Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Of Butterflies and Tea Parties

 Dear Friends,

Our last Monarch has come and quickly gone, joining the others for their epic journey to Mexico. May they arrive there in safety!

We were invited to a dress-up tea party by a sweet friend from church. Her husband used to work at a tea house, and he spoiled us with a real proper tea, down to lemon curd and Devonshire cream.

While waiting for the water to boil, there was time to enjoy a game of croquet (you need not supposed any of us are experts at the mallet!)~

 After tea (which was scrumptious) we went for a promenade along the shore of the lake nearby. It was jolly good fun! Won't you join us as we stroll? Our photographess will be sure to get your good side!

 May you enjoy this day, dear friends, wherever you are, and may life bring you many little happinesses along the way.



“It isn't the great big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little
ones--I've discovered the true secret of happiness, Daddy, and that is to live in the now. Not to be
for ever regretting the past, or anticipating the future; but to get the most that you can out of this
very instant."

Jean Webster, Daddy Long Legs

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Annual Doll Fair

Dear Friends,

We are in the middle of "butterfly-hatching days" here at Birdsong Cottage. There have been 24 Monarch crysalids in all, with one or two going off on a new adventure each day. Soon we will be suffering from Empty Butterfly Cage Syndrome. :)

The small dolls had their annual fair this past week, and it was another fun one. Hyrum and the chickens made it a little difficult outside, but everyone worked really hard to make it all come together!

The queen and several princesses~

The Animal Show~

The horses before the big race~

The quilts and aprons were lovely, as usual~

And some wonderful foods were made for all to enjoy!

I wonder what next year's fair will bring?



Monday, August 25, 2014

Wild Abundance

Dear Friends,

I recently had the opportunity to teach a class on wild edibles to some ladies from church. I had a fun time teaching, and I hope that I inspired at least some to go out and partake of the wild goodness around us.

I made pine needle popsicles and dock leaf pesto, which everyone loved. I shall have to write out recipes next time!

I am working on a sketchbook of wild edibles for the Kansas City area, which is coming along at a snail's pace. So many books to write, so little time!

There is always something new to learn about the world around us, and always surprises coming up in the garden. This "mystery plant" has turned out to be Evening Primrose, which is exciting, since I've wanted to grow it for some time, but never did (or so I thought). I guess the fairies must have been busy helping!

We are busily feeding about 20 Monarch caterpillars, plus a few other caterpillars (question mark, giant swallowtail, and black swallowtail). This Tiger Swallowtail was just passing by, since we don't have the kind of food its caterpillars like (yet). The two tropical milkweed plants I overwintered in my kitchen windowsill last year have been a great investment.

AnnaMarie and Audrey have started up their early morning scripture class at our church again (it runs 9 months out of the year), so they will have the opportunity of seeing many beautiful sunrises, such as these below. I am sure that they will learn many wonderful new things while growing spiritually as well.

Love to all,

''Give fools their gold, and knaves their power;
Let fortune's bubbles rise and fall;
Who sows a field, or trains a flower,
Or plants a tree, is more than all.'' 

~John Greenleaf Whittier

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quotes on Motherhood

Dear Friends,

I picked up the book Mothers: a Celebration by Alexandra Stoddard a few weeks ago, and felt impressed to read it a few days back. Alexandra Stoddard is one of my favorite contemporary authors, writing about homely, family things. This book is no exception, filled with wisdom and quotes along the margin. 

It hit the spot for me, as I was in the midst of feeling that I would never catch up on the daily treadmill of laundry, dishes, mending, meals, child care, schooling, household repairs, gardening, etc. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the joy and wonder of being mothers. Truly it is the most amazing gift to be entrusted with the care and training of fellow Children of the King (which is, by the way, what the girls decided to call their singing group). 

Here are some encouraging thoughts from the book that I would like to share with you~

"The woman who creates and sustains a home, and under whose hands children grow up to be strong and pure men and women, is a creator second only to God." ~Helen Hunt Jackson

"A kiss from my mother made me a painter." ~Benjamin West

"Truth, which is important to a scholar, has to be concrete. And there is nothing more concrete than dealing with babies, burps and bottles, frogs and mud." ~Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

"The tulips is a tulips even when it is nothing but a dry and shriveled bulb. The egg is a bird. The acorn is an oak tree. . . The finished work does not require a great will to make it, but the willingness to let it unfold." ~Eric Butterworth

"One of the greatest gifts a mother can give to her child is a peaceful, serene atmosphere at home, and that includes enjoying each others' company quietly, between some motherly fussing about." ~Alexandra Stoddard

"The first, the most fundamental right of childhood is the right to be loved. The child comes into the world alone, defenseless, without resource. Only love can stand between his infant helplessness and the savagery of a harsh world." ~Paul Hanly Furfey

"Being a mother fills our soul with the gift of the transcendent. We're given an inflow of spiritual energy because our soul is attached so solidly to the soul of our child. William James assures us, 'There is actually and literally more life in our total soul than we are at any time aware of.' A mother is a caregiver, a love giver, tenderly nurturing this precious soul of her child. The family rituals we share weave a spiritual net that supports our children. It gives them faith, hope, and love of life." ~Alexandra Stoddard

May you have a blessed day today, dear friends, finding joy in all that you do, wherever you are. Know that our Heavenly Father's grace is sufficient to cover the gravest sin, and to give strength where we feel we have none.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Bound and Bordered in Leaf Green..."

"...Edged with trellised buds and flowers
And glad Summer-gold, with clean
White and purple morning-glories
Such as suit the songs and stories
...unrevised in text or scene..."
--James Whitcomb Riley

Dear Friends,

Our summer has been unusually cool and nice; which means we have been able to be outside more and jump on our trampoline. (And draw with chalk!)

Evangeline doing a flip~

Our Black Swallow-tail caterpillars have all turned into beautiful butterflies and flown away.

The garden is in full bloom and looking lovely.

These little hobbits found giant cabbages and eggplants in "Farmer Maggot's" (aka the Farmer's Market) crop.

Have you ever seen the likes of those cabbages and eggplants before? They are huge!

The heat has been turned up lately, with temperatures around 100, so now it is starting to feel more like a real Missouri summer! We do love the singing insects at night, as well as the fireflies on a sultry evening, and will miss them when they rest this fall.

Many blessings to you all.

Love ~ Marqueta

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Anne of Green Gables Birthday Tea

Dear Friends,

For Tasha's birthday yesterday we hosted an "Anne of Green Gables" tea party with a friend of ours.
It would have been wonderful to have had you there as well, but, since you weren't, allow us to show you what we did in pictures. . .

For the centre piece there was a freshly gathered bouquet of Queen Anne's Lace blossoms--so perfect for the occasion!

 Tasha setting the silverware before we began.

 There were many delicious things to eat that we mentioned in the Anne books including:

 "Anne Shirley’s 'Unpoetical' Sandwiches"
"The girls sat down by the roots and did full justice to Anne’s dainties, even the unpoetical sandwiches being greatly appreciated by hearty, unspoiled appetites sharpened by all the fresh air and exercise they had enjoyed."— Anne of Avonlea

Plain old cherries.

And plain old peaches. 

"Susan Baker's Monkey Face Cookies"

"In a very brief time everything had changed. Walter was in bed, warm, fed, comforted. Susan had whisked on a fire, got him a hot cup of milk, a slice of golden-brown toast and a big plateful of his favourite “monkey face” cookies..." Anne of Ingleside

More "Unpoetical Sandwiches".

"Diana Barry’s Splendid Lettuce Salad"
Oh, Anne, mayn’t I help you cook the dinner?” implored Diana. “You know I can make splendid lettuce salad.” — Anne of Avonlea

In the back of the plate can be seen a good-for-you "Anne Shirley's Lady Fingers:"
  "I’m going to have the daintiest things possible. . . things that will match the spring, you understand. . .little jelly tarts and lady fingers, and drop cookies frosted with pink and yellow icing. . ."
— Anne of Avonlea
(What we really ate were coconut-date rolls)

And now here we are going to the party. . .

As a present, our friend brought another bouquet of other beautiful flowers!


Hyrum stole a lot of attention with his adorable looks and handsome overalls.

We all donned tea party hats—fancy and un-fancy alike—which added to the party.

After we were finished with the tea, Audrey gave us recitation of "Music" by Percy Bysshe Shelly:
"MUSIC, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory;
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heap'd for the beloved's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on."

Our hostess "Anne". . .with almost the hair colour that she wanted. :)

It was such a lovely party and we did have a splendid time.

Thank you for stopping by and enjoying our tea party through the pictures.

Marqueta (. . .and Tasha, who write this post!)