Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Cockle Shells, Silver Bells, and Pretty Maids . . .

I’m not Mary, I’m rarely contrary, but I’ve got a garden this year. Of sorts. (LOL) I’m fresh out of shells, bells and maids. 😦

Strawberry Pot

Strawberry Pot

Years ago when G-Man and I were first married we planted a HUGE garden. (And I had a beautiful, blistering sunburn for my first anniversary. Oh, the memories. 🙂  )

This grew out of the strawberry pot and into the bricks.

This grew out of the strawberry pot and into the bricks.

We raised green beans, beets, tomatoes, onions, peppers, okra. And squash. Six hundred tons of squash. I fixed it every way possible, then we started freezing it.

Sweet potato vine, Vincas, Pintas and Angels' Wings. (Sometimes I make up my own names.)

Sweet potato vine, Vincas, Pintas and Angels’ Wings. (Sometimes I make up my own names.)

In case you didn’t know, if you have a yard in Okieland, you have to have a garden. (I think it’s a law.)

Big pots take a lot of soil!

Big pots take a lot of soil!

I’ve learned a thing or two in the years since that first garden. Now remember, most people know more about gardening than I do. 🙂 But I’m sharing what I know.

Here’s what I’ve picked up on.

  • Life began in a garden. (Called Eden.)
  • Plant flowers. Lots of them. And a few veggies.
  • Only plant three squash or zucchini plants for each family of 357.
  • Don’t plant okra. (It gives you stickers.)
  • Don’t plant watermelon or cantaloupe unless you have plenty of room. (160 acres or so.)
We bought new pots last summer. Now they match!!

We bought new pots last summer. Now they match!!

  • Water, water, water. And then water some more.
  • Stay ahead of the weeds or they’ll eat everything you grow. (Or hide it, which amounts to the same thing.)
  • Lock your car during squash season. Just sayin’.

empty potMore! Dirt! Please!!!

If you look in the background of the above pic, you can see the pots that used to be on my deck. They have herbs in them and I love my herbs, so I moved them to the pond area. Now if I only had a pond.

I have a thing for watering cans.

I have a thing for watering cans.

So here it is, nearly the middle of June, and I’m just getting my pots planted. But they’re pretty, aren’t they? I have a few more plans, and I’ll let you in on them if I can get them done. And find enough soil.

Hope I don't murder them.

Hope I don’t murder them.

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Magic is Back

I get so excited when springtime happens. It’s almost magical when the new leaves bud out and the early flowers bloom . . . even though I’m the one who planted most of what’s budding and blooming, and shouldn’t be surprised by what’s happening at all.

You know?

So it’s that time again.

Sweet lilac is blooming, so is jasmine and a couple of ground covers. But the one that smacks me in the face each year, knocks me right off my pins with its beauty is the peony.

1-1-peony

 Can it get any prettier than that?

Well, that depends on what you like best. I’ll show you what I mean.

See? It’s really hard to choose what you like best . . . unless you have a bias to start with.

Anyway, look quick. ‘Cause they’ll be gone soon.


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Yard Shoot

While we were in Arkansas last weekend, I took a lot of pretty-leaves-from-a-distance pictures. I never thought about what closeups would look like. Then I read a blog where a woman said taking random closeup shots of fall leaves was good for her soul.

I loved her pictures and wanted to try it. Our leaves aren’t that gorgeous this year. And I don’t have a ton of time for going out to find them.

When I came home yesterday, I decided to try it anyway, and stay in my own backyard. I kind of like the results.

See what you think.

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I also took pictures of my one remaining tomato plant.

I had two plants here, back in the spring. After they’d grown a while, they looked like this–

Then one of the plants ate the other one, and now he looks like this.

I keep my fingers crossed that he won’t eat Molly when she’s out playing in the yard. So much plant, so little fruit. 🙂


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Hitler AND Attila in MY Garden?

It rained here this weekend, and cooled down enough for me to take a stroll through my back yard. Know what I noticed?

Things have gone wild!

Mainly weeds. (Grass that grows in my garden=weeds.)

Remember the vine trying to take over the world?

Attila the Vine? I’d planned to move him (or at least part of him) but with the weather as dry as it was, I thought I’d wait until fall. Instead, I wound him around a pyramid thingy he grows on.

There are so many layers now, I may never find the pyramid thingy again.

This is the best part of my garden. (The wildest, at least.)

The green pile on the left that looks like Cousin It on St. Paddy’s Day (Cousin It–Adams Family. Remember?) is Attila the Vine. In the back is a castor bean plant. Yes, they’re supposed to be poison, but I haven’t seen any little animals dropping over in my garden.

I planted it to keep moles and gophers out of my yard. And it worked . . . kinda. I’ve seen only one mole run since I started planting castors. It started in the middle of my yard and headed (can you guess?) STRAIGHT for the plant.

Of course, it might have been a mole who strolled up to the plant, saw it was a poison bean, dove into the earth and drilled away. (I’m remembering a cartoon from my childhood as I write with a gopher working under a garden, pulling veggies from the roof of his run. Anybody remember that?)

Now meet Hitler.

Hitler is a gang of watermelons. They, too, are trying to take over the world.

See the thing hanging on the fence to the right of the bean, next to a star?

There you go. You can tell what it is now, right? It’s a watermelon. Anybody else grow watermelons on their fence?

These watermelon plants are volunteers. I planted them last year, and they came back.

(Isn’t winter supposed to kill off things like watermelons and pumpkins? Wait. Did we have a winter last year?)

Anyway, this gang has reached out to all parts of the garden and they’re even growing over Cousin It. (I pull them off, they crawl back on. What’s up with that?)

This guy was stuck in the back by that star, but I pulled it out,

which MIGHT have been a mistake. I’m not sure how much longer the vine can hold it there. (I wonder if a sling would help? Anyone who’s just over a carpal tunnel surgery want to donate?)

I have a few melons growing on the ground, too.

They’re also growing down the wall at the back of my garden into someone else’s yard. Yes, there are melons down there, and I can’t get to them. One even split open. *sigh*

Anybody know how to tell when a watermelon is ripe?


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Wild Wednesday

I went with my man to check a few wells the other day, and since it’s springtime in Okieland, I took my camera along.

Don’t you just love wildflowers? I do! They’re like a gift, straight from God. All that beauty, and I didn’t have to do a thing except enjoy it. But my dad and son killed a rattlesnake at one of the wells a few years back, so I didn’t venture where I couldn’t see the ground and a long way around.

I’m not sure what these yellow ones are. Maybe a coreopsis? Whatever, I think they must be very taste, because I saw bugs eating several of them.

 Isn’t it odd the way the same bugs like the same kind of plants? Or maybe not.

Most family like to eat the same things, don’t they?

I know the names of very few wildflowers, but I THINK this is an Indian Paintbrush.

The state planted lots of IPs along roadways here in Okieland. They make beautiful orange swaths of color, but it’s a little difficult to stop where they are and get a picture. 😦 This one was all by herself.I don’t know the name of this blue beauty, either. I’m sure I’ve heard it.

This is a blackberry.

Toward the top of the picture, you can see the fruit forming.

I love blackberries. So do chiggers. And, I’ve been told over and over, snakes.

I don’t know what these are, but God must love them because in some areas they were everywhere.

 This was sitting near one of the wells. Just abandoned there, a long time ago. See how the windshield opens from the bottom? Cool, huh?

I told G-Man it was one of Bonnie and Clyde’s old getaway cars.

He didn’t know the make or model either, but he said it originally came in any color you wanted.

As long as it was black. LOL! (I think Mr. Ford said that first.)

Anybody out there a wildflower aficionado? Care to share a few names with me?


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Kiddo Lost and . . . ?

The other day, I heard a noise in the kitchen. Since it wasn’t lunch time, I went to investigate. Guess what I found.

This precious little girl, sitting in her car seat/carrier. She normally a very happy baby I understand, but when a girl’s in a strange place and an even stranger woman starts loving on you, it can be a little disconcerting.

She handled me well, though. 🙂

I soon heard a commotion down the hall. The sweet baby’s bigger sibling had found a place to have fun. This little girl cracks me up. She’s one who, being a very smart child, tests her boundaries very often. That’s Brother Jeffrey behind her.  This one found a bowl of licorice jelly beans and declared she loved them! (Unusual for a girl her age.)

She carried them with her for the rest of the time she was in the office. Didn’t finish them off, though. I imagine the flavor was intense for even a candy lover like her.

But this precious boy, who at his tender years rules the office with an iron fist holding most of us by the heart, nearly killed me yesterday.

I used to be his favorite. When he was upset, he’d occasionally come to me for comfort. That makes a wannabe grandmother feel wonderful! But I’ve been replaced.

His favorite person now is Rick. Rick has a pickup and a hat that he lets him wear. (What can I say? The Kiddo is into hats.) Rick takes him out and lets him play in the bed of his pickup truck. Kiddo loves that! He sets him in the fork of a small tree in our garden. Kiddo adores him.

Apparently, Kiddo has decided I’m chopped liver. 😦

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Gotta Get Out

Have you got it? That itch to get out and get your hands dirty? It hits me every year.

Of course, it doesn’t hit me like it does my dad. He gets the urge early on. Plants potatoes on March 17th. And when one of his brothers is around, they discuss how tall this is, and how’re you doing your tomatoes this year. (Answer: Cattle panel on each side, all the way down the row.)

When I hear that talk, it starts.

I have a feeling my yen to garden is not unlike what a serial killer feels when he starts wanting to get back to his hobby. “Gotta plant it. Gotta fertilize it. Gotta grow it. I just can’t feel right until I do.”

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