Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Memories

Do you have a song that brings back fond memories?  My heart and mind are governed by music!  This special children's song used to be sung by myself and another fellow friend where I worked many years ago.  Each year as we set up our store for Christmas, this was the first song to be sung.  The rest of the store knew it was not official until Cindy and I teamed up for this duet :)

I lost track of Cindy until just recently and reconnected with her via email (which I received through another mutual friend) and the title of my email had this title in it to let her know it was me.

Such a nice feeling to know that music and people have such a powerful impact on our lives!



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Antique Music

Buon Giorno faithful readers!  I want to share with you a "sentimental journey."  This trip started on Sunday, October 23rd.  Let me start out by saying, I have ALWAYS desired an antique phonograph of my very own.  As long as I can remember I have searched in antiques shops, classified ads, attended auctions and estate sales but always coming up empty handed.  What I found was either too expensive or, if it was the right price, involved too much work to restore it.  When I moved to my current city about 4 years ago, I discovered Craigslist and have searched on this site since.  Again, coming up empty handed for the same aformentioned  reasons..........until.......last Sunday evening when I was once more pounding the Craigslist antiques section and.....VOILA!...there it was...a beautiful floor model phonograph that was unbelievably in my price range (80.00)!!!!  I just stared at it.  When the shock wore off...I quickly emailed the poster and asked two major you still have it?...and.... is there anything wrong with it?  I nervously waited for my inbox to show a reply.  It came before I decided to turn of the computer for the night.  I mumbled a little prayer and opened up the email.  The reply: yes, I still have it.......the lid needs to be re-attached.  That's it?!?!?  OMG!  I could barely write down the phone number the woman gave me....and....I had to go to sleep.

I called her from work around 9:30 Monday morning and we decided to wait until Tuesday at 9 a.m. for an appointment to see it in her home.  Tuesday morning at promptly 9 a.m. I ring the doorbell and was greeted by a woman with a softness to her demeanor and was taken to the item in question.  I just stared at the phonograph and she had to initiate the inspection to knock me out of my shock.  There before me stood a beautiful mahogany 1916 Pooley Grand Prix Eufonola.  She explained to me that it had been her mother-in-law's, who bought it when she started working in the early 1930's.  When they acquired it she said the finish was alligatored so they had it professionally refinished.  I won't bore you with the rest of the conversation but I connected with this women because of her love for preserving old things.  She is an architect and an artist.  Her house was of course my favorite 1920's bungalow style restored to perfection with a two-story addition that one could not even begin to realize was an add-on.  She is an enamel on copper artist on top of this and some of her pieces are gorgeous.

We decided I should return the next morning to pick up the phonograph with my friend Bob.  I was there a little early so we had time to chat before my friend arrived. We talked about her work and classes I could take from her this winter for enameling.  She showed me 3 enamel bowls she had and explained they were for sale at half the cost but I declined because they were still too expensive and I decided to load the records (she gave me for free) into my car.  When I finished, I came back into the house and she presented me with my favorite bowl as a gift.  I was stunned!  I told her I could not accept and she said "Merry Christmas."
One does not run into people like her too often in life and that is one reason I had to write about it because I want to treasure this experience when I can no longer remember things.  Secondly, it is not too often I encounter such individuals.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tamarix Ramosissima

Look at the ethereal beauty of this tamarix shrub!  How could you NOT be captivated by it's many alluring qualities.  My first memory of this mild climate looking shrub is of it growing in one of my grandparents' many perennial beds on their small farm.  Picture a two story, old, pink farmhouse with a double front porch and white wrought iron railings :)  Now, picture a five foot two, dark-haired Italian woman and a six foot one, strong as an ox German man.  They raised pigs and then cows and when they could afford it, they got dressed up and drove the farm truck to the nearest big city to enjoy a night at the local opera house listening to beautiful music.  They were full of passion, and gardening was one of those passions.  I am very fortunate to have these memories in my life!

This shrub is very versatile and beautiful if given the correct setting and attention.  This is not a shrub for the faint of heart :)  You can let the tamarix grow to it's natural 8-10 foot height while the branches grow thick but unfortunately the branches start to split after so many years and then you are forced to have an out of balance look.  It keeps the more graceful appearance and blooming capability when you keep it pruned for renewal growth because it blooms on new growth.  The leaves are a grey-green and have sort of an evergreen look, but I assure you, the tiny leaves turn a beautiful gold/red in the fall and drop to the ground like any deciduous shrub.  The spacing of this shrub is actually determined by the gardener but a good rule of thumb is to allow for at least 8-10 feet for it's graceful arching quality.  As you can see, it flowers abundantly with tiny rose-pink florets en masse.  It requires full sun for the best bloom but will do relatively well in partial shade.  Once established, it is quite drought tolerant because of it's long tap root and is hardy from zone 2a-8b.  I have seen where it is listed on the North Dakota Invasive Plant List but, honestly, I don't think it applies to all regions.  Like with anything in life there is good and bad and you can make your own choices :)  Me?.....I bought the shrub this fall for planting so we will see if it is as bad a foe as North Dakota  My grandparents certainly don't think of this shrub as an enemy ;)  Plant from the heart folks!

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Hello everyone!  This installment is covering one of my favorite, and for some reason, elusive flower.  I discovered this perennial/biennial by shear accident about 17 years ago in  the herb bed of the house I had just moved into.  A little 90 year old woman had lived there, actually the only owner of the house since it was built in the 1940's.  We moved into the house in the month of March and I eagerly awaited to see what was growing in the flower beds.  I watched what I thought was a weed for several months and came close to pulling it right out of the ground.  Thank God I didn't because I was rewarded with this beautiful airy yellow/orange and brown flower when much of nothing else was blooming.  I fell in love with the fact that it grew to nearly five feet and the flowers seemed to float in the air.  I found out later (next spring) that it had an extra bonus of self-sowing.  A few people would find this annoying and slightly invasive.  I never looked at it that way...I just pulled out what I didn't want :)

I am a very sentimental gardener, so this year I built a house and one of the plants I wanted most was this perennial favorite that won my heart.  I had a lot of trouble finding it until I went to a local perennial grower for an open house and discovered they were growing the plant I coveted.  I was to say the least, ecstatic!  Although I have it now, I was not able to enjoy the simple pleasure of it's beauty this year.  I have something to look forward to next season.

Here is the general information to see if it will become a favorite of YOURS!  
It goes by 3 different names.  Rudbeckia Triloba, Brown-Eyed Susan or Three-Lobed Rudbeckia.  It is classified as a perennial/biennial which means essentially that it comes back every year but not always in the same spot.  It grows 3 to 4 ft. high (I have witnessed it reaching 5ft) and 2 to 3 ft wide.  It is hardy from zones 3-10 and requires full sun to partial shade.  It takes it a while to show you it's charms because it doesn't bloom until late summer into fall.  Like I said, not much else was blooming.  It's water requirements are average but don't overwater or it will surely perish.  As far as the slightly invasive habit, if you don't want it to reseed freely cut off the seed heads before they dry, or if you are like me, let them reseed and decide where you don't want them in the spring by simply pulling them out :) 



Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Hello Everyone!

It has been too long (a year and a half) since I have posted anything at all.  I have been quite busy with a new love, building a house, and ultimately keeping myself relatively healthy.  I am slowly getting back into my former habits...such as reading, seeing my friends and family, decorating projects, and all the little quirky things that make me smile.  This...blogging....I have missed a lot!  So, I am back to share a little bit of my world again in the hope that it can help someone out there laugh, cry, blush, cringe, joke, or look at life a little differently....but most of all, perhaps think differently :)