A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac by Margaret Rose Realy:
If you’re a gardener or just an appreciator of the natural world, this is such a fun and satisfying read! Set up like a Farmer’s Almanac, the book is divided by months and is chock full of really neat information.
Some of the highlights include different saints and their connection to gardening or nature, the traditional and religious inspired ‘old names’ of flowers, and certain feasts for each month.
While those parts are interesting on their own, the author has also included short Biblical reflections and a theme for each month, so that you can really sit down and savor the season and what is going on in your garden right now, no matter the time of year. Some monthly themes include ‘preparing the soil’, ‘transformation and new life’, ‘harvesting’ and ‘dormancy and rest.’
Not only excellent ideas to dwell on for the garden, but the soul as well. I highly recommend this book as something you can sit down with for 5 minutes just to read a section or a chapter, or an afternoon read to feed that anticipation of the new year’s garden.
I first spied this book at my friend Patricia’s house, as she has it displayed on the counter of her adorable cottage kitchen.
Upon thumbing through I knew I had to find my own copy– and I was able to find a used copy on Amazon.
If you’re looking for a cozy visual feast— this is it! Its a slim volume and outlines the traditions and routines within a traditional English cottage through the year.
Not only does it speak of bucolic afternoons with the breeze blowing through the open windows or an evening spent warming by a big hearth, it also has recipes if you’re in the mood for a treat.
The book is also beautifully illustrated by Angela Barrett, whose scenes are so packed full of old fashioned detail that you can spot something new each time you sit down with the book.
This is another one great for just reading a little section when you can, or enjoying the whole thing at once. It’s small, but packed full of goodness. Like a nice cottage kitchen should be!
I am a big fan of the writer Gladys Taber, whose work I found totally by accident at the library a few years ago. She writes about the cheerful day-to-day in her old house called “Stillmeadow” and was a successful magazine writer in the 50s and 60s.
She has a large collection of books having to do with Stillmeadow, and later Cape Cod where she also had a little house. Her writing is very much like the blog of a really good friend whose a really fantastic writer. She can talk about the most mundane things in the most fascinating way! She is, I think, my go-to for comfort when the world just seems ‘too much.’
What’s interesting about this specific book— which was part of an amazing collection of Gladys Taber books I recently inherited from my husband’s grandma– is it talks about Taber’s life before Stillmeadow.
Her childhood moving from place to place, the loss of her older sibling’s to sickness, her love for animals, her parents, and her college years. Taber went to college during WWI and her dormitory was riddled with the flu epidemic that swept through the world (remember your Downton Abbey, here!) Talk about a life changing college experience! She was bedridden in a common sickroom next to a friend that would later become ‘Jill’ in her books– the friend whom she would buy Stillmeadow with!
If you’re a Taber fan, you will love this. I might read this after reading atleast one other Stillmeadow book to get your bearings, but if you’re already familiar with Taber, you’ll love getting ‘the back story.’
I am a sucker for a beautiful children’s book, I enjoy these just as much as the ‘grown up books.’ Many of the children’s books in our collection are bought, ehem, because Mama wanted this…
My latest favorite is the book Home by Carson Ellis. This book is just spectacularly, beautifully done from start to finish!
The text is simple, looking at various homes for various people— whether they are real or not! A frenchwoman, a norse god, a moonian, a japanese business man, all their interesting homes are featured here.
My kids and I love looking at all the rich details of the illustrations and deciding what houses we like best. My favorite is the house where the Babushka lives. Audrey likes the strange ‘estate in space.’ Robbie, well, he’s undecided! But he likes it! You might too 😀