In the Midst of Change
I wonder at the vigor of the 90 somethings still riding bikes, or the equally old spryly working in their gardens. I admire their ability and then become saddened that at 74 I’ve lost so much of that strength. My head and heart want to prance about the nooks and crannies of the heavenly gardens I once created, but my body lacks the needed stamina. So, we will be moving. For twenty years I have walked the paths I created, nourished the trees and plantings, created a small paradise
I will leave behind the eleven trees planted for our eleven grandchildren. I will leave behind more than fifty hosta varieties inhabiting the shadows of the yard. I will leave behind the tiny bit of paradise I built out upon the City of Asbury flood plain. Over the years, I purchased native plants and posted signs with the plant names for anyone walking through the trail I created. All this and more will be left behind, but the sadness of leaving is not what I wish to share.
We are living in perilous times when physically and verbally attacking ourselves is the daily norm. Many live in fear of what the COVID pandemic is doing beyond the physical aspects. Many more have seen their lives burned to ashes in a matter of hours. None of us are immune to these and other tragic events. So? What to do? Nature, even when destructive and out of control, can be our guide and teacher.
Two years after fires swept through the mountains around Cimarron, New Mexico, I was backpacking with our Boy Scout troop. As we crested the slope and topped the Mesa, we saw the burned remains of the pines that once occupied it. Hiking on we began to see vast carpets of flowers blooming in the rubble and ash, effectively covering the scars of the fire. Nature heals herself.
We plant flowers and trees because we believe in a future. Earth is our home; we owe it our respect. No greater respect can be given than to beautify and care for all that lives upon the earth. Now, I do not know the circumstances of my readers, but I do know that regardless of what they may be, beauty can be a part of each life. A small basket of annuals, a few perennials, some trees, and shrubs, are all within reach if we believe it’s important to care for the earth and its future. Nature looks to the future.
Enlist grandchildren to plant, spend a few minutes taking in your flowers, and do whatever is necessary to surround yourself with some natural beauty. We visited several Amish markets this spring and filled our car with baskets of beautiful verbena, petunias, lantana, begonias, and other wonderful mixes of color. All summer we are greeted by so much beauty when we step outside that we always smile and breathe in the heavenly scents of the flowers. Nature gives us beauty.
With Fall coming, it might be good to shop for some mums. They’re everywhere and have been since early August—a bit early (like many Halloween candy displays!) since we want to enjoy the blooms well into October. Shop for plants that are just opening their buds, keep the plants evenly watered, don’t bake the mums in too much afternoon sun, and you should have color well into freeze. The heady fragrance of the mum is one of my favorite scents and I’m immediately back in Chicago in our tiny backyard smelling the russet red mums my father loved. Nature remembers and shares goodness.
I do not know what lies ahead for Christine and me, but I see it as an adventure. I’m hoping whoever may buy our house will enjoy much of what we will leave behind. More than that, I’m hoping they may allow me to dig up a few plants, maybe a few hostas. Just a little of what we had to take with us as we move forward. It will not be easy to accept I cannot do what I once did out in the yard. It will not be easy to downsize the number of containers filled with flowers. It will not be easy to reduce my time amongst all that I have loved since I first planted a garden as a nine year old. But we will have flowers, and trees, and shrubs; yes, with certainty we will still invite Nature into our new place. Nature brings comfort. Stop and smell the flowers.
Dog’s Begging Spirals Out of Control
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: Our dog “Boadicea” is a sweetheart, but when she wants a treat she turns into a little monster. She drools on my arm, chews on my roommate’s shoe (with his foot in it), barks loudly, yips ... whatever it takes. We eventually break down and give her a treat. This happens several times a day. How can we stop this behavior? — Darren in Manchester, New Hampshire
DEAR DARREN: There are two steps I’d recommend to curb this behavior, because you know the downside of Boadicea’s begging: spiraling behavioral problems, future digestive issues and potential obesity.
First, reinforce her basic obedience training. Work with her at least once a day on the “sit,” “stay,” “lie down,” “leave it” and “come here” commands. I recommend not working with her during the time that you’re normally relaxing in the living room with your roommate, because you want to try to reinforce that certain places and times are for training, play or treats.
Obedience training alone won’t resolve the problem, though, because she’s developed a habit of begging whenever you’re trying to relax or socialize. So, you’ll need to employ the “ignore and divert” strategy as well.
Ignore her attention-seeking behavior for a specific amount of time ... say, five minutes. Next, command her to either sit or lie down, and give her a chew toy. When she inevitably gets up to beg again, repeat the process. Don’t give her a treat at all. This will take time, but eventually she will get it.
Many dog owners add a structured treat time to the day. For example, after your dinner and dishes are done, she can have her treat. This will help reinforce when and where she gets treats, and how she is supposed to behave.
Send your tips, questions,
and comments to
© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.
Photo Credit: Kovels
The bottle was described in the catalog as one of the most unusual figural bottles they had ever auctioned. It was made about 1890. “Seidel & C./Hoflieferanten/Breslau” is on the base. Auction price with premium, $780.
“Figural bottles” are just what you would imagine — bottles shaped like living creatures or familiar objects. The earliest American clear glass figurals were made in the 1860s. In 1866, Dr. Fisch packaged his bitters medicine in, what else, a fish-shaped bottle. Brown’s Celebrated Indian Herb Bitters was sold in a bottle shaped like a standing Indian woman, from about 1868 to 1875. Dr. Bell’s Tonic was sold in a dark amber figural bell-shaped bottle in about 1875.
Probably the best-known antique figural was used by E.G. Booz from about 1858 to 1870. It is an amber log cabin with the name Booz embossed on the top. Since 1931 several reproductions have been made. Booz sold whiskey in the bottles; many taverns had them on their shelves, and customers asked for “Booz,” the word still used in bars for whiskey.
Generic figurals were popular bottles in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Probably the best known are violin, pig or fish bottles, all still being made. Some vintage glass bottles that copy a trademark, such as a Butterworth syrup bottle shaped like Mrs. Butterworth or the man representing Poland Springs water made it easy to find the product on the grocery shelf.
Figurals helped make Avon — originally called the California Perfume Company in 1886, changing its name in 1929 — to become a successful cosmetics company with fancy packaging and home sales. There was a collecting frenzy from the 1960s to 1980s for the empty, no-longer-made figural bottles. Unfortunately, empty bottles were stolen from the bottle factory and sold to collectors as rare, increasing the supply and lowering both prices and collector interest.
But many other companies had unusual old figurals that still sell for high prices. This very rare 7-inch bottle shaped like a Prussian military helmet was made about 1890 of dark amber glass with a wooden spike and a partial German label. It sold in an online auction by Glass Works Auctions of East Greenville, Pennsylvania, for $780.
• • •
I just bought a solid wood gun display case with working locks and skeleton key. Inside the bottom drawer is a metal tag that says “JB Van Sciver Co.” The craftmanship is beautiful. What is the value of this piece?
Joseph Bishop Van Sciver founded J.B. Van Sciver Furniture Co. in Camden, New Jersey, in 1881. The company made furniture, clocks, lamps, rugs and draperies. At its peak, it had stores in several cities. The company went bankrupt in 1983, and production stopped. The remaining stock was sold at a warehouse outlet in 1984. If you just bought your display case, it’s worth what you paid for it.
• • •
Smith Brothers biscuit jar, green & brown ivy, cream ground, square shape, silver lid with finial, bail handle, 7 1/4 inches, $55.
Rudolstadt group, 5 girls holding hands, around well, playing Ring Around the Rosy, pink print dresses, flower band, porcelain, Ernst Bohne Sohne, 6 5/8 inches, $175.
Doll, Vogue, Ginny, Miss 1910, plastic, mohair wig, brown sleep eyes, 5-piece body, blue dotted Swiss dress, snap shoes, 1950, 8 inches, $290.
• • •
TIP: Check the prongs on your diamond and precious stone rings. They do wear down and the stones loosen.
For more collecting news,
tips and resources, visit
© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 slices hearty rye bread
4 cooked Cremer’s Brat Patties
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 thin slices deli Swiss cheese (8 ounces)
1 cup sauerkraut, drained
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread 1 teaspoon butter on 1 side of each bread slice. Place bread slices, buttered side down, on baking sheet; set aside.
2. Melt remaining 1 teaspoon butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bratwurst in single layer, weigh down with Dutch oven, and cook until well browned, about 2 minutes per side.
3. Whisk mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, relish, and salt together in bowl and spread evenly on facing sides of each bread slice. Place 1 slice cheese on each of 4 bread slices, then layer each with one-quarter of sauerkraut and browned bratwurst, finishing with 1 slice cheese. Top with remaining 4 bread slices, buttered side up; press down to flatten. Bake until golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted, about 12 minutes, flipping sandwiched halfway through baking. Serve.