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" O the green things growing the green things growing,
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Happy August! It does not seem possible that we've flipped the calendar to a new month, but here we are. Summer is slipping away. For those of us who have been at home isolating for months now, this whole business has seriously messed with our sense of time—days feel like weeks and months feel like seconds. Maybe it doesn't matter, but on second thought, yes, it does. As humans, we need to know when things happen and what day of the week it is. We need those rituals and signals to help us peg our memories to life events. We certainly recognize the devastation people experience when they lose track of time when dementia sets in. So yes, it matters.

I didn't write a July Edition of The Simple Woman's Daybook, so I didn't want to miss August. I've been joining with Peggy our host off and on for more than a decade now. I'm glad she continues to carry on the tradition she started many years ago. It is one of those old familiar rituals that ground me in these unsettling times. Writing, blogging, and gardening certainly does that for me. Making pancakes on a Saturday morning for brunch does too—it sets the weekend apart from the weekday. It all helps to keep our feet on the ground when the world feels upside down.


'A daybook is where you share snapshots
of what your days look and feel like'

Outside my window...
The morning is bright with blue skies, sunshine, and refreshing winds. With most nesting over, fewer birds are around the feeders these days. A lone American goldfinch has been visiting over the weekend. The chickadees were yukking it up yesterday afternoon, now that raising families are done for another year, they are being their cheery, chatty selves.

I am thinking...
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I am thankful...
I finally learned to stay in the present in my thoughts as much as possible as I go through my days. Not to cast my thoughts down the road about what needs to be done in upcoming tomorrows (unless there is something specific I need to plan in advance). Looking too far ahead often brings a sense of niggling unease and slight anxiety. I'm not sure why—perhaps I tend to forget that 'sufficient for the day' is our grace. I have been given grace for today's projects. God promises new mercies and strength every morning. So I conclude that even the slightest fretting about tomorrow's business will surely usurp the energy I so need for today's tasks. ~ found this thought in an old blog post


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I am wearing...
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I am remembering...
Audrey Hepburn's character, Holly Golightly, from the 1960s movie Breakfast at Tiffany's when she says, "Hand me my purse, darling; a girl can't read something like this without her lipstick."

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Photo from Susan's website

That is to say, I will be watching a Zoom Party with Susan Branch later this month. Susan was scheduled to do a presentation and slide-show with the Duxbury Senior Center about the English Countryside. Due to Covid-19, it became an online event and was opened to the general public to take part. Susan invited her girlfriends to come, so I registered—oh yippee!—my chance to participate in one of Susan's book events, something I've wanted to do for a long time now. She's going to be introducing her brand new book Home for Christmas, which she wrote and illustrated during the Covid lockdown. How is that for making great use of this pandemic business.

I went to get the link for you and found they are not taking any more registrations 😢. I'm sorry if you missed it. However, Susan's new Christmas book can be ordered HERE

I've been reading...
Marilla of Green Gables
by Sarah McCoy

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"What a nice-looking fellow he is," said Marilla absently. "I saw him in church last Sunday and he seemed so tall and manly. He looks a lot like his father did at the same age. John Blythe was a nice boy. We used to be real good friends, he and I. People called him my beau."

Anne looked up with swift interest. "Oh, Marilla—and what happened?" 
Sarah McCoy said Anne's question echoed in her own heart her whole life, and so this novel is her "invention of Marilla Cuthbert and the foundation of Green Gables before Anne Shirley ever arrived with her whimsical free spirit". If you are an Anne fan, you'll like it. McCoy isn't trying to imitate L.M. Montgomery and yet to me the story is seamless, so when the last chapter is done, you will want to continue the tale and reach for the Anne books. It will be interesting when I read the Anne books again if I will see Marilla differently now that I've read her own story.

Life in the Garden
by Penelope Lively

A blogging friend asked me some weeks ago how I was enjoying Penelope Lively's memoir. It was a full book with so many lovely garden things to read and think about. I underscored many lines and starred new-to-me people, authors, books that I would like to find. I was especially interested to learn about Czech gardener/writer Karel Čapek and his 1929 book The Gardener's Year. He sounds a most entertaining writer, and I laughed so hard at his account of wrestling with the common garden hose.

Here's what Peggy noted: "The garden, for Čapek, is an adversary, a cherished adversary perhaps, but nevertheless the awkward place where the gardener is forever on the back foot. ... Take the simple matter of watering: '... until it has been tamed a hose is an extraordinarily evasive and dangerous beast, for it contorts itself, it jumps, it wriggles, it makes puddles of water, and dives with delight into the mess (mud) it has made, then it goes for the man who is going to use it and coils itself round his legs.' " Can you relate? I surely can. 

I am listening to...
the wind in the trees—the rustle and swish of leaves aflutter—it is a sound so summery, is it not? 

This salad is so delicious on a hot summer day.

Peach and Tomato Salad (Yum!)
Serves 4

1. In a large bowl, combine:
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
4 ripe peaches, pitted, cut into wedges
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(yellow plums would also work)

2. In a small bowl, whisk ingredients to make a dressing:
1 tablespoon white balsamic or sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons light olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

3. Drizzle the dressing over peach mixture; toss to coat.

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 - 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into smaller pieces

In the garden...
Here's a photo taken in the cool of the evening. Our hydrangeas are doing well this summer. The backyard is a work in progress. There are still things that need reworking and, well, 'tis a project for next year now. Two summers ago, it looked like a war zone, but it's coming along. The lawns keeper seeded our bit of grass last year—we quite like the rectangle. He ordered himself a hand push mower this summer and enjoys using it. Maybe he likes that it's old-fashioned, or maybe it means there is no roaring of a gas motor or the whining of an electric one, only the gentle whirring of blades being pushed by hand.


The garden has been really special this summer. It's special every summer, but the main reason I pay closer attention to the beauty and solace of our garden this summer is because we are in it every single day. It's our work, our entertainment, our solace, our holiday resort, our dining spot al fresco....

I felt an energy when I read this short list of advice I found on Twitter from Irish novelist Maeve Binchy. Wondering if you also feel that same motivating energy pulsing through these words.  
Learn to type. Learn to drive. Have fun. Write postcards. (Letters take too long and you won't do it, a postcard takes two minutes.) Be punctual. Don't worry about what other people are thinking. They are not thinking about you. Write quickly. (Taking longer doesn't usually make it better.) Get  up early. See the world. Call everybody by their first name, from doctors to presidents. Have parties. Don't agonize. Don't regret. Don't fuss. Never brood. Move on. Don't wait for permission to be happy. Don't wait for permission to do anything. Make your own life.


For you - a posy of sweet peas picked from the garden.   

Closing thought...
There always seems to be bittersweet in life—the good and beautiful mingling with the hard and painful. My own life is sweet and good these days, and I never want to take for granted the beauty and pleasure I have in this season when the world is upside down and some things twisted past recognition. My heart pangs for those whose lives are so changed due to pandemic related issues. And I whisper a little prayer that folks will have the grace to face their situations, that they will catch sight of something that fills them with courage, comfort, and the hope to push forward to better days ahead.

* * *

On that note,
I'm wishing you a beautiful August.

Heart Hugs,

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'The Artist's Garden at Eragny', Camille Pissarro,
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington


Five on Friday: Last Day of July and Poppies


" Through the dancing poppies stole
A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul.

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Sometimes when a person plants in the early spring, you just don't know exactly how tall a neighbouring plant will bloom or spread out, suddenly crowding or shading what had seemed the perfect spot for some sweet annual. And for some reason, I think because we're close to home this summer, I've been more aware of the needs of my little flowers. Some of them require more elbow room—a little social distancing of their own. And some really must have their day in the sunshine, although I don't have complete control over that, but I can give them room where, when the sun does shine, they'll be able to turn their faces upward and take it all in.

In the afternoons, we'd sit in the garden, reading, watching the squirrels (we see two now), listening to the birds vying for spots at the feeders. The season is already changing, the birds always give the cue. Their songs change, their busy nesting and feeding young shifts to training and teaching them to find their own food. We watched one young crow begging on the fence : But, Mom, it's so much easier if you just put it in my mouth. And, she says : 迅游国际网游加速器 - xunyou.com:迅游网游加速器是最专业的国际网游加速器!有效解决玩家在玩绝地大逃杀美服等服务器玩网络游戏时遇到的延时过高,登录困难,容易掉线等问题,迅游国际网游加速器为网游保驾护航!  At least, that's what we imagined was said.

Last evening, the crows were gathering in flocks to roost for the night. That creates a slight shiver if I let myself think about what that means. In not too many weeks, they'll be heading southward. BUT, before we let ourselves go there, let's stay put right here in the deep of summer—it is still July for a few more hours and summer for a few more weeks.

Because the weather has been so lovely, yesterday I took a short trip to visit my mom and sister. We had a delightful social distance visit sitting in Sis's beautiful garden, which included seeing this amazing patch of poppies in the middle of her hubby's vegetable garden. I was smitten. She said, "All this gorgeous beauty for the cost of a couple of packets of seeds. The best $2.49 I ever spent." Should you be interested, the name of these poppy seeds are Falling in Love, and you can order them HERE.

" Summer set lip to earth's bosom bare,
And left the flushed print in a poppy there.
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one. "

" As for marigolds, poppies, hollyhocks, and valorous
sunflowers, we shall never have a garden without them,
both for their own sake, and for the sake of
old-fashioned folks, who used to love them. "


" When in these fresh mornings I go into my garden before
any one is awake, I go for the time being into perfect happiness.

In this hour divinely fresh and still, the fair face of every
flowers salutes me with a silent joy that fills me
with infinite content ; each gives me its color, its grace, its perfume,
and enriches me with the consummation of its beauty. 

All the cares, perplexities, and griefs of existence, all the burdens of life
slip from my shoulders and leave me with the heart of a little child
that asks nothing beyond its present moment of innocent bliss. "


American writer Celia Thaxter often mentions poppies in her charming classic An Island Garden. You may remember me writing about her book earlier in the spring - you'll find the post HERE. I think she especially loved the Poppy, sometimes even calling the white ones the Bride in the garden. Ms Thaxter often waxed eloquently about the flower's delicate beauty, mentioning how they require a certain soil and how they lift their heavy furry heads towards the sun when they are ready to open, how much care is needed in transplanting or when picking blossoms to bring indoors. 

Here, listen to a couple of passages:  
Then, with what fresh wealth of color and perfume the garden will meet the resplendent sunrise! Every moment it grows more and more beautiful. I think for wondrous variety, for certain picturesque qualities, for color and form and a subtle mystery of character, Poppies seem, on the whole, the most satisfactory flowers among the annuals. There is absolutely no limit to their variety of color. ...
On one low bookcase are Shirley Poppies in a roseate cloud. And here let me say that the secret of keeping Poppies in the house two whole days without fading is this : they must be gathered early, before the dew has dried, in the morning. I go forth between five and six o'clock to cut them while yet their gray-green leaves are hoary with dew, taking a tall slender pitcher or bottle of water with me into the garden, and as I cut each stem dropping the flower at once into it, so that the stem is covered nearly its whole length with water ; and so on till the pitcher is full. Gathered in this way, they have no opportunity to lose their freshness, indeed, the exquisite creatures hardly know they have been gathered at all.

* * *

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Now, I know it's odd to wrap up on a completely different note, but I had to share something else that is on my mind. We'll be attending my beautiful niece's wedding tomorrow, but rather than in person, due to Covid-19 protocols, we'll all be gathering via Zoom to witness the happy couple exchange their vows. We'll party together another time. Congratulations to you, Chiante and Dawson!💞🥂🎕We hope it will be a day filled with special moments for you both even though it's all upside down. We send our full heart of wishes for love and happiness today and always. The Lord bless you both. We love you so much! xoxox

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Happy weekend.

Heart Hugs,



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I sit here at my desk on this early Monday morning. All is quiet in the neighbourhood, even the birds are quiet. The sun has risen. No big fanfare this morning, only a hint of peach on the horizon. The sky, cloudless and clear, is a rare treat - for our summer so far has been mostly of unsettled weather and lots of rain. This week, however, we are promised clear skies and sunny days throughout. My struggling sun loving plants shall finally have their day in the sun. Bloom, roses, bloom!  

Today's post is a miscellany of this and that....

A stunning sunrise

Earlier this month, I had the delightful opportunity to write a guest post at InScribe, in which I share an extraordinary experience that happened early one morning some years ago.
"Some of the sweetest, most thrilling, poignant moments of my life have been when God has spoken directly to me..." CLICK TO READ MORE.


Beautiful cards arrived in the mail the other day from two lovely friends this week: Barbara in Cornwall, UK, and Judith in Ontario, Canada. Each contained a treat: Twinings Spiced Camomile & Vanilla 'Moment of Calm' tea from Barbara. I'm looking forward to that calming cuppa. And a fragrant handful of lavender seeds from Judith which made the package smell so good. I have the envelope of lavender sitting by my bedside, and in the night I catch a sweet drift of its scent - I'm sure it sweetens my dreams. A huge thank you and heart hugs to you both.

Reading on the deck

Between the rain, we've had some lovely moments to be outside. And when we're not pulling weeds or deadheading spent blossoms, we sit on the deck listening to the birds, breathing in the fragrance, and letting our eyes feast on what's colouring our world in the garden.

And we read.... I'm happily making my way through some of the Miss Marple mystery novels; Penelope Lively's reflections on gardening, art, literature and life in Life in the Garden; and I am now looking forward to a book from the library I had on hold, Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy. I brought it home and put it in isolation for a day.

Sweet peas at sunset

This sweet pea is just starting to bloom. What a jewel of a colour. I usually think of pastels for sweet peas. This is a deep ruby or grape, depending on the light. I couldn't get the camera to capture what I could see with my eye as it glimmered in the evening sunlight. The fragrance is strong and sweet.

" I could never in a hundred summers get tired of this. "

With a little of this and a little of that, I've cobbled together a wee post. I told my sister I should have been a shoemaker - haha. I hope you enjoyed your visit. I also hope you have a beautiful week ahead. Keep safe and well.

* * *

Heart Hugs,

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