What's a Mess for One?

I miss my Momma. Oh, not in a bad way, really. No, this past week has just had so many reminders of her as a person…and I miss that person.

First, there was one of those “grief ambushes” that my friend LCM wrote me about. An EMGV friend at a recent training session we were both attending, excused herself to make her daily call to her mom who lives in Virginia. The thought “I wish I could call my Momma,” just popped into my head as she walked off, cell phone in hand. My throat closed up, and I had to dash to the bathroom to keep from making a spectacle of myself.

Cold Weather's A-Comin':
Getting the Garden Ready
And then, I worked in the garden all day on Thursday, getting it ready for the cold weather that was a’comin’. Snipped flowers that would be nipped in the frost.  Took more cuttings of coleus and geraniums (see the Electric Lime coleus in the photo to the left.)  Sheared the ferns.  Covered the tender lettuce and spinach with row covers; put straw on the peas and the strawberry plants (which are covered in flowers and berries, if you can believe that). Then, because I seem to have gotten an extraordinary germination rate on the 7-Top Turnip greens, I picked a bagful (left). A mess for me, so to speak. Only…I think I may have overestimated the amount needed for a pot of greens for one person. When I was standing at the sink, washing and picking through that mound of greens, I started to tear up: I’m the only one in the house that eats greens anymore. (Mr. T wouldn’t touch turnip greens…won’t even be in the house when I cook them…not even in the same state, as he says.) I had once made the comment to Momma about this very subject…and now the day has come to pass.  It's a mess for one.

Most importantly, there was the realization that Momma would have LOVED the 2011 World Series. Loved. It. Although she was a Braves fan through-and-through, she had a sweet spot for the Cardinals… especially since she spent almost 6 years as a “local” fan when we lived in Missouri. She thought the world of Albert Pujols, the first baseman extraordinaire, and she would have been proud of his performance. Ditto “Yaddi” Molina, as she called the catcher. But the fabulous David Freese would have struck a chord with her: hometown hero and MVP of the series. And that extra-inning Game 6 that lasted until way past midnight here? She would have been wide awake at the end of it, whooping with the rest of us. She might have slept through the middle, but she would have been there at the end. Woo hoo!
Now, It's a Greenhouse!
The screen porch is transformed...

Sigh. Life moves on.

In addition to getting the garden ready for cold weather, we got the “grow-light” shelf set up in the plasticized screen porch and brought in the herbs. Then we arranged…and rearranged…the plants we plan to overwinter on the floor of the porch, and we set up lights on timers to provide both light and warmth (see the photo to right). Somehow or other, we were able to pack ‘em all in!

I tried something new this year:  I put my geranium cuttings (dipped in rooting hormone; rooted into potting medium in small plastic plant containers) in the big pots, arranged around the trunk of the large plants (the corn plant, the lemon tree, etc.).  Hopefully this will keep everyone happy and moist, without wasting water (or having it puddle on the floor of the porch).  We'll see how it goes.


Treats for the Houndz:
Mr. T hands out carrots to
Elmo (l.), Gus (c), and Duche$$ (r)
It’s the end of October, and time for the treats…hopefully no tricks. Mr. T is getting practice handing out some carrot treats to the houndz in that photo (left). He seems to have their undivided attention!  He's home this week, so I won't be trying to keep the houndz at bay while trying to hand the treats to the kiddos through the storm door...always a trick for me to accomplish.

I had so many flowers that I snipped before the frost nipped the buds that I fixed a vase for the dining room (photo below)…and one to take to Momma’s our family’s BFF AW. She treated us back that very evening with a chicken pie from Deep River Friends Meeting’s Chicken Pie sale. Yummy!  With a salad from some garden lettuce, it made a perfect supper.




New Dining Room chairs...
and the last flowers of the year
 Speaking of the dining room, I took this picture (right) of the new chairs that we found on a recent trip to TJ Maxx’s. We have had this DR suite for 33 years (!), and I still love the warm pecan finish on the table along with the bow-front glass on the doors of the matching hutch. The table has two leaves and can expand to one HUGE piece of furniture.  Amazingly, it has survived 11 (or more) moves...and it still looks pretty good.  And, since it was made by Stanley, it has “come home,” so to speak…since the Stanley Furniture factory used to be in Lexington, NC (no more, sad to say). But, the ladderback chairs have been re-covered for their last time, I think. So I was thrilled when I spotted these upholstered Parsons chairs in a nutmeg color. Mr. T loaded them up into his Outlander (which he is trading in today...time for a new co. car!) and brought them home on Saturday.  We tested them out last night, when we dined on our chicken pie…and both said they are perfect! (As soon as those flowers are gone, I’ll get out the Thanksgiving decorations…:)



Here I go again...
Goal:  50k words in 30 days!
So, here comes November! And, what happens in November, dear readers? Well, it’s time for NaNoWriMo, of course. The National Novel Writing Month, when challengers attempt to write a 50K-word novel in 30 days, beginning at 12:01 tomorrow morning. Once again…I’m signing up for the challenge. And, once again, I have such high hopes as the month begins.  Will our heroine be able to vanquish the foe or will her life intervene with her best laid plans?

I can already see it happening, and I haven’t even written a word yet! I have three Speakers Bureau gigs over the next 8 days, so I’ve got to be extra vigilant with my time. If you do the math, you’ll see that you must write an average of 1,667 words EACH day in order to reach your goal. I wrote a 500-word (which I then had to edit down to 300...:) article for the North Carolina Master Gardener Volunteer Association state newsletter on Wednesday of last week, and that took me most of the day! I’ll have to be diligent at following the advice of veteran NaNoWriMo’s: DO NOT EDIT, just write!

Easier said than done.

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