Burn Baby, Burn

Sometimes Bud can be difficult.  One lovely day, we both headed outdoors.  I had my work.  He had his.  I busied myself, digging, shoveling sand, putting out flagstones. Meanwhile, he pottered about at some uninteresting task of his own, never even asking if I needed help. After putting the last touches  on my patio, I went for the water hose.  I felt smug at finding it stretched across the backyard, since he’s always after me about winding it back up, barely letting me finish what I’m doing. Nevertheless, I pulled it back around to my new flower bed.  Bud had even left the water on, just shut off by the adapter.  That wasn’t like him at all.  I’d have to mention it when I got through.

It wasn’t long before Bud tore around the corner yanking the hose, clearly in a panic. Rudely, he grabbed the hose and took off, not even asking whether I was finished. I followed and found him spraying a pile burning yard refuse that had almost gotten away from him. It turns out, he’d had the water hose nearby just in case and hadn’t noticed when me taking it when he’d turned away to pile on more brush. Fortunately, he got the blaze under control. Unfortunately, not before it consumed the nice sweeper he’d disconnected from his tractor and left near the pile. He’s much more careful with the new one he bought to replace it and thoughtfully tells me when he’s about to burn, now.

My project certainly turned out better than his.

 

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The More Things Change (part 2)

imageAs I hold my tiny granddaughter, I remember melting into Grandma’s pillowy softness, smelling her Cashmere Bouquet Talcum Powder, unaware she’d ever played any role but “Grandma.” Though I’d always heard Mother address her as “Mama” I stung with jealousy when I found out Grandma actually was her mother. Sure, I was her favorite grandchild, I later learned the other kids thought the same things, the mark of a good grandmother.

We only visited Grandma In summers, since she lived a few hours away.  I loved following her to tend the chickens where She made that praise Della, her Dominecker Hen for laying a double-yoked egg yesterday, remarking to the others they might consider doing the same. She told Sally not to start acting “Broody.” She didn’t have enough her eggs to “set” her yet. She counted her chickens and found Susie missing. Grandma got a long stick and poked under bushes till she flushed Susie out from her “stolen” nest. I felt so important crawling way under the bush bringing two warm eggs. Chiding Juanita, an ornery red hen, she threatened to invite her to Sunday Dinner, saying “You’ll make some mighty fine dumplings if you don’t lay a couple of eggs this week!” I wasn’t that invested in Juanita and don’t recall whether we had dumplings or not.  Once I had the thrill of seeing Grandma fearlessly make short work of a black chicken snake lounging in a nest with an egg in his mouth.  Unbelievably, she grabbed him barehanded and slung him to the ground, where she dispatched him to snake heaven with the shovel she always carried outdoors.

Daily, we walked her yard, shovel in hand,checking out the flowers, moving one or two that needed a better home, filling a hole here, rooting out a weed there.  She gathered tomatoes, okra, and squash from the garden, later serving them at lunch, tomatoes still warm from the sun.  Before one, we made the ritual walk to the mailbox with a letter or two.  Grandma often got two or three letters a day since she wrote to numerous friends and relatives.  She’d read these to us as a group, “Oh!  Winnie’s girl Opal’s little girl is a princess in the school play.  She’s your third cousin.  All of Winnie’s kids did good.  They were all smart as whips!” going on to tell us stories of her girlhood with the distant Wiinie.

I envied my unknown cousin, though I’d never wanted to be a princess before or since.  Sometimes, the letters included pictures, which we poured over.

As my granddaughter and I relaxed in a dear friend’s garden, I collected cleome seed to share with her sometime down the road, a reminder of this day.  I do hope my little one recalls sweet stories of our our times together.

Shot in the Foot, Again

imageMother's 88 bdayHave you ever seen a happier face?MotherIt was a perfect storm.  I’d made up my mind not to take Mother to the garden center any more this summer, not that I have anything against garden centers.  Mother is addicted to flowers, just like I am.  She just isn’t strong enough to dig holes.  In contrast, I’d never be able to convince anyone I couldn’t dig a hole.  If I tried, they’d hand me a shovel and point me toward China.  Anyway, I’m tired of digging holes.  If all the holes I’ve dug this summer, in my yard and hers, were lined up end to end, they’d reach…..well, you know.

Anyway, one of my meddling sisters called one day last week and invited Mother and me to lunch.  It sounded innocent enough.  At the worst, I would only get stuck with her lunch ticket.  Mother doesn’t believe in paying her own ticket when she dines with her children.  I can’t say I blame her, after all the biscuits and gravy she’s cooked over the years.  Connie’s husband generously treated us all to lunch. I had a wonderful time till somebody shot me in the foot.

“__________ has their plants marked down.  Anybody want to stop by?”

Mother was the first in line.  I was loading my buggy up when I heard Connie ask Mother.

“Is that all you’re getting?  Get whatever you want and I’ll pay for it!”

“Nooooooo!  ………..only if they sell the holes to go with them!”

Mother was deaf to my protests and loaded her cart.  Connie went home proud of herself for being good to her mama.  The checkout lady even gave her a lantana someone had left at the counter because she looked so cute standing behind that cart full of plants.

I took my posthole digger over a couple of days later and spent some time digging holes.  If anyone else buys her any plants this summer, I will have to commit mayhem.

,Garden hint:  Posthole diggers are great for digging holes for your plants!

I Am Whipped

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Saturday my two sisters and I went over to help Mother a little. She’d gotten a bit behind on her gardening and was starting to stew about it. She had a mess. There were about fifteen plants that were going to die if we didn’t get them in the ground immediately We worked frantically weeding, cultivating, fertilizing, and planting for several hours. By the time we were through, it looked good. I thought we were all done, but As I loaded my stuff in my truck, I stumbled over half a dozen more she had stashed in a front bed. I wanted to cry, but was too tired to dig and plant any more.
I went back over today to finish the planting and cut some small trees that had sprung up in her hedges. It was such a relief to get to a quitting place and have a glass of tea.
As I went to load my truck to go home. I found several flats of annuals sitting in the shade. I KNOW those weren’t there Saturday! She has no shame!

Too Good To Be True!

Pots of flowersMother and I ran by the garden center while we were running errands today, as any right-thinking person would.  As I was strolling about, measuring the beauty of the flowers against the high cost of divorce, should I purchase any more this month, a miracle occurred.  One of the vendors walked up to me and asked if I liked flowers.  She cut me off before I really got started.  She lived at ——Jones Street.  She’d collected so many flowers she couldn’t take care of them.  They were all in her yard and on her porch.  Go by and get all I wanted.

“Is this a joke?  What if your neighbors see me loading flowers and call the police”

“Oh, that’s no problem.  Just take a picture of me and show it to them if they say anything, or tell them to call me.  It will be fine.”  That sounded reasonable.  I snapped her picture making the peace sign and sped to _______Jones Street.  The neighbors were on their doorstep watching us, probably wondering why they hadn’t been offered anything.  I showed them the lady’s picture, telling them she said we could have her plants.  They looked suspicious, but didn’t yell at us.  The plants were gorgeous.  She’d even started a couple of nice pineapples.  I was thrilled to get them when I noticed we were on ______Patterson Street.  We put all the plants back, explained to the neighbors, and took off.

We never did find ________Jones Street, but at least we haven’t been arrested, yet.  I’ll bet that woman in the garden center is still laughing.

No Honor among Thieves

wildflowersI won’t bother to lie.  That was me you saw on the side of that country road or on that old home place in the country digging up plants..and that little, bitty old lady you saw with me; that was my mama.   She’s my look out and spotter. When arrested, I won’t even be able to claim the act was spontaneous, since I keep a nice little camping shovel and plastic bags under my truck seat especially for my thieving excursions.  I’ll probably try to explain that Mother has Alzheimer’s and escaped from me, but that might not fly, since I’ll be the one out wading in the muck while she’s standing by the truck, but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Just so you know, I’m not the only thief she raised.  My sister, Connie makes raids just like I do.  We both make sure to get enough to share, since it’s inevitable one of us will eventually get caught.  Bud swears he won’t bail me out, but I suspect he’ll come get me when he gets hungry.  Mother is on her own.  She should have raised us better.

Flowers!

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I am one happy mama.  My kids both gave me gift cards for flowers for Mother’s Day.  I loaded up today. All the crazy old ladies pushing carts around in the garden department were jealous of me.  I will be knee deep in dirt tomorrow and happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.  Now I wish I’d had a few more kids.   I might hock something and go back to get some more stuff. Thanks, kids.

Stone Patio

imageBud and I built this stone patio in our backyard in front of an old arbor.  I have red and yellow climbing roses and purple clematis planted on the arbor.  A plantation bell stands at the end of the arbor.  A fire pit sits in the center of the patio.  An old hand pump pours into the whiskey barrel fish tank.  The stone path leads back to the house.

Something for Almost Nothing

boxWe just love making somethings out of nothing.  Spring is here and I have been working overtime finding lots of nothings.  Bud is retired.  His new full-time job is helping me make somethings out of them.  Today was my first day to really get out and fill this Continue reading