Damn Chiggers

I’ve been outside on all these beautiful, sunny, hot days — down at the firepit, in the gardens, and just generally walking through the grass — and am now infested with chigger bites, itchy welps wherever my clothes touch, especially “down there” and around my waist (or where it’s supposed to be). Why me? Whining about such a small, tiny, wee, little bug that seems to love my pasty white skin is not a good look, but damn, it’s so aggravating. I cannot wear deet around all the time, though I’ve got gallons of lotions and sprays. Over the years, I’ve learned to Not Scratch (much), and was hoping they’d tire of me.

We were going to wait until the 4th of July to put up the pool, but it’s Hot, so we filled ‘er up yesterday…and found a leak. This is probably the last year for this pool and it’s given us a good run for our $, so Casey’s out buying whatever it is he needs to fix it. The chlorinated water helps dry out the chigger bites, so now I can dip off after I’ve been out in the weeds.

The Gardens are looking great. We haven’t had a decent rain in weeks and none predicted, but I’m babying them along with regular watering. Several of the tomatoes on the plants that were out during the monsoons have had blossom end rot, so I’m trying to stay consistent with my attention. Fingers crossed.

It seems like Real Summer now! Hope you’re soaking up some rays where you are!


Scenes from JAM’s first recital

Samantha starred in yet another recital this week. Jojo’s Academy of Music has been fun for both of us; I can’t describe the joy I feel when I see her learn the piano. You may have noticed that I love playing the piano, can’t really pass a keyboard without stopping for a quick spurt of Maple Leaf Rag, and so it moves me deeply to share that passion with #4 grandie. I hope she still finds it fun as we move on — it’s going to be hard to let her go to another teacher, eventually, but I’m enjoying every minute for now.

Nana and Papa attended and brought Samantha’s cousins, Morgan and Elizabeth, so we were very excited. Here’s the Show in its entirety…

I’m heading out to Mom and Dad’s mausoleum to update their bouquet. Tomorrow I’m visiting with my cousins and doing a wee bit of emergency grave decorating at Grandma and Grandpa Eaton’s naked site. The rest will wait until my next go-round on Day of the Dead in early November.

Whether you’re at the cemeteries, at the parks, or your backyard, I hope you enjoy the holiday!


Evening Edition

My grandies have been soo entertaining this week-end! Samantha danced beautifully at her recital…(she’s the red-haired little girl in the center)

Emma and her date went to their Jr. Prom…Is she beautiful or what?

Those are my #1 and #4 grandies, and #2 and #3 are equally adorable.

I planted green beans and zinnias last week and the seedlings are popping up. I still need to plant three tomato plants, but otherwise it’s all over but the watering…and the weeding…and the Miracle-gro-ing.

I’ve been going through old clothes and tossing — Lord help me, I’m a clothes hoarder! I blame it on our abundance of storage; the clothes got stored upstairs and I’m just now noticing that I’ve run out of drawer space. I don’t believe I’m ever going to fit into those size 8s again, but there they are, just in case… I’ve thrown out about a half-ton, including old shoes, which is even more pathetic, and I’m feeling much lighter. Still, there’s all those souvenir t-shirts that the kids will have to give away when I head to the home. I just can’t part with my Seussical the Musical tee, or my Steve Martin, Banjo Boy shirt…

Next Saturday is the JoJo’s Academy of Music First Piano Recital, starring Samantha. She’s really done well and I’m super thrilled that she likes playing so much. I’ll see you on the other side of that event. Have a great week!


Mom’s Day

My mom was a typical 1950s stay-at-home Mom, and to me her life looked like one long summer vacation. She and the neighborhood ladies started their days with coffee from a percolator that perked all day just in case someone dropped in, and often someone did. When I was in 6th grade she got a part-time job working at Sears and made life-long friends. She was always in a bowling league, played bridge, bunco, and any other game she and her pals dreamed up. After I left home, she and Dad started playing golf and she was pretty good at it–definitely better than Dad!

Mom was my inspiration in that respect: I never wanted a career, didn’t really want to work at all, but if I must, I prefer part-time. I just wanted to keep house, cook, take care of the kids, hang out with my girlfriends, watch soap operas, and get a good tan. The games/sports thing was never “Me”, but I can loaf with the best.

Now that I’m retired, My life is pretty much one long summer vacation. I wish Mom were here to share it with me. We could play cards all day and sit out on the swing every evening. She would have loved this house and fixing it up. She always did admire my garden. I miss her every day…

My kids have remembered me with gifts and hugs. I’m so grateful. Hope you’re enjoying this day!


Pomp, Circumstance, and a long-shot

I have been so obsessed with the Coronation that I paid little attention to the horses this week-end, but in the end, I did my usual win-some, lose-some with my wagers without even over-thinking.

I am still in a daze over the opulence of the Crowning of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. I was up at 2:00 am, donned my tiara and thanks to YouTube got to watch the BBC coverage. They didn’t talk over the service like the Americans do, so I truly felt like I was in church.

I love High Church Liturgy, vestments, soaring ceilings with walls of stained glass, choirs and trumpets, and especially Handel, my favorite-of-all-time composer – and not just because we share a birthday, or because The Messiah is brilliant. Indeed, I just love the movement of an Amen or Alleluia that can be made to last measure upon measure! Andrew Lloyd Weber had composed a lovely setting of a Psalm, Debbie Wiseman contributed new music for a gospel acapella group, and there was plenty of Boyce, Rutter, and other quintessentially British tunesmiths.

I cried a couple of times, but big tears were flowing as Handel’s “Zadok the Priest” filled the Abbey. The King had stripped down to his undershirt (surprisingly not a wife-beater) and gone behind a stunning screen to be annointed; he was looking a little fragile yesterday and the sight of him so bare was a lesson in the humility of this good man. I share this with you, and I hope you watch it with a tissue handy, and remember this is Live, just before Charles and Camilla were crowned. (The dude in the kilt is Lt. Col. Johnny Thompson, the King’s equerry, and a very popular man amongst us Royal Watchers)

After a little nap and some lunch, I got dressed for the Derby and made my bets via TwinSpires. I talked with my kids and the name Mage came up, but I only bet him to show…at 18-1, I thought he’d be doing well to get that far. Congratulations to Mage, who did return about $13 on that $2 bet; it was my favorite, Angel of Empire, who almost made it, but cost me… I’m down $7 going into the Preakness, second race of the Triple Crown.

It was Thursday before we finally got my tomatoes in the ground and they were very shocked with the transplant. I fussed over them and they seem to have pulled out of it, especially with today’s rain.

The bell peppers, basil, yellow squash, and zucchini were planted on Friday along with some watermelon and cantaloupe seedlings.

We did a little re-arranging and I now have a spot for potted herbs in a partial shady spot that I think they will love.

I’ve been so wrapped up in all of the above that I feel quite relieved to have it all behind me. May is a busy month, as usual: #2 grandie will have her 15th birthday on the 9th, Mothers’ Day is the 14th, Samantha’s Dance Recital is the 20th, and Jojo’s Academy of Music will have the 1st Annual Piano Recital on the 27th.

I have to plant more seeds, and I’m planning another trip to Ronnie’s for extra plants just because. I’m still looking for anise hyssop; there’s a native plant nursery over in Posey County that has them, so that will be a nice little outing.

Somehow the gloom and rain don’t seem so bad today, though I’ve got to get outside and tie up the squash. Have a great week!



Hi, kids. I missed you a little over the last couple of weeks, but it’s that time of year when I’m All Plants All the Time which makes me a little boring. I’ve been stalking the weather forecasts, trying to hurry up the transition from cool and windy to warm and still; obviously, I have failed. My plant date has shifted from 4/19 (dreaming) to 4/26 (hopeful) to a sure date of 5/3 — this Wednesday! We’ve had sunshine and the ground isn’t all that cold, but those breezes have been chilly.

It’s all okay in the Peace/Bird garden, though, where the perennial natives abide.

I can’t wait to get digging and planting. My vegetable plants are begging to go in the ground and be a Real Garden. I have to admit that I enjoy having such Green on the back porch and confess that I’m still not sure Exactly where to plant everything. I’m super-proud that my indoor seed-starting has yielded 8 watermelon (sugar babies), 8 canteloup, 3 zucchini, and 3 yellow squash, but they are teenagers now and need to be Outside.

Some wise person told me that the secret to being patient is to do something else in the meantime, so I’ve been filling time by planning away for the upcoming Double Holiday on 5/6: the Coronation of King Charles III and the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby. I’m going to make the Coronation Quiche, a curious recipe that includes “broad beans” and only two eggs; I’m going to use lima beans and four eggs, cut back on the milk and see how it goes. Since I’ll have to be up by 3:30 a.m. or so to watch the ceremony, I’ll make the quiche the night before. The Royals should be out on the balcony by 8 a.m. or thereabouts and that’s a good time for a celebratory mimosa breakfast, don’t you think?

My Derby Day menu is more simple: pimento (pronounced pumentuh in our neck of the woods) cheese sandwiches, salad, and mint juleps. I’m in a quandary about the juleps, though. I usually buy good bourbon for the Derby, Woodford Reserve or my favorite Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, but it is a sin to mix the good stuff—it should only be sipped. I guess maybe a festive julep or two followed by sipping the night away, celebrating a Big Win…yes!…would be acceptable.

For All Things Coronation, here’s a good curation of info: https://theroyalrundown.substack.com/

To study up on the Kentucky Derby, the best site is this: https://www.kentuckyderby.com/horses

I will be in touch frequently this week, making up for missing the last couple. The Edible Garden Will be planted and I’m sure you will want to see how it turns out. Drop back by to get my Derby Picks (and those of my family)! And don’t forget Cinco de Mayo! It’s a trifecta of liver abuse…


Roll Away the Stone

We had a little Egg Hunt yesterday with the Jr Family. Casey and Michael warned that these eggs (filled with a quarters and occasional smarties) would be a level up from the past hunts, and sure enough, there’s one out there we still can’t find! It will show up at the most unlikely time, experience tells me — maybe at next year’s Hunt!

It’s a Beautiful Morning, perfect for a Sunrise Service, so I dragged myself up and out into the garden to contemplate. In my 25 years playing the organ at the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, I heard many an Easter sermon, usually 2-3 times. The choirs were jubilant, the congregation all gussied up in their Sunday finest, and the Music was inspired, if I do say so myself. But it was often at the end of that long haul of service, that I could stop and think, and let it all sink in. Religious scholars do their best to “explain” resurrection, but it’s all a mystery to me. In my wee brain, the metaphor of Spring, when the dormant earth returns to life, when the brown and gray gives way to green and blue and the birds sing loud and long at dawn that inspires Hope, strengthening my Faith that we are Growing Every Season, transformed and reborn Every Day. Mercy! Such Grace!

It’s just an every-day song, but “Beauty in the River” (by Ozark Mountain Daredevils) gives a hint of Easter in the message of its chorus:

We must all stand in the water
We must find it when we roam
It don’t matter what is said
We can wake up from the dead
And roll away the stone
We can roll away the stone!

Songwriters: John Dillon
Beauty in the River lyrics © Irving Music, Inc

The song starts with the sound of a saw sawing wood to count the rhythm, something that has always intrigued me… Give it a Listen…

Have a great week!


Evening Edition

We’ve been out in the Peace/Bird Garden all day, moving around purple coneflower, autumn sedum, bee balm, a few surviving rudbeckia, and discovering forgotten gladiolus bulbs scattered throughout. I had already moved a lot of bricks to make the peace sign a double circle and I’ve been imagining where I wanted to move the echinacea for a while now. The day was perfect and we got a lot done.

Later this week, after a few cold mornings get past us, I’ll add in the perennials that I overwintered: garden phlox, delphinium, and liatris.

I’m feeling the Springtime vibe and lovin’ it, so excited to visit Hillside Gardens for tomatoes and peppers and hit up Rural King for seeds and who-knows-what! Hope you’re feeling Spring-y where you are.


3 Thinks

Think #1:

We celebrated St. Paddy’s Day with corned beef brisket, new potatoes, and cabbage, our usual tribute to Irish traditions. It was a tough choice between Guinness and Kilkenny Red, so we went with the always-popular Jameson and Ginger Ale. My great-great-great-grandparents, Joseph and Margaret Kinkade, were born in County Down; they arrived in the port of Philadelphia in 1832, both of of them 22-years-old. The Maynes have since credited their penchant for drinking to the Irish, which is soo much more glamorous than the majority-German-ancestors; however, European statistics reveal that Germans drink slightly more than Irish. C’mon, Irish! Get out on the gargle, have a hooley and get scuttered! We have a full year to practice…

Think #2: (very thinky)

I watched Deep Space Nine, Season 1, Episode 1, “Emissary” last night. It is a deep one: Commander Sisko meets an entity/life form that is not subject to linear time, believing that “what comes before now is no different than what is now, or what is to come: it is one’s existence.” They read Sisko’s mind and see that the trauma of his wife’s death is a tragedy that his mind replays over and over and over, and though he explains that a human is ultimately the sum of his experiences, they point out to him that he “chooses to exist in that memory”, in fact does still exist in those memories, and that is decidedly Not Linear…

It just so happens that I’m going through old photos, picking some new ones for framing, and that stroll down Memory Lane is decidedly Not Linear. In the moments that I gaze at the youngsters in the pictures, dressed up and having fun, I exist in those memories, along with my now-grown-up babies and long-dead parents. What a blessing and such a curse! Our ability to re-live sometimes overwhelms our brain with raw emotions and though the Passing of Linear Time does soften the edges of our pain or joy over the years, we do Still Exist in those “moments remaining in a burnt-out light” *John Prine.

Counting the Years, as one does when one is celebrating a Jubilee Year, it’s clear that Sisko was right when he explained that a human is ultimately the sum of his experiences: (using baseball as a metaphor)

Sisko: In the end, it comes down to throwing one pitch after another, and seeing what happens. With each new consequence, the game begins to take shape.

Alien Batter: And you have no idea what that shape is until it is completed?

Sisko: That’s right. In fact, the game wouldn’t be worth playing if we knew what was going to happen.

Jake Prophet: You value your ignorance of what is to come?

Sisko: That may be the most important thing to understand about humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives day by day, and we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge…

They don’t call it Deep Space for nothin’.

Think #3:

We’ll have a nice quiche to celebrate the Vernal Equinox, the 71st of my existence, tomorrow at 5:24pm. We woke up to a dusting of snow today, and the freeze is not going to let up for a couple more days, but the rest of the week looks good for working on the Peace/Bird Garden perennials. That’s where you’ll find me, though in my mind I’ll be existing among all the gardens of the past, leading up to this Only-Moment-that-Is, Right Now.