Thursday, 8 August 2013

Thursday wanderings . . .

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"Which of all my important things shall I tell you first?"
 ~Jane Austin

I feel a little bit like Jane must have felt when she uttered those words this morning.   I have so many sweet things to share with you this morning I don't know where to begin.  Some days are like that I fear.   I read somewhere that some days are diamonds and some days are like dust.  Yesterday was a diamond sort of a day . . . you can't beat that!

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First of all I received a bit of an early Birthday present from our friend Doreen.  It's not my birthday until Monday, but that's okay!  We had been to her house on Monday afternoon for a visit.  We usually go to see her a couple of times a week.  She had been out shopping with her caregiver and had bought herself a new light fixture.  There is usually something new to see in her house.   She doesn't go many places or do much, so I guess these little changes she makes often . . . are kind of like little holidays to her.  Anyways, she had gotten herself a new light fixture in her lounge.  I didn't notice it right away but when I did I fell absolutely in love with it.  It was gorgeous and I was all gaga over it!  I'm like a crow.  I like anything that sparkles.   The old dear only went out the next day with Billy and got one for me, which was so sweet of her.   It looks very grand hanging from the ceiling over our dining room table.  That was so kind of her.  I wish she hadn't done it, but was so very chuffed that she had. I Love it!

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A little while later I was upstairs painting when I heard a sound down in the hall by the front door.  The post had arrived, and look at what was in it!  I know!   Pinch me!  I had forgotten that I had ordered this all those months ago when Susan Branch first told us all that she was writing it.  I love Susan Branch and her artwork.  I have been a fan since my younger years when I used to buy Country Living and she used to do an illustrated recipe in it each month.  I love her web page/blog and gobble up every word she writes.  All of her readers were with her when she took a trip last year over here to the UK and we all read of her adventures during the two months she was here.   When she got back she said she was writing a book about her experiences and that the first couple hundred people who bought one would have it signed by her . . .

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How could I resist??  I couldn't!  Here was one of my favourite authors and artists making me an offer I couldn't refuse!  And so I didn't . . . refuse it that is.  I must have been one of the first ones to order it because there it is . . . her signature.   *Squeeee!!*

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It is a thoroughly delightful little book.  I lay in bed reading it last night, pinching myself the whole time.  I could barely put it down to go to sleep . . . and it is sitting here next to me on the computer desk.  I can't wait to get stuck back into it.   It begins with the telling of the tale of how she and her husband Joe found each other.   So totally enthralling and so Susan Branch.   I am smitten . . . it actually made me cry.  Truly.  Everyone deserves to fall in love like that.  They do.

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We have worked really hard over these past three years to create a haven for wild life of all sorts in our garden.   Well, Todd has at any rate.  I've just given my verbal input and armchair instruction.   This year it is the most beautiful it has ever been, partly due to the gorgeous weather and partly because all of his hard work is finally paying off.   We are enjoying a lot of different visitors this year and yesterday I saw not one . . . but two of these dainty little creatures . . .

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It is called the "Peacock Butterfly."  I had never seen one before.   It's called the peacock butterfly because of the distinctively stunning  patterns on it's wings resembling the eye spots on a peacocks feathers.  It flits between nectar-rich flowers of gardens and parks all summer long.  In winter, they fold up their wings and blend into a hollow tree or wooden shed, emerging come spring to lay eggs on nettles . . . yesterday there were two flitting in our garden amongst the flowers and they stayed quite a long while . . .

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The butterfly is a flying flower,
 The flower a tethered butterfly. 
~Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun  

I watched them for quite a while as they fed, completely mesmerized by their beauty.   Apparently they are quite common in English gardens . . . but these were the first ones I had seen . . .

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Are they not absolutely gorgeous???   I know . . . they quite take your breath away.  But . . .
they are not the only visitors we had yesterday . . .

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Their friend the "Small Tortoiseshell" came to the party too  . . .  regarded as one of our most common butterflies the bright orange wings with black spots of the Small Tortoiseshell makes this one of our most easily recognised butterflies. It is fast flying in bright sunshine but can be easily approached when feeding.

They all love our Buddleia bush . . . but then again, that's why Todd planted it.

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We had plenty of these little fuzzy yellow and black visitors too . . . the bumble bee, fat and plump and hairy . . . buzzing and feeding.  They, too . . . delight my eyes.   I love them so.   They are the harbingers of Spring over here in the UK.  When you see these out and about . . . you know Spring cannot be too far behind.

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"To make a prairie it takes a clover
and one bee.
A clover and one bee,
A revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
~Emily Dickenson

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They all seem to love our garden and for that I am glad . . . so very glad.   It cheers my heart to look out the upstairs window and see my Todd sitting amongst all the garden finery in his straw hat in his lawn chair reading.  Some day I will take a photo of that as well, so it can cheer your heart too . . .

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"Heaven is not merely over our heads, but under our feet."

Even the dying roses are beautiful . . .
Life is sweet, very sweet . . .

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.
 ~Johann von Goethe

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today, Creamy Chicken Enchiladas.   Soooo good!

Have a wonderful day!


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