This bumblebee visited our chrysanthemum yesterday. The days and nights finally are cooler here in east Tennessee. The tree leaves are turning into their crayon shades. Mums are blooming in full glory. Autumn has arrived at last.

Friday’s flower No. 5

One splotched variety of daffodil is still cheerfully blooming in our flower bed.

They happily accompany the various tulips.

interior of the short pink tulip in the preceding picture
a double tulip

Happy IPD!

Happy International Pancake Day, brought to you by IHOP.

MDH requested pancakes for breakfast, but we have some dietary restrictions including low-carbohydrate and dairy-free. That means no IHOP fare for us.

The low-carb cookbook that I own has a pancake recipe in it, but it requires ingredients that are not in my pantry yet and I was not in a grocery shopping mood today.

I did a quick internet search and found this tasty pancake recipe. I used canola oil in place of avocado oil, coconut sugar instead of erythritol, and added a pinch of ground cinnamon. The nut milk I used is almond-cashew milk.

The pancakes were surprisingly fluffy for a low-carb pancake, a rather desirable trait in those goods. The structure of these held together without any crumbling whatsoever.

International Pancake Day is IHOP’s annual fundraiser for a few medical charities. Here is the link to IHOP’s list which contains links to donate if you would like to help.

Friday’s flower No. 2

There is a daylily farm, Oakes Daylilies, northeast of Knoxville. Every June they have a daylily festival and I finally went for the first time today. At the festival they have special events, attendees get to meander through the display gardens, and of course you can leave with more daylilies for your flower beds.


I purchased two varieties, Little Business and Good Impression. They join the daylilies (pictured below) that I inherited when we bought our house.


Oakes Daylies has an innumerable amount of stunning varieties. I look forward to expanding my daylily collection.

Japan, I

MDH and I decided to fly somewhere exotic. Asia is exotic to us. Other reasons for choosing Japan over any other Asian country were Japan is clean and organized, people in general are very respectful, and the Japanese people don’t eat cats and dogs. I cannot bear the thought of accidentally eating one of those creatures.

Neither of us speak or read the Japanese language, so the Google translator app on MDH’s phone and the travel-sized translation book that I carried were our friends! We did learn how to say “thank you”, “please”, “hello”, and “goodbye” in Japanese before we went. It also helped that some signs have English translations on them.

Also , thank you to MDH’s long-time friend who grew up in Japan and tutored us some on a few aspects before we went and was in touch with MDH while we were there. “Arigato”, Jim!

Ahoy there! Our first sighting of Japan. We’re quite excited!
That thing that looks like a sailboat is actually a vent for a tunnel, we read later. Form and function.
Haneda Airport, Tokyo. There are two international airports in Tokyo. We flew out of Narita Airport when we came home.

a nodding, yellow host


Last autumn, a group of local volunteers planted 60,000 daffodil bulbs in the medians around three exits along one of the interstates just north of downtown Knoxville. I went to see one of the displays. The sight is very pretty to behold–crepe myrtles to follow–and should be spectacular in years to come after the daffodils have multiplied.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud                                                                                                                                
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,                                                                                                                  
A host, of golden daffodils;                                                                                                                               
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,                                                                                                           
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.                                                                                                
Continuous as the stars that shine                                                                                                                       
And twinkle on the milky way,                                                                                                                          
They stretched in never-ending line                                                                                                              
Along the margin of a bay:                                                                                                                                    
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,                                                                                                                    
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.                                                                                                            
The waves beside them danced; but they                                                                                                         
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:                                                                                                                     
A poet could not but be gay,                                                                                                                                     
In such a jocund company;                                                                                                                                          
I gaze--and gazed--but little thought                                                                                                          
What wealth the show to me had brought:                                                                                                     
For oft, when on my couch I lie                                                                                                                                 
In vacant or in pensive mood,                                                                                                                            
They flash upon that inward eye                                                                                                                     
Which is the bliss of solitude;                                                                                                                               
And then my heart with pleasure fills,                                                                                                              
And dances with the daffodils.                                                                                                                                
-- William Wordsworth

designed in Kansas, made in Tennessee


Back in December I received an email notification that was going to feature a monthly quilt-a-long in 2016. Some of the designs are traditional quilt blocks and others are new, modern designs. It looked like the final product would be a fun quilt, so I joined

Each month’s online class is led by a different fabric designer. My blocks pictured above are, from left to right, the blocks for January, February, and March. Quilters will recognize January’s block as an Ohio Star. February’s block is a design by Anna Maria Horner, and the March block is from Carolyn Friedlander.

The fabric I am using is from my stash. This fabric is the Sweet Pea collection designed by a fellow Kansan, Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles Quilters. I won it in one of her giveaways a year or two ago. I have to piece scraps together to make larger pieces big enough for some pattern sections, but I don’t mind. That will be less noticeable when the quilt is finished. I will be adding a border to each block, using a solid khaki fabric that also is already in my stash.

plans B & C, because of the D

Today was a lovely spring day in east Tennessee, and My Darling Husband had the sudden urge to go hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So away we went, up to the entrance road to Clingman’s Dome. Alas, the dome is closed until March 31, so we went across the road to the Newfound Gap trailhead.20160315_17362420160315_17364120160315_174029

Alas, no dogs allowed! We then read that pets on a leash are allowed on only two of the trails in this national park. That is highly disappointing, because we had planned to take CutieDog on most of our hiking excursions here and we want to work our way along all of the trails in this park.
We loaded the dog and ourselves into the car and headed back down the twisty mountain road to this path that we spied on the way up. This path is called the Quiet Walkway and there were not any No Dogs Allowed signs to be seen.


Along the Quiet Walkway is this cemetery from the 1800s. The tall headstone on the right is a newer replacement stone for one of the old graves.20160315_182049

We then came to this river, which I think is the West Prong Little Pigeon River. You can see the native rhododendrons in this shot. Our mountain goat of a dog rambled and jumped from rock to rock right along with us. We sat on a rock here for a bit.20160315_18382020160315_184535

We had met two exiting hikers at the head of the Quiet Walkway, but no others. Not being able to hike with the crowds on the first two trails was rewarded by having the Quiet Walkway and this spot on the river to ourselves, the birds, and the sound of rushing water. Bliss.

surprise #3


While cutting down some old bushes along our front porch today, I spotted a canna lily that I did not plant. My mother-in-law informed me that cannas grow as perennials here in Tennessee. A previous owner of the house planted it. That, or an animal dropped a canna lily seed. Hmmm…I am so curious to see what color the flowers will be. The leaf color is exotic and will add some good contrast to the green-leaved flora that I plant. I transplanted it to a pot temporarily, until I have a spot ready for it in the sunnier flower bed between the house and driveway.

In the brown pot are a couple of hydrangea cuttings that my mother-in-law let me take from her bush. I am attempting to root them. One has a couple of living leaves on it, so it may have some roots, but I want to wait longer to pull it out and check.