library ‘n’ lunch

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Do you think we should adopt this kitten to be our very own?

This morning, we picked up Brittnee on the way to the library and she brought the kitten to the car so we could all say hello to him.  So far, my husband says “no”.  To be exact, he threatened to buy a motorcycle if I brought a kitten home.  It’s hardly fair.

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When we arrived at the library, the girls were happy to see that two of their friends were there!  They sat right down on the floor for a nice visit, and I must say, they weren’t exactly “library quiet” but who can reprimand young and beautiful readers like these?

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I’ve been eyeing this book for a while…..

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….so I added it to my stack.

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When I was done picking out my books, I went and found Sarah.

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And then I tried to sneak up on Seth, who was behind a bookshelf on some comfortable bean chairs.  I asked him how he knew I was coming.  “By your legs”  “How did you recognize that they were MY legs?”  “By your Converse sneakers.”

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We (and our bag of books) left the library and went for a picnic lunch nearby in a most picturesque location.  There were cows standing in the water on the other side of the lake.

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(((Life is Good Together)))

“Everyone please eat as slowly as you can.” ~mom

“WHY?”~children

“Because I want to enjoy myself.”~mom

*****

When Grace was done eating she climbed way up high in a tree.

PS.  should we get the kitty?

 

 

walking and cooking

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Seth plays video games every day for a couple hours but his time doing it is controlled by his loving mother to a certain extent.  This morning, he asked if he could have “his time” at 9am and I said, “sure”.  But at 8 he had eaten breakfast, showered and dressed, and he didn’t know what else to do with himself so we went for a walk together.  Grace was awake but Sarah was still sound asleep.  (Seth is an early riser)

It always happens that the boys will pick up a stick and start battle on trees and such.  From Jacob to Seth, they were all the same in that regard (and still are).

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pretty pretty Indian Pipe flower.  The website (linked) adds: America’s eminent poet, Emily Dickinson, called the Indian pipe “the preferred flower of life.” In a letter to Mabel Todd, she confides, “I still cherish the clutch with which I bore it from the ground when a wondering child, and unearthly booty, and maturity only enhances the mystery, never decreases it.

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I told him how to pose on this fallen down birch tree and he was obliging enough to humor me, still with his weapon-of-a-stick in his hand.  He looks pleased.

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He even likes hitting the caps off wild mushrooms with his stick, he calls it mushroom golfing.

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This is that same fallen down birch tree, I wanted to see the wood where the tree broke and fell.  What a wonderful home for God’s smaller creatures.

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little things of interest on the forest floor…..

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He walked barefoot.

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There are even orange mushrooms.

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Big healthy ferns are squeezing in on the path, reminding me of childhood games and forts in the woods.

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Teeny tiny white mushrooms

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some mushrooms had red caps

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This one looked shy.

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mushrooms on a log

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This large mushroom was broken off and on the ground……Seth’s barefoot show how big it was.

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Seth spied these gorgeous Cardinal wildflowers before I did.  They bloom at this time of year on mossy rocks in the stream and I always delight in them.

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Almost home!

He was a good sport and I found myself thinking, “I do so enjoy walks with a child or two or five or seven, and my camera!”

Dinner Tonight:

Crock-Pot Gingered Beef
2 pounds round roast, trimmed
2 onions, sliced
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup ketchup
6 T. brown sugar
3 T. vinegar
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 cup beef broth
salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef on all sides (I skipped this part).  Place sliced onion on the bottom of crock pot, place roast on top.  Mix remaining ingredients in bowl and whisk together.  Pour over roast.  Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender and can be shredded with a fork.  Pour cooking juices into a saucepan and simmer on the stove until reduced, about 10 minutes.  Serve over the top of the beef.

I haven’t made it in a while but in the notes I wrote “Yum, E approves.”  So I’m hoping he still approves tonight when he gets home from work and eats it for dinner.

Grace and I have been enjoying this today:

Black Bean and Rice Salad
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 onion, chopped, and 4 cloves of garlic, pressed, sautéed until translucent
3 cups rice
salt and pepper

Mix together in a big bowl and serve each portion with a spoon of salsa on top.

Both recipes from my ever-favorite cookbook Saving Dinner, by Leanne Ely

I’ve done lots of laundry (don’t you love hanging clothes outside on the line?) and still have some to fold, which I will do while the Waltons are on TV.  Seth and Sarah are outside playing.  I fell asleep reading a book on the couch with Seth next to me earlier and now Grace is in my spot, reading her book:  Messenger, by Lois Lowry.  She says it’s nice to read a book that doesn’t task the brain like some of the old classics she’s been reading.    I am reading Dead End in Norvelt, which is a Newbury award winner.  I’m almost done with it and it’s been delightful.  I love it.  Maybe you would, too.

 

PS, ANOTHER WALK WITH SETH that’s kinda making me cry right now.

 

 

 

outside & inside the house

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Grace and I found a Garden Center yesterday pretty close to home.  It was big, exciting, and bright and full of ladies of all ages filling their carts to the brim with annuals, perennials, potting soil, pots, vegetable plants, fertilizer, tools, and mulch!  I said, “I’m NOT going to get distracted by wanting alllllll the flowers!” and then I admit I did indeed became a tiny bit distracted which made her wander off to some flowering trees over in the quiet back corner while I made up my mind, eventually, to buy two huge RED hanging baskets and two RED watering cans planted with RED geraniums.  They look wonderful against our YELLOW house.  I now have the Memorial day//July 4th bunting up, too.  Home Sweet Humble Home.

Meanwhile, inside the house:

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I also picked up this little cabinet from a (new-to-us) Thrift store.

It has become our Scrap/Art-booking cabinet.

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Grace promptly ran off to find some books to put on top of it.  Mary Oliver poetry, a book I’m reading, a book she JUST finished, and one of her beloved Dictionaries.  (She has a weakness).

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Inside the cabinet there are removable shelves for our books and papers.

My scrapbook is on top, then Grace’s and then Sarah’s.  We each have one.  We glue anything and everything inside of them.  Someday I’ll take a few videos of them to share. Joanna does them with her girls, too, and when we’re together we love to spend time looking through each other’s books.  We also mail each other papers to include in them, too.

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Again at the thrift store, I couldn’t resist this 1070’s child’s tablecloth with Raggedy Ann and Andy on it.  Seeing it made Sarah remember that she had a Raggedy doll (which used to be Grace’s).

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***

Guess what?  My Christmas Cactus is blooming again!  It gives me great joy (rather like a christmas joy!)  Two buds; one small and one just-about-to-open.

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Sherlock sleeps in his favorite bed all day long (he reminds us of a taco in a shell, so his new nickname is Taco-cat which is the same backward and forward, David told me).

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Parker was sleeping so soundly on my bedroom floor that I had to stop and check his breathing.  He’s fine just really tired.

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My current read; Grace and the boys listened to the audiobook when they were still homeschooling years ago and I remember how much they loved it.  I was in the mood to try reading some Newbury Award books that I missed as a child, so I pulled this one off their shelves.  I think of them as I read it.

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I found this one just sitting on the couch.  I’m guessing Grace is reading it because I mentioned that I wanted to go see Laura and Almanzo’s house next summer but that she probably wouldn’t want to go with me because “you never really read the books like I did as a child.” To which she became slightly offended and said yes she did too read them.

This morning Grace couldn’t find packing tape.  I told her where to find it.  She couldn’t find it.  I went to check and found it promptly.  Then she could not find her shoes.  I bent over to look under the coffee table.  “They’re right there under the coffee table.”  “HOW DO YOU DO THAT?”  She was impressed.  “You’re like a MEDAL-DETECTOR of lost things!”

I felt really proud of myself.  Someday when you’re a mom you’ll hone this skill, too, Grace.

HONE:  refine or perfect (something) over a period of time.

..we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good..

DSC_0325“I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here. It is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” —Mina Murray in her journal

Sunday morning.  I had considered going to my parent’s house for the day as it was only an hour and a half drive from where we were in Pennsylvania.  But I was suffering with a cold and we decided to stay where we were.  Grace showed us a nice coffee shop and the three of us had breakfast together there.

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We spent the rest of the morning at a bookstore and Grace bought a journalling Bible with a beautiful cover and nice wide margins for her thoughts.

She was craving macaroni and cheese for lunch and we went to Ruby Tuesdays.

By this time, Joanna’s family was back from church and she was able to meet us with her daughter.

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I love her.

Joanna took Sarah along home with her.  Grace and I went to the hotel to get her things so she could do homework at Aunt Joanna’s house.  And then we spent the rest of the afternoon until bedtime with them.  It was as cozy as could be with all the family and me and my two girls all together in the cozy kitchen, dining room, and living room.  We had delicious Dominoes pizza for dinner.

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We love to exchange our big journals and look through them as we visit.  Joanna’s journal is big and heavy and full of quotes, pictures, found papers, and art.  Coco stayed by us and was inspired enough to get up and find things to glue into her first journal.

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((red shoe))

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Inspiration, Idea, Execution (the top corner of her journal shows a picture of how she came up with the art on the wall—her own photography))

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(green page)

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(brown)

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(old recipe)

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(photo by Jo)

“Some may say [journal keeping] is a great deal of trouble. But we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good. I consider that portion of my life which has been spent in keeping journals and writing history to have been very profitably spent. If there was no other motive in view [except] to have the privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent in writing it.” —Wilford Woodruff

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“Never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things — childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves — that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.” —Salman Rushdie

home happenings

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Good morning!  It’s good to be home, my children are home…..for it’s Columbus Day.

“One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather……”

That’s us this morning, rainy and cloudy, cozy and cool inside, oh so beautiful outside.

The colors are always so vivid with a washing.

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EVERYTHING outdoors is covered in a fine coating of dew.  My camera lens instantly fogged up, making a lovely “filter” for these orange flowers in the garden.

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I wanted to show you the trenches in the lawn.  Rich wants to heat the garage with propane and I said, “Only if you bury the tank.”

We are also having the upstairs bathroom remodeled and it is currently gutted down to the bare boards.

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Seth and Caleb both had a game this weekend, and as their parents we were so very proud of them but alas both teams suffered losses this time.  And as it was damp and a little drizzly, we spent most of Seth’s game sitting in the truck.  The weather for Caleb’s game was nice so we sat in our chairs, side by side, while Seth, Sarah and David ran around and played with their friends.  I ate TERRIBLE yesterday……not only a dunkin donut but also a reeses pb cup.  My chin feels a little extra dumpily today.  But oh, so good.

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After Caleb’s game, Rich went right down to wait for his son, ready to comfort and encourage after a tough loss.

DSC_1219 1“The gardener knows the seasons better than other people, for he tells time by Nature’s world, by what the garden yields each week or month.  It has given us a purposeful feeling to complete the cycle, to know the beginning and the end.”  ~Home Gardener’s Cookbook

I found this 1974 vintage cookbook/gardening book recently.  It made a pleasant “porch read” this weekend while sitting in my rocking chair.  (Along with the book Gentleman Gray used as a pillow).  Always have to be reading…..how about you?  Any engrossing recommendations?

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This morning was an excellent morning for muffins.  And so,

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(yes I gave him one)

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“Mom, these muffins are GOOD!”  ~Seth
“EVERYTHING Mom makes is good!”  ~Caleb
“Thank you, boys!”  ~Mom

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tasha tudor book finds

DSC_1487 1“When I’m working in the barn or house I often think of all the errors I’ve made in my life. But then I quickly put that behind me and think of water lilies. They will always eradicate unpleasant thoughts. Or goslings are equally comforting in their own way.”  ~Tasha Tudor

Jacob is doing fine in Vermont, he is so busy we don’t hear from him very often but all his texts end in that happy LOL face — yellow circle with a big grin and laughter-tear eyes.  He’s very busy with football; conditioning, practices, and meetings.  I read the group text this morning in which he confessed that he finally put the sheets on his bed…after three days.  He read the blog post I wrote and had to text me and say “great I’m crying right before my meeting, Mom.”  oops.  He’s coming back home next Sunday to get Ethan but Rich and I will be in PA getting Grace settled so we will miss seeing him.  Vermont is an easy state to visit from Connecticut, I honestly LOVE the drive to the college because I pass several very nice antique stores and the Vermont Country Store, which is an amazing place to shop for unique items, including food.

So anyway, back to when I visited Aunt Colleen two weeks ago now.  We had an afternoon just the two of us.  Her girls babysat Seth and Sarah (they are the best babysitters).  I wish I had taken more pictures with Colleen that day.  We stopped first at an antique store that was inside of a big huge old house.  We had just as much fun seeing the inside of that house as we did searching for treasures.

Then, we found a consignment shop basically in the middle of a very quiet shopping plaza, one of those places that you hesitate going inside because they don’t seem to have much business.  However, we entered the store and had a simply delightful time prowling around and I was very excited to find Seth a Derek Jeter tshirt for only 2 dollars AND……..(this is most exciting)…..on a shelf of children’s books I found……

TASHA TUDOR BOOKS!  THREE OF THEM!

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This was the one I was most amazed by….because when I opened the cover I saw….

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….that it was signed!!!  (swoon)

My friends, it was ONE DOLLAR.  ONE DOLLAR.

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The first one was published in 1971, and this one was written in 1997.

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“But then Caleb thought his end had come:  He tripped over a taunt rope in a clump of hemlocks where he had thought to conceal himself.  He fell flat, giving his chin a nasty whack.  He just managed to retreat, undiscovered, to the shelter of some rocks that were covered by bushes.”  

Naturally, the fact that there is a CALEB in the books makes them even better, as that is the name of my own dear fourth son, who is currently 12 years old.

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The third book I bought (they were each one dollar) was a copy of Tasha Tudor’s Fairy Tales, and as it was very similar to the Bedtime Book (already tucked away on a shelf at my house in CT), we promptly left it with Aunt Mary, on her porch, with a note.  She loved Tasha before I even did (as did my Mom).

When I got home I pulled all my books out of their various places in the house to take photos of them.  It’s been too long since I last READ them (I’m currently reading Harry Potter #3) so I plan on doing that very soon, while wearing a long skirted old fashioned dress, a kerchief on my hair, while turning off the electricity in the house, seated next to a huge dollhouse I made myself, with lit candles, a stuffed owl, and tea that I brewed also myself in old English chinaware!  Oh and I cannot forget the big vases of flowers from the garden, using homemade goat fertilizer to make them bloom extra lushly.

(dreams, only dreams)

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This book is a treasure for lovers of old fashioned gardening.

“Daffodils are an optimistic flower, and foolproof. You know what Shakespeare said:
“Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty.”

…I plant them in big clumps with a trusty shovel. I make several large holes all around and put quite a few in. That’s why it makes such a spectacular look when they bloom.”  ~Tasha Tudor

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Mother Goose book (of which I have two copies). . . . .

(all these books have been found in my wanderings through library book sales and second hand shops)

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(She passed away in 2008 at 92 years of age)

“You should see my corgis at sunset in the snow. It’s their finest hour. About five o’clock they glow like copper. Then they come in and lie in front of the fire like a string of sausages.”  ~Tasha Tudor

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Another page of her delightful drawings.  I have a print which I really need to get framed one of these days…..its of a small girl holding a chicken.

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This newsletter/catalogue was tucked inside one of the books.

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Joanna gave me this cookbook for Christmas in 2001, she is also a fan.  All the cool girls are.  (wink)  If you haven’t seen her work, I challenge you to find her books at the local library and enjoy a quiet hour or two turning the pages, you will be whisked away into another world for a time, and come back gently with a soft smile on your face, determined to maybe try a few of the things she loved so much; her pets, cooking, gardening, drawing, creating.

*****

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This huge hawk sat at the top of our old dead pine tree for well over an hour early yesterday morning.  As soon as I woke up I found myself down by the pond, in a soft rain, trying to get a good photo.

It’s beautiful.

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(Sarah was wearing her sister’s glasses).  These three were cute yesterday, visiting on the porch, so I had to get a photo.

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They brought me my camera, “We took pictures outside,” they explained, “he’s in the trash can.”  ooooookay…….

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Apparently they were pretending that he was Bugs Bunny (which explains the teeth) and because they didn’t have a proper rabbit hole, they used the almost-empty garbage bin.  Yuck!

“I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”  ~Tasha Tudor

starting with today

“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne

There are many sweet, simple blessings happening in my life lately but I am going to blog starting with today.

I woke up this morning in a hotel room after a lovely solid five hours of sleep and then deliciously dozing on and off for another four hours.

I had dropped Ethan off at college the night before after an evening of bowling and steak dinners and slept overnight in the hotel before heading home.

I am rather under the weather with some sort of upper respiratory infection; strep, ears, cough and headache so I’ve been on medicine since Friday.  I drove home from Vermont slowly.

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I explored two shops along the way.  The first was an antique shop with probably close to 50 or more venders in one big building.  Right away I found a Rose Fiesta Disc pitcher, anniversary edition from 1996.  It came home with me.  I didn’t buy anything else but I took a few more photos of things that delighted my eyes.

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This mood board was in one of the little booths, full of magazine clippings and so on.

Inspiring!

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This was a sweet painting of ducks flying up off a pond, which was done on white birch bark.

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Fiesta glassware (stripes)

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Fiesta shakers and tumbles on the top shelf.  The other dishes (middle shelf) are made by the same company but are not fiestaware so I don’t collect them; still, it’s fun to see.

*****

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Then, about an hour later, I found a used bookstore.  It had been a huge selection, but it is now going out of business so the books “only” filled two rooms.

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“Book thieves will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

I was amused by the specific sort of thieves addressed.  Would a book lover steal?  Perhaps.

I didn’t steal my books, I bought them all for five dollars.

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A Walk on an Iceberg; true story written by the main character’s granddaughter.  The book is about Eliza in the years before she became a grandmother, who was married at 19 and thereafter went on all of her husband’s sea captain voyages.

Honey I Love; poems for children

Friday Night Lights; about football -for Caleb

A Very Long Engagement, by French author Sebastien Japrisot, a novel of WW1

Summerball, another sports story for Caleb, this one about basketball

Because of Winn-Dixie, beautiful story of a young girl who adopts a dog

Thin Ice, a quaint 1956 book easy reader book for Seth to read to me

Good-time Charlie, about a cat

Joanna Runs Away, a story about a little girl and a horse

The Lady and the Spider, a Reading Rainbow book

Christmas in the Forest, peaceful christmas story with animals

Follow the Brook, a 1960 story about raccoons

The Story of Old Mrs Brubeck and how she looked for Trouble and Where she found Him

The Anne of Green Gables Storybook; with pictures from the movie

last but not least, my most exciting find for myself

The Kinta years, an Oklahoma Childhood, by Janice Holt Giles, who is the author of one of my favorite books (Hannah Fowler)