Friday, May 29, 2009

For the love of books...

At the beginning of the year, I had set a few goals for myself. I wanted to get some of my quilting and stitching projects finished and started reading more of my books that had sat neglected on the shelf. You never know what time will bring to you and with not feeling well, I am able to concentrate more on two of those goals than I had ever anticipated. I stitch a good deal as that is easy for me to do while I rest on the couch and I am reading.

My goal was to try and read about two books a month this year as I have many books that I had not gotten to in the past couple of years. My mother and I are always sharing cozy mysteries with each other and I let them stack up lately. My mother reads at an incredible speed which I do not. Some of them are rather older ones in a series. I pulled them from my bookshelves and have been working my way through them. You may get the impression that these are the only books I read but it is simply that I have so many needing to be read right now that I have decided to concentrate on these mysteries.

After having read three of them this month, I decided I need a break from mysteries and am rereading The Secret Garden as well as an Amish themed novel by Beverly Lewis. I want a change for next month's books. I am sure once I am feeling better, I will be up doing things and my pace of reading will slow down considerably. But for now, I rest with a cup of tea and a good book and it is not so bad at all. It is nice to see some open space again in my bookshelves for a change. It will bring me closer to my goal of adding more vintage books to my shelves if I can make more space as I pass on books to friends.

What kind of books are on your bookshelves? Are you like me and have many on your 'to be read' shelf? Do you have a favorite classic book that you like to reread?

"My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter. "

~Thomas Helm

Note to Andylynne: If you read this, can you email me once again. I cannot find your email and would love to email you back!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Secret Garden

Welcome once again to our "secret garden". Our garden is at the front of our home as the house is built right in the water. We wanted to created a place that still felt secluded and mysterious even though it is on the road itself. Perhaps I have been influenced by a favorite children's book "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I find as the years go by, I am still fine tuning how I want the garden to feel and look (with the emphasis on the feeling in the garden). Many comment about this feeling when they visit our garden but I have not been able to put that into my photographs. I wish I could! Here are a few of the changes I was talking about in my last entry.

As you may remember, we added the iron gate last year. My wisteria has bloomed and now the green leaves are taking over. As they grow and combine with our red birch hedgerow, they add to the idea that you cannot see the entry gate right away from the street. But like little Mary Lennox, if you can find the door amongst the growth, you can enter the secret garden and it will come to life...

This year, we added a large urn which I have filled with pretty purple petunias. I love old fashioned flowers.

We also hung a mirror on one of the walls to add more depth to our tiny city garden. I fell in love with this mirror which is shaped like a church window.

I love the reflection of the flower filled urn in the mirror but it also gives the illusion that there is yet another garden room behind the wall.

One thing I find important is to look for accessories in your garden that really touch you. Little things like the lantern, child's wooden shoes and abstract bird statue I have placed on the wooden bench are just as important as the flowers in the garden.

If you have never read the children's book "The Secret Garden", why not treat yourself this summer. The story is about Mary Lennox who comes to live with her uncle at Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire Moors after the death of her parents. The characters come to life on the pages of this joyous book and a perfect summer read. Do it for the child that lives in you! Here is an excerpt from Chapter 8:

"She looked at the key quite a long time. She turned it over and over, and thought about it. As I have said before, she was not a child who had been trained to ask permission or consult her elders about things. All she thought about the key was that if it was the key to the closed garden, and she could find out where the door was, she could perhaps open it and see what was inside the walls, and what had happened to the old rose-trees. It was because it had been shut up so long that she wanted to see it. It seemed as if it must be different from other places and that something strange must have happened to it during ten years. Besides that, if she liked it she could go into it every day and shut the door behind her, and she could make up some play of her own and play it quite alone, because nobody would ever know where she was, but would think the door was still locked and the key buried in the earth. The though of that pleased her very much."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Spring is the season of change, of growth. In spite of all that I am facing with not being able to do much, we have been working on the garden to make a few changes. Here are a few of them done so far.....

A number of things have been repositioned like our sundial. I will reveal in the next post why we tucked it away in this spot now as we added some pretty new things to the garden. It no longer tells us the time where it is placed but we still love seeing it when we come into the garden. It was the first major thing we purchased for our garden after we got married and moved to Sweden over 22 years ago. We brought it back from there and have enjoyed it since.

This year, I moved all the planting between the poles of our pergola in the middle of the garden and replanted some here in the garden while others moved to Cranberry Cottage. I wanted to have rows of Annabella's which is a type of hydrangea to line the little path to the second terrace. They are growing well and starting to show a few buds. I am excited to see how well they will do in their first year in the garden. At the moment, our spring bulbs, wisteria and azaleas are all finished blooming so the garden is looking very green. The clematis is growing in leaps and bounds up the middle pergola with a promise of a roof like cover of many tiny blooms to come.

I have not planted as many vegetables and herbs this year. We have sage, basil and parsley all growing well... well as two types of specialty leaf lettuces. We love eating salads in the summer and I find it fun as well as frugal to have these more expensive types of lettuce to pick leaves as I want them.

Our garden dame was disappearing among the growth so this year, we raised her up on a wooden pedestal which is already hidden among the planting. This is a statue that Jos just loved and bought many years ago. She has adorned 3 of our gardens and still looks lovely. Enjoy the words of this verse which to me paint a picture of the feeling of the season in our garden.

"The young May moon is beaming, love.
The glow-worm's lamp is gleaming, love.
How sweet to rove,
Through Morna's grove,
When the drowsy world is dreaming, love!
Then awake! -- the heavens look bright, my dear,
'Tis never too late for delight, my dear,
And the best of all ways
To lengthen our days
Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear!"

~ Thomas Moore ~

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Nots are the sweetest little flowers. Suddenly each spring, they are somewhere totally new in your garden. Like foxgloves, perhaps not a plant for the fainthearted as they will go wonder through your garden as they wish. I love that about both foxgloves and forget me nots. It is as if the flower fairies have played with them in the night and then coaxed them out to surprise in the morning sunshine. A little elfin hide and seek. This year once again, they are looking very beautiful at Cranberry Cottage.

I am sorry that it has been a large timespan between posts. I choose to share my forget me nots as I have not forgotten my dear blogging friends but had some complications as a result of the radioactive therapy done in March. The therapy was to try and shrink the enlarge thyroid which is otherwise health and functioning. Or it was until a couple of weeks ago. At Easter, I had fallen on the stairs and at the time thought it felt like I had no legs for a moment and just went down. I assumed it was my fibromyalgia. Only after seeing my doctor for my check up the same week, did she tell me that we had to watch out for certain symptoms including extreme muscle weakness and pain. Only later did it click that this probably caused my fall.

At the time, I told her I would never notice the symptoms she mentioned as many mirror the fibromyalgia. I was so very wrong about this. I became actually sick and had to call the hospital. She asked if I had a way to get to the hospital right then and there. Luckily, Jos was working from home that day and he ran me over. They did up my blood work and she called me the next day to say she was faxing our local pharmacy to get me started on medication immediately. She said I have had an extreme reaction to the therapy and my thyroid has stopped. It will improve after I have been on the medicine for a while. She told me I will see an improvement before I go back in for my check up. I did have to run to the emergancy doctor's post this past weekend and was put on antibiotics for a severe sinus infection which was making the breathing from the enlarged thyroid worse. That has really improved how I feel also.

Right now, I spend my days on the couch feeling very cold so I am wrapped up in a quilt I just finished which you can read about here on my other blog. I am not well but okay. I am so glad this problem is fixable with time so I keep myself occupied with DVDs and my stitching. I already finished a little sampler dedicated to my grandmother which you can see here. I am enjoying watching my double DVD of the life of the Bronte sisters wishing I was well enough for us to go to Haworth once again. Since I do nap a great deal, I can just doze off and dream of going there. *grins*

All things considered, I am doing fine and just need to find patience to hold me through the coming weeks as I wait for my body to respond and it will. Thank you for your comments and emails. I am trying to visit a couple of blogs each day now that I do feel a little better. I miss it when I don't stop in to visit with you.

When bees hum in the linden tree
and roses bloom in cottage plots.

Along the brookside banks we see
the blue wild forget-me-nots.

~ Patience Strong ~