daffodil dreams

from the tips of my fingersto the tops of my toes a flower sitsin repose calling to medejected and forlorn I compose myselfand listen to the words whisperedforth speaking to me of daffodil dreamsand peeks sanguine in the distancethey seem like a memory of another timewhen the love you brought to me was something altogether […]

daffodil dreams

Memoir: Strawberries

Years ago, before my momma passed, I found wild strawberries as I went to check the spring. Of course, I forgot all about checking the water and ran to get a butter bowl from the house. An hour later, I had about a third of a bowl of uncapped berries, enough for a little pot of jam to go with pancakes.

Pleased with my find, I took them to show momma. She tasted a few, commented on how rare they were now, then burst my proud little bubble.

She told me that the summer before I started kindergarten, she and my granny picked enough to make 98 pints of freezer jam. For those that have never eaten wild strawberries, a huge one is about the size of your thumbnail. I took my now pitiful little bowl of strawberries and went home.

I remember picking strawberries with Momma and Granny. The most important thing was don’t spill them. That got you yelled at and/or swatted on the butt. Also, you had to watch for snakes, bees nests, and poison ivy, not necessarily in that order. It was hot and scratchy out in the weeds, so a long sleeved shirt was required.

Now the pastures are overgrown and the power line cuts are sprayed with herbicide. Fields of wild strawberries are a thing of the past. A few still grow around my house. I can pick a a couple as I walk by, and remember. Most days, that’s enough.

*disclaimer: photos are not mine.

the seeds

the fields brown grass reminds of tall tasks flowers not yet weepingseeds buried deepawaiting the stars signal to start creeping toward the light on the other sidewhere crimson colored applesand white-washed cotton candy fill the skies they are the seedsmade out of the kindest touchand a whole lot of hope and love A shorter version […]

the seeds

A Memoir in Bits and Pieces

I’m writing a book. This is news how? It says I’m a writer in the intro for this blog.

But this is a special book. It won’t be for general publication. It will be written in my own handwriting, in a leather bound journal that was a gift from my niece. It will be one of a kind.

The title of this extraordinary book is Recollections: A Memoir in Bits and Pieces. I realized several years ago how much things have changed in the fifty-plus years I’ve been alive. See what I did there, telling you I’m old without telling you how old? Ha! But I digress.

My siblings at Easter. I’m the one on the right not looking at the camera!

I thought this would just be a project for my family, something for my nieces and nephews to fight over when I’m gone, interesting bits of our family history, until some friends convinced me that people in the wider world would be interested as well. With that in mind, I will be posting some of these short essays here in the future.

Something to keep in mind as you read these: I grew up in a rural community. To say we were not well off is an understatement. We were poor. I don’t necessarily consider that a bad thing…now. At the time, it was very much a bad thing. We didn’t go hungry, we weren’t that poor, but looking back, I know that my parents struggled.

I won’t be revealing any deep, dark family secrets, mostly because there aren’t that many and probably not that captivating for the general public. Also because my family might smack me for it!

If this sounds like something you would enjoy reading, check back here soon!

Passing Down Traditions

I come from a long line of farmers. My family grew tobacco for a cash crop, hay and corn to feed the livestock, and a big garden to feed ourselves. My momma preserved everything she grew or foraged to feed us through the winter.

This weekend, I had the privilege of passing some of this knowledge down to my niece. She grew an abundance of habanero peppers and wanted to make pepper jelly. I personally don’t care for spicy food, but she likes it, so off we went!

The recipes she picked were a plain pepper jelly and a pepper marmalade. Both were new to me, so it was a learning experience for both of us. The marmalade made the house smell divine, oranges and spices bringing to mind Christmas.

Although it was quite a bit of work, chopping and stirring and peeling, there was also the sheer pleasure of creating and passing of traditions from one generation to the next.

In three generations, we’ve gone from mamma preserving from necessity, to me preserving to stay closer to my roots and have a bit of extra food, to my niece growing and preserving simply because she wants to.

In the end, we made 28 pints of marmalade and 15 half pints of pepper jelly. Yes, she could probably have made a dash to the grocery store and bought something similar. It would be much easier. This way, she has the satisfaction of doing it herself, and memories of a day spent with her aunt, listening to tales of her granny.

Sometimes, the hard way is the better way.

The Artist

Written by  Andrew Abballe @  A Life of Virtue  – The artist retreats into himself He closes his eyes and surrenders to his imagination His mind opens a gate to vast inner landscapes Time collapses, the heavens slowly unfold – The artist loathes mundane ‘everydayness’ He raises his brow at the gossip, trends and fashion of […]

The Artist

Saturday morning: Memories

My momma grew up in the Great Depression. Probably as a result of this, she saved everything. Nothing that could possibly be used later was thrown away, and leftovers were a way of life. She grew a big garden, and canned or froze a large portion of what we ate. Food was not to be wasted.

The grandchildren were scolded at the holidays about their eating habits. “Don’t take that out if you’re not going to eat it!” We still laugh about it when someone leaves food on their plate.

The point of this story is to explain how I found myself in my overgrown garden this morning, picking beans for (I hope) the last time. I don’t actually need them, I’ve canned beans several times already, and these are kind of bug bitten. I only went to the garden for some tomatoes for salad later,, damnit, but the beans were there, and would go to waste. Unacceptable!

With momma’s voice in the back of my head, I picked the beans and the tomatoes. As long as I’m having beans for supper, I need potatoes, so I dug new potatoes out of the former site of the compost pile. The actual crop of potatoes are still in the ground. Digging them up is story for another day.

Some days, like today, I think I’m turning into my momma. With all the insanity going on in the world today, maybe that’s not a bad thing? What ways do you see your parents, or even grandparents, in yourself?

Lazy Summer Daze

The smell of sun-warmed earth and freshly mown grass fills the air. A light breeze from the southeast brings the sweet, spicy smell of lillies to me.

The sounds of nature abound. Hummingbirds zip around in their inspection of feeders and petunias hanging from the porch. A Carolina wren nest in my Christmas cactus contains three baby birds, and I can here their hungry chirps when mama arrives in a flutter of wings. The sound of much bigger wings caused me to actually open my eyes in time to see a red-tailed hawk land in my redbud tree. The bird it was after escaped, and the hawk flew off before I could snap a picture.

The breeze rustles the trees, the cicadas sing their loud whirring song around me, and my neighbor is doing something that involves a tractor. It blends in with the other sounds of life in the country.

I would happily lie here all day, but, alas, someone has to buy the cat and dog treats! Since that would be me, it’s time to get ready for work!

(My) Heralds of Spring

Yesterday, I reblogged a post called Heralds of Spring, with a lovely, poetic description of the season. Poetry isn’t really my thing, but photography is, so here is my tribute to the beauty of the season.

Spot exploring the woods.
Ferns unfurling
Bleeding hearts
Creeping flocks in the rock garden
White and dog violets
Deer trail in the woods
Dutchman’s breeches

It’s snowing here as I write this, and expected to get into the low thirties tonight, so many of these lovelies will be withered and burned by the cold tomorrow. Enjoy!

Heralds of Spring

April yawns, and a gentle breeze scatters remnants of winter that linger In the middle of nowhere, wildflowers grow Dancing tulips savor limited days Snakes emerge from protective rocks Baby bunnies nibble anything green Hearty-throated robins gather to sing their praise to these heralds of Spring For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Colorful April

Heralds of Spring