DECA DECO

I used to invite my friends over to play with glitter, glue and napkins, too.

We spent hours sitting around a table carefully tapping napkins onto sticky Christmas balls.

Laughter sent scraps and glitter into the air and everywhere.

The floor was a mess afterwards. I smiled as I swept.

There will be more glitter, glue and napkins, too.

But for now, I will hold each ball in my hands and remember my friends.

LOVE FLOW

White Christmas Blooms

Flowers in December are so appreciated.

I have enjoyed a sunny afternoon under a quarter moon.

Wandering beneath the Mistle Toe.

Relishing the first bloom on ‘White by the Gate.’

Bending down to see the faces of the Paper White Narcissus thrown out years ago.

We may not have much snow in the south, but I love blooms in December.

FLOW

Stow Away Spores

My house is full of plants now. I stay busy watering, turning and trimming them.

I was so happy to see these tiny mushrooms in the “Hibiscus Circus” pot by my couch.

They have sprouted by my favorite reading spot.

The entire pot has little colonies of different sizes.

This is the kind of surprise that makes me smile.

It is much more pleasant than finding dried up worms on the floor like last year.

Flow

Flower between Flowerings

Once the Schlumbergeras stop blooming, I know there will be no more flowers for a while. This is the tough part of the year for me. Everything outside is bitten back by freezes and brown. My tasks now involve clipping off dead tops and blowing leaves.

This has been a big acorn year. It amazes me that the oak trees put so much energy into millions of progeny. The chipmunks appreciate them, but I do not.

My other blog, Seizure Mama and Rose clips along during the winters. My ‘Other Mothers’ need me year-round. This blog however, sputters to a stop about now.

I will probably share a post about my Christmas tree, the usual Poinsettia (third year), and some other house plants. I read a lot in the winter, usually books about plants and trees and human diseases. I may share some information about these.

Do not worry if I stop posting for a while. I will keep reading your blogs. I love your birds, cows, wildlife and crafts. My blogger friends have been a constant over these tumultuous times. I used to say, ” She/He is not a real friend, but a blogger friend.” I don’t say that anymore. You are real friends.

Stay safe during this wave of cold, flu and Covid. I need you people.

Love, Flower

Schlumbergera Struggles

Many of my precious Thanksgiving cacti are struggling. Some plants are shriveled from lack of water, many are misshapen from not being turned regularly, a few are contorted from lack of pruning/purging, some are discolored from wrong minerals or wrong lighting. There are even a few which have no buds at this late date.

These are all signs of a bad mama. I have been ‘bad busy’ again. I also have too many green babies. I will be having a Plant Purge Party in the spring. I cannot keep up with the needs of so many plants. ‘Old Woman in a Shoe’ syndrome will not do!

I did go through most of the care steps as usual, but I have not been attentive. I treated them all the same, instead of noticing the needs of each. They should have been watered more frequently and thoroughly. I missed some feedings. Neglect is apparent to the trained eye. The blooms are still beautiful, but the plants have signs of struggling.

No worries. I have started a rehab program…for the plants. Each is getting time in the kitchen to be purged and watered. I know it is not the best time to do this, but we only have now. So I am doing it now. Better late than later.

All’s well that ends well!

Bad Mama FLOW

Cooking Up a Mess of Collards

My friend Joyce and I met for lunch at a charming restaurant in Statesville named Bristol. I ordered a side of collards. Then I ordered a second helping to share. The owner was nice enough to briefly outline her method of cooking collards.

This has lead to several experiments in my tiny kitchen. Each experiment has yielded better results than the last. I have tweaked the steps a bit each time. All versions were tasty, but this is the best so far. I told Joyce I would share the results on my blog

STEP ONE: Fry bacon in the big pot you plan to cook the collards in. (One pot is easier to clean than two.)

  • STEP TWO: Finely chop half an onion.
  • STEP THREE: Take out the bacon but leave in the grease. Let the grease cool. Saute’ the onion in the bacon grease.
  • STEP FOUR: Cut up washed collard leaves. I use scissors and remove the main stem/midrib of each leaf. (Compost these please.)
  • STEP FIVE: Cool the onions. Add some beef broth and cut collards into the pan. Use enough broth to halfway cover the collards.
  • STEP SIX: Slow cook on low. Periodically stir and smash the leaves down under the liquid.
  • STEP SEVEN: After a few hours, add teaspoons of cayenne pepper and tablespoons of molasses. Taste after two.
  • STEP EIGHT: Stir and simmer until leaves are limp and no longer bright green. Crumble the cooked bacon into the pot. Serve in bowls with the liquid. You will want to drink this pot-liquor. It is full of vitamins.

The secrets to the ‘Bristol’ recipe are the bacon grease, the cayenne pepper and the molasses. This combo made me lick my hot, slick lips in public. Good thing we were at an outside table.

This is southern comfort food folks. Enjoy!

FLOW

Peace from a Tree

My answers usually come from nature. People puzzle me. Nature nurtures me.

Last week the angst level was high with no peace in sight. I was afraid. My path was uncertain.

While the sane folks were cleaning out the lonely house, the crazy person took to the woods.

My camera leads me places I do not go ordinarily. That’s its magic.

I was wandering around with no purpose really. Taking photos of various finds.

The sane people came to check on me. We were together when we discovered the tree.

We three had not been in the woods together at the farm for decades.

There we were; the son, the daughter and me, standing around a big, old beech tree.

Looking at the initials of our four children. JA, AA, LB and AB.

They had been carved long ago by their grandfather. The one who left us.

My peace came from that tree. The angst drained out with my tears.

I have made peace with what was, what is and what will be.

All because of a tree and our Pawpaw thinking of our children as he wandered around in his woods years ago.

FLOW