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Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Hello again, dear friends!  Sorry about not posting anything lately.  Was trying to figure out whether I wanted to continue on with blogging or not.  Sometimes I get quite frustrated with the whole thing, after all, I'll never be one of those bloggers that they write about in magazines.  The ones with beautiful photography and wonderful witty things to say.  I always tell myself that some day I'll learn to take a good photo, but then, who am I kidding?  All that technical stuff bores me to bits, and I know I will never learn.  And I don't want to, either!  Nope, what I have here is just your run of the mill type of blog with a few sweet friends.  And that sounds just about perfect!  So I suppose I'll prattle on, hoping that you won't become too bored. 

So now that is out of the way, what have I been up to?  Jamie and I painted the service  porch, but I won't write about that because reading about painting is like, well, watching paint dry!  Here's how it looks all sparkling and fresh.:
The strays love the bench.  I still have to find something to hang on the wall, just waiting for something to inspire me.  This is where we have our lunch every day that is sunny.

Speaking of sunny days, we have had more than our fair share, I'd say we are experiencing a drought.  So a good portion of my day is spent watering the garden.  But that doesn't stop the binder and pig weed from growing or the purslane.  I've never seen such an abundance of weeds.  Oh well!  At least the pig weed and purslane is edible, so  if all else fails, we can always eat them.  Between the weather and all the wildlife that makes my garden their favorite delicatessen, we just might need to do this!  But the dry conditions haven't bothered or roses.  That's my beloved New Dawn on the header picture and the one to the right is Evelyn that grows by the  porch.

The other day I received a strange package in the mail.  It was a box of pictures from my mother.  She's getting rid of things and she wanted me to have some of my childhood.  I came to a sort of epiphany looking through those old pictures.  One was a  newspaper clipping from the time I won a blue ribbon at a fair when I was eleven.  It was a group photo and I was trying to locate myself, but had to read the copy to figure out where I was.  The reason I couldn't figure it out was because I was looking for a "fat little kid".  I have three older sisters and to this very day they like to remind me that I was a fat little kid.  I'm afraid my mother instilled in us a spirit of competitiveness  (or is it jealousy?) that some of my sisters have never outgrown.  We were always competing who had the most boyfriends, the thinnest, the most successful, the most popular, etc.  It didn't help that my mother put a lot of value on appearances.  So anyway, I always grew up thinking I was fat.  I can remember clearly having an argument about the dress I was wearing in the picture because my mother wanted me to wear a fancy dress, but my 4-H instructor told us to wear a plain cotton dress.  My mother told me I would look fat in it.  She used the word fat a lot back then, whenever she was angry with any of us, she wouldn't tell us, but would start with the"you look fat" tirades.    What I found in the picture was a very tall, healthy young girl with very nice legs.  Didn't look at all like the image  of the blob I had been carrying around in my head for the past fourty years. 

This got me to thinking.  Suppose you lived back in colonial times when there were no scales to weigh you and all your clothes were handmade, so you weren't aware of sizes and there were no magazines to tell you what a beautiful woman should look like.  Would you be happy about your size and shape?  I'm a tall, sturdy woman, that looks more like Jane Russell than I'll ever resemble a character out of a Jane Austen novel.  I go out where I should go out and in where I should go in.  My husband finds me attractive.  I'm healthy.  I can work hard all day.  I have long legs that can swing easily over a fence or take long strides to get me where I need to go fast.  So yes, I am happy with my body. After many years, I'm going to stop beating myself up because the scale  no longer registers under the 110 mark or that I'll never have a twenty-three inch waist again.  From here on out, I'm going to celebrate that I am a woman.  How about joining me?

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Hello dear friends! The roses are beginning to bloom here at Sweet Briar Cottage in spite of the fact that the temperature have rarely reached the seventy degree mark this year.  I think the cool weather has been beneficial to them,because the canes are just loaded with buds, especially the New Dawn on the arbor.   The rose pictures above is Zephrine Drouhin, a wonderful climber as you see  and it grows in the shade.  Did I mention that it smells heavenly too? 

On the subject of heavenly scents,  the rose  at the right started out as Heaven Scent, but after years of harsh winters, it had to be cut back.  I guess I must have been a bit prune-happy because what was once a pretty yellow rose, is now this dark red rose.  Guess I pruned it back to it's original root stock.  Ah well!  Whatever it is, it is certainly hardy and loves to climb.    A truly wonderful climber is Paul's Himalayan  Musk, pictured below.  Such dainty sweet blooms and a can it climb!  Up to fourty feet!  I'm hoping that it will someday grow high enough to ramble over the top of the roof.
Soon the New Dawns and Evelyns  will bloom.  Then everyone will know why our house is called Sweet Briar Cottage. 

Speaking of rose covered cottages, I have a book recommendation that's perfect for summertime reading, Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart. It's supposed to be a mystery, but you certainly don't have to be Agatha Christie to figure it out by the first few chapters.  It's just a sweet little bit of fluff, with one of the nicest of endings.  And it's a lot cheaper than a plane ticket to the Cotswolds. It's been ever so long since I've read a book that I've loved.  Lately, I've been just slogging through books, trying to give them a chance by reading the first one hundred pages, then figuring since I have that much invested in them, I might as well see it out to the end.  When I truly love a book, I can imagine myself right into the action.  I have a very rich imagination, that's why I can see cute little cottages in run-down shacks, much to my husband's consternation!

 Imagining life as you'd like it is such a wonderful catalyst for attaining your dreams.  I'd like to imagine myself as a proper lady that wears wellies and tweed skirts while she gardens.  And I'd look fetching in a sun hat instead of looking like Ma Barker.  When people stopped by, I'd say, "Darling, you must simply stay for tea!", although I've never called anyone darling in my life and we never have any tea in the house, except for Ran's Arnold Palmers. Oh and did I mention, I'd look and sound like Greer Garson while I did these things?  Well, I'll never look like Greer, but at least I can match my gardening clothes and perhaps find a hat that's a tad bit more flattering  as I wheel my barrow about.  What is life without hopes, dreams and goals?

I leave you with one of the philosophies of my life, put to word much more eloquently by Emerson, then I could ever say:

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing
anything that is beautiful
for beauty is God's handwriting
- a wayside sacrament.
Welcome it in every fair face,
in every fair sky,
in every fair flower,
and thank God for it as
a cup of blessing."
                                                          ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~