Welcome to Barbee's Blog!
A Window On My World

This is not a daily blog.
Posts will be published on occasion and irregularly as I am able.
Some of these posts are from my web site The Garden At Crocker Croft.
Barbee's Little Shop Is the sales branch of my blog and web site. divider

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Marguerites

To me, the most beautiful thing in the world is falling snow.

Many people are having snowy weather right now, and it has reminded me of a quick and easy kitchen project that might be helpful to someone.

My mother called these Marguerites, and made them for my brother and me years ago. They were delicious, and messy-fun to eat. We loved them! Quick, easy, fun, salty/sweet, and we always had the ingredients on-hand already. She made them for us as a dessert and sometimes as a between-meals fun snack treat. She wouldn’t let us make them for fear we would get burned, but I think we could have managed them without any severe burns.

Difficulty: Easy

Servings: as many or as few as you want to make
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: Under hot broiler - broil until marshmallows turn medium brown

Ingredients:
Saltine crackers
Peanut butter
Large (regular size, not the little) marshmallows pinched or cut into halves.

Directions:
1. Spread peanut butter on several saltine crackers and line them up on a cookie sheet.

2. Place half of a large marshmallow on an equal number of saltines lined up along side the peanut butter ones.

3. Put cookie sheet under a hot broiler. Watch constantly, it does not take long. Remove from oven when the marshmallows turn medium brown. By then the peanut butter will be soft.

4. Place a peanut butter saltine cracker atop each marshmallow – peanut butter side down onto the marshmallow – and press slightly. Careful about the hot sugar from the mallows as it squishes out a bit.

Note: can be messy to eat as the marshmallow strings out with nearly every bite and crackers crumble. Kids love them. A clean, wet bath cloth nearby is a good idea.

Have fun!

Free Warm Hat

I know. I haven't posted in what seems like eons. It took this cute hat to shake me loose.

The drama leading to this surprising change involves myofascia pain, plus an escalating allergy to wool.

For a few decades I have depended heavily on a certain brown wool hat that was of the up-most importance to my comfort. Other wool hats were worn on trial bases, but none of them fit well enough to meet needs. I lost the good one once in a large medical center and went into a panic until someone turned it in to the lost-and-found desk where I shakily, almost tearfully, retrieved it. Gloom descended recently when I realized my constant sneezing, dripping nose and red itching eyes were a reaction to the little brown hat. I had to resort to wearing a washable, cotton kerchief which makes me look like the old grandma that I am. "Kerchief", as in: "And ma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap." (from poem "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore)

Today, I came across this blog post about the giveaway of a cute, warm-looking hat. I will enter the contest in hopes of winning, and if so, hope it will suit my needs well enough that I can retire the granny kerchief. If not, I hope that I may be on the cutting edge of a new fad: "cozy kerchiefs"!

How do you like her hats? Reminds me of the flapper era.
The free giveaway hat:


More hats (for sale) CLICK HERE

I wear my hair severely short so this style should work well for me.

Thank you for stopping by. Maybe I will start posting again. I don't know...

Tuna Salad

I always enjoyed my mother's tuna salad. Sometimes we stuffed tomatoes with it and served it on a lettuce leaf; sometimes we used it as a filling for sandwiches putting a lettuce leaf in there too. I especially enjoyed a serving on my plate all by itself which I forked onto saltine crackers and ate, one after the other -- enjoyed most if accompanied by sweet iced-tea and plenty of lemon. Ah, memories! So many memories are linked to food.

My favorite memory of a meal like that is of my grandfather. Our house was next door to my grandparent's house on Grandfather's farm. I spent a lot of time at their house. More than once I saw Granddaddy (as I called him) eating salmon salad, with crackers, and big glasses of iced-tea with fragrant lemons. They didn't make it with tuna like mother did, actually, sometimes mother made it with canned salmon, too, bones and all, she said the calcium was good for us. Crunchy pecans camouflaged crunchy bones, could hardly tell they were in there.

Granddaddy worked hard on the farm and when he ate his meal described above he ate with apparent relish... and smacking! That fascinated me; we were not allowed to smack at my father's table. Did Granddaddy make it look good! Then I would go home and ask mother to make some for us.

On the farm were a few wild pecan trees that gave the sweetest, fullest, juiciest, though small, pecans. It was an annual ritual to gather them up, and the shelling went on for what seemed like forever. We always had plenty of pecans. I think of that when I see packages of shelled pecans in the grocery store priced at, or above, $6.00 a pound. Mother used them every way she could think of, she even put them in the tuna salad. I remembered that today when I made mine without pecans. Mine was good, but not as good as mother's... the pecans were missing; there is something about the blend of flavors with pecans that makes it extra good.

Mother never put grated onion in hers because my father didn't like onion, but I have eaten tuna salad made by other people that seemed to have a tiny bit of grated onion, and I think a little fresh onion flavor added to it is good. But, today I made mine like mother made hers, except I had no pecans. (Actually, I forgot the pickle, too, but can add it tomorrow.)

Here is the way I like to make it:
16 oz., or larger, can of water packed white tuna
4 hard boiled eggs chopped
A large handful of stuffed olives cut up but not too small (depends on the size of olives, small ones can just be halved)
3 or 4 sweet (cucumber) pickles chopped
1 small fresh apple or 1/2 large, chopped (peeled or unpeeled - your choice)
3 or 4 ribs of celery chopped - depending on size
1/2 cup of broken pecans
Grated carrot (just a little to make it pretty, and it's good for us)
A goodly shake of black pepper - or to taste.
We do not add salt, the olives are salty, and celery is tasty and high sodium.
We use Kraft's Miracle Whip salad dressing, but you use mayonnaise if that is your preference. I used 3 heaping tablespoons.
Stir together well. Then it's ready.

I think it is better the second day. I like it for breakfast. When I went back to college at age 40, I made a point to eat it for breakfast if I had an exam or studio presentation and critique that day. I truly believe it helped. Our four teenagers teased me and told me tuna is an "upper". I thought they were just playing with me and giving me a hard time, but they could be right. It seemed to work.

What to Post


It is a bit challenging for some gardeners to post to blogs when it is the dead of winter. We have written about the weather, birds, food, and this being the perfect time for "clearing out". I will follow suit with that last one.

Let's skip the weather for now. Too much of that being batted around already. Birds? I've done that before. Food? I did a little of that recently. That leaves clearing out. A few closets have been attacked and rummaged.

Out went the last of the baby and child furniture; that was painful. The crib, the little chair, the little table with matching seats had been mine when I was a child. I remember using all of them, and writing out my spelling words over and over while seated at the little table. No more small children in the family, now. Life moves on.

Out went the dolls, doll clothes, paper dolls, metal detector, stamp collection... among other things. Magazines and children's books went to a doctor's office waiting room. Miscellaneous toys and clothes landed at the Goodwill Industries store. A slight culling of books went to our library.

Six or seven large bags and boxes of pretty ribbons from the weddings of our two daughters were advertised on Freecycle and were claimed by several people getting married or helping with wedding plans. Considering that both daughters now have college aged children, I told myself: If you haven't used them by now, you never will. Pretty as they were, out they went!

This past fall we had some electrical upgrades done which means we no longer use electrical fuses of any kind. A bag of fuses, assorted sizes and shapes, went away via Freecycle. As did about twenty three-ring binders. (Where did all of those come from?!)

Four stacks of garden catalogs went out to four people. I know where they came from, and I am trying to stanch the flood. Canning jars were grabbed up quickly. And, on and on... stuff went out the door. Stacks and boxes and drawers and file cabinets were lightened of their loads. I began to worry about the dinky-looking axles between the wheels of our recycle containers as their paper loads became so heavy - repeatedly, week after week.

Freecycle is a terrific resource. Its purpose is to put people in contact: those who want to get rid of something - with those who can use it. There is no cost to anyone, and the main goal is to keep all this "stuff" out of the landfills. I have even heard of people offering and receiving sod, dirt, clay, manure, mulch, spoiled hay, etc. Some of that I have taken. It's wonderful to read the daily posts to see all the stuff that has passed from one, to another person who has a use for the things advertised. Here is the link to our local chapter, but you can browse and click around in there and find one near to you.

For the past twenty years I did gardening and garden planning here at Crocker Croft. I spent a lot of time searching the internet for the exact plants I wanted (genus, species, variety). I have enjoyed numerous beautiful catalogs all these years. Now, that I have slowed considerably both physically and mentally, I do not need catalogs. I notified companies to explain my situation and requested they not send any more. I am keeping the latest issue of each one in my garden file for reminders. If I need anything, I can always go to their websites to see current prices and to order.

I will close with a list of some of them.

1. A.M. Leonard's Gardeners Edge
2. ARBICO Organics www.arbico-organics.com/
3. Brecks brecks.com
4. Brussel's Bonsai brusselsbonsai.com
5. Burpee burpee.com
6. Charley's Greenhouse charleysgreenhouse.com
7. DavidAustinRoses.com
8. Drs Foster & Smith drsfostersmith.com
9. Duncraft
10. Dutch Bulbs dutchbulbs.com
11. Exciting Gardens/Richard Owen Nursery excitinggardens.com
12. Forest Farm forestfarm.com
13. Four Seasons Nursery 4seasonsnurseries.com
14. Gardener's Choice gardenerschoice.net
15. Gardeners Edge
16. Gardener's Supply Co. gardeners.com
17. Growers Supply
18. High Country Gardens highcountrygardens.com
19. Honeycreek honeycreeknurseries.com
20. J.L.Hudson, Seedsman jlhudsonseeds.com
21. Jackson & Perkins jacksonandperkins.com
22. Johnny's Selected Seeds www.johnnyseeds.com/
23. jungseed.com
24. Kinsman Garden kinsmangarden.com
25. kitchengardenseeds.com
26. McClure & Zimmerman
27. millernurseries.com
28. McClure & Zimmerman Bulbs mzbulb.com
29. Netherland Bulb Co.
30. New Holland Bulb Co. newhollandbulb.com
31. Park Seed: perennials & shrubs; annuals & tropicals;Trees & shrubs. parkscs.com
32. Rare Find Nursery rarefindnursery.com
33. Paul Zimmerman Roses
34. Select Seeds selectseeds.com
35. Snowpeak Iris and Daylilies
36. Spray N grow spray-n-grow.com
37. Springhill springhillnursery.com
38. Territorial Seed territorialseed.com
39. The Pond Guy thepondguy.com
40. The Vermont Country Store
41. Thompson & Morgan Seedsmen tmseeds.com
42. Van Bourgondien's dutchbulbs.com
43. Van Engelen vanengelen.com
44. Vermont Country Store vermontcountrystore.com
45. Walt Nicke's Garden Talk
46. Wayside waysidecs.com
47. White Flower Farm whiteflowerfarm.com
48. Wild Seed Farms wildseedfarms.com
49. Sunshine Farm & Gardens
50. Heirloom Roses, Inc. news@heirloomroses.com


Charivari (sha-ree-va-rée)


Today I was reminded that we have a great-niece and a great-nephew getting married this winter and coming spring. That triggered memory of a conversation I had with a couple of friends some years our senior. She told the story of their wedding night.

Apparently, in some rural areas of Kentucky in that day the custom of charivari was still alive. During the night following the excitement of their wedding day there was suddenly a horrible noise, cow bells, loud shouting, clanging and banging. She said she knew what it was, but her husband was from a different region. He, waking from a deep sleep, jumped up from the bed, grabbed off the mattress (rolling her onto the floor in the process) doubled it over under his arm and ran out of the building, leaving his bride dumped on the floor. In his own defense while she told the story, he said he thought there was a fire. In his sleep sodden brain, he temporarily forgot she was there.

I Googled the word to see what I could find about the custom. It seems to be a custom brought over from Europe, mostly France, and was (is?) popular with the French settlers including those in Canada, New England, and the Cajun of Louisiana. Want to know more? Go to this site and scroll down to "What is a charivari?"

Now I understand why bridal couples try to keep their honeymoon destinations secret. Funny, the games we play.

His Spoonerism Made Me Smile


No mail today. Federal holiday called "Presidents' Day" celebrating George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays. Ha, ha -- My husband came up with a good spoonerism: He said "Today is birthington's wash day, or something like that."

Interviewer: So.... Barbee', how have you been?

Barbee': Well, just so-so.

Interviewer: Where have you been since your post last May; we notice you posted only a few times since then and those only recently. Have you been away?

Barbee': Yes, we did some holiday traveling to visit family members in other states south of here, but I have been here most of the time. I do not travel well, and that trip each year becomes more challenging, and the recovery time takes longer each year.

Also, we had a few days of house-guests, and then other holidays took priority several times. We get to be with our grown children when they come visiting, or we go over to local daughter's home to share a celebration. I am fortunate to be able to do that. The problem is: I'm so terribly slow of mind and body these days it seems the holidays are stepping on each others' heels.

Interviewer: Then, if you were here most of the time why haven't you been posting to your blog? That was a long time.

Barbee': There hasn't been much to blog about. Gardening has become far more challenging for me physically. Then there is always the weather to blame. I was outdoors very little last summer due to the heat which I can no longer tolerate. And then, once the autumn rains begin, that is the end of gardening for the helpers, too. Lots of snow this year has made for beautiful views out the windows, and Local Son has kept the bird feeders going, so we've been grandly entertained.

It is so hard for me to write these days. When I first started my website (not this blog) a few years ago I was that many years younger and would stay up and write into the wee hours of morning. That is my favorite time: after everyone else has gone to bed; the phone and doorbell have quit ringing; the refrigerator being the only electrical appliance running; the furnace has kicked back to its quiet, low nighttime setting; and the house is quiet... then finally, I can think. Now that I'm older, I cannot stay up during the night, and then keep going during the day.

Because, I am a "non-screener"; I cannot screen out distractions around me. Right now the clothes dryer is rumbling nearby; the refrigerator is roaring at the top of the stairs; this computer fan is braying at me; my ears are ringing and screaming; and Husband-Best Friend-Chief Photographer is working on his computer which is about two feet away from me on the adjoining table. His computer is repeatedly making that musical sound that Windows makes (when booting up or something like that - I keep my computer's sound turned off, because I am super sensitive to sounds among other things thanks to my Fibromyalgia). Being an extrovert, he thinks by talking - saying his thoughts out loud he is able to think through things. Nerves on end, skin prickling, I feel like a cat looks when it bushes its fur and tail. So, that is part of the problem and reason of why I haven't been writing much during last summer, autumn, and this winter.

Interviewer: I am sorry you have that problem. I know your readers probably miss you.

Barbee': There are more ways of being "away" than physically. During the heat and other days of bad weather I tended to read other people's work. There are an amazing number of good writers out there, good writers, entertaining writers, writers with very interesting lives whom I enjoy reading very much.

One of the best things about Blogger.com, in my opinion, is its "Follow" system. My own life is dull and boring with nothing to write about: there are no cute pets or other entertaining animals here; my writing ability is minimal; other people's are so much better and more interesting, so I've done a lot of reading instead of writing.

I'm glad I stayed with Blogger.com throughout its ups and downs over the past few years, because its feature called Follow has been a wonderful boon. At last count I am following 224 blogs. Of course, I can't possibly read that many every day. Some bloggers are no longer posting, some post only occasionally, some once a week, or once a month, etc., and yes: some post every day. I haven't deleted the inactive ones, because they are a part of my "collection" where I sometimes delve back into their old posts and read again. I have noticed that I tend toward a lot of blogs featuring animals. I enjoy a vicarious pleasure reading about other people's animals.

Interviewer: Two hundred twenty four blogs! That is hard to believe!

Barbee': Blogs in my collection are from all over the world; are on different topics; and written in different languages. There are many writers far more skilled at writing than I am; I read them because they write so well, an example: Benjamin Vogt's is only one of many. I like my collection, but I feel most insignificant when I read such interesting, well written works.

If you are interested, or just curious, about the collection there is a list, and this is the way to find it. On my blog: look in the sidebar for "ABOUT ME" (above my avatar photo), just below that paragraph find: "VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE", and click on that. Doing so will take you to my page where the last thing on the page is a list of the blogs I follow.

Each title in the list is a click-able link that will take you to that blog. If your blog is not in the list I hope you won't be offended. The truth is, I very well could be reading you, because when I visit other blogs I frequently click titles listed in their sidebars. I guess that's what they call surfing the Web. I'm sorry I don't leave comments, but most days I simply do not have strength enough for it. Chronic inordinate fatigue takes a toll, and most times it's strength of spirit that I am lacking. That's when I leech from other writers.

Tomorrow I get to have a cataract removed from one of my eyes... isn't that exciting and interesting reading... sigh. At least the Eranthis have begun to bloom.

If you want to see pretty pictures, here is one post from a few years ago about our Eranthis.

Splip, Splat, Splop


I have always been in love with winter skies. I am not saying I do not love the blue skies of summer and spring; for one of my everlasting memories from childhood occurred when I stood beneath my grandparents' peach tree and looked upward through peach-blossom-pink blooms. The scene: rich pink against the deep blue April or May sky of western Tennessee. The beauty was shocking, never to be forgotten. And, there are few things more beautiful than stacks, piles, wisps, drifts, and billows of playful, floating fluffy clouds caressing the blue skies of May or June.

During wintertime I very much enjoy the variant colors. I used to think of them as egg shell colors, but most people know only two colors -- the two colors of commercially produced eggs: brown and white. Most do not know of all those multi-Easter-egg-colored eggs from the domestic heirloom chicken breeds, and maybe not even robin egg blue. I thought that might be a problem if I wrote about eggshell colored winter skies.

Then this winter it occurred to me that the many colors of winter skies actually were more like the colors of pearls. The Colors of Pearls: Gorgeous grays, silvery white, white, cream, peach, yellow, pink, rose, salmon, red, copper, bronze, brown, purple, green, lavender, gold, black, black with a green overtone, and blue. I have seen all of these in the moody and sometimes stormy, threatening winter skies and sunsets. I love looking at the sky. I gaze.

Our last snow was a few weeks ago. It was such a wet snow that the flakes were stuck together in such large, sloppy clumps that they made Splip, Splat, Splop sounds on the car's windshield where wipers were running rapidly. I was the one driving in spite of feeling the misery of a fresh, one-day-old cold and the twinges of myofascia pain that is frequently triggered by bad cold and other viruses. I had absolutely no business in the world being out there in that beautiful, windy, wet, cold snowstorm.

The reason for it was that: Husband-Best Friend-Chief Photographer had lost his wallet, and as he runs most of our errands it is imperative that we keep him behind the wheel legally. I was taking him to the office where they issue and renew motor vehicle operators' licenses, and to places he had visited recently to look for the errant wallet. Every chance I got I looked at the sky - a beautiful white winter sky - and thought: I must write about this sky. Now I have.

Winter Sky: Nighttime


So. Last night was the night of the big moon - the first and last one for several years. In spite of good intentions I forgot to go out and see it at sunset. I missed it. At 9:45 p.m. I walked into the kitchen and found it flooded with moonlight. I scooted away a chair and looked out the back window: "Hello, beautiful old friend." (The moon and I go way back. Way back.) Ah, the memories she stirred in me, the cool moonlight.

Not all memories are moonlit; some nights didn't need the moon. I wish you could see what I see. To do so you will have to go with me… back in time, almost seventy years ago to a rural area where winter’s nighttime skies are extraordinary by today’s standards.

There to a place where the air is so cold it smells and tastes bitter, and it makes your face glow so cold and red it sends your blood rushing warm through your body.

Walk with me where the grass clothed with ice and frost complains underfoot with each step we take. First a step up, then down, feel the slight resistance, then the snap of the grass landing your foot on the frost-heaved sod so honeycombed by frost and freezing that it gives way underfoot with a definite sound of crunch, crunch, with every step, crunch. Not easy walking, but it is that time of year.

It is dark; we go our way by starlight to the barn to check on the animals just to be sure they are alright. We hear them moving about slightly; the sound of munching meets us as we go inside where their body heat has warmed the stalls some. Their breath is steamy; the lips of one flutter with strong exhaling, acknowledging our presence. They stamp in protest of the cold. Sleepy sounds, mostly quiet, they are okay for tonight. They are enjoying their extra ration of hay. Add more straw to the floor, pile it high in hopes it will help them be warmer. Close the barn door as you leave, slip the wire loop over the post, you are going back out into the winter night. Drink the silence.

By now well adjusted to the night, your watery eyes enjoy the cold and humbling beauty, how beautiful the heavens where stars appear to be just beyond fingertips if you should reach toward them. Endless variety of sizes, many large, many huge, and dazzling bright as they appear to be suspended in various heights and depths between you and the soft- plush-looking night sky, a night sky surprisingly bright with an awing milky-way splashed like whitewash across an unbelievable space. It is not easy to tear yourself away, to leave it, and go back indoors where the spell will be broken. No lantern, flashlight, or torch needed here where the air is so pure and clear… and unpolluted by artificial lights.

"Insulated from the natural world, few of us nowadays stand silent beneath a starry sky that remains unblemished by artificial light. Yet the eternal nightly show is one of nature's most subtle and moving experiences.

It is a spectacle that arrives slowly, changes gradually and then slips imperceptibly away, night after night, year after year, in utter silence. It is an experience our ancestors knew well, and it provoked in them, as it should in us, deep questions of meaning, of origins and of destiny."(1.) (David Malin)

We are made of stardust. It’s not just a poetic sentiment; it’s a fact. In a young universe built mostly from hydrogen and helium, the self-immolation of stars in supernovas forged almost all the other chemical elements and spewed them into space. Over time, they congealed into other stars and solar systems, and eventually into life itself. So, in a sense, the urge to understand stars is woven into the fabric of human existence.(2.) (Karen Wright)

Preserve the night sky: http://www.darksky.org/

Hubble Site: http://hubblesite.org/

From a cell in an oak leaf to our universe:
http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/


(I have forgotten how to do footnotes.)
1. From: The Invisible Universe By: David Malin, Publisher: Little,Brown, 1999.

2. Karen Wright, “We Are Made of Stardust”
Discover, Jan. 2000 by Karen Wright
From Discover via Reader’s Digest, Nov. 2000, pp. 83

Update and Another Southern Accent

I have no way of knowing how much my Internet friends all over the world have heard or read of the raging, fitful spring here in the USA. Once again, I am letting you know Crocker Croft is well and unscathed. In the last post I wrote of the storms and deaths that were recent at that time. Since then it has been much much worse. I know other countries have all kinds of troubles and tragedies, several come to mind, and we are having our share.

A few weeks ago, the huge cattle ranching, southern state of Texas was burning with a wild firestorm one hundred miles wide driven by the strong winds that traveled East and turned into terrible storms and tornadoes moving across the southern states. I heard people on the radio discussing it. One man (I don't know the term for his position.) who was managing the men fighting the fire said at one point it was so hot their hair burned under their helmets. (I have heard/read that most firemen who die while on duty, die of heart attacks.) He mentioned the serious decisions he had to make regarding his men. At one point he had them on a parking lot in two lines with their backs to each other with hoses pointed outward. I don't know how many weeks the fire burned, I read mentions of it on blogs written by Texans. An Agriculture Extension Agent was interviewed. He talked about the plight of the animals, both wildlife and domestic, that were caught in the fire. I suspect they shot the ones suffering and too badly burned to save, but those that could be saved were rescued. He said it was all very emotional for him, and the ones that really got to him the most, were the little calves that instinctively hid under shrubs to get away from the fire, only to have the shrubs turn into infernos.

That was the last I kept up with the fires, because the next Wednesday, that day alone (April 27), there were 305 tornadoes reported within twenty-four hours and the last report I heard and read was that over 300 people died and approximately one thousand were unaccounted for. The numbers may have grown or shrunk, but at that point I had to quit keeping up with the reports; I couldn't handle it emotionally. These storms were in six southern states, with most of them in the state of Alabama. Of the 305 tornadoes, one behemoth was a quarter mile wide and buzz-sawed a swath 80 miles long, leveling everything in its path. Whole neighborhoods were blown down and away. One person wrote on YouTube that it was so wide they didn't realize they were looking at a tornado. He had a video of it. The TV weather channel, and others, repeatedly showed videos of some of the tornadoes, especially that huge one. That largest one didn't look real. Looked like something out of a horror movie. It was a living breathing dark monster with fiery lightening in it and parts of houses floating around its perimeter miles way up in the air. Power was lost to a nuclear power plant, but nothing went wrong there. Everything went exactly as planned for such emergencies. Whew!

Then immediately, before all that was over, the flooding started. Record winter snows in the north melted and record breaking rainfall in many places have pushed and changed the wonderful Mississippi River into an unstoppable nightmare. Usually, it is half a mile wide, now it is a few miles wide. The Corp. of Engineers had to blast a half mile long section of levee in order to relieve the pressure and to protect towns such as Cairo, a town of about 2,800 residents at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. That saved the town, but it flooded over 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri and a hundred homes. More homes and perhaps lives would have been lost in the town. The farmers were given prior notice of what was going to happen. All rivers feeding into the Mighty Mississippi are flooded throughout the midsection of the country from north to south. Towns and cities farther south are being flooded right now. So many homes are lost. To watch the TV interviews and reports from the homeowners is heart breaking. They have lost everything they had... all except one little four year old girl who had just had a birthday, her parents opted to take with them all her gifts and stuffed animals. They left everything else such as their household appliances and furnishings to the Mississippi. The flood walls protecting the city of Memphis, Tennessee were holding (the last I heard) and the crest was moving rapidly on toward New Orleans. Poor New Orleans still hasn't recovered from the floods of hurricane Katrina. Oh, woe! ... Now on to more pleasant topics... some fun humor, then a few pretty pictures to sweeten this grim post.

Remember last time we were discussing language and speech of different accents, brogues, and dialects. I remembered a fun video I had seen so I want to share the link to it. Bill Cosby is one of our U.S. comedians. I have loved him for years for all the fun, giggles, and laughter he has given me. I don't know what the show is that was taped, but in the video he is talking to a woman from South Carolina. Now, if you people in Europe have never heard our deep south, South Carolina accent you are in for a treat. I hope you don't think I am making fun of this cute lady, because I am not. My western Tennessee accent is nothing like the South Carolina one, and I think hers is delightful, and she is charming. He plays along with her and it is fun.

Reminds me of the one and only time (don't go away, I'll give you the link in a minute) I was in Victoria Station in London, England (I have to write 'England', because we have Londons all over the place here in the states.) I was sitting there reading when a dear, poor, rawboned, little woman sat down beside me on the bench. I'm sure she was not as old as she looked; she appeared to have a hard life. She was thin, her dress was short, thin, and had short sleeves. It was a cold morning in late February. She cupped a flimsy cup of hot coffee in her hands. She spoke to me, smiling with sad teeth. I smiled back. She chatted on... I looked at this poor dear little woman and thought to myself: why can't I understand her! I speak English! She is speaking MY language! Why can't I understand her?! I think she was saying something about the warm coffee. I thought perhaps she was a cleaning woman on her way home from cleaning during the night. (I have a wide imagination.) I was miserable because I had to guess at what she was saying... in .. the .. thickest .. cockney .. I have .. ever heard on earth! It was delightful, but I felt so stupid. I managed smiles, nods, and a few agreeable sounds that she could interpret any way she pleased. Soon our train arrived. I will never forget her.

Now for Bill Cosby, and then I hope to have pretty photos below, thanks to Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer. The photos were taken yesterday.
http://biggeekdad.com/2010/09/understanding-southern/

Peony

Oriental Poppies

Dame's Rocket and Poppies

Rocket and Soloman's Seal

Tall Bearded (German) Iris in the Hanging Gardens, Rocket along the sides. Down below there is a new project in progress.

Thank you for stopping by.

Jade Plant


A few years ago our Aunt Winnie gave me a small sprig off her Jade Plant. Because Winnie reads my blog I am posting a photo of it so that she can see how large it has grown. It has become so large it is now top-heavy and soon will be put into a larger pot.

It certainly is a Pass-Along plant. She has enjoyed hers several years; I have enjoyed mine all these few years and enjoyed watching it grow. Now, I am trying to downsize my life including my houseplant collection. I may keep two or three plants including the one that was given to my mother before she married. Our local daughter and son-in-law have a lovely home with a very large bay-window full of their interesting plant collection. I am passing the Jade on to them. It will have a wonderful home, and they are delighted that it came from their Winnie. Thank you, Winnie!

I placed that half-gallon carton of milk near it to give the photo some sense of scale. Seeing it reminds me of a joke I played on myself recently.

I had been using diluted fish emulsion plant food on a number of outdoor plants. It smells just as putrid as it sounds. Then one day I was sitting at the table and started reading the list of ingredients printed on the side of the milk carton. I was reading down the list then I read: putrefied fish oil... WHAT!? Backing up I read it again a little closer, this time I read: purified fish oil. Oh! That's much better.

Exploding Head

Hmmmm, it has a name. I can add this to the list of my syndromes. It's not a joke; you can Google for it, and read about it. Of course, my head doesn't really explode, but it does sound like it sometimes, and it gives me quite a jolt. It interferes with sleep. It appears this is a syndrome, and no one knows for sure what causes it.

The first time it happened I was in the car with all my family - six of us on vacation. I must have begun to be drowsy. I heard a sudden huge bang! that sounded like a shotgun fired inside the car close range. I asked, "What was that!!!" "What was what?", the others asked. No one else heard the unnerving blast; I was glad I was not the one driving.

I have a sleep disorder, and with this in addition, I'm frequently grumpy mornings, because the noises happen when I am falling asleep. Of course, I jump nearly off the bed, nerves Zinging, heart pounding wildly. Recently, I thought a light bulb had popped. It sounded just like one had popped loudly, but when I asked my husband about it, he hadn't heard anything.

During hot weather this past summer, my garden helpers and I started our workdays at 7:00 A.M. My personal morning routine takes me two hours, so I had to rise at 5:00 A.M. to get everything done. By lunchtime everyone was gone, so I usually took a nap down in our cool basement-level family room. One day just as I fell asleep, a loud sound startled me, I jumped, my heart pounded, etc. It sounded like an old-timey tin penny-whistle given one loud blast. I calmed down and was going back to sleep - it did it again! - this time waking me a bit more. I thought maybe I could still get to sleep, so I tried... it happened again! I was so angry I just gave up and got up.

Those few are the sounds I am able to describe. I don't know how to describe most of the sounds that happen. But, they are loud and keep me awake. It can take me as long as five hours to get to sleep. Due to the fact that I have a terrible time getting to sleep, I am not a happy camper if anyone, or thing, makes a sound that wakes me before I have slept enough - because it is almost impossible to get back to sleep. The alarm clock is not my friend! I am sorry to learn that other people are cursed with this "thing", too. Hope it isn't you, or is it?

Blotanical Site is In Trouble


This is a heads up for all you who love and appreciate the website "Blotanical" and its thousands of links to gardening blogs all over the world.

Lona has written a good post about the latest happenings over on Blotanical. I will give you a link to her post so you can read it yourselves.
Lona's blog A Hocking Hill's Garden and her post about Blotanical.

Horses again

It's that time of year! Keenland has finished running here in Lexington until the fall meet in October. We are approaching Kentucky's "holy day"... the Kentucky Derby will be run this Saturday.

I decided to re-run an old post I wrote about the horse industry in Kentucky. It is as follows.

Not everyone is interested in horses, but of those who are, most know about the legendary Kentucky horses.

I was reminded of a post I wrote for my website when I picked up our local newspaper one day this week. Front page featured an article about opening day at Keeneland's January sales, including a four column photograph of the beautiful mare Azeri, who was 2002's Horse of the Year.

Apparently the economic recession has reached even into the pockets of the rich and famous in horse-world circles. This week the high and final bid for Azeri was $4.4 million, but that did not reach the seller's reserve... therefore, no sale. Last year her first foal, Vallenzeri, failed to sell at a bid of $7.7 million.

If these prices intrigue you, or if you just enjoy reading about the horse industry, you may be interested in reading the post I referred to. The post was written for a group of approximately thirty friends who were coming here to attend a day at charming Keeneland thoroughbred race tract during beautiful October. They had never been to a horse race before. The post served to prepare them by giving background information.

If you are interested here is the link: Horses.