Stopping by my Favorite Farm Stand on a Sunny Afternoon

My favorite farm stand received a remodel since last year. Metal roof and siding now protect the exterior; panels mounted on the sides shelter the selection of produce from the rays of the sun. A new sign featuring a strawberry and sunflower was mounted on the side of the building.

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The little spot is a cheerful site as I pass on my commute each morning and evening. I can’t resist stopping occasionally to purchase a crisp green pepper, bright yellow summer squash, or a few deep green zucchini, if I can find some slender young ones.

My only complaint about warm season squash is that most gardeners in this area feel bigger is better, but actually small squash, short of maturity, are so much more delicately flavored and tender.

When they become overgrown,zucchini squash are much better when grated for zucchini bread than when sliced and fried or mixed with pasta and lemon, my favorite ways to enjoy squash in the hot months. 

But whatever is on the table, stopping at this cute little farmstand is always a pleasure. The imitation vintage linens covering the display surfaces are especially delightful.

Smoke Bushes – Reflect the Softness of a Summer Afternoon

My mom spoke of a smoke bush she knew of as a child. I never saw one till I was well into adulthood. Now there are a few I look for every summer, on lawns of my home town.

I discovered a collection of them this year at a horticultural research facility. It was a lovely day and I was in need of a walk to stretch my muscles and de-stress my mind.

I was grateful for the refreshing summer breezes on the moderately hot day and the billowy blooms of these unique shrubs. The rounded pink, puffy clumps seemed appropriate to the spirit of the weather and of my mood as I strolled the paths of the well planned, nature focused gardens.

My brief scan of information about them tells me they are related to the sumacs. Now that I know, I can recognize the relationship, but I likely wouldn’t have guessed.

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Another shade of whimsical, wispy smoke bush blooms delights those who stroll the paths of a lovely, naturalized garden.

Buttercups Bring Memories of Earlier Days

Buttercups are symbols of childishness and ingratitude according to The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles.

I don’t get the ingratitude part, but they do remind me of being a child, of finding true delight, amazement, boundless energy to explore woods and fields when spring pulls back the curtain of winter clouds, revealing a world of green and gold, the color of buttercups.

I remember when I first discovered these flowers, when I was about ten, hiding in a low spot in the field behind our house. I visited them there each spring, then one year transplanted some to the northwest corner of our house, where they grew reliably for years.

I also recall a kid’s book I probably still have in the depths of a closet, I think the title was Around and About Buttercup Farm.

It is said that buttercup juice blisters the skin but that it’s also been used as a remedy to cure gout and rheumatism, and, as a tincuture, to cure shingles and sciatica. (Don’t try any of those cures at home, or anywhere.)

This verse by Thomas Campbell (1774-1844) takes me back to childhood springs:

Field Flowers

By Thomas Campbell

 Ye field flowers! The gardens eclipse you, ‘tis true:

Yet, wildlings of nature! I dote upon you,

For ye waft me to summers of old,

When the earth teemed around me with fairy delight,

And when daisies and buttercups gladdened my sight

Like treasure of silver and gold.

 

 

 

 

Can Collies and Swans Get Along?

I’m guessing the answer is “no”?

Swans, I’ve heard are elegant and highly independent birds. So perhaps a dog who might try to herd them wouldn’t be welcome.

But this lovely collie and the two graceful ceramic swans look lovely together in the window display of a local shop.

Daffodil Days

Nearly the only spring bulb that isn’t eaten by rodents, daffodils are among the most reliable of flowers. Highly popular, the traditional large yellow ones dot lawns, fields, woods edges, brightening rainy April days.

I love all the varieties in the Brecks and other catalogs of bulbs, but alas, lack funds and stamina to order and plant them all.

Daff-a-down-dilly, daffodilly, lent-lily, are some of this flower’s traditional nicknames. They symbolize regard and chivalry, and naturalize well.

Many poets have written poems about them. Here’s a popular one:

Daffodil

by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

 I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

From The Complete Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles

Book Review of The Complete Language of Flowers By Sheila Pickles

I do love the British- At least their whimsical attitude toward gardening and home life.

This book is like a lovely museum devoted to flower lore and Renaissance and 19th Century paintings – of long ago scenes of children and adults, seemingly intoxicated by the pleasure of languishing in verdant settings filled with color and greenery.

Author Sheila Pickle should be commended for recording in such a wonderful way, the traditional symbolism and tradition of classic flower species.

I shall have to seek out her other works, including, The Essence of English Life, and Simply Christmas 

I plan to include posts referencing The Complete Language of Flowers over the next few months, with full credit to the book and its author.

If you love gardens and nature, if you long for the days when spare time on fair season days was spent, not with eyes glued to a screen, but lazing in the sunshine reflecting upon the symbolic essence of flowering plants, you must seek a copy of this book.

A first rate escape from stress.

 

Not for Sale – On Display at My Favorite Thrift Shop

This thrift shop is more upscale than most. I love the photos hanging along the stairway, like this one – is it perhaps set in Paris?

Reminds me of an Audrey Hepburn movie. Romance on a rainy day.

Love the gingham umbrella.

 

 

 

A Delightful Display of Diminutive Vintage Sailing Ships

This thrift shop does a wonderful job of whimsically displaying merchandise for sale. Love these little watercraft, sailing across the seashell-strewn shelf.

Halloween Celebration in the Local Cemetery

Perhaps some may question the tastefulness of Halloween decorations in the cemetery, but I had to smile when I spotted this pumpkin and his ghostly friend.

I do love to stroll our local cemetery. It’s a friendly, welcoming place, where people walk dogs and enjoy the outdoors.

I read the names on tombstones, sometimes spotting one I’ve never noticed, though I’ve walked that way many times before; visit graves of my ancestors and deceased friends, sit upon stone benches and remember . . . and plan for the future. . .

Lovely Winter Robin Collectible Plate from Goebel

I believe the bird featured in this whimsical display is the European robin for which our brighter American species was named?