A LEGACY OF LOVE…AND A WHOLE LOTTA NUTS!

My father loved pecans

And pecan trees

And my mother’s pecan pie.

I remember in college

Coming home for Thanksgiving

Going to the creek to pick up pecans.

There was always a bowl

To crack and pick

As we sat by the fire

In the winter.

Pecans even found their way

Into campaign brochures.

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Daddy planted a pecan grove

Rather late in life

We celebrated that fact

On his 85th birthday

With family

And former staff members.

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Now if you don’t know

You don’t just plant a pecan tree

And reap the harvest.

It takes at least 7 years

To produce.

So daddy must have known

That he would not live to see

The trees grow to maturity.

That someone would have to take up the mantle

And love it like he did.

And he did love it.

He loved, nurtured and respected

The land

And the life of a farmer.

But passing that to the next generation

Can be tricky…at best.

Thankfully, when the farms were divided

Among the three of us

My little sister Ann

Got the pecan grove.

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She has worked hard over the last nine year

To improve the pecan grove

To prune, mow and fertilize it.

Like daddy she has loved, nurtured and respected

The land.

She has gotten a good crop

About every other year.

Then came the rains last spring.

I mean RAIN.

Over 30 inches in a month.

Resulting in a bumper crop.

Over 7,000 pounds of pecans!

She’s been harvesting and processing pecans

Continuously for over a month.

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This week she’s coming to town to spread the love around.

Friends have pre-ordered hundreds of pounds

Of pecans

That will be turned into all kinds of treats

Over the holidays

And beyond.

Daddy & Mother would love what she has done.

And so do I.

Gail

PS

When Daddy was in office pecans were the standard gift for visiting dignitaries and Mother’s pecan pie was served at more dinners than I can count.  She would make a dozen or so at a time.  She was amazing.IMG_4132

This recipe was first printed in “Recipes from the Campaign Trail” .  A little campaign brochure with recipes from Mother’s kitchen and Daddy’s “recipe for good government”.  My how campaigns have changed over the years!

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SHIRLEY BELLMON’S PECAN PIE

3 Eggs    1 C. white corn syrup   1C. brown sugar   1 C pecans

1 unbaked pie shell

Beat eggs.  Add corn syrup and brown sugar to eggs and mix well.  Add this mixture to the pie shell.  Sprinkle pecans on top.  Bake at 350 for one hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NO WORDS

Most weeks

As I sit down to write

The words just flow.

This week

I seem to have no words.

At least not about gardening.

This week I want to tell you my story.

It’s an old story

Over 30 years ago.

But it’s an important one to me

And my life.

And it’s timely

With the devastating news

Of last week’s suicides.

I am among the millions of people

Who have suffered from clinical depression.

Most of my friends will be surprised by that.

I’ve never kept it a secret

But neither have I advertised it.

And frankly it was so long ago

Some of you may have simply forgotten.

I have not.

It was a very tough time.

I had had a miscarriage

The year before Elliott was born

So suffice it to say that I was a prime candidate

For depression.

Mine would likely be categorized

As postpartum depression

It’s depression

All the same.

I fought it for a long time.

By the time Elliott turned two

It became obvious

That I had to deal with it.

I distinctly remember where I was

When I told John I had to get help.

He was supportive from the beginning.

It wasn’t easy for either of us,

But he was there.

Fortunately for me a local therapist

Had recently spoken to the Stephen’s Ministry class

I was taking at church

And I liked her.

I knew where I could go for help.

I spent 6 months in one on one therapy

Took the anti-depressants the doctors prescribed.

And was involved with a therapy group for another 6 months.

Bit by bit

I got better.

She saved my life.

I have long felt

That therapy is the best gift

I’ve ever given myself.

Over the ensuing decades

I’ve gone back to therapy

For a tune up

As life has thrown me a few curve balls.

Why am I telling you this?

Most of the people who read this are friends.

But it’s going out there into cyber space

And that means people who don’t know me

Now know something very personal.

But that’s the point.

Those of us who have been there.

Have to tell our stories

Openly and honestly.

We are the very people

Who can make a huge difference in people’s lives.

We know the pain

And we know how help changed,

Really saved our lives.

If you can

Tell your story.

It may help someone

To get help.

And listen to people.

Really listen to them.

Encourage them.

Ask them if they need help.

Then help them find it

If they need it.

Without help

Think of all of the life

I and so many more

Would have missed.

Gail

 

 

 

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FRONT ROW SEAT

Something weird is going on

In my garden.

You may remember from year’s past

That I have an errant Hollyhock.

Instead of growing in the back of the bed

It keeps plopping itself at the very front of the border.

It has done this for several years.

Each of those years I have dug it up

And moved it to the back

Where tall things are supposed to live

In a traditional perennial border.

Yet, year after year

It has had a front row seat.

Imagine how pleased I was

When this spring it stayed put

In the back.

And then…

This happened.

A bird must have dropped a sunflower seed

In the exact same spot

Where the hollyhock grew.

I should have just pulled it

When it was little.

But my gardener’s curiosity

Always gets the best of me.

I had to let it grow

To see what it becomes.

Since I’ve never planted 12 foot sunflowers

I had no idea that it would grow

SO BIG.

Should I chop it down

Cutting it off from it’s moment of glory?

Can’t do that.

I can’t help but wonder

What is the lesson here?

What is it about this particular place

That always grows such giant plants?

Are they trying to tell me something?

Something I really need to learn?

Maybe the location has something to do

With getting my attention.

It might have gotten lost

Buried deep in the mass of Coneflower and Phlox.

It had to park at the front to be seen

And heard.

I wonder if we let this happens with people?

Do we get so busy that we let friendships

Get lost in the Coneflowers?

Gardens…the perennial teacher.

Gail

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” –Karl A. Menniger

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POPPY PLANS

Years ago,

When I designed

And maintained gardens

For other people,

I had a friend with a sandy spot.

We planted purple larkspur

And red poppies.

I have repeated that combination

In my current garden.

They are the star of my late May

And early June garden.

When they finish blooming

Seeds fall.

This pattern has repeated itself

Each year in this garden.

But…

One day I was walking the neighborhood

And saw a PURPLE poppy.

The generous neighbor gave me seeds

Then I ordered a few more packets of

Lauren’s Grape poppy.

This year

For the first time

I have PURPLE poppies.

They are divine.

Now I’m trying my best

To keep the red ones in the “red bed”

And creating an area just for the purple ones.

I know…I know

It’s an attempt to manipulate nature.

Not a smart idea.

After all birds and winds and who knows what else

Move these tiny seeds around the garden.

The organizer in me just has to give this a try.

I’m marking the color of wayward plants

With pink tape

Hoping to get them back into their assigned seat.

If Mother Nature will indulge me

This one tiny bit of control.

I promise after this

I’ll surrender!

Gail

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Filed under Garden Photography, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Larkspur, Nature, Oklahoma Gardening, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

IT’S MAY!

There’s a line

In the title song of Camelot

That rings in my head

This time of year.

“It’s May

It’s May

The lusty month of May.”

I’m pretty sure they were singing

About a garden.

Iris

Peony

And Roses

Are hitting their stride

Just in time for Mother’s Day.

So sharing seems like

The natural thing to do.

Thanks for coming girls.

Happy Mother’s Day

To every conceivable kind of mother.

Gail

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Filed under Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Generations, Iris, Mother's Day, Peonies, roses, Uncategorized

REUNION

On the evening of Dec. 31st

I received this text

From my friend Debra.

What ensued was sheer joy.

John & I signed up.

Then we both started spreading the word

To everyone we could think of.

Helping them get an appointment.

The result was

We received our first vaccination on Jan 4th

Which meant we were totally vaccinated

By the end of the month.

It felt like a miracle.

I was giddy to say the least.

Debra and I normally get together

For photo sessions in my garden

On a regular basis.

Needless to say

It’s been awhile.

We spent winter Wednesday mornings together

Over Google Meet

Doing things.

Most of them involved butter & flour & more butter.

Teaching each other to bake

Some tasty favorites.

Just as the time was arriving

For a safe real visit

The Polar Vortex hit.

With endless days in the single digits

And below

I wasn’t sure

There would be a spring garden

To share.

But nature is perhaps the greatest

Of all survivors.

So yesterday

We had a REUNION.

Even the 100% chance of rain prediction

Couldn’t stop us.

Debra came with camera in tow

And of course her famous

Chocolate Chip Cookies.

We hugged.

We talked.

We ate.

And through the mist

She captured early spring miracles.

She loves buds

And curvy lines

So this tree peony bud

Spoke to her.

It speaks to me on many fronts.

We are, like this bud,

Slowly emerging

From the darkests of winters.

With some part of us

All curvy and pink

And ready to party.

Her posts on Instagram @debrasuemitchell

Always include a quote.

“When the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.”

Minnie Aumonier

I hope if you are not vaccinated

You will have that chance soon.

And thank you to the Garfield County Health Department workers.

You have done such a remarkable job

Gail

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Filed under Garden Photography, Gardening Friends, Tree Peony, Uncategorized, Winter Garden

POLAR VORTEX !!!

The last two days have been lovely sunny winter days.

But…

They tell us the “Polar Vortex” is on it’s way.

Now granted we have weather people who get

Shall we say a little excited.

But from the looks of the forcast

Things are really about to change.

So I’ve spent a little time

Making sure things in my garden

Will be OK.

I’ve cut and given away as much Arugula

As I can pawn off on people.

It’s really big and really hot

But who can turn down fresh Arugula

In February!

There’s plenty more

If you want some.

I’ve also got a pot of surviving cabbage and pansies.

Which will get covered by the end of the weekend.

Watering cans for all the baby plants in the garden house

Are full

So I won’t be running around getting water

During the weather event.

And thing are watered in

Perhaps the most important thing of all

Filling in those air pockets around the roots.

When people walk into my summer garden

They often comment on how much work

It must be.

I don’t see it as work.

For me it’s play.

So I’m thankful to have a little reason

For play

On a sunny winter day.

We are now a year into this pandemic.

Even those of us lucky enough to be vaccinated

Are still staying close to home

Trying to protect those who have protected us.

With this cold weather coming

We will be doing more of that.

For some of us it’s getting harder.

Here’s a link to my most read post ever.

Not about gardening

But about my depression.

Please take care of yourself

And seek help if you even once think you need it.

https://inmygardentalesfromdeepinmysoil.com/2018/06/10/no-words/

Take care and hold on

Spring and vaccinations will come.

Gail

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HOLD ON

Just when I think

The darkness

May overcome me

This!

Hold on

Spring’s coming.

Take care of yourself and stay safe,

Gail

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Filed under Hellebores, spring, Uncategorized, Winter Garden

BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING

Over the course of my gardening years

I have tried to start plants from seed inside.

I’ve really kind of just piddled at it

Only once before have I really worked at it.

Yet, I wasn’t all that great.

I have decided during this COVID winter

I’m getting serious.

So I’ve been reading this

And recording what I’m doing in this.

Which has led to this…so far

I’m armed with a giant grow light

Which I’m sure is making the neighbors

Wonder what I’m up to!

I also have these nifty heat pads

To get seeds in a growing mood quickly.

And a trusty fan

To gently move air around them

Thus strengthening their stems.

I started with Basil back in December

Because…well…I had a package of Basil seeds.

Then around the first of the year

I planted 3 kinds of Cabbage

And 4 kinds of Broccoli

Hoping to supply Faith Farm

With healthy plants for our mission.

Yesterday I planted Lisianthus.

A flower I’ve never really grown

But ever since I saw it at Longwood Gardens

I’ve been dreaming about it.

Photo Credit Debra Mitchell

I’ve learned so much.

For instance Lisianthus seeds need light to germinate.

So you don’t cover them with soil.

The same is true of poppies

Which explains why it’s best to sprinkle them

On the snow of winter

And let them melt into the ground.

I could go on forever about

All that I am learning.

But what I really need to do is apologize to my father.

As a child growing up on a wheat farm.

He would almost daily

Go to “check on the wheat”.

Now in our part of the world wheat is planted in the fall

And grows all winter

For an early summer harvest.

So “checking on the wheat” was literally

Watching it grow.

Something we used to tease him about

Incessantly

Because really

How interesting is it to watch something grow.

Sorry Daddy…I get it now.

Stay safe everyone,

Gail

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings

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THE HAND OFF

There are some days

I just really want to talk to my parents.

This summer it will be 20 years since my mother died

And 11 since my dad.

That’s a long time.

I’ve accumulated many questions

In those decades.

I seemed to have hit an age

Or stage

Where I want to draw on their wisdom.

It goes something like this…

Many of the things in my life,

Things that have been staples,

Seem to be changing

Radically.

Institutions that have been the foundation

Of our culture

No longer have the same importance.

It’s definitely time to hand the responsibility

Off to the next generation.

But do they want it?

Did we want it

When it was our turn

To take the lead?

I don’t remember even asking myself that question.

And if we let go

We can be guaranteed

There will be change.

That word that so many dread.

So how do we graciously

Begin to step aside

Providing help and sharing wisdom

At the same time embracing their changes.

How do we hold on

And let go

At the same time?

Live with the paradox.

It’s a delicate balancing act

For both generations.

I have a great example of this

In my life

As chair of the Nurture Committee

At my church.

Five smart, talented, wise and committed

Young women join me on the committee.

We constantly seek ways to nurture our congregation

And our community.

Reaching out to young families

With new ideas and activities

And working to support the foundation

That so many have known for so long.

So how do we keep all the balls in the air?

How do we keep what matters

And still make room for innovation?

How do we decide what is important

Enough to keep

And what to let go of?

How does one generation

Graciously encourage the next?

Pondering,

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WAITING

In the cold and snow of winter,

There’s a spring that waits to be,

Unrevealed until it’s season,

Something God alone can see.

Natalie Sleeth

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Filed under Hellebores, Oklahoma Gardening, Perennials, Uncategorized, Winter Garden

THANKS FOR GIVING

Gardeners are known

To be generous people.

We like to share plants

And seeds

And plans

And tomatoes.

It’s just in our nature

To spread our joy around.

I have to admit though

That I do covet

My time in my garden

Time is something

We just can’t grow

No matter what zone we live in.

That’s why I’m so grateful

For the generous gardeners

Who help at Faith Farm.

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Every Monday and Wednesday

Throughout the growing season

This crew shows up

And works hard.

We start in February

Planting onions

And carrot seeds

And ended just a week ago

Prepping the the beds

For their winter’s nap.

They have planted

Harvested

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Washed

And loaded

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Thousands of pounds

Of fresh organic vegetables

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That we grow

For our hungry neighbors

Who come to Loaves & Fishes

For help in feeding their families.

All of them are either Master Gardeners

Or related to a Master Gardener.

 

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They come on the crisp mornings of spring

The glorious days of fall

And all that heat and humidity

In between.

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We’ve had a great season

Getting to know each other better

As we’ve spent hours

Picking and weeding

And trying to figure out

Why all that spring rain

Made the cucumbers

So unhappy.

We learn a little

Share a little

And give a lot.

Thank you Martha, Dennis, Kay, Janelle,

Clayton, Diane, Jenny, Linda & Michael.

You have made a difference

To so many.

Gail

P.S.  This is where I planned to place a great picture I took of all the crew.  Unfortunately, I can’t find it AYWHERE.  So just imagine these generous souls, or better still imagine yourself in this group or others around the country…gardening and giving.

 

 

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Filed under Carrots, Community Garden, End of Season Rituals, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Hunger, late summer garden, Master Gardeners, Onion, Uncategorized, Vegetables