Sunday, June 4, 2017

Week 76, 6-4-2017

Thoughts and Quotes: Grab a cup of tea, because this is a long story.

Your mother told you about the birds and the bees. I'd like to tell you about the birds (Cardinals to be exact) and the butterflies. And I'll throw in bird feathers.

We'll start with the feathers. I was very close to one of my aunts. We were both bookkeepers and sold real estate. We both loved opera and pretty tables. I liked to cook and she liked to eat.

She died in 1988 and I kept finding feathers in my path wherever I went. I felt as if my angel auntie was sending them. 

I lived in California in a townhouse. I left through the back slider, walked across my little back deck and through a small yard, then through a door and I was in my garage. My deck had a slat cover and one side was just large enough for a glass-top table with four chairs. 

One morning I was thinking about those feathers as I got ready for work. I was wondering if they actually came from my aunt. That very morning, I opened the slider, stepped out on the deck, and there on the table was a big black feather. I mean a BIG feather - the kind Thomas Jefferson used to write the Declaration of Independence. There was no way that I could miss it. I'd never seen crows or ravens in my back yard before.

Next came the butterflies. My cousin Bos was gay and had a life partner named Donna. Donna died in 2011, and I began seeing butterflies everywhere. I had moved to Missouri, where there are more butterflies than California, but not really that many anymore, but I kept seeing them. 

Then Bos was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2012. The doctor told her 3 to 6 months. She was in California and I made several trips back and forth and she died on March 30, 2013.  My birthday is March 10, and I was at her house on my birthday. I told her, "If you know what's going on down here after you're gone, put a Cardinal in my backyard on my birthday next year".  Then I said, "And if Donna is with you, put two".

So it was almost a year before my next birthday. I was busy that day, and out to lunch. I'd totally forgotten about the Cardinals. I hadn't even opened the shades in my bedroom before I left. It was late afternoon when I remembered. I went over and pulled the cord to raise the shade, and two Cardinals flew right by my window. I see Cardinals only occasionally, and usually only one at a time.

Fast forward to the present. We were out to lunch and talking about the afterlife. My friends knew my experiences, and I mentioned that I didn't get feathers and butterflies anymore, so my aunt and Donna must have moved on. The next time I walked out into the back yard, there was a beautiful, pristine feather right in my path. A few minutes later, a butterfly flew right across in front of me.

There's more. Donna always wanted her family graves (in Missouri) decorated for Memorial Day. My brother lived here and handled it for her when she moved to California, then I took over when I moved back to Missouri. We also decorated our family graves, as well.

After Donna died, Bos told me she didn't care about it, and I didn't need to do it anymore. Okay by me - I think you should send flowers when people are alive. Then that butterfly flew across my path.  I started thinking about Donna's graves (I also buried Bos and Donna's ashes here in Missouri in the same cemetery). I was wondering if she really did know and wanted those graves decorated. I kept seeing butterflies. One even landed on the hood of my car when I pulled into my driveway and wouldn't leave. I finally pulled into the garage and he flew away. The Sunday before Memoria Day, I was working in the backyard, and a Cardinal landed on my fence and just gave me Billy-Heck, chattering away, and then he flew off. OKAY!  I got the message. I got up the next day and ransacked the garage for baskets and flowers to decorate Donna's family graves.

As I left the cemetery and got on the highway, a butterfly flew right across the road in front of me. I took it as a "thank you" from Donna.

The stories are true; whether my interpretations are true remains to be seen. I guess  I'll know first hand someday.

When I planned for Memoria Day, I had time to make pretty baskets like these:

Donna's relatives

My mother

My father

Paternal grandfather

Paternal grandmother

Maternal grandmother 


 This year, with no planning, I can only claim that yes, I did it.

And now Donna is here

And so is Bos

And now I shall start collecting baskets and flowers when I visit thrift stores, because I certainly don't want to be read the riot act by a Cardinal next year.

The Pepper Report: As you know, I get my rest at night because Pepper doesn't sleep on my bed. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even sleep in the bedroom. Sometimes he chooses the living room and sometimes the family room.

I was in the bathroom doing my makeup the other morning, and when I came back into the bedroom, I found this. Is it just a matter of time before I have a bed buddy?

We've been to the vet twice this week. On Tuesday, I noticed that a small part of his right eye was brownish-gold instead of green. Dr. looked at him and said that he had an ulceration in his eye. I've been putting two medications in his eye twice a day. One dilates his eye to reduce the pain, and the other is an anti-biotic so that it doesn't get infected. We were back on Friday and Dr. says that it looks fine. We can discontinue the dilation on Monday, continue the anti-biotic and go back again on Friday. This poor baby just can't stay well.

Tid-bits: I just had to share this, because I've always heard that you can fix anything with duct tape. Guess it was a little inconvenient not being able to open the trunk, so time for bungee cords. You can't see it in the photo, but the trunk originally was taped also; I could see where it used to be. Poor car. I'll bet it's so embarrassed.

Things that Grow: I worked on the yard and Bill came a couple of days and cut the weeds behind my fence, sprayed them with Ground Clear, and replaced some boards in my fence. We're making headway.

All my patio pots are coming along. I got such a late start, they'll probably bloom just in time for the first freeze.

I finally got the middle raised bed cleared of weeds.

My daughter sent me a few English watercress seeds (which are new to me), and I ordered some more online. They have to have constant moisture, so I planted them where the water comes out from the air conditioner. I'll still have to water, but can't wait to see if they'll grow. In California I could always buy watercress (the kind which grows IN water) in the markets, but not here. I miss it. My favorite is Cream of Watercress Soup.

The veggies are growing, but look at all the grass! Guess I'll try using an old dinner fork to clear it out.

And now that Bill painted my outdoor patio furniture, Ta Da!

Teas: The June tea is finished.

Savories: Ham Salad Tea Sandwiches, Tomato and Butter Tea Sandwiches

Scone: Raspberry Scones with Lemon Sweet Butter

Sweets: Brownies and Brown Sugar Chews

Lagniappe: Strawberries Stuffed with Cream Cheese

Note: I learned about lagniappe in New Orleans. It's "a little something extra".


Buy ham salad from the deli counter if you can; otherwise:

Ham Salad

8 oz. ham, cut in tiny cubes
1/4 cup minced pickles, sweet or dill
2 Tbs minced onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard

Butter both bread pieces lightly before adding the ham salad.

Tomato and Butter Sandwiches

Slice the tomatoes and salt them.
Cut the bread with a round cutter the same diameter as the tomato slices
Butter both bread pieces generously

Raspberry Scones

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1 egg
3/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh raspberries

Heat oven to 400°.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or fork. (Or give your hands a good scrub and work it in with your fingers).

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg, and add the milk, cream, and flavorings. Mix well.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix gently. Carefully add raspberries.

Pat dough into an inch-high circle on a floured surface. Cut into eight wedges and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Butter

To soft butter, add powdered sugar to taste and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Add some lemon zest, if desired. Don't substitute lemon extract. Lemon extract has an alchoholic taste unless baked.

Use your favorite mix and canned chocolate frosting. If making a large quantity, frost all and then put whole pecan halves on one-third, chopped pecans on one-third, and frosting only on the final one-third.
Brown Sugar Chews

1/2 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsps vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
Powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 375°.

Melt butter in oven in a 9” X 13” baking dish.

Mix brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Pour in melted butter.

Sift flour and baking powder together and stir into butter mixture.

Add nuts, if desired.

Spread batter over bottom of baking dish. Batter will be stiff.

Bake 20 minutes.

Cut while warm and dust with powdered sugar.

Strawberries Stuffed with Cream Cheese

Cut off strawberry stems and a tiny tip of the pointed end. Make a cross in the tip end, but do not cut all the way through.

Mix cream cheese, sifted powder sugar to taste, and a bit of vanilla extract with a mixer.

Pipe into strawberries with a star tip and pastry bag or by putting it in a plastic bag and cutting off the tip of one corner.

National Days

Monday: Take your choice - veggie burgers, gingerbread, or moonshine

Tuesday: D-Day and thank you to all the Europeans who continue to decorate the graves of American service men and women buried in their countries.

Wednesday: Chocolate Ice Cream Day - Yay!

Thursday: Best Friends Day

Friday: It's either Donald Duck or Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day

Saturday: Herbs and Spices or Iced Tea

Sunday: Corn on the Cob or German Chocolate Cake









  1. I am a great fan of watercress, hopefully you will have a good harvest. Loved the outdoor setting, perfect for the season.

    1. I know nothing about watercress grown in the ground. I've only seen it in water coming from a spring. It grows wild in the rural areas here, but they don't sell it in the markets nor do they have it at our local farmers' markets. I asked a grocery clerk if they had it when I first moved back to Missouri, and she didn't have a clue. Wanted to know if it was some kind of cracker.

  2. Beautiful plaques, Patsy! I wish for you a great harvest, and happiness in all aspects.

    1. I'm thinking that next year will be flowers only - maybe a tomato plant or two. I'm not much of a farmer and we DO have farmers' markets all summer. We'll see.

  3. Hey Doll!
    I absolutely know about & believe in signs like that. My Gram (that Annie was named for) loved hummingbirds. I have them around every summer. A few summers ago they seemed so late in coming & I wasn't seeing any and I thought the same thing. That Gram had moved on & just as I was thinking that out on my deck watering flowers - a hummingbird came & hovered right in front of me. It didn't even go to the flowers. I said "hi" right out loud & started crying. So cool! I love the lengths your family went to in sending their messages! Lol

    Great job on decorating for them too! The June tea looks amazing & so inviting out in the sun. All of the menu sounds so good too! And you're doing awesome with your gardening. Even if they'll be late bloomers. ;)

    I have a feeling you will have a bed buddy soon. Time to snuggle! Lol

    Blessings on your week Dearest. Xoxo