Saturday, May 28, 2016

And the book stack only grows higher...

.......Even after I have removed the books that are due back at the library at the beginning of the week I am both dismayed and delighted at the treats awaiting me, and the time I feel comfortable with allotting to lolling around reading - and sometimes eating chocolates, when there are so many things I should be getting 'in order'.

The lovely long retirement that Charles and I had left me with zillions of snapshots, dozens of family, home and garden movies and videos and a great plethora of keepsakes - bits and pieces of china and jewelry that need a new home, besides all the current projects that keep me busy, busy, busy...

And the garden!

The results of a long and wonderful life are all this lovely chaos that needs be be dealt with!!!

So where shall I fit in the time to read Kate Atkinson, whose books I have just discovered.  Loved her "God in Ruins" and felt she could have spent an afternoon talking with Charles, so many of Teddy's tales  exactly matched his, - the method of choosing crews, the discipline in the air amongst the men, the tracers and the crowded streams of bombers.  I am half way through "Life after Life" but have had to leave it to quickly finish "My Name is Lucy Barton" which I am finding sensitive, but depressing......

One of the books awaiting me in the stack(s) is "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin.  I think it is right up my alley!!!  The subtitle is "Or, why I spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun".

The garden is growing by leaps and bounds.  When Bruce and I went along the fence on our evening walk I realized that passers by can no longer see me curled up with a book on the garden swing under the big umbrella.  Soon the barn flowers will be in bloom, and the little purple clematis is courting the lilac tree that leans against the fence, twining itself amongst her branches.

It has been such a kind year for the roses, - I can't remember them being so prolific.  The Day Lilies are flowering along the front fence and the delphinium are six feet high in the garden (although I lost the pretty blue one I had just planted this year??)  I tied together some old silk stockings to make a tender rope to keep the sweet peas against the fence and out of the neighbour's yards.  Great huge quantities of bloom, but these heritage sweet peas don't have the fragrance of the annuals.  The sweet allysum and the evening scented stocks join with the nicotiana to make the evening air heavenly as it slips through open windows and doors.

and June will be just as gorgeous as May

A rainy week-end forecast, - good reading weather!!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Treasure Tales

ABC Wednesday
May 25th, 2016

The letter is T for Tales and Treasure.

Let me tell you the Tale of a Treasure
although perhaps you have already heard of Oak Island, in Nova Scotia
and the fascinating mystery that surrounds it!

The stories of pirate treasure and Captain Kidd,  and Blackbeard,
who hid his treasure "where none but Satan and myself can find it"

The tale goes back to the late 1700's when a Mr. McGinnis;
 happened upon a depression in the earth which was consistent with the Captain Kidd story.
An excavation revealed a layer of flagstones two feet below, and then a layer
of logs about every ten feet.  At thirty feet they abandoned the excavation, but about
eight years later another group examined what was to become known as the
Money Pit.

They continued the excavation down to about 90 feet and more layers of logs were found
at about every ten feet, along with layers of charcoal, putty and coconut fibre.

A large stone,
 inscribed with symbols was uncovered, and
one researcher identified the message it contained thusly...

"Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried"

Well, I am sure news of this got the wind up!!!!

There have been many attempts to successfully excavate the Money Pit, but
they have been foiled by flooding of the excavation.

And there have been many notable explorers interested in the mystery of Oak Island, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his grandfather Warren Delano, Jr.
Errol Flynn and John Wayne invested in the dig.  William Vincent Astor
and Rear Admiral Richard E. Bird Jr. maintained a passive
investment in this Oak Island endeavour.

And the theories abound!!!

Many critics argue that there is no treasure, and that the apparent pit
is a natural phenomenon, likely a sinkhole connected to limestone passages
or caverns.  The resemblance to a human-made pit,
 they suggest, has been partly due to the texture of natural accumulated debris in sinkholes.

It has been thought that the Money Pit is actually a tar kiln that dates from a period
when Oak Island served as a tar-making location for the British
Naval industry.

Prosaic speculations indeed besides the more exotic ones existing....

There is the exciting Pirate Theory, and tales of a Spanish Naval treasure.

Marie Antoinette's jewels, which apparently are missing, are said to have been
sent fleeing with a lady-in-waiting and she could have perhaps been assisted
in hiding them by officers of the French navy.

Still others offer the idea that the Oak Island pit was dug to hold manuscripts
showing Francis Bacon to be the author of William Shakespeare's works,
 and a leader of the Rosicrucians
Could it have been a Rosicrucian Vault - a Knights Templar treasure?

One writer noted that many Masonic markings were found on Oak Island
and pointed out that the shaft or pit and its mysterious contents
seemed to replicate aspects of a Masonic initiation rite involving a hidden vault
 containing a sacred treasure.

Or is it a place of safekeeping for artifacts from King Solomon's temple
or the Ark of the Covenant, -

Could it be an actual sunken Viking ship which
has settled in a  vertical position?  Sukhwant Singh theorizes the regularly
separated platforms are actually wooden backrests for rowers,
and the coconut fibers are the remains of
mattresses, pillows, or other cushions used  by the Vikings for comfort.

If this mystery truly interests you there is a great link at WikiMedia
and also one here with many more details of the goings-on at Oak Island.

What truly irks me is that thirty-five years ago, while touring the Maritimes researching sheep marketing, I stopped at Mahone Bay, bought a silver christening cup
for a new grandson, took a picture of a lovely yellow gingerbread house,
and knew nothing of  the mysteries that engulfed the Bay

(oh, it was a Bay, not a Gulf)

I would have been in better shape then to help with the digging!!!

For more Ts  trail over here to ABC Wednesday with

many thanks to Roger and Denise and their Treasured helpers.

Monday, May 16, 2016

S for Sky

ABC Wednesday
May 18th, 2016

The letter is S for Sky

In my great grandmother's time,
All one needed was a broom
To get to see places
And give the geese a chase in the sky.

The stars know everything,
So we try to read their minds,
As distant as they are,
We choose to whisper in their presence.

Oh Cynthia
Take a clock that has lost its hands
For a ride.
Get me a room at Hotel Eternity
Where Time likes to stop now and then.

Come, lovers of dark corners,
The sky says,
And sit in one of my dark corners.
There are tasty little zeroes
In the peanut dish tonight.

Autumn Sky by Charles Simic

More Ssss here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and all starry helpers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Roses I have known and loved...

ABC Wednesday
May 11th, 2016

The letter R for Roses

Life is not a bowl of cherries, - it has been a garden full of roses for me
during the last seventy years
(Thursday would have been our 71st Anniversary and the  start of my romance with roses.
Charles sailed into New York harbour on the 1st of May 1945,  with bands playing
to welcome those aboard home from overseas.  We were married on the 12th of May.
And it was Mother's Day week-end and wartime, - no flowers to be had.
My boss, the City Architect, knew people who knew other people,
and we had a full array of beautiful roses).

In those early years when we moved to the Cawston Bench, planted an orchard out on the sage brush and Charles built a house we planted Blaze roses outside our bedroom window.  Those were the roses dear to his childhood that bloomed along the back verandah on the 'old place' where he grew up, - the ones he used to pluck to put in his lapel on date nights, when he was young.

Our youngest daughter with me, before church one Sunday in the Sixties,
and the Blaze roses.....

When we left the farm and moved to 10th Avenue we went a little garden crazy....

wherever there was a fence there were roses and the Blaze still climbed
the wall below our bedrooom window!

Charles sent away for thirty different varieties and planted them along the dividing fence, where they
bloomed heartily and kept us busy keeping the grass from around the roots.

What a lovely twenty years we spent there....but then we moved to the Hillside
and were faced with the delightful challenge of a new garden to be
created from naught....

First of all - the roses.  It is where I discovered the Abraham Darby

and the Prairie Princess, and the Mister Lincoln

Here in town the lovely cabbage roses at the garden gate are just starting
to bloom, accompanied by the purple clemantis...

but out in the back garden, climbing over the garden shed, the Blaze
still holds place of prominence in my heart and
in my memory.

For more interesting Rs click here to visit with Roger and Denise
at ABC Wednesday - and all their Robust helpers.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Q is for Quips and Quotes

ABC Wednesday
May 4th, 2016

The letter is Q for Quips and Quotes

Some years ago when we were raising money for a Parish Hall some of the good cooks in our congregation put together a book of recipes entitled 'Secrets of a Small Town".

To spice it up a little we added a few choice QUIPS AND QUOTES 
to the bottom of some of the pages....

for example.....

The cure for boredom is curiosity.  There is no cure for curiosity.

Whenever I have to choose between two evils I always like to try the one I haven't tried before.  

(Mae West)

A family should never attempt an auto trip if the kids outnumber the windows.

If God believed in permissiveness He would have given us the Ten Suggestions.

The world has too many cranks and not enough self starters

A diplomat is one who can tell a man he's open minded when he means he has a hole in his head.

More interesting Qs here at ABC Wednesday with thanks to Denise, Roger and
quotable helpers...

Monday, April 25, 2016

P is for Prunus mume

ABC Wednesday
April 27th, 2016

The letter is P, for Prunus mume or PLUM BLOSSOM

The Prunus Mume is an Asian tree species, but its common names include Chinese Plum and Japanese Apricot.

The flower is usually called Plum Blossom.

The tree is related to both the plum and apricot trees, and although it is generally referred to as a plum in English it is really more closely related to the apricot.

Its flowering in late winter and early spring is highly regarded as a sign
of a change in seasons, and most welcome.

I cannot say
which is which
the glowing
plum blossom is
the sping night's moon

Isumi Shikibo

For more interesting Ps click here at ABC Wednesday 
to see what Roger and Denise and their plentiful helpers
have to offer.

Friday, April 22, 2016


Well, with sprriinng one is inclined to get quite 'potty' and that is what I have been doing the last few mornings, while the air is fresh and the energy high.

Bruce and I go for a quick early walk, and then somehow I don't seem to get back into the house before my attention gets drawn to something or other that either needs my attention or appeals to my gardening instinct.  Strong these days, that instinct, but it passes the time so pleasurably and then in the afternoon I am ready to relax and take things easy....

So I have been potting all the purchases I made at the nursery the other day, and sowing seeds in short rows and small circles.  That would be for the peas that I envisage climbing up one of the obelisks that are dotted here and there in the garden.

The difference this year lies in WHAT I am potting up, - some flowers but lots and lots of veggies, - peas, carrots, pumpkin, onions  Swiss chard and spinach, tomatoes and peppers
 and all the salad greens
all mixed up with marigolds to keep away the nasty bugs.
I even planted zucchini as there doesn't seem to be the abundance of
my early gardening days when everyone was trying to pawn off 
their great, long, extra zukes....with all sorts of recipes to make them more appealing.

And potatoes, - I planted some in a special potato bag
but the leftovers got tucked into my soil container.

Why this renewed interest in growing veggies?
I understand the sale of seeds and gardening tools is up forty percent
over last year.  Probably because the Canadian dollar is down
forty percent compared to the U.S. coin, and much of the produce
that you find in big grocery stores comes from California
(or Mexico or Peru)

And the reason for that is that the wholesaler can provide
veggies from far away a great deal cheaper than local produce 
for much of the year....

I spend much of my shopping time looking for items grown in B.C.
and do a lot of buying at local markets.

I haven't run out of pots yet

but I have run out of soil, and any further planting
will have to await another trip to the nursery.

While I was searching the net for the above innovative container
I came across these flower pot men
who I thought quite intriguing,
although a little dense looking
but surely that could be remedied with a bit of sparkle in their eyes.

The one on the right rather reminds me of our new Prime Minister
with all that 'loverly' hair.....

They could sit out on the garden bench that I seem to be too busy
to relax on, - with a cool drink, a cosy cushion and a good book.

Maybe when Summertime arrives and all the pots are blooming!