Tag Archives: playhouse

When I looked up, I saw — much beauty.

I heard an unusually big sound of wings between me and the creek this morning, and looked up to see a pair of Bald Eagles!! I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen this bird before ever, and were they actually right here a few steps from my own house?

Yes, they were. They were leaving the branches of a tree as I walked by, and flew low through the creek bed a little farther, lit again briefly, and then lifted up into the blue sky above me where I got a movie with my phone, of them circling around me and the treetops. They are not too high and small in the movie to recognize their markings and confirm who they are. I can’t get over my astonishment, but I don’t mind it hanging on to me longer….

Also down by the creek many of the trees have colonies of mistletoe like this. One day I counted several dozen “decorated” trees, and when I went back in the evening the light was perfect for documenting the clumps that I normally don’t pay attention to.

Much prettier sights are also to be seen looking up:

I heard a lovely choral Christmas concert performed in our church last week. Beforehand all the electric lights were turned on, and looking up there one could see the dome brightly even though it was night! For the winter liturgical services we still only use candles, even at night, so it was different to get this view:

I have started cleaning up the garden in preparation for the dormant season. The sunflowers are still blooming, but I don’t want to wait until a frost hits to try to stuff them all in the bin, so I am filling it with sunflowers weekly. These Delta Sunflowers are the best! The birds adore them, too — Every time I go out the front door, a dozen are under the thicket, where a million seeds must have fallen by now and are still dropping.

 I brought in the last bouquet:

In the back garden, Christmas is more obviously on the way!

Pies and Baby

Today I am gathering up some stories that feature “B words,” as part of my Springtime Scheme.

Over the last week and more people have been feting my birthday. It started with a Peter Rabbit Garden apronP1030836 that arrived in the mail from friend Gabriella. I already washed it so the picture shows it a little wrinkly. The birds and bees and vegetables go with the theme of my new garden space, and I’ve even been wearing an apron more often again – especially last weekend, as I will tell you about with a different letter of the alphabet.

Soldier and Joy came with the boys and she had made me a vegan coconut cream pie with coconut crust — I know, it sounds incredible, and it was — and then on my birthday itself Kit baked a blackberry pie for me. I was telling Pearl about it on the phone while the pie was in the oven, and I couldn’t stop giggling over the topsy-turvy charm of that particular gift: After 40+ years of me baking a blackberry pie every July for my husband’s birthday, even when I had to do it over a campfire, on my first birthday without him someone is baking the same for me. Life is strange and wonderful.

gl birthday berry pie 3-16

The sweetest thing that belongs to this post is not exactly edible and doesn’t live in the garden. Baby Jamie turns a year old this month; he was the boy I wrote about last year, who was born the day after his grandpa’s funeral. We had a slightly early birthday party for him while their whole family was down remembering his grandpa with me.

Jamie first birthday March 2016

He had the traditional first-birthday-brownie baked by cousin Maggie. And he also had his first chance at enjoying Grandma’s playhouse. Then, too soon, we had to say, “Bye-bye!”

gl Jamie 3-16 playhouse IMG_1884

It’s a Eureka.

I am now the proud owner of a lemon tree, for the first time in my life. Unless you count my father’s ten acres of lemons that I helped to pick when I was about twelve; I also learned how to drive the tractor down the rows a few yards at a time to catch up with the pickers and make it easy to load boxes on the trailer.P1020744

When I tell people that I am planning for a lemon tree, without fail they ask me if it will be a Meyer lemon. No, it will not. I don’t know if Meyers are often grown commercially, but my father always showed scorn at the mere mention of a Meyer lemon, because they weren’t Real Lemons. All of my experience my life long has been with the old standard variety, Eureka, so that is what I wanted.

The Meyers are more frost hardy. If there had been a market for them, my father might have been wise to consider Meyers, because his lemon crop was ruined by frost so many times that he eventually pulled out those trees and planted more of the orange trees that were safer and more profitable. I’ve been living most of my adult life we don’t get a citrus-killing frost very often, but just in case, my tree will be planted under the canopy of my huge pine. If temps in the 20’s are predicted I can cover my baby, and/or put Christmas lights on it for a little extra heat.

This would be a good time to give you one of my recipes using (Eureka) lemons. I see I’ve already shared my favorite Lemon Poppyseed Sandwich Cookies, Lemon Curd, and Egg Lemon Soup. Here’s a different one, a recipe it seems I’ve never transcribed into a computer document, which is also one of my favorite savory dishes. Lemon juice is not cooked into the stew, but juicy lemon wedges are served alongside bowls of these beans at the table and squeezed over in the desired amount.

When I discovered this recipe and tried it for the first time — maybe it came from Organic Gardening magazine in the 70’s? — it reminded me so much of the beans I ate in Turkey that I wrote the Turkish word as the main title of the recipe copied into my funky notebook.


Greek Beans original-1

I don’t want to take time to type in the recipe right now because I have been so busy for several days, I am about to crash, and  hope to get sleep for another busy tomorrow. Much of the hubbub has to do with the garden project. At times four or five people have been working at once, on three different parts of the plan.P1020680

Soldier son came over again and finished the planting boxes. He also got the Craigslist playhouse off the driveway and into its final resting place, after building a foundation and floor and then moving it on to the spot that he had carefully leveled. P1020697

These pictures were taken a couple of days ago and already a lot more progress has been made; I hope that next week I can show you the paths all complete in their several layers.

Today the workers didn’t need me to make decisions or anything, so I caught up with some friends. First Elsie and I took a walk, which we’ve been trying for months to coordinate our schedules for. I took her on my favorite bike path loop which doesn’t require getting in a car to go anywhere.

When we got back to the house we stood out on the sidewalk looking up at the sunflowers and wondering why the birds haven’t eaten the seeds. Her eyes traveled up a little higher and spied a kestrel on the roof of my house! I am a great one for not seeing birds; if I had seen this one I wouldn’t have known what it was. But Elsie once saw a raptor like this grab a blue jay from her back yard so she read all about them. She also told me a story about an Australian woman she met who had lost her small dog to a hawk who swooped down and carried the tiny creature off.

I decided that today was the best day to cut the sunflower heads off, because if the birds don’t want them, I do, and I don’t want them getting rained on again and getting moldy. I went into the garage to get my loppers, and lop, lop, lop — the three plants with the seeds big enough to find and eat were down. I gave one seed head in a pie tin to Elsie — the seeds were falling out without us doing anything — and she went home to roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Mrs. Bread hadn’t seen my yard since the real landscaping has started, so I phoned her and she was able to come over. She helped me to harvest sunflower seeds, but we found the seeds toward the middle much harder to extract. We got tired of this digging and went to the store together to buy me  a handbag.


I am having an improved blogging experience tonight. Since last winter I have acquired a laptop and an easy chair, so now instead of sitting in front of the desktop in the corner of the house we call Siberia, I can sit comfortably and toast my toes by the wood stove. At first I noticed how much easier it is to think when I’m warm, but now….I’m getting sleepy…very…sleepy. I’ll be back another day.