Family, Food, Funny, Garden


I sent my brother to the store for groceries and this is what he came back with. (And, no, they weren’t having an enchilada sauce sale.) 

Sometimes it’s easier to do something yourself rather than to ask for help. And I knew that. I especially knew that when I sent him inside to find the squash seeds I needed to plant. We plant a fall garden, which starts now. I planted three varieties of fall squash. I harvested the seeds from our earlier crop, so the seeds I sent him in to find were still in the dehydrator.   

Homegrown butternut squash & seeds

I knew he wouldn’t find them.

 I knew it. 

But I waited in the yard til he came out on the porch. I thought, by some miracle. he’d found them. So I yelled at him to grab my notebook, where I keep my garden diagram, and a Sharpie. (So I could mark where I was planting the new seeds at.) 


Summer garden diagram

Except for when I shouted across the yard at him to grab a Sharpie, he thought I said squash seed. To which he yelled back that he couldn’t find. Then I yelled, not squash seeds, a Sharpie! To which he yelled, car keys?! To which I yelled Sharpie, to which he yelled that he still couldn’t find the squash seeds… So I went in, got the squash seeds, my Sharpie, and not my car keys. And went out and planted my squash. 

Like I said, sometimes it’s easier to just do it yourself. 

Farm, Garden, Medicine

Pinky Promise?

How often do I even write anymore? Not often enough. I have the stories to tell, just not the time to get them written. Well, I guess I just haven’t been making the time. In between delivering t-shirts all over the tri-state area (we literally drove around 500 miles just in delivering last week), it’s hard to keep up with much. The garden is coming up nicely, though. I’ve managed to get almost all of the “small” garden planted, which are mostly root vegetables and tomatoes. I have a couple rows left to plant, then it’s time to move on to the big plot. That’ll be for potatoes (mostly sweets) and squash, melons, peppers, and any other random seeds I find in my collection. The last to be planted in the small garden were the carrots. I ordered an abundance of colors (carrots come in red, yellow, orange, purple, I even found a black variety) I like all the different colors because they all offer different phytonutrients. The motto for my major in college was: “Eat a Rainbow”, so all the different ┬ácolors are important, people! But, in my effort to get just the right blend of seeds, I missed the staple: a plain old orange carrot. So, who do you call when you need something? Mom.

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Everybody always tells me I look like my mom. Which I do. And sometimes I act a lot like her too. We both share a love for too many details, cantaloupe, and digging in the dirt. Here we are picking green beans together last summer. (By the way, the greens that are on my side of the picture that look like fronds are the tops of the carrots we grew last year, they were pretty huge)

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Anyway, back to the matter at hand (it’s a pun, you’ll see) I called her to see if she’d stop by a little store in town to get some carrot seeds. Harmless, right? Well, apparently, as she was walking out of said store, she was looking at some tomato plants and tripped, catching herself with both hands right before she face-planted into the concrete. I’ve talked about how graceful I am, so this is just a testament to where I get it from. She decided when she got home that her hand was just sore from the fall and it would be better in the morning. Wrong.

Post Fall: Day 1

Post Fall: Day 1

She woke up to it looking like a blown up surgical glove and after some coercing from me, we headed to the emergency room. Where we spent a beautiful Saturday getting seen by doctors and nurses and sitting in waiting rooms.

Peace, Love, & Pinkies

Peace, Love, & Pinkies

The verdict: she broke it. The bone on her pinky finger was smashed together in the fall, so she got a cast on her right arm. And, she got to sign her name with her left hand, which looked like the work of a first grader. (See previous blog post where I had to arrange first grade signatures on notecards for a comparison)

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The good thing about spending the day with your mom in waiting rooms is that it leaves a lot of time for photography. Actually, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a well arranged selfie. The ER seemed like just the right place.

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Her original cast was white and after being seen by the orthopedic surgeon, she got a permanent blue cast (now decorated with flames due to the artistic talent of my cousin), which she will wear for four weeks. No surgery necessary. And no pinky promises. At least for awhile.

Farm, Food, Garden

Honeyberry Heaven

Let me start off. I’ve never been good with directions. I get turned around, don’t pay attention, for whatever reason, I always get lost. But, I blame this on growing up in Arkansas. We have no sort of grid system, we have curvy little highways that run through the hills and small towns. So, if you don’t know where you’re going, you may not get there. I have been wanting Honeyberry bushes since I heard of them. And, it just so happens that the largest grower and supplier of Honeyberry bushes in the US is located a few towns over from us. What luck! Honey berries are similar to blueberries, but bigger and more prolific.

Berry farm

Berry farm

So, my dad called the place and scheduled for us to go pick the plants up. Never having been to this place, he asked the girl on the phone where they were located? During high school, I worked at my uncle’s drug store and when anyone called to ask me for directions, it was a disaster. And, the girl working at the berry place was apparently just like me.

That's her in the orange

That’s her in the orange

Dad told her he knew how to get to the town and what highway we’d be coming in on. We needed directions from there. Here are the exact directions she gave: “Drive past the guy who builds the little buildings and if you look through the trees, you’ll see a barn up on a hill. Turn on the little lane by the barn. If you get to the bridge, you’ll know you’ve gone too far.” See, this is how we give directions in Arkansas. Which bridge? Which barn? You’ll know when you see it. So, we drove and came to what I thought was the right barn. It was on a hill. But there were no trees. Nope, not the right one. We crossed a bridge, but there was never a guy building the little buildings before it, so that couldn’t have been right.

Not the right barn.

Not the right barn.

After driving around for about thirty minutes trying to find this place, we stumbled upon it. And sure enough, there was a little barn through the trees on the hill and a little lane. The owner later informed us, in a heavy Russian accent, that “Barbara runs the phone, so don’t call because Barbara is no good.”

The right barn.

The right barn.

When I was little, people always asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I changed my mind all the time. And I’ve changed my mind again. I want to be this lady. She was one of the leading pioneers to bring honey berries to the US and she knows her stuff. She spouted off information about planting and growing and everything in between as fast as I could understand it.

Giving instructions

Giving instructions

I asked her how long she’d been growing berries. {Insert thick Russian accent here} “I grow berries in Russia since I was 9 years old. I’m 54 now.” That’s a lot of years of berry growing. I think I’ve got some catching up to do before I can be like her, but I’m getting a start on it. I’m not sure I’ll ever achieve that accent, but that’s okay, I’ve got an accent of my own and I’m fine with that. The honeyberries are in the ground and the raspberries look like they’ll be putting on blooms any day now. And, I’ve got the email address of the best berry lady in the land, so I think I’m set. Let the berry growing commence.