Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Smiling Rocks

Monday, October 17th, 2016

I was sitting on the back stoop with Brody in the backyard. I’ve sat there every nice day (and a few rainy ones) for weeks now, and not noticed these rocks to my right. I mean, I saw the rocks, they help cover the runoff from the eaves and where the grass won’t grow up near our woodpile. So, I’m sitting there watching Brody and eating a handful of almonds and then I started noticing all this . . . Seems the kids at Tiller’s backyard birthday party took a sharpie to our rocks and I didn’t even notice.

You can’t help but smile when the rocks are smiling back at you.


Rock art by Liliana, Tristan, Tiller, and Trinity.


and Brook, Scarlett, Leah, and Milo. . .


And Emmy, Mia, Ingrid, Rollie, and Sydney.

Bountiful: The Joy of Being a Total Ouiser

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Clairee: “Why do you give all these to me?”
Ouiser Boudreaux: “Somebody’s gotta take em, I hate em, I try not to eat healthy food if I can possibly help it.”

Anelle: “Then why do you grow them?”
Ouiser: “Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules!”

–  Steel Magnolias

I’ve been working really hard on looking at positives this Summer. Summer makes looking at positives much easier, what with all the sunshine, and water, and ice cream and such. Basically, that means I’m trying to make quick work of the things I don’t enjoy, and then finding (making) the time to do the things I love. Reading, writing, running, dog cuddles, listening to music, dabbling in the worst painting ever (anyone local want to take a painting class with me?), volleyball. . . Hell, y’all. I’m taking up tennis again. But the thing that absolutely brings me the most joy? My garden.

My garden has expanded in the last couple of years. Instead of the one bed I started out with down at the street, we now have a sunnier spot in the side yard and we’ve put two more beds there. I love vegetables. Pretty much all vegetables. But tomatoes. Oh, tomatoes! They are my heart and soul.

And I went a little bit overboard this year with the tomato plants. Not really, but keeping up with all of them has proven challenging. We have tomatoes lining the windows.


And tomatoes (and okra, and basil, and cucumbers, and peppers and beans) in baskets.


In response we’ve taken to pickling and freezing like we were my Grandma. Our fridge is already packed to the gills with pickles. And pickled things. The last few days, we’ve been bombarded with more vegetables than we can possibly eat. I gave a bunch to my sister. And today, I spent the day putting up veggies.

So, I made another jar of dills, and then an extra “Kitchen Sink” jar – Cucumbers, green beans, jalapenos, and banana peppers all jammed in together.


I made okra and tomatoes. Reminds me of my mama. So good, even if I’m probably the only one that will eat it.


I’ve already frozen about a kabillion cherry tomatoes, but I froze some more. (Those are easy. Dump them in a bag. Seal the bag. Freeze them. Use over the winter for sauces and soups. Yum.)


We still have tons more of the cherries, so we will probably make caprese salad for dinner every night this week. My favorite and the kids like it, too. (Although, let’s be honest, it’s just a vehicle for olive oil and mozzarella, right?)

And I also tried out roasting cherry tomatoes and they were so damn good that the neighbor kid and I almost ate them all and had no more to freeze. I’ll have to do those again. Easy and delicious.



I made a ton of pesto. I usually make it every week or so during the summer and then freeze it. There is nothing better than homemade pesto on a cold night in January. I put it in piles on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then put them in freezer bags for storage.



This time, though, I put some in mason jars to freeze. I’m hoping that will help with the color issue. Freezing it makes it lose it’s brighter green color and it basically ends up looking like baby poo. It does not taste like baby poo. We’ll see how that goes. That second jar below got hit hard, because I had to taste it and make sure that it tasted alright. It’s gonna be pretty good, I think. I also feel sick from too much pure pesto ingestion.


And then to cap it all off, I set up some of my herbs to dry: Marjoram, oregano, lemongrass, chamomile, lemon thyme, tarragon, and chives. (Already have a ton of dried basil.) Finally found a use for my grandma’s clothes pins that I brought home from the lake. I couldn’t bear to get rid of them. Weird, I know.


I know. I’m a total Ouiser. This is universally acknowledged by all who know me: Cantankerous, sharp-tongued, blunt and honest. I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.

But growing things makes me happy, and makes me feel tethered to the earth, and I am going to be super pleased to have that frozen stuff over the winter. I’m gonna need some help eating the pickles this summer, though, so hit me up if you like pickled things. And I’ll definitely have them at Wednesday night pool dinners, so come by and have some.

P.s. Debbie, if you read this, and you like pickles or pesto or anything else you have seen above, I would like to propose a trade, because I badly want to try your ice cream. Badly.

Hope Springs Eternal: A Prayer

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

I’m having one of those evenings where I feel very lucky, but yet I can’t stop the tears rolling down my face. I can feel lucky and sad at the same time, apparently. My family is happy and healthy. I have my parents and my sister, and my husband and children, and they are all fine.

Still, I find myself looking up at the stars and saying a prayer for an old friend, and for a family member of a friend, and for a few other people I know who are hurting. I pray for our country, because all this hate and yelling and violence is wounding my soul, and I know I am not alone. I pray for all of those people who can’t quite wrap their heads around how seemingly good people can support something so toxic. I pray for the ones that love someone who has changed into someone they don’t know anymore.

Yes, Annelle, I pray. 

No, I don’t go to church. I don’t consider myself a Christian, much to my parents’ disappointment. I do, however, believe in The Universe, and that there are forces of good and evil, and that my prayers go somewhere, and are heard somewhere, even if the impact they make is infinitesimal. I believe that there is something so very Holy in Spring, and the hydrangea, daffodils, azaleas, roses, and daylilies that pop up in my garden today. They are my old friends.

The come back every year, even when the man who taught me to love them is gone. They come back, even though the people I love don’t always come back.

Hope springs eternal.

Or something like that.


Big Spider

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Big ass spider in my garden. Picture doesn’t really do justice to his size, or his yellow and black pattern, or the awesome zigzag of his web.

I Love Summer

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Got this outta my garden, and made four batches of pesto, too.


Especially loving the Asparagus beans. . . Can’t wait till the cutting tomatoes come in and i can have a tomato sandwich for lunch every day. Ahhhhhh.

Summer Breakfast

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I love summer. Picked this stuff this morning and then couldn’t wait to eat it. Tomato Basil Sandwich. Sliced cucumbers. Asparagus Beans sauteed in garlic and red pepper.

Summer Breakfast

Good Day Sunshine

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Woke up yesterday with a slight headache, but once I had lunch I felt fine. Spent the whole day outside with the family. Todd (finally) put up my Bulldog bird feeder. I moved Eddie Rabbit back to the edge of the treeline in the backyard, so that he will peek out at us on the patio. We cleaned the patio off, and I moved my new planters where I wanted them. We put out more birdfeed. Checked on the hydrangea I put in (it was one of my birthday gifts). Hung some wind chimes. Todd cleared out a huge section of our ivy and some ugly bushes (no idea what they are, but neither of us particularly like them). Talked about ideas for bed plantings in the future. Looked at bulbs starting to poke up through the ground. Oohed and aahhhed over the yellow crocus popping up around my Redbud. Picked up sticks. Poured pea gravel in the walk near the garage where we get a lot of runoff.

All the while, the kiddos ran around doing a “scavenger hunt” in the yard that I set up before we started. Then, Todd showered and we took the kids to St. Bede’s for some bike riding. One thing I hate about my house is that my street is a cut-through and jerks drive over the hill two houses up from me so fast that the kids wouldn’t have time to get out of the way of a car speeding. Our driveway is too steep to really ride. So, we take them to the park, or to the cul-de-sac up the street to ride. St. Bede’s is the best, though. A large, flat, shaded parking lot where the kids can ride in big sweeping circles. Rollie has gotten great at riding without the training wheels and Tiller is a daredevil with her training wheels. She almost flips that bike over three or four times whenever we take her out. It is gut-wrenching and thrilling to watch them.

Came back home, had a beer while grilling chicken and asparagus, and then ate that with scalloped potatoes. Yum.

Good day. My kids watched ZERO television yesterday. I LOVE warm weather.

My Free Stuff Haul

Friday, February 19th, 2010

So, i like estate sales. Mostly, i dig old stuff. (Nikki, I know you’re with me.) I also love to dig through other people’s stuff. It’s a sickness. A goatman sickness.

I dropped Tills off at school last Friday, and it was supposed to snow that afternoon, and it was colder than a well-digger’s you-know-what, but I just couldn’t help it when i saw that sweet, sweet poster board with “Estate Sale” on it. I had to drop in.

They had some decent stuff, like the dollar Vince Dooley print I bought as a housewarming gift for my Daddy, and the awesome bird pillows (Yellow Warbler and Towhee!) But it was those magic words that really drew me in.


As in, “Honey, you can have anything in that backyard you want for free. You just have to haul it off.

These words would strike fear in the heart of Todd if he heard them uttered in front of me. Me? I took it as a dare.

So, here I am in the low-30s weather, out in some stranger’s backyard, fighting an older Italian woman for garden ornaments. Luckily, our tastes really didn’t meet anywhere in the middle, so we were able to divvy up everything out there in about one minute, then we started figuring out how the heck we were going to get it out to our cars.

Those suckers were heavy.

I ended up having to go home, get a wheelbarrow, bring it back and get Todd to meet me during lunch to help me and Pina (my Italian buddy). He is a good husband. He puts up with me, and my junk problem, and he even enables, er, supports me in the endeavor. Most of the time, anyway.

This is what we got:

There is also a plant hook thing (one of those metal things you stick in the ground with two hooks, for holding hanging baskets or bird feeders), a beat up birdhouse, and a folk-arty looking set of wind chimes. Yeah!

Since then, I also went to my parents, where they gave me one of my grandfather’s old clocks (Pop collected clocks), Grandma’s old bread box (white-painted metal with a red trim – so cute!), and an old handmade rolling pin. (Yes, Annelle, I bake. Once a year. Christmas cookies.)

I think Todd’s patience is wearing thin. I better put all this stuff away before I bring anymore in. Wish me luck.

At the Birdfeeder

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

I think this guy is a Baltimore Oriole, and a male, based on what i read on my Peterson’s Bird guide for the IPhone. Second day in a row I’ve seen one! So glad I moved my feeder to my sink window. I spend half my life there washing dishes anyway, so might as well nerd out on birds while I’m there.

Homemade Suet Recipe

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I’m making Walter Reeves’ recipe for homemade suet for my winged friends. Don’t want them going hungry in the snow, and i love the variety of birds a suet feeder gives me.

He also has a neat idea for making your own feeder. Not going to undertake that today. . . .