Summer in a Nutshell!

Hello, hello dear readers and happy September! Can you believe that Autumn is already nosing its way around the landscape? Ms. Jeannie hopes you all had a wonderful summer and that you are now as excited about the change of seasons as she is.

It has been quite busy around the Ology house these past two months. The summer garden proved to be one of the most bountiful producers of fruits and vegetables Ms. Jeannie has seen in years…

Clockwise from top left: cosmos flowers, okra, heirloom tomatoes, scuppernongs,zinnias, hot pepper trio, cantaloupe melons, pumpkin, beets.
Clockwise from top left: cosmos flowers, okra, heirloom tomatoes, scuppernongs,zinnias, hot pepper trio, cantaloupe melons, pumpkin, beets.

…and kept her quite busy in the kitchen trying new recipes, making sauces, freezing and canning, cutting and chopping.  In the next few days she will begin planting of the fall garden which will yield another batch of beets and pumpkins, brussels sprouts and beans by the end of October (fingers crossed!).

The book club of course kept her very busy, busy, BUSY, and introduced her to several new favorite authors including these three…

 

The poetry of Robert W. Service (1874-1958)
Poet Robert W. Service (1874-1958)
The children's stories of Miyoko Matsutani (born 1926)
Children’s book author Miyoko Matsutani (born 1926)

 

The nature writing of William J. Long (1866-1952)
Naturalist William J. Long (1866-1952)

And reminded her that censorship was alive in just as many home libraries  as public libraries during the 1950’s and 1960’s…

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More news from the book club included the hiring of its first volunteer…  as you can see he worked just as hard all summer as Ms. Jeannie…

Boyo took his book responsibilities very seriously:)
Boyo took his book responsibilities very seriously:)

And when he wasn’t busy in the “stacks,” he spent the rest of his time content to dream of  Robinson Crusoe worthy adventures…

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If nothing else at least he’s well-read:)

 

When Ms. Jeannie wasn’t busy in the book club, she spent some time outdoors marveling at dreamy summer sunsets…

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and at little creatures who camouflaged themselves into big surroundings…

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and big birds who fought for an entire week over a little tree limb real estate…

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There was a very quick trip to Arizona…

Moonrise in the desert mountains.
Moonrise in the desert mountains.

 

and friends that came to visit and left footprints behind…

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But in the midst of all these moments came the biggest and one of the best highlights of the season…  a new addition to Ms. Jeannie’s family…one that she has been wanting and waiting and hoping for for close to two years now…

Introducing Indie!
Introducing Indie!

A new pup! Named Indie for her independent spirit, she came to Ms. Jeannie via the same hobo highway as Boyo. One day she just showed up in the yard, all wiggly and excited,  heart in hand, ready to move-in. After calling all over everywhere  to vets and animal shelters, sheriff offices and police departments, newspapers and humane societies for an entire month, even taking her to be scanned for a micro-chip,  Indie said… No way, Ms. Jeannie – you’ll never solve this mystery. I’ve come for you. I’m here to stay and that is that.

And so she was. Here to stay.  That is that.

And this, dear readers, was Ms. Jeannie’s summer in one very brief, very busy and very beautiful nutshell.  What were some of your best moments of the summer?

 

The Surprise of the Season!

The last time Ms. Jeannie posted on the blog it was snowing. And now it’s Spring!

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Vintage Metal Marquee Sign – The Month of April

Goodness gracious where do the days go?! All throughout February and March Ms. Jeannie has been navigating the book club and her organizational systems for it.

February book club packages ready for the post office!
80 February book club packages ready for the post office!

It has taken her away from blogging and all you lovely readers which she hates, but it has also introduced her to an assortment of wonderful authors and stories from new subscribers which she loves, so it’s been an exciting journey from concept to creation.

With a total of 88 subscribers as of this post, the book club is a constant bustle of activity. To date, which is now at the 7th month mark, Ms. Jeannie has wrapped 307 books, written 307 author’s bios and 307 book bios, been kicked out of the post office once (too many packages please come back tomorrow), gone through 15 packages of tape, finished 8 rolls of twine,  folded 356 pieces of tissue paper, cut 560 lengths of ribbon and been reprimanded by the post master twice (only 10 packages at a time in line please!). Needless to say it’s been a spectacular adventure!

And while Ms. Jeannie’s days are now full of books, and research, and writing, and schedules , she managed to carve in a little gardening time over the weekend thanks to one of the most wonderful surprises ever…

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A greenhouse on loan!

Ms. Jeannie’s neighbor has lent her the use of her greenhouse for the rest of the year! How exciting – a whole greenhouse all her own! It’s located just down at the end of the drive, so it’s a quick walk from the house, and ideally set with plenty of sun water spigots, and old rickety potting tables. After a quick yet thorough snake check by Mr. Jeannie (none thank goodness!) Ms. Jeannie got to work right away planting seeds…

The first seeds of the season!
The first seeds of the season!

So far, in just a day she managed to prepare and pot almost her entire vegetable garden…

Cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts and spinach!
Dill, cucumbers, spinach, hot peppers, and tomatoes.

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It was the first sunny, dry and 70 degree weather in days and Ms. Jeannie was so glad to be enjoying it in her new horticulture house. She even collected sand from the creek bed for her spinach seedlings – these are going to be some pampered plants this year.

Creek sand!
Creek sand!

Next week Ms. Jeannie will get to work on the flower seed aspect of the garden so stay tuned for some regular garden updates all season.

With each passing month, the book club gets better and better situated, so Ms. Jeannie looks forward to sharing a bevy  of spring and summer blog posts.

Until next time, happy April and happy Spring!

 

 

 

Introducing the Vintage Book of the Month Club!

The English philosopher, A.C. Grayling, recently said “To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”

Ms. Jeannie could not agree more! While re-reading Wuthering Heights a few months ago, Ms. Jeannie got to thinking about vintage books and how their stories, while old in years are often times, not old in spirit. They are just more settled and sometimes overlooked by their shinier, more alluring contemporaries.  But Ms. Jeannie aspires to shake these vintage stories up again – to churn their waters of words and wisdom, of history and social commentary, of status and symbolism.  So it is with that in mind, that Ms. Jeannie is thrilled to announce the launch of her new Vintage Book of the Month Club!

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The book club operates on subscription basis, with a choice of either six months or one year. And there are a few categories available: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Children’s books. The former broken down further into “him”and “her” categories and the latter into “boys” and “girls” categories.  That way if you were giving the book club subscription as a gift you could personalize it with the types of books the recipient likes to read the most.

Every month, subscribers receive one hardcover vintage book in the mail. Written or copyrighted before 1970, each book arrives gift wrapped.  A card detailing the history behind the book and/or author is also included along with a bookplate that bares the recipient’s name.  This is a what the bookplate looks like…

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When Ms. Jeannie designed the bookplate, she went with an Art Deco theme since that is one of her favorite periods in history. The soaring antelope-type deer reminded Ms. Jeannie of the soaring feeling a good story can give you.

It also reminded Ms. Jeannie of the time that she was picking blackberries from a hedgerow in Pennsylvania. It was a lovely lazy grey, green day. Storm clouds were just working there way into the landscape and the birds were singing their hearts out. The blackberries that year, were the biggest Ms. Jeannie had ever seen. The bushes, equally girthy, had grown together and formed an alley of a row that seemed as long as a mile and as tall as a giant.  Full, heavy berries dangled feet above Ms. Jeannie’s head taunting her ability to reach them.

But Ms. Jeannie had more than enough supply at eye-level, so she got to work with intentions to gather enough for a pie and then possibly some tarts for her neighbor. Within 30 minutes, she had pickd an entire bucket full and was working on a second, when all of a sudden,  a dark shadow passed fast overhead. Ms. Jeannie looked up in time to see a furry, white belly sailing through the sky. As she watched the arc of the belly go from front to back, she saw it land, noiselessly behind her and bound off into the woods.

Do you you know what this mysterious flying creature was? A deer! Most likely spooked by something in a neighboring yard this deer was on the run, saw the hedgerow and thought “yeah – I can clear that,” and up and over she went. Ms. Jeannie was awe-struck. It was a magical and dangerous moment. If Ms. Jeannie had been standing just a few inches further back than she was, the deer would have landed right on top of her.

To have the whole scene play out without a single noise (except for the birds) was stunning and surprising. You’d like to think you could hear such a commotion coming.  The event was marvelous and left Ms. Jeannie a bit giddy with excitement to tell Mr. Jeannie all about the day a deer flew through the sky like a bird.   Looking in on the scene – you’d have seen a woman among a batch of berry bushes, but stick around and invest a few minutes of time there, and eventually you’d have seen a bit of magic.  Isn’t that just the epitome of a good book? At the start you think, “oh this is a nice pattern of words” and then without warning those nice little words pull you into the storyline in one effortless swoop and carry your imagination away.

That’s just the effect Ms. Jeannie is hoping for with her vintage book of the month club. As for the types of vintage books that one might receive, the field will be varied. Non-fiction readers could expect a variety of topics including biographies and memoirs (can you ever really get enough information about Ernest Hemingway?!), books about nature, cooking or history. Fiction readers could expect vintage editions of classic literature from Henry James or Mark Twain, tales of romance complete with gorgeous retro dust jackets or a vintage suspense novel or a book of poetry.

The fun part of an “of the month” club is the surprise element behind each package and the appreciation of the item in form, content and appearance.  So just like when you participate in the jam of the month club, or the wine of the month club or the coffee of the month club – you come away just a little bit more enlightened about the subtle differences of a singular subject.  Each of the vintage books in Ms. Jeannie’s club, will be of good quality and will be hand-picked for its story, presentation and/or subject matter.

The children’s book option includes a variety of board books and picture books, tall tales, nursery rhymes, and early education materials.  Ms. Jeannie thinks that this subscription would make a really fun gift for a baby shower or a new mom. The little one’s library would grow bigger and bigger, month by month, just like them, and hopefully they would become the building blocks for a new generation of readers altogether.

So that’s the book club in a nutshell. Fun for gift-giving or fun for yourself, Ms. Jeannie’s Vintage Book of the Month Club looks forward to entertaining a dynamic group of readers.  If you’d like to sign up for a six month subscription, you can do so here. Or if you prefer a one year subscription, you can sign up here. 

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And of course, if you have any questions, please ask!