Friday, March 30, 2012


There really isn't a better word to describe these new arrivals at our local farm market greenhouse.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Resist the Urge

Don't bring them home yet.

But when it's time, check out fiery Hell's Bells from the Petunia Panache series found at Hort Couture.

Or for a more demure garden bed or planter consider Vista Silverberry.

Featured petunias can be found locally at Klinger's Farm Market.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow

What to give the man who has everything?

We're not regular Mad Men viewers, but know enough about the show and the era to feel sure this is just the kind of clever gift* Don Draper might receive from the secretarial pool.

*Purchased for 25¢ at the Presbyterian Church Women's thrift sale. Neatly folded vintage birthday wrapping paper included. If you inadvertently donated it and now want it back you're out of luck. It has been officially archived in the NDL Museum of Kitsch where it will remain forever more (or until needed for the perfect white elephant gift).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Say There Captain

A song from long ago comes into your head. You quiz all you meet to see if they remember it too. The facts are sketchy. Did you dream it, or is it from the depths of your memory bank? If so, how did it stick there for a half century while volumes of other information vanished, leaving room for "A Horse in Striped Pajamas"?

Thank goodness for the affirming power of the internet made possible by kindred baby boomer kids who sat for hours in front of early day educational TV, and then grew up to be creative YouTube uploaders. Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Greenjeans, Mr. Moose, and Mr. Bunny Rabbit made quite an impression on us and we are thinking that it was not a bad formative influence really.


Well here we are at the zoo Mr. Greenjeans
Say Captain, I've never been here before. Do you know the names of all these animals?
Well, I do, Mr. Greenjeans, but do you?

Well, now, let me see…

Say there, Captain, do you see? There's a horse in striped pajamas
No, that's not what it is at all. That's an animal people call a zebra
I see, but it still looks like a horse in striped pajamas to me

Say there, Captain, do you see? There's a bird in his tuxedo
No, that's not what it is at all. That's an animal people call a penguin
I see, but it still looks like a bird in his tuxedo to me

There's a fish with whiskers on
That's a seal, for real

There's a teddy with two black eyes
That's how they planned the little panda

Hey there, Captain, do you see? There's a cat with polka dots on
No, that's not what it is at all. That's an animal people call a leopard
I see, but it still looks like acat with polka dots on to me

Well, look there, Captain, do you see? There's a bird with a big umbrella
No, that's not what it is at all. That's an animal people call a peacock
I see, but it still looks like a bird with his umbrella to me

Well, do you think you know them now?

Well, no matter what you say, Captain, when I get home this afternoon
I'll say to everyone there:

I saw a fish with whiskers on
You saw a teddy with two black eyes

I saw a cat with polka dots
You saw a bird in his tuxedo

And of course, the horse in striped pajamas

©1948 zell/kreeb

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's a Miracle

Bought this pretty violet when it was in bloom and managed not only to keep it alive for 9 months, but kept it healthy enough to bloom again. If you know our history with houseplants at all, you understand how big this victory is.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Focus issues aside...on the next to the last day of winter three loads of laundry on the line dried in a flash in the balmy 80°F heat that also made the next door maple burst out in plump red buds.

Records for historic high temps are being broken on a daily basis. Short shorts have been sighted. Picnickers have emptied the bakery racks of buns. Birds and backyard wildlife are going crazy. Windows are open. Fans are running.

It's amazing!

What have you seen this March that you have never seen so early before?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Our Motto

It may seem like it is this...

But really it is this...

Here is the story of how this now iconic and much parodied poster came to see the light of day more than 50 years after it was created to be used in time of direst crisis.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

And Then What Happened?

We know you were dying to know the story behind the headline.

Here it is.

Image: The Graphics Fairy

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

If you shake the family tree you'd better be prepared for a few bad, or at least slightly bruised, apples to fall off.

While seeking information for a recent post we found this intriguing and somewhat shocking story from a 1907 edition of the NY Times.

So many questions occur, and other than the one about palm reading patients, most of them have to do with Miss Wetmore's supporters, "the fifteen nurses many of whom were fresh-cheeked Canadian girls". Well what about the rest of them? Not so fresh-cheeked? Able to bamboozle Miss Wetmore and the Board of Trustees? Perhaps Miss Wetmore doth protest too much about the need for having "The Flirt Rule" on the books. Hmmm...

Miss Wetmore we presume. (Or as we presume to imagine her.)

Image: The Graphics Fairy

Monday, March 12, 2012

Abandon Ship

Here is guest blogger Tacitus to tell us a little more of the story of the ocean liner Muenchen.

I am glad that Gramps got off that ship without incident beyond the grease stained collar of his mother. It was very fortunate that on their journey they were spared the call for "women and children first" as the Muenchen seems to have been an unlucky vessel.

In 1930 it was tied up to a pier in New York City . It caught fire and despite the efforts of the entire NYFD it exploded and sank.

Remarkably it was raised and salvaged. The owners thought it might be time for a new name, so the steam ship Muenchen became the S.S. General von Steuben after the famous German officer who helped train the Continental Army during the American Revolution.

The outbreak of World War Two found the Steuben in home waters, so she became a troop transport plying the waters of the Baltic Sea.

Late in the war the advancing Russian Army had cut off a large part of German East Prussia. A naval evacuation was ordered, ultimately rescuing 2 million people. But not without cost.

On February 10th, 1945 the General von Steuben was torpedoed by a Russian submarine. Nobody knows for sure how many were on board but figures of about 2,800 wounded German soldiers, 300 nurses, 1500 refugees plus the regular crew seem about right. Somewhere between 300 and 600 were rescued from the frigid water. As a maritime disaster it was far worse than the Titanic.

Here is video of divers exploring the wreck of the Muenchen/von Steuben. No doubt some of these spooky corridors were once toddled down by “Our Sunshine” as a wee lad…

Diving on the wreck of Steuben in the Baltic Sea. from Peter O on Vimeo.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sea Cruise

These pretty little ship's menus are from a long ago voyage Grandma made with her little boy to visit the relatives back in Bavaria. It looks like they traveled over in April 1927 and back in October of the same year. The cover images of ships at sea morning, noon, and night are lovely. The meal offerings provide an interesting look into 1920's international cuisine. (double click an image to enlarge and read) Whatever Rollmops are they are called the same in two languages.

Dad has one very vivid memory from this trip - He got to go to the ship's engine room and loved it so much he pestered his mother to take him repeatedly, which she did until on one visit grease dripped onto her fur collar. That was the end of the trips below deck, but just the start of Dad's long love affair with greasy engines.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Our Little Sunshine

Grandma and Grandpa were German by birth. Grandpa went to Cornell University and then practiced medicine in Northern Indiana.

Here are grandma and grandpa at the Indiana Dunes. Their age difference was twenty years. They died in 1940 and 1955.

In 1982 we went to Germany on our hochzeitsreise. We traveled to the town we were told grandma had come from. We walked into a konditorei (bakery) called by the same family name as Grandma, asked the people there if they might be related, and within minutes the owner produced a photo of my dad as a child. The baker-owner was dad's cousin and his home above the fourth generation bakery was the same home in which grandma was born and raised. After grandma died the cousins' families did not keep in touch, but the German kin were still in the hometown hoping to hear again from the American relatives. When we (the long lost American relatives) finally showed up we were not allowed to leave until we had met and stayed several nights with each of the existing branches of the family tree. We were treated like visiting royalty for a week and have remained in contact ever since.

Here is the photo sent to the folks back home in Germany of "our little sunshine" aka, dad.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fighting Fire with Fire

Or beating cabin fever with log cabin quilting using Denyse Schmidt fabrics from Jo-ann.

Traditionally the center block of a log cabin quilt square is red and symbolizes the glowing hearth in the middle of the cabin. With the large gold center in our rather summery fabric combo we are thinking "summer cottage with sun through the open window". Indulge us please.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Sad Day in Bear Country

Jan Berenstain half of the writing and illustrating team of Stan and Jan Berenstain, has passed away at age 88. She was preceded in death by husband Stan in 2005. Best known for their gentle, instructive Berenstain Bears stories, Stan and Jan sold over 250 million copies of 300 books in the 50 years since the first Berenstain Bears book, "The Big Honey Hunt," was published in 1962.

Jan is fondly remembered in articles by Michael Cavna , and Emily Langer of the Washington Post.

In an interview with Scholastic, the children’s magazine, Ms. Berenstain said she and her husband were always being asked why they had decided on bears rather than some other animal. Their standard answer was that “they stand on two legs, their mothers are very good mothers, and so on,” she said.

“One student asked why we didn’t use a fish,” she said, recounting a visit to a classroom. “And our answer was that they aren’t enough like people.”

Why not monkeys, then, asked another student.

“Because they are too much like people,” she replied. - NY Times, February 27, 2012

Stop by the tree house in Bear Country to spend a little time exploring. You can even send a letter to the bears to let them know how you feel.