'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Moving Day

Well, I've done it. Moved to Wordpress. I don't know why, except I needed a change. I like the format there and the design tools. I hope you'll drop over to PEGGY'S PORCH and visit me there.  Just click on the link and you'll go to my first post at the new address and catch up with whats been going on! I'm not shutting down this blog, I just won't be posting from here anymore. Thanks! Hope to see you over on my porch! Comments have been turned off here.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spring or Winter?

We've had such mild weather here for the month of January. Beautiful days up to 67*! The flowers and the birds are so confused! My bulbs are all coming up!

The robins have come back by the droves! I got up one morning and the back yard was covered in them. I started counting and gave up at 30! Tried to get pics but they are a bit blurry and I was scaring them away

A town near Knoxville was having trouble with Starlings. They came back by the thousands and were hanging around really making a nuisance so they had to get out the big guns! Some kind of propane things that make really loud booms and after a couple days of that the birds moved on. That would have been something to see!

We did have a three day cold snap early on with a bit of snow and the birds were flocking like crazy to the feeders during the bitter cold! One day we had 6 male cardinals and 6 females at the feeders! Junco's and one Rufous-sided Towhee even showed up! That was a first for my feeders.

 The Towhee 

Mr. & Mrs. Downy Woodpecker together!

Titmice. I love these little birds!

Red Finch

Nuthatch, another of my favorites!

Mrs. Cardinal and a dove.
But this morning we woke up to heavy frost. Winter is back! Seasonal temps expected now, which isn't bad for winter here. In the forties during the day and thirties at night. If the bitter cold brings the birds like it did those few days the first of the month though, I won't complain about it. I never get tired of watching them!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gallow's View by Peter Robinson

A Peeping Tom is frightening the women of Eastvale; two glue-sniffing young thugs are breaking into homes and robbing people; an old woman may or may not have been murdered. Investigating these cases is Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, a perceptive, curious and compassionate policeman recently moved to the Yorkshire Dales from London to escape the stress of city life. In addition to all this, Banks has to deal with the local feminists and his attraction to a young psychologist, Jenny Fuller. As the tension mounts, both Jenny and Banks’s wife, Sandra, are drawn deeper into the events. The cases weave together as the story reaches a tense and surprising climax.

My first Peter Robinson. I've been picking this series up as I see them, but never got around to reading any of them yet! Very good police procedural. I love the ITV series, DCI Banks, made from this series of books. 

Get a short lesson on building a strong stone wall in this one too. I found that quite interesting.

Peggy Ann

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Tale of Two Murders by Elizabeth Ferrars

A witty man, quietly charming, could be good company: that was Stephen Gazeley.

and yet... And yet...

His sister Hilda, housekeeping for him since the  tragic death of his wife, had to admit that people did turn against him. Even his own wife in the year before she died. Daughter Katherine's fiancé and his parents. His oldest friend. Even the gardener...

But it was only after the first murder that Hilda began to see things as they were, rather than as she wished they could be.

And found the process very, very uncomfortable...

Another solid page turner by Elizabeth Ferrars. I haven't read one yet that I didn't enjoy!

Peggy Ann

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hive of Suspects by Sheila Pim

When sudden death strikes in this Irish town, 
local beekeepers suspect a poisonous hive

   Jason Prendergast built his fortune taking minerals from the earth near the Irish town of Drumclash, but bees became the real passion of his life once the mines gave up the last of their riches. When he dies after dining on honey from one of his own hives, village beekeepers suspect local bees are feasting on poisonous plants and infecting hives with deadly nectar.
   Prendergast's solicitor, Edward Gildea, consults his fellow beekeepers who think rhododendrons the most likely source of the poison. Only why is it that only Jason Prendergast's hives were infected? And why should bees suddenly take a liking to this particular plant? The Civic Guard prefers to look for a human hand and suspicion falls upon those locals who stand to benefit from the old man's death, including several servants and an aged distant cousin who deliberately hacks her own rhododendron plants to bits in a crazed frenzy.
   The chief suspect, however, is Phoebe Prendergast, a niece who gave up a promising career on the stage to look after the old man. Gildea can't believe in Phoebe's guilt and conceals from the police the fact that Prendergast was about to add a codicil to his will, disinheriting her should she return to the stage-even after his death. Nor does Phoebe's odd behavior following the old man's death bode well for her innocence.
   The truth finally emerges during a wild chase in the abandoned mines deep under the earth of the green Irish hills near the old man's mansion. Once again, Sheila Him paints a vivid and affectionate portrait of life in a small Irish town in this 1952 novel, showing why contemporary critics called her "the Irish AngelaThirkell."

This is the fourth and last of Pim's garden mysteries. I have enjoyed every one of them! Each book has a garden theme and is set in a rural Irish village. Well plotted and characters I can like and engage with. The story takes right off and keeps your attention. She does a good job of making each suspect really viable so it's hard to put your finger on the culprit. If you get a chance to read her mysteries I highly recommend it!

In this one bee-keeping is integral to the story. Not only do you have fun with the mystery, you learn quite a bit about bees and the plants they use. Did you know that bees usually don't sting when they are swarming? Or that bumblebees have longer tongues than hive bees? Why should the honey become poisonous this year?

  'Edward had two possible answers to that. The first was that the climate of the Vale, so favorable that even tropical plants would grow there, was a perpetual temptation to gardeners to import ever more weird exotics. Somebody might be growing the so-called American yellow jasmine (not a true jasmine) Gelsemium sempervirens, or mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia, both plants to which honey poisoning had been attributed. It might be the first year they had flowered, or they might only just have been discovered by the bees. Were this the case it would not be too difficult to trace the source of the trouble and root the plans out. But it does take a large spread of blossom to provide even a teaspoonful of honey. There would have to be Gelsemium or Kalmia by the acre. The Gildeas knew most of the great gardeners in the neighborhood, and if there were anything new on that scale they out to have heard about it.
   Edward was more inclined to blame the rhododendrons. They had been mentioned in Xenophon's account, he discovered, as well as that of Mr. Kingdon Ward. There were plenty of these about. The Gildeas had one in their own garden. The bushes were often buzzing with bumblebees, but the hive bees, according to Edward's own observation seldom visited them. The nectar was more troublesome for hive bees to reach; bumblebees have longer tongues. That might mean that the flowers were neglected as long as there were other sources of supply, but that for some reason this year, the bees, mysterious creatures that they are, had suddenly taken to them. Or could it be that repeated crossing with imported races, like bees of the yellow Italian strain, had evolved a longer-tongued breed, which could compete with the bumblebees, and that Mr. Prendergast's bees were driven from such a cross? Fascinated by the various possibilities, Edward was tending to lose himself in speculation, when his wife brought him down to earth.'

This book counts for Bev's Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt - Gold- Skull and also is book two in my Follow the Clues challenge also at Bev's ...
Bodies in a Bookshop (botanist amateur detectives) > Hive of Suspects (bees and bee-keepers)

Peggy Ann

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Puzzle Time

I've been laid up with a wicked upper respiratory infection this week.  Feeling a little better today but I think it's settled in my chest now. I'm having a hard time breathing and it feels like a brick on my chest. If it doesn't go away soon I'll probably break down and go to the doctor. Yuck! I hate going to the doc. I've never had pneumonia so I don't what the symptoms are. I think my fever is gone. Any whoo, a quick post so you don't think I've disappeared again!

Finished Charles Wysocki's A Delightful Day on Sparkhawk Island last week...

and am nearing finish on his Lobster Shack...

I adore his puzzles and am collecting them. I find older, hard to find ones on eBay.

I have a vintage Scottish travel poster puzzle from Katrina to do still. Think that one will be next on my list. She says their pieces are different than ours so I'm looking forward to checking it out. And picked up a Ravensburger Puzzle of The Singing Butler at a thrift store. I love that painting!

Even if I can't breath I can work at the puzzle off and on! I was looking forward to winter to do puzzles but it's going to be in the upper 60's for the next two weeks! What's up with that? I'm just a northern girl at heart.

Peggy Ann
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