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Monday, September 29, 2008

A Visit to Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden is owned and operated by The Worcester County Horticultural Society, the third oldest horticultural society in the U.S.A. Its 132 acres of gardens, meadows and woodland trails, is located at 11 French Drive, Boylston, Massachusetts.

This is the entrance gazebo.

Three cars took several family members to enjoy the beauties of nature after our dinner at the restaurant. In the Educational Center a begonia society was having a show and sale. There, one brother-in-law found needed information for a treasured plant he has at home.

Entrance doors looking out from the Center toward the eighteenth century farmhouse.

Sweet smelling gardenia just outside the doors

In the Entry Court were interesting potted succulents

A few of us went on to the Orangerie where we enjoyed the potted plants and statuary in the brick and glass conservatory structure.

A wall fountain

A lemon tree

We then proceeded out to the Systematic Garden which "presents twenty-six distinct plant families, making it a virtual encyclopedia of the Plant Kingdom." The Italianate style of this garden is expressed in statuary amid the plantings.

A grand urn along the path

Unusual white roses

A lovely planting bed

On the return path to the Orangery

Looking back up the same path

Our final jaunt was to the south end of the Lawn Garden where the Pergolas and terrace overlook the Secret Garden.

The double pergola is a nice structure, providing shade and a great vantage point.

The Secret Garden is planted with "perennials chosen for their fragrance and delicate texture."
It was now almost 5 p.m. closing time, so we were unable to walk down into the Secret Garden. We watched as a bride and groom were being photographed there.

I hope you enjoyed this excursion to the wonderful Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

Recovering…and Happy

The past few weeks I have been swamped with preparations for family for the long weekend, Sept 19-22…all the while anticipating the fun it would be to have my sisters around and to go shopping with them. So there have been tons of telephone calls and e-mails back and forth with family members who were coming, grocery shopping at four stores, and continuous planning for:

Mother’s 90th Birthday Dinner at an Italian restaurant
Trip to Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Breakfasts for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday
Supper for Friday evening
Saturday night - Family Celebration Supper & Baby Shower for niece
Sunday – Lancaster Flea Market, then historical museums. [The flea market was such a draw, that we never got to the local museums.]
Sunday – Afternoon Tea

Here is a photo of the birthday cake and roses:

The restaurant owner and our waiter await us as we come in the rear entrance -- for a shorter trip in for the birthday girl.

The tables had white tablecloths and red napkins. A pair of gilt cherubs added a touch of Italy.

Everyone enjoyed their choices of Eggplant parmesan, Chicken parmesan, White fish, Ravioli, Caesar salad, Mesclun salad, Biscotti, Ricotta tart, and Chocolate almond cake with marscarpone.

A great time was had by our now 90-year mother, her five children, and several grandchildren and her sister. Family came from Florida, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts, by plane, by car and by bus.

It must be said, however, that I was ever so grateful to make it through the weekend. While we were at the flea market Sunday afternoon, my sister and her daughter (both RNs) had to massage my shoulders and lower back to help me cope, as throbbing pain was driving me nuts.

Everyone -- especially mother -- has expressed their enjoyment of the weekend's events, so I know God provided in my time of need, as I sometimes I was not sure I would come through in one piece.

But they that wait upon the LORD
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Is 40:31 KJV

Sunday, September 28, 2008

When I Say, "I Am A Christian"

When I say, "I am a Christian,"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

For the story of the poem visit http://www.carolwimmer.com/

Visit Spiritual Sundays for more inspirational posts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hopeful Friday - Let Me Be A Giver

Cielo at The House in the Roses is sponsoring Hopeful Friday to give blogger friends another opportunity to “ celebrate God, to celebrate His mercy and unconditional love, but also a day to celebrate positive thoughts. We need hope to replace our restlessness, we need courage to replace our fear, and we need faith to replace our doubt.”

Last weekend at the dinner for my mother’s 90th birthday, just before the toasts, I had one of my sisters read the following poem, since it expresses the principles exemplified by our mother.

Let Me Be A Giver

God, let me be a giver, and not one
Who only takes and takes unceasingly;
God, let me give, so that not just my own,
But others’ lives as well, may richer be.

Let me give out whatever I may hold
Of what material things life may be heaping.
Let me give raiment, shelter, food, or gold
If these are, through Thy bounty, in my keeping.

But greater than such fleeting treasurers, may
I give my faith and hope and cheerfulness,
Belief and dreams and joy and laughter gay
Some lonely soul to bless.
---Mary Carolyn Davies

To see more of today’s “chain of positive thoughts and inspirational messages” please go here for Cielo’s list.

Friday Show and Tell - Brass Coal Scuttle

Show and Tell

One of our weekend activities was a visit to the Lancaster Marketplace, a large indoor and outdoor flea market in Lancaster, Massachusetts. As we were each ambling along the aisles on Sunday afternoon, my niece spotted something that interested her. It was a brass coal scuttle.*

My youngest sister immediately saw it as a possible container for the dried hydrangeas she had bought for my mother. The piece was marked $18.00. However, as we discussed the patina and how much cleaning it might need to look presentable, the booth owner dropped the price to $12.00. So my sister bought it and we brought it back to Oak Rise Cottage.

I don’t think this piece is old at all. It seems to be a decorative piece of recent vintage.

It is of brass and really needs a good cleaning. Note the blue and white ceramic handle.

The sides have brass fittings below the handle. The feet are also shaped brass.

The hydrangeas are very brittle, so I have to plan the arrangement before working with the fragile stems.

Here it is temporarily sited in front of the fireplace till when I can work on it.

To see more interesting personal treasures, visit Kelli for a list of participating posts.

* "A coal scuttle, sometimes spelled coalscuttle and also called a hod, is a bucket-like container for holding a small, intermediate supply of coal convenient to an indoor coal-fired stove or heater. It is usually made of metal and shaped like a vertical cylinder or truncated cone, with the open top slanted for pouring coal on a fire. It may have one or two handles. Homes that don't use coal sometimes use a coal scuttle decoratively.
The word scuttle comes, via Middle English and Old English, from the Latin word Scutlla, meaning a shallow pan."
Retrieved from "

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I found out Tuesday morning that Virginia at Living the Local Life has tagged me for seven weird or random things about me.

Well, here are a few random things:

I enjoy multi-tasking
My first car was a brand new white Toyota Corolla 1974 named Nicole, nicknamed "Coco"
I can only drive automatic transmission cars
I have visited 27 states in the United States, plus the District of Columbia
My favorite part of getting ready for company is setting the table, but I also enjoy planning all the details of the event.
I began a collection of snowmen items in December 2007 because the last Christmas card I received from my elder brother (who died in April ’06) was in December 2005 and it featured snowmen on the card.
I don’t think I would want to live near a big lake or river for fear of flooding.

Now it’s my turn to tag … I hope each one will participate, unless you have already been tagged this time around.

Please follow the rules given in the picture above. I look forward to learning interesting tidbits about each one.

Vintage Thingies Thursday - Quick Thrifty Stop

This post is part of Vintage Thingies Thursday, sponsored by Lisa, the Apron Queen.

Tuesday morning, on the way back to my car from paying the final bill at the restaurant where we had the 90th birthday dinner for mother, I thought I’d just drop in the hospital guild thrift store.
A bit of a while later, I left, having spent $1.84, including 5% tax. Here’s what I got:

A lovely Homer Laughlin plate. The back stamp did not give a pattern name, only Homer Laughlin B41 N8 Made in U.S.A.

I like the scalloped edges and the little sculpted insets.

A pair of vintage penguin salt and pepper shakers with a luster finish.

They are in great condition.

4 cobalt blue tumblers

Two magazines, Country Living, June 2008 & Martha Stewart Living, April 2008 and
one book – Favorite Subjects in Western Art, c1968.

Not bad for less than two dollars, right?

This had me warmed up, so I walked a little further up the street (my car was parked still up, near the end of the block) and stopped at the antique store. I had fun looking, asking prices, and talking to the proprietor, but didn’t buy anything.

For more vintage treasures, go to Lisa at Confessions of An Apron Queen.

Three Awards

After a very busy and noisy time, full of fun and laughter, eating and drinking [all non-alcoholic]with family, I am finally able to get back to blogging matters.

I am still very tired, but glad to get back to my online friends. How wonderful that friends have seen fit to grant me these lovely tokens of appreciation.

On September 17 I was happy to receive the Blogger Friend Award from Anita at Prairie Dreams. Anita pointed out happily that this award is even green!

I pass it on to these lovely ladies who bring joy to my daily blog visits:
Ellen - The Happy Wonderer
Michelle – The Crowned Casa

Also on September 17 Schotzy of Wings of Eagles e-mailed me about Autumn Friends Award.

The bloggers to whom I am passing this award all give wonderful content in their blogs. They provide inspiration and information of many different:

Wendy - Ivory Spring
Kelli – There is No Place Like Home
Nancie – More Than Conquerors
Alice – Tea in My Cup

On September 24 I got another e-mail from Schotzy of Wings of Eagles about the BFF Gold Card Award.

"There are just 3 rules attached to this award!

1. There are only five people allowed.
2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog.
3. One has to be a new follower of your blog, or live in another part of the world.

I have found all five of the following blogs inspiring and written by wonderful women who seek to give and to share wonderful insights and treasures:

Karla – Ramblin Roads
Katherine – Yellow Rose Arbor
Susan – Between Naps on the Porch
Amydeanne – The 160Acre Woods
Eleanor – Thatchwick Cottage, South Africa

I am so thankful for all the wonderful people I have met in the past year and wish all God's blessings on each one of you.