Books and Blooms

Retirement and time spent in my home sweet home has given me lots of opportunity to catch up on reading. I have always had a huge collection of books. When the girls were young we always kept a library room, or if we didn’t have an extra room, lined the hallways with book cases. Being that we were all avid readers, those books were dear to us. As I made several moves in the past decade, books were one of the items pared down. But over the past few years I have started growing my library once more. My taste are eclectic, with a mix of fiction and nonfiction and myriad genres. Here is a peek at some of my shelves. I also have a mishmash of a few shelves of assorted fiction and stacks here and there of my current reads.

Much of my taste runs to authors long since passed. I adored all the back to the land books from the 30s to 50s. Of all the authors of that genre, I would say that my favorite is Gladys Taber. Gladys Taber shares the story of her move from NYC to Connecticut and the purchase of a 100 year old ramshackle house that she brings back to life. She shares her wisdom and wit as she writes about daily life. Betty MacDonald, of the Miss Piggle Wiggle children books, has written a series of books about her life and struggles. As suggested by the titles, The Egg and I, The Plague and I, you can only imagine her wit. Such joyful reading. Shirley Jackson (everyone absolutely must read her trilogy of adventures raising her children. With titles like Raising Demons and Savages Among Us, you can imagine the belly laughs she brings. Oh I just just discovered the wit and charm of Beverly Nichols when I stumbled upon his books at an estate sale. I am savoring every bit of the Merry Hall trilogy. What a delightful read, it is part gardening, part philosophy, part gossip, and sheer fun. I also love books of simpler times (although they really weren’t simpler now were they?). Miss Read and her lovely English village series, Lillian Beckwith and the stories of the Hebrides Islands, oh how both bring me such joy and take me away to far away lands. And one must not forget D.E. Stevenson and Elizabeth Goudge. The Pilgrims Inn trilogy is among my favorite reads. I have my modern favorites too as you can see. Kate Morton, Bill Bryson, Jan Karon, Debbie MacComber (the Blossom Street Series is the only ones I have read), Rosamunde Pilcher, Mauve Binchy….on and on the list goes as I find new treasures! I know I have forgotten so many, but these are the ones I keep in my own library to read over and over.

I have gotten a few new book acquisitions. My latest Saybrook course has been a deep dive into spirituality and the role it plays in wellbeing. One of the areas we are exploring is rituals. This took me back to my Catholic upbringing and the rich beautiful rituals that are practiced. I love celebrations and I believe that it is in the mundane daily living that we find the sacred. For every season in life and in nature there is a celebrating of that change/passage. I had wonderful discussion with my granddaughter in Ireland who is truly an old soul. We were discussing the Celtic traditions and she shared with me the wheel of the year which I just had to explore further!

Besides books, I have been out in the yard and so busy. We seem to have days of rain followed by days of sun or days with rain and sun alternately. Such is the PNW. I had the area in the back where there was no grass as we had the raised beds there. I had been slowly coming to the realization that it was best not to fight against all that shade, but rather to embrace it and fill the area with shade loving plants. A trip to the nursery and a haul of discounted plants led to creating this

There is still the need to plant a bit of grass, but I just love the little island and it will grow to become so lovely as the years pass.

I also added a little fire pit. My next big job is to surround this area with pea gravel….

I love to find discounted plants and scout the nursery centers for the outcasts that are past their blooms or a looking a bit down on their luck. Here are a few of the treasures, now abloom, that I grabbed off the Walmart discount shelf.

And that is just the blooms, I have also gotten numerous bushes, peonies, hostas, and a tree. It does pay to scout for the discounts. The best time to go is after some searing hot weather when the plants have drooped and lost blooms. They are promptly placed on the discount rack!

Remember the ginger rhizome I planted? Well we have some little shoots peaking through. This plant will stay inside until summer proper arrives and the temps remain above the 60s. My poor turmeric has done nothing but that rhizome had only one eye and a very sad one at that…

As Oregon has begun to open up again, I have not been able to resist the urge to go thrifting. I wear my mask as I do not want this virus for sure! But once our Goodwills opened, well I decided to pay the two closest a visit. I was not disappointed and found two enormous pots, a pillar, and these wonderful door things that I will turn into a screen (I LOVE these!)

And I found a salt lamp to replace the one I gave to my granddaughter for her college apartment.

Jackson, just love the hunt as much as I do and he has scored many games, nerf guns, and little treasures for his siblings and mom.

As I have shared, I just love podcasts and any TV time is generally spent on youtube watching my favorites and scouting for new delights. One of my favorites has been Elliot Homestead. I just couldn’t resist adding a few of her books to my library which then led to needing a cast iron skillet (why oh why did I ever give mine away??). I did my research and order one by Victoria. Well, it says it comes preseasons, but I am on my second seasoning and so we will see. The first seasoning did not result in a pan that “eggs just slide right out.” In fact I was scrubbing stuck on egg which was like glue! So we shall see…. But the books are indeed lovely and full of stories of setting up their homestead.

In all this gardening and reading I have still found time to get in some handiwork. I finished up the last of the dishtowels I had been working on and since I have become obsessed with crocheting, have nearly completed the current afghan I started a few weeks back. Crocheting just seems to go so quickly and is easy to rip back if there is a mistake. But I still love the look of knitting for garments. I have done a few rows on socks and am planning on casting on another shawl design by Joji Locatelli.

Well dears, that about covers my little bit of busyness in this corner of the world. I do try to keep busy and productive and live each day with extreme gratitude for all my blessings. This current condition shall pass and it is my prayer that we come out wiser, kinder, and better humans for it.

Keep blooming where you are planted as you sow kindness and love!

Patricia

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