... of the work force and into retirement after 33 years with the University of Wisconsin Police Dept. He ended on a high note, working the football game between UW-Madison and Northwestern — which Wisconsin won (70-23) and which is likely to result in a Rose Bowl bid. At 7:10 p.m., he turned in his radio and gear, walked out the door and drove home to a quiet celebration with just the two of us. It was so late we put the steaks and champagne on hold until tomorrow night and had turkey enchiladas instead.
During the 23 years we've been together we've rarely worked the same shift, so we are both happy and hesitant about being on the same schedule at last. But, as the Gershwins point out, we have one very important thing on our side that should help us adjust:
"The more I read the papers, the less I comprehend, The world and all its capers and how it all will end. Nothing seems to be lasting, but that isn't our affair, We've got something permanent, I mean in the way we care.
It's very clear, our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but ever and a day. The radio and the telephone, And the movies that we know, May just be passing fancies and in time may go. But oh, my dear, our love is here to stay, Together we're going a long, long way. In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, they're only made of clay. But our love is here to stay."
Fellow gardener and blogger Julie Siegel gave us these wacky keychains to keep us laughing as we drive off into the future. She also took the snap.
"Love is Here to Stay" was the last song George Gershwin wrote before he died. His brother Ira added the lyrics later. Alas, Sinatra doesn't include the wonderful lead-in, but he still does a nice job.
One of the last plants I bought from Seneca Hill Perennials, before that wonderful nursery closed, was a Hellebore that owner Ellen Hornig said blooms at Thanksgiving in her Zone 5 garden in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. My garden is also Zone 5 but with more temperature extremes than Hornig experiences and also a lack of reliable snow cover. Both of those differences can spell the success or failure of the same plant in our two locations.
Nevertheless, I could not ignore the possibility of a Thanksgiving Hellebore (Helleborus niger) and thus sent in an order for one. Here's how Hornig described it in her on-line catalog:
"Wonderful Christmas Roses, descended from a plant given us by friend John Filkins. Our parent plants consistently bloom from Thanksgiving to Christmas, weather permitting. The fall flowers don't set seed, but sometimes the plants bloom in spring as well, and then we do get a crop of seed to work with. All the seedlings we've grown out have retained the fall-blooming habit. The flowers on this strain are outward-facing and on sturdy stalks, and the foliage tends to stay low."
At a mere $7.99, how could I resist? Especially since the plant was actually listed as Zone 4, meaning it should be reliably hardy in my garden. And at one foot high, it would stand out in the November landscape.
I also was smart enough to plant it where I would actually be able to see it blooming from my kitchen window. But once it was in the ground, I promptly forgot all about it until Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening mentioned it in one of our e-mail exchanges. That sent me out into the garden to see if anything was happening. Sure enough, buried in the leaves were buds and a flower trying to emerge into the light.
As with the Spring blooming varieties, this Hellebore was putting out flowers in some chilly weather. I was impressed to see it behaving as described, but even more so to see flowers on a plant this new. I thought I might see flowers next fall, but certainly not this first year. Another wonderful treasure from Seneca Hill.
(We had a big drop in temperature yesterday and, though the Hellebore looks the same as in these photos taken last week, it is now a frozen specimen).
"Politics is about the dignity of daily life; about government's necessary role in ensuring the essential civil and human rights that define a free people; and government exists to provide a clear framework for ethical behavior."
Americans this year voted against politics as usual, along with propositions, policies and whole platforms. Many candidates seemed to offer only grievances rather than solutions — or even suggestions.
All of that makes me even more saddened at the soon-to-end tenure of Barbara Lawton as Wisconsin's Lieutenant Governor. For me, Lawton has been the grace note of Governor Jim Doyle's administration for the past eight years. She's smart, lively, and full of ideas that she turns into actions.
She has been a catalyst for development of the arts and culture industry in every part of the state as a tool for economic expansion and her initiative "Wisconsin Women = Prosperity" has helped to improve the economic status of women by removing roadblocks to their advancement.
Before Lawton leaves office I want to express my personal thanks for her work, her dedication and her bright crusading spirit. I can only hope that Lawton will prove to be an inspiration for the woman who will replace her in January.
BARBARA LAWTON / PHOTO BY MIKE DeVRIES/THE CAPITAL TIMES
You can find Lawton's welcome to the FFRF where I found her remarks about politics and government here, and a wonderful little video where she talks about growing up on a Wisconsin farm, her background and beliefs here.
When we bought our house, it was painted yellow and I couldn't wait to change the color. I wanted something dark and neutral, so the garden would be the focus. I describe our house as an "olive green" color but Mark calls the paint color 'brown." No matter what you call it, it seems as though these European spindle trees (Euonymos europaeus) are attempting a perfect match with their autumn-tinted foliage.
The flowers may be over, but fall foliage is still putting on a show in our garden — even after a weekend of wind and rain. It's a lovely last hurrah. Thanks to Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. We northern gardeners may run out of flowers in the garden right about now, but the foliage goes on all year. You can see what kind of foliage other gardeners are featuring here.
European spindle tree, dwarf burning bush, threadleaf Japanese maple, bamboo, Paperbark maple, more burning bush, Viburnum tomentosum, Dawn Redwood, Crimson Pygmy Barberry, more threadleaf Japanese maple, Golden Curls willow, Spirea Magic Carpet and more Paperbark maple.
We've had fall frosts followed by glorious weather, but the season for flowers is pretty much over here in the Upper Midwest — as is the good weather. The native Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is still going strong and there is a new Thanksgiving Hellebore trying to make it to its name day, but other than that, fall color in our garden is all about leaves and berries. You can see the leaves Tuesday on Foliage Follow-Up. For Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, we're featuring the bounteous berries on this Bean Pole Yew (Taxus baccata 'Bean Pole').
A thank-you, as always, to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who hosts GBBD each month. Drop by her place to see what's blooming today in gardens around the U.S. and the world.
Every time I walk into my local branch of the public library I seem to notice another new group of books about WWI, and I always find myself taking them home. Because America entered the war so near the end, most Americans — unlike me — seem to know little and care less about WWI than earlier or later wars that involved the U.S. But WWI is still the war in Europe; it changed everyone and everything. The death totals stagger one's ability to comprehend:
An estimated 1,300,000 Frenchmen died in WWI compared to 567,000 in WWII. The British Empire suffered approximately 908,000 deaths in World War I, more than twice the number of World War II. July 1, 1916 — the first Battle of The Somme — is still the bloodiest single day in the history of the British Army, with 60,000 killed. This resonates so much because most of these soldiers were volunteers who had joined up with friends, family and neighbors. Whole towns in England were decimated of male residents in this one battle.
Two of the more interesting titles I brought home from the library are:
"The World War I Reader: Primary and Secondary Sources," edited by Michael S. Neiberg, who is Professor of History and Codirector of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Southern Mississippi. The book includes maps, timelines, brief bios of the major players and texts ranging from Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points to excerpts from the letters of Vera Brittain to Roland Leighton in the section of on the Home Front. (You can't read WWI literature without meeting Vera Brittain and reading her letters and books is a life-changing experience). The primary sources give you the immediacy of the war while the secondary sources try to put it all into context; thus readers get both historical and contemporary views on the war.
The Cheshire Regiment in the trenches on the Somme, 1916. It is not entirely clear if the soldier on the left (whose boots are visible) and the one in the right foreground are dead or sleeping. But given the stance of the soldier looking out of the trench, it suggests the others are dead. (Wikipedia photo).
"The Greatest Day in History: How, on the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month, the First World War Finally Came to an End," by Nicholas Best, looks at the ending days of the war from Monday, Nov. 4, 1918 through the entire day of Nov. 11, 1918. In fact, 11,000 casualties were sustained on the morning the war ended. The last American to die — one minute before peace was declared — was a German-American solider from Baltimore who was drafted against his will. Best looks at these last days through the words of eyewitnesses, including Hitler, de Gaulle, Truman, Hemingway — and future WWII generals Patton, MacArthur, and Montgomery. There are as many stories, players, and quirky details as in Juliet Nicolson's book, "The Great Silence," and as many evocative photographs; though Best focuses more on the battles and politics of the last week of the war than Nicholson's broader approach.
"Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise which only slowly deepens in its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst."
— D.H. Lawrence
. . .
Juliet Nicolson's last book looked at "The Perfect Summer:" England in 1911 just before WWI. Her latest work, "The Great Silence," looks at life in Britain in the first years immediately after the war when most of the country seemed to be coping with life by not talking about the war or mentioning those who didn't come home.
The war officially ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. She focuses on the moment of silence that has been observed annually since 11/11/1919 (noting only Americans were too busy to stop and remember) and the unveiling of the Cenotaph memorial along with the interment of the Unknown Solider on 11/11/1920. It's the period between the "falling silent of the guns and the roaring of the 1920."
But what makes this such a fascinating read is that Nicolson weaves together hundreds of stories and statistics into a complex tapestry whose strands never become tangled. The cast includes everyone from the Royal family to Vera Brittain, from the doctor who virtually invented plastic surgery to Nellie Melba, from T.E. Lawrence to the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.
What is noteworthy is that there are so many women in NIcolson's tale — war widows, the first woman MP, university graduates, war workers and domestics — all make numerous appearances. Nicolson is one of the few writing about the war who recognizes that it affected and involved women as deeply as men. Women, as a whole, were one of the few groups for whom the war actually changed things for the better — ultimately bringing them the vote and wide job opportunities.
Soldiers at Roehampton Hospital in London, which was a center for prosthetic limbs. Over 41,000 men lost at least one limb during the war. The amount of compensation by the British government depended on which limb was lost. Nicolson includes a significant amount of information about post-war medicine in the book. Photo from "The Great Silence."