A memory in marigolds…


My family owned a greenhouse from before the time I was born, so I always think

that I grew up in a greenhouse.  Actually, I grew up in the white house behind the

greenhouse- a ramshackle old house with seven bedrooms, one bath and very few

amenities- but filled with people large and small, loving and working together.

I was one of the “little girls”.  There were three of us- and we were considerably younger

than our older sibs.  In fact, as I was growing up, my older sister and brothers were the

“grown ups” in my life- and I learned at a young age to deal with many bosses.

But the marigolds in the picture above brought to mind one of those moments of

passage that come in our lives, taking us further from childhood and affording a view

of the possibilities that open as we can take life into our own hands and become independent.

I was still a child- not more than 10 years old- but my mother gave me a small packet of seeds

and a flat full of sterilized dirt.  She said it was mine.  I could plant it and take care of it and if

I wanted, could sell it and keep the money.

I don’t remember if she gave my sisters the same opportunity-or if she did, if they took her

up on it-BUT that flat of marigolds was so important to me that Spring.  I carefully gridded

the dirt and planted the seeds so that they would grow into a full flat.  Sparse or patchy flats

never sold well- so I placed the seeds 3/4 of an inch apart- using an old wooden ruler to measure

the distance.  I misted it to keep the seeds from shifting and placed it in the hot bed on the side of

the greenhouse to keep them warm while they germinated.  I planted them in mid-February to

give them plenty of time to flower before early Summer.  And I watched over them- keeping

them moist but well drained. 

They were dwarf French marigolds- the packet said they were named “Brownie” and I loved

the sturdy stems and leaves that grew and the brown and yellow flowers that emerged by

early May.  I dead headed them to keep them trim and healthy and didn’t allow any of the

blooms to go to seed.  I was so attuned to MY flat of flowers that I started to pay more

attention to the plants growing alongside them.  What had been a job before, became a joy!

I watered, weeded, dead headed, moved, filled packs with dirt, and just did my chores

with more patience and interest than I ever had before- because my marigolds were growing

out there, too!

And customers were looking at my marigolds.  Inquiring, “How much?” 

My mother turned to me and asked if I was ready to sell them yet.

“No, not yet.” I replied each time.

These were my marigolds.  My little “Brownies” and I wanted to keep them.

So- the flats all around them sold, and mine kept flourishing.  They became thick and

sturdy, covered with blossoms- making the other flats look poor in comparison- and still

I wanted to keep them.

Finally, we moved them to the back of the greenhouse.

I think my mom thought I was never going to sell them.

But she was pretty tricky, my mother.

And she took me and my sisters to Robert Hall’s – the clothing store up the street-

to look for bathing suits.  It was late May by this time, and the weather was getting hot.

My sisters picked suits within the budgeted amount, and the clerk rang them up and put

them in a bag.  But the suit I had my eye on was black and had four rows of black corded fringe

at the hips.  To my ten year old eyes, it was tres chic, and I wanted it.

It was also tres expensive` and about seven dollars over my mother’s budget.

I went over the other suits again, but after trying on that black number and shimmying those

rows of fringe by shaking my hips, they were all boring and ugly.

My mom said she would pay part of it, but I’d have to come up with the rest of the money.

I had no money.  Money was to be spent as soon as it touched my hand.

I was not a saving little girl- I was more of a free spirit.

My sister, Robin, was a saver- and she offered me the money- but ,”No”, said my mother,

“if Heidi wants it bad enough, she will find a way to pay for it herself.”

So – we went home.

My sisters had their swim suits.  I had nothing but a black fringed vision in my head.

Sometime during the following week, that flat of marigolds made it back to the

front of the greenhouse.  And the plants were gorgeous!  They were flowering and

full- and the flats around them, although perfectly nice, just didn’t come close in appeal.

I sold my flat of marigolds that week. 

A lady paid me a small fortune- $8 for the flat!

I paid the difference, got the suit- treated Robin and my mom to a mug of root beer at A+W,

and felt like an entrepreneur.

I wore that suit for the next two seasons of Summer.

Every time I wore it- I felt beautiful and smart.

And I have always appreciated the beauty and economy of flowering marigolds.


I came across these volunteer marigolds in my flower bed the

other day, and suddenly, I was a little girl again.

OH- the power of marigolds- and black fringed bathing suits!


For Sweetest Day- I got a dozen red roses- sweet.


Yesterday I picked a bouquet from the garden-



I’ve been doing a lot of new recipes over the weekend.


Whipped cream piled high upon gingerbread-sweet!


Orange glazed pork chops – savory!


Red head,blue eyed babies getting ready to nap-sweet!



Dreamy eyed boy with pickle-savory- sweet- adorable!

I’m sorry- the whole thing broke down when I uploaded the

last picture. I love little boys- they are the sunshine of my life-

even the ones who have grown up and are daddies.


I’ll put up the pork chop recipe soon- they were totally

delicious- sweet and savory!

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Luke and Kieran

Luke and Kieran


Today is my son, Luke’s birthday.

It is a day to celebrate- a day of joy.

Of course, he has been a reason to celebrate for me

ever since I first saw him !

Luke has taught me so very much-

he taught me how to be a better person.

And he taught me how to become a mother.

He taught me about trust and faithfulness.

He showed me obedience through love.

He has enriched my life with his love and friendship.

And he has brought me, first, his wife and then, his sons to love and enjoy!

Over the last 33 years he has given me so many gifts- from that first smile to today- when he shares

the stories and moments of his life so freely.

So, I wanted to tell him in front of witnesses,

what a blessing he is in my life- and how very much I love him-

and how pleased I am with the decisions he has made in his life.

Happy Birthday, Luke, with all my love.


Zucchini= TWO recipes-soup and cake



Big plants with plenty of blossoms- but no zucchini-


until now!  And it is such a huge one that I used it to make

creamed zucchini soup and chocolate zucchini cake.


They both turned out great!  I haven’t made anything out of

zucchini for years because I generally love it sauteed with onions-

but I don’t use the huge ones – I usually get to them when they are

still small and tender.

Here are the recipes

Zucchini Soup creamed



3 cups of zucchini chunks

1 large onion, chunked

1-2 TBS olive oil

4 cups chicken broth

1 generous pinch saffron

salt and pepper- to taste

1 cup half and half

garlic croutons



Sautee zucchini and onion in oil until tender.

Pour broth over top, sprinkle saffron on top, add salt and pepper

and cover with lid and allow to simmer for about 20- 25 minutes.

Uncover pan, stir and spear to make sure it is fork tender.


You can put in a processor or use a wand type blender at this point-

004– however you choose, reduce the contents

into a thick liquid, add the half and half006

and bring ALMOST to a boil.


Ladle into cup or bowl, add garlic croutons and enjoy!  This is the one

soup that Frank gives me the compliment of calling gourmet!  LOL!

It is really good, but very simple.


This cake makes my grandson’s eyes light up.  He wears it after eating it

AND it is healthier than most.  It is my daughter-in-law, Willow’s recipe

and so good!


2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

!/2 cup buttermilk

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 9×13 pan.

Mix together flour, cocoa,soda and powder and salt in large bowl.

Cream sugars into butter , add eggs and mix together well.

Add vanilla, buttermilk and zucchini, then slowly mix in dry

ingredients. When batter is completely moistened, add chocolate

chips and pour batter into 9×13 pan.  Bake for 45 minutes and then

put on rack to cool. 

Slice into squares and either sprinkle with 10x powdered sugar OR



top off with marscapone cheese with raspberry preserves blended in

and whipped cream and raspberries!

Either way- this is delicious!




This is my son, Luke.

He’s an Episcopalian priest, working in Cold Springs Harbor, NY.

He recently shared this picture with me and it made me smile.

This is what the people called, “The blessing of the Hogs”- I love it.

I love that there is an appropriate blessing for motorcycles.

I love that these people are moved to seek such a blessing.

And I especially love that this is part of my son’s job.

Life is good when your work is doing what you love-

connecting with people and connecting people with God!

And I am so very blessed- that this man is my son.



His daughter, Heidi, took this picture.

I pirated it from Facebook.  Thanks, Heidi!

This is my brother, Bruce.

He lives in Portland, Oregon and I don’t get

to see him often.  The last time I went to visit

was about 9 years ago.  We talk on the phone

and he has a facebook account that he NEVER

looks at, but it has been 9 years.

So – tomorrow – Cynthia and I are flying to



Growing up, he was my big brother

(actually ALL three of my brothers were

big brothers) but Bruce was also my friend.

We talked- you know what I mean- about more

than just the happenings of the day.

He opened up windows into the future for me,

helped me to see patterns in the world and to

figure out where and how I could find a place to

matter in life.   But like most of my siblings, he was

a lot older and moved on in his life while I was still

searching for a direction to follow.


And like me, Bruce is a recorder of places and people

and events.  Our stories remain consistent and match

up- whereas our sibs stories are kind of vague and hazy-

our memories are sharp and clear.

This is important to me.

I like to know that my memories aren’t colored by time

and emotion.  I like to corroborate them with someone

who also remembers.

Because I’m a great story teller- and I can shade a story to

tell what is convenient or really just makes a better “story”.

So it is great to have some one else’s memory to line up with,

a ruler to measure up what is true and what is fantasy.


One week in nine years isn’t really enough time to spend

with someone you love.

But it is better than no time at all.

S’mores and raspberry rhubarb pie ( and some people I love)


S’mores!  Are these a world wide treat?

If not, they should be.

We made our with Reese’s peanut butter cups- and they were perfect.


Graham crackers, melted marshmallows and a peanut butter cup.



We put up the firepit and built a fire last night- smoked out the mosquitoes

and made our yummies  and had a rollicking good time, last night.

And today, we went to the Cowboy festival, Aiden got to ride a pony- we bought

some cowboy hats and sat on the dock of the bay watching the boats.

When we came home we got sandwiches from Woody’s (pulled pork with

coleslaw and fried onion rings-decadent!) and then I made a pie and started

some bread.  The bread is still raising- but the pie?


Raspberry/rhubarb custard pie- that’s for dessert tonight.

Dinner looks like pan fried tenderloin medalians, basmatti rice w/chicken and lemon

broth, mushrooms,garlic and kale, sauteed with spring onions, green salad and


Phone calls that take you back-

 Adam Jr (3) Pauline 1920

Ha –ha!  Not this far back!  My Uncle Adam and my mother in 1920.

Yesterday I got a call asking about my mother’s married status in

1994.  It was for an improperly filled out land deed transaction and

the clerk just wanted to fill in the missing information.

I gave her what she needed and the call was over in just a couple of

minutes.  But I have been skimming around in those years now-

looking at the past.  Rethinking and remembering.

Pauline and Ruthie 1935

Here she is again in 1935- about 17 years old.

My parents anniversary is coming up on May 6th.  When he died,

they had been married for 32 years.   She lived another 34 years as

a widow- not interested in marrying again- she said there was no

one else she could love like she did my father.


Mommy and Daddy.jpeg

And here they are- she is about 32 here- so around-  I don’t know-

my brain isn’t up to math today.

But there they are- in love- facing life and death together.

I miss my parents.

They were brave and beautiful.

They lived through tumultuous times and survived.

They loved and lost and won and gave their children

a firm base to grow upon.

And now I’M Grandma.

Funny- I still feel like a little girl.

Monday morning

I slept last night.

It’s been so long since I’ve managed to sleep,

this is a small celebration.

Pain is a magnifier of problems.

And an isolator of individuals.

I have felt like I don’t completely

belong anywhere.

I don’t even sleep when my family does.

I have become other.

But today, after 5 hours of sleep,

I am home, again.

Home in my family-

home in my mind.

So, in celebration of this great event,

I grabbed my camera to document the


Here is a random sampling.


-magnetic ladies(one with child) riding on an elephant



-porcelain rabbit teapot.


-bark and spaghnum moss growing in my front yard.


-tiny and small daffodils !


– yellow cowslip or primrose- depending on your mood.


– Irish moss littered with fall debris.


-early violets, still in their bed and nightdress-

slowly opening one eye to see if it is time to waken.

Like the violet I am rather tentative in my celebration.

One night of sleep!- or- Only one night of sleep?

Pain still lurks.

It is around the corner, waiting.

It is behind the curtain awaiting its cue.

But this is Easter week.


There is ample reason for celebration and joy.