I must admit, I wasn't happy to find I was having company over the weekend. Allergy symptoms have been causing swollen and itchy eyes, a sore throat, and stuffy head. What I really wanted to do was curl up on the sofa and read for a week... with the downstairs maids bringing me tea and scones.
However, I've have had a lovely time with family as Jean spent her first night and Saturday morning at our place before leaving to stay with my other sister. I've had time to rest as well as enjoy more family time. She flies back to Tampa on Tuesday. She's enjoying this trip a lot more then when she froze her giblets in October (pretty leaves are not worth the cold... or so says someone acclimated to Florida). I spent a couple days last week and Saturday "reading" some books not on my "Summer of All Things Lovely" list but still favorites... and lovely.
I pulled the cookbook Hollyhocks & Radishes: Mrs. Chard's Almanac Cookbook off the shelf. It is one of those cookbooks with great recipes and fun to read letters at the beginning of each chapter about growing a garden in northern Michigan. The recipes are from a friend of the author who owns a farm stand. Many of them come from customers but all had become favorites.
This book, along with The Victory Garden Cookbook (which is out of print and unfortunately expensive used on Amazon) are where I look when the seasonal fruits and veggies become inexpensive. I found it for Stephanie earlier in the year at the library's used book room ($2.00) so keep an eye out... it's worth it!
One of my first Amazon purchases was Marge Clark's The Best of Thymes. Actually, I started on Amazon looking for used Brambly Hedge books as soon as I found out a little granddaughter had been born. That same girl recently took home my Betty Crocker Cookies cookbook and two years worth of Tea Time magazines so I think she'd like Marge (eventually).
The Best of Thymes is a cookbook I've gone back to often. Marge was known not only as a wonderful cook but a master herb gardener. This book is divided into three sections, the longest is a series of chapters with each representing a popular herb and many recipes using each herb; the second section is all about herbal oils and vinegars, and the third contains her favorite delicious recipes which do not use herbs.
My all time favorite Holiday cookbook is by Marge, too. It is called Christmas Thyme at Oak Hill Farm, a combination of yummy recipes and crafts... all with the most beautiful pictures of Christmas at Marge's "elegant country" farmhouse. This was a Christmas present from my dear friend, BB (Belinda's nickname is Busy Bee and my family shortened it to BB) who lives in Texas. I will always be grateful to her for this book.
Marge Clark wrote a third book, too, but I don't own it. Unfortunately, she was killed in a car accident a few years ago and her books are harder to find but worth looking for.
I perused Victoria's The Heart of England and The Heart of France for a little sofa traveling loveliness. I believe most of these books are taken directly from the old Victoria magazine. I enjoy both very much. I admit to to loving all things British but France is pretty good, too. :)
Another book I found used at a great price is Suzy Bale's Down to Earth Gardener: Let Nature Guide You to Success In Your Garden. I don't remember when I bought it but it was cheaper than the shipping charge. I loved her Garden Parties book and it has come home with me from the library a few times. She also has a book called The Garden In Winter (or something like that) which looks quite interesting.
Anyhoo, this is a garden book you can sit back and read... great writing as well as beautiful pictures. It is still on my coffee table, waiting for the next time I take a break to read just one chapter. Reading it is like chatting with a friend who has been gardening for a very long time.
It reminds me a bit of a book I bought a year or two ago for Stephanie (and the granddaughters) called A Time to Blossom by Tovah Martin. It is a lovely book about gardening and mothers and daughters. It is a typical Tovah Martin book with lovely prose mixed with beautiful gardening pictures... wonderful!
Now all I need is to find more time to read. Hubby is going to a reunion of his Viet Nam war buddies in a few weeks. An Army friend he visited a couple years ago offered to pay all his expenses so how could he say no?
I think when he is gone, I'll spend those days with feet propped up and reading or watching something beautiful on DVD. Laundry can wait. Cooking can be sandwiches and fruit. Sounds like a vacation to me.
Picture: A Good Book; allposters.com