Sunday, May 29, 2011

Garden Report - Week Ending May 29

Developments this week, in pictures! named because she's about the only one in
the family who eats them...

There must be 8 - 10 cantaloupe out there.
These are the things that failed miserably last year,
so Henry didn't plant them again.

Ah, the joys of composting!


Yes, it's a very small carrot, but it's a carrot!

I have dearly loved my radishes, but they are so hot 
nobody but me will eat them. It's a good thing 
they are so photogenic, right?


Say it with me....



I am pretty sure these are black bean blossoms.
Henry would know for sure.
He's asleep on the sofa.
I will not wake him to ask.
I have already asked him.

4,238 times.

But I keep forgetting.


I only took this picture because these are his 
favorite blooms out there right now. 

One does one's best to keep the farmer happy.


But the biggest news out there this week....

~~ Ta-da!! ~~

Henry's Mother-in-law's tomatoes!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Garden Report - Week Ending May 15

Yes. I am delinquent. 
Say something that will surprise anybody who really knows me.

Lots of neat stuff going on out in the back yard, the most exciting of which I can't seem to capture in a photograph. The wild bees are out in full force, and it's just incredibly exciting! Tomato plants have begun to blossom, and the lettuces continue to produce like crazy. The radishes have been just amazing -- and so hot only the bravest souls dare eat them. So far, I seem to be the only brave soul.

My favorite things out there right now, though, are the beans that have begun dancing their tendrils up the trellises Henry built for them out of bamboo and twine, and the squash. 

Well here. Pictures will tell the story.

Squash blossom


Tendrils. I just love tendrils.

Where those tendrils are dancing.

Can you stand another tendril?

I knew you could.

These trellises are made from repurposed rebar. 
Nothing around here goes to waste.

I really should coordinate these two a little bit 
better before we go out in public again.

And what is a week without a little Wild Turkey?
(Oak Mountain State Park)

Okay -- FINE.

Back to the garden...

Somebody requested a wider shot of the garden.

This would be it.

Did I mention the lettuces are going nuts?


Now that that is all done....

go grab your dictionary.

Turn to the letter "C" in there.

Now find the word "contentment."

That picture should be right next to it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What She's Taught Me

It's Mother's Day. That means we are all going to read about how wonderful people's mothers are, because, well, it is the day for that.

There will be many overblown, overly sentimental posts on Facebook and in the blogosphere, some of which will make you wonder if the mother your friend waxes eloquent about today is the same mother your friend talks about the rest of the year. 

Well, here's the way I see it.

I think it's a fine, fine thing to pay loving tribute. If you are lucky enough to have a mother who is living, she needs to be celebrated --even in audaciously glowing terms. If your mother has passed away, she deserves to be remembered. This is not to say that anyone should participate in the love fest publicly if it doesn't feel right to do so. For pity's sake, this is not a contest.

But if it were, of course, I would win.

My mother, born Jean Porter McCord, is the stuff of legends. 

She was the tomboy who beaned the object of her affections upside the head from the vantage point of a chinaberry tree. (He would become her husband, and he remains the great love of her life even today. But he makes a point to avoid chinaberry trees now.) 

She was an athlete in her college days and beyond, when she struck terror in the hearts of the tennis mom circuit at the Montgomery Country Club. People still talk about her mastery of the courts, and in reverent tones recollect when she finally had to stop playing because her arthritis got to her. They don't want you to know that they were, in turn, heartbroken at her retirement, and mightily relieved that now one of them would have the chance to rise to the top. 

She can play the spoons, and every Saturday night before church at Trinity Presbyterian when we were growing up, she rolled my sister's and my hair up with cotton Buster Brown socks because that made the softest curls. She made our clothes, and they were beautiful. 

She was a very talented pianist, and it was listening to her play when I was little that made me want to play, too. I worked hard, but I always fell short of her natural ability.

Any of her children will tell you that we would gladly skip every other Thanksgiving and Christmas food as long as her cornbread dressing is there. Although she entrusted the making of her potato salad to me a long time ago, my brothers can still point out to me every time exactly how it isn't exactly the same. And she can make at least one grown man do her bidding at any time just with the promise of her pimento cheese.

She once plowed her father's brand new Cadillac through the closed garage doors, over there on Park Avenue. That had something to do with that boy she beaned from the chinaberry tree, too.

So -- what, exactly did my mother actually teach me?

Unconditional love. Truly unconditional love, the kind that means you have to put self last. She is a pro at that.

Lack of patience with nonsense, summed up in her reminder that to disengage from such, one must "cut off the puppy dog's tail," a tag line from a story she told us all when we were growing up having to do with a little dog and the necessity of docking its tail in the kindest, quickest way possible. 

It probably, though, is this last lesson that has come to mean more and more to me as I've grown a little older myself. The lesson is that, no matter how nuts your life gets, or how many things you must develop a stiff upper lip about, or how much you pour yourself out into the lives of those people you love most, you must always keep a little bit of your truest self "in there" and people need to know who that truest self is.

Happy Mother's Day, Jeanie Beanie Bad Egg.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Garden Report (and more again) - Week ending April 30

This is going to be one of those quick and dirty blog entries, by which I mean I'm patching this stuff together, and goodness knows that the usual incredibly amazing photography and writing to which you have become accustomed is just going all out the window.

Please make sure you read the sarcasm in that. But I digress.

Early in the week whilst out on a walk 
I spotted a whole bunch of these.

I spent a fair amount of time after snapping this photo recalling with great fondness how much fun we used to have smashing these things in one another's faces when we were little. Do children do that any more? Or have we mostly ChemLawned them out of existence? It made me nostalgic for the old days on Montezuma Road, where we burned the soles of our feet on the hot asphalt so they'd be tough enough to play kickball or Swing the Statue in yards full of stickers. Gosh -- does anybody even have those in their yards anymore?

In this fit of good-old-days-itis at the earliest opportunity I marched Rosemary out to our fence, plucked honeysuckle off the vine, and tried to educate her in the fine art of stamen removal so she might taste the nectar therein. We will try that again later. Right now, she much prefers the taste of rocks from Pop's garden.

She also prefers having her very own camp chair. 
It's a Lucas thing. 

But you're just here for the garden stuff, right?

Here goes!

And in a moment of pure bliss, I pretended like I was a farmer, too...


Oh. And I probably should mention here that beginning on May 3, 2011 at 7 a.m. there will be a really amazing man 
helping run this operation.

Gratitude doesn't even begin to cover it. 

By the way... feel free to click on the pictures you want to see better. They get bigger.
And when you want to get back to the blog, you just hit your back arrow.

I do not charge extra for this helpful advice.

If I have misidentified any produce, it's not my fault. 
A certain farmer was too busy getting ready to go out to celebrate to make sure I had everything right. 

But I love him better than hot radishes anyway.