Fribble's Blend

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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

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Friday, May 23, 2008

The "Granny Piney"

Our house -- which dates back to at least 1870 -- is renowned for the peonies that bloom along the road, an old Indian trail that is now a well-trailed secondary road. The peonies have been here a long time, probably fifty years at least.

First the white ones bloom, then the pink ones and rose colored ones. I love the scent of them when I cut them and bring them into the house. This year they are particularly pretty. All we do for them is trim back the foliage when it starts to look bad in the heat of August and they are good for another year.

The niece of the last member of the settlers who owned this place told me about a "granny piney" that had been dug up and carried away, and was growing fairly well. For several years I didn't fret over its absence, then I began to notice every spring there was first one sprig of leaves and then another at the end of one of the rows, slightly out of line. Then more of a peony plant appeared but didn't bloom for several years. I blamed bad spring weather -- and the absence of its allotment of the big black ants that peonies need to bloom.

Then when it did bloom for the first time about four years ago -- just one half-hearted flower, I was impressed by the deep bright red but it took another year before I realized why someone would go to the trouble of carrying off the "granny piney." It blooms after all the others have come out, and holds the petals tight and high and very full, longer than other peonies do. And the scent is just as intoxicating. This year it had sixteen blooms. Worth waiting for!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hoping for Salad Days

We have had some ugly weather around here. Okay, so it is nothing like tornadoes or Tsunamis, so I really shouldn't complain -- but I'm going to anyway. We're still behind on rainfall -- the weather man on the TV says we still are owed over 16 inches from last year -- but the guy who is in charge of the rain this year seems to be trying to make up for the deficit.

We had wind Sunday morning. In church, the windows were rattling, and I was afraid one of the old pine trees would topple over on the building. We'd like to have a new building, but not instead of the old one.

The dampness is making things grow -- mostly the grass and weeds. Actually, the herb garden seems to like cold, damp, gray days. I endure the weeding by thinking what nice salads I'm going to have later.

If you haven't started a garden yet, and don't think you want to commit to tilling and all that, consider getting a good sized pot or two, a bag of potting mix, and some lettuce, parsley and chive seeds. And maybe a packet of grape tomato seeds. You can have a little garden on a sunny doorstep.

Lettuce is really easy to grow. Some seeds went astray into my flower beds and are growing beautifully. . . Gee, I hope I didn't forget the Ranch dressing. . .

Friday, May 09, 2008

Think the Rain Will Hurt the Rhubarb?

We're gardening this year like never before -- but kinda close to once.

Last year we had our first garden where the chicken coop used to be, and it was fair. This year, a friend has gone in with us. She didn't want to garden where she's living because she's renting. I totally understand that sentiment.

She's from the same latitude we are living in -- just over in Virginia. We're from northen Pennsylvania originally, although we lived in Florida prior to moving here, and gardening there was -- well, not very productive if you don't have a ton of money for irrigation. Anyway, she got some rhubarb plants, which she and Husband put in a few days ago and they seem to like it where they are.

Now, I don't know that I've ever had rhubarb and strawberry pie, but I like rhubarb sauce, which is boiled with just enough water to keep it from scorching and just enough sugar so your teeth don't pucker up when it's in your mouth. My favorite way of eating it is on bread and butter -- messy but good for what ails a body.

It rained last night -- just a little -- and the weatherman promises more rain through Monday. From what I've seen of the little plants today, they're saying: "Bring it on! We like it here!"

Friday, May 02, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

At lunch time, we had a mail delivery -- an order of seeds plus a planting tray with lots of little tiny pot-lets in it. My imagination started going wild, but -- I had no potting soil. I expected to twist Husband's arm to take me to Leeper's or Lowe's, but he wanted to check out the new VA Outpatient Clinic in Morristown. Okay -- a ride on a spring day can be nice. I can sit in the car and come up with ideas for my work-in-progress.

He headed for the truck. O found out that on the way to find the clinic, he wanted to drop by a place that could stick some detailing stripes on the truck -- after they cut them out of sticky red paper. I sat in the truck. It was hot. It took time.

Again on the road -- street -- er, Morris Blvd, we were looking for street numbers. You know how hard it is to find street numbers in a commercial section, where all the buildings are back from the road? And small? Well, we overshot -- how we overshot. Well, the Blvd goes up to about 1200 then skips to 3000! So we turned about and went back.

No wonder we missed it.! The sign was small -- white lettering on dark brown, facing the street instead of at an angle. The for Department of Veteran's Affairs were small. And there was no American flag flying! Well, we told them! The girl to whom we suggested a HUGE flag and flags for the five services thought that it was a good idea. I hope they act on it. It would be a lot easier to tell people to look for the flags than the Sunoco station across the street.

By then, I was willing to forget about the potting soil. Husband turned the opposite direction.
I questioned his move and he said he wanted to go to the mall. Actually, he wanted to go to one of the recruiting offices to get a Marine Corps sticker for on the back of the truck. "You are not going to enlist again!" I said firmly.

Luckily all the recruiting offices were closed. (Is that any way to run a war?)

Finally, we went to Lowe's and got my potting soil. It's the good stuff. But it wasn't worth putting that many miles on in the truck.