Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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. 🙂


Something about Me (Gasp)

My earlier confession (I Confess!) did my soul so much good, I’m going to hit it again. Ready? (Clears throat and takes a deep, cleansing breath.)




I’m so ashamed. I love gardens–strolling through them, looking at them, letting my heart warm and swell, just enjoying them. That’s all wonderful.

I even like planting new plants. Digging holes in the fresh dirt and arranging the baby plants is a joy! I really like seeing them take root and live. Okay, maybe I don’t hate gardening. Maybe I hate the stuff that goes along with it.

It takes a lot of hard work to make them look like the ones I like to look at.

(“You sure this girl’s a writer, Marylois? She just ended a sentence with a prepositty-thing.)

I don’t like grinding dirt into my knees. And I’m not wild about getting dirt under my fingernails and/or breaking them.

I. Hate. Sweat. And sweating!

And I hate sunburns, which I get nearly every year from working in my garden.

On our first anniversary I planted rows of green beans and beets, and ended up with a 3rd degree sunburn. (Okay, maybe not 3rd degree, but it hurt like snarklies!) Not the best anniversary celebration we ever had, I promise you.

I hate weeds AND weeding. Did I mention ticks? Hate, hate, hate those mean little suckers. (Literally, they’re suckers. And even after you flush them down the river, the place where they bit you ITCHES! for a long time. Eeeew, yuck!)

And I hate snakes. Even the ones that ‘can’t hurt you”.

To my shame, last year I flunked gardening, totally.

I worked hard early on, putting down weed barrier, using Roundup, and mulching, mulching, mulching. Did I mention I mulched? I did.

A bunch.

Then the heat hit. Oh, my stars! Heat doesn’t describe the weather we suffered last summer. The blazing, hellish temperatures ate my lunch! (I think I’m allergic.)

Can you believe we had a record breaking fifty-one consecutive days of 101plus heat? No rain.

So my plants wouldn’t die, we kept the sprinkler system going. The thing is, when plants grow, so do weeds. And every time I tried to go out and pull the weeds sneaking through the Roundup/weed barrier/mulch block I’d put down, something happened.

Sometimes it was something as simple as a phone call. Other times, an inside chore. Once in a while, I could even make up remember an emergency errand I HAD to run.

If I had to, I fell down, kicked and screamed until I gave myself permission not to go out. Of course, my gardens grew up with weeds, but I didn’t care. With heat like that, who was going to be outside to see it anyway?

Besides, surviving the summer was much more important than killing off a few weeds.

Now when I look out at my Tarzan-and-Cheetah-would-be-right-at-home back yard, I realize I might have been wrong. (Imagine that. LOL) One of these days, I’ll go out and get to work on my wild world. I’ll dig and pull and fight, working my way from one end of that mess to the other. (Oy!)

Or maybe a glutton for punishment boy scout will come along who wants to earn his Helper To A Lady In Distress Badge.

Miracles have been known to happen, you know. 😉

Now I have a question. When God put Adam and Eve the perfect Garden of Eden, who had to pull the weeds?


I’m Leafing

I love springtime, almost as much as I love fall.

And I love my jasmine!

And I love gardens, and gardening! As long as it’s not too hot or cold or wet or dry. Guess you could call me a fair weather gardener. I just call me the WWG.  (World’s Worst Gardner.)

My favorite gardening is when I don’t do anything, and things just bloom. Like Jazzy–my jasmine who grows on the fence at the back of my garden.

Question: Do you name the plants in your garden? Is the fact that I do a sign that I’m . . .  Never mind. I don’t want to know.

Now, combine my enjoyment for gardens with my enjoyment of photography, which I’m not that good at either, but I enjoy the guts out of it.

Yesterday, I took my camera into the yard. I took Jazzy’s portrait, then noticed the leaves on one of my Japanese Maples in the first garden I built after moving here were looking good.

Don’t you love the way the light shines through?

I have a thing about leaves. I love to sit under a tree and just watch the leaves move in the breeze. They relax me as they whisper, rustle, play and some even predict the weather. (Deciduous trees’ leaves often turn upside down before a rain.)

I’ve been told that when I was an infant, I loved for Mama to put my carriage under a tree. I’d babble to the leaves as if they were talking with me.

I have a theory about babies and guardian angels.

BTW: Leaves aren’t easy to photograph on a breezy day. For some reason, they just won’t hold still. And living here on the lake, it’s a rare day that’s not breezy. So your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to pretend these pictures are well focused. This communication will self-destruct . . .  (TV Show/Movie title?)

Or maybe I’ll make-believe I wanted them this way so you could see the energy.