Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Garden Report (and more) - Week ending April 23

What with this having been Holy Week and everything, I was busy doing all sorts of things. Photographing the garden didn't rank really high on the list, so what you're getting this week is a mish-mash of all manner of lots of other things that are growing.

Like this one. Apply dirt, water, a little sunshine, and stand back and let the fun start!

These are my Scottish Roses. They are so, so tiny they make Sweetheart Roses look like steroids have been involved. I love them and they make me happy. 

Is there anything more delicious than the smell of jasmine? Every day this drapes a little fuller and heavier over our fence, and provides good hiding places for all the lizards that are out there this year.

This next pretty was labeled as a mosquito plant, but the ones I see around on the internet don't have flowers that look like these. Any wisdom out there on what this might be?

And this is a wild garlic plant. They have so much attitude. They just YELL at you when they sprout up. I mean it - they are very tall. This opens into a really funky little poofy flower that looks like a kinder, gentler version of a disco ball.

Aphids are attracted to lettuce, ladybugs are attracted to aphids. Let's see who wins over the next few weeks, shall we? It's like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom out there!


Wilbur has sat on our front porch for 15 years. He got so jealous of Zach the Garden Gnome getting all the attention that he requested a transfer. He was put in charge of guarding the eggplant this week.

Look at all that produce! Lettuce! Peas! Asparagus! I do believe we are going to have bumper crops of lots of things this year. Okra is struggling, but Henry is going to get more to plant. Right now, everything else is going great guns -- and I should have radishes soon. I love me some radishes right out of the ground.

They go so well with THIS right out of the garden!

That's a mixture of Redsails (on the right) and butter crunch and some other kind I can never remember. It doesn't seem to make it taste any less wonderful not to know what it is, though. 


On an entirely unrelated note, I forgot that I had taken some pictures last Sunday during the Palm Sunday festivities at church. They weren't very good, so I ditched all of them but this one.

I don't recall in all the years I have known my husband ever having had a picture of him alone with my father. Henry looks up to my Daddy. As different as these two are in most ways, they do share some astonishingly similar traits.

They are both stubborn as mules. Neither of them are keen on being told there might be a better way to do something than the way they have done it forever. Both have a maddening tendency to wrest total control of the thermostats in their households, ignoring pleas for mercy from all others. 

And by God's good grace they both love me.

All photographs were taken by me, and the only reason I say this is that someone asked me this week where I get my pictures for my blog. Just wanted to clear that up. Thanks. 

Oh, and if you are so inclined, please feel free to share or recommend this blog to anybody! There are easy share links at the bottom that make it a snap. 

And I live for comments.

And radishes.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yesterday afternoon Jackie and Luke brought Rosemary over to have a little run through on how to hunt for Easter eggs, since they will be leaving to spend the day with Jackie's family right after church tomorrow. This was great, because we got to have some Easter egg fun, as well as the opportunity to figure out how we could help her practice a little bit today while she spends the day today here with us.

I got back from my Saturday morning walk to find Rosemary and her Pop busy at work on this project. They were having a grand time, so I whipped out my iPhone to capture the moment.

It is fair to say that things began to go downhill from here. She's a smart cookie, our Rosemary, and yesterday the Easter Bunny had put treats in those eggs (Goldfish and Cheerios) and today's Easter Bunny, um.... forgot. She wuz robbed, and she let us know that she understood this. Loudly.

I was able to comfort her, however. She is not much of a critic yet, so I sing to her all the time. I can find a song for just about every occasion, and here's what today's choice was.

It is never too early to start them on the right musical path.

Friday, April 22, 2011

May I Have a Word, God?

I won't belabor the point, but 2011 has not been particularly kind to us thus far. It happens from time to time that while I am out enjoying my morning exercise the time becomes more about reflection than working up a sweat. On those occasions I look forward to getting to Vaughn Road Park so I can let down my guard: with no traffic to monitor I can start the act of praying with every footfall.

Not always, of course. Sometimes I mutter things under my breath at other people in the park who are meandering 3 abreast, blocking the path entirely. 

I am only human, most of the time.

Yesterday morning on my walk, however, the park was nearly devoid of such and I was not pushing myself physically at all, so I uttered this prayer as I was getting ready to round the second bend.

I don't like to ask for signs, God.
I'm so grateful that the worst of our worries are 
only about money, and not about our children, 
or our health, or any fresh grief.

But just because I'd like to have some 
encouragement from You, would You please, 
just this once, let me have some word from You?
My heart is open wide. 

It might well do to explain here that Vaughn Road Park is one of those well-intentioned city projects that not only has a really nice walking path, it also has exercise stations at intervals along the way. I don't use these, and rarely pay attention to them unless some brave soul is actually using one of them. Most are dilapidated; some lack the built-in equipment that they used to have. I wish the city would do something about this, but I know times are hard, so I'm not holding my breath.

But yesterday? Right after that prayer? I espied something out of the corner of my eye -- movement of some sort that I suppose was a bird because there was no person there -- and turned my head to the left.

And saw this. 

Go ahead - laugh.

I did.

And then I said,

Thank you, God. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another one in the books....

On April 20, 1958 I was born. I was quite surprised by this at the time, but apparently other people were expecting me.

Mama and me, I'm guessing summer of 1959.

My mother, for instance. I think she probably had an inkling.

My Grandpappy, Tom McCord, holding on for dear life.

That's another one who probably had a hunch.  Everything I learned about doting on grandchildren I learned from him. If I create half the impression on my granddaughter's heart that he did on mine for the few years I had him, I will be able to call myself a success.

I'm pretty sure I know a man who's already done that with her, by the way.

Scene stealers, the both of 'em.

Anyway.....   since this was not a speed limit birthday, it's been pretty low-key, exactly the way I've grown to love them. I have enjoyed reading all the greetings left for me on Facebook (and am making it a particular point of pride to respond to each of them, not that I'm OCD or anything.) because I figure if somebody takes the time, so will I.  

I love birthday cards, which I think may be because of the woman in the middle here.

From left to right: Grandmama Eleanor, Aunt Eleanor,
and Grandmama Eleanor (2nd generation)

My Aunt Eleanor was an amazing woman, and for years and years she sent all her gazillion nieces and nephews birthday cards with $1 bills in them. Even when I became a too-cool-for-the-room teenager and a dollar wouldn't buy much of anything anymore, I still looked forward to that card with unchecked anticipation. There came a time when this stopped, of course. Aunt Eleanor just realized we'd all pretty much grown out of it, and she was right.


But to this day, when I get birthday cards I still shake 'em a little as I open them.

These came from my "sweet" husband.

I didn't shake those, though. They did make me laugh, however, which is exactly what I like a card to do. I am not one for the big sentimental stuff. If you're going to go all sweet on me, I'd rather you didn't hire somebody to be your writer. 

Of course, if you're going to hand me a card with a $1 bill in it, you can be as sappy as you like.

My day is getting ready to end. I have to rush off to church to take Board minutes, then home to eat some supper. Whatever my husband comes up with for us to have, we're opening one of these.....

Manna from Oregon

... and enjoying some sunshine after dark.

You are my sunshine... my only sunshine....
You make me happy when skies are gray.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oh, He loves you.

Garden Report - Week ending April 16

This has been one of Those Weeks, but my mother's plaintive question, "Are we going to get a garden blog again soon?" caused me to throw back my shoulders and get around to some updates. Henry is doing all manner of things out in the yard I just do not understand, so we took a little walkabout out there, and I even had my little Moleskine in hand so I wouldn't mess any of this up. 

Taking notes is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of, a sign of...  um, well. Never mind.

Anyway. Here we go.

These are tomatoes that
were started from seed.

Once they are big enough they go into these containers
to "harden," whatever the heck that means.
It sounded very official when Henry said it.

Herb bed, aka "Bed #1"

In the herb bed there's this volunteer cantaloupe.
That means that it's a cantaloupe 

left over from last year's garden.
It just showed up without being asked.
Like a volunteer.
So. There's this week's philosophy lesson.

Bed #2 features asparagus (at the top) 
and cowpeas/purple hull peas.

I am excited about one of these crops.

Bed #3 has eggplant (the prominent plant) and 
cucumbers and black beans.

I am excited about 2 of these crops.

And that little marigold in the corner? 

It's just there for the happy.

Bed #4 has (from left to right) yellow squash, 
and two varieties of lettuce.

I am very excited about this whole bed.

How excited, you ask?

I'm so excited I went all artistic with the lettuces!!

Bed #5 has Red Sails lettuce, Iceberg lettuce,
Mama's Tomatoes (aka "Better Boy"), 

3 rows of carrots,
and a row of ............


Bed #6 is full of Emerald Velvet Okra
and Big Louie

Beds 7, 8, and 9 are still just full of equal parts dirt and potential,  but will be home to those tomatoes that are in the hardening phase (again -- not a clue, people), spinach, even more lettuces, watermelon, and pole beans.

There are two things that are completely new additions to Henry's garden this year that I just have been dying to share.

First, this.

Two views of a wild bee box.
Henry made it his own fine self.
We do what we can to promote pollination.
No, there will not be honey.


And this

We understand his name is Zach.

He just sorta showed up. 

We're keepin' him.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lost in Thought

It's moments like this when, I believe, all those little parts of the brain that foster creativity, curiosity, intelligence, and awareness of the world around us are allowed to grow.

I loved catching her in one of these moments.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Garden Report (and other stuff!) - Week Ending April 3, 2011

Truth be told, there's not much visible action in the garden. Last week there'd been so much rain that planting just wasn't really a good idea, according to my Personal Gardener. This week there have been a few new acquisitions, and some of the things he started from seed began to make themselves known. Since none of them are exactly ready to be featured photographs of the week, I offer this instead.

That's just a montage of all manner of things -- lettuces, tomatoes, various and sundry herbs, and up there in the top right hand corner is a mess of petunias. I asked why petunias, and my Personal Gardener said, "Some things just don't need a reason. They are just going to be out here to be pretty."

I am all about sitting around with no purpose but being pretty, so this works. I have already mastered the art of having no purpose -- the pretty part? Not so much, but heck, I'm only a smidge better than half-a-century old -- there's time!


The better part of this beautiful weekend wasn't about gardening at all, unless you count the fact that my husband's love of working hard, and his love of working hard outdoors especially, comes from where he was raised, right on the cusp of Shelby and Chilton Counties. We took a drive up to see his Mama, to spend a little time getting Rosemary acquainted with what life is like when you can get turned loose and run down a dirt road with nobody having to get in your way. We wanted her to hear what the world sounds like without plugged-in noises, and the only mechanical thing she heard once we'd parked the truck was the sound of a tractor running off in the distance. The phone never rang. The TV was never on. Nothing other than the hum of the refrigerator clued you in that any unseen force other than God Himself was at work. 

Every child needs some time like that. It was a privilege to offer it to her, and we won't stay away so long again.

Coming up over the hill, to where we hang a left onto the dirt road  for Henry's home.

Trying on Great-Grandpa Lucas' tractor for size

Hey! I got this, Pop!

Totally in charge.

Being a farm-girl is a lot of hard work.
 Pop helps get the hair fixed again!

You played here, too, Pop?

These two quickly became thick as thieves.

So.... what are we gonna do NOW?

Exploring the dirt road.
Rosemary had a ball chasing her shadow!

And she loved running back up again, too!


The afternoon came to an end and we had to head for home. Henry loves to drive back home through Jemison, and to tell me every single time about his glory days. This time, though, I think he was telling Rosemary all those stories!

This is where Henry became BlueJohn.
He's sort of a legend.
At least that's what I've heard.

And just for good measure because there is nothing about this photograph I don't love, and because I am pretty sure we might all be happier if we got to run down dirt roads more often, here ya go.


Please! Click on photos to enlarge!