torsdag 30 april 2009

A lovely spring day

The Bird Cherry has a lovely light foliage now. It will take a while before it will bloom – but the buds are almost as beautiful as the flowers.
So much happens in the garden right now, everytime I turn around something new has sprung – or disappeared. I took this picture of the Pulsatilla Vulgaris this morning.

An hour later I went out to get a better picture – and this is what I found.

I went to town to pick up my new computer the other day – I’m sure I’ll like Vista as soon as I get used to all the new gadgets.

söndag 26 april 2009

Saturday with Gutenberg

Books always seem to have been a desirable thing to steal. There is quite a lot written about chained books in “The Care of Books” by John Willis Clark from 1901.

I like this “bookshelf” especially when you want to check something in a dictionary it would be smart to have a shelf like this.
I found plenty yesterday – but I didn’t spend much time checking out interesting titles, I only noted what I wanted to return to.
One of them is “The Apple-Tree, The Open Country Books--No. 1” by L. H. Bailey. It is a charming little book illustrated with photos.
The farm home with its commodious house, its greensward, its great barn and soft fields and distant woods, and the apple-tree by the wood-shed; the good home at the end of the village with its sward and shrubbery, and apple roof-tree; the orchard, well kept, trim and apple-green, yielding its wagon-loads of fruits; the old tree on the hillside, in the pasture where generations of men have come and gone and where houses have fallen to decay; the odor of the apples in the cellar in the cold winter night; the feasts around the fireside,—I think all these pictures conjure themselves in my mind to tantalize me of home.
Even if I can’t prune fruit trees I’m familiar with them – but I know absolutely nothing about peanuts, so when I found a whole book about how to grow them I had to take a look. This is a book I’ll write more about.
And as many of you know, I can’t resist books for children – especially not when they are illustrated. Yesterday’s find was “Prince and Rover of Cloverfield Farm, by Helen Fuller Orton from 1921 and with illustrations by Hugh Spencer.

lördag 25 april 2009

A perfect day

The wood anemones are budding.
The sheets are flapping in the wind and thousands of small suns are dancing on the rivers surface. It is one of those days when life is holding its breath – yesterday, now and tomorrow have conflated into a sunny eternity.

I spent some time with Gutenberg this morning and found several interesting books – but right now I prefer to close my eyes and listen to the bumblebee who is humming somewhere behind me. I might tell you about the books later.

290 years today

Happy Birthday Robinson Crouse!
I wonder if I would find the book as fascinating today as I did when I was nine years old. We read an abbreviated edition at school but I had already read parts of the unabbreviated book (in Swedish) at home.

I took it out of the book case today – and have to admit that I’m not so sure that I would manage to read the whole thing.
I didn’t have the patience to read “The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Daniel Defoe” by Richard West, that I bought some years ago. But the picturs are nice.

tisdag 21 april 2009

A new acquaintance

I’m sure many of you already know Charles Dudley Warner – especially those of you who live in New England. But I “discovered” him yesterday when I found “How Spring Came in New England”.
It’s a charming little book – perhaps should I call it a booklet as it is very short. I’ll give you the first – and last paragraphs:

New England is the battle-ground of the seasons. It is La Vendee. To conquer it is only to begin the fight. When it is completely subdued, what kind of weather have you? None whatever.

What is this New England? A country? No: a camp. It is alternately invaded by the hyperborean legions and by the wilting sirens of the tropics. Icicles hang always on its northern heights; its seacoasts are fringed with mosquitoes. There is for a third of the year a contest between the icy air of the pole and the warm wind of the gulf. The result of this is a compromise: the compromise is called Thaw. It is the normal condition in New England. The New-Englander is a person who is always just about to be warm and comfortable. This is the stuff of which heroes and martyrs are made. A person thoroughly heated or frozen is good for nothing. Look at the Bongos. Examine (on the map) the Dog-Rib nation. The New-Englander, by incessant activity, hopes to get warm. Edwards made his theology. Thank God, New England is not in Paris!
_ _ _

Paragraphs appear in the newspapers, copied from the paper of last year, saying that this is the most severe spring in thirty years. Every one, in fact, believes that it is, and also that next year the spring will be early. Man is the most gullible of creatures.

And with reason: he trusts his eyes, and not his instinct. During this most sour weather of the year, the anemone blossoms; and, almost immediately after, the fairy pencil, the spring beauty, the dog-tooth violet, and the true violet. In clouds and fog, and rain and snow, and all discouragement, Nature pushes on her forces with progressive haste and rapidity. Before one is aware, all the lawns and meadows are deeply green, the trees are opening their tender leaves. In a burst of sunshine the cherry-trees are white, the Judas-tree is pink, the hawthorns give a sweet smell. The air is full of sweetness; the world, of color.

In the midst of a chilling northeast storm the ground is strewed with the white-and-pink blossoms from the apple-trees. The next day the mercury stands at eighty degrees. Summer has come.

There was no Spring.

The winter is over. You think so? Robespierre thought the Revolution was over in the beginning of his last Thermidor. He lost his head after that.

When the first buds are set, and the corn is up, and the cucumbers have four leaves, a malicious frost steals down from the north and kills them in a night.

That is the last effort of spring. The mercury then mounts to ninety degrees. The season has been long, but, on the whole, successful. Many people survive it.
I’m still using a borrowed computer and have no access to my own pictures so I borrowed the above photo from

måndag 20 april 2009

Afternoon tea

Lemon or Orange Jelly Cake.
1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 2/3 cup milk, 4 eggs, 3 cups sifted flour, and 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder. Bake in four layers.

Jelly—for Cake.
1 small cup sugar, 1 egg. Grate the rind and use juice of 1 lemon or orange, 1 tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon flour. Place the dish in a kettle of boiling water and let it thicken. When cool spread between the cakes. This is very nice for any layer cake.

From "The Cookery Blue Book" by Society for Christian Work of the First Unitarian Church, San Francisco, California, 1891


Gold flame and silver flame,
Burning through the mould,
In the east wind's scornful breath,
When the world's a-cold:
Fiery from the earth's red heart
Leap they to the light,
Gold flame and silver flame
Crocus yellow and white.
000000000 May Byron

söndag 19 april 2009

Saturday with Gutenberg

I never read ”The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” as a child. It has never been as popular here as in the States. Not until I discovered Project Gutenberg did I get to know Frank Baum.
Yesterday I found his ” Twinkle and Chubbins, Their Astonishing Adventures in Nature-Fairyland” from 1911. It is illustrated by Maginal Wright Enright – an illustrator I know nothing about except that she was Frank Lloyd Wright’s sister. To tell you the truth I’ve spent more time looking at the pictures than reading the book. Some of the pictures have a strong resemblance with Japanese woodprints.

So she picked him out of the tub and placed him upon her hand. And the turtle said:

"Now pay strict attention, and do exactly as I tell you, and all will be well. In the first place, we want to get to the Black Mountains; so you must repeat after me these words: 'Uller; aller; iller; oller!'"

"Uller; aller; iller; oller!" said Twinkle.

The next minute it seemed as though a gale of wind had struck her. It blew so strongly against her eyes that she could not see; so she covered her face with one arm while with the other hand she held fast to the turtle. Her skirts fluttered so wildly that it seemed as if they would tear themselves from her body, and her sun-bonnet, not being properly fastened, was gone in a minute.

But it didn't last long, fortunately. After a few moments the wind stopped, and she found she could breathe again. Then she looked around her and drew another long breath, for instead of being in the back yard at home she stood on the side of a beautiful mountain, and spread before her were the loveliest green valleys she had ever beheld.

Another illustrator I never pass is Randolph Caldecott. Some of his illustrations are rather burlesque and might be better suited for grown-ups – but I guess kids love them too, looking at them differently. There is so much to see in every picture that I’m sure it has something for everybody.
The Panjandrum Picture Book” which I found yesterday contains several stories of which only a couple are new to me. But no matter how many times I look at these pictures, I always find something new.

fredag 17 april 2009


I’m still using the borrowed computer – and I still haven’t figured out how to get the photos from the camera to the computer. So I’m using old pictures – they were all taken in April some years ago, and this is what it looks like here now. The ruthless light shows you a rather ugly landscape, it’s brown and untidy not to say messy. But that is nothing compared to how people who has passed their teens looks – worn, pale and in desperate need of summer.

The only creatures who look better than ever are our fur-friends.

tisdag 14 april 2009

Afternoon tea

Tea Cakes: (Betsy Vaughn.) Cream together a cup and a half of butter, and two cups and a half of sugar, add to five eggs beaten very light, mix well, then add a cup and a half of buttermilk with a small teaspoonful of soda dissolved in it. Pour upon flour enough to make a soft dough, flavor with nutmeg, roll out a quarter-inch thick, cut with a small, round cutter, and bake in a quick but not scorching oven.
Sandwiches: In sandwich making mind your S's. That is to say, have your knife sharp, your bread stale, your butter soft. Moreover the bread must be specially made—fine grained, firm, not crumbly, nor ragged. Cut off crusts for ordinary sandwiches—but if shaping them with cutters let it stay. Then you can cut to the paper-thinness requisite—otherwise that is impossible. Work at a roomy table spread with a clean old tablecloth over which put sheets of clean, thick paper. Do your cutting on the papered surface—thus you save either turning your knife edges against a platter or sorely gashing even an old cloth. Keep fancy cutters all together and ready to your hand. Shape one kind of sandwiches all the same—thus you distinguish them easily. Make as many as your paper space will hold, before stamping out any—this saves time and strength. Clear away the fragments from one making, before beginning another sort, thus avoiding possible taints and confusion. Lay your made sandwiches on a platter under a dry cloth with a double damp one on top of it. They will not dry out, and it is much easier than wrapping in oiled paper.
The nearer fillings approach the consistency of soft butter, the better. In making sardine sandwiches, boil the eggs hard, mash the yolks smooth while hot, softening them with either butter or salad dressing—French dressing of course. It is best made with lemon juice and very sharp vinegar for such use. Work into the eggs, the sardines freed of skin and bone after draining well, and mashed as fine as possible. A little of their oil may be added if the flavor is liked. But lemon juice is better. Rub the mixture smooth with the back of a stout wooden spoon, and pack close in a bowl so it shall not harden.

Pimento cheese needs to be softened with French dressing, until like creamed butter. The finer the pimento is ground the better. Spread evenly upon the buttered bread, lay other buttered bread upon it, and pile square. When the pile gets high enough, cut through into triangles or finger shapes, and lay under the damp cloth. Slice Swiss cheese very thin with a sharp knife, season lightly with salt and paprika, and lay between the buttered slices. Lettuce dressed with oil and lemon juice and lightly sprinkled with Parmesan cheese makes a refreshing afternoon sandwich. Ham needs to be ground fine—it must be boiled well of course—seasoned lightly with made mustard, pepper, and lemon juice, softened a bit with clear oil or butter, and spread thin. Tongue must be treated the same way, else boiled very, very tender, skinned before slicing, and sliced paper-thin. Rounds of it inside shaped sandwiches are likely to surprise—and please—masculine palates.

For the shaped sandwich—leaf or star, or heart, or crescent, is the happy home, generally, of all the fifty-seven varieties of fancy sandwich fillings, sweet and sour, mushy and squshy, which make an honest mouthful of natural flavor, a thing of joy. Yet this is not saying novelty in sandwiches is undesirable. Contrariwise it is welcome as summer rain. In witness, here is a filling from the far Philippines, which albeit I have not tried it out yet, sounds to me enticing, and has further the vouching of a cook most excellent. Grate fine as much Edam or pineapple cheese as requisite, season well with paprika, add a few grains of black pepper, wet with sherry to the consistency of cream, and spread between buttered bread. If it is nut bread so much the better. Nut bread is made thus.

Nut Bread for Sandwiches: (Mrs. Petre.) Beat two eggs very light, with a scant teaspoonful salt, half cup sugar, and two cups milk. Sift four cups flour twice with four teaspoonfuls baking powder. Mix with eggs and milk, stir smooth, add one cup nuts finely chopped, let raise for twenty minutes, in a double pan, and bake in a moderately quick oven. Do not try to slice until perfectly cold—better wait till next day, keeping the bread where it will not dry out. Slice very thin, after buttering. Makes sandwiches of special excellence with any sort of good filling.

From "Dishes & Beverages of the Old South" (1913) by Martha McCulloch Williams

måndag 13 april 2009

Saturday with Gutenberg

"One saith this booke is too long: another, too short: the third, of due length; and for fine phrase and style, the like [of] that booke was not made a great while. It is all lies, said another; the booke is starke naught."
000000000Choice of Change; 1585. 4to., sign. N. i.

There are quite a few books about books – collecting and organizing them – on Gutenberg. This, I’m sure, as the people who scan books for the project all are booklovers and many of them probably collect old books. “Bibliomania; or Book-Madness, A Bibliographical Romance” by Thomas Frognall Dibdin is an extensive book with as much to read in the footnotes as in the text. And at least for me, it is essential to read the footnotes to understand what it all is about.

Transcriber's Notes
Thomas Frognall Dibdin's Bibliomania was originally published in 1809 and was re-issued in several editions, including one published by Chatto & Windus in 1876. This e-book was prepared from a reprint of the 1876 edition, published by Thoemmes Press and Kinokuniya Company Ltd. in 1997. Where the reprint was unclear, the transcriber consulted the actual 1876 edition. All color images were scanned from the 1876 edition.

I am the firste fole of all the hole navy
To kepe the pompe, the helme, and eke the sayle:
For this is my mynde, this one pleasoure have I—
Of bokes to haue great plenty and aparayle.
I take no wysdome by them: nor yet avayle
Nor them perceyve nat: And then I them despyse.
Thus am I a foole, and all that serue that guyse.
000000Shyp of Folys, &c., Pynson's edit., 1509, fol.

I think this photo was what caught my interest when I first looked at this book. This is a man who knows his own value – and it isn’t the man who wrote the book as I first thought. No, the author has dedicated the book to “The Right Hon. Lord Stanley, K.C.V.O., C.B., M.P.”
The King's Post
Being a volume of historical facts relating tothe Posts, Mail Coaches, Coach Roads,and Railway Mail Services of andconnected with the AncientCity of Bristol from 1580to the presenttime.
Ex-Controller of the London Postal Service, and late Surveyor-Postmaster of Bristol;Author of "The London Postal Service of To-day""Visitors' Handbook to General Post Office, London""The Bristol Royal Mail."TO
K.C.V.O., C.B., M.P.,

I have to admit that I haven’t read much of it – I have this childish habit of looking at the pictures and read a bit here and there when an illustration catch my eye.

Like this snippet about the stamping machine:
Another new feature in Post Office development is the use of Stamping Machines for the rapid obliteration of the postage stamps and for the impression of the day's date on letters. Quite recently a machine of the kind has been introduced into the Bristol Post Office. The machine, which is of modern invention, goes by the name of the "Columbia" Cancelling Machine, and is manufactured by the Columbia Postal Supply Company, of Silver Creek, New York, U.S.A. It is said to be in use in many Post Offices in the large towns of America and other countries. The public will no doubt have noticed the new cancelling marks on the postage stamps, as the die and long horizontal lines are very striking. The cancelling and date marking operation is performed at the rate of 400 or 500 letters per minute. The motor power of the machine is electricity.

Another kind of books I can’t resist are those with instructions for children (or in this case teachers) how to make things.
This book by Virginia McGaw from 1901 has plenty of instructions for everything from cord construction

to paper and wood construction

and basketry

The last chapter is about the school garden – both for country and city children

More about gardening and construction can be found in “The Library of Work and Play: Gardening and Farming” by Ellen Eddy Shaw from 1911. It is a story about children who form a garden club. There are suggestions for appropriate works for both girls and boys – forget about treating all kids as kids, not boys and girls.
Boys build the coldframes while the girls make envelopes to put the seeds in.

söndag 12 april 2009

Another gorgeous day which I intend to spend on the veranda. I spent some time with Mr. Gutenberg yesterday and will write about some of the finds when I find the time.
At this time of the year I thought you might be interested in a cookbook I found some weeks ago “Many Ways for Cooking Eggs” by Mrs. S.T. Rorer.
Just before my computer decided it was time for a break Maureen asked me if we had any special Easter dishes. The death of the computer prevented me from the embarrassment of telling her that I have no idea. For two reasons I guess, first we’ve never been good at observing traditional holidays in our family – but also because we’re vegetarians and our eating habits are rather unorthodox. The only thing I can think of is salmon, I think it is a common Easter dish – but I’m not sure. But I know for sure that plenty of eggs are dyed and eaten.

From "The Farmer's Boy" by Randolph Caldecott

fredag 10 april 2009

Afternoon tea



Tea is valuable chiefly for its warming and comforting qualities. Taken in moderation, it acts partly as a sedative, partly as a stimulant, arresting the destruction of tissue, and seeming to invigorate the whole nervous system. The water in it, even if impure, is made wholesome by boiling, and the milk and sugar give a certain amount of real nourishment. Nervous headaches are often cured by it, and it has, like coffee, been used as an antidote in opium-poisoning.
Pass beyond the point of moderation, and it becomes an irritant, precisely in the same way that an overdose of morphine will, instead of putting to sleep, for just so much longer time prevent any sleep at all. The woman who can not eat, and who braces her nerves with a cup of green tea,—the most powerful form of the herb,—is doing a deeper wrong than she may be able to believe. The immediate effect is delightful. Lightness, exhilaration, and sense of energy are all there; but the re-action comes surely, and only a stronger dose next time accomplishes the end desired. Nervous headaches, hysteria in its thousand forms, palpitations, and the long train of nervous symptoms, own inordinate tea and coffee drinking as their parent. Taken in reasonable amounts, tea can not be said to be hurtful; and the medium qualities, carefully prepared, often make a more wholesome tea than that of the highest price, the harmful properties being strongest in the best. If the water is soft, it should be used as soon as boiled, boiling causing all the gases which give flavor to water to escape. In hard water, boiling softens it. In all cases the water must be fresh, and poured boiling upon the proper portion of tea,—the teapot having first been well scalded with boiling water. Never boil any tea but
English-breakfast tea; for all others, simple steeping gives the drink in perfection.
A disregard of these rules gives one the rank, black, unpleasant infusion too often offered as tea; while, if boiled in tin, it becomes a species of slow poison,—the tannic acid in the tea acting upon the metal, and producing a chemical compound whose character it is hard to determine. Various other plants possess the essential principle of tea, and are used as such; as in Paraguay, where the Brazilian holly is dried, and makes a tea very exhilarating in quality, but much more astringent.

One pint of boiling water in a saucepan. Melt in it a piece of butter the size of an egg. Add half a teaspoonful of salt. While still boiling, stir in one large cup of flour, and cook for three minutes. Take from the fire; cool ten minutes; then break in, one by one, six eggs,
and beat till smooth. Have muffin-pans buttered, or large baking-sheets. Drop a spoonful of the mixture on them, allowing room to spread, and bake half an hour in a quick oven. Cool on a sieve, and, when cool, fill with a cream made as below.
One pint of milk, one cup of sugar, two eggs, half a cup of flour, and a piece of butter the size of a walnut.
Mix the sugar and flour, add the beaten eggs, and beat all till smooth. Stir into the boiling milk with a teaspoonful of salt, and boil for fifteen minutes. When cold, add a teaspoonful of vanilla or lemon. Make a slit in each cake, and fill with the cream. Corn-starch may be used instead of flour. This makes a very nice filling for plain cup cake baked on jelly-cake tins.

From "The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes" by Helen Campbell

onsdag 8 april 2009

Computer woes

I'm sitting here trying to find out how this borrowed computer works, as my died in the middle of a sentence a couple of days ago. I miss my photos and I miss my addresses and I miss just about everything..... I've ordered a new computer and know I'll be rather frustrated until I learn how to use it and Vista that comes with it. But I won't get it until after Easter so until then there won't be any photos.

lördag 4 april 2009

Saturday with Gutenberg

From "Catalogue of Play Equipment" by Jean Lee Hunt, Bulletin Number Eight Price Thirty-five Cents - Bureau of Educational Experiments

The carpenter equipment must be a "sure-enough business affair," and the tools real tools — not toys.
The Sheldon bench shown here is a real bench in every particular except size. The tool list is as follows:
Manual training hammer.

18 point cross-cut saw.
9 point rip saw.
Large screw driver, wooden handle.
Small screw driver.
Nail puller.
Stanley smooth-plane, No. 3.
Bench hook.
Brace and set of twist bits.
Manual training rule.
Steel rule.
Tri square.
Utility box — with assorted nails, screws, etc.
Combination India oil stone.
Oil can.
Small hatchet.

Even if this book was printed in 1918 it reminds me a lot of the years I went to kindergarten in the fifties.

We too played "shop" and it looked pretty much as in this picture. I haven't been around preschool kids in many years, and wonder if they play supermarket today?
Next find was a book by Rosa Nouchette Carey (1840-1909), "Not Like Other Girls". I have the book in Swedish and have always wanted to read the English original text, as it is such a poor translation. Now I noticed that my version is shortened — and it seems to be done with a rather heavy hand. The books first paragraphs are not translated which I think is a pity. Maureen wrote the other day about opening lines, so here is my contribution — I think it is most appropriate on this blog.
Five-o’clock tea was a great institution in Oldfield.

It was a form of refreshment to which the female inhabitants of that delightful place were strongly addicted. In vain did Dr. Weatherby, the great authority in all that concerned the health of the neighborhood, lift up his voice against the mild feminine dram-drinking of these modern days, denouncing it in no measured terms: the ladies of Oldfield listened incredulously, and, softly quoting Cowper’s lines as to the “cup that cheers and not inebriates,” still presided over their dainty little tea-tables, and vied with one another in the beauty of their china and the flavor of their highly-scented Pekoe.

"Afoot in England" by W.H. Hudson has no illustrations but never the less it makes me want to pack my backpack and leave for the south of England. It made me spend more time than I had searching the net for information and photos from the places mentioned.
And as I began to show interest she went on to tell me that Branscombe was, oh, such a dear, queer, funny old place! That she had been to other villages and towns—Axmouth, and Seaton, and Beer, and to Salcombe Regis and Sidmouth, and once to Exeter; but never, never had she seen a place like Branscombe—not one that she liked half so well. How strange that I had never been there—had never even heard of it! People that went there sometimes laughed at it at first, because it was such a funny, tumbledown old place; but they always said afterwards that there was no sweeter spot on the earth.
I don't read many novels but I happened to open "Gala-days" by Gail Hamilton (1833-1896) and was hooked after reading the first paragraph. I checked the printing year and was very surprised to see that it was printed in 1863.

onsdag 1 april 2009

Afternoon tea

From "Under the Window" by Kate Greenaway
Afternoon Tea
A pretty cottage, and maidens three,
Blithe and happy as maids can be,
Out in the garden at afternoon tea.

Just such a feast as girls will make—
Fruit and flowers and a big plum cake,
And plenty of laughter for laughter's sake.

The sunflowers nodded their heads so tall,
The dahlias smiled 'neath the moss-grown wall,
The three little maids outdid them all.

I warrant me in that garden gay
Was never a bloom more fair than they,
As they sipped their tea on that summer day.

Three little maids. Ah! one is dead,
And one is married; and one, unwed,
Now lives alone in the old homestead.

There are silver threads in her golden hair,
Her cheek is pallid and lined with care,
Yet is she still accounted fair.

And daily her gracious, tender ways
Win a more loving meed of praise
Than did the prime of her girlish days.

Yes, youth will wane as the years go by;
Too soon do the rose-leaves scattered lie,
But charms there are which may never die.

And hence it happens that oft we trace
Through timeworn features the soul's sweet grace,
And beauty lives in a faded face.
000000000000 00 Sydney Grey.