Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 20: Truth in advertising

Today, after a very trying day (which I will tell you about soon, whether you want me to or not), Sam, my witty piano student, sat industriously scribbling away at something while his little brother was having his piano lesson.
Noah and I were playing lots of duets today, as you can see.

I am thankful that Sam very kindly didn't make my behind as copious as he should have if he were being truthful.
And I am thankful that all five of today's aspiring piano players were as sweet as could be, or we might have had a repeat of the tears that followed my altercation with Western Union customer no-service this morning.
How's that for a teaser?
Do you even care?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 19: I heard the bells

Sometimes I just need an excuse to post cool pictures of cool things.
Take these here bells.

Every Christmas season for the last several years, I've had the most fun experience of participating in a bell choir. As a piano player, life can be lonely at times, in a musical way of speaking, which is one of the reasons I sometimes give group lessons to my piano students. 

So ringing bells with a group of music-makers is particularly satisfying to me.
And this year, for the first time, Bethany is ringing too, so it is even better.

The music this year is more challenging than usual and we have thirteen ringers, so practices have been frequent and long. I do love a challenge.

But the hardest thing, as usual, will be not grimacing when I make a mistake.

Because you know I will.
Make a mistake.

So today, I am thankful for friends who have indulgent husbands who buy them very expensive sets of bells.
And who let me play with them.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 18: The Milkmaid

A few months ago, I discovered raw milk.

At first, it seemed a little  gross, but I knew it was better for the body than the highly processed product that we find in the grocery store. If you think I am weird, go take a look at the information on this website.
I know that some of you probably think that drinking raw milk is bound to end in disaster some day, but I have researched it thoroughly and am satisfied that the farmer uses good practices and the cows are happy and well-pastured.
See that layer of cream on top?
That, my friends, is real milk.
And do you love the carafe on the left (made in France) that I found at a garage sale this summer and fits one half-gallon of milk exactly?
Sometimes my life is just one long flow of serendipity.

Today, I am thankful for Christine at Cast Iron Farms, a wee dynamo of a girl who gets up early every day of the year to milk her beloved cows so that people like me can drink their lovely creamy milk. She home schools her two children and takes care of pigs and horses and chickens and rabbits and sheep and goats and turkeys and her vegetable garden and somehow manages to be smiling every time I see her.

Christine and her family are living their dream, homesteading on a few acres in McMinnville. 
I am thankful that, for now at least, small farmers in Oregon can still sell their milk to people like me, who are trying to get back to real food.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 17: Would it be redundant... be thankful for Thanksgiving?
Because I am. Thankful for Thanksgiving.

I love a crowd on holidays, even though all the cooking and cleanup exhausts me. Bethany and family defected to Utah for the week, so we were expecting a small table, just Sam and Charlie and the missionaries for dinner. I'd adjusted to the idea and embraced it, deciding to cook a ham and a small, boneless turkey breast instead of the usual gigantic bird that would defeat my powers of innovation on the leftovers front. 
Then, a day or so before the Big Day, Jon and Jenny's family, complete with Jenny's niece from Utah, decided that they would come after all. And on Thanksgiving Eve, Charlie told me that he had invited our favourite Samoan to come too.
So our small table turned into two tables and I was happy.

Thanksgiving Day around here was the only gloriously sunny day in the midst of a rainy couple of weeks.
Sam, Charlie, and Wrangler arrived nice and early, so after we got some prep work done in the kitchen we went for a walk.
There is a beauty-berry bush just down the road and I want to know why it is not mine.
We finally ripped mine out because the few berries it produced were never this spectacular.

I missed the lovely dinner photo op. But trust me, it was a sight to behold.
A huge ham from Zaycon Foods that was the best we have ever eaten. A small turkey breast and a herbed panko-encrusted pork roast completed the meat menu. Mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, mashed carrots and parsnips, broccoli, Jenny's Jello, green salad, rolls, and gravy for the first course. Which causes me to realize that I completely forgot the stuffing. And I had designated a box of Stove Top just for the occasion.
For dessert we had honey-lime cheesecake, pumpkin pie, apple pie, blackberry cobbler, and butterscotch-pecan pie.

Jeff sat working on his Lego boat while we finished eating dessert.
Don't you just love those chubby cheeks?

Jon had to head to work right after he ate, but he did justice to the pie first.

Jenny and Camilla.

For some reason, Sam liked this photo better than the one I took.
Go figure.

Jon has been working on making ghillie suits for his family for some time, and had to show one off to Charlie before he left.
I could say many things here, but I shall refrain.

Wrangler was sweetly underfoot most of the night, always in the hope of a crumb or two. He decided to help with the dish-washing.

My kitchen floor has never been so clean after a big dinner.
Reason # 52 to own a dog?

After as much food had been stuffed into out bodies as possible, we played a rousing game of SpongeBob Uno.
Naked Homer images will always remind of Thanksgiving from now on.

Who is this strange creature?

When the ruckus had died down and most people had gone home, Sam, Charlie, Jeff, Mo and I all sat down to introduce Mo and Sam to the joys of Labyrinth, the movie.
They both declared it to be "weird", which was a mystery to us Osbornes, because to us it is iconic.
I think we shall have to make Sam watch it twenty more times, until she appreciates it for the genius that it truly is.

Let's hear a shout-out for Labyrinth!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 16: a loaf of bread

When bread machines were a new-fangled device, I swore to my walking buddies that I would never own one because "I could make bread just as well by hand, thank you very much". 
Well, in my usual "famous last words" tradition, I have eaten those words many times over. As I listened to my friends rave over their machines, I had to have one. And that was the end of life as we then knew it. 
Bread no longer came in plastic bags in various scarily long-lasting incarnations. It came fresh out of the bread machine with a funny hole in the bottom where the paddle sat.

I've lost count of how many bread machines I have used up and thrown out. It's never the motor that gives out, it's always the pan, in one way or another. It kills me to throw out a perfectly good machine, but it's almost as expensive to buy another pan as to buy a brand new machine, so out it would go.
A couple of years ago I found an almost new machine at a garage sale for only $5.
It's been going strong ever since and has been one of my favourite machines. Another one, found this summer for the same price, awaits the death of the first before entering its moment of glory.

So yes, today I am thankful to whoever invented the bread machine.
If you have one and don't use it, send it my way. I know several people that would love to have one but are waiting for summer garage sales.

But I have perfected the art of making a delectable loaf of 100% wheat bread, and I will share the secret.
Well, secrets, really.
The first involves soaking the flour. An overnight soaking in an acid medium helps to reduce the phytic acid in the flour. Phytic acid is a digestive inhibitor and is present in all grains. It can cause gastric distress and prevent absorption of nutrients.
The second secret is Bob's Red Mill flour. I bought a bunch when it was on sale at Bi-Mart and it makes everything great. I usually grind my own wheat, but this stuff is so fine it makes a wonderfully textured end product. But I suspect that even my own ground flour will be better after a good soak.

So here is how I make my bread.
I use the basic bread machine recipe, then I put it on steroids.
Note that I have edited the instructions slightly.
3 c whole wheat flour
About 1 1/4 c water
2 tbs acid, such as yogurt, kefir, lemon juice, buttermilk
1 tsp salt
About 1/3 c coarse mixed grains, such as 10-grain cereal
2 tbs ground flaxmeal
2 tbs honey
2 tbs fat, such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil
1 tsp dry chia seed

Mix this in the bread machine for a few minutes till everything is blended. It would be well to make a dough that is a little sloppier than usual, as it will stiffen on sitting. Adjust liquid or flour if necessary. Turn off the machine and let the dough sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
You heard me. 
Then add 1 3/4 tsp yeast and 1/2 tsp Baking Soda and start the cycle again. Make sure the yeast gets all mixed in and add a little water if it has stiffened up too much.
And get ready for the best loaf of whole wheat bread you have ever eaten.

NOTE: I have amended the recipe (yet again) to include baking soda, as it negates the sourness of the acid.

You can soak any recipe that has liquid in it. Just hold off on the eggs and leavening until the final mixing process. Pancakes and waffles are supposed to be awesome like this, although I haven't tried it yet.
And you could, of course, double or triple the recipe and make the loaves in your mixer and bake in the oven. And you could try your favourite recipe and see how much better it is.

If you want copies of the pdf files that have detailed information on this soaking process, which you should also do to nuts because of the enzyme inhibitors in them, leave me a comment and I'll email it to you.
And I'd love to hear if you try this and like it. I'm all about soaking my nuts and grains lately and I think it's making a difference to my digestion and general state of health.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 15: Wardrobe pizzazz

Going to be totally shallow for this one.
We have a new Goodwill store in town. I went looking for a skirt for my Halloween party costume (we went as Johnny and June. Guess which one I was....) and found two.
I am quite partial to this one, although I had to re-glue a lot of the gold sequins because they were decorating the carpet. It adds umpteen more possibilities to my choice of outfits and I wear it all the time.

The photo stinks.
I was getting ready to go out this morning and the sky was so dark because of all the storm clouds that it made my house dark, even with the lights on.
You try taking a photo in the mirror in a dark room without using a flash and see how well it works!

I am thankful for my $6.99 skirt and how happy it makes me when I wear it.
It flows around my ankles and makes me feel all girly.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 14: A father's love

Today, I am thankful for the love of my father. A love that I never had cause to doubt.
Well, there was that one summer when I was eighteen, but that was my fault, not his.
Partly because of his example, my sister and I both married men who have been thoughtfully loving fathers.
And partly because we are just clever that way.
Our Dad was pretty hunky, wasn't he?

And I am thankful for the love that Jeff has for our children and grandchildren. 
You see, he didn't have the rock steady example in his life of what a father should be. His father and his grandfather before him were alcoholics. Historically, the pattern continues until someone with enough strength can break the cycle. That someone was Jeff.

Sometimes, the lack of a concerned father in his life has caused him grief and it has not been a pretty sight. But with great determination, he overcame that deficiency, and has helped to raise two daughters who married good men and two sons who are (and will be) awesome fathers. I often wonder if our children understand the enormous burden that Jeff has carried as he has felt unloved and undervalued by his Dad. His struggle continues even today.

This is one of my favourite photos of Jeff. It's about ten years old. I just snapped it one day when he wasn't expecting it. 

So, let's all be thankful for the love of good fathers. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 13: Busy hands, happy heart

Yes, I know I'm behind.
Deal with it.
Nobody cares but me anyway.

I am thankful for whoever it was that taught me to knit.
I think it was one of my aunties.
I remember my Mum knitting things for Anne and me when we were young. A pair of mittens comes to mind. I was about six years old and the weather was very cold. Mum sat up late one night, finishing them for me. Her fingers were already slightly arthritic, I think, because she used to complain of "rheumatism".
I wore them to school the next day and lost them.

I love the Lion Brand Homespun yarn and had gathered quite a collection of leftovers from various projects. Then, serendipity struck and I found a bag of the yarn at a garage sale in the summer.
I had enough to make an afghan, so I laid out the colours carefully.
And I don't know why my foot is in the photo, so don't ask.

Here is the finished work. I rather love it, but can't keep it because my house is already full of blankets.
But I can't bear to give it away because I love it so much.

I've been gathering marvelous yarn over the last year and have quite a collection, waiting for the winter crocheting bug to hit.
Hasn't hit yet.
I discovered that the back of my favourite chair makes a great yarn holder when I am unwinding the hanks.

I have been trying to come up with inspiration for these lovelies, but so far I'm bone dry.

There's something about creating beautiful things from a piece of glorified string that makes my heart happy.
What is your favourite winter sitting-by-the-fire and trying-not-to-let-your-mind-rot pastime?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12: Reading material

As a young girl, I was relatively famous for my reading habits. 
I read every single book in the small school library. I loved receiving books for gifts and treasured them. I made paper covers and a bookmark out of cardboard to slip inside each one. I read Little Women at least ten times and owned all four books in the series. The Secret Garden was probably my favourite book and I was more than a little in love with Dickon.

My friend, Janet, told me once, years after we had left England, that the thing she remembered most about me was how I was always reading and chewing on my leather bookmark. I still remember the taste of that old bookmark.
I also used to tear off little pieces of the page corners and eat the paper.
True story.
If Jeff had known the depth of my dysfunction, he probably would have run, screaming, for the hills, instead of luring me away from my friends and family.

This little gem is all that remains of a favourite book of both Anne's and mine.
Little Old Mrs. Pepperpot. It is about a little old woman who has the annoying habit of shrinking to the size of a pepper-pot at the most inconvenient moments.
I should probably toss it, as no one will ever read it again, unless I can convince some of my younger grandchildren to sit still long enough to listen to it. It is cover-less and falling to pieces. But it is a remnant of that innocent time and I cherish it.

Does it make me a hoarder if I confess that I still own most of the books that were mine as a child? 
The Little Women series, all brown-spotted and ragged, but with paper covers and bookmarks still intact.

For many years, I have been a fan of the murder and mayhem as promoted by such authors as James Patterson and Patricia Caldwell. Lately, I have lost patience with the increasing brutality and decreasing chapter size and quality of the writing and have been looking further afield for my reading pleasure.
Lately, and with no particular intent, I have been reading books that are set in the time frame of the Second World War. Here is a quick list of some of them that I think you will enjoy.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. By Jamie Ford. A tender little tale of a love that never died, angst between father and son, and the Japanese internment camps in Washington state. There are some twists that make you want to read the book again in order to catch the clues.

The Zookeeper's Wife. By Diane Ackerman. This is an immaculately-researched book about the Zabinskis, a couple who ran a zoo in pre-WWII Warsaw and who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews during the war. The details of their life as they continued to live at the zoo with a variety of animals and transient Jews in hiding is fascinating. Antonina Zabinski, the wife, kept a journal, so many of her thoughts and fears are taken directly from the journals. I loved this book.

Sarah's Key. By Tatiana de Rosnay. A little-known event that took place in Paris in July, 1942, is the basis for this story. The French police were told by the Nazis to round up Jews for deportation, which they proceeded to do with great diligence. The plot bounces back and forth between present-day Paris and 1942, and has some horrifying, as well as redeeming, turns. It is an easy read but will twist your heart inside out.

The Book Thief. By Markus Zusak. I'm sure I am the last person to read this book, but I loved it and have to recommend it. The format is a little strange and takes some getting used to. It is narrated by Death and bounces around a bit, but once you get it figured out, the unfolding of the story is mesmerizing. I read it in about 24 hours; I think I stayed up until 2 o'clock in the morning to finish it! The story is about Liesel, a girl in  World War II-era Germany, the people she loves, and the books she steals. It is a story about selfless love, nightmares, the Jew in the basement, and the value of a good book. This book will make you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.

Today I am thankful for authors who write good books, books that are well researched and tell worthwhile stories of human courage and foibles and the love that can be found in the cracks of history.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11: The ultimate sacrifice

A letter from William Richard Nock to his father, George Nock, written in Europe during World War I.

Dear Dad,
Sorry I couldn't write before, but better late than never, but don't seem much good writting for I can't tell you anything, only the same old thing. I could tell you a lot, but it would only be scratched out like the last one and I didn't write much in that. I hadn't much time to thank you in the last letter for the cigarettes, but I don't know what I should have done without them for I had no money at the time and we went up the trenches the same day, but I took good care of them and I had a few when we came out and a good job too for we went back to a village for a billet and you couldn't buy a smoke at any price. I think this is all this time.
From your loving son

Willy was my great-uncle and he died in "France and Flanders" on August 18th, 1916. This is the only written record we have of him.
I don't know the details of William's death, but it was probably in the Battle of Ypres, on the Western Front. Over a period of a few months, the British lost 310,000 men and the Germans 260,000. There was little change, after this most costly and controversial offensive, in the momentum of the war. It was the epitome of the wasteful and futile nature of trench warfare.

A letter from Kate to her sister, Sarah Anne Nock:

My Dear Brother, Sister,
I am very sorry to hear about your dear boy. It must be very hard for you both to lose your only son. This war is a terrible thing for nearly everybody. It don't seem to ever end. Dear sister, I have often thought about your poor little Willie. This is a dreadful time for most everybody one way or other with the Zeppelin coming over us again. It is dreadful, we never know when we go to bed that we shall see the morning. I think I told you in my last letter that my husband has joined up. He has been gone 7 weeks on Monday next. I expect that you are thankful that George have not to go. I miss my husband every day. He has been home twice, one leave for 2 days. I wish the Old War was over! They only pay the married men 3/6 a week, just enough for a drink. Luv, everything is so dear, I get (one pound, six shillings and sixpence) per week from the army. I have 3 clubs to pay and I send my husband 5 shillings per week so you can see I have not much left. Don't you think they have got a fine cheek taking your husband from you and giving you what they like best! I think the people who started this war ought to go fight them all..........
Dear I have wrote more letters since my dear husband has gone, I write to him twice a week. He wants me to write to him every day, but I have nothing to say. I wish I could come see you in your trouble it is a long time since I saw you. 
With love
Sister Kate.

Sarah Anne Nock, as the story goes, could not stand to live after her only son was killed, and she threw herself into the canal and died on September 30th, 1916, at age 49.

On her memoriam card is inscribed a doleful poem:
A sudden change, I in a moment fell,
I had not time to bid my friends farewell;
Think this not strange, death happens unto all,
This day 'twas I, tomorrow you may fall.

My intent was for this to be a thank you to all who have served and fought for freedom, but I'm not sure what it has become.
Perhaps a tribute to all of the men, mothers, wives, and children who have missed out on the sweetness of life and the companionship of those they love.
And gratitude for the belief that they will, in times to come, be together again.

Day10: The songs of life

Music permeates my days.
If I'm not teaching a piano lesson or leading a music therapy group or conducting a choir, I am singing along with the radio in my head. Jeff tells people that if he wonders where I am in the house, he just follows the humming.
I figured out that in an average week, I spend ten hours or more teaching piano lessons, four or five hours leading music therapy groups, two or three hours working with my church and senior choirs, and usually another hour or three arranging music or learning new songs. Around this time of year the totals tend to be higher because I am preparing musical numbers for various Christmas programmes, such as piano recitals and choir performances at church and in the community.

And practising with the bell choir.
I am so lucky!

Here is the best Christmas song ever, to get you in the mood for the season.

I am thankful for
my musical friends who collaborate with me and go along with my optimistic plans
for my lovely group of piano students who make me smile and always challenge me to up my game
for my family members who humour me by singing and playing with me
for my clients, both very old and very young, who sing with me enthusiastically
and for my friends who aren't so musical, but claim to enjoy the results of my labours.

Because, you see, my dirty little secret is that I am only a mediocre vocalist, a tolerable piano player, a fair-to-middling conductor, and an unexceptionable guitar player. But, somehow, the combination of my skills and enthusiasm, and the people who surround me and work with me, allows me to not only make a living, but to also get some pretty good results for my efforts.
So, today, hooray for music!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9: Bounteous harvest

I have been blessed to always live in countries where food is plentiful. 
Not that we haven't had our challenges with putting food on the table, especially in the early years, but there was always a way to do it. I cultivated friends who, like me, had to be imaginative with their grocery budgets. I had friends who would call me when they came across free gallons of milk, or when they heard that farmers were letting gleaners onto their fields. We ate well, in spite of being cash poor.

Not until I spent time in Haiti did I understand that many people in the world just don't have a way to get food to eat, for themselves or their children. I have learned a new appreciation for my three squares a day and all the snacks in between. And I have gained a new sense of responsibility to help where I can in Haiti, where most people go to bed at night with empty stomachs.

Today, I am thankful for the easy access we have to food, and for the many choices that are available. We can eat as healthily or as badly as we choose.
I am trying to choose more healthy food. Today, I tried a recipe that has been calling to me for a couple of weeks. You can find the original recipe here, or you can try these Apple Scones the way I made them.
These are delicious served warm and are low in sugar, high in fibre and nutrients.

Double Apple Scones with Raisins

Stir together: 
3 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs B.Powder
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon
Cut in 1/2 c cold butter with a pastry blender. 
Mix in 3/4 c grated apple, about one medium apple, and 1/2 c raisins.
Mix together:
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c applesauce
and add to the flour mixture will well blended.

The mixture may be sticky, so use a little flour and pat out to a rectangle about 3/4" thick. Cut into squares, place on a baking sheet, separating the squares slightly. Brush with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and you're almost done. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

The resulting scones were a perfect snack, moist and not too sweet. The original recipe called for a caramel glaze, which seemed to negate the whole "healthy" thing, so I made do with the sugar sprinkle.
I've been thinking these would be good as pumpkin scones with chocolate chips.
Hmmmm. Endless possibilities.

And if you have a heart to share some of your bounty with a mama or baby in Haiti, go here to make a donation. 
Every bit helps.
Thanks for reading.

Day 8: Bargain Market

My life has been much happier since Grocery Outlet came to town. I mean, I have been shopping at G.O. for thirty years, and made a habit of popping in to check out the bargains every time I would pass one in another town, but to have one so close has totally changed my shopping habits. Their everyday prices are better than the outrageously-priced supermarkets, but their clearance is a steal. I hardly ever go to the full-price stores any more. 
Gourmet chocolate and deli meats, top-brand dairy, high-quality anti-aging moisturizer, and so much more. They stock lots of gluten-free, dairy-free and organic products, but you never know what you will find. It's like a treasure hunt at each visit. 
G.O. is the GO-to place for me.

A few months ago, I was invited to an event at the (then) newly-moved and -renovated Beaverton Grocery Outlet. It's a pretty swanky place, as far as G.O.'s go, but they are all clean and well-organized.

You can laugh at me if you want, but I am very thankful for our locally-owned Grocery Outlet bargain markets, where everyone can be a winner!
And no, they didn't pay me to do this.
I just love them that much!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7: A good man

I was hoping (against all hope) that this morning I could have posted how thankful I was for our new president.

But, alas, it is not to be. 
Just more of the same old news.
However, as the day has worn on, I decided that I am still grateful for the campaign of Mitt Romney and for his goodness. And for the shining example of womanhood that his wife, Anne, has been to everyone who would open their eyes and see. 
I don't understand why so many people prefer to vote for more debt and bigger government and the pernicious lies and values that are perpetuated by the political left, but I am grateful that those who understand freedom will not just lie down and give up the fight.
I am thankful for facebook friends who, after the initial despondency, are posting such comments as these:

 Today I am grateful for this great country that we live in and although in a bit of denial still from last night's results, I am determined to pray and work for unity with my fellow citizens. 

 Today I am very grateful to live in this great country. I may be disappointed in the election results, but I still love living here, and wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world.

Do you all see the good that is happening? Because of bitter disappointment last night, we are expressing a renewed commitment and testimony to hold even more strongly to that which we know are the ONLY things upon which we can depend --- God. His gospel. His prophet. Hold to the iron rod. This is good! I'm choosing to be encouraged! Thank you all. 

I am grateful this morning that I have a knowledge and understanding of the plan of our GOD. That the acceptance of drugs, the destruction of marriage and family and the condoning of taking another life in the name of "womens rights" and all of the other evil that men accept as good in the world will one day be rectified by HIM!!!

Perhaps a bacon, egg and cheese burrito will make it all feel better.

Well, maybe not so much that last one, although I could have used one, but I am loving the way people are finding a positive side to our great disappointment. 
And we are disappointed that this will not be our new first family, aren't we?

They are so easy on the eyes, and so shiny bright.
I hope that the Romneys will continue to be a force for good in the political arena.
I am thankful for their sacrifice of time and privacy as they attempted to win the presidency for Mitt.
God Bless America.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6: Flowers

I measure the flow of the seasons by the flowers in my garden. 
The first one to show its head in mid-winter is the lowly snowdrop, which has a spreading habit like no other!

Violas and pansies are at their best through the Oregon winters, which rarely get cold enough to do them in. They may freeze solid at times, but next time the sun shines they will be right there, bobbing their little heads in the breeze.

Then the crocuses and daffodils cover the ground with their splashes of colour.

Hyacinths and tulips and all the myriads of varieties of bulbs have a place in my heart.

Summer flowers in pots and flowerbeds keep me happy for months. 

Some are full of memories, like the gladiolus that reminds of my Dad.

Some I will never see again, like this flower on Kangaroo Island.

And, of course, let us not neglect to remember the little people who love to help care for flowers.
These are my favourite flowers of all.

Today I am thankful for the abundance of flowers in my life.