Sunday, July 29, 2012


I found this tattered volume of Gospel Hymns (published by Biglow & Main, 1876) in a flea market. It was owned by Carrie Barker of Bridgton, Maine; she was the youngest of James S. and Rachel E. Barker’s seven children and was twenty years old when she signed her name inside this hymnal 1878.
According to the 1880 census, her father was a cooper (and suffered from catarrh, which I’ve always thought sounds particularly nasty).  Her mother “kept house.”

Inside the back cover, Carrie listed “the amount I have spent of Gram’s money.” (Birthday money, perhaps? Or Christmas? Was it Gram Barker who gave her the money? Or her mother’s mother?) Three expenditures: one for 1.50, one for 1.87, the last for 50 cents.
And she also wrote notes to herself throughout the hymnal. Apparently, she assigned different hymns to different people: beside the title I Am Praying for You, Carrie wrote “Mrs. Cluff;”  I Am Sweeping Through the Gates is marked for “Polly.”
She shows, too, a great sense of humor – underneath the hymn titled Hebron, she’s written “Maine”  (Hebron, Maine is about 25 miles northeast of Carrie’s hometown of Bridgton).

I’m in the process now of trying to locate one of Carrie’s descendants; if I find one, I’ll send the hymnal along.
Then we can all sing Hymn No. 98: Home at Last.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


"When you have only two pennies in the world,

buy a loaf of bread with one,

and a lily with the other.    --Chinese proverb

This little sweetie is Cosmic Hummingbird, one of my favorite daylilies. It's small, delicate -- I bought it a few years ago in honor of a good friend who lives on a street named Cosmic Lane.

I love mid-July; the daylily garden is bursting! Tall ones, short ones, ones inbetween -- the colors are superb and the names are irresistible!

Consider: Devil's Footprint, Magic Carpet Ride, Prince of Midnight; Paper Butterfly, Hot Ticket, Farmer's Daughter, Gentle Shepherd.

Some sound like old friends: Monica Marie, Alec Allen, Betty Warren Woods, Barbara Mitchell. Others are towns or cities: Atlanta Fringe Benefit, Lights of Detroit, Jerusalem, Chicago Sunrise.

I've just read about a yellow-gold daylily I think I'll buy for this year's addition to my gardens.

It's called, believe it or not, Delores Gould.

We must be related.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


At the very end of my street there's an old cemetery, and I often walk there in the early morning when the summer sun casts slanted light across the stones.

It's lovely, and I take my time. There's no rush, no hurry (everything here is at rest, after all), and there is so much to look at.

 Funerary art isn't as simple as it seems: there's great symbolism in each and every carving. The lamb here, for instance, implies a child's tomb; the ship, as you can guess, is for a mariner...

...and here, in Maine, we have lots of those.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Deb Gould: MY GARDENER: He loves to help in the garden, especially when I'm working in the daylily beds where the soil is damp and the foliage provides filtered sh...


He loves to help in the garden, especially when I'm working in the daylily beds where the soil is damp and the foliage provides filtered shade on hot days. Black as onyx, he's actually a smoke; his undercoat is soft gray. He has fabulous ear tufts and feet the size of silver dollars; his whiskers are long and proud.

He carries the name of my great-uncle Howard (in my family, we name our animals after our ancestors -- it's considered a great honor), who survived a hitch in the Navy during WWI, but died in his 30s from an undiagnosed heart condition.

This Howard would not do well in the Navy, but he certainly does a fine job in the vinca and daylilies!