Breaking with Friends

September 8, 2010

Recently, I took a break from everyday responsibilities, picked up my friend, Valerie, and went thrift and antiques shopping. My big purchase was a tiny flower frog (seen on the right in above photo) for five dollars at Second Hand Rose. I have three flower frogs now for my new collection fetish. This recent craze is an act of faith that someday I will have a cutting garden. Not a large garden, just big enough to fill the house with fresh bouquets and the hearts of those who enter with spring fever.

After I made my purchase, we walked a block down School Street, turned left down Pine Street to the Antiquarium. This shop (left photo) has everything imaginable from antiques and collectibles to new items. It’s a happy hand-on-your-heart moment when you enter. Overflowing merchandise beautifully displayed in eclectic fashion, from floor to tabletops to cabinetry ledges, cause you to pause instantly. A lot of thought and talent goes into purchasing and then displaying past and present so cleverly. I wanted it all, hundreds of primitive items carrying old stories, and modern treasures to compose a new journey.

Exiting the Antiquarium, you pass through an open iron gate and walk by potted flowers. I wanted those too!

Valerie and I belong to the same garden club. Other than the monthly club events, this was our first outing together. With one exception, we’ve learned that we enjoy doing the same things:  gardening, reading, and thrift shopping. The exception is cooking. Valerie will go to Costco for her favorite breads, to another grocery store for special ingredients and others for bargains. I, however, use grocery stores like a drive thru; one stop, stock up, pay, and head out.

Valerie’s a great cook, as is a mutual friend, Dolores, who opened her home  to our spouses and us (a couple of days later) for a delicious Sunday meal. Valerie and Jim, Joe and I sat with Dolores and her husband, Tom, poolside at a round picnic table. Just as we began to fill our plates, a light breeze carried the aroma of ribs and garden-fresh vegetables into our nostrils then drifted over the gleaming pool water. Throughout the meal, conversations barreled into laughter as topics changed from pet raccoons to suicidal hens. Good times, good food, good people.

After dinner, I walked around the backyard. Vole trails and mounds riddled their lawn, but the perennial beds were lush and blooming (see photo above) with the brilliant sunset shining through. In the vegetable garden, a wilting pepper plant leaned precariously. At the base was a fresh critter mound. Tom grabbed a shovel and a black nursery bucket from the barn to pot the pepper plant. I haven’t heard yet if it survived. It probably wasn’t worth the effort. The shock will stop fruit from setting. Gardeners, however, never stop trying. Like parenting, the responsibilities of nurturing plants never escape the heart, whether we’re out shopping or dining with friends. Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre



  1. The critters (vole, rat, gopher, etc.) will never be entirely eradicated. The best we can do is to “try” to control them. Plant extras to “share.”


    • Oh, you busted my bubble.


    • About the rodent population…owl boxes and perches erected for hawks etc. if there are none in your area might help to naturally control the population.


  2. Thanks for the kind words, we also had a great time visiting and sharing our dinner with good friends.
    I forgot to mention that Tom made the picnic table and benches, as well as most of the stuff around here. He is very talented!

    The pepper plant is now on ‘life support’.


  3. Dear Dianne,

    I learned about your blog from my great SICL garden instructor Julie Morehouse. Just wanted to let you know I enjoy reading your blogs and have learned a lot about gardening as well as about neat places nearby like Antiquarium in Lodi.

    Take Care,

    Ray Tom


    • Ray,

      Julie is an excellent instructor and knowledgeable Master Garden. I’m excited to know that you are benefiting from my blog. Thanks for letting me know. It means a great deal to us bloggers as we spend a great deal of time alone at the computer. It’s good to recognize how we are fairing and what readers enjoy. Thanks–Dianne


  4. Dolores, I will keep your pepper plant in my prayers.

    I agree with Dianne about the wonderful dinner and great company. A lot of laughter and fun was had by all.

    We enjoyed the walk around your garden. It has a lot of character.


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