Monday, May 12, 2014

The Data

The poll about how to pronounce the name Flavia from the Flavia de Luce books is over.  The result is that the name is....
Flaevia!  5 out of 6 people agreed that the name was Flaevia, while 1 person told me it was Flahvia.  Since the one person who disagreed is a member of my family who never read the books (*cough* Aden *cough*), I'm going with the other 83% that say Flaevia.  Now I just have to wait to get the last book back (it was accidentally returned to the library) and I'll be all set!
So now you know.  In other news, this is what I'm going to be doing today:

That green stuff is flats of little plants waiting to go in the dirt.

People, look at all the onions!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"My Mother Read to Me"

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings--
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be--
I had a Mother who read to me.
-By Strickland Gillilan

Happy Mothers Day to all of you and in particular to my own mother!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Knickerbocker Knockabout

Would you like to hear a gripping, enthralling, edge-of-your-seat story written by yours truly?  Well, here goes.
The pasture where our escapee first headed to

Two days ago, we decided to move the pigs.  Remember those cute babies?  Well, they have grown decidedly bigger and louder and it was time for them to move from their little nursery (the horse stall) out to the big world.
The brambles she got caught in.  She still has a scratched up
nose to show for it.

The first drama came when we went to pick up the pigs.  They screamed like I have never heard anything scream before.  Loud, piercing screams.  After hastily dumping them down in the middle of the pasture, we realized that they needed to be shooed chased madly into their house (where the food and water will be) for a couple of days until they learn that that is their home base.
The place where she ducked under the fence.  

Two of the pigs, after being chased around and around, decided to go where they were supposed to go.  We were relieved, but there was that one stubborn pig that was determined to stay right where she was.  We started to shoo her and, just then, she decided to dodge between my legs and charge straight through the electric wire.  I have never seen an animal so determined to get through an electric wire in all my life.  She dodged through the wire and then ducked right under the (we thought) carefully sealed gate.  I really thought I was going to lose my mind.  Here was a pig that, evidently, had no respect for an electric wire and 60 acres (not counting the neighbors') on which to charge madly.  I briefly considered just letting the dumb thing wander through the woods for the rest of her life.
This gate to the pasture where the pigs were supposed to be.

However, we took off again, chasing this pig over hill and dale (actually, it over through knee-deep pasture and brambles).  This pig first of all decided to take off through one of the biggest pastures.  She ran at a breakneck pace that none of us could keep up with and then plunged herself into neck deep brambles.  We were sure that we could catch her because she was caught, but when I reached for her, she managed to tear herself loose and run again through the electric wire and through the barn and through some more pasture before finally turning around and racing through the open gate into the pasture where she was supposed to be.  Exhausted, she threw herself down directly on the electric wire and it began repeatedly shocking her.  I don't know if the little burning sensation calmed her, but she didn't budge.  We turned the electric wire off and gently walked her back to her sisters in the barn.  She went without a peep.
The three piggies.  The one of the left is the escape artist.

Yesterday, my grandmother reminded me of a poem from the children's book, Father Fox's Penny-Rhymes.

"Knickerbocker Knockabout
Sausages and Sauerkraut
Run, run, run, the hogs are out!
Knickerbocker Knockabout"
All's well that ends well...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Card Game Bookmarks

A few days ago, I cleaned out our family's game chest.  Ahem.  That was quite the job, let me tell you.
The bottom of the chest, once all of the board games had been removed.

However, I got a sparkling clean, organized game chest out of it and something else...

I got bookmarks!  I am always on the lookout for pretty, interesting bookmarks.  Of course, scrap paper and business cards work fine, but it's always fun to have something a little nicer.  While cleaning out the game cupboard, I came across several sad cards.  They were from the vintage card game Authors.   (This game I linked to is identical to ours, except that ours never included anything so modern as a female author.  I mean, Lousia May Alcott?  Come, come!  She isn't great like old Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Robert Louis Stevenson, who, according to this game, looks like a drug addict.)  The cards were originally complete, but over the years, we've lost pieces and we almost never played the game, so I have relegated them to bookmarks.  I think it fitting that the authors cards are being used to mark books.  Even though the authors on the cards are ridiculously non-representative of all the authors out there, I am fond of the old dears and I'm glad they get a new job.

Anyway, I thought you might like to meet a few of the cards bookmarks.

I'm sorry it's so blurry.  The camera was being whiney.  But you get
the idea here.  This is R.L. Stevenson
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Washington Irving
Edgar Allan Poe...I can't decide whether he's looking grim
or just determined.

There are several others, but I didn't think you would want to see every single one of them.  I'm very curious as to when these were made.  Evidently a time where white male authors were THE author.  What do you think?  They make fantastic bookmarks!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Belle Ruin

My latest read has been Belle Ruin, the third Emma Graham book in the series by Martha Grimes.  This book is just as wonderful as the first and second.  In this book, Emma discovers another mystery that seems to be tied in to the other two mysteries she is working on.  Years ago, the child of the rich owners of the hotel called Belle Rouen was kidnapped.  The press never really covered the story and the child appeared to have dropped off the face of the earth.  Emma is determined to figure out what happened to this baby and how it is related to the other two mysteries.  There were also several new plot developments, about which I was very pleased.

First of all, nasty old Ree Jane, the daughter of the co-owner of the hotel, is finally starting to get her comeuppance.  Emma has a job as a cub reporter, which infuriates Ree Jane to no end.  Emma also appears to have just realized that she can tease and torment Ree Jane to no end.  It is surprisingly refreshing reading about it.

Also, Emma is starting to gain respect from the people in her town and from her formerly quite cold mother.  Even the eccentric aunt on the top floor is coming to be slightly nicer, although she still requires that her daily martinis delivered by Emma.   The other relieving event was when the sheriff, who had formerly been on the outs with Emma, made it up to her by letting her help him check meters.
The Author

Now for the bothersome parts:  I really, really, really want to know the back-story of why Ree Jane and her mother are still hanging around the hotel.  What does Emma's mother owe them?  I'm hoping that this gets resolved in the fourth, and last, book.  Also, the ghost that only Emma can see makes me curious.  Who is this spectral figure?  I have a feeling that all is going to be revealed soon.

So those were my thoughts about the third Emma Graham book.  I'm looking forward to reading the last book!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Listening To

Sometimes I get in a music-listening-while reading mood.  I am immersed in the world of Belle Ruin right now (review coming soon!) and while I read, I've been listening to Scenes from Childhood (Kinderzenen in German) by Schumann.  This little collection of pieces is pretty familiar and they make surprisingly good background listening, although they're just as nice for sitting down and seriously listening to.

Here's the link from YouTube, so you can listen to these beautiful pieces while reading as well!
My favorites are #8 and #9.  I'm teaching myself to play them now.

And here's the Wikipedia link you that you can see the titles and order of the pieces.
Happy Listening!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Friendly Persuasion

I'm reviewing an old favorite today.  I've been doing more wander-y reading recently, with less intentional library book reading.  More poor library loot pile is suffering.  So, instead of reading Introverts in the Church like I had planned, I'm reading The Friendly Persuasion for the third (or maybe fourth) time.  Jessamyn West, the author of The Friendly Persuasion is a wonderful author.  I have loved everything I ever read by her and we even named one of the lambs after her.

A Friendly Persuasion is the story of Jess and Eliza Birdwell, a Quaker couple in Indiana during the Civil War.  Eliza is a non-nonsense, practical minister.  Jess runs a nursery and has a bit of a hot temper.   His love of horses and music is decidedly not Quaker and gets him into some trouble.  They have several children, all of whom are likable and entertaining.  Each chapter is a stand-alone story of some experience, most of them told from Jess or Eliza's point of view.  From having one of their sons join the army to the organ that appears at their doorstep, thanks to Jess, the family is endears themselves to the reader almost instantly.

It's quite evident that Jessamyn West was writing from experience, not just writing a story.  She know her history and she knows what a busy, happy family looks like.  I love reading books like this that don't involve a lot of turmoil and distress, just happy family life with some misadventures along the way.  The other great thing about this book is how timeless it is.  Sure, it's set in the 1800s, but there is something that is so classic about the occurrences and the characters that I think appeals to a lot of people.
The movie.  Is this movie good, or annoying because
it isn't like the book?  I'd love to hear what you think about it.

This book is definitely not a book for a niche audience.  It's quite appropriate for even a family read-aloud, yet it can be enjoyed by pretty much any reader.  There are some slightly sad stories, but more often, there is lots of humor.  This book has also inspired me to look for another Jessamyn West book.  I bet that all of her writing is going to be just as enjoyable.