Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nature Is Good Medicine

Ferns at Watershed Trail at Panola Mountain State Park
Arabia Mountain, Panola Mountain and Stone Mountain are the monadnocks that are near my home and my husband and I get there every chance that we can.  Besides being good for our physical health, it is vital for our spiritual well-being. 

Evening Primrose At Arabia Mountain
Blooming Yucca - Panola Mountain (Stone Mountain on horizon)

Dutch Iris


We don't have to go far for our nature, it is right outside our window, right beside our front door!

Happy Memorial Day! How are you spending the day?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blue Flowers/Jeanne Robertson

Blue flowers, I have spoken of my love of them before.  One of my fondest memories of my childhood is of the big mophead hydrangeas.  They may be pink where you live (it depends on the pH of the soil) but they are always blue in the South.  I can remember them in front of huge houses with great white pillars and I can also picture them in front of weather-beaten houses of a dark grey wood.  They fit perfectly in either setting.

This is a photo that I made this weekend at my brother's house and my sweet sister-in-law has promised me a cutting!  You can bet that I will be holding her to that promise.
 Southern women are funny and I have a video to prove it! I found the humorist, Jeanne Robertson, who is a former Miss North Carolina and she really makes me giggle.   She tells the funniest stories of just everyday life. (She calls her husband "Left-brain"!)   Of course, all women in the South are beauty pageant winners and confident believe that, right?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

In The Garden/ English Peas

Aren't these yellow flowers pretty?  They will become the most beautiful yellow crook neck squash.  Slice them up and saute them with a Vidalia onion in a little light olive oil, and you have a wonderful meal.  (What, you don't know what a Vidalia onion is? Why it is just the sweetest onion on Earth, that's all!) Vidalia onions are also good in a pea salad.   What, you don't make pea salad? Well, you should!
1 can of sweet peas (I've always called them English peas)
minced or grated onion (a little goes a long way, I don't use much)
Oh, I am such a gourmet!  Drain the peas, mix enough mayonnaise to bind it together and mix in the onion.  Chill in fridge until ready to serve.  This is easy but very good.  I even saw Emeril (a chef who owns restaurants and writes cookbooks) make this on a TV show once!  
My Dad says that he has never been able to get English peas to "make".  They must need cool weather and a lot of rain (makes sense why they are called English peas!)  Luckily, we have had somewhat of a cool Spring with a lot of rain, so he tried them this year.  They did quite well!
Most of the plants on the right are POTATOES!  Aren't they beautiful?  They are not quite ready yet but the English peas are!  After I took this photo, I walked with my Dad down that row and together  we picked a good "mess" of peas. 
Yay! Daddy was able to dig up some potatoes for us.  You knew he would, right? If you have never seen potatoes in the ground, make sure that you do, it is like finding buried treasure.
Hope everyone in the USA has a safe and happy Memorial Day Holiday.  My greatest respect for all who have served.  I have another book to tell you about from World War II but it will have to wait for another post!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Antiquities And Antiques Road Show

It's been 100 years since Britain has been buying and collecting historic buildings and sites and opening them to the public. There is a really interesting video regarding this that I found on the BBC.  It is seven minutes long but it is like a little movie, it is so well put together.  I love the content, the photography and I even love the background music. You may find the clip just here.

It is incredible that one of the more recently preserved buildings is a barn which is very close to a runway at London's Heathrow Airport! It is so beautifully built that is like a church.  John Betjeman even likened it to a cathedral. 
  I was most excited to see the photos of  the Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire.   I have never been to Yorkshire but I recognize the ruins of the Abbey from reading the books by James Herriot.  The changes that they are making to the area around Stonehenge are exciting to me, make sure you watch this video just so you can see what they are doing! (Never been there either, but it is on my list, along with Salisbury Cathedral which is not too far away from Stonehenge.)

The interesting story about Lord Curzon taking back the fireplaces and having the Union Jack proudly displayed upon the horse-drawn cart is such a good one!  I had to look further and see who would have bought them from such a beautiful old house and I am afraid that it was a group of American business men!  Oops!  Oh well, Lord Curzon bought them back from them anyway and for good measure, he guarded the ports to make sure they didn't secretly spirit them away! 

Sea Houses In Eastbourne, England(Charles Darwin Stayed here!)

Hey! Did you know that they just filmed an episode of Antiques Road Show at the Bandstand in Eastbourne today?  I really enjoy watching the British Antiques Roadshow as frequently the location is just as fascinating as some of the antiques. This is a picture of me standing on the lower level of the Bandstand. (Gee, it sure was hard balancing that pier on top of my head! HA!)
So, make sure you look out for that show on PBS, it might make it here in about 2 or 3 years!
We get things years later and I will ask my English in-laws about a TV show and they have to search their memories since they wouldn't have seen the show in years! 
If any of you see this little 7 minute movie from the BBC that I told you about, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Aimee Copeland/ Kyle Maynard

Anybody remember Aimee Copeland that I did a post about last year?  Aimee lost her limbs to a flesh eating bacteria. She is one amazing young woman with such a great joy of life that she could have a career as a motivational speaker.  Look at her now!        If you watch that video, you will see her sign her name with her brand new bionic hands, and her handwriting is MUCH better than my own!  (Even the man in charge of teaching Aimee to use her new hands seemed amazed at her quick progress with them!)

I also did a post about Kyle Maynard last year. Kyle was born with stumps for hands and his legs end at his knees.  Kyle also has a very positive outlook on life and he IS an inspirational speaker.  He is also a very fine athlete who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last year!  (He trained on Stone Mountain, and I so WISH I could have met him there!)  Both Aimee and Kyle are from Georgia and in fact live very close to each other.  I wondered if it was possible that they had ever met.  Well, they DID meet!   I just found a video where they attended the same dinner and I have it here for you.  (It is at the top of this post, just click on that link.).   They are both so good-looking! And don't they just seem so darn nice that you want to meet them and be friends with them?

We keep this plant in the garage over the winter and bring it out when the danger of frost is over.  This Gaillardia comes back beautifully every year, bringing this wonderful color into the world.
Life tries so hard.  Isn't it wonderful?

Monday, May 20, 2013



The photo above is of a tornado or "cyclone" as depicted in the movie "The Wizard of Oz".
 In all of the special effects and expensive computer generated images that we see in movies today, it astounds me that this movie from 1939 was able to capture the image of a tornado with a funnel shaped piece of muslin cloth.  It was attached to the sound stage and simply rotated and moved to simulate a twister.

Photo from Wikipedia of an actual tornado in Oklahoma.

There are some huge storms expected today in Oklahoma and the Midwest is very well known for tornadoes.  In the Southeast, we have our fair share of them as well.  My prayers are with those in the path of the storm and my hope is that the destruction will be as minimal as possible and with no loss of life.
My Dad called me last night and asked me if I had seen the tornadoes on the news.  He told me a story about one that he lived through in 1936 when he was a young lad in Toccoa, Georgia. The following is what he said...

"I was at school (Eastannollee) and asked if I could go to the outhouse. (It was a few hundred yards away from the school building and was a 7-holer!)  The teacher gave me permission and I walked there and it was raining just a little bit.  When I came back out, it started getting dark and by the time I got back to the schoolhouse, it was pitch black, like night-time!  The teacher made us sit at our desks and told us to be quiet and to not make a move.  With no electricity, we sat in complete darkness and listened as the wind and rain roared over us.  We only found out later about the terrible storm in Gainesville and knew how lucky we were since we were in the direct path of the storm..."

 I told my Dad that I was very aware about the big tornado that had hit Gainesville  but it had never occurred to me to ask if my Dad had any memories of it.  My grandfather, my mother's father, worked for the state of Georgia and was one of those who helped to recover the bodies in the town square of Gainesville. It is believed that 203 people died although the final body count has never been verified.  Two tornadoes merged when they reached the town of Gainesville and together they leveled everything in sight.  Some of the debris was 10 feet high.  One of the heartbreaking stories is that a group of schoolchildren on their way to school sought shelter from the storm in a downtown department store building and were killed when the building collapsed upon them.

This storm is known as the Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak and you may read about it here.  Elvis Presley was a baby in Tupelo, Mississipi when this tornado happened and was one of the survivors.

Our weather has not been too bad although we have had a lot of rain this weekend in Georgia (Flowery Branch, which is close to Gainesville, had SEVEN inches of rain!)  and there has been severe flooding with roads being washed away.  I pray for those in the Mid-West and ask for your prayers as well.

Update:  After I did this post, I have now seen the news from Moore, Oklahoma and the tornado that hit this afternoon was on the ground for 40 minutes and it was about two miles wide.  There have been deaths even at an elementary school.  I still ask you for your prayers.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tradescantia- Blue Flowers On Arabia Mountain


I love wildflowers.  Whether I am in England or in Georgia, I am always looking out for them.  The bluebells are in bloom at this time of year in England and I wish I could be there to see them! (I have a photo of myself on the side of my blog posing with them in May of 2010.) Never mind, there are some lovely blue flowers that have been in bloom at Arabia Mountain and Panola Mountain too.  They are called spider-worts but the botanical name for them is tradescantia. I think the ones here are tradescantia virginiana. I love the way my English husband says the word "tradescantia" and that is what we call them.

There is an English connection to them since the name comes from the English naturalists,  John Tradescant the Elder (1570-1638) and.John Tradescant the Younger (1608-1662).  You may click on each name to learn more about these fascinating gentlemen.  The few snippets I can give you about them reads like a movie poster..."Founded First Public Museum In England", "The Younger-Great Friend To John Smith, Famous Explorer!, "Gardeners for Royalty! (Charles I)". 
Come on now, surely you want to click on their names to read about them now!

Normally, I don't like books of fiction but I see that Philippa Gregory has written two books about them, "Earthly Joys" about John the Elder and "Virgin Earth" about the Younger.  (John the Elder collected seeds and specimens from Europe whereas his son ventured as far as Virginia in America.)
These are on my list of books that I truly want to read!

Meike,  I hope you know that I thought of you when I saw these yellow flowers* amongst the tradescantia! 
*I really do know what these are called but the name just does not come to mind, but I will find out and let you know!
Look, these dutch irises echo the tradescantia...and these are just beside our front steps to our home!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

God Save The Queen!

C & H Fabrics in Eastbourne in England had a very nice window display for the Queen's Jubilee last year.  Let's have a closer look, shall we?
   Fantastic! Those are pieces of cloth that they have put together to make this beautiful portrait! Oh say, can you see *the photo that was the inspiration for this?  I thought this was an amazing work of art and I am very happy that I got Richard to take one of his famous photos! I wonder what they did with this when the window display was taken down? 
We also saw this at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne.  In this mosaic, it isn't pieces of cloth, but actual photographs of British people and it is made up of over 5000 photos! Helen Marshall was the artist behind this creation and you may read more about it on the BBC website which also has a place where you can click on the digital version and you may zoom in and see in great detail each of the photos! The BBC website is here.
Here is another English lady with her own special crown!  Okay, Joan, I know I have shown this before, but I hope you don't mind me showing it again...this is my elegant mother-in-law in England who allows her American daughter-in-law to take photos like this one!
God Save The Queen!
*Oh say, can you see...ha ha, had to work in some of the American National Anthem too!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Concert At The Monastery

Last Sunday, the Georgia Symphony Orchestra had a concert at the Monastery here in Rockdale County.  It was beautiful.  It rained the whole weekend but for a few hours the rain stopped and it was a lovely afternoon!  Look at that sky!  (The building at the left is where the monks lived when they first came to Georgia, it was a BARN and they lived there with the animals when they first began building in the 1940's.)
Walking over to the church, you feel yourself begin to relax and to breathe in the peace and the quiet.
In the photo above, those are tulip trees that the monks planted in the 1940's...they are the tallest trees that grow in the eastern part of North America, you can tell why they are called tulip trees, that is one of the blossoms that had fallen off one of the trees.  (One of the songs began  "I got me flowers to strew thy way".)
Standing in line waiting for the concert, I look up and I think I see a heart shape in the clouds, do you see it or is it just me? (It was even better but I had to fish out my camera!) 
Though it might look like marble, the church is make entirely of concrete! Can you imagine how much work this would have been for these hardworking monks?
I have read that the monks decided to use a lot of blue in the stained glass once they realized that the blazing Georgia sun would be softened and cooled by this color.  What a great idea!
Yellow and orange stained glass bathe the altar in a golden light while the rest of the church is in a peaceful blue and lavender, very serene and beautiful.



The music and singing was wonderful (I loved the violins!) but my favorite part was when four of the monks came out and chanted "Ubi Caritas" (Op. 10, No. 1 from  "Quatre motets sur des themes Gregoriens pour Choer"  by Maurice may click above and listen to it. This clip is not the one that the monks did at the concert but it is very good and very close to how it sounded. 
(Translated, the last few lines of this are:  And from a sincere heart let us love each other, where charity and love are, there God is.)
Tomorrow, the road in front of the Monastery will be shut down so that a new pedestrian bridge will be built over this busy highway.  They are building a new trail  that will go directly to the Monastery and rather than walkers and bikers having to dodge the traffic, they will be able to walk right over the road!  This is truly a wonderful thing, but then, this doesn't surprise me, the Monastery is a place for miracles.  (Miracles can happen anywhere really, we just need to be open to them!)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wild About Harry! (Warren, that is!)

Hey, unless you have been living under a rock (or climbing all over one like me!) you will know that Prince Harry is visiting the USA this week.    Prince Harry, I hope you have a wonderful time while you are here... but wait, this post isn't about Prince Harry, it is about another man, a prince of a fellow by the name of Harry Warren.

Never heard of him, you say?  No, I hadn't either until just recently.  For someone who loves music and the people who write great melodies, how I could not have known of him is beyond me.  Remember my post about Cloudland Canyon? It is very close to Chattanooga, Tennessee and of course, you know I had to sing "Chattanooga Choo Choo" when I saw the highway sign for Chattanooga.  When I got home, I researched the song on the computer and found that it not only went to number one on the charts in 1941 but it was the FIRST gold record! (Gold record means that it had one million in sales).  The music for "Chattanooga Choo Choo" was written by Harry Warren.
(It was made famous by Glenn Miller, another prince of a fellow, but he deserves a post of his own!)

Harry Warren was born as Salvatore Antonio Guaragna in 1893 in Brooklyn, New York.  He wrote over 800 songs, and published 500 of them! You may click on his name and it will take you a website listing a great many of his songs but I can tell you that some of them are:

"At Last" ... you know this one don't you, it was the signature song of Ella Fitzgerald. It is sung very often at weddings these days! This song was a favorite of Harry Warren's, he would sometimes draw the melody of the first two bars of the song when signing an autograph!

"I Only Have Eyes For You"...This is such a beautiful melody.  I remember Art Gunfunkel having a big hit with this.  I had no idea it was written in 1934 for a movie called "Dames"!

"Jeepers, Creepers",  "Shuffle Off To Buffalo",  "42nd Street"  "That's Amore"    "We're In The Money"...he wrote all of these and he even wrote a Catholic mass! 

In fact, Harry Warren wrote the music for over 300 movies. Do you remember "Sleepless In Seattle" and how much the movie, "An Affair to Remember" was a big part of it? The same music used in the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr movie from the 50's was used in the Tom Hanks/ Meg Ryan movie, and, yep, you guessed it, the music was by Harry Warren!

One of my favorites is "You'll Never Know".   I found a video of Alice Faye singing it and I think it is lovely!  I have read that the first few notes of this song are on his gravestone.

For all of the music that this man wrote in his lifetime, I am very grateful.   Not only did he write for the movies, but he wrote the music for over 112 Looney Tunes cartoons. I just bet that I heard every one of them. Wonderful melodies that shaped my childhood by Harry Warren, and I only just learned of him! 

 I have found the most wonderful video of Ian Whitcomb with Harry Warren himself, and they are singing "At Home In Pasadena" together!  It is so wonderful!  Ian Whitcomb could be Bugs Bunny on the ukulele, that is what it reminds me of...I am sorry but I really did watch a lot of cartoons.
If you look it up, perhaps you could listen to it too, it is so nice to hear this great man play the piano and sing!  (Can't seem to get it on my blog for some reason.)
 Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a very happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pay It Forward Names

Thanks to those who left comments on my last post!   I put the names into a hat (okay, a small jumbled up pile!) and the three names are:

Audrey from Life's Simple Pleasures

Dennis from Dennis the Eremite

Sandie from Chatty Crone

Please send me your addresses by e-mail and I will send a card with a few things enclosed to each of you as soon as possible! And then YOU can think of what you can send to the next group of three chosen!  I know that in England and perhaps elsewhere in the world, you might have already had Mother's Day, but in the USA, it is this Sunday.   Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms!


Amaryllis looks really pretty on my front porch with the morning sun!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kindness- Pay It Forward

Drop a pebble in the water,
And its ripples reach out far;
And the sunbeams dancing on them
May reflect them to a star.

Give a smile to someone passing,
Thereby making his morning glad;
It may greet you in the evening
When your own heart may be sad.

Do a deed of simple kindness;
Though its end you may not see,
It may reach, like widening ripples,
Down a long eternity
.          Joseph Norris

Hey!    Debra from She Who Seeks chose my name as one of whose who will "Pay It Forward".  Have you heard of this? (I hadn't but then, I don't know too much, as you all know.)  Anyway, where was I before I was dissing myself? Oh yes,  here is how this works:  leave a comment here, and I will choose 3 names.  Those three will receive a card from ME with three gifts, three little things that I will mail to those who are chosen.  (Don't be shy, I could mail this anywhere in this big old world!) Now, wouldn't it be nice to receive a sweet greeting card with three little prezzies inside?  

Debra sent me a card with a fat cat wearing 3D classes and inside, an Edmonton Oilers bookmark and two other cards that I will also use as bookmarks.  ("Be not fearful in unlocking the door and listening to the voice of your heart".  Nice advice, I will try to follow it.)  Thanks, Debra!

So, what do you say...those who are chosen are then asked to choose three names and do the same thing for those three, and so on and get the picture, right, like ripples in a pond?   Of course, you know I have to give you a photo from the top of Arabia Mountain!
If you decide to try for it, good luck to you!

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world.   William Shakespeare

And just because I love
y'all so much, I have another rose for you.  (An English rose this time, photo taken at Auntie Doreen's house in May of last year.) 
Wait, I have another flower for you...this American azalea wants to share the spotlight too...this azalea is from my own yard! (Taken April 13th of this year.)  Remember, keep an eye out for beauty, always!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Camp Toccoa- Dad's First Job

Camp Toccoa (Tents First, Buildings Came Later)
Do you notice from my profile that I was born in Toccoa, Georgia?  That is also where my Daddy was born, in 1927!  I just got off the phone talking with him.  He was happy because he had won a drawing from his local radio station in Bostwick, Georgia.  (He really enjoys listening to the "Professor of Useless Knowledge" who has a popular morning show.  Hmmm....I wonder if my Dad and I have something in common?) Anyway, as we were watching the Braves game on TV, we got to talking (as we always do) and he reminded me that one for the first things that he bought from his earnings from his first job was a radio.  When he was 15 years old, he walked four miles on the recommendation of his sister's boyfriend to Camp Toccoa, and poured concrete for the sidewalks and catch basins.  (This would have been done in the wintertime as he would have had to help out with the farming any other time of the year.)  He said that you were either assigned a pick or a shovel. On his first day, he was given a pick.  With the pick, you were expected to hit the hard ground and break it up for those with a shovel to remove the dirt.  It was very hard work breaking up that ground.   He asked the man in charge, "How do I get a shovel?"  He was told, "You have to be the first in line.".  After that, he made sure he got there before anyone else !  Don't think that he didn't work hard though!  My Dad made 45 cents per hour and the adult who had told him about this job only made 40 cents an hour.  When the older man questioned why this young boy was making more money, he was told, "Because he works harder, that's why!"  That's my Dad for you! 
  Toccoa has a Military Museum devoted to all of those who trained at Camp Toccoa.  They were able to get one of the stables from Aldbourne, England where the men lived for a brief time after they were shipped out from Toccoa. (They lived in these huts before and after the Normandy Invasion.)  It was dismantled and sent to Toccoa and is part of the Military Museum. If you read the book "Band of Brothers" by Stephen Ambrose, you should already know all about the camp.  (It was made into an excellent mini-series TV show in 2001. It gives me a thrill to know that my Dad built the sidewalks that Dick Winters walked upon!  Click on his name if you are not familiar with "Band of Brothers". )
Camp Toccoa was built at the base of Currahee Mountain.  Currahee is a Cherokee word which means "Stand Alone", the mountain is quite high compared to the surrounding countryside The paratroopers who were sent into enemy lines were the first ones to be sent in, and therefore, that was their motto, "Currahee... We Stand Alone." 

My Dad was drafted just after his 18th birthday and the war ended while he was in training camp.  He was sent to Berlin and I have written of his memories from an earlier post.  You may read that post here!   There is a Currahee Military Weekend that is held the first October every year and my Dad and I are hoping to attend it this year.  If not, then we hope to visit the Military Museum which is in the train depot in Toccoa.  If we go, I hope that we can get a John Sosebee hot dog in the little cafe in town called....oh, I know right where it is, but I can't remember the name of the place.  I need to call my Dad back, HE would remember the name!!

Here is a photo of my Dad posing with Corey Durkin, one of the singers at the Sunflower Festival in Rutledge, from last summer on one of the HOTTEST days ever!  When I was looking at some of the craft booths, he told me, "If we get separated, I'll be where the music is."  That's Daddy for you!