A Haven for Vee

Friday, June 30, 2017


Wednesday, I had lunch with my sister-in-law Mary. As I was getting ready to leave, I decided to take some photos of her property near Mary Woods. It looked so pretty to me and now we are now both trying to figure out what some of the wildflowers are.

This photo of lupins is courtesy of Steve Tabone who gives blanket permission to use his beautiful photographs with a link back to his site: Stephen  L Tabone Nature Photography. Wonderful perspective in this photo. I might have taken a photo trying to capture mountain and sky leaving the lupins to look pedestrian...ho hum. Here the lupins are truly showcased as they stretch toward that mackeral sky.

While Mary had no lupins, she does have other posies that I found at Mr. Tabone's site.

We are unsure what this flower is. It stands about two feet tall on furry, sturdy stalks and has a fringed leaf. Could it be Fringed Loosestrife?

Indian Paintbrush in the center and is the yellow to the left Prickly lettuce? Tough to see I know.

This is Oxeye Daisy with the large petal; it is considered invasive. I don't think Mary will mind if it spreads all over as her Everlasting has done.  The "skinny petal" daisy is Eastern Daisy Fleabane. I especially like that one.

So if you know anything about wildflower identification, feel free to enlighten me. I need all the enlightening I can get.

It is unlikely that I will make it back here before Canada Day tomorrow and Independence Day next Tuesday. I want to wish my Canadian friends and cousins a wonderful holiday. And I hope that all my fellow American patriots will have a blessed and celebratory 4th of July.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tea Towels and Friendship

Thank you for the kind words regarding the sheet music yesterday. As you may imagine, I sat down to play many of those pieces and pulled a few right back out of the pile. Perhaps you'd  be surprised to know which ones. Only White Cliffs of Dover actually made me tear up, though Tennessee Waltz came close just because both my mother and grandmother played it often.  I'll get all Susan Branch-y on you and share this clip sung by Vera Lynn, which you can listen to while you read, if you'd like.

Why does it not just feel like nostalgia, but a longing even for today? One day...

Someone asked about my grandmother playing the piano. Yes, she was an accomplished pianist who took lessons for twelve years. The first six were with a piano teacher and then, when Nan went beyond her first piano teacher,  she was referred to a "maestro" for the final six years. I am told that she had her own weekly radio time in Moncton, NB, when the station was in danger of dead air back in the early days of radio. Fun memories. My mother also played the piano and I play a little. 

ッ ッ ッ

Happy mail, gotta love happy mail, and especially since this week I also booted a lot of tea towels and bath towels and facecloths. 

Deanna must have been paying attention to my kitchen with its blueberry mugs because she sent me this darling blueberry tea towel. It arrived just yesterday! (I used to have a blueberry themed kitchen; blueberries are my favorite berry; and I like the book Blueberries for Sal, too.)

Love this note with its "blueberry" ink. 

Thank you, Deanna! I love it!! (I love her more.) You can see where this story began at Creekside Cottage.

See you tomorrow with some questions about wildflowers. Brush up please. Ha!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Blissful Domesticity

Some of the most popular posts here at my blog concern housekeeping. You may remember that my 
"style" is described (by me) as Grandma's Attic Meets Night in the Museum. Don't want this post to shock you!

While I am proud to say that the dining table remains clear, something terrible happened to the farm table that I use as extra storage and an island. Oops!

~two days and still clear~

Today, I have been packing up my grandmother's sheet music. It has been interesting. Following the advice of those who suggested I take a photo and be done with it, that's just what I did.

I recently asked someone what her favorite movie was...Latane, I believe. I thought that if I was so nosy I should also be willing to share. This is one of my favorites from 1949 when John would have been only 5 years old and I would be many, many years from being born. Ha!

My Foolish Heart is the story of Susan Hayward's character thinking back over her life and many of the poor decisions she made. She falls in love with Dana Andrews and becomes pregnant and engaged to be married in that order. Then he is killed. Sigh. It gets worse from there. Great old movie! ツ

I could continue on like this, but I think that I will take pity on you.

Collages are


~Carolina Lullaby~

Here is a highly idealized scene of slave domesticity depicted within a cotton ball boll. Hmmmm.... They did things strangely back in the early 1900s, but I still like the picture of 
this woman with her baby and little boy.

Guess that's all I have for today... Who knows where my decluttering will take me next?

Thanks for reading and have a fabulous day...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Garden Changes Good and Bad

It is an odd year this. Even as inattentive as I can be, I see the changes. Here, for example, are the Bolero lilies (oriental) today. There will be a total of seven. Once they have finished blooming, I'll be digging them out and bagging them for the trash. I can no longer keep ahead of the lily beetles that have been killing them for years now. This will be tough because my daughter gave me these plants. Here's a link to Boleros in better days.

~the final year 2017~

~the knock-out roses~

The roses may have finally become well established. I went out one day to find most of the rosebuds bitten clean off. In just a few more days, there were many more rosebuds. Hope that I can keep whatever is eating them away. I use a product from Bonide that is a deterrent to rabbits, cats, dogs, groundhogs, and hopefully everything else that means them harm. The product is sprinkled around areas and not on the flowers themselves, though believe me, I am not beyond doing that, too. Nothing worse than a garden being chewed alive.

~pretty little moth on a potentilla bloom~

This year's everlasting patch is doing very well. Some years, it's a mess. I can't get rid of it because I really like it and because my friend Sally gave it to me. Sounds familiar, right?
And that's just a wee bit of what little is going on around my yard. I believe that my garden is starved for sunshine. It is starved for light, even on its best day, because of the shade. In all the overcast, rainy weather of late, it really needs the sun. Here's to better days ahead! 🌻

Friday, June 23, 2017

Personification and Decluttering

So I set my FlyLady timer for 15 minutes for the umpteenth time in my life. Yes, I actually do use the timer. My goal was clearing the dining room table, which was piled high. While cleaning and clearing every other surrounding surface the table suffered the overflow. Whatever was on that table would be put away, given away or thrown away. (Thank you, Ellen, for reminding me of that technique.) I had agonized about taking care of those things for an entire three days: didn't want to do it, felt overwhelmed by it, pretended it wasn't there, all the tricks of denial I could muster were in play. Would you believe that the table was cleared with three minutes to spare? Why I have not learned this lesson...

~cleared table~

Okay, I am going to share the main reason why I have not learned this lesson. The number one reason is...

Personification. Yes. Believe it or not, I ascribe human qualities to inanimate objects. 
< slapping self in head 

Recently, my son brought a load of his stuff to store in my garage. In the process of helping me go through my things to gain room for his he asked with a grin, "Mom, are these three rocks special to you?" In response, I picked them up, clutched them to my heart, and took them into the house and looked at them for days. Yesterday, during the 15 minute time, I dropped those rocks over the deck railing where they landed amongst their brothers...see what I mean about personification? LOL! 

Here's a sticky wicket... John's belongings, specifically his clothing. His shirts and pants all hang in the closet just as he left them. 

Last summer, his daughters began suggesting that they be given his shirts. Pushing, pushing, pushing. I may have gotten snippy because I finally asked them why they thought they wanted his shirts...had they purchased any for him? (The answer is no.) They wanted them to cut up and make quilts from them. Not ready for that either. The mere thought makes me slightly nauseous. Thing is, my daughter may need to move in until her home is ready sometime in October. She will need the closet space. Why can't I do this? You got it! Those clothes have become John to me, which also explains the nausea at thinking of cutting into quilt squares. 

I may have a breakdown. 

Yes, an entire household of treasures, which have all become living, breathing representatives of the people to whom they belonged. No wonder I'm having trouble.

~the perfect box for me~

So right now those boxes have become my friends. My favorites are from Lowe's. Small packing boxes with handles for 76 or 79¢ are the perfect size for me to lift. KEEP, GIVE or TOSS... may need another labeled SHRED.

~work cut out for me~ 

It's another rainy cool day and perfect for plugging away for 15 minutes at a time. Hope that your plans are more fun. 

A happy weekend to you! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Life's a Beach Hodge Podge

1. The first day of summer rolls in later this week. What are ten things you'd put on your list of quintessential summer activities?

1. beach day at the ocean 
2. beach day at the lake 
3. day trip to the mountains 
4. day trip to the outlet stores 
5. day trip to anywhere 
6. ice cream 
7. picnics 
8. bbqs 
9. eating fresh produce 
10. picking berries 
11. I could go on... 

Will you try to manage all ten this summer?


2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach?


What do you do with them once you get them home?

Tuck them into vignettes, baskets, and planters

What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? 

 Reid State Park or Tenants Harbor, Maine

How many of these 'best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? 

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas 


Which one would you most like to visit? 

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland) because I have family and friends in Maryland.

3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

At a snail's pace because I am still moving slowly, but feeling better.

4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why? 

I dislike mowing the lawn because the lawnmower is temperamental and the lawn is uneven and sloped. Mercifully, it is also a postage stamp.

5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? 

Civility appears to be a thing of the past. 

Does that bother you? 


6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Something has been eating my rosebuds and when I find out what, woe be unto it!

You will find Joyce and participants right here.
Thank you for stopping by! 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Little Yammerings

Penny and I were having a little discussion about those beautiful tables of hers. When she shared the mosaic one that she had done with broken china, I remembered it well. Though it had been nearly a decade ago (Yes, some of us have been around for a while☺), I even remembered what I probably had commented all those years ago. She emailed to say Bingo. Ha! I knew it! Say, do you remember 
that beautiful table?

What's the point? Well, only this: I don't change much. You can see that in my featured post. I'm still a control freak; I'd still like to be able to control things that this world was never designed for some upstart human to control. I'd dispatch all this rainy weather for starters. There! I've said it again. Moving right along...

Glad that I had enough sense to cut flowers for the house because the wee garden is looking smashing this morning. No, really, smashed, smooshed, something. Did I say something about moving right along? That's another thing right there, I tend to get stuck on the same things over and over. I've been around the mountain so many times, it isn't funny. How anyone has put up with reading this blog all these years is beyond me. 

Let's get out of the tall grass, shall we? (One of John's favorite expressions.) 

I remembered something I wanted to put down for memory's sake. It is about the grands' visits last week. Jake arrived the second afternoon with his recorder in tow. I was trying to take photos with my iPhone...always tricky for me as I suffer with the dreaded syndrome  fat fingers

Let me set this up with a comment from Sam about recorders: No matter how well anyone plays a recorder, it never sounds good. He has a point.

~Jake plays the recorder~

This is very short, which is a good thing. You can see that I allowed my normally good Nonni nature to be tarnished. Remember: I have no clue that I am even recording or what's going on at all. They don't call me ditzy for nothing.

And I'll prove it again. When I attended Jake's baseball game last week, I found no parking. My back was acting up and I knew that I couldn't stand at the fence so I left and parked in the churchyard that sits above the ballfield. I had a wonderful "big picture" view, but I knew nothing beyond team colors of what was actually going on. Nevertheless, I determined to pay attention so I could chat with Jake about his game. 

The following late afternoon, the three of us were seated at a restaurant chatting when I mentioned that I had gone to the game. The grands were surprised because they had not seen me there. I asked the final score and heard the dismal news as reported a few posts ago. I said, "Jake, did you see that 
in-the-park homerun first thing? That was amazing!"

Jake's eyes narrowed and he wore the expression of what is this? a cruel joke? 

I kept yammering on just shoving that foot further in when Jake finally stopped me and said firmly: Of course, I saw that. I was the pitcher for the first three innings.

Never one to just shut up, I said, "Oh, well, I noticed that you stopped that runner at third base and scared him right back to base." 

Sam piped in with, "Doesn't matter. Third basemen aren't allowed to steal home anyway." 

Sometimes the truth just bites. 

Have a wonderful Tuesday! See you tomorrow for the Hodge Podge? Perhaps you'd like to check out the questions 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017

Looking through the Memory Glass... Photos of long time ago... Surprised by what I found... Yes, I am sharing a few...

Since this is Father's Day, I thought I would share a few of the photos of my father and me. There are not that many, but they do tell a tale. My dad had a terrible time being photogenic; so do I. He was prone to pulling a face probably because he felt so uncomfortable having the focus on him.

At Quantico

Be kind to thy father, 
for when thou wert young, 
Who loved thee so fondly as he? 
He caught the first accents that
fell from thy tongue, 
And joined in thy innocent glee. 
Dad taught me how to swim

Dad provided many a Christmas morning

Let's look for a minute at the piano top in my maternal grandmother's home. Left to right:

my parents' wedding photo

my sister Kim with her Kewpie doll look

photos of cousins and their parents Aunt Betty and Uncle Harold

Painting of Lake Louise done by my Aunt Betty

my step-grandfather and his brother (impossible to see)

ballet duo

my mother's graduation photo

Thanks for indulging me as I wanted to identify them for memory's sake.

Dad stood behind me... always a doll and never a truck...

My dad was thrilled when my son was born. My dad grew up in the middle between two sisters on either side. Then he had me and my sister...no brothers, no sons...but a grandson and two great-grandsons made him very happy.

graduation day...recognize those 70s colors?

happy to see one another

And I will be happy to see him one day in Glory!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Petunia Pinching

Petunias are lovely, humble annuals and so prolific. If you want to keep them full and lush, no matter what they say about no deadheading required, you might like to follow this tip. Many of you know this already, but for those like me who didn't, it will be helpful. Thanks for asking, Debby!

It's pretty drippy outside so I'll take the camera indoors and take it from there.

That's all there is to it, simply remember to pinch the wilted blossom and the star back. This will ensure a very happy plant indeed. Of course, watering and fertilizing and location are also important. Mine seem to be melting at the moment so may need to come in out of the rain for the next several days.

And on that soggy note, a reminder to myself... You be Sweet, too!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Posies and Pails

The weather has been spectacularly fickle this season. Wonder what summer has in store. I am just popping in a few pictures of my wee garden at my wee haven for purposes of memory.

Those of you who grow peonies shall not be impressed with my small showing, but it has improved by two hundred per cent. Last year, I had only two blossoms; this year, six! They seem very faded to me and not just because they were in the sunlight. 

The irises have taken over quite well as I have plenty for household bouquets this year. This is the most I have ever seen. I should introduce more variety!

That's about it for the front garden. The pink azaleas have long gone by; the red ones in the foreground of the front yard shot are still blooming, but on the wane. I figure that we are two to three weeks behind based on the yellow pollen everywhere that usually arrives over Memorial Day.

The petunias are doing well in the dappled light of the arbor and lilac tree. Since I learned how to properly deadhead them, I have a better time keeping petunias lush and full without getting straggly. These live in the back yard.

Also in the backyard...pails that needed scrubbing after the garage was cleaned out. My grandsons were with me the past two afternoons and they made short work of this chore. I love kid power! Then we marked 5, 25, and 50 on three of the cleanest of them for a game of toss. I'll be saving those buckets. The others are getting recycled.

A double quarter pounder was Jake's reward on Flag Day. No, he could not eat it all. He thought he was extra hungry after scrubbing buckets. After supper, it was off to his final home baseball game. I finally made it to a game, but missed out on all of Sam's altogether.  
< Slapping self in head. >

The boys told me that Jake's team lost 20 to zip. Discouraging. The coaches told them to just ignore the other team who were in high spirits as you might imagine. Jake said ruefully, "That's not very easy when they are yelling like that every two seconds." ☺ 

Yesterday was another lovely day. Jake arrived on the bus and Sam arrived on his bike. 

My back is feeling better with each passing day...thank you for thinking of me. Do you have a wonky back? What's your best advice? ☺

Postscript: Thank you to all who gave suggestions for a wonky back. I appreciate them and will use them and, IF I am ever totally incapacitated, I might even use Jill's (Thoughts on Life...) suggestion! Check it out!