Hopeful Seed Packets

The weather this week has just been miserable! Rain, mist, drizzle, downpour, storms - - - the variety of ways to get wet while performing ordinary tasks outside has been breathtaking. The eggs got broken in the grocery parking lot while I was busy trying to wipe rain out of my eyes.  

BUT,  I had to keep smiling because this is perfect weather for seeds! On Monday, just before the rain began, I mean right before the rain started....I planted my seeds for this summer. I've kept seed packets from every year of planting, and even some that I got from a friend that are really old! So, instead of buying (alot) of seeds this year, I used leftovers from previous years. This is good for the budget, but not very hopeful for a yield since old seeds don't do as well as new. 

I always try  my hand at sprouting some sweet pea plants and am never successful. My Dear Mother-in-Law has heaps of these - they are SOOO beautiful as a cut flower! I'm always trying to grow some, but it's always a dismal failure! This year may be different - the gardener's motto - the orangish blooms pictured above on the right are the ones I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this year. "Everlasting" - great name!

Every year, though, I plant zinnias - the most cheerful summertime flower. All kinds and they always produce wonderful plants and blooms with minimal care. This was another one of my buys for the season - "Peppermint Stripe" zinnias.   !!!   Can't wait to see how those turn out! 

"Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold." 
Mark 4:8


Birthday Markers and the Sky Swing

Just a couple more yard photos. These peonies mark my Middle Son's birthday. Each of our sons has a birthday marker. When the peonies start to sprout, we start counting the weeks until his big day. When the ants start "working" on the blooms, we know it's only days away! I don't know if they're really working on the blooms, but it really does seem like they are, and it was fun to tell boys this when they were little. My Oldest knows his birthday is coming as soon as the maple leaves start turning colors, and My Youngest watches for the first lightning bug to flash - then it's almost time for his birthday.

I was trying to take a picture of  this big peony bloom, but my camera took a different photo! I got a picture of the Sky Swing in the background. Last year, My Wonderful Husband bought a wooden swing as a birthday gift for me. We've always had one, everywhere we've lived, but they do get old and rotten out in the weather, so we haven't had one for a couple of years. Under the sweet gum tree is the perfect place for one. I painted it sky blue and still have plans to letter a sky scripture on its slats - just for fun. Any suggestions?


Cell Pack Failures

I still have alot of cell packs with flowers waiting to be planted.  I'm working on it a little at a time. Every year the same question comes up and plagues me:

Truly, it's pathetic. 


Fourteen Years Ago Today...

...our Middle Son broke into the world prepared to teach us a few lessons. 
And we're still learning them!  Happy Birthday, Dear Son! You're a gift from God! 


Tough and Fluff

This photo is so interesting to me as a Mom Among Men. Look at My Youngest's hand. It's all scratched up and ... (ahem) ... yes, dirty. OK, not filthy, but let's say used. He's running through our backyard to show me this bit of fluff he found flying low on the spring air. Even tough, scratched, dirty boys are mesmerized by a bit of light fluff floating by. Enough to chase it down and catch it. 

He'll be ten years old next month. His older, teenage brothers have stopped being diverted by bits of natural fluff in the air, and instead are now stopped short by lovely young ladies. And if these godly young women happen to be wearing a bit of fluff as trimming on their modest outfits - - - all the better! Things don't seem to change as boys grow older; things just seem to evolve to another level. I did prefer the lower levels ...

For more photos with lots of words, visit Angie's Wordful Wednesdays!


Helping the Poppy

These are oriental poppies, originally from my brother and sister-in-law's first home. They had a big round planting of them there, and when they finally moved, I snuck over and got a start for myself. Poppies don't like to be transplanted - they prefer to begin from seeds - but these took off anyway! It's so much more fun when a plant has a history instead of just a seed packet or plastic identification tag, isn't it? When I see these in my gardens, I think of those early days in the marriage of my brother and his wife. I have been blessed to have plants given to me over the years by friends and family, so when I walk through the garden, I think of these dear people when I see their plants. 

Hardy geranium - thanks, Sue! 
Garden phlox - thanks, Sandy! 
Peonies - thanks, Patsy! 
Lily of the valley - thanks, Mom! 
Hardy begonia - thanks, Jayne! 
Zagreb coreopsis - thanks, Helen! 
Spiderwort - thanks, Marilyn!

The heads of the oriental poppies are so interesting! See in the background how they stay bent over as the buds develop. Then when the bud is ready to bloom, the stem straightens and the bud bursts open. This enormous fluffy bloom pops out! This bloom was "helped" to open by My Youngest. 

Helping the poppy is not really helping the poppy, though. It's similar to "helping" a butterfly out of its cocoon, or "helping" a chick out of its egg. The bloom needs to do its own work to enter the world, or it will be stunted. Think about that! The Lord has so many lessons for us from the garden! I'll refrain from preaching it to you, so you can see it for yourself. 

Anyway, I've opened a few myself. Every year, really, I can't resist popping one open to peek inside at the way that huge bloom is crammed into such a small space! It's a miracle of space-saving economy in there! 

So My Youngest didn't get scolded. 

I know exactly why he did it.


"Missing Boy Alert" - Guest Blog Post

My Youngest Son is getting older. His face is changing even as it gets more parallel to mine. I only have to look down the teeniest bit to see into eyes very much like my own. If you still have your baby son in your arms, it's all ahead of you and hard to imagine, but it will come to you, too! I came across a blog post on a site called Moms Without Blogs which described it perfectly. To read this excellent description of your baby turning into "the new guy", click here and enjoy!


The Hole Mystery

What the heck? What the heck lives in this hole?  I found this right next to a raised garden bed - it's about the size of a silver dollar. We bumped around, but nothing came out, thank the Lord, although I'd still like to know what lives in here so that I can avoid it. See the spider webs around the edges! That makes me think it might be a spider... that would be a really big spider! I was tempted to plug it up, or just close the hole by pushing dirt over it with my shoe. Then I thought that whatever lives in there might just come out and give me a swift kick!      Any ideas?


Summer Teepees

My Dear Husband set up these branch teepees for me this season. I was so excited that I found myself clapping as I followed behind him and My Youngest, who was helping. These sturdy and TALL frames will hold beautiful vines which are my favorite flower of the summer season. I've already got some Heavenly Blue Morning Glory seedlings going on this one, which will be easy to see right outside my kitchen window.  I've got these starts from a seed packet from last year that I kept, and I'm waiting for some sprouts from some seeds that come out of a very old HBMG packet. The artwork is so lovely on those really old seed packets! I'm also considering sending some apple gourds up this one also, since it's such a strong frame.

But check out this bad boy in the far flower beds!  This teepee is at least 15 feet tall! I'm planning to send hyacinth bean vine up this one, and maybe some miniature bottle gourds. If I can get them to sprout - no luck in this last year. The seeds were given to me by an old fellow at an antique show in Shaker Village. What a dear man, he gave me seeds for miniature bottles and for wrinkly gourds, too. His wife didn't want him giving things away, but I'm afraid I was glad to get them anyway! 

I don't have a place for these this year, because of the gourds, but thought you  might enjoy the photo.  This morning glory is called "Flying Saucer".  
Love plant names!

I always thought it would be wonderful to set up a teepee, covered with vines, that the boys could use as a real hide-out. Never did it, though! See one made for children with hyacinth bean vine - here.


Anniversary Party

The 50th Wedding Anniversary Party went well - What a long weekend we've had over here! Here comes a few photos of the day, so bear with me. It was a church hall party - a simple, family gathering where you see people whose names you can't quite remember. Absolutely no one was wearing stilettos and many ate several pieces of cake without any cause for embarrassment at all. People laughed really loudly and re-told old family stories, and some shed a few tears. The cake table looked nice - 
These flowers were taken from my garden, to save on cost.  Purple iris smell so purple-y! It's almost like smelling candy, it's so strong a flavor/scent!  Snowballs from the snowball bush hold them up straight.  My niece made this photo extra pretty.
Look, it's my guys! My Middle Son, My Wonderful Husband, My Father-in-Law Who Loves Me, My Youngest, and My Oldest Son. What a handsome bunch of men! My Youngest is red in the face because he's been running in the gym. The other boys had on nice button-up shirts, but lost them somewhere while playing in the gym, also. Oh, well.
This dear little girl had just too little supervision. And she loved the cake. Do I need to say more, or can you see how wet her tiny finger is? Oh, yes, and she loved the chocolate-covered strawberries, too - just the very first bite, though. She didn't like the rest of each, and was throwing them away. I steered her toward grapes. From the fruit bowl. Pick your battles, right?
Because these were TOO delicious to throw away after the first nibble.
I know you think I let her pick grapes out of the bowl with her already-wet fingers - but I didn't. I happily stood there and scooped out red (NOT green!) grapes for our Cake Table Princess. Later, I found the plate with ten (NOT nine!) grapes laying on a church pew nearby. Tricky little Princess!
I found this fascinating, and just too tempting to pass on as a photo op. Everyone else was watching the wonderfully weepy anniversary video. I was too. Really.


Super for a Day

Some days all  I get done is the home schooling, treadmill, some cleaning, a little laundry - the usual. It seems like I don't have time to get anything extra accomplished!  Like open that Etsy shop...

Anyway, yesterday I had an 8:30 a.m. appointment with my rheumatologist - I had to leave the house by 8:00 to make it on time. Didn't have to get up any earlier than usual, since I'm up at 6:30 getting My Oldest off to high school. Since I was out and finished by 9:30, I stopped by Old Time Pottery to hunt for something to make my bed "new" without going all the way and buying an entirely new bedding set.  I found these colored pillowcases ($13) to add a boost to the fluffiness factor, and two shiny silk pillows ($16 - a splurge) for some ooo-la-la!  I think that might be French...  Stopped at Sam's real quick and got supplies for - - -
THESE!  Started dipping berries after dressing my bed with ooo-la-la and prompting the progress of my diligent (!) students. They ended up helping dip these practice batch of berries.  Tomorrow morning I'll be dipping 8 pounds of berries for my father and mother-in-law's 50th wedding anniversary party.  Hope I can be finished by  noon! (biting nails...) But don't they look Awesome!  And they do taste divine! I'm trying to figure out how to embellish them with some white chocolate swirls, or maybe a tiny "50th" icing-ed on to just a few. Maybe if I use that icing that turns rock hard after setting?  hmmm  (more nail biting...) I'd appreciate any tips on this process.

Can you believe that in the midst of all that, I turned out this pan of yeast rolls?  Yes, I've put my cape on and I feel the breeze now! I was a super-hero yesterday!!! The boys were laughing at me as I put the pan in the middle of the schoolbooks and took this photo. OK, the breeze in my cape is a little less as I confess that these are made from frozen bread dough. Gosh! All you 'real' bread people kill me with your yeast packets! ugh! But getting fresh bread AND lessons finished - just amazing in my world!

And that's not all folks!  I left for a research study on cleaning products (ha) at 5:00, having prepared a full meal for the family, got $50 cash at the end of the study, went straight out to buy annual flowers for my planters, and (panting for breath) .... went to meet my Domino Pals! Where I almost won and ate too many Milano cookies - yum.  oops

You might want to touch my cape  ....   


Needy Blue Jay

Can you see that baby blue jay on the ladder?  He's yelling to his mama to come and get him. She wasn't brave enough to go into the greenhouse, though, so one of My Older Sons went in to bring him out....more than once that afternoon. This caused Mama Blue Jay to defend her baby by terrorizing the rest of us, specifically my Baby Boy. My Youngest was literally on the ground and under a lawn chair as she dived and screamed at us. It took a while for him to get over that. That baby jay must've had special needs, if you know what I mean - we would watch him just hop right back in to the heat of the greenhouse! In the next week or so after this, we often saw a half-grown jay sitting on a fence, near the house, seeming to look in the window. I think it was the same jay sending his thanks - his Mamma never did!


Dream Cookie

Have you ever had one of these? It's a Lofthouse Cookie. (big sigh) It's drop-dead delicious. I goaded my niece, who had two, into giving me this one at a basketball game. Thought I'd take a picture of it, before I ate it, since they're so rare in my world. These just don't trot by every day, you know. If you can steal one from a little child, you should - like I did!
Then you can join Weight Watchers with me. I'm guessing these cookies arevery high on the "points" scale - just look at all that wonderful icing! Since joining, I haven't captured any of these cookies.  Of course, none have meandered my way, either. Would I be able to just watch one go by, and not try to get it for myself?  


Moss Love

Moss.  I love moss! This is the mossy time of year out in my garden. I know that I'm supposed to clear the moss away, since it isn't good for the ground and tends to smother more lovely  plants. But somewhere in my brain there bounces the phrase and image of "moss-lined baskets". This small phrase influences me greatly. I am well aware that this is odd. My mom always said that I read too much, and this may be true. Very likely, actually.
Moss photo above was taken a the Cincinnati Zoo.  Do you believe that my sons thought it was unusual to see Mom trying to get a good shot of moss on a rock wall?  They didn't look at me twice. They already know me too well!
This photo taken on a hike near Kentucky Lake - ??? - some lake in Kentucky. The hike, again straight uphill, was grueling, and this moss was just glowing. Can you tell that it's in its reproductive phase? Yes, it is!  See those spikey bits - they're called ....nevermind.  You can read about it here, if you don't have any dustbunnies to catch, like Kentucky Kate.   How do I know this freakish bit of information? I took a graduate course on MOSS.  Yes. Did I think it was a waste of time? Did I rail against the seemingly useless knowledge imparted to me during that long, hot, summer course? NO  It was an easy 3 hours of credit, which I had to have. I was grateful, since the course on Modern Television Viewing was closed.  ;0)

And I learned to love moss!


"It Doesn't Taste Like Pumpkin Pie"

Sometimes they come and get my camera...and take it outside.  
"What are you going to do with it?"  "Just mess around - you know."
No, really, I don't. I hear them laughing wildly, later, and a muffled replay on the computer - over and over and over. They've video-ed themselves doing some fool thing. Again.

Thought you might enjoy seeing just one example of their videography. My talented Man Sons! I'm in the video - watching through the window, just for a second. I didn't even see that they were video-taping; I only notice the outrageous design on the pumpkin. Not something that I approved of. I'm sure I'm frowning. This pumpkin never did get completely carved or lit, thank the Lord above! I would've had to roll it over the hill myself. I thought butt humor would wear off after they were well past potty training, but it doesn't. And I'm sorry about that. Very sorry.

I may have been ruined by living among males for too long, and with five months distance from the event ... I think it's very funny!