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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SHOVEL SEASON

It’s been a glorious weekend here.

70 degree days

Lots of sunshine.

We are told tomorrow

Will be another story.

This on again off again weather

Has given me the chance to do

Some important fall chores.

So let’s just call this

The weekend of shoveling.

On Saturday I purchased

15 – 40 pound bags of manure

That’s 600 pounds!

I’ve developed a great system

Have it loaded into the back of my SUV

At the store.

When I get home

I just wheel the wheelbarrow

Up to the back of the car.

Split the bag open

And slip it into the wheelbarrow.

I never have to lift one of those big bags.

Then I just shovel 4 – 5 shovels full

Onto each Rose, Hydrangea and Hosta

In my garden.

It does two things.

Provides winter protection.

Serves as a slow fertilizer

Come Spring.

It also makes you a little tired

And sore.

You also may find

A few more Easter Eggs.

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But by Sunday afternoon

I’d recovered enough

To attack the compost pile.

All those leaves, garden clippings and food scraps

Turn into a rich garden amendment

By fall.

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So I got out my handy little shovel

And scooped it into my wheelbarrow

Spreading it onto the garden.

I got about 1/4th of it done today.

There is still more shovel time

In my future.

Having the right equipment

Makes chores like this

A lot easier.

Years ago John gave me this little shovel.

For Mother’s Day.

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Last summer he snapped the handle

On the original.

He quickly replaced it.

A small shovel is a real help

For a gardener’s back.

I did have a friend to help me

With all the shoveling.

This giant praying mantis reappeared.

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I first met it a few weeks ago

When it landed on my dahlias.

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Now it seems to be scurrying around

Looking for a place to hide out

For the winter.

This is not the glamorous side of gardening.

It doesn’t make for lots of

Pretty pictures.

But digging in the earth

Playing in the dirt

Is the beginning of any garden

And perhaps a new gardener.

Photo credit Kristina WynnePhoto credit Kristina Wynne

Gail

P.S.  Thank you to everyone who has kindly mentioned the Oklahoma Gardening video of my garden house.  My favorite comment was from my friend Kay…”I’ve never seen it so clean.”  How true that is!

 

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Filed under Children in the Garden, Compost, Dahlias, End of Season Rituals, Fall, Garden Tools, Grandchildren, Hosta, Hydrangea, Oklahoma Gardening, Praying Mantis, roses, Shovel, Uncategorized

FREEZE WARNING…AGAIN

Our friends at the National Weather Service

Are predicting a freeze…again.

I think they really mean it this time.

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So I’ve spent this weekend.

Picking what is left of my garden.

That’s my ritual as the end of the season

Draws near.

Make sure I’ve got plenty of pesto

In the freezer.

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Pick all the green tomatoes

Spread them out on newspaper

In the cool garden house

To ripen.

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Pull the pots of Sego Palms

Out of their big pots

And move them into the garden house.

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Pick Cockscomb

And Hydrangea

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For flower arrangements

And hope they hold until

The Loaves & Fishes fundraiser in November.

This year the fundraiser is a week later

And the freeze is coming a few days early.

Do you think it will hold for almost

3 weeks?

We’ll see.

That’s one of the things I love about gardening

The mystery

The experimenting

The challenge.

And if the Cockscomb doesn’t make it,

We’ll just find another way.

Rosemary maybe

Pots and pots of cut rosemary.

That would make the place smell amazing

And what could be more appropriate

For a food bank fundraiser?

So my garden house if full

Of the rituals

Of the season.

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I’m lucky to have a place

To play

All year long.

In June I was honored to be visited

by Oklahoma Gardening.

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They came to film my garden house.

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It aired yesterday.

Click here if you want to take a peak.

 

The place is filling up

And the tulip bulbs

Haven’t even arrived yet!

More fun to come.

Thanks, John

For giving me such a wonderful

Place to play.

Gail

 

Here is literally the last rose of summer.

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FREEZE TEASE

It happens almost every year

About this time.

A predicted freeze

That doesn’t materialize.

Most years

I’m ready for a freeze.

But not this year.

I want to hold on

For a few more weeks.

Enjoying the last of the Dahlias.

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And making a few more arrangements.

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I like the rhythm of fall.

Shorter days.

Cooler temperatures.

A little more time to linger

In the garden.

This weekend

I’ve watched a spider

Spin and re-spin

It’s intricate web

Outside my kitchen window.

(Which explains the poor quality of the picture.)

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You have to admire

The ambitious little spider

Who works all day creating this miracle

That glistens in the sunlight.

Only to have someone

Or something

Walk into it

And do damage.

Yet when I wake up the next morning

There it is

Put back together.

Perseverance.

It’s one of the great lessons of nature.

Gail

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry.  We shall get there someday.”

A.A. Milne,   “Winnie-the-Pooh”

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CHANGE

Fall arrived this week.

I think it followed us home from the mountains

Since the temperature drop

Coincided with our return.

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It was an abrupt change.

But a welcomed one.

It’s the time of year

That I begin to think

About how I can change my garden.

Places that are overgrown

Or neglected

Or just tired

Are the stuff

Of my daydreams.

I get this way

Every year about this time.

But somehow this year

Feels different

I seem to be ready

For some big changes.

Just not sure what they are.

I do know I want more Dahlias.

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They are the star of the late fall garden.

And what stunners they are.

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When my friend Kelly moved a few months ago

She left me her wonderful tomato cages.

They are stacked behind my garden house.

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I plan to paint them green

And install them as Dahlia cages next spring.

We were gardening neighbors for years

So it will be a fun way to remind me

Of our gardening adventures

Whenever I walk into the garden.

Change

Some of us fight it

Others embrace it at every turn.

My parents embraced it.

Risking everything they had worked for

To make a major life change.

It worked well for them.

I think gardens teach us to embrace change.

After all

We are not in charge anyway

So how could we not.

Gail

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

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Love Zinnias…Mildew and All

One of the main goals

Of my garden

Is to have cutting flowers

All season long.

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And because the foundation

Of my garden

Is perennials

I rely on self seeding annuals

To fill in the gaps between

Perennial bloom cycles.

It starts in the spring

With Poppies and Larkspur

Then comes the heroes of summer

Cleome and Zinnias.

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Poppies, Larkspur and Cleome

All manage to return on their own.

They just show up and bloom their hearts out.

Zinnias return on their own

But to a lesser degree.

So I have to plant Zinnia seeds each year.

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The good thing about that

Is that I can time them…a bit.

I want zinnias blooming in the fall

Just as the Monarchs migrate to Mexico.

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Photo Credit “Devra” Mitchell

So I don’t plant the seeds

Until June.

I pull up the Poppies and Larkspur

After they go to seed

And plant Zinnias in their place.

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In my neck of the woods

I have until July 4th

To accomplish this.

Zinnias do have one bad characteristic.

They are prone to mildew.

Which is another reason

Not to plant them too early.

Spring rains will do a number on them for sure.

Since summer is the dry season around here

It’s perfect for growing zinnias.

We’ve had 7 1/2 ” of rain

In the last 3 weeks!

Mildew has arrived.

The plants are really ugly

But the flowers are the same

Sunny happy faces that I love.

They are perfect cutting flowers

Playing nice with all kinds of other blooms.

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It’s another life lesson of nature.

A crusty outside

Often accompanies

A loving heart.

Gail

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Filed under Bouquets, cleome, Fall, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Larkspur, late summer garden, Poppy, Seed Catalogs, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized, Zinnia

TINY TREASURES

I was raised by depression era parents.

They were not over the top tight

But let’s just say I never leave a room

Without turning off the lights.

They were however

Extravagant in all the right places.

Loving, giving, sharing.

I’m a lucky lady.

What I experienced in childhood

Shows up over and over again

In my garden.

I guess that’s what you can attribute

My seed collecting to.

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I simply can’t throw anything away

That might turn into a plant

In someone else’s garden.

The problem is

In a garden the size of mine

That’s a ton of seeds.IMG_3316

You can’t just let them all drop to the ground

Or your garden will become

Even more of a jungle.

Now seeds are generally tiny

So you would think I’d have room

To store endless amounts.

That’s what I thought

Till it got totally out of control.

Last spring

I dug all of my seeds out

From the places I’ve stashed them

And put them in these clear jars.

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Plants like Purple Coneflower

And Gloriosa Daisies

Are just too big

Or too prickly

For the space I have.

Luckily my friend Martha

Has five acres that she is planting

To flowers for pollinators.

We garden together at Faith Farm

Twice a week.

So I’ve been taking

Grocery sacks full of deadheads

To her for the past several weeks.

I love finding good homes for things.

Right now my potting bench

Is covered with German Bearded Iris

Waiting to go back in the ground.

Some will go here

Others still need a home.

Zinnias are drying

Along side dahlias.

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Dahlias are a new challenge for me.

I really don’t know what I’m doing with them yet.

Much research ahead of me.

So what do I do with all of this.

Some goes into my garden

But most are

“Up for adoption”.

Because there is only

So much Larkspur

And Cockscomb

A garden can handle.

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I hope you will come by my house

This fall and make a few selections

From my seed inventory.

Because seeds need to be spread around

And given homes

Where they can take root.

Loving, giving, sharing.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

Gail

 

 

 

 

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Filed under cockscomb, Dahlias, Dead Heading, Fall, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Gloriosa Daisy, Larkspur, Nature, Perennials, Purple Coneflower - Echinacea, Uncategorized, Zinnia