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Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Robin Redbreast...................

Here in Michigan seeing the first Robin is a sure sign of Spring. Unlike the British Robin the American version leaves for the winter. It goes south to warmer climes. The English Robin stays and brightens up the winter landscape with its adorable cheeky self.

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The British Robin is so much smaller than the one here. I really loved the cheeky little things and miss them a lot. Everyone knows the story of "The Secret Garden" and how the Robin shows the kids the secret door. How he sits on the gardeners spade waiting for worms. Well they used to do that in my Dad's garden too, and would practically be down in the dirt with him, impatient for a worm.
The American Robin is not so friendly and does not have the personality. It seems to be a small bird thing because Chickadees seem to be the same way. Very curious and friendly.
The American Robin is the size of a Thrush with the same body type. When I first saw one I could not believe it was a Robin.
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The British Robins breast has a cute little heart shaped waistcoat........

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Little Robin Redbreast.....children's rhyme

Little Robin Red breast sat upon a tree,
Up went pussy cat and down went he;
Down came pussy, and away Robin ran;
Says little Robin Red breast, "Catch me if you can".
Little Robin Red breast jumped upon a wall,
Pussy cat jumped after him and almost got a fall;
Little Robin chirped and sang, and what did pussy say?
Pussy cat said, "Meeow!" and Robin jumped away.

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If I were a robin,
I'd live here too!
The carpet is washed
each morning with dew.
The apple trees bend
in the friendliest way.
If I were a robin,
I'm sure I would stay!
~Joan Walsh Anglund

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

English winter views...........

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English winter views....There is something about a church and an English village scene, its so calming. I want to walk across the field and see my breath in the air. My feet will be cold because I never wear socks, but this picture makes me want to do it. Walk towards the church and go inside. It will be cold in there, more cold than outside most likely. I love the old churches, there is something Holy about them. Most were build with reverence and the labour dedicated to God. They have lasted hundreds of years and will last for hundreds more.

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I found this watercolour on photobucket and kept it because it is something I aspire to. I love the way the painter has done this scene. I do not know who it is though or would give credit.I love the trees, the sky and the colours of evening.
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Another watercolour that I like, I love the trees in this one too. Again, no artist to credit but I love the work. The feel of a small village as people walk out in the evening when the street lights come on. Neighbours saying hello and dogs eager to walk out in the fresh air.
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Whadden Church Buckinghamshire. Shows how scenic the snow scenes can be in England. I believe this was a Christmas card, I got it from Whadden web site.
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(pictures from photobucket, I do not know the source)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year....

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Long ago I had a friend, Eddie Yee. He moved to Canada but at one time worked with me at AC Delco in Dunstable. When I returned to work after having Laura he was very kind to me, a single mother. He invited me to a Chinese New Year party. He had a girlfriend so it was simple kindness on his part. I will always be thankful for that. So happy Chinese New Year Eddie Yee where ever you are today, I hope you are having a good life.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Spring Cleaning.........

Call me crazy, call me old fashioned but I still do my Spring cleaning. As I grew up I saw all the housewives annual foray into frantic cleaning. They all did it. The windows would be flung open wide at the first chance of a fresh breezy day. The rugs would hang from windows like crazy flags and women would shake and beat them into submission. The larger ones thrown over the line in the garden for a good whacking. Not too many people had "hoovers" in the early days. A broom was the best one could do. My parents house and the others on Bidwell Hill only had 2 rooms down and 3 bedrooms. The windows would get cleaned with a pink liquid paste that dried on white. That to be polished off and not a chance of missing a spot that way. You knew when the cleaning bug struck when the neighbourhood windows would all be pasty white for several hours while the rest of the cleaning went on inside.
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We learned to clean the outside of the upstairs windows in innovative ways. I don't know whose picture I am using from photobucket but it could easily be my mother out there on the ledge. I remember mum sitting on the window ledge leaning out and reaching across to do the other window upstairs. I did the same thing myself. You could hang on to the closed window and reach right out.
The beds had springs, maybe that's why its called Spring cleaning haha. Well the metal springs had to be dusted with a mop on a stick. At least once a year the mattress would be removed, it was usually horse hair and chicken feathers or some such thing, maybe batting of some kind. Mine was very lumpy The mattress would be vacuumed if one had one or beat and brushed if not.
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All the chairs would be on top of the table and the floor could be swept all the way through, washed and polished before the rugs came back in from the line or window.
Before all this began the Chimney Sweep would make his rounds.
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Kids would be sent outside to watch for the broom to come out of the pot.
When all was clean and back in place it would be time for a chat with the neighbours and a cup of tea. Then to wash the ornaments and china.
Well, maybe that much has changed, the chat and tea and maybe the methods have changed but basically its still jobs that need to be done. I don't have a fire so no chimney sweep for me and I use Windex instead of paste. Does not do such a great job I must admit. I think our lives have many advantages over the old days but still........its good to remember. It was less complicated somehow. Hard work, but houses were smaller and kids helped adults, given their own chores to do. Maybe just getting the smaller kids out of the house or taking a neighbours baby for a walk so she could work.
Well my Spring clean is done for this year and I admit to the fact that it is very satisfactory to have everything clean if only for a day or two.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grandma's Pearls of Wisdom........

Grandma's Pearls of Wisdom by Becky Netherland
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I've traveled paths you've yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I'm blessed to share with you.

Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad.

Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side.

Walk softly when you are angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter's power is immense.

Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don't shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold.

Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it's near you'll find a way.

Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from the heart.

The world is far from perfect
There's conflict and there's strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life.

And so I'm very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow flakes......

Snow, every flake is unique.....and yet together they form a bond that is almost indestructible. So strong and with so much power. Much like the human race.
JKS 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Winter Walks.......

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(photo by jchanders)
Winter Walks......
Spider webs spun like silver strings
hung with diamonds and lacy wings.
Winter mornings cold and crisp
I do not linger walking brisk.
Past the fields where the cows all graze
in morning mists and sunny haze.
Breath in clouds hang in the air
As they they lift their bulky heads to stare.
I walk on past the village pond
Where cold ducks huddle on the banks beyond.
Snuggle down with feathers fluffed
Against the winds ice cold gusts.
I stroll along through woods that sleep,
Past Willow trees that hang and weep.
Along rushing streams and babbling brook
I hear the raucous calls of Rook.
Empty nests in tree tops high
Darkened shadows against the sky.
I walk on back along the lane
As the sun rises up to warm again.
A watery sun in a Winter sky
Silence breaks at the Jackdaws cry.
My footsteps echo in this quiet place
Where cobwebs hang like frozen lace.
They soon will melt as the sun gets strong.
I hurry home now where I belong,
Shed the gloves, the coat and hat,
Poke the fire and move the cat.
She stays inside on Winter days
Curled up tight by the fires blaze.

JKS 2012
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(picture found on web, no name to credit)

Farm Days...............

Some of my best memories were built around my friends farm. My friend Margaret who I have known since I started school lived at Grove Farm in the hamlet of Bidwell. Houghton Regis in those days was a simple farm community. A beautiful church and a few shops and several pubs. I remember when there were gas lights in the streets.
Anyway, I first met Margaret when I started school. She would come from the farm on the bus and walk to my house. The bus came early and so she waited at my house and went to school with me. In the summer holidays and weekends I would go to her house down on the farm. It seems like it was endless summer. Of course it was not. We had a few chores to do but they were fun. Collecting eggs was like playing hunt the thimble or like an Easter egg hunt. The chickens had the run of the farm and layed anywhere they could. So it would be time consuming for an adult to hunt down the eggs. Some of the chickens did use the nesting boxes so that was the easy part. I learned how to get the eggs from under grumpy hens without getting pecked.
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(picture from Vintage garden gal)
I do remember on one occasion getting a handful of chicken tail feathers. Sometimes the hens laid eggs and we didn't find them. Then we would find baby chicks. If we caught them and raised them then they were ours. If they ended up laying eggs then we got egg money (well Margaret did)
I remember one chicken I was after her chicks among stinging nettles. Well chickens I thought were quite placid creatures but apparently not when defending their chicks. She came at me feet first (they have long claws) and beak. Not fun.
We loved the hay stack and made dens in it and climbed all over it. Quite often we would find a cat had her kittens there and so we would hide them from Mr Dryden. He would drown new born kittens before they opened their eyes. We would hide them until they were too big to drown. There were a dozen cats at any given time. They would keep rodents at bay. We loved it when we had babies to play with. The cats would hang out around the dairy where they kept all the feed in bins. It was no longer a functioning dairy although I remember cows being kept in there at one time, but later it was the feed barn.

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( kitten picture from Frenchbednbreakfast.com)
I do remember some rainy days. We would play in the hay barn. After the hay was dried out it could be stored in the barn. You can not store it damp, it can combust. Anyway. We tied ropes to the beams and played Tarzan. Swinging and dropping into the hay. Walking up on the high beams and I am sure it was dangerous but we never got hurt and didn't think of it.
Then there were the animals.............ah!!! The best part. Now I do not know how I could have been raised in the country, and around a farm and not put two and two together but I didn't. The baby cows were raised and sent off to market. The sheep were raised and shorn and dipped and then off they would go to market. They had babies so I am not sure how long they were raised on the farm. I do remember the abandoned babies being hand raised in the house by the fire. We learned how to induce them to suckle and would hold them in our laps feeding them. When market day came off they went and we would wave bye bye and not think about the fact that they would be lamb chops.

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(lamb picture from photobucket)
I actually got to see a lamb being born. It was awesome. Margarets dad had taken the mum into the barn and brought her out as she was about to give birth. I think she needed help. Anyway. I learned so much without really being taught just by observing things. I will write more in another post but this is all for now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fairy Dreams....................

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Fairies.They are just so beautiful. At least we seem to imagine them to be. From childhood I have loved the idea of Fairies and now I love the artwork so popular now. Did anyone see the movie "A Fairy Story"? about the little girls who photographed fairies. It was well done and filmed in such beautiful surroundings. Especially along the Beck. With all the bluebells and the glittering waters and beautiful woodlands, who could not believe that Fairy folk lived there.

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I want to draw and paint some pictures of my own, but I can't help but keep looking at what's out there on the web. Fairies are popular, there's so much to look at. I like the ones who ride on backs of dragon flys or sleep in birds nests. They paint the flowers and wear them as . So beautiful. I imagine them hiding in British hedgerows and riding a Cock Robin.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bath Time...........

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Most people of my generation who were raised in England will remember Galvanized tubs. We had our weekly bath in front of the living room fire, at least in the winter. I remember sitting with my butt burning on one side and freezing on the other, surrounded by laundry drying on the horse. The houses were damp in winter from hanging in the house. The laundry was done in the kitchen sink with water boiling on the gas stove. The laundry hung on lines across the kitchen and usually were ironed damp then hung on the horse to air. We did have an airing cupboard above the water tank in my bedroom. That was used to store blankets or air knitted sweaters.
We had a bathroom with a cast iron tub but with no heat in there or hot water it was not very pleasant in winter time. The water had to be boiled and cold added so there was not a lot of hot water. It was cold and I remember trying to lay in the water to stay warm and it not quite covering my body. I would turn to warm the other side and didn't want to get out and freeze. We did have a boiler but it took all day to heat the water, when mum did that we got at least a half tub of water and so we took turns. I bathed after mum in her soapy water and dad went in last. What I remember most though is those baths in front of the fire.
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I don't know why these memories seem so good to me. Maybe just that it was a much simpler time. It was hard work for women. My childhood memories are good. I know I had a wonderful childhood. It had nothing to do with toys, it was all about freedom. I could wander all day alone over the fields. I had no fear. None of us had that many things in the way of toys, we made our own. Those that were bought were not our prized possessions more likely it would have been things we made. One thing most kids, especially the boys aspired to was a "Chassy" it was really a box om wheels that could be steered. We would get a crate or anything we could sit in then find a set of wheels. Usually pram wheels, they were ideal. They could be found sometimes in the hedge rows after the Gypsies left. So with the box on the wheels all one needed was a way to steer. That was the hard part. Being a girl I was only a helper looking for bits that were needed. I don't remember having my own, only helping to put them together and watching the boys. I spent a lot of my childhood on my friends farm. That's another story.

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(The pictures were found on the internet, I would give credit but do not know the ownership)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Psalm 121.....................

PSALM 121
Verbatim KJV.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

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I have loved this psalm as long as I can remember. Today it means more to me because during my life I have come to lean on my Lord and depend on Him for everything. I mean that during the trials and tribulations that occur in life I have always known that I will get through anything if I only give control to Him. Its not always easy to give up control but sometimes it is the only way.

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Toast and Crumpets.........

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One of the simple pleasures of childhood was toasting crumpets over the coal fire. Toast was done the same way and made from crusty bread and real butter there was nothing like it.
Dad would make up the fire and clean out the grate. Set the fire just so with rolled newspaper some kindling then topped with coal. In order to draw the fire he would cover the opening of the fire with a newspaper and the fire would roar. We had to be sure to keep the chimney clean else a chimney fire would be a bit of a bother. The chimney sweep would send the kids out to watch for the brush. I now think that it was done to keep us out of the way and not to "help" by yelling that the brush had popped out the chimney.
Anyway, in England we used the fire for more than a few things. We had Toasting forks that were long and one would sit in front of a roaring fire with cheeks blazing and fingers burning for that oh so special piece of toast.
When I was first married in 1971 we lived in a house in Bedford. We had a coal fire in the "front" room. Lucky thing because it was a common thing for the gas company and the electric company to take turns going on strike. We would roast potatoes in the ashes and heat soup on the coals and toast our bread. Sigh......I miss that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Close the door ............................

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we close the door on this old sad year
where loss and death caused many a tear.
A new year waits with promice and hope
we must move on and begin to cope.
While memories linger and we will still glance back
we can set our feet on a brand new track
We can close that door and lean against it
shut out its shadows, a new candle is lit.
we will always love the one who has gone
but we have to move forwards and start to be strong
New dreams and new challenges lay up ahead
We can not always look forward with dread
Yes we miss our loved one for sure
but it is now time to close up that door
Pick up that candle and hold it up high
march onwards and forwards with eyes to the sky
Our Faith will sustain us and hold us upright
as we look up ahead with bright candlelight.
JKS Jan 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stardust.......

Star dust is one of my magical words like fairy dust. I have favourite words that bring peace or joy or pleasure. That inspire imagination and bring pretty pictures to mind. is just one of those words. Now we have the Hubble images that bring the word to life.
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While I was never a hippy or a flower child, I think the words of this song have a lot to say. I am a Christian and I believe that "the garden" is Eden and we do need to get back to our basic humanity.

words by......Joni Mitchell
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Well I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road
And I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me:
(He) said, I'm going down to Yasgur's farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, and set my soul free.
we are star dust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Well, then can I roam beside you? I have come to lose the smog.
And I feel myself a cog in something turning.
And maybe it's the time of year, yes, said maybe it's the time of man.
And I don't know who I am but life is for learning.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong,
And everywhere was song and celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies above our nation.

we are stardust, we are golden, we are caught in the devil's bargain,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

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