Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Today I went to pick up some Canna bulbs from a guy who was selling them on Craigslist. I got 20 for me and 10 for my mom for $1 a piece. When I was at Walmart later, they had them for $5 a piece...good deal!

But here's the great part: I emailed him later to thank him again and say it was nice to meet him. When he emailed me back he said he was glad I was so excited about them. It turns out, these bulbs have quite a history. Each fall after the foliage dies off you dig up the roots like potatoes and store them for the winter. You always have more than what you planted and they multiply each year. These bulbs came from his plants which he has been growing for about 7 years in his back yard. But that's not where the story starts for my little Cannas. Apparently about 65 years ago his grandmother traded a gallon of milk and some farm fresh eggs from her farm in Arkansas for a handful of bulbs. His family has been growing and passing down plants from this same set of bulbs for decades!

What a neat thing to be a part of. It will be so much fun to plant these and watch them grow. But it will be even more fun to retell the story to people who see them!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The greatest man I ever knew...

This is my grandfather on my mother's side. My "Papa". He was my hero. Still is really. Almost every day I think of him at least once. I miss him, I hope he's watching over me, I hope he's proud of me.
He was one of those people in life that others aspire to be like. A man of the highest moral conviction. He and my grandma (Grammy) adopted my mom later in life and so they were retired by the time we came along. Papa was always the first to volunteer when I had a school field trip and every kid in my class would want to be in his group. I stayed the night with him almost every Saturday night. We'd watch HeeHaw and play Dominoes and eat Arby's because there was usually a coupon in the paper. On Sunday mornings he'd make me oatmeal and cinnamon toast cut into strips for dipping. We'd go to church and meet up with the rest of the family and then have lunch at the counter at the original NuWay on Douglas.
He was a Quaker but served in WWII as a medic. He collected flags and had one from Nazi Germany that he climbed a flag pole and "liberated" as he told the story about 20 minutes after Hitler had spoken nearby. He donated blood regularly and had pins he had earned from hitting certain milestones. He was a ping pong GENIUS. One family legend is that he once beat my mom blindfolded. He was ornery as sin and loved being one of the kids. He would skip through the store with us or plop right down on the floor next to my sister and join her in a full-on temper tantrum until they would both be in fits of giggles. He would read to us for hours and hours on end. And his homemade icecream was to die for.
So many of these things seem trivial but those are the things that make up a person. All the little details. All the little pieces of himself that he gave to his family and his grandkids. Those are the kinds of things I want to give to my family, memories. Memories of things that may have no meaning to the outside world but mean the world to them. I want to be the kind of person he was. Heck, I want to be half the person he was.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gardening time!

I'm so excited! I'm actually going to put out a garden this year! I wanted to do one last year but given the fact that I was due to give birth right in the middle of planting season... it didn't happen. Probably for the best!

I went to the library today and got a couple of books. We have a HUGE backyard with a section already fenced off for a garden. I cleaned out my strawberry planter and pruned one of the raspberry bushes back. Lesson learned: need gardening gloves before any further pruning occurs!

So here's what I'm thinking of planting:

I think that's it. Maybe. We also have a pear tree, apple tree, raspberries, mulberries, grapes and blackberries growing somewhat wild in our yard already. I need to figure out how to take care of them all so that they actually grow some fruit and don't just look like weeds taking over the entire yard! At one point there was an orchard back there and obviously somebody who owned the house at some point planted a lot of things- I just don't know what half of them are!

So- it should be an adventure. I'm picking up burn barrels tomorrow to burn off the clippings and brush and a rototiller to plow up my little plot of agricultural heaven!