I’m so happy to be here on Babs Book Bistro and would like to thank Babs for having me. I also want to remind everyone to sign up for the week long Rafflecopter Giveaway—a gift box including a chocolate-cherry cake recipe for Valentine’s Day, plus an autographed book, crystal wineglasses and a vintage, etched glass cake plate.
Today, I’m sitting here writing this on an amazing day in mid-January with sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s. In general, I find this alarming and worry about the bulbs and trees that might get confused and spring to life prematurely. But on a purely personal level, it’s a wonderful afternoon.
Sitting in my garden in the shade I’m watching about a dozen bright red Cardinal males descend on the birdseed I just put out. Slowly, the females are starting to join them, plus chickadees, titmice, sparrows, juncos and goldfinches, all flying by over my head with a great deal of wing fluttering and chirping.
In case you can’t tell by now, I’m a gardener, and a birder. Summer and winter, they are both joys in my life, and a few years ago, the garden and the birds taught me a valuable lesson in patience and learning to just let some things be. Allowing nature to take its course in the landscape can be the wisest choice some times. Not a hundred percent, of course, but a lot more than most of us seem to want to do.
A few years ago, after spending years doing my gardening on what had been open pasture to start with, I relocated and started over again on a virgin plot of land that had never been developed or shaped by the hand of man. A small chunk of what was destined to become a backyard was old growth in the form of a stand of towering cottonwoods with a tangle of vines wrapped around their trunks and reaching fifty to sixty feet in the air.
The first winter, as I studied the landscape, I saw these vines as nothing more than an eyesore and decided that they would be one of the first things to go when we got around to taming the dense patch of wilderness. But I also realized there was no real hurry, and during that next summer I noticed that one of the vines entangling the cottonwood trunks was a trumpet vine. Which was a good thing. As I sat where I’m sitting now, I could even see tiny hummingbirds high in the air stopping at each of the bright orange flowers.
Wondering if there was a way to separate the trumpet vine from the rest, I continued to hold back on my plans to do away with the vines. Then the next summer I saw that there was also honeysuckle, and again there were hummingbirds plus bees and butterflies hovering around the tree when the honeysuckle was in bloom. Four months later I watched while Cardinals plucked off the small, black berries that followed the honeysuckle’s blossoms.
That same fall, I also recognized what was a wild grape interwoven with the trumpet and honeysuckle vines. That winter I watched from my living room window as birds gathered the small grapes from the grapevine while a squirrel ran up and down the tree chewing off the tips of the vines and carrying them up to pad the nest he was rebuilding for the winter.
As I began to put out feed for the birds and more and more of them gathered in the backyard in the wintertime, I noticed that they used the vines as a place to shelter. Tucked deep in the tangle against the trunk of the tree, they clustered by the dozens, protected from predators and the worst of the wind, bathing in the sun’s rays, a feathered brotherhood.
Watching them from my window I realized that what had seemed senseless and unattractive when I had seen it that first winter was, in fact, food and shelter to countless creatures who lived on that land. Beautiful in the summertime and harmless to the tree they used for support, the vines served a purpose that nothing else could replace. To have torn them out would have been a huge mistake.
Summer and winter now, I watch the birds and the squirrels make their way up and down and in and out of the vines, and I am so glad that I decided to wait. Sometimes the best decision is simple patience.
Murder, Mayhem & Bliss
by Loulou Harrington
Murder, Mayhem and Bliss (Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mystery Book 1)
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Deadly Niche Press (November 26, 2014)
E-Book File Size: 461 KB
Nothing much happens in Myrtle Grove, Oklahoma. So when prominent businessman Harry Kerr is discovered face down in his pool shortly after dawn, the breakfast crowd in Jesse Camden’s tea room is buzzing. Recognizing the name, Jesse hurries to her friend Vivian Windsor, Myrtle Grove’s resident oil heiress and great-aunt to Bliss Kerr, widow of the deceased and soon-to-be prime suspect in his suspicious death.
Clearing Bliss and finding the real murderer isn’t what Jesse meant when she offered her assistance. And wrangling an eager band of helpers while chasing a tangle of leads across the countryside, tripping over deputies and evidence along the way, isn’t her first choice for her weekend. But here she is, and here she will be, hearing secrets no one should know, and discovering betrayals no one could live with, until Jesse finds her way through the maze of deceit to uncover the real killer.
About This Author:
A lifelong fan of mysteries and the cozy genre, in particular, Loulou Harrington began her published career in romances and is now happy to be writing what she has always loved to read—a good, old-fashioned mystery. Even better, she has the chance to incorporate her personal love of gardening, cooking, exploring quaint villages and wandering through the great outdoors in her new Myrtle Grove Garden Club mystery series. She sincerely hopes you will enjoy sharing this special world with her.
Loulou Harrington, Author
Myrtle Grove Garden Club mysteries
MURDER, MAYHEM AND BLISS, Book 1
January 25 – Babs Book Bistro – Guest Post, Giveaway
January 26 – Back Porchervations – Review
January 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
January 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Guest Post
January 29 – Queen of All She Reads – Review
January 30 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
January 31 – deal sharing aunt – Interview
February 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review, Giveaway (e-book)
February 1 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
Plus Rafflecopter Giveaway to span all blogs.