A Haven for Vee

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Tree Wranglers

Soooo, did you guess that the boleros went down because of this man? What? With all the clues that were there, too: sawdust, fallen branches, leaves in the background. Guess that we won't be calling you "Sherlock" any time soon. ;>

We've been chatting about opening up the tree canopy, John and I. Very easy for me since I wouldn't be up and down that ladder 79 times. Nor would I be climbing about in the treetops, swinging ropes, tying off ladders, moving ladders, getting chainsaws up and down ladders, cranking on tree limbs, hauling them away and all the other things that went into opening up our view to the sky.

As our neighbor was on vacation, John thought it a great time to do this knowing that we already had his permission and knowing that if he were home he'd want to help. John prefers to work alone as he feels safer.

Here's the story in mosaic photos...if you can take it. (Yes, John is an expert. People actually pay him to take down trees. I do hope that he'll not be doing this kind of work much longer, though. It's a rough job!)

Did you notice our friendly neighbor up there? No? I just knew that you're not quite ready for detective school. (He had arrived home the day before John started this chore unbeknownst to us. Ha! Some things are just too funny. I could read John's mind as Mr. Friendly Neighbor arrived to help.)

Ahhhh, yes! We can see the vultures wheeling overhead.

A gal's got to have some diversions. There are so many pictures that I took from the house that I'm not showing. I called it my "coward's view." Anyway, my "oh, look at thats" are 1. that tenacious poinsettia that refuses to give up the ghost though it's been tossed over the banking 2. a black butterfly perched on Claudi's hat 3. my *pumpkin muffin* ...when the going gets tough — eat!

There were only three casualties: the fence, the well house, and the boleros. I am praising God that my hubby is on terra firma.

And this is where we began yesterday morning. Only now, what remains of the lilies is right here brightening my kitchen windowsill.

One day soon, I'll share what my opened canopy looks like. Lots more sun and breeze, which is such a relief.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


It was a rainy morning followed by an overcast day with oxygen-sucking humidity levels that would make a lesser woman tear off her clothes and jump in the river. You'll be happy to know that I exercised great restraint.

I've decided that my new word should be "sing."

When things don't quite work out — sing! Try it and see if it doesn't work. Report back.

For example, what if I told you that shortly after taking my header photo, my bolero lilies looked like this?

Sigh Sing! Check back tomorrow and I'll share all. Today, the hospital bed arrives and the whole house is upside down. La-la-la-la-la...

You have a happy Tuesday!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rhubarb Custard Pie


It finally cooled down enough to bake the rhubarb custard pie I've been wanting to try for weeks. My apologies to all I've told that I was baking it. I lied. This was the first time I've made rhubarb custard.

The mosaic probably tells the story far better than words, but for my dear friend who needs words, I'll explain.

Top row left to right:
1. Spindly little rhubarb stalks
2. Pie crust made and chopped rhubarb inside
3. The custard filling is added
4. A lattice top...ohhh, fancy schmancy for me...oops, forgot the butter so added it atop the lattice holes

Second row two small photos:
1. Pie baked for 55 minutes total
2. The mess that remains on the pastry board

Third row two small photos:
1. Cinnamon swirls with leftover crust, but of course!
2. Ditto

Fourth row left to right:
1. Pie fresh from the oven
2. Pie picnic on the deck
3. An unattractive piece of pie waiting for sampling
4. John waiting for his cue

Middle Photo:
Hubby giving this pie two thumbs up, trust me! :D Isn't he a good boy?

If you'd like, you can find this recipe right *here.* We'll be keeping this one.

Again, many thanks to Mary @ Little Red House.

P.S. Comments are still off...enjoy those mosaics!

Nice? I Don't Think So...

A while ago now, a commenter said, "If you are as nice as you seem to be, you'll..." As nice as you seem to be? That was pretty surprising because if there's anything I try hard to do it's be real in this blog. I mean really, I ran over a detour sign just yesterday...on purpose!  Some of you have read from the beginning and I daresay that you haven't found me especially "nice." And, further, nice is not a word that I'd use to describe who I am.

If pressed to describe myself, I'd fall back on that old line so many Christians use: I'm just a sinner saved by grace. Though that mindset is the very one that has kept me focused on my sins for most of my adult life instead of on the Lord. What I'd far rather say is that I'm a new creature because of what He did on the cross for me. (It's just that I have so much evidence of that old nature. Needless to say, that former nature keeps me well reminded that I am anything but nice.)

This is what Bob George has to say about it in Classic Christianity: A Christian like this will never mature. He will never, as long as he is held in the bondage of guilt over a past sin, experience all that Christ has intended for us to experience through His indwelling life...Until you rest in the finality of the cross, you will never experience the reality of the resurrection. (used by permission of the author)

The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. ~Romans 6:10

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit. ~ I Peter 3:18

Let us grab hold of all that God has for us by recognizing the incredible price He paid once for all.

Many blessings this Sunday...

As always, Sunday comments are closed. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vaulting Daylilies and Stunted Astilbes

We have a saying in my corner, which goes like this: Y*o*u can't get there from here or more accurately: Y*o*u can't get theyah from heah.  And so it has been in my little town today. I tried to get to the transfer station just past eight this morning and ran into a blocked street in short order. Turning around, I figured a way to circumvent the situation only to find that both ends of my street were now blocked. I ran over the detour sign (I am not kidding) and headed on my way. Gheesh. (Turns out that the whole town is abuzz with activity...lots of yard sales, a library book sale, a pie sale, a parade, a 5K race, a firemen's muster, and assorted other activities. Wish I could go! It would be a blogger's dream.)

Instead, I'm showing the daylilies just beginning to bloom and my wee bitty astilbe on the lower right. Believe me, they're not supposed to be this way. Must need some vitamins. Please ignore the lawn's needing to be mowed. John is off to a birthday party and I'm tied to the house.

Hope that your Saturday is going well. Mine is quiet, which is a-ok with me. Almost. ;>

Friday, June 25, 2010


John came to me this morning and asked me to take a picture of the trellises. Seems that he's been mulling something over. He's wondering if the local hardware store would like them well enough to sell them there. Anyway, he's taken the photo above to show. Wish that it had come out that clear when I printed it off.

We enjoyed windows open off and on yesterday as thunderstorms rolled through. The good news is that they ushered in one of those high weather systems and we have a "blue sky alert" for today and the weekend. Perfection.

(Nan was a little less than impressed with windows open than we were, but we bundled her up really well.)

I've finished reading a delightful little book that I'm hoping to share with you. I'm waiting for permission from the publishers. That takes six to eight weeks. Actually, I'm pretty impressed that it only takes that long. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Now if that groundhog finds my mandevilla, I may come unhinged. You'll know when you read a post that says something like this: $##%&*)&^%#^^###%%@@!!!!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mandevilla, French Doors, and an Old Book

It's not blue clematis, Cindy. Nope. My eye went straight for this plant called "Pretty Crimson Mandevilla" It's pretty darned crimson all right. Last night, while I waited for the pharmacy to straighten up a snafu with the doctor's prescription, I was able to wander around in the garden section for a considerable length of time. Not wanting that shopping to go to waste, this climber came home with me.

This morning, it's being used to prop a French door open. My house is so stale being closed up because Nan feels the drafts so. Tough. I'm going to be mean and keep the doors and windows open today. It's a shame to have such beautiful doors and not be able to open them to the fresh, light breeze.

Have you ever had this happen to you? You're doing some little thing and a memory floats back up to the surface and begins to paddle around in your brain? This morning's duck was this picture.

It's titled Grandmother's Birthday by G.S. Knowles. I love this picture from my childhood collection  and I do believe that I can thank Knowles for my French doors. Everyone wondered why I was so insistent upon doors that opened out. :D

Have a marvelous Thursday. I must scoot before the great hordes arrive...ackk...in less than an hour...dishes not done...Nan not up... Later!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Deck Washing and Mounted Trellises

John has been very busy around here. Typically, the constant rain and the humidity of June has caused the deck to become very dirty with mildew and molds. It's completely unsightly when it gets this bad.

This little sprayer apparatus worked very well. John used some sort of deck cleaner and just had at it.

In the noonday sun (we get about two hours of full sun on the deck before the sun falls behind the treeline again), see how bright and clean it is. Ahhh, so much better!

The trellises are mounted. John figured out some intricate system. Needless to say, they are very solidly on the wall and not coming off any time soon. I spent a bit of time looking for some sort of inexpensive climbing something or others. I found clematis on sale for $3 a pot and now find myself wishing that I had purchased three. Even if I'd much rather have something else, that's such a bargain that I can't refuse. Especially since it is this late in the growing season and I just need something. To those who've suggested various plants, believe me, I have taken note and have them on my list for future reference.

What projects are going on at your place this week?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We have a new pet...actually, he's been around for a few months now. We first started seeing him (her?) when just a little bugger no bigger than a squirrel. It didn't take long to find a fair amount of flower loss and damage to the lawn with many large holes being dug.

But, gosh, isn't he cute? NOT! I could so cheerfully wring his neck with my bare hands. But then does he look a bit vicious to you?

Suppose that he can be forgiven for that knowing that the lady of the house is actively planning his demise nearly every waking moment of her day.

What have we tried thus far? Let's see, there's been good old-fashioned poison pellets, cat litter to fill the holes (ugh), and a trap.

Score to date — Chomper:3 Vee:zip

Any other ideas besides buckshot or a .22? (Forestalling Vickie right off the bat.)

Hope your day is going better!

P.S. Thanks to all who commented on yesterday's post about trees. Fascinating! Linds, a "right to light" law sounds fantastic.

P.P.S. For those who've wondered, Chomper is a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck or a whistle pig.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Would you believe that I've gone and done it yet again? Please don't groan. I know that I am hopeless. < insert wry grin >

Sharon Lovejoy recently posted a perfectly charming piece called Sanctuaries of Spirit. She and her husband Jeff are visiting gardens as they head east promoting her new book and speaking at this place and that. They are wending their way to their summer home in this corner.

Anyway, Sharon showed a garden scene painted of a wonderful home as it appeared many years ago and the current scene of the same spot. That's where I opened mouth and inserted foot by saying that one of my pet peeves is... You can read it all there in comments, if you choose. (This may not be the time to say that I sent you.) Sharon said that I had sparked some lively discussion. Yup, I am all about sparking lively discussions. :D

If you've ever seen my backyard, you can see that I do love trees; I do love shrubs; I do love green plants. (See previous post) What I don't love is unkempt unless it is the forest and even then, I'm a proponent of the German way...keep it tidy. The trees behind my home truly are the view, but there are far too many of them. They block the light, encourage molds, damage my roof, prevent my other plants and flowers from growing and block the breezes not to mention the sunset. That I must turn on a light to read by in the middle of a sunny summer day is annoying, too. It's like a tomb in here!

We own an Eastern Spruce, seven or more forsythia bushes and two lilacs plus assorted azaleas. That's it, but it looks like so much more, right?

I live in a state that is big on forest management, which is why we have more forest today in 2010 than we had 100 years ago and earlier. Further, we have many lumbermen, my own brother-in-law included, who make their living selling firewood. We burn wood here in the winter because so many of us can't afford oil. There's plenty of wood to burn. Folks can sell one tree or an acre or a hundred acres and more...happens every day.

So I do not understand why homeowners who could see the lake, the mountains or the ocean choose instead to see only the trees. I confess again...I just don't get it.

Some may believe that I am being selfish to select a view over a tree or several trees. So be it. I do and will every chance I get. It's all about balance for me. I think it's all about gardening, too. What gardener keeps a plant (and a tree is a plant) that is no longer working there? Not one that I know. We prioritize. We judiciously select plants for this reason or that.

And what if we allow items to collect in our homes the way we allow trees and shrubs to grow up all around us never checking the onslaught? It may be a poor analogy, but it's working for me. Being as intentional with our flowers, trees, and shrubs is as important as being intentional with the items one has in the home or garage or wherever.

In the end, those of us who think looking at trees is the better view and those of us who think that we can't see the forest for the trees will strike some balance I am certain.

What are your thoughts? Go ahead, I can take it. :D (Maybe this will become my new catch phrase.)

A very happy summer to you!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Can't See the Forest for the Trees~Mosaic Monday

Since many of us have been experiencing heat and humidity, I thought I'd provide some leafy, green shade. We live with lots of trees. They surround us and their branches hang over our roof, but we only own one tree...the Eastern Spruce. How odd is that? Comments are once again off so that you may enjoy seeing more mosaics. See you next time!

A big thank you to Mary@Little Red House for hosting this weekly event.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there! I'm sure that your children know who you are. God bless you for a job well done.

And doesn't it strike you as interesting that God wishes to be known as our father?

Father! – to God himself we cannot give a holier name. ~ William Wordsworth

I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. ~II Corinthians 6:18

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lavender, Peace and Calm, and Joy

I had no idea that peace and calm could be packaged and sold, ditto joy, but as you can plainly see, there it is.

John's sister JP visited yesterday bringing gifts and we are all intrigued. She said that the lavender would help with sleep and boy is she right! JP put a bit on Nan's wrists then Nan promptly left for her room where she napped for two and a half hours. I tried it last night and can report that I enjoyed a peaceful sleep as well. Hope that John also benefited from the gentle aroma. Can't wait to try the other fragrances. What a thoughtful gift from a sweet gal who also reads my blog. Thank you, JP!

Wishing you all lavender dreams, peace and calm, and joy can't hurt either. Now go create a terrific Saturday...

Friday, June 18, 2010


Do you have spiderwort growing in your garden? It's a wonderful little flower tending more toward blue than purple. It's a perennial, which in my book is an added bonus.

The Death Spray that I spoke of earlier found at LL's is not working quite as well as I'd hoped. The rhubarb leaves are still being eaten overnight. Oh, and do be careful when using any such spray. I accidentally inhaled some yesterday and it wasn't pleasant. Yup, those stupid product warnings are made for folks like me. < insert wry, very wry, grin >

The strawberry shortcake was delish. We were able to talk my mother into staying for supper. I thought that since this making a meal of strawberry shortcake is an old family tradition and all... Mother told me that my grandmother came up with it; my grandmother told me that her grandmother came up with it. Well, as stated, it goes away back and I have no idea to whom proper credit goes. I do think everyone should try it!

Edited to Add: *More information* from Leslie on how far back this eating of strawberry shortcake for supper goes. It is not original with my family. John's family didn't do it, though he's not opposed. This leads me to wonder if your family does. Oh, we make meals of corn on the cob as well in late August and early September. And I'd be mighty tempted with fresh tomatoes, too, but never have.

This next bit is only for regular readers and the curious. Nan is now enrolled with the hospice program. It sounds as if it will be just the support that she needs. It has no time limit; it is covered by her insurance; it does provide respite care twice a week for two hours at a time; a doctor is on staff and he can make house calls; there's a nurse on duty 24/7 if a question comes up at any hour. Best of all, if caring for Nan becomes too much for either of us, she can go to the Hospice House, which is a wonderful facility. My sister looked into it last fall when we thought my mother might need it. One of the first things the Hospice nurse said was that a lot of the medications that my grandmother is taking will be removed. They're no longer of any benefit to her. Also, if she doesn't want to eat, she doesn't have to eat. These things will be her choice. This will represent a major shift so it'll be interesting to see how it all goes.

Time for a bit of levity...

I was able to pop in to visit with the grands a few nights ago. Only the youngest and my son were home at first, but the eldest and his mom came in after a while. I asked my returning grand if he'd been visiting.

His response, "No! I just forgot to stay home."

Love kid logic and must remember that line!

Have a wonderful Friday...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Strawberries and a Sweetheart

Sent John off for a few things from the store and he took the scenic route past the farmstand and picked up strawberries. That means just one thing—strawberry shortcake for supper. That's right. Our strawberry season is short and swift so we devote an entire meal to the delicious strawberry. Course John could enjoy strawberry shortcake any day; somehow Nan and I will just have to endure. ;>

In further John news, he continues his work on the trellises.

Does he not look happy?

Don't look now, Hon, but I see more painting in your future.

He thinks that I'm kidding!
And a very happy Thursday to you...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Not All About Alzheimer's Pt.2

Hmmm, not sure about that header. I've been waiting so patiently for the Bolero lilies to bloom, too...

Though I said that my blog wouldn't be all about the trouble of this day, I just wanted to document. The social worker thinks there may be help, but it won't come in the form of daycare as Nan is beyond that at this point. The SW feels that what we have is a "failure to thrive" and that Hospice Care should be called in. Taking a deep breath even as I type this.

It's not that I feel that there is any tragedy in living to be 100. There is not. I guess that the term failure to thrive sounds bad and as if it may be a finger pointing at the quality of the care my grandmother has received while with me. Both my mother and the social worker say that isn't so. It's my insecurity, my problem.

I'm not sure what this will all mean yet. The ball begins to roll tomorrow as the assessment team arrives. Oh boy. As I thought, Nan had a very hard struggle with this discussion. I found her weeping later in the day and through her gasps she told me how afraid she is. I just hugged her and told her that she was safe and secure and that there'd never be a time when she was abandoned. Not ever.

A huge thank you to all who commented on yesterday's post. You gave me such sound suggestions and I pondered all day on what you said. And I've ordered books, too!

Thanks as well for responding to the comments on/comments off question. Today, I'm closing comments as you've invested so much already. Gentle hugs all the way around.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's Not All About Alzheimer's—Is that Selfish?

 37-40Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." (Matthew 22:37-39, The Message)

There's a fine line between thinking about challenges in the best possible light and denial. At least, I 've always found that to be true. I've been living in some denial of late and find myself now making difficult decisions. My denial has been that "I can do this." Worse yet it has been "I can do this alone."

In an attempt to get some help with my grandmother, Home Health was called in. It's been a regular nightmare. No offense to home health for when truly needed, it's a blessing. When it's not, it's an interruption and an irritation. Come to find out, what I really needed was respite care. Big difference.

And what Nan really needs is a caregiver who is not strung out by her needs/wants/demands, sleep deprivation, and providing constant 24/7 care.

A social worker has been called in to share the resources available. I've only been able to find one resource, which turns out to be a day care center for elders. Oh, Nan is so not going to like this, but it is going to be necessary for me. That's the rub. This is going to be a selfish move on my part to give me a break. I need a break. I, I, I, need a break.

It's too easy, as a Believer, to feel that one must do and do and do and wear oneself completely out on the altar of give, give, give. Yes, some of you have even warned me. I remember.

That's why when I read this quote by E.B. White, it resonated. I have no idea where Mr. White's faith stood, but I do rather agree, well all except for that first bit there about the "most interesting."

Self is the most interesting thing in the world—if not carried to extremes
—and life would be far less gallant and exciting if men were not
continually absorbed with watching what they're doing with their own
hands and marvelling at the stew which is simmering in their own heads.
I hate people who are not interested in themselves.

At first glance, that sounds mighty selfish, but let's think about it. Do you know anyone who is interesting who is disinterested in him/herself? I don't. I don't think it's healthy. And isn't it fascinating to read from the Word that we can only love others when we love ourselves?

Just want to add here that this is not going to become a blog about Alzheimer's or caregiving just as it wasn't one about cancer or mental illness or the other concerns my family faces. Rather, it remains about my simple journey through this life and what interests me. Thank you for joining me for the first time or the seven hundredth. What a privilege to have you visit.

(I've been exploring some sites that focus on Alzheimer's and wish to provide the links of those that have been especially meaningful to me. It will grow with time, I'm certain.)

Caring.com a wealth of information
Memory Bridge ditto
Memory Bridge Video 9 makes me cry
Moving Forward with Alzheimer's a wonderful blog!

Oh, one last thing that perhaps you can help me with. Does it bug you when a blogger turns off comments? Go ahead, let me know. I can take it. :D

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Around the Sewing Room~Mosaic Monday

Not a lot of sun for taking lovely posy pictures and not a lot of excitement in the house hence these photos taken in my sewing/craft room. Believe me, I could not share what the room looks like in one shot for you'd run screaming from my blog. Little vignettes work best just now, but return later in the week when I hope to show my cleaned and more efficient space. :D Let's see if that motivates me...

Once again, comments are closed so that you may visit all the wonderful mosaics featured at Mary's Little Red House. Have a fun day!

Stained Glass


People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We are like windows
Stained with colors of the rainbow
Set in a darkened room
Till the Bridegroom comes to shine through
Then the colors fall around our feet
Over those we meet
Covering all the gray that we see
Rainbow colors of assorted hues
Come exchange your blues...

My colors grow so dim
When I start to fall away from Him
But up comes the strongest wind
That He sends to blow me
Back into his arms again.

~ Keith Green

Have always enjoyed the syncopation of this song and its joy-filled message. (And, yes, I still miss Keith Green.)

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance. ~Proverbs 15:13

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness. ~Lady Blessington (love her name!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

$ex in the Garden

Now that's an old ploy. The oldest one around. A garage nearby advertises using that one word in great big letters. The smaller font reads "Now that we have your attention." So, there you have it, two cheap shots in one week.

Actually, I do want to show you that very thing, but wait for the reveal.

Everything looks so much greener in the rain. The slugs are chowing down on the rhubarb, but I have the antidote. You do, too, now. Visit Leslie Land right *here* and look for "Death Spray."

Yup, it rained. The windows were washed thanks to John. Everything looks so much brighter now.

Okay, ready for the big reveal? I took this photo because my eyes are failing me and when this lovely, stylized insect (what is it?) flew by, I thought it the most enchanting thing and followed it. Turned out to be two its...er...not sure of pronoun case in this instance. Still, it's beautiful, right? Looks like a regular Fred Astaire of insects all dressed up in a tux.

Have a delightful Friday!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not All Stuff is Bad Stuff

Right. What was I saying about stuff? Here's a lovely stack of books that my mother left off for me today. She actually had some of these slated for the library sale until I snagged them.

I love books for making subtle or not so subtle decorating statements around the house.

This little one I put in my window arrangement for the sweet graphics of children fishing. I don't remember ever reading it.

This book I remember loving. L.o.v.i.n.g. My mother and grandmother loved it before me.

Let's see if we can discover why...

Ahhh, yes! Great pictures and

great text. I've never read a better-written truncated summary of King Henry VIII since.

Catch me in four years when I may be offering some of these fun graphics. Blast that 100 year rule! (Edited to Add: Math... the bane of my existence.)

So do you have a favorite childhood book that was your mother's and her mother's?

Edited to Add: Kristi at Thoughts from Thicket House graciously provided *this online site* for the book. Who knew? You can see the wonderful illustrations in much better detail. While the authors are different, it appears to be the same pictures and the same stories (on further review...not quite, but very close). I'm not sure what that mystery is about. My book is written by Charles Morris. This site says it was written by E. Nesbit. Please note that illustrations may be copied from that site. Yay!