Walking into the Storm, and Out Again

Turkey Vultures at West Branch State Park.

We couldn’t decide whether to go for a walk or not the other evening. The weather looked iffy, it was cloudy, breezy, and looked like it might rain. It had looked that way all day though with no precipitation. After checking the weather radar, we decided to chance it. It looked like any inclement weather would go to the south. Besides, we hadn’t been for a walk for three days and the dogs acted like they were ready to riot.

We decided to walk the West Branch State Park Dam Trail. It is paved, with a parking lot nearby, although the path out and back is three miles roundtrip. By the time we were about halfway out, the winds had kicked up and there were storm clouds in the distance. You could see bands of rain coming from the clouds far away. We decided to go for it and see if we could finish our walk before the storm hit. We should have known better when we saw some turkey vultures taking refuge under the bridge for the spillway gatehouse.

We made it to the far end of the trail and then the storm broke. Of course, this is the point as far from the parking lot as you can get. The place where you turn around to make your way back. There was thunder and then the rain started. It was quickly followed by small hail. My husband was the one with a brilliant idea for shelter that kept us mostly dry. We descended off the trail, past a guardrail, picked our way through some rocks, and down an incline to a concrete abutment. The dogs were not a fan of this and kept trying to go on the opposite side of the guardrail to stay on the path, causing the leashes to tangle. They also didn’t like stepping amongst the rocks. Come guys, you are dogs. They let us know that they are spoiled house dogs and not some wild miscreants! The concrete wall was tall enough and the wind blew at an angle, so that we were able to stay mostly dry and avoid the hail by standing close to the wall. The rain only lasted for a short while and then it blew over.

Lovely water view on our return trip.

The walk back to the car was sunny and pleasant. In fact, we had a great time. The sun was reflecting off the water. The sound of the waves was soothing. And we saw quite a few birds lofting in the wind. They looked like they were enjoying the breeze, just circling or floating in place, riding the air currents. We saw one dive for a fish. Most of the birds were the turkey vultures we saw earlier. There were also a couple large seagulls. The turkey vultures really are impressive birds. Their wingspan is five to six feet, and they can weigh up to five pounds.

Rainbow after the storm.

We were halfway back to the car when we were blessed to see a rainbow appear. It was beautiful and bright. It grew in intensity as we walked. I could so distinctly see each color that it reminded me of the acronym, ROYGBIV, that I learned in school to remember the order of the colors in a rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

By the time my husband and I made it back to the parking lot, we decided this was one of our favorite walks that we have taken recently. We survived the elements and experienced some beautiful sights along the way. From adversity comes growth. May you see a rainbow after your next storm!

The View from My Window

View from my living room window.

This is the view from my window this morning. It is raining, so this is a day for indoor undertakings. I have laundry going. It is a light rain, so I am not worried about the extra water it adds for the sump pump. This also makes it blogging time.

The view out the living room window shows the top of the ancient azalea which is currently in peak bloom. At the far top of the photo are our burning bushes. We originally purchased six that were 10 inches high. The originals are now taller than me, a scant 5″4″. The oldest bushes are over 6 feet tall. All the other burning bushes in the line are offspring of the originals. They sprout in various places around our property. When they reach transplantable size, my husband moves them to the line of burning bushes along the edge of the road. This provides us a nice green screen from the passing cars and trucks in the warm months and once the leaves fall, they still act as a snow fence during the winter.

There is a new addition this year. We are in the process of fencing in our vegetable garden. If you look closely, you may see that the fence has three sides. We haven’t put up the fourth yet because we want to take the rototiller in one more time to mix in some new topsoil. Then we will install the last section. We are also going to have a gate. That is so shorties like me don’t have to hop over the fence!

We have had wild rabbits for years. They nibbled a few sprouts here and there but there was enough food for all of us. Last year the number of bunnies increased and some of them are huge. They did so much damage to the garden that we hardly had enough of several different types of vegetables to harvest. They especially liked the green beans. I replanted multiple times, but the tops got chewed off and we only had beans a few times. The sugar snap peas were a joke. Not surprisingly, bunnies love them. We only got a handful. So, this year, a fence it is! I also have to deal with crows eating the seeds I plant. Usually, replanting them once will take care of this. Since we will have the fence this year, I may hang some old CD’s or pie tins from the top wires and hope for the best.

I can tell you one thing. I have renewed respect for those who make their living as farmers. Putting up a little fence sounds so simple. Pound in some stakes, put up rolled fencing. Ha! It’s not cheap either. First you have to figure out which length of stakes you need and then how many. Same with the fencing. How high? What gauge? What spacing for the holes? Ok, you’re done with that. The rest is easy, right? Again, ha! You must measure and decide where to pound the stakes, so they are evenly spaced. And don’t forget to account for a gate. If you are off by two inches, you won’t have enough fence. Did you know you have to bury rabbit fencing, so they won’t dig under it? I didn’t. That means digging a trench for the fence and filling it in once the fence is up. Hanging the fence on the post will be easy now, I thought. Well, it still takes two people. One to hold the roll of fencing and keep it stretched tight. If you let it sag, it looks terrible and again, you won’t have enough fencing unless you bought extra. And those pesky little tabs on the stakes that are made to hold the wire? A lot of them are full of dried paint from the factory and you have to open them up with the flat blade of a screwdriver. Finally, we prevailed, hot, sweaty, and covered in dirt!

We are hoping for a good year in the vegetable garden. My husband took the Master Gardener course from the County Extension Office last year. We tested our soil and found that we were deficient in almost everything. Hubby has added nutrients, some topsoil, mulched leaves, and tilled them in. Time will tell how successful we were.

You can see in the photo that the near, right-hand side of the garden is grassy. That is where our asparagus patch is, so we can’t get the tiller in. I try to weed it in the spring, but it is hard to keep up with. Once we let the asparagus go for the season, it grows into beautiful, lacey fronds that outgrow any weeds. The garden is not exactly square anymore because the asparagus keeps moving farther out into the yard. I’m not quite sure what to do about this. If I dig it up and replant it back in the garden, I almost certainly will lose that portion of the asparagus crop for a year or two.

And so, on this rainy day I am happy to stay inside and work on other things. I am going for another cup of coffee, but I will leave you with this close up shot of our magnificent old azalea.

Our old azalea. Isn’t it glorious?

Spring Blooms at Sanctuary Acres

Dogwood tree in full bloom.

With the advent of some warmer weather, plants are really starting to take off around here. Finally! From my Facebook memories, I can see that the plants and trees are nearly a month behind where they normally are. But growth proceeds and I know it is only a matter of time before I will be complaining that it is too hot.

The dogwood in our front yard is at its peak right now. The picture of it in full bloom in front of the house is one of the things that drew me to this place when I was looking for a new home 19 years ago. The animals that have come and gone over the years have been hard on the place, but a home of such age, built in 1830, is up to the task. Lots of living goes on here.

Blueberry blossoms

This is one of the bushes from my blueberry patch. This particular one is in its third year. I am hoping for more than the handful of berries that it produced last year. Most of those were consumed one by one as we walked past on our way to or from the vegetable garden. None the less, they were appreciated. We have five blueberry bushes of varying ages, all young. A couple bushes did not thrive, and we replaced them rather than wait and hope for them to recover.

Redbud trees

Our redbud trees are also at peak bloom right now. They were such small sticks when we got them from the County Extension Office that we planted all five of them in a clump to wait and see which would survive. They all did. And they grew so beautifully that we left them in that original clump. These trees reseed so prolifically that we find them everywhere. We let the one that sprouted in my rose bed grow for a couple years and then gave it to our neighbor. We have a few others that we will transplant around our home.

Traditional lilac

Our old-fashioned lilac is blooming now. My husband transplanted it here as a shoot from one of his grandmother’s lilacs. It is getting old and doesn’t produce as many blooms as it once did. It is time to cut off the main trunk and let some of the newer ones take over. Then we will be awash in that lovely lilac scent once again. We also have a Miss Kim lilac and many Royal Lilacs. They bloom later in the season, so check back then.

White violets

We have violets growing throughout our yard. There is a patch under the huge pine tree near the house that grows densely with white flowers. We also have many of the purple violets and very rarely some that are white with the purple centers. When we hike at a nearby state park, I’ve seen a few with yellow blooms. I’m not sure exactly how they proliferate. They have transplanted themselves to my rose bed. For a time, I let them go. I enjoyed their delicate flowers and having color so early in the year. Now, I have begun weeding them out of the rose bed because they are taking over and encroaching on the roots of my roses. I tend to like plants that decide to grow in unusual place, but these have gotten out of control.

Azaelea bush

This bush was supposed to be an azalea but seems like it is crossed with a rhododendron. It is a nice little bush that always flowers but never seems to get any bigger. It doesn’t require pruning, just occasional weeding. It knows its place.

Viburnum bush

I passed one of these bushes on one of my many trips to the library years ago. I didn’t know what it was, but it smelled so heavenly that I had to have one. I researched until I discovered what it was and got my very own viburnum. It is an attractive shrub, not overly showy to look at, but it has other merits. I cut flowerheads from it every couple day and put them in a vase in the house where I can catch a whiff of the scent every time I walk past.

Bleeding hearts

The bleeding hearts we have are not the flashy domesticated ones. We have the good old woodland type. They grow under the very old, very large rhododendron near the side door and also under a pine tree near the woodworking shop. I enjoy the delicate lacey leaves and dusky pink flowers. They are one of the few flowers that can survive the battle with the bishop’s weed that was here when I moved in. I have been trying to eradicate it ever since. I suspect the previous owner spent their time in residence trying to eradicate the bishop’s weed too.

Trillium growing amongst the myrtle and trout lily.

Last, but not least is the majestic trillium. At one time it was endangered, so I am honored by its presence. I leave it alone since it is a fussy plant, and it graces us reliably with blooms year after year.

This is just the beginning of the growing and blooming season here, so click to follow along with the blog or sign up to receive emails. Not only will you see flowers and gardens, but also stories about our dogs and cats and general daily life here at Sanctuary Acres. Blessing to you.

Books I Read in April 2022

Hello Friends! Another month has come and gone already, so here is my list of books read. I did read more than I usually do in April, and I have Mother Nature to thank. Most years I am too tired from my spring gardening to read much in the evenings. With the snows and cold weather, we have had, I was inside a lot. I didn’t get much done in my flowerbeds, but I did read a lot!

  1. The Restoration of Celia Fairchild-Marie Bostwick

Celia is an advice columnist looking to adopt a baby. She inherits Aunt Calpurnia’s house. Her life takes a turn, and she moves back to Charleston and gathers the family she longed for. I really enjoyed this book. It’s a make you feel good book.

2. Show Me the Bunny-Laurien Berenson

Another delightful adventure with Melanie Travis and her standard poodles. The murder she must solve this time involves her Aunt Rose, a former nun, now married and a new character in the series. Someone murders the benefactress of Rose’s women’s shelter, making her a suspect. Melanie and poodle Faith are on the job.

3. The Twelve Dates of Christmas-Jenny Baylis

Kate Turner signs up for a series of12 dates through a dating service since there aren’t many opportunities in her small British town. Her series of dates provides a humorous backdrop for her true love. I enjoy Baylis’ novels because of the way she portrays life in small British towns.

4. The Family You Make-Jill Shalvis

Jane has had only herself to rely on for most of her life. She has a near death experience during a storm and things begin to change. For starters, the man she was trapped in the gondola with called his mother when he thought they were going to die and said he had a girlfriend. He knew this would make his mother happy. He later asks Jane to pretend to be his girlfriend for a family dinner. Things progress in an entertaining fashion.

5. The Pig Did It-Joseph Caldwell

Professor Aaron McCloud returns to Ireland where he spent time with Aunt Kitty as a child. He’s escaping from unrequited love but never gets time to mourn as a pig he meets along the way keeps distracting him. After following him to the family home, the errant pig uproots a skeleton in Aunt Kitty’s vegetable garden. Things go from bad to hilarious with all the characters he meets along the way.

6. The Suite Spot-Trish Doller

Rachel Beck gets fired from her job at a Miami hotel when a wealthy guest gets grabby. She is offered a job at a startup brewery hotel on a Lake Erie island. The job is too good to pass up so she packs up her three year old daughter and moves to Ohio. She ends up with a new life as she overcomes the tough things life throws at her.

7. Aunt Ivy’s Cottage-Kristen Harper

Zoey arrives on Dune Island to take care of her aunt. She also takes in her dead sister’s daughter for the spring and summer. She helps both while dealing with her cousin Mark’s future plans for the aunt’s house he intends to take over as a high-class resort. Zoey has feelings for the handy man working on the house, but can she trust him? Zoey also needs to find a job after losing her’s. Will it all work out?

Magazines-Country Living

I can’t really pick a favorite to recommend from this list. None are likely to make an earth-shattering difference in your life, but all are a fun time. Enjoy yourself!

By the way, you may have noticed that I read Christmas themed books all year long. I love a good Christmas book. Not only are they great to read near the holidays, but I also enjoy them in mid-summer when it is hot out. Reading a book that takes place in a cold climate, somehow makes me feel cooler. The power of suggestion.

Spring at Sanctuary Acres

Elizabeth Magnolia

Hi Friends! It is spring here, sort of, so time to share a few pictures of what is currently in bloom around our yard. Warmer weather is slow in coming to northeast Ohio this year. It has been much cooler than normal with a few days of warm weather thrown in. Enough to confuse the plants and set them back in their growth. My Facebook memories shows plants in full bloom at this time last year that haven’t even begun to make an appearance this year. But they will!

The most recent addition to our flowerbeds is the Elizabeth magnolia. My husband has been wanting a magnolia for some time and found this variety he had been looking for when we were out searching for a plum tree! We never did find the Toka plum tree that we were looking for, but we did find this magnolia which went into a bed in the walled garden last week and is currently flowering as seen in the photos.

The new Elizabeth magnolia is putting on a show!

We found another type of plum tree that will do the job. We already had a Superior plum tree that we put in last year. We discovered that you need two types of plum trees for successful pollination and fruiting, preferably two different types of Japanese plums. They should be of different varieties, not the same variety. Who knew? Probably lots of people but I was not one of them. The plum trees must flower at the same time so they can cross pollinate. We already had American plums, which are more of a bush, but we were not sure if they would do the job. So, I expect bushels of plums this fall! Ha! Not really, but it would be nice if we got a couple small plums this year to see what they taste like.

We also found a small cherry tree that is self-pollinating. It bears sour cherries that are good for pies and jellies. We… ok, my husband…it would take me an hour to dig a hole big enough, planted it behind the house in the area where our plums and blueberry bushes also reside. We have one other fruit bearing cherry tree behind the garage. It was here long before I bought this house. It has sustained a lot of damage over the past few years from other trees falling on it. We hope to find one of its young offspring to cultivate. It has the type of cherries that are yellow with a red blush and very tasty.

Service berries starting to bloom.

We also have service berries that are starting to bloom. They are planted along the road. We bought them as six inch sticks from the County Extension agent a number of years ago. The goal is prune them after fruiting season this year. The yield was lower last summer and most of the berries are so high up in the trees that only the birds can reach them. You have to pay close attention to get to the fruit before the birds. The berries are a coveted item. I have had birds sit in the top of the tree squawking and carrying on as I stand below picking berries and tossing them into my colander. A colander is my preferred container when I pick berries of any sort. Mine has a flat bottom that sits on the ground while I use both arms to reach the higher branches. And I can transport it directly to the sink for rinsing and sorting the fruit.

Hellebore flowers

We have other things besides fruit trees in flower now too. This hellebore was given to us by my mother-in-law last summer. It was a sprout from a large plant she had. They don’t like to be moved, so we are pleased that it is blooming in its first spring here. Another name for this plant is the Lenten Rose because it blooms so early in the season. They will even bloom with snow hanging on the leaves. Don’t be confused by the leaves in the bottom of this photo. Some stray pachysandra got transplanted with it.

Daffodils blooming in a raised bed.

And of course, we have the obligatory daffodils. I moved these to one of the raised beds surrounding the patio two years ago. They did not bloom the first year but are in fine form now. I wanted some early bloomers for us to enjoy on the few days we have that are warm enough to sit on the patio. I do enjoy looking at them while I am doing the early spring cleanup jobs in the patio gardens. Normally, I bring lots of daffodils indoors to enjoy in the spring. I have foregone that this year because we have an 11 month old kitten who knows no bounds. I will have to figure out a kitten proof set up before peony season arrives because I refuse to have a year without the scent of peonies in my house! It will be a tall order. The house plant and its ceramic pot that I had on the mantel bit the dust. Jasper kitten can reach the mantel via the desk that sits underneath. I am the human, I can outsmart him, right? The jury’s still out on that one. Time will tell.

Shelby by the hyacinth.
Baxter taking his turn by the hyacinth.

I didn’t feel this post would be complete without a picture of dogs, so here are Shelby and Baxter posing in front of the hyacinth at my brother’s house. They went along to celebrate my niece’s fifth birthday. We can rely on these two to be well behaved. When it was time to leave, we had to go find Shelby. She was having a nap in a corner of the sunroom where we had been sitting earlier.

Spring is just starting here and there will be more pictures of flowers, trees, and vegetables to come. And it is a certainty there will be pictures of dogs. Join us and follow along. You can sign up to receive updates at the top of the page!

Fun With Crafts

Goldfinch

I am not particularly artsy but sometimes I like to craft. Thus, I decided to make keepsakes for everyone for a family dinner we hosted earlier this year. I like working with felt because it doesn’t require hemming. I came up with my own designs as I went. It was fun!

The American goldfinch went to my mother-in-law because she feeds the birds and is happy when these finches show up in her backyard.

This unicorn was for my oldest niece who is nine. What young girl doesn’t like unicorns? This ornament was a big hit with her.

A Kitty ornament went to my youngest niece. Little girls and kitties seem like a natural match to me.

I crafted a heart with a corgi on it for my daughter. She and her boyfriend have two corgis. The heart I made for my brother and his wife had roses made from ribbons. These both were very nice but I forgot to take pictures of them before I gave them out. Oh, well.

Bluebird

And lastly, I sewed a heart ornament for my husband and me to keep. It has a bluebird since we enjoy watching the bluebird families that live in the houses my husband built.

Our kitten Jasper was assisting me in taking this last photo today. This was my fifth try and he “helped” me every time. I decided to just go with it and use this picture. It sums up life with kittens.

Good News-A Somewhat Calmer Zekie Bear

Zekie Bear

It’s been a while since I posted an update about Zekie. That’s a good thing because it means he hasn’t been in too much trouble. He continues to be a sweet dog, whose life would be perfect if he could be with me every second of every day. The problems begin when my husband and I both go away from home.

If I go away, such as to the grocery store or to visit someone, Zekie lays on the back of the couch looking out the window at the empty spot where I park my car. The report I receive back from my husband is that Zekie spends hours there waiting for my return. Or if he takes Zekie to the workshop with him, Zekie will lay on the porch watching the road to see if my car will come pulling in the driveway. My husband says Zekie often looks like he wants to stop people in passing cars to say, “Have you seen my mommy? She left me and I fear I’m an orphan!”

Zekie gets upset when my husband goes away too, but not to the same degree. When hubby puts his shoes and coat on, Zekie grabs a bone or other toy and shakes it at my husband, trying to get him to stay home and play instead. He will lay in the back hall and look out the window for a while after my husband leaves, then he returns to my side and lays down. He will check out the windows frequently waiting for hubby’s return.

Zekie really has been doing better relative to how he was before. Mostly this is for two reasons. One, we rarely go away at the same time or even at all. Covid and retirement have kept us at home. The other reason is Prozac. At first, I wasn’t sure if it helped at all. I think it just took a long time to see any change because Zekie’s behavior was long standing. He has been on the meds for 9 months now.

I have tried many things to calm him on the occasions when both of us go away and he must stay in his crate because of separation anxiety. None had previously met with success. Not the Xanax, not the stuffed Kongs, or the frozen treats, not even the CBD oil. Well, last week I tried giving him a large basted bone made specifically for dogs. It worked! Zekie did still do some nervous drooling but he didn’t chew his crate! I gave him the same bone the next two times we went away and he didn’t chew the crate those times either. This is a minor miracle.

I find it hard to believe it is just the bone as we have given him many other types of chews. I think it must be the combination of the Prozac and the bone. He was finally calm enough to realize that chewing the bone is a better option than chewing an aluminum crate and wearing your teeth down.

Whatever the cause, I am immensely grateful and relieved to have found something to help Zekie feel calmer.

Zekie with ears down asking, “Mom, why are you taking my picture?”

Banana-Pineapple Blueberry Cake

I baked this cake yesterday. I was feeling lazy, so I used a box mix and added things to it to use up a bunch of leftovers, which made the result even better!

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 boxed cake mix, vanilla flavored
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup water, part juice from pineapple
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup or half a can crushed pineapple
  • Blueberries, about a handful
  1. Add the cake mix, eggs, oil, and water/juice and mix. The eggs, oil, and water were to make the mix per package directions on the box I used. Use juice from the pineapple and top with water to make 1 cup of liquid.
  2. After mixing the above ingredients for about a minute, add the bananas, mashed if using fresh.
  3. Also add the pineapple now. Mix for another minute.
  4. Fold in the blueberries by hand. If you add them to the mixer, you will end up with blue batter that turns grey as it bakes.
  5. Split the batter among two greased 9″ cake pans. Bake per package directions. (Usually, 350 degrees in a pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes.) You will have to add another 5-10 minutes to the baking time because of all the additions to the batter. Start checking with a toothpick at the listed time and check in 5-minute increments thereafter.
  6. When done, remove from oven and cool in pans for 15 minutes. Loosen and remove from pans, or you can put them back in the pans to finish cooling. Let the cake layers cool completely before icing.

Ingredients for Icing:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2-3 cups Confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk, or almond milk
  1. Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla with a mixer.
  2. Add Confectioner’s sugar by half cups, until incorporated.
  3. Add 1 Tablespoon milk. Add as much milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

Assemble the cake with frosting in between the two layers. I spread some melted orange marmalade onto the surface of the bottom cake before adding the frosting, for some extra pizzazz. Ice the rest of the cake and voila!

Notes:

  • I used a vanilla cake mix, but you could also use white, yellow, or even spice cake mix. Any flavor that tastes good with your extra add-ins will work.
  • My add-ins were bananas, pineapple, and blueberries. Use whatever you have available. Applesauce, apple slices, and pecans. Oranges, bananas, coconut. Zucchini, walnuts, and cranberries. You get the idea. I work with whatever is in my freezer and pantry.
  • I always freeze my bananas just before they get too ripe, so I have some for baking when I need them. I keep them in a large Ziploc bag and take however many I need out. I microwave them and they are pretty soupy by the time I use them. If yours aren’t frozen, you will want to mash them before adding to the batter. This allows me to bake whenever I want to, and have the time to, rather than having my schedule dictated by the state of my bananas!
  • I always put the cake layers back in the pans to cool, so I can move them around the kitchen. This is helpful because our kitchen is small, and we cook a lot. It also makes it easier to move the cakes to hide them from counter surfing dogs and cats!
  • Bonus tip-I find it much easier to frost a layer cake if you can put it on a lazy-Susan, or rotating cake platter for frosting. The icing comes out nice and smooth with this method. I also get smoother results with a metal butter knife vs. a silicon spatula.

I would love to hear what kind of goodies you add into your cakes! Feel free to share them in the comments. Also, you can sign up to get notifications of new blog posts at the top of the page.

Books I Read in March 2022

I am perfectly capable of petting animals while I read!
  1. An Irish Country Yuletide-Patrick Taylor

Dr. Barry Laverty comes back to Ballybucklebo for the holidays. You’ll enjoy this tale of 1960’s era doctors in a small Irish village. Rather like James Herriot books but with people instead of animals as the patients.

2. The Blue Zones Challenge (Non-fiction)-Dan Buettner

The blue zones are areas around the world where populations live longer than average and maintain good health. This book shares the things these groups have in common, and how you can implement them into your own life. Fascinating.

3.The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost (Non-fiction)-Rachel Friedman

Rachel travels during a college summer. After graduating college, she continues traveling on two more continents. I learned a bit about travel, hostels, and adapting to other cultures.

4. Fodor’s Travel Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire (Non-fiction)

Fun to peruse remembering places I have been as well as places I still want to see or revisit.

5. A Virgin River Christmas-Robyn Carr

Marcie Sullivan wants to find the fellow marine who saved her late husband’s life when he was stationed overseas. Ian disappeared once the unit returned stateside. She finally tracks him down and finds an emotionally wounded man who is not happy to see her. Can it be a peaceful Christmas for them? I enjoyed this book as I have all the Robyn Carr books, I’ve read.

6. Killer Research-Jenn McKinley

Lindsey must find a way to clear Miss Cole of murder suspicion as Miss Cole makes a bid for the position of town mayor. Another delightful installment with our friends from Briar Creek.

7. This Must Be the Place-Rachael Ray

Although this book has plenty of recipes, it is so much more than a cookbook. Rachael talks about her life and lessons learned during Covid. She had quite a few serious challenges that I was not aware of. She weathered them well.

Magazines:  Food Network Magazine, the Cottage Journal, Cottages and Bungalows, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens Cozy Cabins and Retreats

From this month’s list of books read, I must recommend The Blue Zones Challenge as the one with the most potential to improve your life. If you make even one or two of the changes presented in the book, you are likely to be a healthier person.

If you are looking for a book to take you away and immerse your mind elsewhere, read A Virgin River Christmas. Don’t feel it has to be Christmas time to enjoy this book. It is more about people and relationships than it is about the holiday.

I did manage to get a few more books read in March than I have been averaging. My husband went on a road trip with his mother while I stayed home with the animals. I got a big stack of books from the library the first day and the cats and dogs are perfectly content if I read while I pet them, so we were all set!

Let Peace Prevail

I found something wonderful that I decided I wanted to be a part of. In my internet perusing’s this morning, I found a site called Blog4Peace on a friend’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Cat-Chat-With-Caren-Cody-208923585790514/ If you like dogs and cats, you’ll enjoy her page.

The new website I found is at this link. https://mimiwrites.blogspot.com/2022/03/blog4peace-ukraine-dona-nobis-pacem.html. It’s a website called Blog4Peace. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that? Right now, the page is promoting Blog4Peace4Ukraine. Or, if you don’t blog, make a Facebook post for peace for Ukraine. A worthy goal. Who can be against peace?

Even many of those aggressors who are being told to fight, I hope want peace. We are all human beings (or as my daughter said when she was little, “I’m a human bean!”) This war on Ukraine has brought most of the rest of the world together like nothing I have ever experienced in my lifetime, and my lifetime is more notable than it used to be. I will be 60 years old at the end of this year! The reasons for this war don’t seem very justified to the rest of the world, so we imagine how we would feel if it were us in the shoes of the Ukrainian people. Our visual connections via television, streaming, and many public medias immerse us in the suffering of the Ukrainians, and we are a part of it every day. We can turn it off and take a break, they cannot. They have no choice. They are living it every day. And so much of the world feels united by their desire for peace.

My husband made this replica of the Ukrainian flag in his workshop and planted it proudly in our front yard. All who pass can see our support for Ukraine. I encourage any of you who feel so called to do the same. A piece of paper with blue and gold colored on it will suffice. A plastic sunflower in your yard or window will also serve the purpose as the sunflower is also a Ukrainian symbol.

As you blog for peace, post for peace, share a symbol for peace, or have thoughts of peace, don’t forget to send up a prayer for peace. Be a Peace Warrior. Today, I sign off with my frequent wishes for my readers, which today I extend to the world, “Peace Be With You”.