fallen and the spots of wood chips.  (The boy in question has been stopped by his father).  We continued through the woods and into a field of snow…….




After being chilled outdoors the fire inside was delightful and we sat right in front it and  exchanged gifts, talked, laughed, went on Pinterest and Instagram, & looked at books and magazines.  Grace took these photos for me, which I love.  ❤


The next morning we went to one last antique store.  I forgot to take my phone inside (sign of a truly good time) but got this one last photo in the car after we prowled around the many different booths inside the building for well over an hour.  She has 5 children and I have 7, and like most people, we are in a busy season of life, but would you look at those refreshed faces?  That’s what friendship does, and a life well lived, content with the joy of little things.

“The small things of life were often so much bigger than the great things . . . the trivial pleasure like cooking, one’s home, little poems especially sad ones, solitary walks, funny things seen and overheard.”  Barbara Pym


~snow in March~


Ah, the changeable weather of March.

This is what we woke up, nothing too terrible, but school was already cancelled and for hours and hours we felt rather let down. . . . .in fact, the roads were perfectly fine when I ventured out with Sarah for her dentist appointment at 11.


Next door to the orthodontist is a small floral shop so the two of us ducked inside to look around before heading home.  It was warm and cozy and we met a cat named Penny.   Sarah said, “Penny is a great name for a cat.”

No one appreciates flowers like a Northerner at this time of year.  They are a feast to the eyes. . . . .








We came home with this arrangement. . .and a soy candle.


back at home. . . . .


David and I played Monopoly with Seth and Sarah.  It was laborious.  And not fun.  By the time I had a total of 2 properties, everyone else had like 7.  I kept landing on non property spaces.  Seth played like he lives life, with no regard for keeping things orderly and neat, flipping around on the floor, spilling his iced tea, and so on.  He also got tired of the game even though he was doing very well.  We eventually congratulated ourselves for quitting at the half way point.  (we made it that far)  But isn’t the penguin token so cute?  I thought of you, Dad.


“Why aren’t these kids in school?”


“I can’t relax in these conditions.”



The Christmas Cactus surprised me with one more blossom!  (in a cobalt fiestaware planter)


Rich got home from Dallas just in time for the big snow-day.  Everyone was glad to have him back. . . .including Parker the dog.



Eventually the snow picked up.

Rich went out with the children to buy a mattress for Joanna’s visit (tomorrow) and I had a nice hour or so to watch the snow fall and read my book (Don Quixote) which has been a highly amusing literary surprise.

“Published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.”  ~wikipedia

I picked up a copy at the thrift store for like 5 cents.



When they arrived home with the mattress, I had just put chicken enchiladas in the oven.  Everyone was so hungry.  Enchiladas were never anticipated quite like this.  We looked into the oven every 30 seconds to see if they were done.  Meanwhile, Rich told me all about his wonderful deals at the mattress store.  The man in charge gave them his full attention because, as he said, “You will probably be my only customers today.”  Rich told me his story as the children all hovered around, listening and watching for Mama’s reaction, after all they were so proud of their Dad and knew I would be, too.

Alas, just as Rich finished up his report and concluded by saying, “Wasn’t that a good deal, Shan?”,  Seth “ate his chair”, in the words of our 15 year old son.  He had been rocking back and forth on his stool, leaning on it instead of sitting on it, and it slipped out from under him and landed on him with a loud crash.  We all looked down at Seth on the floor as he started saying, like he was trying to convince himself or maybe pray for a miracle, “I’m okay, I’m okay!  I’m okay!”  Rich helped him to his feet and dusted him off.  It was dear little his nose, the part right between his eyes.  It swelled up slightly and bled a little but was not broken.  “Wow, he totally ate that chair,” said Dave,  “Is the chicken done yet?”  Seth went to look at himself in the bathroom mirror.  A picture would be nice right about now but I wasn’t in the position to be photographer at that point, I was too busy congratulating my husband for buying 2 mattresses, 2 pillows, 2 sets of sheets, a mattress protector, arranging free delivery and old mattress pick-up, all for the PRICE OF JUST ONE MATTRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!  “Wasn’t that a good deal, Shan?”  “Wait, I’ll tell you just as soon as I feel Seth’s nose to see if it’s broken………….”


I’ll just post this photo again.  Boy was dinner good.  They all dug in and enjoyed as they ate in front of the TV and got up for seconds and thirds.  Yes, TV is totally okay during meals on snow days.

The rest of the day passed lazily.  PTL


The snow continued to come down heavily and we woke up this morning to yet another snowday.  Rich plowed the driveways and headed to work after telling me, “No, I cannot take them with with me,” and the children went right outside before 8,  after breakfast to make hyenas.  (I don’t know but they took the bag of carrots, I saw Parker running around with one in his mouth)



I filled up the bird feeders and admired little cat tracks.

I’m blogging in front of the window with my slippered feet up on the sill.  When I look outside I have to squint a little, the snow is so white and bright it puts our ideas of “white” to shame.

one dollar photo shoot

“I live to enjoy life by the littlest things, feeling the grass between my toes, breathing fresh air, watching the wind sway the trees, enjoying the company of loved ones, a deep conversation, getting lost in a good book, going for a walk in nature, watching my kids grow up. Just the feeling itself of being alive, the absolute amazing fact that we are here right now, breathing, thinking, doing.”   ~Marigold Wellington


On Wednesday the temperature reached 63!  I was too hot at times!  And the very next day the temperature dropped 30 degrees and by that afternoon it was snowing enough that all after school activities were cancelled.  I looked out the window from the couch, where I was cozy with a soft blanket, and saw the big wet flakes falling straight out of the sky.  It was so pretty.  I remembered how I would have Grace dress up so I could take her photos out in the snow.  Sarah was downstairs playing video games.  I sighed.  I didn’t feel like bothering to ask her.  I was too tired.  I knew it would take some convincing on my part to do a photoshoot with Sarah.  Therefore I watched the rest of my movie.


Well, lo and behold about an hour later I had to shut in the chickens because there were no mature children home to send instead.  As I pulled on boots and took my coat from the closet, Sarah came upstairs.  “Where are you going?”  “I have to go shut in the chickens.”



And so it happened!






After the hens were properly shut in she asked,

“Do you want to see Ethan’s secret hiding place?”



It wasn’t very far away but traveling there was was rather difficult.  I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get past some of the branches.  I had to remove briars from the both of us at times, too.  We were crawling through the bushes and trees to get to Ethan’s secret hiding place.


It was a big tall white birch tree.  Caleb discovered it once a long time ago when Sammy the cat led him to it by meowing.  And then he in turn showed Seth and Sarah.  It’s all a secret.  They knew what it was by Ethan’s name scratched into the bark.  It said, “Ethan loves……”  and I’m not going to tell you the name because it’s a secret, too.  By the time w got home I had forgotten it was a secret hiding spot so I told Ethan about it and he laughed and Sarah said, “Did Sammy show you the spot, too, E?”  And he said, “I think a cat did lead me to it actually.”


FOLKLORE:  the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth.


Isn’t it amazing that in just one afternoon enough tiny snowflakes can fall to cover the ground and the trees?  A million little things………all together can add up to something significant.



the mom









Sarah Joy age 7 years and 9 months.  On a small walk with mom to the chicken coop.

Thanks for letting me take your pictures, Sarah!  I love you!

PS, I had to pay her a dollar.

most delicious chocolate cake


Seth’s birthday


had a backdrop of pure white and a sky of baby blue.



It was absolutely magical in the woods.  Photos just do not do it justice as a photo turns everything flat and motionless and room temperature.  Reality has endless depth, layers, temperature, smells, sounds, feelings of expectation, exploration. . . . .



nature’s playground


here comes the sunshine


They insisted on the short cut back home which involves a perilous crossing of the stream.


No one got wet.


For dinner that night……looks amusingly not that good….creamy scalloped potatoes with pan fried sausages on top.  Yum!

Birthday cake for dessert; two round cake layers with fresh whipped cream, sweetened strawberries, and homemade fudge sauce.


topped with chocolate dipped strawberries.

I made everything myself except I did use a cake mix for the chocolate cake.

((((presented upon a Scarlet fiestaware cake plate))))


It was truly as delicious as it looked.




One piece remained but was quickly eaten the next day.


“I got no cake.”

“I only got this dumb green streamer in my collar.”


We took a photo that night at 9:20 pm, the exact time of his birth, nine years earlier.




bird notebook

Good morning Monday, my friends, do you feed the birds?

A thoughtful collection of bird feeders will bring an interesting variety of feathered visitors.  Sometimes I even say, “Thank you for coming!”

From where I am sitting on the couch I can look right through the living room window and easily see my feeders on the porch.  I have one hanging and three make-shift feeders (which are really copper sifters) sitting in different places; on the porch railing, a plant stand, and a little white table.  Because their bottoms are screens I don’t have to worry about the seed staying wet after it rains.  There is black sunflower seed in three of them, and dry mealworms in the fourth (wishing, hoping, dreaming…….of bluebird visitors).

I have a camera nearby with my zoomiest zoom lens attached.

And in this simple way, our days are peppered with bird behavior.  Sometimes the feeders are empty.  But sometimes chicadees fly in, take a seed, and immediately fly out to eat it in the bushes by our driveway.  They don’t stay long.  As soon as one leaves, another one takes its place, it is well-choreographed and there are never any collisions.  Sometimes a pair of cardinals come to visit.  Or a beautiful house sparrow and nuthatches, and a titmouse or two.  I remember that we need more suet to cater to the local woodpeckers.  I haven’t seen any bluejays lately but I saw some at a neighbor’s feeder yesterday.  My parents get a whole flock of mourning doves on their front porch!

Sometimes one of the children will notice a bird and tell me to “come look, Mom!”  I love that.  I tiptoe over as quietly as I can.  Sometimes I’m too late and “oops, it flew away.”


“Think of all the animals you know and you will see that there is not another one that is clothed with feathers.”  Fields and Fencerows, by Porter and Hansen

“He will cover you with His feathers.  He will shelter you with his wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”  Psalm 91:4


“A wave of song moves across the continent each morning, east to west, with sunrise.  Light–a certain intensity of light–starts birds singing.”  Backyard and Beyond, Edward Duensing and AB Millmoss

“He redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.”  Job 33:24

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.”  Psalm 96:1-2




The more things should learnest to know and enjoy, the more complete and full will be for thee the delight of living.”  Phalen

“However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all……”  Ecclesiastes 11:8


“Use at least one full page in your notebook for each bird sighting.  First, record the day and time.  Next, record the place you saw the bird.  Was it in a field or near the water?  Was it on a grassy lawn or in a woodlot?  You might want to add a brief sentence describing the feature by which you identified the bird–it’s color, shape, or field mark.  Do a small sketch of the bird and make notes about the bird’s behavior.  You can squeeze a lot of information on one page.”   Field Trips, by Jim Arnosky



“These birds were probably not drawn, even thus loosely, together by any social instincts, but by a common want; all were hungry, and the activity of one species attracted and drew after it another and another.  ‘I will look that way, too,’ the kinglet and creeper probably said, when they saw the other birds busy, and heard their merry voices.”   Signs and Seasons by John Burroughs