The sweetest flower is here.

This morning I wished I had gloves on my hands, as I looped my loop through the fog that was lifting as I went. It was the time when many mothers are walking their kindergarteners to school and pushing a younger child in a stroller. Middle-schoolers congregate in the saddles of their bicycles, and then speed off at the last minute to get to class on time. I encountered four neighbors with three dogs, Nino, Corky and Maverick.

And flowers! Maybe because the edges of the walking paths were sheared in September, a few Queen Anne’s Lace flowers have opened near the ground. This thistle caught my eye, the first I had seen all year, contrasting in color and development with pyracantha already in the berry stage. Above it, the shrub with yellow flowers is one I don’t know, but it looks like it may originate in the southern hemisphere… I say that only because the leaves remind me of bottlebrush. Does anyone know it?

Less exotic is the lower creek path and the creek, seen from the bridge, my “same ol'” favorite scene.

Birds are very busy in the runaway tangles of berries, vines and ripening seeds, such as in the patch of sunflowers in my front yard. I wish I knew who the little ones are that flit about there every day and fly away as soon as I get near.

I am listening to One Wild Bird at a Time by Bernd Heinrich, a man after my own heart, who spends days and weeks at a time in every season, tracking the behavior of birds in the Maine forest around his a cabin. He climbs trees to look into nests of woodpeckers and digs in the snow to count the fecal pellets of grouse, keeping detailed records in hopes of solving what to him are fascinating Why questions of the avian communities and society.

I also find this kind of detective work much more compelling to engage in or to read about than the kind of mystery novel many people enjoy, Agatha Christie or P.D. James or the current favorites. I don’t have the time Mr. Heinrich does to follow the owls and nuthatches through the woods, or to befriend and tame a starling; I also don’t have the vast background knowledge of birds and insects that informs his research, so I really appreciate his sharing the joy of his lifelong love in action.

Busy as my days have been, full as my house already is with books, when I returned a book to the drop slot at the library I succumbed to the temptation to look into the five ! 4-foot cube containers of books out in front, evidently what was left over from a book sale, books that were intended for thrift stores but — the truck had broken down, or what? We who were rummaging through only knew that the library staff had told us to take what we wanted, and yes, for free.

Wouldn’t you also have at least looked? I don’t know how much time I spent there, and I don’t know if it was the right thing to do… It was a strange situation, to be outdoors where several of the people were chatting as they tried to dig down at least a couple of feet toward who-knew-what treasures, the deepest of which were completely out of reach, unless someone wanted to dumpster dive.  One woman said, “These are some great books!” and later I heard, “These are all worthless.” Another seeker examined one volume after another and said to whoever would listen, “I never look a gift book in the mouth,” which seemed not the right proverb for what she was actually doing.

I talked to a third-grade girl who had come to the library with her grandfather. I showed her a few books I thought she might like, including Lemony Snicket and Beverly Cleary. She said about Cleary, “I only read the new books,” and told me she was looking for books for her baby sister.

I still had a bag of books in my car that I had taken from a box at church, left by a friend who used to sell books online and now is joining a convent. The picture above shows most of what I brought home from the two sources, less a couple of cookbooks I’d already put on the shelf; the book at the bottom right with the embossing worn off is How Green Was my Valley.

The Art of Loving I have an interest in because I had read it on my own in high school, and then at an interview for a college scholarship the interviewer wanted me to talk about why I liked it; I was completely unprepared for that and dumb. (I did get the scholarship anyway.) Many of these books I chose thinking of the possible interest of various of my very large and growing family. But I suspect I will end up giving at least a few to the thrift store myself!

I’ve cooked a couple of new things lately, first, some homemade dry cereal as inspired by Cathy and adapting the method she uses, developed by The Healthy Home Economist. I’ve made two batches now, and I really like it. I decreased the amount of maple syrup in my second batch and used both chickpea flour and rice bran in my recipe, and it was still good 🙂 Cathy’s picture made it look very good, and mine doesn’t seem as appealing visually, but here it is.

My housemate Susan taught me this summer to enlist the aid of Saint Phanourios when I lost something important.  The second time it was my keys, including the remote key to my car, that I lost, and when I found them I decided to bake the traditional cake in his honor, for both findings. It’s a yummy spice cake that Greeks might eat at any time, baked with orange juice and zest, and walnuts.

I was anticipating the arrival of grandsons Liam, Laddie, and Brodie this week, and decided to revive my traditional Oatmeal Bread recipe to serve them, which was our sandwich, toast, snacking bread for twenty years or so when we fed a houseful of us. For a time Pippin was the baker. We had to turn out a batch of five loaves a little more often than once a week. (Not quite as often we added a batch of the sourdough bread.)

This is Liam giving a sniff to the loaves that had only just come out of the oven when they arrived, with their mom and tiny baby sister — ta da! — Clara. She is my favorite fall flower of all.


14 thoughts on “The sweetest flower is here.

  1. So good to read your latest post and the sweetest flower was most definitely in your last photo. I love the photo of Liam smelling the freshly baked bread. So sweet.

    Have a wonderful weekend ~ FlowerLady

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been wanting to read that bird book. I have been helping with bird banding at the Audubon center and it is fascinating. I have seen so many birds I have never seen before, even though they are probably in the woods around my house.

    I think I gave that Latin Winnie the Pooh to my daughter once.

    We have been visiting our three youngest granddaughters this week (youngest is 8 months). It is very sweet.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a darling baby. I don’t remember the last time I have seen a delicate baby! My parakeet, Peta-Pie, just lets her eggs drop to the floor! She prefers playing nest with her false replacement egg. Neither Mr Allen or P-Pie know what to do. Peta was rescued from PetSmart. We don’t know who raised the Mister. Perhaps many generations raised in tiny breeding cages. Love to your son!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. She is so lovely and I bet smells the sweetest! Your bread is lovely. What a nice place you have to walk. Oh gosh, me and books! I love that you got Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. I love that book but am so guilty of all that he describes. I think I would enjoy that bird book you mentioned. Have a lovely day with all of your little ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thistle blooms are so pretty, I’m always tempted to leave them but if I forget to deadhead before the flower turns to seed I’m in trouble.
    You chose quite a stack of books for your winter reading. Treasures, to be sure.
    I never “look a gift book in the mouth” either. *grin*

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing the book, One Bird at a Time. I’m going to look for that one. I recently gave my 10 yr. old granddaughter (who is a bird specialist) the book, Good Birders Don’t Wear White, and she loves it. I told her I want to read it when she’s done. I think she and I might like your book too.

    I like the pics of the flowers on your walk. I don’t know the yellow one. Loving the bread picture and the fall flower picture. Is that you reading a Beatrix Potter story to Clara and her sibling? So sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, I guess I was too busy with Clara to pay attention to your suggestion – a year ago! – that my mystery flower might be St. John’s Wort. But I am familiar with hypericum hidcote, though I didn’t know its botanical name. The yellow flower is not that 🙂 I really appreciate having blogging friends like you who also are plant-lovers and identifiers!


  7. What a sweet photo of the baby! That’s so snugly and warm. I don’t know the yellow flower – I think you have very different flowers and plants out there than we have here. The baking looks delicious!


  8. How lovely to have Clara in your arms. Babies grow all too quickly. Of the books in your stack I recognize only Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. A good commentary on our time.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.