Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I had 8 days on my own--Aug 27-Sept 4--while J. was away with his brothers, their spouses, and his younger sister.
I never dread time on my own. I quite often take on some momentous task such as painting a room or rearranging furniture.
My list of possibilities this time included such boring tasks as cleaning two closets and disposing of the excess clobber in them--not attempted.
I considered a full scale housecleaning--the weather was much too hot, and it occurred to me that with J. on a vacation I didn't need to entertain the martyrdom of grueling labor.
J. drove the van to Nashville, TN to leave at airport parking, which left me the big red Dodge diesel truck for my errands.
The morning he departed I clambered into the truck and drove off to deliver a quilt top to the local quilter.
On the way home I bought a roasting chicken to pop in the oven nicely seasoned with herbs.
M. and G. invited me for several meals next door, but the roast chicken served me well.
I also tried out a chocolate cookie recipe I had been eyeing.
I put half of the cookies away in the freezer and the rest in the cookie jar.
Very rich--almost too sweet.
The weather has been [and still is] horrendously hot and humid.
On the second evening of my 'home alone' week I waited til sundown to arm myself with the big loppers and attack the over-grown nandina shrubs around the porch.
At sundown it was still nearly 90 F.
I clipped and trimmed, stood back to assess my progress, trimmed some more, creating a huge pile of cuttings.  The boy cats sprawled panting in the grass, then began the laborious treks with me back and forth to the trash pile. 
Coming inside to a cool shower and an iced drink I decided that there would be no outside work until the weather cooled down.
Next day my neighbor, Gracie, invited me to ride along as her husband had an errand in Campbellsville and could allow time for Gracie and me to browse in Joanns--a fabric and craft store.
I indulged  myself with the purchase of two quilting books--they were on sale!
I started a king sized quilt--yet another Log Cabin pattern.
I stayed up well past midnight every night, squinting at archival newspapers online and discovered newly published vital statistics at
I had thought of cleaning my desk--instead I scribbled notes on paper and created still more of a tipple!

G.'s camera has 'died' and she asked me to bring mine along when I came for my grandson's birthday lunch.
The birthday boy [19!] disappeared with friends soon after the meal and G. and I strolled around her shady yard. She despairs of keeping up with her venerable spider plant!
When she moved here I spent nearly an hour gently teasing apart  tangled roots and helping to re-pot the divisions. Each visitor to G.'s home is urged to take away a spider plant--they keep out-growing their containers.

A strange plant with a pumpkin-like vine has been festooning itself through the shrubbery and trees which border M. and G.'s property.
They think it had its genesis in kitchen waste which was dumped there last winter.

The huge vine is producing strange hybrid fruit with a pumpkin shape and the dark skin of an acorn squash!

Ironweed grows rankly in the un-mowed field next to M. and G.'s house.

I grew these rosemarys from seed in the spring of 2012.
I gave away many of the seedlings--a few didn't winter.
These two were more than ready for fresh soil and bigger pots.
I mixed coarse builders sand with potting soil and settled it around the roots.
The rosemarys immediately appeared happier in their larger quarters.
Interestingly, the two plants have slightly different growth habits. 
The one on the left resembles the prostrate rosemary which I've been growing on for the past three years.

There was a day when the temperature and humidity dropped slightly.
There had been rain enough to loosen the soil.
I decided to weed the upper perennial strip which has suffered from too much rain and too many weeds.
You can see the bare places where various plants were overwhelmed by the frequent rains.
Lemon thyme had galloped through the center of the strip in previous years. 
It was necessary to trim away mounds of  tangled dead stems.
I think the plants will revive as the weather cools as they now have breathing room.
I worked for 6 hours, taking a couple of short breaks for a cold drink.
The last hour or so was punishing, but I was determined to keep going.
I don't know how to garden in moderation.
Once I'm down on my creaky knees, grubby and sweating, it seems that I must continue until 
the task is finished.
I was glad to hobble into the house--refreshing shower, clean clothing, a mug of tea and a chicken sandwich.
Oh, the bliss of falling into my rocking chair with a book!

These pale Michaelmas Daisies resemble the 'frost asters' of New England.
The clumps diminished last year, but there is a hardy core of them which I hope will naturalize at the end of the perennial strip.

More Michaelmas Daisies--my favorites in the rich shade of warm purple.
[Surely there should be a more exotic color name than 'purple' to describe these!]

The lower strip where I have planted zinnias, sunflowers and cosmos these several years is looking very shabby. Although it doesn't show in the photo, the wet weather caused a plague of mildew on the zinnia leaves. The sunflowers, those few which remained upright after the battering winds and rain of July, are like tired skeletons.
I need to cut the largest heads to dry and collect seeds from the prettiest of the bi-colors.

My original cosmos seed was sown in 2010--a pink variety.
Subsequent sowings have been of saved seed.
I was surprised to see this maverick white cosmos, somewhat bug-riddled.
I need to mark it in some way and save the seed separately.

Willis the cat is a nearly constant companion when I work in the flower strips.
He fusses about until the heat drives him under the butterfly bush or into the fragrant thicket of the southernwood.
He pops out frequently to see that all is well in his domain.

Rain this afternoon--which hasn't done much to cool the heavy air.
Jim and I are resigned to the most undemanding of tasks until the promised arrival of more seasonal fall weather this weekend.
I have one more round of 'logs' to sew on a few of the 56 quilt blocks.
I have quilt bindings to finish.
Several family research projects have dragged on for too long and the details churn through my head at night.
There are always a few vital statistics that  elude me.

As the rain slowed just before dusk, we looked out to see the doe and her twin fawns 
walking along the road.
The second young one had plunged into the brush before I got outside with my camera.
I could hear a vehicle coming along the road as the deer watched me.
I was glad to recognize the truck belonging to a neighbor who instantly halted until the deer bounded off through the trees, headed for the creek bank.

I would like to think that I can be more focused for the remainder of the week.
Maybe I will even tidy my desk!
Surely as the autumnal equinox approaches this long spell of punishing heat will diminish.
I want to turn off the A/C [welcome as it has been] open the windows to a crisp fresh breeze.
I am ready to pull on jeans and cozy tops, to make soup, to pull a quilt over me at night.


  1. I never mind time on my own either, I've always plenty to do. I need to get back to doing some family history now that the nights are closing in,it's rare that I have time in the summer. You seem to have accomplished a good deal during your 'home alone' time:) Hope it cools down for you soon.

  2. It sounds like you have made progress in some ways this week anyway - garden, family history and another quilt. I have to say, when I am baking an American recipe, I ALWAYS halve the sugar! and never notice the lack of it : )

    I know just how frustrating the F/H research is - NOT something to do just before bed, as your brain is then going over and over the possible solutions to gaps for the rest of the night! I have done a little work on my Totnes Browns since going down to the town again, and trying to trace some of my g.g. grandfather's 14 children forwards . . . So many of my kin were of humble origin though, and remain invisible in printed sources (though I dare say the Parish Records, once sourced, tell a bigger story . . .)

    Sorry you are suffering with the heat - we have cooled right down now and it's very autumnal here. We've even lit the wood burner a couple of evenings this week!

  3. Oh ! that was lovely to read I felt that I was with you pottering about. Why do we think that because we are on our for a few days we have to clean our homes, why can we not just chill, you did the right thing there my friend did what you wanted, well done. Hope the heat cools down for you soon I could not bare it to be that hot. Take care and thank you for your kind comment on my blog, love Jill xx

  4. No sign of heat here now - I think Autumn is well and truly coming. I love your white Cosmos and that hybrid compost monster is amazing.

    I would love ten days alone, if only to appreciate the family!

  5. yes me too, although our summer temperatures are much more modest here in England.
    There is a definite nip in the air and we are lighting the fire in the evenings. Thick fog shrouded the Tor this morning.
    I was fascinated by the spider plants. I have several here in my home but they look like the younger sisters of G's, with much shorter, narrower leaves. Well they say everything is bigger in America :-D
    Your mystery fruit is intriguing, I thought it was a fig for a moment. Do you plan to eat it?
    I'm looking forward to seeing your new quilt project.

  6. The cooler temps are on its way to you. We started seeing it Tuesday evening, the wind came up from the north and it was so refreshing as its been 102-104 here for the past 5 days. It rained yesterday afternoon and its supposed to be cooler this week. I am ready.
    D is going back on the truck sometime next week, so I will have quiet time, though I know it won't be quiet with my parents issues. I have been thinking of seeing if I can find a job and go back to work part-time.
    You have been busy, but with the heat, not too much can be done outside. That's been my issues, too hot.
    You must share your quilt you are working on. I am still trying to tackle the quilt I have been wanting to do. First though, I have to find my sewing machine feet and I am panicking as I packed them and I am hoping I did not throw them away!
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. Such a nice post of all that you've been up to. I enjoyed it and am inspired.

    I also long for cooler weather, but we may not get any until the end of October.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

  8. You do stay busy. When Mac's not around I tend to bury myself in a pile of books.
    It's still hot and humid here too, when it rains it just makes it steamy, I'm looking forward to jeans weather too.

  9. Glad to read what you have been doing - always so busy.

  10. This post was a joy to read ...and I so enjoyed the photos.You really should take some time to yourself ...but your energy and hard work is what keeps you so fit and young ....unlike me lol xx

  11. nice to catch up Sharon- your home alone week sounded full and busy! willis is such a handsome boy, tiger in the bushes! Hopefully by now your tempeatures may have begun cookling? its getting very autumnal here now!
    Leanne x