Thursday, April 29, 2010

Moved On

It has been almost a year and I've moved on. You can find me and more pictures of my plants and family on Facebook at Rita Thompson (Margarita Cauthern Thompson). See ya'll there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nothing but Rain and More Rain!


The last post was about the weather and that is still all there is to write about. Two months of rain and every drop has brought weeds and so much work. The yard is still a mess and weeds are taller than my head where I fertilized the iris. I can hardly see the iris for the weeds. Among the weeds are nice dogwood seedlings that need new homes somewhere besides the iris bed. They will get moved because nothing that bloooms ever gets cut down. That is why it takes a lot of work deciding where things can grow. It seems every seed sprouted that fell in the bed. I think I finally counted thirtyeight dogwoods that bloomed this year so there are a lot of seeds. I am so thankful for all these free trees and plants. Maybe generations from now someone will enjoy their beautiful blooms.

School is out and I will be "girl sitting" this summer. They are too old now to let me call it baby sitting them. They are going to be a lot of help with the weed pulling and transplanting. It is still fun for them. Last summer they had fun because we just stayed outside all summer. So what if the water bill is sky high from playing with the water hose all day to stay cool. They enjoyed it and I enjoyed watching them have so much fun. Maybe the sun will soon come out long enough to play with the water hose. Playing in the rain has been fun but it has been a little too cool to stay out long in it. The rain has been wonderful and we really needed it since the past summers have been so dry. We are not complaining but getting a little ready to stay dry all day.

I went out for a walk with the camera today and here are a few shots. Some were made in the rain so they have the look of watercolors.

Raindrops on a Blackeyed Susan and a bed of Rose Campion and Yarrow

A Bumblebee enjoying garlic pollen. Guess he is Italian.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Storms and Storm House Sitting

Tonight's weather forecast is for tornadoes for our area. This is close to the anniversary of the Tupelo, Mississippi, Great Tornado of April 5, 1936 so everyone is taking it very seriously. Even though that tornado was long before I was born it has been talked about all my life. Papaw would stand on the porch at Pearce Chapel and point to the Northwest and say,"Now right in there was where it got so red and we could hear the noise of it ripping Tupelo, Mississippi, off the face of the earth." This conversation happened every time the sky got dark and when we were headed to a storm house at the neighbors when I was a child. Back then there was no TV weather telling us when to go. The neighbor's storm house was cut back in a bank and was always damp and it was small. Sometimes the rain would catch us before we could get there. I was bad about having to go back and get a doll or blanket and would drag the process out as long as a child could. I knew it would be sit still time a long time and I dreaded it. I enjoyed listening to the adults talk but the talk about who all went to see were Tupelo had blown away and who died there was so sad. It was the same conversation every storm. It didn't make me too happy being confined either. Then we would have to get out after the storm was over and walk back up the red muddy hill home.

One morning, probably the spring of 1960, Papaw called me out in the yard and said,"Young lady, we fixing to build us a storm house today." When he said "young lady" I knew it meant business! He set out measuring a spot of on the hillside right out the front door below the pear tree. First it was a small square. Then he got the straight chairs off the front porch and sat them side by side inside the string he had pulled from stakes at the corners. It wasn't big enough to suit him. The stakes were pulled up and the space doubled and the chairs replaces. Then we set in shoveling. With the help of a neighbor who showed up with his pick ax we go the hole dug. Well, the ground was sandier than he liked for straight cut dirt walls. Papaw got a little notebook out of his overall pocket and started figuring and measuring again. We were going to use cinder blocks and have a real nice dry storm house since we had it dug already. He hired some one to bring the blocks and pour the floor of the storm house. He put in a fancy drain hole so water wouldn't stand if the rain got in it. Seems like we laid concrete blocks for a week. It was spring break from school and I helped as much as I could helping tote the blocks. We got the doorway built and Papaw wasn't a bit satisfied with the direction it was facing because he wasn't going to be able to see in "that direction of Tupelo" so we added a curve in the dug out walkway so he could walk out and look toward the house and barn and "in that direction". After the blocks were all laid he formed a roof and had it poured with reinforced concrete. Care was taken to add a hook in just the right spot out of the way of people's heads for a kerosene lantern. In the roof he installed tin can vent holes to allow fresh air as ventilation. These were covered with larger cans that could be removed for fresh air and pulled back on from the inside with a string.

We finally had the storm house finished and instead of straight chairs he built benches along the sides. Ma maw folded all the old quilts for cushions. We were ready for a storm. Soon the occasion arrived and the whole neighborhood was invited to try Mr. Marvin's new storm house out. The first time in use there were 18 people in it and he was so proud it was big enough.

During the winter months it was just right to hold all the flower pots that Ma maw wanted to keep things growing in all winter and a few jars of dried apples were always there. When I got older it was a favorite reading place in the summer because it was always cool in there and with the door open the light was just right for reading or napping.

The only critters that were ever in it that I remember were jam crickets. They were clear bodied crickets that loved the damp cool concrete walls. This was after the storm house was getting old. My son has memories of a jam cricket on Papaw's hat when we had to go to the storm house on April 3, 1974. He was not a happy little three year old camper that day at all. Papaw had on his old brown felt hat and this big old gray monster sized cricket landed on his head just as we got in the storm house and Sean stopped crying and started laughing about it getting Papaw and didn't shed another tear. When we got out that night we found out Guin, Alabama, had blown away while we were safe and secure in the "new storm house".

The house at Pearce Chapel is gone but the "new storm house" is still there. I hope someone is using it tonight.

Monday, March 30, 2009

More Springtime!

Lots of work yet to be done.

There is a spider hiding here. Can you see it?
Click to enlarge the picture on the left.

Most of these are very, very old heirloom plants.

Just more pictures!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's Spring!

After the morning rain I made a few shots to let you see just how many things have blooms today. It was all so colorful against the dark stormy sky.

Everything is blooming and begging for attention. At least twenty dogwoods have blooms today. Several of the old dogwoods died during the past dry summers but new ones have just appeared to replace them and are blooming now. There are a lot of very young ones without blooms that will bloom in a few years. The lilac smells so Southern it just about says, "Ya'll come back now. Ya hear?"

Due to a lot of spring yard work there will be a delay in postings at Magnolia Mornings. I look forward to showing you later what happened while the blog was on hold.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Tooth Fairy

Grannie and me the day after the tooth fairy came.

I know three little girls who are keeping the tooth fairy mighty busy lately. Number one is getting extractions so she will be ready for braces, number two is loosing teeth on a daily basis, number three had extractions but hasn't lost any naturally but the tooth fairy was extra special to her for being brave at the dentist. (Number four is still chewing her fist trying to cut teeth.) They have a piggy bank full of money from the tooth fairy. Waking up to tooth fairy money under a pillow is always a special morning.

One morning many many years ago in 1954 the tooth fairy found me even though I was not at home. I was spending the night at my great grandmother's house near Detroit AL. My "Grannie" was Martha Jane Palmer Ballard. She was born October 20, 1870. So at this time she would have been eighty four years old. No little children had lost a tooth at her house in a long long time so when I lost my tooth right at bed time I just knew the tooth fairy would never find her house. She washed my tooth and wrapped it in one of her daintiest starched and ironed Sunday handkerchiefs and put it under my pillow anyway. Mother and I slept in the front room that night right by the front door. I just knew I would hear the tooth fairy if it opened that door. I remember Mother telling me to not be disappointed if the tooth fairy didn't find me way up there because we lived in Smithville MS and it would probably come the next night when we got home. She hadn't planned on us spending the night there much less me loosing a tooth.

Grannie always had a canary that sang constantly from daylight until dark and it woke me the next morning singing it's heart out. Grannie was already up and fixing breakfast. I could see her from where I was laying. She specialized in poached eggs and I loved them because at her house was the only time I got them. She had the water boiling but turned it off the minute she saw I was waking up. I reached under my pillow and there in that Sunday handkerchief was a shiny dime! Mother was as surprised as me. Grannie looked at her and winked. She said for us to come look out by the front steps. She had already been out there and seen something that we just had to go see. Mother and I went out on the porch following her. There in the sand were all the foot prints that the tooth fairy had made when it stopped to rest after the long trip up there hunting me. There were foot prints right by the door steps where it had rested. The foot prints looked just like a new born baby had walked around in the white sand near Grannie's bottle garden. The tooth fairy must to have really liked all the cobalt blue bottles that she outlined her heart shape flower bed with by the steps because it had walked all around them in the sand. I followed the footprints and was jumping up and down squealing with excitement. This was better than Santa eating cookies. I could touch where the tooth fairy walked! That tooth fairy was so special because it found me that night.

Grannie was always very active but in the fall of 1967 Grannie was confined to her bed and I was sitting by her bed and she raised her hand to adjust the covers and I couldn't help but notice how much the outside edge of her hand looked like the sole of the tooth fairy's foot. I was a freshman in college then but that tooth fairy was just as real then as it was when I was six years old. Grannie passed away a few weeks later on September 4, 1967 and is buried by her husband John Roe Ballard, who was born July 11, 1867 and died November 24, 1915. Their graves are in Ballard Cemetery next door to where the tooth fairy found me that special night.