"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Plant We In This Apple Tree?

One apple tree in our orchard. "I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadows of the woods." Wendell Berry This is an illustration from one of the best children's books ever, 'Mr. Apple's Family' by Jean McDevitt. It is the story of Mr. Apple and his family . They buy an old home in the country , one with an apple orchard. This is a very quiet and cozy story , a comforting story I love to re-read. Mr. Apple and his wife name their children after different apples and the family and orchard grow. This is a hard book to find, but I own my childhood copy. I particularly love this illustration and you can see it mirrored below...."Mr. & Mrs. Apple and their five little Apples were cozy and warm in the little red house until spring came and the apple trees were covered with little pink blossoms once more." Jean McDevitt, 'Mr. Apple's Family' ...as our oldest son mowed our young orchard. This photo was taken in the summer of 1990. Unlike Mr. Apple who bought an old home with an old orchard, we bought the land and then planted the tiny fruit trees.Look how small our trees were. We planted fruit trees even before we had power and running water here on Cedar Pond, we knew we would appreciate our trees in the future." If I thought I was going to die tomorrow I would plant a tree today." Stephen Girard This is part of our orchard now, the same orchard pictured above. "Thou shalt not destroy the tree thereof by forcing an axe against them, for thou mayest eat of them and thou shalt not cut them down .(for the tree of the field is man's life) Deuteronomy 20:19 "What plant we in this apple tree? Sweets for a hundred flowery springs to load the May-wind's restless wings...A world of blessings for the bee...We plant with the apple tree." William C. Bryant. All that and apple pies, applesauce, freshly picked crisp apples just for the picking in the fall when the leaves are on fire with color, but now the trees are sweet of scent and filled with blossoms~ Oh the miracle of the apple tree! "The wind blew the apple blossoms gently against the house. The moon shone on the apple trees and on the ground covered with apple blossoms. The children slept on and on with the fresh country air blowing on their faces through the crooked little house in the apple orchard." 'Mr. Apples' Family'~ Jean McDevitt

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Comfort of Cats

This is Ralphie, our youngest cat. I don't consider myself a "cat lady" and my husband most definitely does not consider himself a cat lover, but tonight as I walked into the kitchen from the sofa I heard him ask me to bring him a toothpick. I asked him if he was just waiting for me to come downstairs to get him one so he would not have to get off the sofa. As I brought him his toothpick I saw he was being held down by cats. One of our cats was on his lap, another lolling over his shoulder and the third was draped over his stretched out legs. He would not disturb the cats to get up and go into the kitchen. I asked him if I could snap a picture of this and he was horrified, he doesn't care for cats you know ( so he says) and someone viewing a picture of him with cats all round might actually think he is a cat lover. Here is Joey, my fierce and loyal black cat. Joey will run to a window if he hears a vehicle pull into the driveway and growl at it. He also talks and one of these days I am determined to have my video camera ready to record him. He often follows me around outside and if he sees me from afar he meows very loudly "hurrow, hurrow" it really sounds like he is saying "hello" with a Chinese accent. He is a talker, but only to me. "God made the cat so man might have the pleasure of caressing the tiger." Ferdinand Mery Candy Cat is totally an outdoor cat. Because of some physical problems she was born with she does not do well indoors. If you are outside though she shadows you and loves to warm the laps of anyone enjoying the porch rockers. "For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit." Christopher Smart Miss Marple, still the Queen feline around here. "A cat-less writer is almost inconceivable.It's a perverse taste really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys." Barbara Holland ( I have to add this because it is so true!)
She enjoys a good nap on our bed. "Since each of us is blessed with only one life why not live it with a cat?" Robert Stearns
When not napping on our bed,she loves to snuggle with me on the sofa. "I simply can't resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course." Mark Twain
During times of stress, weariness, and trial I cannot even begin to tell you how much comfort my cats brought just by insisting themselves on me and purring loudly. They really seemed to know I needed something extra, a warm presence that did not need to say anything, or make sense of distress and grief. The cats just firmly planted themselves against me, or on me and purred. I cannot say enough about the blessing of the comfort of cats. I am thankful God created cats, and I think although my husband will never say it, he is too. "A meow massages the heart" Stuart McMillan You might enjoy this video of a cat called "The Angel of Death", I think this cat should be called " The Comforting Angel".

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When It's All Been Said and Done

"Do not lay up for yourself treasures upon earth , where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Friday, April 23, 2010

...and a Tea Party Broke Out....

Two of our granddaughters were over a week ago for a couple of nights. While I was upstairs doing some housework a tea party broke out in the living room. My husbands' childhood friend and buddy, his Teddy bear was invited, see? (above) I went upstairs leaving behind my normal looking living room and came back downstairs to find the girls had been busy, look at the table setting here. They added mint leaves to the water in the teapot. I think the stuffed animals had a good time at the tea party, it has been a long time since they were out of the guest bedroom. Actually, I don't think my husband's teddy bear has been invited to any kind of party or event in a few decades!
Here are the granddaughters, can you tell which one doesn't like her picture taken?
But these two posed very nicely for me!
"The tea party is surely one of the first steps into the art of social entertaining. How many among us did not set out cups and saucers and dump heaping spoonfuls of sugar into weak, lukewarm tea as children? Sisters and favorite dolls were the usual guests..." Rosanne M. Cure

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spot on Torquay Pottery ~Accidental Collection

This is a post about accidental collections. Yes, accidental. I never set out to collect Torquay pottery. We were given a few pieces of this pottery . A beloved Great Aunt of my husband's thought we would like it. She never said much more about it than that she bought it on one of her tours to England. I thought it was cute and kept it safe in a cupboard for a time when our kids were growing up. On a trip back from a visit to family in Oregon my sister Joni and I stopped at a garage sale in a very small, by-the-way town. The garage sale was one of those many would pass by quickly. Lots of plastic stuff , lots of junk. However, against my better judgment my sister encouraged us to stop and lo and behold, there was a piece of Torquay pottery for sale~ 75 cents! I knew enough to know this was a good deal! Joni paid for it and gave it to me. ( What can I say, I had no change on me at the time!) Joni began collecting Torquay pottery and later sold me her collection. So you can say this is an accidental collection. A happy , cheerful little accidental collection! Thanks Joni and Aunt Marion! Each piece of pottery has a little motto , or saying on it. Hence it's other name "motto ware". "The Devon Motto Ware is by far the most popular of the Torquay wares in the united States and Canada." ....The patterns, quaint rhymes and proverbs have attracted public attention in the twentieth century and still into the twenty-first century the pottery continues to delight visitors seeking souvenir items." "early Motto Ware carried inscriptions written in normal English but later on an exaggerated Devonshire dialect was adopted to appeal to the tourist trade. Motto Ware got the reputation as being the "bread and butter" of the Devon ( England) pottery industry. Each piece is unique in its' own way even though many bear the same decoration, because each is "custom made" being hand-made and hand-decorated." Torquay Pottery by Gerry Kline

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Doin' The Trek

We had a crowd of grandchildren here from Friday to Sunday afternoon and what a great time we had! Here are some of the grand-kids posing for us at Northwest Trek, a very good place to spend a Saturday with a happy and energetic bunch. The Trek is very close to our home and almost in our backyard. We visit frequently and always have a good time. "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord;" Psalm 127:3
Hurry up Grandma!
True joy, taking delight in the persons God has placed into our lives, enjoying His creation and creatures - and remembering every good and perfect gift comes from Him! "Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights ; with Whom there is no variation , or shifting shadow." James 1:17

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It Is Pleasant to Dwell In Unity

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity !" Psalm 133:1

Friday, April 16, 2010

Treasures In The Herb Garden~Morels & Fennel

During my stay-cation I have been tending to things I love, my herb garden is one of them. Look what I discovered in my herb garden, gourmet fungi~ morel mushrooms!
Unfortunately they are so well hidden under a winter's accumulation of ash leaves I stepped on a few before I knew what an amazing crop was underfoot. There are quite a few morels here and my husband will be home from his several days' business trip early today, then he and I will harvest them. Wonder what recipes we will come up with for these precious fungi. I also discovered new fennel sprouting from the rock border, right out of a small Lady's Mantle plant. After I left the herb garden a pair of wild doves landed in front of the dove pen there and cooed to the caged doves. A wood duck flew into our huge maple trees after being startled by me as he was walking back and forth in front of our penned ducks. 2 varieties of hummingbirds buzzed by me many, many times as they drank their fill at our hummingbird feeders. The swallows were checking out their last year's nest site, and the towhees were back under the huge rhododendrons , I assume nesting. The grosbeaks landed en-masse at the feeders full of sunflower seeds. Because it is spring and sunny I was able to work in my gardens until after 7:00. Just in time to watch the lambs get their usual evening burst of energy and play 'lamb-tag' at high speed , bouncing around and over their mamas. Isn't this time of year amazing and hopeful?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vacationing Where My Heart Desires

My poor husband. He loves to travel and see new and exciting places. Unfortunately he is stuck with me, and I HATE to travel! I was an Army brat and we moved frequently. I don't know how many schools I attended, but we seemed to move way too often for me. We traveled by car when the Army decided to transfer our Dad, with the exception of our 3 years in Hawaii, the car just would not take us there. I remember telling myself I would not marry a soldier and I was going to stay put when I did grow up. Besides, I get car-sick very easily, so traveling across country is not pleasant for me. I guess if you're not prone to car-sickness just imagine being nauseous and feeling like barfing your way across country. Not too pleasant for my traveling companions either. During many vacations away from home, although I did enjoy myself, the places we went, the company we kept...I would always find myself straying over to pet dogs being walked by complete strangers and I would miss my dogs.I find myself gazing longingly at sheep and goats along side the highways and by-ways, and then miss my sheep and goats. My kind husband would put up with me dragging him off to check out yarn and fiber shops and taking time to speak to the spinners and weavers at tourist sights. Every cat I would see reminded me of my cats, and I would miss my cats. The beautiful gardens made me want to work in MY garden. Good grief, I might as well be home enjoying MY flocks, dogs and cats, our gardens and pond. ( Hey, I can go boating here too) Hmmm,if I took my vacation here, at home,I could use the vacation time to spin up my wool, read books I have stacked by the bed. I might even take time to enjoy our jacuzzi tub and bedroom fireplace...better than those of many a hotel or motel we have slept in. Best of all , I will not be obligated to go anywhere unless the urge strikes. I know, I WILL vacation here at home! And I am, for the next 3 days. I am so excited, a Stay-cation in my favorite place of all. The best thing about a vacation here at home is I get to share it with my husband and he enjoys home too.
"Where could I travel to ? What would tempt me ? I am already here. I don't have to step outside this yard ! I am home where my heart is. " Gladys Taber "Traveling is all very well if you can get home at night . I would be willing to go around the world if I came back in time to light the candles and set the table for supper." Gladys Taber

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Frilly , Fluffy Chickens !

The chicks that arrived in the mail in January are growing up quickly. This is one of my favorites, she is a white bantam frizzled Cochin.
See how curly this little frizzled chick is.
I have been brooding the chicks in our dove-cote and the doves are nesting too.
This dove cannot completely cover her growing baby anymore, can you see most of her baby sticking out from under her?
Here is a smaller frizzled Cochin next to a barred bantam Cochin.
Look at the comparison of frizzled feathers ( top ) next to Silkie feathers. Both are so pretty to me, but the Silkie is by far the softest and fluffiest.
I love my chickens, and the doves too!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Easter Baby!

Happy Birthday David! You were our Easter present so many years ago, our Easter Sunday baby. Our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus was graced by happy memories of the birth of our first son and caused me to reflect all the more on a Heavenly Father who would allow mankind to crucify His Son in order for His blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness . Our prayer for you , your brother and sister has always been that you seek God and His ways... God has been gracious and kind to you. He has preserved you through warfare and personal tragedy. He provided for you and your 4 young daughters when there seemed no hope, and He has answered so many prayers in ways that make your heart happy in spite of circumstance.Son, always "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cedar Pond Explored

This week we were privileged to have our daughter's two daughters for two nights and three days as a special birthday request from our #5 granddaughter (MN), and she asked that her sister, #2 granddaughter (KN), spend this time with her. Of course! We're delighted to be considered a treat for them, we know that just as our children grew up so quickly, so will these precious ones and time with them is not to be put off "for later". The grandchildren, just as their parents, love to spend time around the pond. Paddling the boat with Poppa, throwing rocks into the pond, swirling sticks to see what floats up...or simply enjoying the woods around the pond and catching glimpses of frogs, birds, ducks, and who knows what other amazing things. Ah! I get a smile out of her as I walk toward her with a camera. She is usually camera shy and I was prepared for a scowl, but look! She is happy and loving her time around the pond. KN has run outside by herself frequently today to wander the property , follow my ducks around, and explore the pond's edge. " A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision ,that true instinct for what is beautiful, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood." Rachel Carson Little sister MN follows her big sister around the pond's edge and after their pleading for me to come with them how could I not? This area of the pond has much more treacherous footing than it looks from this picture, but with sturdy mud boots and small trees to grasp we do just fine as we explore. "Children are born naturalists. They explore the world with all their senses, experiment in the environment, and communicate their discoveries to those around them." Audubon Nature Preschool The sisters find one of their mothers' childhood secret places. It is hard to get into this place under some very large cedar trees. You could sit under them in pouring rain and the cedars would keep you dry. "Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when the learning is fun. And the best places for these experiences is outdoors, in the natural world." KN was truly in her glory and delight today, I think she is happy her little sister requests her presence for all things that make her ( little sister) happy. I am glad too. "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.." And I believe this last quote to be true because one cannot truly contemplate this vast and awesome creation without contemplating the Source of it....God! "O Lord, how many are Thy works! In wisdom Thou has made them all; the earth is full of Thy possessions. " Psalm 104:24 , and "Every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine." Psalm 50:10,11

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wild Horse Monument , End Of Spring Break

View of the Columbia River behind us at the overlook of Wild Horse Monument, Washington.
These horses are a monument overlooking the mighty Columbia River and I-90, just past the town of Vantage in Washington. They are made of welded steel plates by artist David Govedare. For years we have viewed this impressive stampede of horses across the ridge from the highway below. The granddaughters wanted to see the horses up close, so we decided we would take a break there on the 6 hour trip driving them back home at the end of their spring break from school.
A more distant view of the horses.
This might help with some perspective. The trail is a bit longer and much steeper than it appears at first. The granddaughters are very active and energetic, have I mentioned I am still recovering from my wonderful and busy time with them? ( I need another nap.) See the little bits of color on the trail, that would be the granddaughters. The 3 older granddaughters were up the trail before I even got to the beginning. I think they could have run up and down several times in the time it took me to just get to the top.
My husband helped Little 'T'. Her pink cowgirl boots weren't the best foot wear for a steep hike, but she wasn't to be parted with them.
This granddaughter, #3 Granddaughter, was up the trail first, but speedily climbed sideways off the trail and over rocks to reach the ridge, just about giving me a heart attack. Reminded me of her father and our trip to the Grand Canyon when he was a teenager. What is it with these fearless people who challenge heights with laughter and excitement?Don't they know their Moms and Grandmas can't take it? The granddaughters tried every horse while I took pictures and watched them like a hawk as they ventured near every edge , ledge, cliff, and overlook they could find. ( Grandpa was the same, he was a mountain climber in his younger days so I wasn't worried about him). You can see some of the snow covered foothills and the Columbia River in the background of this picture. I had a wonderful time last week, from Saturday to Saturday with these 4 granddaughters. We played, read, were able to visit with family and just be together. This is a privilege and an honor I will never take for granted. Hopefully we will be able to have them stay for a few weeks in the summer. One thing for sure though, most parents get one, maybe two kids who are very active and energetic..but our son has 4 daughters who are very active, very energetic,( good girls and well -behaved though) and leave this grandma needing a nap. Wake me up next week please!