Saturday, May 31, 2014


 "Where the bee sucks, there suck I. In a cowslips bell I lie. There I couch when owls do cry. On the bat's back I fly. After summer merrily. Merrily, merrily I live now, under the blossom that hangs on the bough."  ( Shakespeare. "Midsummer Night's Dream")
 Today was a good day to make tea. Lots of it. Buckets of it. Well, not buckets, but close enough. Time to dye some fabric and a quilt top that has been waiting for a tea bath.

So while the tea steeped, the rose opened even more.
And the irises  gleamed in the sunlight. Kind of reminded me that the tea bags were steeping. Waiting to be stirred.
 Once the tea has steeped. Leave in the tea bags. Pile in the fabric you want to stain. Remember , use duller fabric colours, lighter, yellows, etc.Let sit in the vat of tea. Go wander around the garden....

Watch a ladybug sit.
 Then go back to your vat of tea. Wring out the fabric as best you can. Hang out to dry.
               While waiting for the fabric to dry, talk to Cordelia.
Check on the clematis. Once dry, the fabric and quilt top is ready to use.  Can then be used for piecing quilt tops, or can be saved for another day. I was making a civil war stylized quilt, and the tea makes the colour blend really well. Once of my favourite the way, don't drink the tea after the fabric has been soaking in it. It can be a little thready.......

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


 There are many types of planting in the garden.Cat Planting takes little or no fertilizer. They bring their own.  The most obvious is the rare "Cat's Ears". Soft to the touch and requiring little watering. In fact, it doesn't like a lot of water....
 The next type of rare plant is one for the greenhouse.  The "White Cat" grows best in greenhosue environments. Unlike the "Cat's Ears" , it relishes in water and likes to grow alongside ferns.
         Baskets stuffed with impatiens  and begonias do best in partial shady environments.
                 While the huge, dinner plate Poppy, does best on a hill overlooking the mountains.
                      At times, the "White Cat" variety  can be found growing freely, along with the sedums, rock cress, and Dragonsblood. It tends to be a sleepy variety, known to be resistent to bugs.
             If left on it's own " Cat's Ears" will grow into a golden furball, reminiscent of the pussy willow, it's second cousin. It has this rare, wonderful quality where it will purr when spoken to.
Planting Sweet Peas  in various places around the garden, will have no effect on the cat plantings.
It seems that they all can live harmoniously together. Though at times, the Cat plantings tend to uproot themselves and come have a look in doors.
Sometimes they will group themselves together. Strength in numbers and all that sort of thing.
  But then the rain will start again....especially during the rainy season..................
 When the rain is pouring off the roof...............
 Into the pots, over the porch................
 And into the garden beds ....................
 The Cat Plantings will stir themselves once again . And will leave their warm pavement, to return once again to their roots in the garden, settling themselves into the dirt, for a long wait, a snooze, a chance to be one with the flowers once more.

 And they will watch the sunset, and marvel at the world, before heading for home, to start their day yet again............... tomorrow.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bring It On......

 It is a good day to wander through the garden. It's starting again. Every year. Bring it on........
               Cordelia decides to come along. She will toddle with me, fluffing herself against the wind.
  Today there are begonias to watch over.
 And sweet peas to fawn over. My favourite. They are growing like little weeds.
 Today is a good day to stretch. Penguin has come down from above to see and be seen.
                                                   Today the Katura is thick and drooping. Only planted about 4 years ago. It's starting to get that romantic secret garden look I love so much.
                        Rain has poured from the sky, cleaning out the birdbath. And Spencer now has many pitchers to drink from. On those warm,muggy days he flops on cement.

            While Smokey yowls at the door. Wanting to see what is going on.
      The ferns have propagated themselves, profusely, wherever they can get a hold.
                                          And hot pink geraniumns are starting to sizzle. Big Giant Heads, the Moai, stare  glumly from underneath the jungle  that is my garden....

 I love this quote from Emerson: "Over the winter glaciers I see the summer glow,

And through the wide-piled snowdrift.......
                                     the warm rosebuds below."
First Rose of the season.........oh wow, here we go. Bring it on.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


 I found something amazing the other day, in a litle junk/antique/second hand shop in Campbell River. It was marked under $12. The  shopkeeper was appalled at the price, but nevertheless she sold it to me. Should have bene 4 or 5 times that. A little Autograph album from the 1880's. For under $12 I am learning so much............
 The book had belonged to a girl named Lydia Stoll . The dates in the book ranged from 1871-1890. Friends, relatives, sisters, teachers....she would have started the book at 8 and it finished it in 1890.
 This is the oldest entry from her cousin Meta Neuenschwander, June 27 1871. They lived in Elkton, Missouri, in Hickory County, in the middle of nowhere, I might add. I started sleuthing into this little book, into this Lydia Stoll.The Neuenschwander name appears many may times in the archives.
 Turns out in Hickory County at that time there were Mennonites  who established a church in Elkton around 1868. It is now extinct. I think I've discovered an entry in her autograph book by P.S. Lehmann, the Mennonite Preacher from Berne, who preached in Elkton, but then moved back to Berne by 1896.I'm hoping to learn more about him as time goes on.

P.S. Lehmann...has to be the preacher from Berne
Lydia married one Levi M Zehr Oct 16, 1884

 They  had 7 children, Bertha ( died in 1888), Elmer in 1962, Mary, Ben,Lula Belle 1938,Otis, and Samuel.
 Lydia's parents were Jacob and Mary Leichty Stoll. Her father died in 1906, her mother in 1928.
 She had numerous brothers and sisters: Fanny Stoll Klopfenstein, Peter, Catherine Stoll Gerber, mary Jane, Adam Jacob, Emma Stoll Allen (died in 1967)
 Historically  in 1880 the pop of the US. was about 50,155,783. Ben Hur was published in this decade, President Garfield was shot in 1881......
 Mark Twain published Huckleberry Finn in 1884,and the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York, all the way from France, in 1885.
 In 1889 on May 3 the Johnstone Flood ocurred, devastating the area......
 In 1889, November, North and South Dakota, Montana and Washington became states.
 And good old Queen Victoria was on the throne of England, opening Royal Albert Hall with a bottle of champagne, or possibly cutting ribbons.....
 This entry is by Lydia's sister, Catherine Stoll Gerber 1865-1958
 During the Civil War, Missouri was busy sending men to both sides of the war. Missouri sent 110,00 to the Union side, and about 40,000 men to the Confederates.
 Some of the names that figure in the census of the time, show up in this book. It can be no coincidence.  Names such as Lehmann, Vaughn, Stoll, and Neuenschwander.
 Mary Jane Stoll Wyall ( 1868-1957) Sister to Lydia
 And an entry by Lydia, herself. She died in 1930  in Williams County, Ohio.

  Her father was born June 10th 1830
 and he died Nov. 19 1906 in Hickory County, Missouri.
 Her sister, Emma married Bert Allen, Dec 14 1899. She had a child named Ruby born 1902. This entry would have been made a year after Lydia married Levi. I know there is more to find out about  Lydia's story and the people surrounding her. I recently found surviving Stoll family relatives, and have since forwarded the scanned copies of the album to them. Until recently, I was informed, there have been Stoll family reunions in Hickory County.
                     Not bad for  under $12........