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Happy to see these feathered friends back…it has been awhile. I think they are eating my grapes and raspberries. I also noticed my raspberries bushes are missing lots of leaves, could it be these beauties or deer?

Speaking of raspberries my black ones were really bitter this year. The tiny red ones were delicious, popped them right off the cane into my mouth.

My rambling thoughts on Nelle Harper Lee and her books To Kill a Mockingbird (TKAM) and Go Set a Watchman (GSAW)

My fascination with Nell Harper Lee started when I read the book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, twenty years ago. I was amazed they were childhood friends and famous writers from a small southern town. That she had written TKAM and won a Pulitzer Prize at such a young age, and then disappeared from the publishing world. I knew she lived in New York and was in with the party crowd of the flamboyant Capote. Obviously intelligent why no more books?

Recently I heard of the Marja Mills book, The Mockingbird Next Door, peaked my interest I read it as fast as I could. I discovered Lee: reads constantly, loves sports, does not watch TV or have a computer and does not like the outside world invading her private space. She has received many honorary degrees as well as countless opportunities to speak; which she no longer accepts. I came to understand the quiet southern woman’s hesitance to continue and compete with her previous unexpected success. Lee, said of her success “I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.”

And so she still lived in New York 5 months out of the year, returning to Alabama and her family in Monroeville. She keeps a journal and writes to her many friends, her head filled with stories just no more books. Until this year at 89 years old with her sister, trusted adviser, gone she has published Go Set a Watchman, and I; like countless others awaited its release. Placing it on hold as soon as I could. While waiting I read TKAM. enjoyed it and would like to re-see the 1963 Academy Award winning movie with Gregory Peck.

Then this week the library notified me the book was available…it was an ebook and the audio version….still I eagerly started listening. Well, I learned I’m not the listening kind of book reader, constantly falling asleep, losing my place, and starting over and over and over. Of course I had heard this was about grown Scout, and it does start off like that but there are many chapters that go back to Jem and Scout and their childhood adventures. Me… I like a book that keeps a nice neat chronological timeline and GSAW doesn’t do that. Scout weaves through her past and present often and perhaps, it was the audio version that didn’t suit my reading style. The most astonishing thing in the book is the disjointedness of Atticus, so revered in TKAM and his downfall at the end of the book. Scout wasn’t the only one upset with him…is Atticus a bigot….was he always one…perhaps I need to read GSAW with my own eyes.

Temperatures are rising I need two bottles of water for morning tennis. Our matches start at 8 and can go to 10:30, holding my own in the first two sets but this weather is not helping my 3rd set.
Came home today and filled the tub with cold water whoa that felt good.
My flowers are loving it though, will have to give the hydrangea and drink tonight, everyone else looks happy. Lots of Great Spangled Fritillaries on the cone flowers and the tansy is about to bloom. I weeded yesterday but can’t today too hot.butterflies4

strawberries Spring Rain Farm

Look at these beautiful berries I picked this week at Spring Rain Farm in ET. They are perfect and there are lots more… check them out when it’s not raining. So I’m inside baking a strawberry rhubarb pie.
It’s raining, it’s pouring, our gardens are enjoying today’s rain.

drought map

It’s been a dry spring, this map shows just how much we need rain,
Despite the dry conditions the strawberries, asparagus and even my flowers have done well, A picture is worth a thousand words so here are my favorites.
blackeyedgeraniumhydrangea first bloom

The cold weather of April has given way to a warmer than usual May. We have enjoyed many summer-like days with lots of time for tennis. The grass and gardens are very green and as the rainfall is below average all are in need of a drink. The wind has added to the dry air and the high pollen count is the cause of many scratchy throats and itchy eyes. Although rain has sometimes threatened and cancelled a few tennis matches we really need a bit. Our May flowers like violets, irises, lilacs are all doing well. My pansy baskets are producing nicely and the one below the bird feeder is sprouting sunflowers. MM and I have enjoyed fresh asparagus regularly and I made a rhubarb sauce, to top waffles, that was very tasty…it’s always nice to eat anything so fresh and grown in your backyard.
A and I visited the Allen’s Pond Audubon Sanctuary on Monday for a bird watching morning. A had binoculars and I my camera we enjoyed a long list of sightings. The most exciting was a flock of glossy ibises, my first ever sighting and I got some nice photos. The blue sky was amazing dotted with wispy white clouds. Hoping to find out where the meadowlarks are for my next visit.
glossy ibis2osprey at Allens Pond Audubon

YEAH….spring is here, and although the cold weather lingers we have enjoyed the warm sun a bit. I’ve worked in the yard, planted some parsley, rosemary, heather, and dill. Also transplanted some long neglected garlic that was in a big clump, now it’s in a neat row and hopefully will produce this fall. With any luck, the rabbits and woodchucks will leave us some. Got some nice pansies and put them in pots on the deck. The peanut butter log is replaced with hummingbird feeder awaiting the arrival of our summer friends. The goldfinches have their golden coats and continue to enjoy the sunflower seed. They look very nice with the pansies just below. Daffodils and primroses are out and the tulips will soon follow.

Big news…. the nine-month journey from broken wrist to normalcy has met another milestone. I no longer have the pins holding the ligament keeping my ulna and radius together. My second surgery was done earlier this month and just this week had my final visit with my orthopedic surgeon. Happy to report I’m all healed, have no restrictions, and ready to get back out on the tennis court. Fun in the sun and get my body, back in shape. My ukulele will help the fingers return to smooth working machine they once were. “ Use it or Lose it” my mantra for the rest of the year!

Very grateful for all those responsible for my care: doctors, nurses, and therapists even the ambulance drivers. To my family and friends, all your get-well wishes, dinners, and rides helped so much.

golden goldfinches

Ahhhh the temperature reached 60 yesterday; today the thermometer reads 39 but it feels much warmer lots of snow still but it’s….. melting. I moved the car a little too close to the lawn and made a giant rut, which I just raked over but mud season has arrived. It’s OK because I’m still wearing my LLBean ducks. All my snow pictures away spring and bird pictures in their place.
My little tin garden chickens, poor things…..I never leave them outside and this year I did…the snow and ice gave them a pounding. I hope they can recover with minimal repairs.

cold chickens

Just finished some spring cleaning: windows, dusting, vacuuming and picked up my draft dodgers. Thought about lowering the thermostat but I don’t want to get too carried away. I say now more snow until November What do you think?

I channeling my inner Mother Nature hoping for more warm spring sun shiny days.
My ukulele had to go back for repairs so it looks like I can catch up on painting.

OWEEE….it’s been cold. Our weather station keeps track of the lowest and highest temperature. The record right now is -6.2. The lowest wind chills I’ve seen has been -14. We’ve also had strong winds but through multiple storms our electricity has been unfailing and that means we’re good.
I keep my own snow totals and for January we got 31 inches….February so far 47 inches….that’s a lot of shoveling. I call it hand therapy; so that means my hand is getting stronger. I see the doctor next week and hopefully schedule the surgery to have the pins removed and that’s one more step to normalcy. Snow and icicles on the gutters getting scary so….. son to the rescue clearing gutters and shoveling roof….very grateful for his strength and durability.
Before…icy 001 NEPTUNE 031


Thank 2014 for all the memories, here is a photo recap.

2014 review

Here’s to 2015 and what surprises await.

Happy New Year!

thanksging13The smell of Thanksgiving drifts from the kitchen, pumpkin pie and whipped cream for supper. I think it’s a balanced meal…vegetable, dairy, carbohydrates; oops no protein. I’ll have eggs in the morning. Soon the house will be filled with family and love to

So many blessings this year: my family, my health, my retirement, my freedom. Each of these blessings a gift wrapped up with love, tiny blessing stored away in photographs and stories waiting to be shared. We gather in happiness and warmth with food, wine and memories.

I wish all a bounty of blessing to celebrate with loved ones.


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