24 April 2009


Somewhere along the way, I've forgotten my southern roots. I suppose that's somewhat understandable, considering that my upbringing occurred completely on Yankee soil. As a child, I remember fleeting references that hinted to a heritage beyond the New England states. For example, people would often take note of my mom's slight accent and ask where she was from. I never quite noticed it. Of course we made frequent pilgrimages to Virginia to see Aunt Becky and Grandmama, and they made even more trips to see us. And so I never forgot about where my mom came from; I guess it just never felt like my history. Grandmama died 16 years ago and thus ended our summer trips to her house where my brother and I would pick green beans and drive the tractor around the yard (crashing it every so often). I remember my mom letting me steer Granddaddy's 1973 Ford truck (surprising after the tractor incidents) as we drove the short distance on Route 689 from Grandmama's to US 460. Those are some sweet memories.

My dear Aunt Becky still lives in Virginia with her family, and as I hadn't been back in years and Andrew had never visited, we decided to go over Easter. We were treated to true southern hospitality and Becky's incredible memory. We spent the weekend laughing, listening and asking questions as we relived memories and created new ones. We had Easter lunch at the Peaks of Otter, a childhood haunt I hadn't revisited in years. The following day we hiked Sharp Top Mountain and were rewarded with beautiful views of Virginia countryside. And of course, we found a new friend in Pugsley (who couldn't love that face?).

On our last day, we drove over to where Grandmama had lived. I hadn't been there since she died. We commented on how the property seemed smaller than we remembered. The barn and garage were a little run down, and the trailer was gone, but the well cap was still there, which had always posed a challenging obstacle to our tractor cruising. We remembered where the grape vines and garden used to be and how the land sloped in the back. The garage and utility shed were open. I was hoping for the shed to smell as I remembered, but it didn't. It's been been a while I guess. Smells fade. But amidst the decay and relics of a life once lived, new life persists...

in dogwood blooms...

...and in a renewed connection to a history that is mine too.

[in the cement under the outdoor shelter]

[the barn my grandfather built]

[the garage/shed also built by Granddaddy]

08 April 2009

Sow what?

Well, I may not be able to sew, but we can try our hand at sowing. Last night Andrew transferred some carefully selected seeds into a seed starter "greenhouse" (basically a divided plastic tray with a cover). Some of these seedlings should start to sprout in as little as one week! Then they will be transferred into peat pots that can later be planted directly into the soil. I am becoming more and more convinced that there will be no room to sit on our porch this summer.

Here's what we got cooking:

Black from Tula Tomato

Sweet Pea Currant Tomato

Brown Berry Tomato

Beam's Yellow Pear Tomato

Greek Oregano

Purple de Milpa Tomatillo


Wapsipinicon Peach Tomato

Miniature Chocolate Bell Pepper


07 April 2009

Before | During | After

A spring cleaning of sorts.

05 April 2009

The Wild Wild West

Mountains... hiking... skiing... views... fresh air... sunshine... sunburns... Elsa... Triumph... Wahoo's... friends... family... wild times.