Monday, November 24, 2008


It's quiet in the house. My husband has gone to the airport to pick up our daughter. The table is set, the turkey is in the frig, groceries have been bought. I will work again tomorrow then start to prepare for Thanksgiving on Wednesday. Our gathering is small, there will be only 7. As I walk through the now silent house, I think of days past and days yet to come.

I remember when my Mother passed these dishes on to me. The dishes from my childhood that I loved so much.

I remember when the house was never quiet, but full of excitement and so much energy.

giving is a time to reflect on the changes, to remember that we, too, grow and change from one season of life to another. Thanksgiving is a time of changing seasons, when leaves turn golden in Autumn's wake and apples are crisp in the first chill breezes of fall. Let us remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving. As we see the beauty of Autumn, let us acknowledge the many blessings which are ours... let us think of our families and friends.. and let us give thanks in our hearts."

And I think back over this past year and as I count my many blessing, I include all of you. You have taught me, entertained me and inspired me. I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Seed Update

I worked most of this chilly, cloudy day inside trying to get the house ready for Thanks- giving dinner. Around 2 I was ready to head outside and try and tidy up the back and check the progress of the wildflower seeds I planted. I am really pleased and wanted to share the progress with you. These are Bluebonnets from seeds I planted the first of September in the wildflower garden. They are coming up all over this bed. I am really excited that they look so good!

These are seeds that re-seeded from last year's bluebonnets They are in the bed along the fence on the other side of the yard from the wildflower garden.

These are from seeds planted this year also in the bed along the fence, but a little further down.

These little green mossy looking things are California Poppies! I am really happy to see them coming up. I planted them in several places and they are doing well..

except right here due to a certain squirrel that will not stop digging!

Finally, look very close and you can see the Red Corn Poppies starting to come up. They also have a mossy look. Last year my poppies did really well so I am hoping to have the same luck again this year.

Optimism--one of the most important words in a gardener's vocabulary!

"Like a good gardener, I believe that what does down must come up!"
Lynwood L. Giacomini

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Pansies are in!

I've had a hard time convincing myself to let go of the profusion zinnias even though I knew it was time. After a little encouragement (thank you Tina!) I decided Saturday would be the day to pull them up and plant pansies. Of course, I didn't know Saturday would also be a cold windy day-too windy to plant. But determined to start the process, I headed out to a local garden center to at least buy pansies. I drove up expecting a full house like I usually find, but I had my choice of parking spots as I was the only one there. The people who work there were not even outside, they were inside putting up Christmas lights!

I found the pansies and proceeded to pick out flats. I am rather late in buying them, but they still had a pretty good selection. I bought 5 flats: 3 with yellows, reds and oranges, and 2 with purple. I like to mix pansies using those colors. I headed inside to pay and warm up. I guess I felt the need to explain why I was out on a cold day to buy pansies and chatted away while the owner checked me out. I told him I was late because I couldn't pull up the zinnias I bought there back in the spring, so really it was his fault I was out today. He just stared at me, handed me my ticket and said "pull 'um up!"

He did offer to help load them in my car, but I declined and he didn't argue. I brought them home and put them on the patio for shelter from the wind hoping Sunday would be a better day to plant. And it was, only I had church obligations until late afternoon. That was okay, it had warmed up, the wind was not blowing, good time to work in the garden. I asked my son who happened to be there to please move the flats from the patio to the front. Of course first I had to pull up the zinnias, so I took a deep breath and starting pulling. I pulled fast and tried not to look at the flowers as I went. As I worked my son walked around front carrying 2 flats of pansies. "What are you doing?" he asked. I pulling these up so I can plant THOSE I said. He stood there staring when hubby walked around the corner. "What is she doing?" he asked. My son said "she is pulling up still alive and blooming flowers to plant these!"

I thanked them for the comments and told them to please go inside and take grand dog who at this point was trying to get in the bag of blood meal.
And they did go inside and leave me to work. It was getting really late afternoon by that time. You know that time of day that is not still light, but not dark yet. It was quite and peaceful as I finished planting. I looked at the front beds and tried to imagined how pretty they would be in spring.

So I can check one more thing off my to-do list for fall. I still need to re-plant the wheel-
barrow. I decided to make some plans as I walked in back to put my spade up. I think I want to use kale and pansies, maybe something else. However, I already see one problem--the coleus is still really, really pretty. I hate to pull it out!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Beautiful Blooming Saturday

It's a beautiful chilly Saturday here in the Dallas area. We had our first cold front move through last night. No freeze..yet! They are warning us to move the plants in tonight though, so later today I will be moving the containers onto the patio and covering them up for the night. My patio offers good protection for plants especially if they are covered, and unless it gets in the 20's, they can survive the winter there.
Carol at May Dream Gardens hosts Gardener's Bloom Day on the 15th of each month (thank you Carol!), so after getting 2 loaves of pumpkin bread in the oven this morning, I decided to take a quick walk outside to see what is still blooming. This pretty is the Christmas Cactus my neighbor gave me. I carried her outside to take a good picture. Can you believe all the blooms! She is going back in, it's too cold out here for her!
Tiny star creeper continues to bloom. I love seeing the tiny flowers peak out under all the leaves.

Mexican Milkweed continues to have blooms. This picture is blurry because the wind is blooming so hard I couldn't get the plant to stop moving!
The Lavender (Pinata) is in full bloom.

Look what I found hiding in one of the beds!
This is probably the last day for cosmos blooms, but they will be back next year!

I continue to have beautiful blooms on the geraniums. These will be plants moved to the patio and covered later today. If it gets really cold, they will come inside.

And finally, one last look at the zinnias (profusion). I am pulling them up and putting pansies in their place. This has without a doubt been my favorite annual flower this past year.

I can't say winter is around the corner, here in Texas you never know when it will arrive, but on a blustery day like today, you are reminded that it will not be long before we can only dream about blooms and digging in the dirt. We will sit in front of the fire where it is warm, drink hot chocolate, and look through our gardening books waiting for the first signs of spring.
"If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Award!

Barbee at Barbee's Blog has graciously given me the "Uber" award! Wow! Let me tell you how honored I feel to be given this award from Barbee (Barbara). When I joined Blotanical, I had no idea how to navigate around and set up favorites. Barbara was one of the first to welcome me and offer any assistance, and boy did I take her up on that offer! She spent an entire afternoon walking me through several things. Barbara, I will never forget your kindness! So, you can see how special it is for me to receive this award from her.

"UBER" is an acronym for 'U've Been Excellently Rewarded'. UBER is a synonym of Super. The 'UBER amazing Blog Award' is given to sites that:

1. inspire you
2. make you smile and laugh
3. or maybe give amazing information
4. a great read
5. has an amazing design
6. and any other reasons you can think of that makes them UBER amazing!

I'm not sure how deserving I am once I read these requirements, but I am so honored. Thank you very much Barbara!

I am allowed to pass this award on..which is a hard assignment as so many bloggers do not accept awards.

The Perennial Garden Lover - everyone knows and loves Racquel's blog. It is pretty, informative, and Racquel has got to be the nicest person in the world. She is a friend to all bloggers. Racquel, you are so deserving of an award of this nature!

Digging in the Dirt - Susie's blog is wonderful. Susie works at a garden center so you can imagine how informative it is. Her pictures are fantastic, the music playing in the background adds just the right touch. Susie, your blog is always such a blessing to me, you are very deserving of this award.

The next 3 choices of mine are bloggers that may not accept awards. I understand and accept their wishes, but I would like to mention their blogs and let you know how great I think they are:

In the Garden - This blog has 3 contributors, all with beautiful gardens. This blog is filled with so much information and so many good pictures--I cannot recommend it enough to you. Tina has become a real good "blogging' friend" of mine.

View From The Pines - Brenda's blog will put a smile on your face with her wonderful insights and antidotes about gardening and living in East Texas. She takes wonderful pictures of the beautiful countryside. I always look forward to visiting Brenda!

Aunt Debbi's Garden - Debbi is a Master Gardener and grows everything. She has great information, great pictures, and the best stories about life you'll read! This is another "put a smile on your face" blogs.

Barbara, thank you again for such a special award. You made my day!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tyler State Park...remembering when..

When my children were young we went to Tyler State Park camping at least twice a year. It was always such a treat for everyone. My mother and step-father would drive down for a day, and my sister and her family would come from Longview to join us. We would fish, hike, grill hamburgers and enjoy the outdoors. We kept this tradition for many years, but as the children grew older and became involved in weekend activities our trips to Tyler slowed down and eventually stopped. I guess it has been about 15 years since we have been to Tyler State Park. This Saturday my husband and I decided to take a day trip and once again enjoy the place that gave us so many wonderful memories.
We wondered if anything had changed..
was it still as pretty as we rem-
embered ?

The path through the woods seemed much shorter now without toddlers and young children taking time to explore everything as they walked .

Fall was in bloom-just as we had seen it so many times before.

The old fishing spot was still there, just now rather overgrown. Many little fishermen with snoopy rod and reels learned how to cast at this spot.

The Bat House-a new addition my little ones would have enjoyed.

The view across the lake was just as beautiful as it was 15 years ago. We met an unexpected visitor as we made our way around the lake.

I always hoped these early adventures camping would create a love of the outdoors in our children. I hoped they would grow to love nature and develop the desire to do their part to help preserve it. I hoped the good times we had camping would give them wonderful memories of times together sharing nature and enjoying each other.
And I believe this has all happened. Our now 3 grown children each have a love of the outdoors that is all their own. They are only all together about 2 or 3 times a year now, but it is during these times I see 2 brothers and a sister who really enjoy each other.

The trip to Tyler let us know the park is still there..and it still holds some very precious memories for us.
We enjoyed our day,
and we enjoyed our time remembering when...

"We have not inherited the earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children."
Old Native American Saying

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Pond in Fall

Yesterday morning when I went out to feed the fish I saw this one lonely little water poppy in bloom. There were times this summer I would have more than 10 flowers at 1 time! The pond has been such a joy this summer. Of course it has always been my favorite part of the little backyard, but this year the pond plants were incredible! Almost to the point I wasn't quite sure what to do as I never had to cut back pond plants before.

Now the leaves are turning brown . The one grass on the right is evergreen, but all the other things will eventually die back completely . Hopefully they will return in the spring, but I never know for sure. I know it's getting time to put the garden to bed for the winter, but the hardest thing for me is letting the pond go to have it's winter rest. I leave the red pump going, so I always have the sound of water, but there is no greenery around it--it looks pretty sad.

The new fish have been really happy in their new home and are still very frisky coming up to catch any pellets I might throw to them. But the time for feeding fish is coming to an end for the year as well. Once the water reaches 55 degrees, you are warned to stop feeding your fish. Actually, I think it's all instinct. My fish seem to know it's time and head down to the bottom of the pond to begin their winter hibernation. You can see them, but they barely move. They tell you not to be tempted to feed your fish on a warm January morning because their bodies are in hibernation and could not digest any food, but my fish have never tried to come up and ask for food. They stay on the bottom until one warm day in March I go out and there they are at the top saying "feed me, feed me!"

As the wind begins to blow, and leaves come tumbling down, we have to put a net up and try to keep as many leaves as we can from falling in the pond. This is the part I hate the most, but I need to do this to keep the pond free of debris. We usually do this sometime in November, and depending on the weather and when all the leaves fall, take it down around the end of December or some years it's into January.
So I take one last look at this water poppy, and I reflect on what pleasure this pond my husband so lovingly built 10 years ago has given me. I will keep these memories as I head into the end of the year, looking forward to the warm spring morning I take my coffee pond side and find excited fish announcing "I'm hungry--feed me, feed me!"

"God gave us memories that we might have roses in December."
J.M Barrie

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Flea Market Finds

My best buddy and I made the one hour drive to Canton for First Monday today. It got this name (I think) because it is always held the weekend before the first Monday of a month. It use to start on Friday and end on Monday, but I have heard it is now opening on Thursdays. I wish I could have gone on Thursday because it was packed shoulder to shoulder with people today! We got to the exit at 8:40am and it was already backed up! Ugh..but it was still a fun day.

I bought a new bird house to hang on the fence..

..and a little bird to live inside with me--perhaps on the window sill so he can look out.

Here are a few more of the things I bought..

We shopped until noon, grabbed a baked potato for lunch and finished with Taylor's homemade ice cream. I normally like to find something for the garden, but this time of the year the vendors concentrate on holiday items. Spring is the perfect time to shop for gardening items, so looks like we will need to make another trip in a few months. I just know I need another rusty pail or two to plant with spring flowers!