Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Reruns#

The smooth face of a butter-cream surf-sanded shell
The marvelous smooth pre-kissed cheek of a grandchild

The starfish shaped prints in the sand after flight of a watchful great heron
The tiny hand print in sand of an elated child who came later

The familiar hand-hold of your husband at the end of the movie before you enter the car
The rose petaled floor of your son's well-planned engagement evening*

The feathery drift of dozens of yellow butterflies against a blue sky
The last smell of a sunset peach rose before the first petal fall
The earthy taste of a sun-kissed tomato

The icy sip of a glass of something cold and bubbly
The scattered song of a teenage titmouse dancing on the roof

The giggle of a toddler dancing in the grass
The jazzy rhythm of bold cicadas hidden from view
The gentle burr of a hummingbird at your back

The magical sparkle of an ever higher climbing fairy flight of fireflies
against the black silhouette of a tree before the blush of the moon.

 #Perhaps a little sweet gooey like too much pink cotton candy at the fair...but it is honest, honestly.
 *Details, perhaps, in another blog post.

(In answer to the prior post she was most amazed that the statue did not wear underpants!)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Rural Gourmet.

Yesterday, I had just finished weeding the rain garden on the grounds of the nearby museum, and since I did not look too grubby, I stopped by a grocery that I rarely use to pick up some basic food items.

During this quick visit, something caught my eye.  As I passed the freezer cases I saw white 3-gallon plastic buckets of something sitting on the bottom of the case.  My curiosity got the better of me and I paused to read the top of the label and it said simply 'pork chitterlings'.  I was not exactly sure what these are, but I did not think they were probably healthy and I was sure they were a 'southern thing'.  It is a good-old-boy county that I live in after all.

If you Google images of pork chitterlings you will get photos of what look like little gray white slimy unappetizing grubs.  If you go further in research you will see that this food, sometimes called chitlins, is pig intestines.  To be a more accurate connoisseur...they are from the SMALL intestine.  Boy that makes me feel mouth watering better.  While I feel free to denigrate this food on my blog and might assume it is the food of poor people since it was given to slaves in our early history,  my research reveals that it is eaten everywhere across the globe.  I know that the French eat strange animal body parts...but this part of the pig is eaten EVERYWHERE!  Yet I still wonder why someone would need three gallons of it!

Nutritionally these rubber tubes are high in calories from fat.  What a surprise.  They get a C- in nutritional value but since their preparation requires detailed attention due to the fact they carry salmonella and e-coli, maybe weight issues are of no concern.  After a bit of e-coli, you can be very thin.

I did read that in the U.S. a small onion is added to mitigate what might be an unpleasant odor when it is cooked.  Really.  An unpleasant odor...wonder why?  When you have to add an ONION to erase odors...well, enough said!  I do not think I will be eating these in my future.

Now before my readers put me in the food snob column, as a small child I loved pickled pigs feet and did eat them as a snack with my dad.  Of course,  we were farm folk and food was never thrown out.  But when the pigs were slaughtered, I am sure we did not eat chitterlings.  We did have our standards.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Falling in Love Again

Two days of intense and painful swollen neck glands and a knife sharp pain on one side of my throat when I swallow has been the way Thursday and Friday have gone for me.  Heavy doses of pain killing PM sleep drugs to get me through the two nights.  I am home alone as hubby has headed to the city for a meeting and a doctor's checkup and a toddler's graduation.  Impossible to figure out how I caught this as my exposure to small children was not intimate at the seedling booth that I worked last week and I used the bacteria wipes at the grocery store as I always do...although I did sit with hubby in a doctor's waiting room, but never touched the magazines!

I am missing the toddler's (little gal) graduation from preschool with regret but was feeling so sick the regret is small.

On the third day I ate a sweet peach for lunch and then took a long afternoon nap.  When I woke at 4:00 PM it seemed the fever had finally lessened and my throat pain was no longer impossible to endure. I could actually swallow without thinking I had a knife plunged through one of my Eustachian tubes.

I pulled myself out of bed at long last.  Thinking my weekend visit with the kids coming here may get off to a great start after all.

Then just as I stepped out of the shower and dried my hair and put on fresh new clothes my best medicine cure arrived on dancing feet.  My 6 7-year-old grandson who came back with my husband ran into the house to greet me and see how I was doing.  He has lost both of the two front top teeth and both his bottom teeth and this toothless silly smile and lispy dialogue fills me with indescribable joy.

We had a 20 minute conversation about the loss of his teeth over the last few weeks,  the economics of the loss of teeth (such as daddy dropping one of the four teeth down the sink and they calling plumber to retrieve the dropped tooth).  I certainly went wrong in not teaching my children how to remove the elbow joint beneath the sink!  Then the next tooth was lost on the playground at school.  Several green bills later the fourth tooth is left with the tooth fairy and grandson has 12 dollars in his bank!!  Then our happy conversation drifts on to Harry Potter and how at 6 he has already read a shortened version of the first book and has brought the DVD with him so that he can finish seeing the visual of the story.  I ask if it is not too scary for him, and he insists he just gets scared at certain parts like where the troll is, but he knows it is just a movie.

Then with the twists and turns of magical conversations with young folk we talk about how he used to love Thomas the Train and how that time has passed so rapidly that he has forgotten the names of many of the trains which results in a brief search on the Internet down memory lane.

Then as I lay back on my sick bed, not really feeling sick anymore, he heads off to the kitchen where grandpa is making a grilled cheese sandwich with carrot sticks and freshly picked raspberries for dessert and the chore of picking more raspberries after dinner.

Remember when you fell in love and you could not do anything without working that person's name into the conversation, or working it into doodle or a daydream?  Well, it does happen again in old age.  I am so absolutely, positively lucky that this young boy has a happy and rich life and that he loves sharing it with me!  I do not deserve this, but I will not give it back!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday Thoughts #37 Everything I Need to Know I Learned in My Garden---Thursday 13 Thoughts # 36

  1. I learned to accept differing points of view but to learn for myself by testing.  One man's weed is another man's treasured landscape plant.  I have purchased beautiful landscape plants from nurseries only to discover that they spread or re-seed like wildfire and then leave my yard to invade the rest of the woods.  On the other hand I have learned that one man's treasured landscape plant sometimes becomes a Prima Donna in my yard requiring too much attention.
  2. I have learned to think outside the flower bed and to compromise.  Do I want butterflies or parsley?  If I plant a lot of parsley there will be some left over and then I can have both.  (Now if I can only teach that ground hog how to compromise!)
  3. I have re-learned each day that change is inevitable and we all must adapt.  Some plants die, some plants are eaten to the ground and some plants get too large.  Perennial gardens are replete with changes.  Every season requires digging, moving and replacing.
  4. Target your enemies so that there is minimal collateral damage.  Picking off a few or spraying very specifically for the many insects such as Japanese Beetles while carefully avoiding all other insects means less harm to those birds that are also eating the insects in my garden and less harm to those insects that are beneficial to my garden.

  5. I have learned patience.  Plants take a long time to bring forth their reproductive beauty and instantaneous results are only for those who buy annuals in large flats.
  6. Keep your place, you are not a miracle worker.  While the intermittently large plant in the foreground adds interest, planting most tall plants in the background allows everyone to show off as is the same with people.  Also, as a gardener, you need to step back once in a while and let s**t happen without beating yourself up over it.  (The voles had a vacation in my dianthus bed this spring and the rabbits have eaten 90% of my zinnias I nurtured so carefully from seed.)

  7. Gardening is common ground.  Gardeners are wonderful people and can garden side by side even when on opposite sides of the political spectrum.  Disagreements almost always lead to compromise or changes in activity.
  8. Gardening is the only reality show that I like and watch each year.  It can cost money but if you are smart and buy from local garden club plant sales and get freebies from friends, you are more likely to get better and tested plants more cheaply.
  9. I have learned that fear paralyzes intelligent action.  Anger has to be provoked and many dangers are not as they seem or as you have been told.  Bumble bees and honey bees and all pollinators are so busy eating that they do not have time to sting unless you step on them or sit on them.  I can reach in and cut all the flowers I want as the bees dance around my arms.  This lesson has broader applications in life.

  10. Deciding where to start and how to start your projects are the most important preparations you can make.  Foundation is everything.  You have to know where the sun hits your yard and when and for how long.  You have to know the soil as if it was the back of your hand.  You have to amend this soil because it is the first and last meal for your plants and no soil is perfect.
  11. Opinions on style and design don't really matter.  Mother nature can pull together pink and orange and it looks perfect.  Mother nature can pull together large and small, smooth and prickly, and it always seems to fit.

  12. Sharing is the richness in life.  If you are lucky to have something to share, be sure and do so.  Pay back is the smile on their face and the bond you have made.  Share your garden knowledge with your grandchildren, share your produce with your neighbors or the local food pantry, share your plants with new gardeners, share your time with Mother Nature.

  13. And the most important lesson I have learned is to enjoy myself.  If I feel it is hard work, then I am doing something wrong.  Work should be a little refreshing, shouldn't it?  Maybe I just need a smaller garden.  Yes, mistakes happen. The best thing about gardening is that there is always a do-over next year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So Where Is She?

So where in the heck has Tabor been?  Hiding under a rock waiting for a rain along with that garden snail?

No.  Perhaps she has been busy growing mushrooms...although she was sure she planted ageratum in this tray of annuals?

She has been busy keeping the many tomato plants alive in their containers for the plant sale coming up in a few weeks.

She has been dragging hoses from one side of the yard to the other.  She has been busy lifting heavy bags of potting soil and dumping the soil into various containers.

The on the odd hour she has been admiring the one or two planters that slept through the winter and put on their own spring show with absolutely no help from her!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spilled Fortune

If you are the kind of optimistic person who carefully plants seeds in the cold dark days of late winter and places them on heating pads under grow lights only to be disappointed that a tiny 30% actually germinate, be patient.  My husband's Thai Pepper plants spent 6 weeks in the little pots of seedling soil, and just as he was ready to toss them all into the compost pile, they perked their green pointy heads to the surface.  They germinated!

Another reason to be optimistic is when accidents happen.  I spent much time planting outside on the patio a few weeks later and put my little trays of seedlings from various annuals and a few perennials in the cold frame and watched them with intense love and interest as spring came and went.  One one of the breezy spring days I had accidentally spilled some seeds on the patio, and I cannot remember what they were.  I just remember the little envelope escaped my hands.  Looks like all that nurturing and care are not really necessary.  When a plant is ready to grow it will survive almost anywhere.

I will be most intrigued to see what these turn out to be if they actually bloom!  (They are looking more and more like baby bok choy...darn!  Looks like hubby spilled some seeds as well since he does the vegetables.  We had to clean the patio and thus it looks like these all went out the little holes.)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Abundance of Richness Today

Make some tea or some cool lemonade and come walk with me though my spring garden. I am REALLY lucky this spring that not much has eaten, destroyed or killed my beautiful flowers. So I am enjoying them, because like any experienced gardener, I realize these beauties are most temporary.  I wish I could pick a bouquet and bring them right over!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


(The title above is in homage to the season finale of the TV show, Damages which I am way too addicted to watching.)

Friko commented on how lovely the flowers were in one of my recent posts and 'bemoaned' that I truly had a green thumb and must have a perfect garden.  (If she only knew!)  Her recent post had commented on how harshly the winter had treated many of the perennials in her garden. Lest my readers get the wrong idea about my gardening is a dose of reality.

The long and hard winter has changed how the wild dogwoods bloomed this spring at the edge of my woods.  Perhaps the harsh temperatures froze the buds or perhaps the birds or squirrels or raccoons had eaten the new growth during the winter as I have only a 'handful' of blossoms per tree as can be seen below.

My rhododendron, above, purchased on sale at a hefty price last fall has suffered tremendously from the heavy winter snows.  It is just a shadow of itself and I fear it will not survive the summer!  I was told when I took in a branch that it was getting too much water...but I think it is something more. I expect perhaps one blossom and am afraid to move it to a better area as this is the best spot I have!

The side of my foundation landscape at the front door entry has holes in the nandina hedge where snow pack bent the branches to the ground and broke much of the tall growth.  The hedge is now thin and spindly.  Nandina plants are hardy so I hope some shape will return.  I have staked it as it quite naturally leans out toward the morning sun.

My large rosemary had to be cut back and the damage has certainly ruined its shape. It will be moved this week to the new herb bed which has better drainage but less afternoon sun :-(.  The shock has caused some of the stalks to bloom already.

The most dangerous damage was done to my expensive cut leaf maple which is now three years old and holding its own beneath the front bay window. It may look lovely here but lets pull back the leaves to see what we saw on our return from that last heavy snowfall in February.

Yes, in our desperation that cold winter day we used duct tape to save the branch.  The branch had been torn away and was hanging by the thinest of cadmium on the opposite side.  Since the tree was dormant at the time, I pushed the two parts of the branch together and taped them hoping scar tissue would form in the spring and save the branch.  Hubby added the string support tied to the stronger part of the tree above to ease the strain on the broken branch.  This branch was full in the front and important to the full shape of the plant.  All appears well for now and we will see if this repair will hold down through the summer and winter to come!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Williamsburg, VA

I do not think I have ever met anyone who did not like the town of Williamsburg, Virginia after visiting there.  It is Disney World for American history buffs.  It is Disney World for middle class history buffs.  Most of the food and shopping are expensive, although, with care, it can be done economically. The historic area was surrounded by children from private schools on spring holiday.  I was there recently for a two-day garden seminar.  Something we elitists do when spring arrives and we have planted all that we dare to before the last frost date.

There is nothing more entertaining for a husband than following sensible women with sensible haircuts in sensible shoes around sensible historic gardens all afternoon.  There was some variety in attendance as some of the women attending were those charming 'Southern Bells' who wear lovely hats, Town and Country clothes and nice jewelry.  They knew and were willing to share their knowledge of the scientific names of most of the plants with a maple syrup accent as their fragile husbands in nice suits stood quietly by... my, my!  Even more exotic, the weather was perfect!

The historic district is romantically and accurately preserved with lots of Colonial architecture, some winding lanes, staff in Colonial dress doing Colonial era activities and or staffing the many cutesy little shops.  We bought two of the Early American jar birdhouses for our fence posts.  Did I mention that being there in the spring is wonderful?

Unfortunately, our favorite (and expensive) restaurant, The Trellis, was closed for renovation.  This is the restaurant that produced the famous Death by Chocolate dessert that has been mimicked by every high-end restaurant on the East Coast the last few years.  Fortunately we found plenty of other good places to eat.

On the last day, I found a true treasure.  There is a very small used bookstore called Mermaid Books located beneath a wine/deli restaurant on a side street off the Market Square.  Before this trip I did not know of its existence.  We had a long lunch hour to fill and were perusing the shelves for some good historic references on plants and gardening, stimulated by the recent lecture we had heard, when I came across this!

The bookstore owner actually hesitated in selling it to me.  He hemmed and hawed and then felt he must have another copy in the back, because he had planned on scanning it for the wonderful woodcut illustrations inside.  I told him to let me buy it and he could mail it to me when he was done scanning it.  He finally relented and let me purchase it then and there.  Now I will see if the memory of enjoying reading this book when I was much younger still holds true.  Have any of you ever read this book of fantasy? It is a male's version of a romance.  It is not copyrighted in the U.S. and is downloadable at the following URL, if your are interested.

Or you can search the title and find it online in several places.