Saturday, November 1, 2014

Outside the Back Door...

Green to yellow to bare. Gray November sky.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Return to Gilead


It has been some time since I read Gilead by Marilyn Robinson. However, I do remember my fascination with Lila, the second wife of minister, John Ames.

While running the usual Wednesday errands today, I heard this interview with Marilyn Robinson on NPR and have moved Lila to the very top of my Wish List.

Thinking about Gilead also brought back very fond memories of a July day when I had the pleasure of meeting an on-line friend, Readerbuzz, in person. After visiting Mrs. Mallard & family and riding the swan boats in the Boston Public Garden, we walked up Boylston Street to the Prudential Center. Our walk was enhanced by a very spirited discussion of Gilead. Bookish memories are the best, aren't they?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hey Jude...

Monday, July 14, 2014

A little boy... the edge of a big ocean.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Baseball

James and I went on our annual summer baseball outing today. Instead of the usual Lowell Spinners game, we decided to take in a double header of the 19th Century Base Ball Association.  The games between the Newburyport Clamdiggers and Portsmouth Rockinghams were played at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, MA.

Baseball is baseball, but in 19th century base ball, things are a little different.  The battery consists of a hurler (pitcher), striker (batter), and behind (catcher). Innings are frames; outs are hands; a run is a tally. The uniforms consist of scally caps and high stockings, and one umpire keeps everything straight. You can read more about the history of 19th century base ball here.

 Newburyport Clamdiggers

 Newburyport Clamdiggers 1886

Striker up!

The gentleman in the vest is the umpire!

A view of the outfield. Yes, that is a cornfield in the background.

The Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm was a wonderful setting for the games on a beautiful Sunday. With the ocean not far away, the high 80s temperatures were hardly noticed with the constant sea breeze blowing through. You can read more about the farm here.

The manor house at the farm...

And some of the animals at the farm...

And, promptly at noon, the beer wagon arrived and was greeted by cheers from all!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Outside the Back Door...

Pinks and Petunias

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Outside the Back Door...

Cosmos & Verbena

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Kiss

With celebrating Father's Day, Teddy's birthday (his first), and my husband's birthday (his 78th) this past week, our iPhone cameras were working overtime. Lots of great memories captured and many smiles and laughs as we looked at the shared photos.

For me, one picture stood out and is my favorite of the week--maybe my favorite ever--as my daughter and grandson share a kiss.

Linda & Teddy
Kimball Farm, Sunday, June 15

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

The original Owl with the original Motif #1 in the background.
Rockport, MA ~ September 1966

I was always fascinated by my father's large, square Irish hands. Hands that made sure our home was always safe and secure; hands that drove big rig trucks on highways; hands that could make a drum set sing; hands that guided me down the aisle on a beautiful May day; hands that reached out to touch his newborn grandchildren; hands that held mine when sorrow touched our family.

I was particularly struck and saddened the day I first noticed these hands looking old. Recently, I read a book that, while not noteworthy for anything else, did have a passage that brought back so many memories and thoughts of my father, John Murphy. 

Age had compacted him, making his work-scarred hands and thick knuckles look too large for his wiry frame. When she was young, she used to believe he could hold up the sky with those hands.
~Elizabeth Lowell, Night Diver 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Reading with Teddy...

Despite the forecast of rain, the sun was still shining brightly late this morning. So Teddy and I headed out for a walk to the library.  

Here are some of the things we saw along the way.

Lots of flowers...

Inviting tables for a little sit...

Bags of coffee waiting to be ground at Barismo...

A freshly painted mural on Marathon Street...

When we got to the library, it was very crowded. Lots of moms, dads, and nanas decided to go for a walk on a sunny day!

I'm ready to read, Nana...

And here is the book we read.

Teddy's favorite page...
Nana's favorite page...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

From Outside the Back Door...

The last Lilly of the Valley bouquet of the season...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

From Outside the Back Door...

Pansies and Parsley

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Outside the Back Door...

The Mallards, out for Mother's Day brunch...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Reading with Teddy...

Even though the first day of spring is far behind us, and it is April hereabouts, the weather is doing that uniquely New England thing where one day it's beautiful and warm, and the next we're back in winter coats and mittens. Making things even more confusing, in the wonderful world of retail it's mid-summer. That means Teddy has a new bathing suit for the July vacation on Cape Cod. Of course, he has the matching hat--which he has decided he doesn't really like. So when I saw this book

I just knew Teddy needed a copy because both Duck and Goose are wearing hats when they take off on their great adventure to the beach. Maybe if we read it enough between now and July, Teddy will be a happy hatter!

Today was the perfect day for a walk to the library!  Along the way, we saw lots of these:

When we got to the library, this is the book we read:

From the instant she sees him at the water hole, Elephant is curious about Giraffe. And while Giraffe doesn't have much to say, Elephant is more than happy to make the first move. From inviting herself to bake pretzels with Giraffe to ordering him around while playing pirates, Elephant's bold and brassy style takes some getting used to. But still waters run deep and silent Giraffe seems to have no problem making himself heard. The result is a friend for the ages.

On the way home, we stopped at the park and watched the older (but not by much) kids sliding and swinging. It was a good day with Teddy.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Outside the Back Door

What has Lucy so intrigued?

Two very lucky (outside) birds!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February Reading Report

February...a cold, snowy month brightened up by some fairly good reading; and like the weather, a couple of frosty blasts.  If you are interested in my short comments or a description of a listed book, the links are to my Goodreads postings.


WHISPER OF JASMINE by Deanna Raybourn
Source:  Mt. TBR
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  3.5/5

THAT PART WAS TRUE by Deborah McKinlay
Source:  Library
Format:  Hardcover
Rating:  4/5

A STAR FOR MRS. BLAKE by April Smith
Source:  Library
Format:  Hardcover
Rating:  4/5

Source:  Mt. TBR
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  3/5

40 LOVE by Madeline Wickham
Source:  Library
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  2/5


Series: Baker Street Letters #4
Source:  Library
Format:  Hardcover
Rating:  4/5

WATCHERS OF TIME by Charles Todd
Series:  Inspector Ian Rutledge #5
Source:  Library
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  3.5/5


MANHUNT by Janet Evanovich
Source:  Library
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  3/5

UNDER A TEXAS SKY by Dorothy Garlock
Source:  Mt. TBR
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  3.5/5

And from That Part Was True, a favorite quote of the month:
At first, she'd read fast, as if she were clinging to a moving vehicle, pulled along by the pace of the plot. But then she'd slowed, deliberately, to appreciate the writing--the humor in the choppy sentences, the evocative descriptions of meals and scenery. She'd felt the heat when there was heat, and the fear when there was fear, and the loneliness that underlay the story coming off the page. It had done what good stories always do, made her forget her own.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Reading with Teddy

One of the best things about being a Nana is sharing books with my grandson. There are so many wonderful reading days ahead of us! He already loves holding small board books and looking at the illustrations--doesn't seem to matter that sometimes they are upside down. :)  

So, from time to time, I'll post what Teddy and I have been reading and maybe talk about our walks to the library.  I also keep my additions to his bookshelf posted here at Goodreads.

New for Teddy in February...

WE LOVE EACH OTHER by Yusuke Yonezu
Two red birds snuggle up to form a heart; blue mice lean together to form a triangle--clever cutouts and mirror images convey a message of love.

Simple line drawings of a bunny with his blue blanket confronting that moment when blankie needs to go in the wash. 

CORDUROY by Dan Freeman
This story of a department store bear setting out to find the missing button for his overalls was one of my daughter's favorite books.

The illustrations in this book are wonderfully colorful and will be enjoyed now. The story of different families will be appreciated later.

Friday, January 31, 2014

January Reading Report

A January filled with below average temperatures and enough snow to make things difficult resulted in some good reading time. If you're interested in my short comments or a description of a listed book, the links are to my Goodreads postings.


BEFORE I MET YOU by Lisa Jewell
Source:  Library
Format: Trade Paperback
Rating:  3/5

MR. LYNCH'S HOLIDAY by Catherine O'Flynn
Source:  Library
Format:  Hardcover
Rating:  4/5


Series:  Baker Street Letters #3
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Rating:  3.5/5

NEW TRICKS by David Rosenfelt
Series:  Andy Carpenter #7
Source:  Library
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  4/5


BIG SKY SECRETS by Linda Lael Miller
Series:  Parable, Montana #6
Source:  Library
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  4/5

FAST WOMEN by Jennifer Crusie
Source:  Mt. TBR
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  3/5
January 2014 selection for Yahoo Group On the Porch Swing Group Discussion

BORN IN FIRE by Nora Roberts
Series:  Concannon Sisters Trilogy #1
Source:  Library
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  4/5

FOUL PLAY by Janet Evanovish
Source:  Library
Format:  Kindle
Rating:  3.5/5

Currently reading:  A STAR FOR MRS. BLAKE by April Smith

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Year

Time to catch up for the end of 2013 and look forward to 2014.

I never did post a November Book Report, so will list those books here for the sake of good order.  If you're interested in my short comments or in a description of the book, the links are to my Goodreads postings.  

TWELVE ACROSS by Barbara Delinsky; Romance, 3.5/5
SEARCH THE DARK (Ian Rutledge #3) by Charles Todd; Mystery, 4/5
DOG SONGS by Mary Oliver; Poetry, 5/5
DARK WITCH (Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts; Romance, 4/5
WHEN WE TOUCH (Whiskey Creek #0.5) by Brenda Novak; Romance 3/5
WHERE WERE YOU?, Gus Russo & Harry Moses, eds.; Nonfiction, 3.5/5
LADY ALMINA AND THE REAL DOWNTON ABBEY by Fiona, Countess of Carnarvan; Nonfiction, 3.5/5
THANKSGIVING by Janet Evanovich; Romance, 3.5/5
THE CHRISTMAS CUCKOO by Mary Jo Putney; Romance, 4/5
COLD COMFORT (an Ian Rutledge short story) by Charles Todd; Mystery, 3.5/5
MY OWN MIRACULOUS (Prequel to SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY) by Joshilyn Jackson; Fiction, 4/5

And the December books:
A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS (Hamish Macbeth #16) by M.C. Beaton; Mystery, 3.5/5
PLAY DEAD (Andy Carpenter #6) by David Rosenfelt; Mystery, 4/5
THE RATTLE BAG, Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, eds.; Poetry, 4/5
SURVIVAL LESSONS by Alice Hoffman; Nonfiction, 4/5
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY by Truman Capote; Fiction, 5/5
CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS by Susan Wiggs; Romance, 3/5
CHRISTMAS BLISS by Mary Kay Andrews; Fiction, 3.5/5
A SEASIDE CHRISTMAS (Chesapeake Shores #10) by Sherryl Woods; Romance, 4/5
CHRISTMAS ON 4TH STREET (Fool's Gold #12.5) by Susan Mallery; Romance, 3.5/5
A YEAR WITH RILKE, Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, eds.; Poetry/Essays, 4/5
LEGACY OF THE DEAD (Ian Rutledge #4) by Charles Todd; Mystery, 4/5

And a 2013 summary:
My Goodreads goal for 2013 was 100 books, and I finished with 114 books and a total of 30,595 pages. Fiction and Mystery topped the genre listing with 38 and 32, respectively. Kindle was the top Format at 62 books, and 70 books (print and Kindle) came from the library. In the ratings game, I gave eight books a 5/5 rating, and my average rating was 3.62. LETTERS FROM SKYE by Jessica Brockmole and DOG STORIES by Mary Oliver tied for my favorite books of the year.

Looking forward:
Reading resolutions aren't really my thing because I just continue to read what I want to read when I want to read it (library reserve list position notwithstanding).  And for 2014, I look forward to sharing bookish thoughts with those who visit here at Owl's Feathers as well as friends at the Yahoo Group, On the Porch Swing and on Goodreads.