Monday, June 01, 2020

The Simple Woman's Daybook: June Edition

Spring Blossoms (photo from a previous season)
Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

"The old woman paid no attention . . . until that morning,
when a fleck of pink caught her eye. The single saucer-size
blossom was more magnificent than she could ever have imagined.
More beautiful than any rose she'd ever seen, it swayed in the
morning breeze with such an air of royalty, the old woman felt
the urge to curtsy in its presence."
SARAH JIO, The Last Camellia

Welcome June....we've been waiting for you!

Someone on Twitter yesterday quipped in response to pandemic conversation, 'After nearly three months, today is the last day of May.' Another replied, 'I'm not looking forward to June, who knows how many years next month will go on for.' And then a third added his response, 'A few more weeks and the nights will start drawing in.' First, we chuckle; then, we get that look on our face 😲. My mom and I shall do our darnedest not to dwell on that last thought. It seems we wait all year for this pinnacle day when the sun frolics late into the night.

There has been so much sad, terrible news this past week. Pandemic, murder and mayhem but totally unlike the cozy Miss Marple variety. I am sick of heart, and I know many of you are as well. I hardly know what to write for our June Daybook edition. It hardly seems right to carry on as if nothing has happened. What does a person do? In my personal world, we're well and doing fine. So I shall share what I had planned originally, not to pretend the woes away, but rather to offer a moment of respite and sense of what is still beautiful on this first day of June.

Today I join with Peggy for June's edition of The Simple Woman's Daybook.


Outside my window... This early morning the sun shines on a fresh new day after a night of rain and wind. Although it is cool out and still windy, I notice just how delightful those soft new buds look against the mature evergreen branches. The dear trees looked so worn earlier in Spring, and as you know one died and had to be removed, but this bright green growth makes them look so fresh and alive. And, I feel my heart lift in praise to the One who first dreamed up summer mornings and chartreuse evergreen buds.

I am thinking... of the prayer I read in my Common Prayer book. I wrote it in my journal:
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
May he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
May he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors. 

I am thankful... that everyone I know—family, friends, acquaintances, as well as blogging and social media friends that I know of—are still all safe and healthy in these days. I know that's not the case for everyone, and I am sorry from my heart it is not well for them too.  

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

"I was especially perceptive to all things beautiful that morning—
raspberries in blue china bowls were enough to make the heart sing.

One of my favourite things... Raspberries in summer. I only have to pop one into my mouth and immediately I'm a girl, with a pail tied to my waist, picking raspberries on a summer day at my grandma's house. Grandma, mom and us kids sometimes visited her friend, Mrs. Triechel, on her farm, who had rows of raspberries as far as the eye could see (at least that's how it seemed to an eight-year-old). We'd pick buckets of berries, some to eat fresh with farm cream, and the rest turned into canned fruit and jam. To me, raspberries are summer, and when my writing friend, Kathleen, calls them God's candy, I have to agree, Oh yes! 

I've been wearing... wool socks of late. The wind is cool out again right now and I feel the chill of it on my feet first. There was a season in my life when I was always hot. If you are a woman of a certain age reading this, you will understand. Although I never had hot flashes or night sweats, my whole body temperature was warmer during that season. I wore sleeveless as much as possible, even in the wintertime. With that changeover long history, things have shifted and I find myself easily chilled. I finally clued in one day that I should exchange the sleeveless tops for long sleeved ones, and save the sleeveless for the really hot days. When I realized wool socks make me feel generally more comfortable on chilly days, well, I feel like an old granny with my wool socks on, but my toes are happy now. And they go well in my garden boots too. A girl has to do what a girl has to do.  

I am creating... a small creativity project list for June.
  • Reread The Elements of Style (Strunk and White)....more about it below.
  • Practice my pencil sketching every day.
  • Finish Erica Bauermeister's new memoir House Lessons (her experiences renovating an old house along with a bit of architectural history) 
  • Finish working on my stalled England photo album, volume 2.
  • Complete essay on the village that figured in my growing up years.
  • Work on guest post due July 12. 

I watched... the three-part television movie on Acorn Alibi with Michael Kitchen (Foyle's War) and Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey). It's a thriller, but not a horror. You'll be sitting on the edge of your seat as you wonder whether he's telling the truth or not.

I am (re)reading... an old writing standby, The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. The odd time I have entered a writing contest, I get similar feedback from the judges—I am often too wordy (well, you wouldn't know about that, would you). And, my punctuation is a bit sketchy (where should those darn commas go anyways, and what about those ellipses and dashes and ems, are you using them correctly....and such). Taking their remarks to heart, I have done a bit of research with the aim to improve my proficiency. There is an element of fun to finally settle in my own mind, once and for all, some of those rules I never quite got straight in my mind. On social media, it gets easy to let some of those things go, but I don't want to, do you?

I am listening to... the advice of E.B. White when he says, 'Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.' Indeed, and I also wonder what that guy down the street is up to, haha.

I am hoping...  to put this advice from Samuel Johnson into better practice: 'What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.' Thinking about my pencil sketching, in particular.

I am learning (reminded)...  of a gardening tip that well-loved Alberta gardener, Lois Hole, once offered. At least I think it was Lois who suggested it. When deciding what perennials to put in your garden, as they are usually a higher investment, why not first plant annuals of a similar nature in those spots to help you figure out the various micro-climates, e.g. is this spot sunny enough, too shady, too windy, too dry and hot, etc.

In the kitchen... we have a hankering to make these yummy Spicy Oatmeal Crisps. These cookies have black pepper in them, which seems an odd ingredient for cookies. But the unexpected twist hints at something just a little out of the ordinary. And they are hit in my family. We could tell the first time I made them; there were only crumbs rattling in the tin the next time I reached for one.

Spicy Oatmeal Crisps
Preheat oven to 350 F

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp grated whole nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup packed brown sugar
5 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

1/2 cup regular rolled oats

*  *  *

1. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level with a knife.

2. In medium bowl, add flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves,
pepper, salt, baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter and vanilla until fluffy.

4. Add egg; beat well.

5. Stir in the flour mix and the rolled oats.

6. Drop by level tablespoons 2" apart onto greased or sprayed baking sheets.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crisp.

8. Cool on pans 1-2 minutes. Don't leave longer - they'll break,
so finish cooling on a wire rack.

10. Store in cookie tin.

Yield: 2 dozen

Shared quote... "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." ~ E.B. White

A moment from my day... deciding where in my garden to plant this 'pop of colour'. They are called Osteospermums, also known as African daisies.

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

* * *

Wishing you a beautiful day. Stay safe.

Heart Hugs,


  1. I like the diligence quote. Do you remember, in far-off days, there used to be a mark on report cards for "work habits"? Now we call it "growth mind-set". You develop more skills and feel more at ease, the more you practise. I'll look for Alibi. It sounds like a movie that I would enjoy. June will be better.

    1. Yes, I do remember the 'work habits' section on report cards. Only because I recently revisited my old report cards that I keep in a memorabilia binder, along with other childhood mementos. I'm happy to report that I got decent comments about my childhood work habits (whew)! I hope you enjoy the movie.

  2. thanks for a refreshing thoughtful happy recollections. Even in the ugliness of this time in our history there are those few who are trying to improve our situation and not destroy all that we have developed. Kindness and civility will live on!

  3. What a beautiful prayer, Brenda. Thank you for posting that.
    Your cookies look most pepper indeed! I think I may have to try the recipe.

  4. I've so enjoyed this chat with you today. It's full of so many wonderful things, from raspberries to EB White quotes, and a recipe that I think my husband would like. It's hard to know what the future holds. I do hope June will be a better month, and pray for peace that passes understanding in this troubled world.

  5. Oh I adore E.B. White and I am glad that you shared him today. Wool slacks and stockings sounds lovely to me just now. Perhaps I'll put on my flannels jammies and enjoy the evening.

  6. Those Raspberries ! Oh my! This is my all time favourite fruit. We had at least three long rows when I was in my teen years and mornings were spent picking these plump berries. I ate more than my share during that time, but never got tired of them.

  7. Lots of wonderful quotes, and lovely photos. Thank you for the respite in the midst of the sadness in our nation. Our weather has gone from hot enough to have the ac on a few days, to cool enough to throw an extra blanket on the bed at night.

  8. I've come back to read this again today. I love the way you began and wish I could express myself as well as you do on my blog! Sweet hugs, Diane


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo