Saturday, June 19, 2021

A rose is a rose...even when it's not a David Austin rose.

 I am so guilty of coveting the David Austin roses I see on Instagram. I look at them and think that if I were even ten years younger, that's where my money would go. 

But priorities went to putting in a garden to sit in when we moved here five years ago and roses got left out except for a red Knock Out rose that RH planted outside the fence to distract from the trash can sitting close.

 

A glimpse of this rose bush through the kitchen door makes me happy May through October. And I couldn't ask for a prettier picture than the one above that RH snapped one morning while taking out the trash. 

But it is climbing David Austin roses that I am far too greedy for even though I can't think of a place for them to climb without the deer getting to them. 

This year a climbing rose magically appeared in the trees in our turn-around!

 

It wasn't there last year. The only wild roses here were down in the thick road hedge, pretty but too far away to enjoy.


And yet this one sprang full grown and drooped gracefully to the ground. 

Close enough to walk to every morning when feeding the birds. 

Close enough for me to bury my face in and inhale its scent, close enough to study it's old fashioned petals.

Even if it's not a David Austin rose.

 


 

Friday, June 18, 2021

In honor of Richardson Wright's birthday and a good roast beef recipe.

 Dipping my toes back in blogging water once more. 

This dear man, Richardson Wright, motivated me to attempt it while I was reading his The Gardener's Bed-Book yesterday. It's something I do most days and I noticed that the next day, today June 18, is his birthday. 

I have seven posts in this blog under his label and nine at poor neglected Dewena's Window so why not add one more in honor of the day of birth of House & Gardens' longest serving editor in chief, from 1914 to the early 1950s. (In my opinion, the magazine went downhill fast after he left.)


I remembered that in February of 2020 I made one of the recipes from my 1943 first edition of his The Bed-Book of Eating and Drinking, found the pictures I made but never used and turned to the recipe that he included in the book on April 30. 

My shopping trip to Whole Foods that winter day of 2020, before the unheard of possibility of shutdown ever existed, produced a beautiful cut of roast that I can't remember the name of but it was a better cut than Richardson's suggestion of top sirloin of beef. 

Now I'll let Mr. Wright's directions accompany my pictures:

A lone and unprotected male can never know beforehand what will happen to him when he ventures into the farther reaches of Long Island. My purpose in going there was to deliver a lecture--with dinner before...On this occasion the strange people turned out charming, and the hostess, a Naval wife fresh from Pearl Harbor, covered herself with honor by serving Hawaiian spiced beef. She graciously gave me the recipe.
For a night and a day, 24 hours, to be exact, soak a 5-pound piece of top sirloin of beef in the following mixture: 1 cup vinegar, 2 cups brown sugar, 3 onions coarsely sliced, 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cloves and 1 of nutmeg.

When it has marinated in this conglomeration of spices the appointed 24 hours, put the whole mixture into a kettle without adding water, and boil for 3 or more additional hours.

I remember this roast smelling so good while it was cooking. And it was delicious eating, a little something like the beloved Spiced Round, a Tennessee 1950s Christmas dish that I used to make, except that spiced round marinates for almost a week. 


 And the sauce is delicious over rice or mashed potatoes.

The sauce is thickened with a little flour and water to which salt is added. Wild rice and string beans are companionable with this magnificent dish.

I forgot to take a picture after I poured this sauce through my old gravy separator to remove the oil on top but it was a very good meal. Not as good as my favorite two roast beef recipes that I alternate between but good for special occasions.

Father's Day is coming up and RH always requests a roast beef that day but I know better than to give him anything but a chuck roast with onions, carrots, and potatoes. Substitutions have been tolerated but not the absence of a pie of some sort.  

There will be a day of rest for him, maybe. You just never know. He's a little bit like Richardson Wright in that way, the garden is always calling. 

Happy Father's Day to RH and to two of my sons who sometimes read their mother's blogs--if Feedburner has not stopped sending out email notifications by the time they look. I'm told that July 1 is the big day that we will no longer get email notifications of blog posts through them. 

And Happy Birthday in heaven to Richardson Wright, the former editor in chief who spent much of his retirement time serving as a lay Episcopalian. When he wasn't in the garden.

 

 


 


 

 

 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

May of 2021...It Came!

 


May is here! 

"The day threatens splendour."

Ronald Blythe

 

 



It was blissful to turn my calendars to May this morning. 
 
31 days of May ahead, God willing!
 

 
What shall we make of them, James Mason? 

 

Monday, April 26, 2021

A Trip to Whole Foods

 

I was thrilled to see this building! It was my first trip to Whole Foods in over a year and it was an artful experience!


 Are you like me at Whole Foods, the whole experience filled with eye candy where you're in an alternative world floating along the aisles, trying to take everything in as if you're in a fine arts museum, the produce department as breathtaking as a C├ęzanne still life?

No? Then you must go there so often that it's just another food market to you. I go there rarely since we moved from Valley View, which was only twenty minutes away. Even before the world was shut down, it was RH who most of the time went every month to Whole Foods for me, just to pick up these three products:


 A shower gel that is kind to my sensitive skin and two supplements that I take. As these products are sold in a separate building from the food, RH would park, run in and buy these three products and leave. He's not as fond of Whole Foods as I am so when I had my first opportunity a few weeks ago to go there with him, I enjoyed the whole trip immensely.

We drive through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Nashville to get there and at this time of the year everything was in early Spring bloom.

 

I always forget to take pictures inside the store, too much in my own little world to think of blogging, but it was mostly produce that we bought this time and non-perishables as we were headed on to Kroger's and Costco afterwards.

But I was so taken with the Flamingo pears I picked out, never seeing them in our neighborhood stores, that I tried to be artsy with them.


 

Definitely lacking something and since PicMonkey got too complicated for me to navigate, I have turned to BeFunky for editing and just don't seem to be able to delicately make adjustments. I'm sure it's my whole lack of skills but everything I try seems to be not enough or too much.

 

 

What! I was hoping for something a little less than this but it will have to suffice. 

As will my pear, cheese, and cracker platter. I would spend time online trying to master this skill but feel sure it would be a waste of my time.

But I have four of these pretty little plates with a pear on them and wanted to use them.

And I had two jars of walnuts in honey that I had left to pickle for two months and wanted to try it.
 

Absolutely amazing! I saw this on a Japanese YouTuber's channel and the preparation seemed easy enough for me to handle: simply pack the walnuts in the jar and keep letting honey trickle in until the whole jar fills up. So good with crackers, cheese, and apples or pears. Or on ice cream or buttered muffins. 

We get our honey locally as all honey should be gotten, although I think my two favorite honeys so far have been the sourwood honey we always get in the North Carolina mountains and the Tupelo honey we once got in Apalachicola, Florida.



And who were the men with discriminating palates I served this snack to? 

RH and his brother and our grandson who had been working on outside projects all morning. With their luncheon meat sandwich on a paper plate. They were a sticky mess after eating the honey and walnuts but claimed it was very good, almost finishing the whole platter. They thought the platter of pears, cheese, and crackers was beautiful and said I could practice on them anytime.

Friday, April 23, 2021

A horse in the yard and The Tennessee Waltz

 


Some people have gnomes in their front yard, but in Nashville we have horses. Real horses and statues of them. 

This old stone house sits high on a bluff overlooking the Cumberland River and RH and I chuckled at their garden art as we drove on the river road that I traveled twice a day from first grade through sixth while attending elementary school and on family outings to Shelby Park. 

Even as young as I was, I coveted the houses on this street. These old houses were so different from the small post-World War II bungalow I grew up in.

 

 

So many of them were made of the stone that even as a small child I loved. I went to a birthday party in one like this, although I'm not sure if it was this particular one. I was hooked then, in stone love. 

But even ones on this street that were made of wood made me feel something I couldn't at that age name--house envy.

 


 
Ones like the one above for the simple reason that they meandered, their footprint jutting out here, there, everywhere. It was what many years later I fell in love with at Valley View, our home for twenty-six years. A smaller version of these houses overlooking the Cumberland River that were added onto over the years. A room built here, a new wing jutting out behind as finances improved and needs arose from a growing family.
 

The house above and below made me want to tour it as well as the stone houses. Because...who has a garage like this?



Here's a house I got a poor picture of through the windshield. It's imposing, even has some stone, but for some reason it doesn't call my name. Maybe because it's too much of a McMansion? 



 Now we come to the house I always devoured with my eyes as my school bus rolled by it.

 

A log cabin. 

 


 
But not just any old log cabin. This log cabin belonged to the King of Country Music. 

Roy Acuff lived here with his wife for many decades, unto her death. My family was surrounded by country music stars, both in this neighborhood and when we moved to a small town nearby when I was in the eight grade. In that new house our across the street neighbors were Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, bluegrass geniuses, with my best friend living in the house between them. Many people back in those days had country music stars for neighbors. 

But Roy Acuff,  well, as Hank Williams said, "For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God."


 Mr. Acuff may be remembered most for his recording of The Wabash Cannonball, but I love his recording of The Tennessee Waltz, perhaps even more than Patti Page's popular version.

When I was growing up, The Tennessee Waltz ended every dance, whether it was a formal or a hoedown. I'm going to try to embed Mr. Acuff's version of it from YouTube if I can. For those of you who don't care for country music in any form, just remember that these melodies came over with the British who settled in the Appalachian Mountains and brought their music with them. 

 https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&ei=UTF-8&hsimp=yhs-SF01&hspart=Lkry&param1=mT_bNn8bGpOss0nFZ1v6AthlPdRzexgUbrsUPJTC30AxknM6H1Ft9HEzUCbyHuQIBO-FjiWXDV-9XxjAOIegfqVP0JCsjWsuEiB9fCopj67V-a754MN5c85t9G48Q9YIMAaxaFUPRwq8WHlp6v294zOsuDofzlhRwV5BZIdafuL_tWCiDyijfcTayCwN6rQOsIRhTbCBEKwBmmhHzjdVxiQ8FvvlWD-BucgbJC5POYKMS8bmrK_WM4Hes9z_lfdr5XvnGnM_5hxmi8WyMjHy4DhEQ2OFkpn5Lo6VspdACFaN0X_Xaal1tuZeH8_qO0Rt1g%2C%2C&p=youtube+Roy+Acuff+Tennessee+waltz&type=ANYS_A1GXS_set_bfr_%2452462_000000%24#id=50&vid=e83a911882bf3d4c73d823945d78a173&action=view
 

I think there's a better way of attaching this but I've forgotten how. Hope this works because this is the song of my youth.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

My Childhood Home

 

No, that's not it! 

When RH drove me on a tour of my homes from the past a few weeks ago, I was so excited when we got to this house because I spent so much time at our next door neighbor's home. The Grays didn't have any children and Mrs. Gray let me watch her when she was cooking supper or making preserves. 

And next came my first glimpse of a house I hadn't seen in probably 15 years, my home from when I was 4 to 13 years old. [I should have cropped out some of the tree tops!]

 


 And it is now green!

I remember the day we moved in. Mama, who was very pregnant with my sister Deb, spread out a blanket on the gleaming wood floor of the new two bedroom, one bath house. As we waited for Daddy to arrive with the truck holding our furniture, I looked around from the blanket where we were eating a lunch she had packed and the house seemed so large. 

 

And now it looks so small!

The casement windows have been replaced and has new siding.


You can tell I'm past all vanity to show myself at such an awkward age, probably 5th grade here. [My awkward age lasted a long time.] But do you notice how I'm clutching my hands at my waist? Just like the Queen does! At least she does in the episodes of The Crown that I'm watching for the second time on Netflix. 

And what happened to Daddy's landscaping? The yard was practically nude. Not at all like when I lived there with my parents and the first two of my younger sisters.

 


 Of course Mama made our three matching Easter dresses! Every single year, staying up late to hem them, although I don't remember matching ones as we grew older.

She was up late every Easter Eve and Daddy was up early Easter morning going to sunrise service at a cemetery.

That's Daddy, below, standing behind his father, my grandmother on the other end, my father's sister between them, and his brother behind them.


 I wonder what that vine was growing over the side porch? Daddy was still buying produce for the Middle Tennessee Kroger stores at the time and hadn't yet opened up the Kroger garden centers but he was always a gardener, always a farmer's son. 

And see our neighbor's house to the right in the photograph? They had two teenage daughters who used to babysit us. I snapped a picture of it, too. It's quite different now!

 


We've come this far so why don't I take you to see the duplex that RH and I lived in after we were married, after we moved out of an attic apartment. 

Our road turns into a beautiful road that runs along the Cumberland River. It's the road I always went on when going to elementary school. There were so many big old homes of stone and logs on that road, houses that sat on the bluff overlooking the river. I think the houses on that road birthed my love of old houses. 

I took pictures along it but will save them for the next post, but the road RH and I lived on in our early twenties turns off that road. Here's our little rented duplex.

 


This house is where I started trying to learn how to cook, cutting recipes from Redbook magazine and trying out recipes from a small paperback I still have, 1001 Ways to Please a Husband: The Bride's Cookbook. Here's a photo of me in the front yard at that time, with our darling Duke and my red MG.

 


We lived very near the river here and when we wanted to go to a neighboring town we drove down this road.

The sign still reads: Road Ends 1000 Ft., but now it says No River Access. But not back then, back then we took a ferry across the river to what is now the large Opryland Hotel area. It was a slow journey because it was a small ferry and if more than a few cars were in front of us we knew we were in for a long wait. That seems impossible to imagine now in this age where bridges replaced all ferries near us.

I have to include two pictures of one of my favorite houses that was near our little duplex. It was, and still is, totally out of character of all the big stone and log traditional houses. 

 


 


I thought it was cool then and am so glad it has been kept up nicely. I wish I could have snapped a third picture of it as we drove by; the house has been added to behind, in two long additions down the hill. It has been done beautifully. 

RH and I also drove by the house that my father and mother built when I was 13 and I lived in until I was married. And we bought that house from them when we had two small children of our own. Maybe I'll post pictures of that house another time.

Have any of you who blog noticed the announcement that Feedburner will soon stop sending emails to anyone who has subscribed to our posts by email? I spent two hours trying to figure out how to switch to another service for this and gave up on it. Please let me know if you've switched yet and whether you can put the instructions in words a child can understand. Thank you! 

I hope you're enjoying the cool temperatures like we're having in Dogwood Winter here right now. I'm loving it because I know how quickly we'll be jumping right up into the 90s. "O year, grow slowly. Exquisite, holy."


 

 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Upfront warning, a boring post.

 


There's probably nothing more boring than a late seasonal post, except for posting the same picture, with slightly different perspectives, over and over.

 

However,  forsythia in full bloom is anything but boring and I've wanted to take pictures each spring of this magnificent hedge of forsythia in our neighborhood that stretches across the back of a huge lot.

And so I did one day before Easter, asking RH to drive slowly past it as I snapped a shot a second.


Thankfully, the owners of this magnificent hedge of forsythia have never pruned it into any other shape than its own natural, gracefully arching lines.


 I'm playing catch up here, having fallen so far behind but not wanting to waste these pictures. Easter passed without me marking it on either of my blogs, an Easter that was very low key except for the powerful day that Easter always is, recorded with pictures or not, pandemic or not.

Our granddaughters did not miss out on the joys of a childhood Easter, though. This is one of many pictures I loved of their Easter of 2021, standing in front of their fireplace where their mother had decorated the mantel with vintage Easter things from her own childhood. And it makes me very happy that she included a Beatrix Potter picture that I embroidered when my own children were little.



 Here at Home Hill, my simple Easter decor was a jug of daffodils from the front yard, a few Beatrix Potter books, and one of Miss Potter's characters, sweet Little Black Bunny that I rescued from our daughter's yard sale after she was married. I also rescued Jemima Puddle Duck and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, whose nose was my focal point when I was in labor with my last two babies. 


 

Our daughter sent us this sweet Easter card that had to be added to our Easter table so you can tell that she's now much more sentimental than when she was selling off her childhood Beatrix Potter collection. She even has a new granddaughter herself now, with two more expected this year and may very well be wishing that she'd held onto the Potter characters. 


 

She'll have to wait to reclaim Little Black Bunny, though. He stands guard by my writing desk where his mischievous brown eyes challenge me to have fun every day, even though we're both becoming more vintage every day.