Looking Forward To Sweeter Days!

“You will know it is here, or getting near ~ when the lilacs bloom.” ~ unknown

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  I do hope this finds everyone well and in good spirits.  Being restricted to our homes is harder for some of us than others.  Fortunately, I have always been one who is truly happy at home.   The many years I worked outside of our home, I would dream of days filled with puttering in the garden, cooking wonderful meals and having time to read.   So, today I thought I might share a few things happening at ‘Maison de Jardin.’ No, the lilacs are not yet in bloom, but I can already smell them.  And, it fills my heart with joy just to know these fragrant beauties are on their way.FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“Life is the greatest gift that could ever be conceived … A daffodil pushing up through the dark earth to the spring, knowing somehow deep in its roots that spring and light and sunshine will come, has more courage and more knowledge of the value of life than any human being I’ve met.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle

One of the many things I treasure about North Central West Virginia is that spring arrives slowly.  Our daffodils are just beginning their show and I know in many parts of the country, they are finished.  I have always thought, “Spring should be like a really good cup of coffee ~ enjoyed a sip at a time.”

Cyclamineus Daffodil Wisley This is Narcissus, ‘Wisley.’   Isn’t he charming?  He has been in bloom for about a week.  Notice his swept-back petals.

Narcissus 'Tahiti' Narcissus, ‘Tahiti’  He opened yesterday and is Mike’s favorite.  His petals are like crepe paper.

Narcissus ‘Billy Graham,’  My favorite.  I love the white halo at the base of his trumpet.

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpadI know many of you are insatiable readers and are enjoying this time to devour stacks of patiently waiting books.  But, have you read any fairy tales lately?  I am a great fan of Cicely Mary Barker.  She wrote a great deal about flower fairies and did beautiful illustrations as well.  So should your spirits need a lift, her writing may just be what you need. And, her books are available online.  By the way, have you ever gone into your garden in the spring and wondered how a particular plant or bulb ended up in a specific location?  My answer, the flower fairies.

The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies: Barker, Cicely Mary ...

“If I’m honest I have to tell you I still read fairy-tales and I like them best of all.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

There are many good things I pray will result from these difficult days. One, in particular, is that we will slow down and in future days always take time to see.  Perhaps having time to do so during this crisis will have taught us the lesson.  The following poem is one of my favorite pieces by Cicely Mary Barker.  In her whimsical way, she speaks to the importance of seeing beauty in common things.

“Open Your Eyes!”

To shop, and to school, to work and play,
The busy people pass all day;
They hurry, hurry, to and fro,
And hardly notice as they go
the wayside flowers, known so well,
whose names so few of them can tell.

They never think of fairy-folk
Who may be hiding for a joke!

O, if these people understood
What’s to be found by field and wood;
What fairy secrets are made plain
By any footpath, road, or lane-
They’d go with open eyes, and look,
(As you will, when you’ve read this book)
And then at least they’d learn to see
How pretty common things can be!


“Stepping out of the busyness, stopping our endless pursuit of getting somewhere else, is perhaps the most beautiful offering we can make to our spirit.” ~ Tara BrachseFINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

Dear friends, I truly hope this finds each of you and your loved ones well. 

Hold each other tight and know we will see better days.  Sending you wishes for a lovely day and to stay well.

And let us all remember to…

“Light tomorrow with today” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning





Images:  via tumblr and Pinterest



Sunday Thoughts ~ March 22, 2020

“Faith sees a beautiful blossom in a bulb,

a lovely garden in a seed,

and a giant oak in an acorn.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  I do hope this finds you and your families well.  We are learning to live life somewhat differently, aren’t we? 

The other day, while I was enjoying the gift of a little sunshine, I thought, “Perhaps we are dealing with this virus, as dreadful as it is, for a reason.”  I do believe good will come from it.  Things such as kindness toward our fellow man, common courtesy, enjoying the little things, treasuring our families and our homes more than ever, returning to solid values, and appreciating the beauty of our earth and all living creatures. 

So without further chatter, I will let the images and words speak for themselves.  And please, take a moment to read my ‘special notes’ at the end of this post.

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

“God sends the dawn that we might see the might-have-beens that still might be.” ~ Robert Brault


“The birds of hope are everywhere ~ listen to them sing.” ~ Terri Guillemets

“Hope is winged ~one wing faith-patience the other action-effort.  We must fly with both wings!” ~ Terri Guillemets

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

“Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.” ~Roy T. Bennett

Peony, Courage


“In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart.” ~ Blaise Pascal

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  I will leave you with something I feel is beautiful, inspiring, and offers hope.  “Anthem,” by Leonard Cohen.

Visit here:  

Know I am wishing you and yours a lovely day.  Do take care and stay well.



SandraFINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

Special Notes:  Leonard Cohen was born on September 21, 1934, in a suburb of  Montreal, Canada.  He passed away at his home in Los Angeles, California on November 7, 2016.

This extraordinarily talented man was a singer, songwriter, composer, poet, and novelist.  He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame,  the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1992, Cohen’s ninth studio album, “The Future” was released, and on this album, he introduced the song “Anthem.”  This song became an anthem of hope.  And one I feel is appropriate for our current times.  He also was also the writer and composer of “Hallelujah.”  I have loved them both since I first heard them.

Images: tumblr and Michael S. Lambiotte



‘At Table’ ~ With Claude Monet

” I want to put in an order for two bottles of champagne and some morel mushrooms ~ that’s what I fancy for some reason…” ~ Claude Monet ~ To his Wife, In a Letter from Italy

Painter, Artists, Claude Monet, Impressionist, 1899 I love this photo of Monet.  To me, he has the kindest eyes.  (The photo is from Pixabay.)

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

Good morning, my friends.  Today we are ‘At Table’ with Claude Monet.  Monet, as we all know, was an extraordinarily talented artist, but was also a marvelous cook.  I hope you will try a few of the recipes listed at the end of this post.  The ones I am sharing have been transcribed from his recipe journals found at his home in Giverny.  And, they have been tested and approved at ‘Maison de Jardin.’

Monet developed, through the years, a gourmet palate and therefore enjoyed fine food.  He loved to entertain family and friends.  As a result of this love came his potager garden, which supplied his table with the finest ingredients.  Potager is a french term meaning kitchen garden.  Now, one may think oh, that means a few tomatoes, herbs and vegetables.  Well, it does.  However, Monet’s potager was two and one-half acres in size.  Also, a potager often will have a few flowers or spring bulbs to enhance the gardens’ beauty.  Plus an obelisk or two for plants that like to travel.  Considering the size of Monet’s potager, he probably had three or four or more.

Image result for potager garden

This photo is a true example of a potager.  And, in many ways, a potager resembles a parterre garden.  Parterre, another French term, meaning a garden within a garden.

Mario Buatta English style garden at his South Hampton property in New York. A parterre gardenFINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“You learn to cook so that you don’t have to be a slave to recipes. You get what’s in season and you know what to do with it.” ~ Julia Child

Image may contain Flooring Furniture Chair Floor Interior Design Indoors Living Room Room Wood and Restaurant Claude Monet’s kitchen at Giverny

Claude Monet understood fresh ingredients and using the ingredients of each season.  His two and one-half acre potager was proof of that.  He also, of course, loved color.  Cooking in such a colorful kitchen would certainly inspire creativity.

Image may contain Furniture Chair Restaurant Flooring Floor Home Decor Indoors Dining Table Table Food and Meal  Claude Monet’s dining room at Giverny.

According to Julia Child, ” Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.”  Monet understood this as well.  It was a pleasure that was not only significantly important to him, but was also one which brought him immense joy.FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“There is nothing better than picking up sun-warmed tomatoes and smelling them, feeling them and scrutinizing their shiny skins for imperfections, dreaming of ways to serve them.” ~ Jose Andres

Image result for claude monet's kitchen garden A page from Claude Monet’s recipe/cooking journal found at Giverny.

I know you have been waiting to see the recipes.  So I will proceed.  The recipes are not difficult and are delicious.  Do give them a try.  You will be glad you did.  The first two recipes are from The Monet Cookbook, Recipes From Giverny.


Stuffed Tomatoes  ~ Serves 6 

12 small ripe tomatoes

1 bouquet garni ( 1 sprig thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig parsley)

2 medium slices sourdough bread, crusts removed

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 oz. bacon 

3/4 cup button mushrooms, stems removed

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

2 medium-sized garlic cloves

6 medium-sized shallots

2 egg yolks

1 Tbls. butter

olive oil and salt and pepper

Carefully cut around the stem of each tomato with the point of a knife, cutting in toward the core at an angle to remove the tough part under the stem.  Carefully remove the pulp from the tomatoes with a small spoon (I use a grapefruit spoon) and place in a saucepan.  Briefly bring to a boil and then strain through a fine sieve to remove seeds.  Return to the pan with the bouquet garni, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for at least 20 minutes until reduced to a puree.  Remove the bouquet garni.  Soak the break in the chicken broth.  Preheat the oven to 400.  Dice the bacon and the mushroom caps.  Dice the parsley.  Peel and dice garlic and shallots.  Melt a Tbls. of butter in a pan and gently saute the chopped ingredients.  When the mixture is golden, add the bread and the tomato puree.  Mix well and then bind with the egg yolks.  Check for seasoning, adding a pinch of salt and pepper if the stuffing tastes bland.  Lightly brush a ceramic or glass baking dish with oil.  Till the tomatoes with stuffing and lay them in the dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature.


Duck with Turnips

1 free-range duck, dressed (3-4 pounds), liver and gizzard reserved

2  1/2 pounds of small baby turnips

5 oz. chicken stock

2 Tbls. duck fat or 2 Tbls. butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the duck liver and gizzard into small pieces, season with salt and pepper and place in the cavity of the bird.  Melt the duck fat or butter in a roaster with lid (or use foil to cover your roaster).  When melted and roaster is hot, brown the duck on all sides, turning frequently.  Season well with salt and pepper, then pour in half of the chicken broth, cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel the turnips and cut them in halves or quarters depending on size.  If turnips are nice and young, you can just scrub them well and not peel them.  Put them in the roaster with the duck, add a little more broth if the liquid has reduced.  Bring to a gentle boil and turn down the heat.  Cover and leave to cook for 1 hour.  To check to see if the duck is properly cooked, insert the point of a knife into the fold of the thigh:  the juice should run clear.  If it is still a little pink, return to the heat and cook for another 15 minutes.  When it is done, cover the duck with foil and leave to rest on a carving board for 5 minutes before carving, keeping the turnips warm.  Carve the cuck and arrange the slices on a serving dish.  Garnish the turnips with a little parsley and pour the cooking juices over the top.  Serve immediately.


Note: The next two recipes are meant to go together and are outstanding, especially in the summer.  They are from Monet’s Palate Cookbook, The Artist and His Kitchen Garden at Giverny.

Roasted Cod with Fresh Corn, Red Pepper, Onion and Caper Salad

Corn Salad

6 large ears corn, shucked

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 Tbls. capers, rinsed and drained

6 Tbls. good extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbls. fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. caper juice

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add corn and cook 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Drain corn and add to ice water to stop cooking and preserve color.  Pat corn dry with paper towels.  Cut kernels off cobs, cutting close to cobs.  Place corn in a large bowl.  Add pepper, onion, and capers.  Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, caper juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Pour over corn mixture and toss well.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Roasted Cod

6 (6-8 ounce) skinless cod fillets

1 Tbls. olive oil

1/4 tsp. dried and crumbled oregano

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.  Pat cod dry with paper towels.  Brush a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with olive oil.  Place cod in the prepared baking dish and turn to coat both sides of the cod with oil.  Sprinkle with oregano and garlic.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until cod flakes easily with a fork.  About 15 minutes.

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpadFramed Bowl of Apples, 1880 PrintA Bowl of Apples ~ Painted by Claude Monet, 1880.



Dear friends, I do know Monet has enjoyed your being ‘At His Table’ today.  And, he has also enjoyed sharing his recipes with you.  I hope you will cook, enjoy, and also share these wonderful recipes ‘At Your Table’.


“When we eat together, when we set out to do so deliberately, life is better, no matter what your circumstances.” ~ Thomas Keller


Wishing you a lovely spring day!


Bon Appétit,


FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad



Authors notes:  If you enjoy cookbooks, I can highly recommend either of the two mentioned in this post.

Images are from Pinterest other than the photo of the kitchen and dining room at Giverny, and the page from his cooking journal.  They are from Foundation Monet.




A Garden of Inspiration

“I must have flowers, always and always.” ~ Claude Monet

Claude Monet’s home ~ Giverny, France

Good morning, dear friends.  Isn’t Claude Monet’s home in Giverny, France magnificent?  It is exploding with color and blooms.  Monet thought,  “He perhaps owed becoming a painter to flowers.”  I hope one day to visit his gardens.  They were his love and he spent his lifetime creating them.  Truly he was a gifted soul and a marvelous inspiration.  His paintings and gardens are captivating.  But, did you know he was also quite the cook?  I will tell you more about that “At Table.” 

You have probably gathered from the title of this post it is all about inspiration. And, Monet’s gardens would certainly be an outstanding source of inspiration.  However, even though you are visiting ‘Maison de Jardin,’ perhaps you will see something you would like to recreate or some bulbs you can cleary see blooming in your garden next spring.   So come along with me and be inspired. Relax, enjoy ~ it’s a beautiful day!  

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“Oh, what a dawn of day!  How the March sun feels like May!  All is blue again after last night’s rain…” ~ Robert Browning

The distant mountains in the background of this photo look very much like the land in Pendleton County West Virginia.  There are also many wild cherry trees that bloom in our mountains during the spring.  West Virginia truly is “Wild and Wonderful.”  I pray it always remain so.

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“The first blooms of spring always make my heart sing.” ~ S. Brown

After a long and cold winter, snowdrops will surely make your “heart sing.”

A beautiful and rare snowdrop ~ Blushing Pendant

“Snowdrops: Theirs is a fragile but hardy celebration…in the very teeth of winter.” ~ Louise Beebe Wilder

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“Blossom by blossom the spring begins.” ~Algernon Charles Swinburne

“…Then from my heart will young petals diverge, as rays of the sun from their focus; I from the darkness of earth shall emerge, a happy and beautiful Crocus!…” ~ Emily Dickinson

seasonalwonderment: “Narcissus ‘Blushing Lady’ Daffodil |Thompson Morgan ” Daffodil, Blushing Lady

Image result for british gamble daffodil Daffodil, British Gamble

“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares, and take The winds of March with beauty…” ~ William Shakespeare

Image result for daffodil barrett browning A favorite of mine ~ Daffodil, Barrett Browning

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“Tulips were a tray of jewels.” ~  E.M. Forster

Pink Parrot Tulips, my favorite.

Tulips, in my opinion, are stunning pieces of jewelry for the garden.  They add so much charm and beauty, even though they do have to be replanted from time-to-time.  They are worth the effort.

Image may contain: flower, plant, nature and outdoor

“The whole world is unfurling as the winter makes to leave, like it is stretching out its limbs and learning once more how to breathe.  For spring is in its fingertips; the time for sleep is through, and the air is gently humming with the chance to start anew.” ~ Erin HansonFINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order, and disorder of the flowering earth.” ~ Lady Bird Johnson

I enjoy a little disorder among the order.   It reminds me of the Amish.  They will often plant a few seeds of corn in their rows of sunflowers to serve as a reminder to themselves and others, they are not perfect.  FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

“I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself.  And I find sufficient purpose for my day.” ~ Robert Brault

uyamt: “苧環(おだまき) Columbine / Granny’s bonnet (Aquilegia) ” Columbine, Granny’s Bonnet


Dear Friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit and, perhaps, have become inspired.  With the times being as they are, now more than ever,  I feel beauty is a soothing balm for our hearts and souls.  

Know how much I appreciate your visit. 


 I am wishing you a wonderful day.  Take Care!


“I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day.” ~ F. Frankfort Moore








Images: via tumblr






































































Sunday Thoughts – March 15, 2020

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” ~ Mary Oliver

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  As I am writing this, my window is slightly open and I am listening to the birds singing.  It is such a delightful thing after winter, to enjoy the sounds and scents of spring blowing through the window.  Truly, I am blessed by this lovely gift.  I rather imagine if you look around, wherever you are, you will smile and feel the same.  Because, so many things become beautiful and appreciated, ~ if we only look.

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

Know I am wishing you and yours a glorious day.


Do take moments to enjoy…

“…the sweet wildflower breath of spring…” ~ Terri Guillemets



SandraFINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad


Image: via tumblr


Sunday Thoughts – Hope in Difficult Times

“The wings of hope carry us, soaring high above the driving winds of life.” ~ Ana Jacob

The cherry tree is a symbol of hope.

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  I do hope this finds each of you enjoying early glimpses of spring.

On this blog, I usually try and stay away from political issues or happenings around the world.  I do so because I feel we receive a daily overload of both from the media and I want my blog to be a source of inspiration and beauty for everyone who visits.  However, the awful Coronavirus warrants our attention.  So, today I would like to share my thoughts about this freighting and terrible virus issue.

“Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them.” ~ Vincent McNabb

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had answers to share regarding the situation?  I don’t.  And at this point, I am not sure who does.  But I do feel the medical professionals and scientists who have spent years in training and devoted their lives to their professions are the folks who should have our attention. I believe it will be in our best interest to do what they suggest: such as avoiding large crowds, staying at home as much as possible, sanitize the areas in our homes which have a great amount of use and wash our hands often and thoroughly. 

Now, this too shall pass, but until it does, today the threat is real.  It will take all of us working together, listening and following directions from reliable sources to get this situation under control.  And, should you believe in the power of prayer, which I do, please pray for those who have been infected, for the outbreak to pass quickly, and for the well being of all our medical personnel and every worker on the front line.  Also, offer a prayer for our leaders to heed the recommendations from knowledgeable professionals in the fields of medicine and science and the wisdom for them to make sound decisions.    

A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams and a world in which there is hope.” ~ Neil Gaiman

Bearded Iris Monet's Blue The blue iris is also a symbol of hope.

So dear friends, keep hope alive and believe there will be good things which will come from this disaster ~ new medicines and greater knowledge, which will benefit not only the current population but future generations to come.   And know…

“Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man.” ~ Victor Hugo

Wishing you and yours a lovely day.


Stay well and keep the faith.





Images:  via tumblr

Longing For Spring

“But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.” ~ Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Daffodil, Fortissimo

Good morning, sweet friends.  Are you longing for spring?  I so love to see spring dressed in her finest.    She has such a stunning array of colors in her wardrobe. And, everything she wears is simply beautiful.FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~ Ruth Stout

I am so happy to see you this morning.  Please join me in Le Jardin, the blooms are eager to meet you.  Once you meet them you will understand my ‘longing for spring.’   Although, one certainly does not have to be passionate about the garden to long for the beauty of spring.  But, perhaps, the blooms will inspire you to create a garden, plant something you have not grown, or visit a public garden.  

Even though many of you have possibly seen several of these photos in the past, maybe there are some you haven’t.   Either way, I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do each spring.  So, pour yourself a large coffee/tea and I will begin the introductions.  Oh, if you are hearing a little chuckle, it is the blooms.  They are so happy you are visiting.  FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“A flower that blooms speaks to us of many things: beauty, hope, mystery, and miracles, but most of all, of LOVE.” ~ unknown

Just in case you didn’t already know, I have a deep love for peonies.  I have adored them since I was a little girl.  There are around sixty-two different varieties of these beauties tucked in our garden.  Each and every one makes my heart pound.

Unknown Tree Peony gifted to me by my friend, Cathy.  I named her ~ Princess Cathy.

Peony, Gardenia

Peony, Courage and a stem of Baptisia. Notice the speckles on her petals.  My mom said, “God gave her special attention.”

Japanese Tree Peony, Suffruticosa~ Double Violet

Peony, Red Charm

Image may contain: plant, flower and nature Peony, Coral Sunset

Peony, Sunny Girl (butter yellow)

Sunny Girl in the vase.

Peonies, Sunny Girl (yellow), Paramount (pink), Coral Charm(darker pink) and Col. Owen Cousin (white), all waiting for a vase.

A treasure to me, my grandmother’s peony.  I believe her to be Chestine Gowdy. 

Peony, Chiffon Clouds

Peony, The Fawn

“I yearn for flowers that bend with the wind and rain.” ~ Tso Ssu

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?” ~ Maurice Maeterlinck

Perhaps you are now on peony overload.  So, we will move on to other blooms longing to meet you, the ‘Iris girls.’

Iris, Ruby Morning

Iris, Stairway to Heaven

Iris, Silverado, with a shaded unknown purple in the background.

Iris, Beverly Sills

Iris, Laced Cotton (white) and Violet.  I love them together.

Iris, Pandora.  Pandora and I share Mississippi roots.  She is a true Crayola yellow.FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“Flowers really do intoxicate me.” ~ Vita Sackville-West

  Cobalt Dreams Delphinium and Queen Elizabeth Rose.  

Unlike Sackville-West, I couldn’t say “flowers intoxicate me.”  However, some have made me giddy as a young school-girl.  They bring me so much joy.  And, as you will see, there are many beauties other than peonies which speak loudly to me.

Clematis, Rooguchi – her bell-shaped blooms are delightful.

Antique, red rose.  She only has one showing a year, but it is magnificent and fragrant.

A close-up of the Antique rose.

Lilacs could come close to intoxicating someone with their lovely fragrance.  I am so longing to see their blooms and smell their fragrance.

Lilac, Ludwig Spathe, raised by me from a tiny slip.


Lilac, Mme. Lemoine, also raised from a tiny slip.  This is a beauty and a double, it was identified by a friend in Va.

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels…” ~ Lydia M. Child

Iris, Edith Wolford

Sweet friends, I feel you must now understand why I named our home “Maison de Jardin” (The Garden House) and you can see why I am longing for spring. 

I hope you have enjoyed meeting the blooms.  In addition to the blooming plants I have shared, the garden is supported by five different varieties of boxwood and summer bloomers, such as hydrangeas, lilies, and many annuals.  It is amazing what can be tucked into a small garden. Should you have any questions regarding any of the plants, don’t hesitate to contact me.  Many of these plants have been with me since the mid-1970’s and moved with us when we returned to West Virginia from coastal Virginia.  Therefore, I know them well and would be happy to answer any and all questions.FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad

“A picture is a poem without words.” ~ Horace

Statuary in our garden. Photo merged by Andy Walker (see note at the end of this post). 


The angels are blowing you kisses goodbye and  Wishing you a beautiful day.


As you go about your days,

Do listen carefully so you may hear,

The Laughter of The Flowering Spring.






“The earth has music for those who listen.” ~ William Shakespeare

FINALIZATĂ Fugind de destin ai o singură destinație: locul în … #dragoste # Dragoste # amreading # books # wattpad






Notes:  All photos, Michael S. Lambiotte

A few years ago (before my blog) I wrote a home and garden column for an online newspaper, The Clarksburg Post.  

Andy Walker was the owner and editor, he would do lovely and unusual things with our photos.
















































Sunday Thoughts ~ A “Walk With Nature”

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir 

oldfarmhouse: “https://pin.it/hqejeczztir7li ”

Good morning, beautiful souls.  These late winter and early spring mornings are a wonderful time for a walk.  It is invigorating to fill our lungs with the cold morning air and it wakes us to the beauty along our path.  There is so much to see and enjoy. 

“There is nothing more beautiful than nature early in the morning.” ~ Vincent van Gogh 

speakingofnature: “Peaceable Haunts and Contented Days ”
On a morning walk in North Central West Virginia, one could easily see a new fawn with their mother.  Deer are abundant in our area and many consider them a nuisance, and I know they can be.  However, as our garden is totally fenced, they pose no problem for us.  To, me they are beautiful creatures.
beautiful-wildlife: “ European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) by Fabrizio Municchi ”
I wonder if this is the same little guy who ate our delphiniums to the ground last spring.  He looks rather guilty, don’t you think?  Bunnies will find a way to enter any garden they think looks interesting, even if it is fenced.
Blue Jay Cardinal friends
Ah, two of our favorite friends, the Cardinal and the Blue Jay.  We have a Cardinal, named Rex,  who sits on the garage roof and waits patiently and quietly for his peanuts.  Now, his Blue Jay friend is not patient or quiet.  He is boisterous and screams ‘loudly’ for his peanuts.  However, the two eat peacefully together.  I refer to the Blue Jay as Jayhawker, a name of a peony in our garden.  I wish I could tell you why a beautiful pink peony was ever named Jayhawker, but I do not even begin to have an answer. (visit Jayhawker here).  The name Jayhawker appears to have originated in Kansas, where some believe the name was a combination of the Hawk and the Blue Jay.

“If we opened our minds to enjoyment, we might find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower.” ~ Samuel Smiles 

I love to come upon things while on a walk.  Such as a lovely unexpected clump of snowdrops nestled at the base of a tree.  It is almost as though someone planted these beautiful shy plants simply to be a sweet surprise.  Snowdrops have an enchanting quality about them, perhaps it is because their appearance is an announcement of spring.

inspirationlane: “Bluebell 02 (by Matt Oliver photography) ”

And, how fortunate one is to discover Bluebells.  These special beauties love a damp shady spot with dappled light.  Their blooms hang in clusters and are the most fabulous shade of blue.  To see them in mass is breathtaking.

Many years ago, I read the following quote and wrote it in my ‘little book of special things.’  Where I originally read it ~ who knows?  But, I have never forgotten the words, and I always think of them when while on a walk, even when walking about in our garden.  I would love to hear your thoughts…

“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker? ~ Garth Nix

Mrs. Lee’s Daffodil Garden, Gladewater, Texas ~ Photo, Cindy C. Grimes

Dear friends, know I am wishing you and yours a lovely day.


May the beauty of nature greet you at every turn.



“The splendor of nature lives in man’s heart; to be seen, it must be felt.” ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)




Images:  via tumblr

















At Table ~ “On Rue Tatin”

”The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living.” ~ Dione Lucas

#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.

Good morning, sweet friends.  First, let me apologize for my tardiness as my February ‘At Table’ post is a week late.  February has truly moved right past me.  That said, today I would love for you to join me on a little trip to Louviers, France where we will meet up with an American ~ Chef, Susan Herrmann Loomis. 

Loomis was born in Orlando, Florida and her father was career military.  Her childhood years were spent traveling, due to her father’s career, throughout the United States and abroad.  However,  Seattle, Washington is the place she referred to as home.

After graduating from college and working a year in public relations, Loomis decided that if she was going to write about food, she should learn how to cook.  She located a cooking school for English-speaking students in Paris and they agreed she could work at the school in exchange for tuition.  Therefore, in 1980 at age 25, Loomis moved to France, where she met her mentor, Patricia Wells, a food writer for The New York Times.  Loomis agreed to help Wells test recipes, thus the two developed a long working relationship.  And, a personal friendship.

After several trips back and forth to the States, living for a few years in Seattle, Loomis made the decision to return to France permanently.  And, France has been her home since 1993.

#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.

On Rue Tatin: Living And Cooking In A French Town


I first became acquainted with Loomis via her book, “On Rue Tatin,” ~ a gift from my husband.  The book is full of charming and captivating tales and is ‘delicious’ with recipes.  It is also the story of how she and her former husband lovingly-restored an old convent in the center of Louviers which was nearly destroyed by German bombs during the war.  During the time they were restoring the convent, they were the only Americans living in the village.
#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.
“A good cook is the peculiar gift of the gods.  He must be a perfect creature from the brain to the palate…” ~ Walter Savage Landor

Image result for photo of book On Rue Tatin Chef, Susan Loomis ~ Photo, readmeblogsite

Currently, Loomis divides her time between Paris and her restored convent in Louviers.  She is the author of nine books and her latest is Nuts in the Kitchen.  Additionally, she has become an internationally-recognized expert on food and owns and operates ‘On Rue Tatin’ where she teaches cooking classes.  She also serves as a guest instructor at various cooking schools in the United States. 

#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.
“Cooking is one of the great gifts you can give to those you love.” ~ Ina Garten

Now that you have met Susan Loomis, I feel certain you must be curious about a few of her recipes.  The recipes I am sharing are from her book On Rue Tatin and they have been tested and approved by Mike Lambiotte, (official taste tester at ‘Maison de Jardin’).  I hope you will give them a try.

The first recipe is ‘Braised Chicken in White Wine and Mustard.’  This recipe is from Monsieur Richard, who was ‘the’ butcher in Louviers.  And, it produces a perfectly crisp chicken in a marvelous sauce, wonderful over mashed potatoes.


Braised Chicken in White Wine and Mustard or Poulet Braisé Au Vin Blanc et à la Moutarde

1 cup white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

3 Tbls. Dijon mustard

2 Tbls. olive oil

4 or 6 nice size chicken thighs ~ skin on

2 medium onions, cut in thin slices

salt and pepper

A little chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.  In a small bowl, whisk together wine and mustard, set aside.  Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet.  Once the skillet is hot, brown the chicken on both sides. Turning only once and this will take about 8 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan and add onions to the pan.  Stir and cook until they are tender and turning slightly golden.  Return the chicken to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour the wine mixture over the chicken and place the pan in the center of the oven, bottom shelf.  Then bake for 1 hour at 375.  Transfer the chicken to the serving pan.  Pour the sauce over the chicken or into a separate serving dish.  Recommended Wine ~ Red Burgandy.

Man holding a skillet with browned chicken pieces cooked with mustard, wine, and thyme

 Simple Family Omelette or  L’Omelette Familiale

This is one of Loomis’s go-to recipes when “dinnertime sneaks” up on her.  She serves this with green beans and a large salad.  Recommended wine ~ Sauvignon Blanc.

Notes:  This omelette (French spelling)  is not folded over, but is served “in the round,” like a pizza.  It is lovely on the plate, with a garnish of fresh parsley or other garden herbs.  Also,  French omelettes are runny. If you prefer your eggs cooked through, you may want to cover the pan so that the egg cooks on top as well as the bottom. Before you do that, though, try an ‘omelette’ the French way, because you are likely to find it scrumptious.

I use Yukon Gold potatoes and do not peel them.

6 large eggs, at room temperature

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1-½ tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces slab bacon, rind removed, cut into ½ x 1-inch (1.3 x 2.5cm) pieces

8 ounces waxy potatoes, cooked, skinned, and sliced ( about 2 medium)

3 ounces  fresh goat cheese

1 small bunch fresh chives, chopped

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs until they are just blended. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter with the bacon and the potatoes in a 12-inch (30cm), nonstick omelette pan over medium-high heat until the bacon and potatoes are sizzling and the butter is foaming. Cook the bacon and the potatoes until they are beginning to turn golden at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. If the bacon gives up a great deal of fat, then drain off all but 2 tablespoons, then add the egg mixture to the pan and stir, then let the egg mixture sit. Working all around the pan at least twice, bring the cooked edges of the egg toward the center so the uncooked egg runs to the edges, meanwhile spreading out the bacon and the potatoes.

Crumble the goat cheese over the potatoes and the bacon.

Mince the chives and sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of them over the potatoes and the bacon.

When the omelette is generally set but still somewhat liquid, or when it is cooked to your liking, place a large plate on top of the pan, and turn the pan so the omelette falls onto the plate. Garnish it with more chives and serve immediately.


Pear and Honey Clafoutis or Clafoutis au Poires et Miel

Note:  If you want to prepare something truly lovely and special, I highly recommend this fabulous dessert.

3 large pears (1 ½ pound), peeled, cored and cut into sixths

1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) mild but perfumed liquid honey, such as lavender

4 large eggs

1 cup flour

6 tablespoons sugar (divided)

Pinch of fine sea salt

1 cup milk

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 400. Butter and flour an 11-inch round baking dish. (Do not use a smaller dish.)

Arrange pears in an attractive pattern in a baking dish. Drizzle evenly with honey.

Separate 3 of the eggs, reserving egg whites. Whisk together egg yolks and the whole egg, add milk and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix flour, 3 tablespoons sugar and the salt.

Make a well in the center and gradually add egg and milk mixture, beating until you have a smooth batter. Quickly but thoroughly, whisk in melted butter.

Whisk egg whites with a small pinch of salt until they are foamy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and continue whisking until soft peaks form.

Fold egg whites into the batter, then pour batter over pears. Bake in center of preheated oven until the clafoutis is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

To make the caramel, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the water in a small, heavy saucepan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally to evenly distribute the sugar, until mixture turns a deep golden brown, which will take 3 to 5 minutes.

Don’t stir sugar, which might encourage it to crystallize; just rotate the pan so sugar and water caramelize evenly. When the sugar has caramelized, drizzle it over top of clafoutis. Wait about 5 minutes so the caramel hardens, then serve.  We enjoy this with a dollop of Crème fraîche.


#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.

“The art of cooking ~ it’s when you mix craftsmanship at the highest level with creativity.” ~ Chef, Eric Ripert

Many thanks for your visit and I hope you have enjoyed our time together.  Susan Loomis is an amazing and talented chef.  Perhaps, if you were not familiar with her, after today you may decide to research her and her books a little further.  I don’t feel you would be disappointed.


 Wishing you a lovely day and happy times ‘At Table.”


#findyourthing Two #olive #branches. Die-cut vinyl stickers with beautiful fruits and vegetables for laptops, journals, scrapbooking, kids activities and DIY projects @RedBubble.


Bon Appétit,





Images:  via tumblr, Pinterest, and French Cottage ~ Victoria Magazine

Note:  All wine suggestions are from Susan Loomis.




Sunday Thoughts ~ “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Good Sunday morning, sweet friends.  It is true, isn’t it?  When you stop for a moment and think about it,  many of the important things, ~ “we did learn in kindergarten.”  Chances are, most or many of you have also read Robert Fulghum’s book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”  He truly brings the hugely important things, we all have learned, directly to the front.  And, every now and again, I enjoy re-reading his words.  I hope you will too.

Hummingbird and Vine Border Wall Stencil


“All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”

“Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand box at nursery school.  These are the things I learned.

Share everything.

Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them.  Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life.

oldfarmhouse: “Dearestviewfinder @instagram ”

Learn some and think some and draw some and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day. Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out in the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.


Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why. We are like that.

And then remember that book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK! Everything you need to know is there somewhere: The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology, and politics and the sane living.

Cookie mad Christine pledges a tray of home made cookies and milk delivered within Edinburgh. Cookiesncream. www.performarandomactofkindness.com

Think of what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”

~ Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”

Hummingbird and Vine Border Wall Stencil

Dear Friends, thanks for visiting and I hope you have enjoyed your time with me.  As always, I am sending wishes to you and yours for a beautiful and peaceful day.


As you go about your days,

May the Golden Rule be your guide.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”



SandraHummingbird and Vine Border Wall Stencil




Images: via tumblr